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Might the Russia-China-USA Alliance for Space Exploration Define the New ‘New World Order’?

By Matthew Ehret | Strategic Culture Foundation | April 15, 2020

Whatever forces are behind the current spread of the current coronavirus justifying the shutdown of major nations across the globe, one thing is increasingly certain: a new system will absolutely emerge from the current one. What remains to be seen is whether this new system will be shaped by those fascist crisis-loving technocrats pushing for a unipolar world order, or whether it will be organized by sovereign nation states working together under a multi-polar community of principle.

Amidst the confusion and fear driven by the global pandemic, President Trump passed a fascinating Executive Order on April 6 calling for the mining of asteroids and the Moon which may serve as the gateway to shaping a new system of economic relations, rules and values around a shared future for humankind. Trump’s Executive Order states in part that “successful long term exploration and scientific discoveries of the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies will require partnerships with commercial entities to recover and use resources, including water and certain minerals in outer space.”

In stark opposition to those cynics who wish to analyse every event from the lens of simple geopolitics, the executive order goes on to reject unilateralism in space (promoted by the Space Force ideologues seeking to extend militarisation beyond earth) and rather calls for cooperation, stating that the USA “shall seek to negotiate joint statements, and bilateral and multilateral arrangements with foreign states regarding safe and sustainable operations for the public and private recovery and use of space resources.”

This potential for a shared future for global (and celestial) development stands in stark opposition to certain forces who would rather use the two-fold crisis of economic collapse and viral pandemics to usher in a new age of fascism and world government under a Global Green New Deal. As I wrote in an earlier paper, this clash is exemplified by the closed system thinking of Malthusians and neocons vs. the open system thinking of genuine patriots and world citizens.

How the Dream of Open System Economics Was Lost

It was once believed in the west that the future would be beautiful, just, and as plentiful as it was peaceful. Under John F. Kennedy’s bold leadership the idea of space exploration was more than a simple “space race” or plopping a human being on the moon “within the decade and returning him safely back home”. Far from this narrow view, JFK and many leading American scientists saw this goal as a springboard to a new age of creative growth for all humanity both on the Moon and beyond. These stirring forecasts of an age of reason can still be heard in recordings of Kennedy’s Rice University address of September 12, 1962.

Unbeknownst to many, JFK also called for a USA-Russia joint Moon landing in order to defuse the Cold War formula of MAD and had this plan not been derailed, the world would have found itself on a much different trajectory.

Unfortunately, history unfolded on a different course. After JFK’s murder (weeks after the above speech), his program to remove troops from Vietnam was reversed and the USA was plunged into the disastrous Vietnam war for over a decade. As the war grew, federal funds needed for science and exploration were increasingly absorbed by the military industrial complex.

By 1972, the last human mission on the Moon took place and by 1976, Russia’s last lunar project also occurred with Luna 6. Although small efforts to keep the dream alive continued in piecemeal form over the years, Apollo was scrapped and national support for long-term objectives slowly decayed and a generation of space scientists and engineers found themselves disillusioned by decades of broken promises and a lost dream. Russian scientists suffering the debilitating effects of Perestroika shared in this dismal experience and found themselves unemployed throughout the 1990s and in many cases forced to use their powerful mathematical skills in the financial services sector of London in order to make ends meet (giving rise to the age of quants and speculative high frequency derivatives trading).

During this period of disenchantment, China arose silently under the radar patiently building its capacities from scratch.

The Rise of China’s Space Program

Although its first satellite launch took place during the height of the Cultural Revolution in 1970, the Chinese space program grew much more slowly than its counterparts in Russia or the USA. Patiently learning from the best engineering feats of the west, under the wise guidance of Deng Xiaoping, China finally became the third nation to successfully send a human into orbit in 2003 and one decade later, became the first nation in 37 years to return to the Moon with the successful landing of the Chang’e-3 rover in December 2013. Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin called this program “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” and the world came to soon see what incredible plans were yet in store for China’s goals in space.

Soon China had launched the Tiangong 1 and 2 (Heavenly Palace) test space stations in preparation for the 2021 launching of the Large Modular Space Station named Tianhe (“Harmony of the Heavens”) which will be a vital platform for the earth-lunar economy for decades.

On January 3, 2019, China set a world milestone by becoming the first nation to successfully land a rover on the far side of the moon with Chang’e 4, which has begun topographical, resource and geological mappings of the lunar surface. Change’e 5, 6, and 7 will continue these explorations while adding the feature of returning samples to the earth and preparing the groundwork for a permanent lunar base by 2030. Chang’e-8 will be especially important as it will print the first ever 3D structures on the Moon by 2028.

Unfortunately, due to the Obama-era “Wolf Act” of 2011, American scientists could not participate in these achievements and had to watch from afar as China swiftly leapt to the forefront of space science dethroning America from the unchallenged stature she once enjoyed.

Asteroid Threats

Earlier in 2013, before Chang’e-3 landed on the Moon, another humbling event took place and served as a sort of divine slap in the face for many. This wake up call took the form of a 9000 ton asteroid which exploded 22 km over Chelyabinsk, Russia sending shock waves that shattered windows and injured over 2000 citizens. The Chelyabinsk incident served as a timely reminder that the universe offers enough existential challenges for humanity without the additional man-made calamities of regime change wars and fighting over diminishing returns of resources.

From this Russian incident, NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office was created to begin to establish a plan for asteroid threats from space alongside similar departments in Roscosmos, and the European and Chinese Space Agencies. Ouyang Ziyan (the father of China’s lunar program) stated that asteroid defenseis worth attention while we are devoted to building a community with a shared future for humanity… Scientists around the world should cooperate to monitor near-Earth asteroids.”

In November 2019, Roscosmos Director of Science and Long Term Programs (Alexander Bloshenko) stated that Russia’s lunar development goals which included a base on the underside of the Moon within a decade were intertwined with asteroid defense stating: “There are plans to install equipment on this [lunar] base to study deep space and special telescopes to track asteroids and comets that pose a danger with their collision with earth.”

By Summer 2019, NASA’s administrator Jim Bridenstine also announced his intention for USA-Russian cooperation on asteroid defense- joining the earlier call made by Roscosmos’ head Dimitri Rogozin for a “Strategic Defense of Earth” which Rogozin described as a way to redirect nuclear weapons towards a common threat in space rather than towards each other. This call for cooperation dovetails the two-fold space strategy unveiled by President Trump in December 2017 with Space Policy Directive 1: Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program, where he called for 1) The creation of the Lunar Gateway space station to orbit the Moon and 2) the launching of the Artemis Project that will “lead the return of humans to the Moon for long term exploration and utilisation, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”

These developments were punctuated by Trump who took the time from his impeachment fiasco to call for an alliance that too many analysts have chosen to ignore saying on: “Between Russia, China and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons, including nuclear, which is ridiculous… I think it’s much better if we all got together and didn’t make these weapons… those three countries I think can come together and stop the spending and spend on things that are more productive toward long term peace.”

Although the COVID-19 lock down has done major damage to the schedule for the Orion capsule and space launch system mega rocket needed to carry out the Artemis Project, the scheduled 2024 landing of a man and woman onto the moon’s surface is still on course.

A Revolution in Mining: Redefining “Resources”

But it doesn’t end there. Leading officials among all three Russian, Chinese and American space agencies have called for going beyond asteroid defense, and colonization with the call for lunar, mars and asteroid resource development strategies. These strategies require that humanity redefine the practice of “mining” as it has hitherto been known for thousands of years, but also re-define what a “resource” is, what “energy” is and what are the limits (if any) to human growth?

A helpful tool to conceptualize this revolution in thinking can be found in the 10 minute video All the World’s A Mine made in 2013:

In carefully mapping the lunar terrain with a focus on the far side of the moon, China wishes to come to a better understanding of the mineral distribution of vital resources like Titanium, Iron, silicon, aluminium, water, oxygen and hydrogen and especially Helium-3 which are abundant on the Lunar regolith. Helium-3, long called the “Philosophers’ Stone” of energy is the most efficient fuel source for fusion power when fused with deuterium or tritium in a plasma and though it is nearly non-existent on the earth it exists in vast quantities on the moon due to the absence of a geomagnetic field. As the Moon’s far side never faces the earth or the earth’s magnetic field, there are far more abundant volumes of solar-produced Helium-3 that have accumulated there over millennia.

Ouyang Ziyuan stated clearly that Helium-3 could “solve humanity’s energy demand for 10,000 years at least” since “each year, three space shuttle missions could bring enough fuel for all human beings across the world.”

In 2013, Ziyuan stated “The Moon is full of resources- mainly rare Earth elements, titanium and uranium which the Earth is really short of, and these resources can be used without limitation… There are so many potential developments -it’s beautiful- so we hope we can fully utilize the Moon to support sustainable development for humans and society.”

China’s Premier Li Keqiang added his voice to the mix stating: “China’s manned space and lunar probe missions have a twofold purpose: first, to explore the origin of the universe and mystery of human life; and second, to make peaceful use of outer space… Peaceful use of outer space is conducive to China’s development. China’s manned space program has proceeded to the stage of building a space station and will move forward step by step.”

In September 2019, Russia and China signed a historical agreement to jointly collaborate on lunar development uniting the Chang’e-7 plans with Russia’s Lunar 26 Orbiter and lunar base development which both nations have on the agenda for 2030-2035.

A Word on the Moon Treaty of 1979

Donald Trump’s explicit rejection of the Moon Treaty of 1979 in his recent executive order, has garnered many angry criticisms which on closer inspection are completely unfounded. The 1979 Treaty requiring that all commercial activities in space must be defined by an international framework appears on the surface to be quite sensible. So is Trump’s rejection of any obedience to an “international framework” at this moment in history evidence of his selfish-nationalistic impulses to impose gangster capitalism onto the whole universe? Not at all.

As stated at the beginning of this report, President Trump’s order calls explicitly for “encouraging international support for the recovery and use of space resources” which is in no way characteristic of “narrow minded selfish nationalism” or “unilateral militarism” extolled by the many neocon ideologues struggling to take control of U.S. Space policy. Also when one considers that only 4 nations ratified that 1979 treaty (France, Guatemala, India and Romania), Trump’s refusal to obey it is not nearly as renegade and selfish as those critics make it appear.

Finally, when one considers who would define that “international framework” and considers the zero-growth paradigm currently dominant across the UN and European Union technocracy, then it quickly becomes clear that the Green New Deal agenda for shutting down industrial civilization is totally incompatible with the pro-growth, pro-space mining orientation of Russia, China and Trump’s USA alike.

April 15, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

For the green zealots, Covid-19 is our penance for sins against the planet

By Frank Furedi | RT | March 20, 2020

Green zealots want to turn the global catastrophe of Covid-19 into fuel for their alarmist extinction narrative. By blaming humanity’s impact on the planet for the outbreak, they hope to mobilize support for their cause.

The hastily cobbled together green playbook on the unfolding global pandemic seeks to hold humanity responsible for the outbreak of Covid-19. Its rhetoric of blame is often just that – rhetoric.

The communications strategy adopted by green scaremongers is to continually raise questions about the possibility that our neglect of nature has brought Covid-19 down upon us. The more frequently such questions are posed the more likely that their speculation will mutate into a taken-for-granted fact. “Tip of the iceberg: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?” asks a headline in the Guardian. The manner in which this question is posed invites readers to respond, “quite likely.”

To pose questions about the link to man-made climate change is often presented as the normal response to the crisis. A commentary on Inside Climate News illustrates this rhetorical strategy.

“Now, questions have arisen about whether climate change contributed to the outbreak of Covid-19, whose spread the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday. For example, did habitat loss, driven in part by climate change, make it easier for pathogens to spread among wildlife and for the virus to jump to humans? Does air pollution, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, make some people more vulnerable to contracting the illness?”

As one question reinforces the next, the reader is encouraged to imagine that in some shape or form, climate change is likely to be connected to the Covid-19 outbreak.

It is almost as if green activists are desperately hoping that someone will come up with a shred of evidence that can be used to prove that one way or another that human-created global warming is responsible for the outbreak. Their interest is far removed from containing the virus’ threat. On the contrary, their narrative takes great delight in using Covid-19 as a weapon to be wielded against environmentally irresponsible people. Statements on this score transmit the message ‘that it is all your fault’. In this vein, Dr Aaaron Bernstein, Interim Director Of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, offers a cautionary tale about the impact of human behaviour on the planet:

“You look at climate change, we have transformed the nature of the Earth. We have fundamentally changed the composition of the atmosphere, and as such, we shouldn’t be surprised that that affects our health. We have, as a species, grown up in partnership with the planet and life we live with. So, when we change the rules of the game, we shouldn’t expect that it wouldn’t affect our health, for better or worse. That’s true of the climate. And the same principle holds for the emergence of infections.”

Bernstein does not provide any arguments for his casual linking of the transformation of the world by humans to the emergence of infections. That’s not the point of his statement. His objective is to morally condemn the very human aspiration to change the world and to imply that we have brought the current global tragedy upon ourselves.

Not so long ago, with the development of science we learned that a disaster, such as a plague or an earthquake, was not caused by mysterious vengeful forces – they were rightly called ‘Acts of Nature’. For the green zealot, disasters are never just Acts of Nature; they are a penalty that humanity pays for seeking to modernize the world.

For green ideologues, the pandemic provides an opportunity to mobilize support for their cause. For us, the flu outbreak constitutes a threat that will be overcome with single minded commitment to the cause of humanity. History shows that – contrary to the green world view – humans are not the problem, they are the solution.

Frank Furedi is an author and social commentator is an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Author of How Fear Works: The Culture of Fear in the 21st Century. Follow him on Twitter @Furedibyte

March 20, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 3 Comments

Dumping contaminated water from Fukushima plant into ocean – the lesser evil?

By Vladimir Odintsov – New Eastern Outlook – 11.03.2020

In February this year, a number of media outlets reported that the Japanese authorities intended to drain more than one million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. According to some experts, this method is the lesser evil because the ocean is able to dilute contaminated water, thus making it safe for people.

Nevertheless, this proposal has already caused discontent, both in Japan and in its neighboring countries.

The Japanese government has not yet officially announced this plan, but the intentions of the Shinzo Abe administration to follow through with this idea are becoming increasingly clear, especially considering the media campaign launched by the authorities in support of the proposal to release the contaminated Fukushima water into the ocean.

Let us remind the reader that 9 years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima power plant, but three of its damaged reactors are far from being dismantled. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, delivered an ultimatum to the Japanese government demanding that it resolve the problem with radioactive water immediately. Every day, cooling the molten reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant yields an additional 150 cubic meters of contaminated water containing tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) and other chemicals. The issue concerns the water originally used in the reactors’ cooling circuits during the disaster, and that used to cool the wrecked plant and the remaining fuel. A significant amount of water from underground sources flowing through the land towards the ocean is also being polluted. In total, TEPCO is currently storing 1.1 million cubic meters of radioactive water in one thousand special tanks on the territory of the nuclear power plant (NPP), but based on company’s estimates, it will run out of space for the contaminated water by the summer of 2022. TEPCO announced this in August 2019 and made a proposal to pump the contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi NPP into the Pacific Ocean.

The operator has so far failed to convince local fishermen and residents that draining water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean is the best solution. All other ways of resolving the problem, according to TEPCO management, are difficult.

The Japanese government has also not responded as yet to TEPCO’s ultimatum, not only for political reasons, but also in view of the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games, which are scheduled to be held in Japan after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assurances that the Japanese government had the situation under control after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Stating that radioactive water would have to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean in the current climate would be an extremely unfortunate option today, as it would, at the very least, lead to a heated discussion about the health of athletes who will be arriving for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Surfers, for example, will compete for medals 250 kilometers south of Fukushima, at Tsurigasaki Beach on the Pacific Ocean.

It is no secret that leakages of Fukushima water into the ocean earlier on have already resulted in serious environmental problems, i.e. deposits of Cesium-137 on sandy beaches at a considerable distance from the plant. They were brought there by the current. This was discovered in September 2017 (i.e. six and a half years after the nuclear accident), when researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) studied soil samples from a vast area around the nuclear power plant. The only saving grace was the fact that the region in question was uninhabited and there was no risk of radiation exposure.

There was another rather unpleasant incident for the Japanese authorities in 2018, when the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), was forced to apologize after admitting that its systems used to filter the water discharged into the ocean did not remove all hazardous materials from it.

In 2018, American wine from California was found to contain radioactive particles from the accident at Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima seven years prior. This was reported by scientists of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) Michael Pavikoff, Christine Marquet and Philippe Hubert, who were studying batches of Californian red and rose wines from grapes harvested in 2009-2012 when they found Cesium-137 particles, a.k.a. radiocesium, in them. This is a man-made isotope formed by nuclear fission in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. In the wine produced after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, the level of radioactive particles was higher than before the disaster.

Small amounts of radioactive isotopes of Iodine and Cesium were also found in vegetables grown in South Korea and in fish caught off the Japanese coast. This caused a crisis in South Korea’s long-established industry: the seafood trade. Based on analyses, one in four fish caught one kilometer from Ibaraki (the main town of the Japanese prefecture of the same name, situated north of the Fukushima NPP) was found to have a slightly higher cesium content than allowed. According to traders, the reports of radiation leaking into the sea led to a 50% decrease in sales of seafood products. As a result, South Korea’s government banned imports of products from the areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The authorities have repeatedly stated that all fish products from Japan are being thoroughly checked.

And these are just some of the cases covered by local and international media outlets.

The sheer scale of consequences stemming from the Fukushima disaster, as well as the previous Chernobyl accident, is such that the problems arising as a result cannot be resolved effectively and completely unless the best world experts are involved. Otherwise, incorrect decisions may not only cause undesirable environmental consequences and affect the health of people in the region, but also further undermine confidence in the nuclear industry. The current Japanese government still has faith in nuclear power and wishes to increase the amount of energy produced by NPPs by 20-22% before 2030.

On February 4, 2020, Japanese authorities held a meeting with embassy officials where they tried to convince the latter of the advantages of the plan to release radioactive water from storage facilities at Fukushima.

It is understandable, to a certain extent, why TEPCO, the Japanese government and individual experts would like to resolve the issue with contaminated water as soon as possible, rather than put it off indefinitely. But it is difficult to support their approach to the problem at hand. Lack of transparency and essentially, the government’s reluctance to fully engage in cooperation with the international community in solving this problem are not beneficial for everyone.

It is still unknown what will eventually happen to the radioactive water from the Fukushima NPP. But so far, the Japanese government has decided to involve a wider group of experts in addressing the issue.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Virtue Signaling To Destroy The Environment

Tony Heller | February 26, 2020

Wind farms are an environmental disaster – the exact opposite of how they are being marketed by politicians.

February 28, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Video | 1 Comment

Climate Alarmism and Malthusianism (rebuttal to Taylor)

By Robert Bradley Jr. – Master Resource – February 25, 2020

“The pseudo-intellectual right loves to compare climate concern and action with Malthusianism. I’ve never quite understood what the heck these things have in common.” (Jerry Taylor, October 13, 2019)

“What environmentalists mainly say … is not that we are running out of energy but that we are running out of environment–that is, running out of the capacity of air, water, soil and biota to absorb, without intolerable consequences for human well-being, the effects of energy extraction, transport, transformation and use.” (John Holdren, April 2002)

Jerry Taylor, please read the literature before opining on such matters as energy and the environment. Climate change is the latest Malthusian scare, per John Holdren. And the common denominator of the Malthusian worldview is overpopulation, as Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak document in Population Bombed! Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change (2018).

Some quotations from Population Bombed cement the tie-in:

  • Numerous population control advocates have linked anthropogenic climate change to population growth, or tried to revive interest in invoking anthropogenic climate change as the key negative outcome of continued economic growth linked to, foremost among causes, an increasing population.
  • … population Bomber” himself, Paul Ehrlich … during a conference in 1968 identified anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions as a “serious limiting factor” to economic growth.
  • By the 1970s, Ehrlich, his wife Anne and his collaborator John Holdren raised fears that carbon dioxide “produced by combustion of fossil fuels in quantities too large to contain” may “already be influencing climate” and, as such, constituted one of the “gravest threats to human well-being. . . [i.e.] the loss of natural services now provided by biogeochemical processes.”
  • [Julian] Simon then summarized the position of most environmentalists as follows: “But isn’t obvious. . . that additional people and additional economic growth will cause us to use more energy and hence emit more greenhouse gases? Therefore, even if we can’t be sure of the greenhouse effect, wouldn’t it be prudent to cut back on growth?”
  • The economist Jacqueline Kasun similarly believed at the time that “by the 1990s the doomsayers had shifted their attack” as they could no longer invoke resource depletion as the key growth-limiting issue. As she wrote, “the alarmists didn’t miss a step. The problem, they now said, was that people were using too much energy and were causing Global Warming.”
  • Canadian academic Michael Hart has commented that “for alarmists, climate mitigation policy is as much a means of achieving their larger goals as it is a matter of addressing a possibly serious issue.”
  • Canadian academic, historical climatologist Tim Ball, has long argued, the climate change policy agenda is based on certain assumptions ultimately related to a fear of reaching another terrestrial set of limits through overpopulation.
  • Maurice Strong (1929–2015), who was described by business journalist Peter Foster as “[m]ore than any other individual. . . responsible for promoting the [UN] climate agenda,” … [stated] “with a growing global population, we will have to recognise that having children is not just a personal issue but a societal issue and at a certain point we may be faced with a need to have a permit to have a child.”
  • [Strong] also referred to the need for “national population policies” in his opening speech at the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Strong reportedly stated the following Malthusian prediction at the 1992 Earth Summit: “Either we reduce the world’s population voluntarily or nature will do this for us, but brutally.”
  • The first chairman of the IPCC (1988-1997), Bert Bolin, was not only an early convert to the alleged catastrophic impact of CO2 emissions, but also a pessimist on population and resources issues, as evidenced in his stance on the controversy surrounding the 2001 publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist by the Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg.
  • John Holdren contradicted many of his earlier warnings of imminent resource depletion by arguing that while the word was not “running out of energy,” it was “running out of environment,” by which he meant “running out of the capacity of air, water, soil and biota to absorb, without intolerable consequences for human well-being, the effects of energy extraction, transport, transformation and use.”
  • The second chairman of the IPCC (1997–2002), Robert Watson, would later go on the record with the following line of reasoning: “The more people we have on the Earth and the richer they are, the more they can demand resources. There’s more demand for food, more demand for water, more demand for energy. . . So, there’s no question the threats on the Earth today are far more than, say, 50 years ago and in 50 years’ time, there will even be more threats.”
  • The third chairman of the IPCC (2002-2015), Rajendra K. Pachauri … was “not going to rest easy until [he has] articulated in every possible forum the need to bring about major structural changes in economic growth and development. That’s the real issue. Climate change is just a part of it.”
  • Timothy E. Wirth, one of the main organizers of the 1988 James Hansen hearing on climate change, and from 1998 to 2013 president of the (hardcore Malthusian) … is on the record as stating in 1993: “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.

Other documentation from Desrochers and Szurmak includes the views of Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment; Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action (2010–2014); Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres ; Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; researchers associated with the Population Reference Bureau and the Worldwatch Institute; Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the British Columbia Green Party; and the late climatologist Stephen Schneider

So what are the climate Malthusians missing? The same thing as before: human ingenuity. Desrochers and Szurmak note:

… there is ample evidence of a passionate commitment towards the protection of the planet, but there is no sign of recognition that humanity can do, and has done, more than simply consume resources. At no point do neo-Malthusians admit the possibility that technological innovations and human creativity have a place among the things that deserve a place on Earth. What pessimist activists desire is a consensus on the classification of humanity as out of control and inherently driven by destructive greed, thus in need of top-down regulation by the few remaining clear-thinking and benign autocrats – that is, functionaries – of the global government.

Buyer beware of climate alarmism and Malthusianism.

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Back to Fukushima. Former residents weigh up returning to nuclear ghost town of Okuma

RT Documentary • December 12, 2019

In March 2011, an earthquake hit Japan, setting off a tsunami that caused an accident at the Daiichi nuclear power station in Fukushima prefecture. Radioactive contamination settled on the surrounding area, and the authorities decided to evacuate the population living within a 20km radius around the power station.

Watch full video here:

Eight years later, inhabitants of the town closest to the nuclear disaster, Okuma, were allowed to move back to some of its territory. RTD takes a bittersweet tour of the nuclear ghost town with former residents considering whether to return to their hometown, and meets those who have already moved into new homes built in a less-contaminated part of town. Torn between loyalty to their roots and the desire to build a future for themselves, the people of Fukushima now have an agonising choice to make.

February 17, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , | 2 Comments

Do ‘green’ buses pass the performance test?

Do they even pass basic energy, environmental, economic and human rights tests?

By Duggan Flanakin | Watts Up With That? | February 15, 2020

Should Americans follow China in a massive commitment to supposedly eco-friendly battery-electric buses (BEBs)? California has mandated a “carbon-free” bus system by 2040 and will buy only battery or fuel cell-powered buses after 2029. Other states and cities are following suit.

Vehicle decisions are typically based on cost and performance. Cost includes selling price plus maintenance, while performance now includes perceived environmental impacts – which for some is the only issue that matters. But that perception ignores some huge ecological (and human rights) issues.

China today has 420,000 BEBs on the road, with plans to reach 600,000 by 2025. The rest of the world has maybe 5,000 of these expensive, short-range buses. However, the Chinese still get 70% of their energy from coal, so are their BEBs really that green? Are they safe? And are they really ethical?

Battery costs are the main reason BEBs today are much more expensive than buses that run on diesel or compressed natural gas. But bus makers say electric buses require less maintenance, and climate activists say the lower net “carbon footprint” (carbon dioxide emissions) justifies paying a little more.

China gets around the up-front cost problem by establishing national mandates, heavily subsidizing bus (and battery) manufacturers, and rewarding cities that replace entire bus fleets at one time. This ensures that their factories benefit from economies of scale – and that the transition will be swift and complete.

Beijing simply dodges the environmental costs by ignoring the fossil fuels, horrific pollution and human illnesses involved in mining, ore processing and manufacturing processes associated with building the buses. California and other “renewable” energy advocates do likewise. In fact, those costs will skyrocket as China, and the world emphasize electric vehicle, wind, solar and battery technologies.

Meanwhile, the USA and EU nations focus on subsidizing passenger cars. Thus, there are far more zero-emission passenger cars on the road today in the U.S. and Europe than public transit vehicles. No wonder Westerners still view electric vehicles as subsidized luxuries for the “woke wealthy,” who boast about lowering their carbon footprint, despite also often needing fossil fuel electricity to charge batteries.

The huge costs for fast-charging stations across Europe, let alone the vast United States, pose more huge challenges for future expansion of the electric vehicle market. But transit vehicles, even school buses, run regular routes, and if the routes are short enough, the bus can be recharged overnight in the garages.

Tax credits, free HOV lane access, free charging stations and other subsidies for the rich are seen by most as terrible policies. Yet another, says University of California–Davis researcher Hanjiro Ambrose, is the Federal Transit Administration funding formulas that favor short-term cost-efficiency over long-term innovation. “Those funding mechanisms haven’t been aligned with trying to stimulate policy change,” Ambrose says. “The cheapest technology available isn’t usually the newest technology available.”

To work around high upfront battery costs, innovative capitalists are creating new financial products that allow fleet owners to finance battery purchases. Treating battery costs the same way as fuel costs – as ongoing expenses – meets federal guidelines. Matt Horton, chief commercial officer for U.S. BEB maker Proterra, says, “The importance of the private capital coming into this market cannot be understated.”

Green advocates admit the primary reason people choose EVs is their belief that electric cars and buses, even with electricity generated from fossil fuels, are good for the environment. The Union of Concerned Scientists claims BEBs are 2.5 times cleaner in terms of lifespan emissions than diesel buses. That is highly questionable. Moreover, BEBs with today’s strongest batteries can take a full load no more than 150 miles in good weather. That’s fine for airport shuttles, maybe even for short public transit routes.

However, electric battery life is shorter than the 12-year vehicle life that many transit and school bus systems rely upon in their budgets. Battery replacement for BEBs is very expensive and unpredictable.

And then there are the horror stories. Los Angeles Metro purchased BEBs from Chinese-owned BYD Ltd. but yanked the first five off the road within a few months. Agency staff called the buses “unsuitable,” poorly made, and unreliable for more than 100 miles. Albuquerque returned seven out of its 16 BYD buses, citing cracks, leaking fluid, axle problems and inability to hold charges.

French journalist Alon Levy reported that BEB sales teams in Vancouver admitted their buses could not run for an entire day without recharging during layovers. Worse, in Minneapolis, bus performance suffers tremendously in cold weather: at 20o F buses cannot last all day; on Super Bowl Sunday, at 5o F, a battery bus lasted only 40 minutes and traveled barely 16 miles. Imagine being in a BEB in a blizzard.

In largely rural Maine, lawmakers proposed converting all school buses to BEBs. But Maine Heritage Policy Center policy analyst Adam Crepeau found that BEBs can travel no more than 135 miles per charge (in good weather), while diesel buses go up to 400 miles and can be refilled quickly almost anywhere. “This,” he said, “will severely impact the ability of schools to use them for longer trips, for sporting events, field trips and other experiences for students.” Or in bitterly cold Maine winters.

The economic and practical bottom line is simple. Activists and sales teams are pressing American cities, school boards and other public entities to follow China and convert their fleets to BEBs, calling them “the wave of the future.” Even in California, where lengthy power outages have become routine, this climate and anti-fossil ideology dominates. Given the growing vulnerability of our electric grid, among other concerns, cost and performance may not be the only considerations in making such an irreversible choice.

The environmental and ethical bottom line is equally simple – but routinely gets shunted aside.

Electric vehicles require about three times more copper than internal combustion equivalents – plus lithium, cobalt and other metals for their batteries. Wind turbines need some 200 times more steel, copper, plastics, rare earths, concrete and other materials per megawatt than combined-cycle gas turbines. Photovoltaic solar panels have similar materials requirements. 100% “renewable, sustainable” Green New Deal electricity systems on US or Chinese scales would require millions of turbines, billions of solar panels and billions of half-ton Tesla-style battery packs for cars, buses and backup electricity storage.

Those technologies, on those scales, would require mining at levels unprecedented in world history! And the environmental and human rights record we’ve seen for those high-tech metals is terrifying.

Lithium comes mostly from Tibet and the Argentina-Bolivia-Chile “lithium triangle,” where contaminated lands and waters are poisoning fish, livestock, wildlife and people. Most cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 40,000 children and their parents slave in open pits and dark, narrow tunnels – and get exposed constantly to filthy, toxic, radioactive mud, dust, water and air. Broken bones, suffocation, blood and respiratory diseases, birth defects, cancer and paralysis are commonplace.

Nearly all the world’s rare earth elements come from Inner Mongolia. Mining the ores involves pumping acid into the ground and processing them with more acids and chemicals. Black sludge from the operations is piped to a huge foul-smelling “lake” that is surrounded by formerly productive farmlands that are now so toxic that nothing can grow on them, and people and wildlife have just moved away. Here too, severe skin and respiratory diseases, cancers and other terrible illnesses have become commonplace.

In many of these cases, the mining and processing operations are run by Chinese companies, under minimal to nonexistent pollution control, workplace safety, fair wage, child labor or other basic standards that American, Canadian, Australian and European companies are expected to follow.

And this is just for today’s “renewable, sustainable, ethical, Earth-friendly, green” technologies. Just imagine what we are likely to see if China, California, New York, Europe and countless other places start mandating a fossil-fuel-free future – and then shut down nuclear power, to boot. Where will we get all the raw materials? Where will we put all the wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and transmission lines?

The prospect is horrifying. And it’s all justified by exaggerated fears of a climate apocalypse. Crazy!

Duggan Flanakin is director of policy research for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT).

February 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

Human Activity in China and India Dominates the Greening of Earth, NASA Study Shows

A map showing increases in leaf area per year, represented in green. India and China stand out with large areas of dark green.

Over the last two decades, the Earth has seen an increase in foliage around the planet, measured in average leaf area per year on plants and trees. NASA satellite data shows that China and India are leading the increase in greening. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.
Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

NASA | February 11, 2019

The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India. A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.

The greening phenomenon was first detected using satellite data in the mid-1990s by Ranga Myneni of Boston University and colleagues, but they did not know whether human activity was one of its chief, direct causes. This new insight was made possible by a nearly 20-year-long data record from a NASA instrument orbiting the Earth on two satellites. It’s called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, and its high-resolution data provides very accurate information, helping researchers work out details of what’s happening with Earth’s vegetation, down to the level of 500 meters, or about 1,600 feet, on the ground.

The world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago, as shown on this map, where areas with the greatest increase in foliage are indicated in dark green. Data from a NASA instrument orbiting Earth aboard two satellites show that human activity in China and India dominate this greening of the planet.

Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s – a 5% increase.

“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation – a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,” said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, in Massachusetts, and lead author of the study.

An advantage of the MODIS satellite sensor is the intensive coverage it provides, both in space and time: MODIS has captured as many as four shots of every place on Earth, every day for the last 20 years.

“This long-term data lets us dig deeper,” said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the new work. “When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance. Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.”

China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.

Land area used to grow crops is comparable in China and India – more than 770,000 square miles – and has not changed much since the early 2000s. Yet these regions have greatly increased both their annual total green leaf area and their food production. This was achieved through multiple cropping practices, where a field is replanted to produce another harvest several times a year. Production of grains, vegetables, fruits and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations.

How the greening trend may change in the future depends on numerous factors, both on a global scale and the local human level. For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If the groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.

“But, now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,” Nemani said. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.”

The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world and dominated by India and China does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain.

Overall, Nemani sees a positive message in the new findings. “Once people realize there’s a problem, they tend to fix it,” he said. “In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn’t good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That’s what we see in the satellite data.”

This research was published online, Feb. 11, 2019, in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Bar chart showing that China and India are leading the increase in greening of the planet, due to human activity

Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 1 Comment

US At Risk of Ecological Disaster Due to Improperly Stored Nuclear Waste, New Study Finds

Sputnik – January 29, 2020

The United States does not currently have a landfill for nuclear waste from the defence industry, which is normally stored inside metal canisters buried underground near the nuclear plants where it was produced.

The United States could face the risk of nuclear contamination due to inadequate nuclear waste storage methods, a new publication in the journal Nature Materials revealed.

According to the lead scientist behind the research, Xiaolei Guo, the existing techniques are insufficient to keep waste stored safely, as the material used in the current storage methods quickly becomes corroded, raising the risk of nuclear waste leaking into the soil, water and air.

The research team carried out an experiment in simulated conditions under Yucca Mountain where the US waste repository is expected to be built. They found that the corrosion level of stainless steel, used in storage canisters, was ‘severe’ due to chemical reactions being accelerated by nuclear waste.

“In the real-life scenario, the glass or ceramic waste forms would be in close contact with stainless steel canisters. It creates a super-aggressive environment that can corrode surrounding materials”, Guo said.

According to the scientist, if the casing of the containers gets damaged, the high-level radioactive material could cause ecological devastation.

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

The toxic rhetoric of climate change

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | December 14, 2019

“I genuinely have the fear that climate change is going to kill me and all my family, I’m not even kidding it’s  all I have thought about for the last 9 months every second of the day. It’s making me sick to my stomach, I’m not eating or sleeping and I’m getting panic attacks daily. It’s currently 1 am and I can’t sleep as I’m petrified.”  – Young adult in the UK

Letter from a worried young adult in the UK

I received this letter last nite, via email:

“I have no idea if this is an accurate email of yours but I just found it and thought I’d take a chance. My name is XXX I’m 20 years old from the UK. I have been well the only word to describe it is suffering as I genuinely have the fear that climate change is going to kill me and all my family, I’m not even kidding it’s  all I have thought about for the last 9 months every second of the day. It’s making my sick to my stomach, I’m not eating or sleeping and I’m getting panic attacks daily. It’s currently 1am and I can’t sleep as I’m petrified. I’ve tried to do my own research, I’ve tried everything. I’m not stupid, I’m a pretty rational thinker but at this point sometimes I literally wish I wasn’t born, I’m just so miserable and Petrified. I’ve recently made myself familiar with your work and would be so appreciative of any findings you can give me or hope or advice over email. I’m already vegetarian and I recycle everything so I’m really trying. Please help me. In anyway you can. I’m at my wits end here.”

JC’s response

We have been hearing increasingly shrill rhetoric from Extinction Rebellion and other activists about the ‘existential threat’ of the ‘climate crisis’, ‘runaway climate chaos’, etc. In a recent op-ed, Greta Thunberg stated: “Around 2030 we will be in a position to set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”  From the Extinction Rebellion: “It is understood that we are facing an unprecedented global emergency. We are in a life or death situation of our own making.”

It is more difficult to tune out similar statements from responsible individuals representing the United Nations. In his opening remarks for the UN Climate Change Conference this week in Madrid (COP25), UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that “the point of no-return is no longer over the horizon.” Hoesung Lee, the Chair for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said “if we stay on our current path, [we] threaten our existence on this planet.”

So . . . exactly what should we be worried about? Consider the following statistics:

  • Over the past century, there has been a 99% decline in the death toll from natural disasters, during the same period that the global population quadrupled.
  • While global economic losses from weather and climate disasters have been increasing, this is caused by increasing population and property in vulnerable locations. Global weather losses as a percent of global GDP have declined about 30% since 1990.
  • While the IPCC has estimated that sea level could rise by 0.6 meters by 2100, recall that the Netherlands adapted to living below sea level 400 years ago.
  • Crop yields continue to increase globally, surpassing what is needed to feed the world. Agricultural technology matters more than climate.
  • The proportion of world population living in extreme poverty declined from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015.

While many people may be unaware of this good news, they do react to each weather or climate disaster in the news. Activist scientists and the media quickly seize upon each extreme weather event as having the fingerprints of manmade climate change — ignoring the analyses of more sober scientists showing periods of even more extreme weather in the first half of the 20th century, when fossil fuel emissions were much smaller.

So . . . why are we so worried about climate change? The concern over climate change is not so much about the warming that has occurred over the past century. Rather, the concern is about what might happen in the 21st century as a result of increasing fossil fuel emissions. Emphasis on ‘might.’

Alarming press releases are issued about each new climate model projection that predicts future catastrophes from famine, mass migrations, catastrophic fires, etc. However these alarming scenarios of the 21st century climate change require that, like the White Queen in Alice and Wonderland, we believe ‘six impossible things before breakfast’.

The most alarming scenarios of 21st century climate change are associated with the RCP8.5 greenhouse gas concentration scenario. Often erroneously described as a ‘business as usual’ scenario, RCP8.5 assumes unrealistic trends long-term trends for population and a slowing of technological innovation. Even more unlikely is the assumption that the world will largely be powered by coal.

In spite of the implausibility of this scenario, RCP8.5 is the favored scenario for publications based on climate model simulations. In short, RCP8.5 is a very useful recipe for cooking up scenarios alarming impacts from man-made climate change. Which are of course highlighted and then exaggerated by press releases and media reports.

Apart from the issue of how much greenhouse gases might increase, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how much the planet will warm in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide – referred to as ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ (ECS). The IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2013) provided a range between 1 and 6oC, with a ‘likely’ range between 1.5 and 4.5oC.

In the years since the 5th Assessment Report, the uncertainty has grown. The latest climate model results – prepared for the forthcoming IPCC 6th Assessment Report – shows that a majority of the climate models are producing values of ECS exceeding 5oC. The addition of poorly understood additional processes into the models has increased confusion and uncertainty. At the same time, refined efforts to determine values of the equilibrium climate sensitivity from the historical data record obtain values of ECS about 1.6oC, with a range from 1.05 to 2.7oC.

With this massive range of uncertainty in the values of equilibrium climate sensitivity, the lowest value among the climate models is 2.3oC, with few models having values below 3oC. Hence the lower end of the range of ECS is not covered by the climate models, resulting in temperature projections for the 21st century that are biased high, with a smaller range relative to the range of uncertainty in ECS.

With regards to sea level rise, recent U.S. national assessment reports have included a worst-case sea level rise scenario for the 21st century of 2.5 m. Extreme estimates of sea level rise rely on RCP8.5 and climate model simulations that are on average running too hot relative to the uncertainty range of ECS. The most extreme scenarios of 21st century sea level rise are based on speculative and poorly understood physical processes that are hypothesized to accelerate the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, recent research indicates that these processes are very unlikely to influence sea level rise in the 21st century. To date, in most of the locations that are most vulnerable to sea level rise, local sinking from geological processes and land use has dominated over sea level rise from global warming.

To further complicate climate model projections for the 21st century, the climate models focus only on man-made climate change – they make no attempt to predict natural climate variations from the sun’s output, volcanic eruptions and long-term variations in ocean circulation patterns. We have no idea how natural climate variability will play out in the 21st century, and whether or not natural variability will dominate over man-made warming.

We still don’t have a realistic assessment of how a warmer climate will impact us and whether it is ‘dangerous.’ We don’t have a good understanding of how warming will influence future extreme weather events.  Land use and exploitation by humans is a far bigger issue than climate change for species extinction and ecosystem health.

We have been told that the science of climate change is ‘settled’. However, in climate science there has been a tension between the drive towards a scientific ‘consensus’ to support policy making, versus exploratory research that pushes forward the knowledge frontier. Climate science is characterized by a rapidly evolving knowledge base and disagreement among experts. Predictions of 21st century climate change are characterized by deep uncertainty.

As noted in a recent paper co-authored by Dr. Tim Palmer of Oxford University, there is “deep dissatisfaction with the ability of our models to inform society about the pace of warming, how this warming plays out regionally, and what it implies for the likelihood of surprises.” “Unfortunately, [climate scientists] circling the wagons leads to false impressions about the source of our confidence and about our ability to meet the scientific challenges posed by a world that we know is warming globally.”

We have not only oversimplified the problem of climate change, but we have also oversimplified its ‘solution’. Even if you accept the climate model projections and that warming is dangerous, there is disagreement among experts regarding whether a rapid acceleration away from fossil fuels is the appropriate policy response. In any event, rapidly reducing emissions from fossil fuels to ameliorate the adverse impacts of extreme weather events in the near term increasingly looks like magical thinking.

Climate change – both man-made and natural – is a chronic problem that will require continued management over the coming centuries.

We have been told that climate change is an ‘existential crisis.’ However, based upon our current assessment of the science, the climate threat is not an existential one, even in its most alarming hypothetical incarnations. However, the perception of man-made climate change as a near-term apocalypse has narrowed the policy options that we’re willing to consider. The perceived ‘urgency’ of drastically reducing fossil fuel emissions is forcing us to make near term decisions that may be suboptimal for the longer term. Further, the monomaniacal focus on elimination of fossil fuel emissions distracts our attention from the primary causes of many of our problems that we might have more success in addressing in the near term.

Common sense strategies to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events, improve environmental quality, develop better energy technologies and increase access to grid electricity, improve agricultural and land use practices, and better manage water resources can pave the way for a more prosperous and secure future. Each of these solutions is ‘no regrets’ – supporting climate change mitigation while improving human well being. These strategies avoid the political gridlock surrounding the current policies and avoid costly policies that will have minimal near-term impacts on the climate. And finally, these strategies don’t require agreement about the risks of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.

We don’t know how the climate of the 21st century will evolve, and we will undoubtedly be surprised. Given this uncertainty, precise emissions targets and deadlines are scientifically meaningless. We can avoid much of the political gridlock by implementing common sense, no-regrets strategies that improve energy technologies, lift people out of poverty and make them more resilient to extreme weather events.

The extreme rhetoric of the Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on climate change policies more difficult. Exaggerating the dangers beyond credibility makes it difficult to take climate change seriously. On the other hand, the extremely alarmist rhetoric has frightened the bejesus out of children and young adults.

JC message to children and young adults:  Don’t believe the hype that you are hearing from Extinction Rebellion and the like. Rather than going on strike or just worrying, take the time to learn something about the science of climate change. The IPCC reports are a good place to start; for a critical perspective on the IPCC, Climate Etc. is a good resource.

Climate change — man-made and/or natural — along with extreme weather events, provide reasons for concern. However, the rhetoric and politics of climate change have become absolutely toxic and nonsensical.

In the mean time, live your best life. Trying where you can to lessen your impact on the planet is a worthwhile thing to do. Societal prosperity is the best insurance policy that we have for reducing our vulnerability to the vagaries of weather and climate.

JC message to Extinction Rebellion and other doomsters: Not only do you know nothing about climate change, you also appear to know nothing of history. You are your own worst enemy — you are triggering a global backlash against doing anything sensible about protecting our environment or reducing our vulnerability to extreme weather. You are making young people miserable, who haven’t yet experienced enough of life to place this nonsense in context.

December 14, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

No Plan B for Planet A

Replacing fossil fuels with “renewable” energy would devastate the only planet we’ve got

By Paul Driessen | Watts Up With That? | November 26, 2019

Environmentalists and Green New Deal proponents like to say we must take care of the Earth, because “There is no Planet B.” Above all, they insist, we must eliminate fossil fuels, which they say are causing climate change worse than the all-natural ice ages, Medieval Warm Period or anything else in history.

Their Plan A is simple: No fossil fuels. Keep them in the ground. More than a few Democrat presidential aspirants have said they would begin implementing that diktat their very first day in the White House.

Their Plan B is more complex: Replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, biofuel and battery power – their supposedly renewable, sustainable alternatives to oil, gas and coal. Apparently by waving a magic wand.

We don’t have a Planet B. And they don’t really have a Plan B. They just assume and expect that this monumental transformation will simply happen. Wind, solar, battery and biofuel technologies represent the natural evolution toward previously unimaginable energy sources – and they will become more efficient over time. Trust us, they say.

Ask them for details, and their responses range from evasive to delusional, disingenuous – and outrage that you would dare ask. The truth is, they don’t have a clue. They’ve never really thought about it. It’s never occurred to them that these technologies require raw materials that have to be dug out of the ground, which means mining, which they vigorously oppose (except by dictators in faraway countries).

They’re lawyers, lawmakers, enforcers. But most have never been in a mine, oilfield or factory, probably not even on a farm. They think dinner comes from a grocery store, electricity from a wall socket, and they can just pass laws requiring that the new energy materialize as needed. And it will happen Presto!

It’s similar to the way they handle climate change. Their models, reports and headlines bear little or no resemblance to the real world outside our windows – on temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, sea levels, crops or polar bears. But the crisis is real, the science is settled, and anyone who disagrees is a denier.

So for the moment, Let’s not challenge their climate or fossil fuel ideologies. Let’s just ask: How exactly are you going to make this happen? How will you ensure that your Plan A won’t destroy our economy, jobs and living standards? And your Plan B won’t devastate the only planet we’ve got? I’ll say it again:

(1) Abundant, reliable, affordable, mostly fossil fuel energy is the lifeblood of our modern, prosperous, functioning, safe, healthy, fully employed America. Upend that, and you upend people’s lives, destroy their jobs, send their living standards on a downward spiral.

(2) Wind and sunshine may be renewable, sustainable and eco-friendly. But the lands, habitats, wildlife, wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, transmission lines, raw materials, mines and laborers required or impacted to harness this intermittent, weather-dependent energy to benefit humanity absolutely are not.

(3) The supposed cure they say we must adopt is far worse than the climate disease they claim we have.

Using wind power to replace the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours that Americans consumed in 2018, coal and gas-fired backup power plants, natural gas for home heating, coal and gas for factories, and gasoline for vehicles – while generating enough extra electricity every windy day to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days – would require some 14 million 1.8-MW wind turbines.

Those turbines would sprawl across three-fourths of the Lower 48 US states – and require 15 billion tons of steel, concrete and other raw materials. They would wipe out eagles, hawks, bats and other species.

Go offshore instead, and we’d need a couple million truly monstrous 10-MW turbines, standing in water 20-100 feet deep or on huge platforms in deeper water, up and down our Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Not as many of the beasts, but each one a lot bigger – requiring vastly more materials per turbine.

A Category 4 hurricane going up the Atlantic seaboard would wipe out a lot of them – leaving much of the country without power for months or years, until wrecks got removed and new turbines installed.

Using solar to generate just the 3.9 billion MWh would require completely blanketing an area the size of New Jersey with sunbeam-tracking Nellis Air Force Base panels – if the Sun were shining at high-noon summertime Arizona intensity 24/7/365. (That doesn’t include the extra power demands listed for wind.)

Solar uses toxic chemicals during manufacturing and in the panels: lead, cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium (di)selenide and many others. They could leach out into soils and waters during thunderstorms, hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and when panels are dismantled and hauled off to landfills or recycling centers. Recycling panels and wind turbines presents major challenges.

Using batteries to back up sufficient power to supply U.S. electricity needs for just seven straight windless days would require more than 1 billion half-ton Tesla-style batteries. That means still more raw materials, hazardous chemicals and toxic metals.

Bringing electricity from those facilities, and connecting a nationwide GND grid, would require thousands of miles of new transmission lines – onshore and underwater – and even more raw materials.

Providing those materials would result in the biggest expansion in mining the United States and world have ever seen: removing hundreds of billions of tons of overburden, and processing tens of billions of tons of ore – mostly using fossil fuels. Where we get those materials is also a major problem.

If we continue to ban mining under modern laws and regulations here in America, those materials will continue to be extracted in places like Inner Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, largely under Chinese control – under labor, wage, health, safety, environmental and reclamation standards that no Western nation tolerates today. There’ll be serious pollution, toxics, habitat losses and dead wildlife.

Even worse, just to mine cobalt for today’s cell phone, computer, Tesla and other battery requirements, over 40,000 Congolese children and their parents work at slave wages, risk cave-ins, and get covered constantly in toxic and radioactive mud , dust, water and air. Many die. The mine sites in Congo and Mongolia have become vast toxic wastelands. The ore processing facilities are just as horrific.

Meeting GND demands would multiply these horrors many times over. Will Green New Dealers require that all these metals and minerals be responsibly and sustainably sourced, at fair wages, with no child labor – as they do for T-shirts and coffee? Will they now permit exploration and mining in the USA?

Meeting basic ecological and human rights standards would send GND energy prices soaring. It would multiply cell phone, laptop, Tesla and GND costs five times over. But how long can Green New Dealers remain clueless and indifferent about these abuses?

Up to now, this has all been out of sight, out of mind, in someone else’s backyard, in some squalid far-off country, with other people and their kids doing the dirty, dangerous work of providing essential raw materials. That lets AOC, Senator Warren, Al Gore, Michael Mann, Greenpeace and other “climate crisis-renewable energy” profiteers preen about climate justice, sustainability and saving Planet Earth.

They refuse to discuss the bogus hockey stick temperature graph; the ways Mann & Co. manipulated and hid data, and deleted incriminating emails; their inability to separate human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused climate changes throughout history; or the absurd notion that the 0.01% of Earth’s atmosphere that is carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use over the past 50 years is somehow responsible for every extreme weather event today. But they won’t be able to ignore this fraud forever.

Meanwhile, we sure are going to be discussing the massive resource demands, ecological harm and human rights abuses that the climate alarm industry would impose in the name of protecting the Earth and stabilizing its perpetually unstable climate. We won’t let them dodge those issues in 2020.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy, climate, environmental and human rights issues.

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism | , | 1 Comment

Why Worse Wildfires? Part 1

What’s Natural?

By Jim Steele | Watts Up With That? | November 23, 2019

There are several theories trying to explain the recent uptick in wildfires throughout the western USA. Some scientists blame increased human ignitions. Others suggest accumulating surface fuels due to a century of fire suppression. Others argue landscape changes and invasive grasses have amplified the amount of easily ignited vegetation, while still others blame climate change. What’s the Sage Grouse connection? Like human communities, the Sage Grouse’s habitat is being threatened by fast spreading wildfires, and that increase in bigger wildfires in sagebrush country is due to invading annual grasses, like cheatgrass.

Historically hot dry sagebrush habitat rarely burned (just once every 60-100 years) because slow growing, patchy sagebrush only provides scant surface fuels incapable of supporting large and frequent fires. But the invasion of introduced annual grasses, like cheatgrass, has changed all that. As one wildlife researcher lamented, “The color of Nevada has changed from a sagebrush silver gray to a cheatgrass tawny brown since the 1990s”. Likewise, in the 1800s California’s hills were covered with perennial grasses that stayed green during the summer. Now California’s hills are golden brown as highly flammable annual grasses have taken over.

Cheat grass-dominated sagebrush habitat now burns every 3-5 years, up to 20 times more frequently than historic natural conditions. Extensive research on the effects of cheat grass found habitats with high cheat grass abundance are “twice as likely to burn as those with low abundance, and four times more likely to burn multiple times between 2000-2015.” What makes cheatgrass such a problem?

Invading annual grasses germinate earlier in the season and deprive the later-germinating native grasses of needed moisture. These foreign grasses die after setting seed, leaving highly flammable fuels that can burn much earlier in the year and thus extend the fire season. Eleven of the USA’s 50 biggest fires in last 20 years have been in Great Basin sagebrush habitats, where invasive cheatgrass is spreading. Nevada’s largest fire was the 2018 Martin Fire. Rapidly spreading through the cheat grass, it burned 439,000 acres, a burned area rivaling California’s largest fires in recorded history.

The 2012 Rush Fire was California’s 4th largest fire since 1932, burning 272,000 acres of sagebrush habitat in northeastern California. It then continued to spread burning an additional 43,000 acres in Nevada. The 2018 Carr Fire was California’s 7th largest fire and threatened the town of Redding, California. It started when a towed trailer blew a tire causing its wheel rim to scrape the asphalt. The resulting sparks were enough to ignite roadside grasses. Grassfires then carried the flames into the shrublands and forests, where burning grasses served as kindling to ignite less-flammable trees. Likewise, grasses were critical in spreading northern California’s biggest fires. In southern California, as humans ignite more and more fires, shrublands are being converted to more flammable grasslands.

Wildfire experts classify grasses as 1-hour fine fuels, meaning dead grass becomes highly flammable with just one hour of warm dry conditions. When experts estimate impending fire danger, they calculate the extent of a region’s fine fuels to determine how fast a fire will spread. The amount of small diameter fuels like grasses that can dry out in an hour, as well as twigs and small branches that dry out within 10 to 100 hours of dry weather, determine how fast the winds will spread a fire. It does not matter if it was wet and cool, or hot and dry during previous weeks or years. Just one hour of warm dry fire weather sets the stage for an explosive grass fire. Decades of climate change are totally irrelevant.

Some scientists point out that certain logging practices also spread “invasive grasses”. For that reason, California’s Democrat congressman, Ro Khanna, has been arguing that the U.S. Forest Service policy to clear cut after a wildfire is making California’s forest fires spread faster and burn hotter by increasing the forest floor’s flammable debris. Khanna warns, “Because we don’t have the right science, it is costing us lives, and that is the urgency of getting this right.”

Bad analyses promote bad remedies and blaming climate change has distracted people from real solutions. The “cheatgrass” problem will continue to cause bigger fast-moving fires no matter how the climate changes. But there are several tactics that could provide better remedies. Holistic grazing that targets annual grasses before they set seed is one tactic. Better management of surface fuels via prescribed burns is another, as well as more careful logging practices. And re-seeding habitat with native perennial grasses or sagebrush could help shift the competitive balance away from cheatgrass. In combination with limiting human ignitions, (see part 2), all those tactics may ensure healthy populations of Sage Grouse living alongside safer human communities.

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

November 24, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment