The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) raises money by scaring Americans about global warming., including in its latest fundraising letter. Read the article disputing the EDF letter in the Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News, Vol. 18 No. 8, September 2015 and is written by James M. Taylor, vice president for external relations and Senior Fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute.
It’s not unusual for the environmental Left to make false assertions to attract media attention and raise money. But the recent mailer from EDF “may have set a new low,” writes Taylor in a 12-page response to EDF.
“The only good thing about EDF’s preposterous mailer is that it can be used to show open-minded people the difference between global warming alarmists and global warming truth-tellers,” he writes.
Taylor’s extensively footnoted response addresses 10 “alarmist assertions” made by EDF:
1) Bats Drop from the Sky – In 2014, a scorching summer heat wave caused more than 100,000 bats to literally drop dead and fall from the sky in Queensland, Australia.
2) Lyme Disease Spreads – Warmer temperatures are contributing to the range expansion and severity of tick-borne Lyme disease.
3) National Security Threatened – The impacts of climate change are expected to act as a “threat multiplier” in many of the world’s most unstable regions, exacerbating droughts and other natural disasters as well as leading to food, water and other resource shortages that may spur mass migrations.
4) Sea Levels Rising – Warmer temperatures are causing glaciers and polar ice sheets to melt, increasing the amount of water in the world’s seas and oceans.
5) Allergies Worsen – Allergy sufferers beware: Climate change could cause pollen counts to double in the next 30 years. The warming temperatures cause advancing weed growth, a bane for allergy sufferers.
6) Beetles Destroy Iconic Western Forests – Climate change has sent tree-killing beetles called mountain pine beetles into overdrive. Under normal conditions those beetles reproduce just once annually, but the warming climate has allowed them to churn out an extra generation of new bugs each year.
7) Canada: The New America – “lusher” vegetation growth typically associated with the United States is now becoming more common in Canada, scientists reported in a 2012 Nature Climate Change study.
8) Economic Consequences – the costs associated with climate change rise along with the temperatures. Severe storms and floods combined with agricultural losses cause billions of dollars in damages, and money is needed to treat and control the spread of disease.
9) Infectious Diseases Thrive – The World Health Organization reports that outbreaks of new or resurgent diseases are on the rise and in more disparate countries than ever before, including tropical illnesses in once cold climates.
10) Shrinking Glaciers – In 2013, an iceberg larger than the city of Chicago broke off the Pine Island Glacier, the most important glacier of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. And at Montana’s Glacier National Park glaciers have gone from 150 to just 35 over the past century.
There you have it. These are the 10 best arguments global warming activists like EDF can make, along with the objective scientific facts that prove them wrong. No wonder global warming alarmists are so terrified of people having access to both sides of the debate.
A ‘Big Short’ Investor’s New Bet: Climate Change Will Bust the Housing Market David Burt was one of the few who predicted the 2008 financial crisis. He’s gambling that history is going to repeat itself soon.
In 2007, almost no one would admit what became obvious in hindsight: The housing market was on the brink of collapse and would take a good chunk of the U.S. economy along with it. Lenders were getting rich, giving home loans to people who couldn’t afford them, investment banks were making a killing by combining those shaky loans into securities, ratings agencies cashed in by certifying those securities as safe and millions of ordinary people got screwed when the whole thing came crashing down.
But David Burt saw it coming. The investor was a consultant at Cornwall Capital, the firm that shorted the subprime mortgage market and made $80 million as some of Wall Street’s biggest firms imploded around it. It was such a spectacular, farsighted bet against the conventional wisdom surrounding the housing market boom that Cornwall was profiled in Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short, and one of Burt’s colleagues was played by Brad Pitt in the movie adaptation. The thing, though, is that many of the risk factors leading up to the crash were fairly easy to spot if you weren’t earning massive profits dependent on ignoring them.
Now Burt thinks there could be another financial disaster growing inside the real estate market. But this time, the bubble is being inflated by climate change denial.
To understand the mechanics of this threat it helps to visualize the market for coastal real estate as a brand new condo tower on the beach. The foundations for this tower are built upon maps drawn by the federal government that seriously downplay the likelihood of sea-level rise and floods. The lower floors are filled with homeowners paying off mortgages on homes that could be chronically flooded within the next few decades. The penthouse is occupied by banks and other investors turning those mortgages into ever more complex investments. Though it’s hard to predict a specific event that knocks this tower to the ground—perhaps it could be a devastating $1 trillion Florida hurricane, or a stampede to the exits by investors once denial of climate dangers turns to fear—it’s clear to anyone paying attention that the entire structure is teetering in the ocean wind.
Mortgage crisis. Credit crisis. Bank collapse. Government bailout. Phrases like these frequently appeared in the headlines throughout the fall of 2008, a period in which the major financial markets lost more than 30% of their value. This period also ranks among the most horrific in U.S. financial market history. Those who lived through these events will likely never forget the turmoil. So what happened, exactly, and why? Read on to learn how the explosive growth of the subprime mortgage market, which began in 1999, played a significant role in setting the stage for the turmoil that would unfold just nine years later.
Unprecedented Growth and Consumer Debt
Subprime mortgages are mortgages targeted at borrowers with less-than-perfect credit and less-than-adequate savings. An increase in subprime borrowing began in 1999 as the Federal National Mortgage Association (widely referred to as Fannie Mae) began a concerted effort to make home loans more accessible to those with lower credit and savings than lenders typically required. The idea was to help everyone attain the American dream of home ownership. Since these borrowers were considered high-risk, their mortgages had unconventional terms that reflected that risk, such as higher interest rates and variable payments. (Learn more in Subprime Lending: Helping Hand Or Underhanded?)
While many saw great prosperity as the subprime market began to explode, others began to see red flags and potential danger for the economy. Bob Prechter, the founder of Elliott Wave International, consistently argued that the out-of-control mortgage market was a threat to the U.S. economy as the whole industry was dependent on ever-increasing property values.
As of 2002, government-sponsored mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had extended more than $3 trillion worth of mortgage credit. In his 2002 book “Conquer the Crash,” Prechter stated, “confidence is the only thing holding up this giant house of cards.” The role of Fannie and Freddie is to repurchase mortgages from the lenders who originated them,and make money when mortgage notes are paid. Thus, ever-increasing mortgage default rates led to a crippling decrease in revenue for these two companies. (Learn more in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac And The Credit Crisis Of 2008.)
In the up-trending market that existed from 1999 through 2005, these mortgages were virtually risk-free. A borrower, having positive equity despite the low mortgage payments since his home had increased in value since the purchase date, could just sell the home for a profit in the event he could not afford the future higher payments. However, many argued that these creative mortgages were a disaster waiting to happen in the event of a housing market downturn, which would put owners in a negative equity situation and make it impossible to sell.
To compound the potential mortgage risk, total consumer debt, in general, continued to grow at an astonishing rate and in 2004, it hit $2 trillion for the first time. Howard S. Dvorkin, president and founder of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services Inc., a nonprofit debt management organization, told the Washington Post at the time, “It’s a huge problem. You cannot be the wealthiest country in the world and have all your countrymen be up to their neck in debt.”
The Subsequent Rise of Creative Mortgage-Related Investment Products
During the run-up in housing prices, the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market became popular with commercial investors. An MBS is a pool of mortgages grouped into a single security. Investors benefit from the premiums and interest payments on the individual mortgages it contains. This market is highly profitable as long as home prices continue to rise and homeowners continue to make their mortgage payments. The risks, however, became all too real as housing prices began to plummet and homeowners began to default on their mortgages in droves. (Learn how four major players slice and dice your mortgage in the secondary market in Behind The Scenes Of Your Mortgage.)
Another popular investment vehicle during this time was the credit derivative, known as a credit default swap (CDSs). CDSs were designed to be a method of hedging against a company’s creditworthiness, similar to insurance. But unlike the insurance market, the CDS market was unregulated, meaning there was no requirement that the issuers of CDS contracts maintain enough money in reserve to pay out under a worst-case scenario (such as an economic downturn). This was exactly what happened with American International Group (AIG) in early 2008 as it announced huge losses in its portfolio of underwritten CDS contracts that it could not afford to pay up on. (Learn more about this investment vehicle in Credit Default Swaps: An Introduction and Falling Giant: A Case Study Of AIG.)
By March 2007, with the failure of Bear Stearns due to huge losses resulting from its involvement in having underwritten many of the investment vehicles directly linked to the subprime mortgage market, it became evident that the entire subprime lending market was in trouble. Homeowners were defaulting at high rates as all of the creative variations of subprime mortgages were resetting to higher payments while home prices declined. Homeowners were upside down – they owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth – and could no longer just flip their way out of their homes if they couldn’t make the new, higher payments. Instead, they lost their homes to foreclosure and often filed for bankruptcy in the process. (Take a look at the factors that caused this market to flare up and burn out in The Fuel That Fed The Subprime Meltdown.)
Despite this apparent mess, the financial markets continued higher into October of 2007, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reaching a closing high of 14,164 on October 9, 2007. The turmoil eventually caught up, and by December 2007 the United States had fallen into a recession. By early July 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average would trade below 11,000 for the first time in over two years. That would not be the end of the decline.
On Sunday, September 7, 2008, with the financial markets down nearly 20% from the October 2007 peaks, the government announced its takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a result of losses from heavy exposure to the collapsing subprime mortgage market. One week later, on September 14, major investment firm Lehman Brothers succumbed to its own overexposure to the subprime mortgage market and announced the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history at that time. The next day, markets plummeted and the Dow closed down 499 points at 10,917.
On the same day, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) announced that it was buying Merrill Lynch, the nation’s largest brokerage company. Additionally AIG (NYSE: AIG), one of the nation’s leading financial companies, had its credit downgraded as a result of having underwritten more credit derivative contracts than it could afford to pay off. On September 18, 2008, talk of a government bailout began, sending the Dow up 410 points. The next day, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed that a Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) of as much as $1 trillion be made available to buy up toxic debt to ward off a complete financial meltdown. Also on this day, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated a temporary ban on short-selling the stocks of financial companies, believing this would stabilize the markets. The markets surged on the news and investors sent the Dow up 456 points to an intraday high of 11,483, finally closing up 361 at 11,388. These highs would prove to be of historical importance as the financial markets were about to undergo three weeks of complete turmoil.
Complete Financial Turmoil
The Dow would plummet 3,600 points from the September 19, 2008, intraday high of 11,483 to the October 10, 2008, intraday low of 7,882. The following is a recap of the major U.S. events that unfolded during this historic three-week period.
September 21, 2008: Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the last two of the major investment banks still standing, convert from investment banks to bank holding companies to gain more flexibility for obtaining bailout funding.
September 25, 2008: After a 10-day bank run, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) seizes Washington Mutual, then the nation’s largest savings and loan, which had been heavily exposed to subprime mortgage debt. Its assets are transferred to JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).
September 28, 2008: The TARP bailout plan stalls in Congress.
September 29, 2008: The Dow declines 774 points (6.98%), the largest point drop in history. Also, Citigroup (NYSE:C) acquires Wachovia, then the fourth-largest U.S. bank.
October 6, 2008: The Dow closes below 10,000 for the first time since 2004.
October 22, 2008: President Bush announces that he will host an international conference of financial leaders on November 15, 2008.
The Bottom Line
The events of the fall of 2008 are a lesson in what eventually happens when rational thinking gives way to irrationality. While good intentions were likely the catalyst leading to the decision to expand the subprime mortgage market back in 1999, somewhere along the way the United States lost its senses. The higher home prices went, the more creative lenders got in an effort to keeping them going even higher, with a seemingly complete disregard for the potential consequences. When one considers the irrational growth of the subprime mortgage market along with the investment vehicles creatively derived from it, combined with the explosion of consumer debt, maybe the financial turmoil of 2008 was not as unforeseeable as many would like to believe.SPONSORED
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Why did George W Bush pull out of the Kyoto Protocol?
Despite the huge amount of fossil fuel funding upon which George W. Bush was elected president in 2001, insiders in the monopoly-dominated oil industry remained unsure that he would fight for them – and against climate scientists.
Bush had suggested during his candidacy that CO2 should be treated as a pollutant and, therefore, subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act – even if the international Kyoto Agreement was not economically favourable for America.
Bush’s fence-sitting was strategic: swing states such as Florida were environmentally conscious and speaking out would likely give Democrat presidential candidate Al Gore the advantage.
But, optimistic environmentalists remained hopeful while wary oil-men were worried that it demonstrated a willingness to agree to the broad principles of the treaty.
A Rumoured Speech
Shortly after his inauguration, a rumour circulated that Bush planned to include a line reinforcing his earlier pledge in a forthcoming speech.
Word of the speech reached the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Koch- and Exxon-funded think tank that helped donate to Bush’s presidential campaign. CEI set to work. As their founder and president, Fred Smith later told Newsweek: “We alerted anyone we thought could have influence and get the line, if it was in the speech, out.”
Despite the think tank’s best efforts, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman testified, on 27 February 2001 at a Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works subcommittee, that she was in favour of regulating CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.
A week later, she signed a joint statement at the G8 Environment Ministers Meeting which said: “We commit ourselves to strive to reach agreement on outstanding political issues and to ensure in a cost-effective manner the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol.”
The President’s Position
At this, the denial machine set in motion. Haley Barbour, a lobbyist for a utility firm that stood to lose if greenhouse gases were regulated, urged Vice President Dick Cheney in a March 1 memo to persuade Bush not to align with the “eco-extremism” of those who saw carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
A group of far-right Republican senators wrote an open letter to their new president. In light of Whitman’s testimony, they asked that Bush clarify his position on climate change, “in particular the Kyoto Protocol, and the regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.”
Aware of the rising tide against her, Whitman went to the Oval Office to fight her case on the morning of March 13. But, Bush had already composed his response, shortly to be sent via Cheney to the senators, which he read to her.
“I do not believe,” read the letter, “that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a ‘pollutant’ under the Clean Air Act.”
Information from the Department of Energy had shown that consumers’ energy bills might be affected, and that this warranted a re-evaluation of his earlier pledge, “especially… given the incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of and solution to global climate change.”
Whitman left defeated, just as the puppeteer Cheney arrived to hand-deliver the President’s response to the senators.
By the end of the month, the world’s biggest polluter had pulled out of Kyoto.
Whitman, who later said the decision was “the equivalent to ‘flipping the bird’ frankly to the rest of the world,” was the one to deliver the news. “We have no interest in implementing that treaty,” the former New Jersey Governor told assembled journalists.
Though the terms of the treaty would be finalised in Bonn that July, they would be made all but useless, with the world’s largest polluter out of the game.
Years later, freedom of information disclosures revealed the industry’s input to this decision.
A briefing note prepared for Paula Dobrianksy, Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs, ahead of her meeting with Glenn Kelly of the Exxon-bankrolled Global Climate Coalition, states: “POTUS [President of the United States] rejected Kyoto, in part, based on input from you… Interested in hearing from you, what type of international alternatives to Kyoto would you support?”
The Trump administration notified the international community Monday that it plans to officially withdraw from the Paris climate accord next fall, a move that will leave the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases as the only nation to abandon the global effort to combat climate change.
President Trump has long criticized the 2015 accord and insisted that the United States would exit it as soon as possible. As recently as last month, Trump called the agreement “a total disaster” and argued that the Obama administration’s pledges to cut carbon emissions under the deal would have “hurt the competitiveness” of the United States.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration had sent official notification of its plans to the United Nations.
In 2013, cartoonist Jack Ohman made a macabre attempt at humor that was published by the Sacramento Bee in a political cartoon referencing an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, at which fifteen people were killed and more than 200 were injured. In the left panel of that cartoon, Ohman portrayed then-governor Rick Perry saying, “Business is BOOMING in Texas!” while standing in front of a sign that says “Low Taxes!” and “Low Regs!” In the payoff panel to its right, we see a massive explosion representing the tragedy in West: “BOOM!” The image comes complete with a mushroom cloud.
I have no doubt that Ohman believed he was making some high-minded political comment with this cartoon, and his message is clear. The explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas was somehow the failure of the relatively small-government, low-regulation policies for which Texas is well known, meant to be juxtaposed with the comparatively high-tax, highly regulatory government policies for which California is equally well known, and where one might not expect such disasters to happen.
This leads to an obvious question. If, according to the proponents of big government at the Sacramento Bee, a random explosion at a fertilizer plant in West must signify the failures of small-government policies and low regulation, why do the persistent catastrophic wildfires in California’s forests not represent the failures of comparably big-government regulation?
In truth, there was nothing, then or now, to suggest that more regulations upon industry at the federal or state level might have prevented the calamity in West. It was, in fact, later determined to have been caused by a criminal act, therefore it was a horrifying anomaly. There is, however, plenty to suggest that the irresponsibility of bloated federal and state government bureaucracies’ impositions of regulations has led to the destructive extent of the wildfires in California.
Fires are nothing new in California, and there’s something of an interesting history to them that used to not be nearly as tragic as we see today. Chuck DeVore, vice president of national initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, reminds his readers at Forbes that as “a citizen soldier in the California National Guard for two decades, I often heard the gallows humor that California’s four seasons were: flood, fire, earthquake, and riot.”
DeVore takes to task the editorial board at the Sacramento Bee for their commentary around the Carr Fire of 2018, in which they suggested that the recent fires are the result of “climate change, for real and in real time. We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat.”
“The problem with the Bee’s editorial is that making a passionate argument is no substitute for the truth,” DeVore writes.
He recalls that as a freshman California assemblyman in 2005, he visited forest product industry professionals in Northern California. They told him of a “worrisome trend” that had begun many years before, where “both federal and state regulators were making it more and more difficult for them to do their jobs.” Mainly, the problem was that “[a]s timber harvesting permit fees went up and environmental challenges multiplied, the people who earned a living felling and planting trees looked for other lines of work.” As the “timber industry gradually collapsed,” the “combustible fuel load in the forest predictably soared,” because forest management professionals stopped “clearing brush and thinning trees.”
The process of clearing forests in California had begun long before industrialization, with the native populations in California prior to the Gold Rush — but for different reasons then. Photographic evidence of the Sierra landscape in the 1850s and 1860s presents “open fields of grass punctuated by isolated pine stands and scattered oak trees,” largely because the natives “shaped this landscape with fire to encourage the grasslands and boost the game animal population.”
When the Gold Rush took hold and California grew, forests were a vital resource for both construction and fuel. “The landscape filled with trees,” DeVore writes, “but the trees were harvested every 30 to 50 years.” Increasing federal and state regulation “disrupted” that cycle in the 1990s, however, “especially on the almost 60% of California forest land owned by the federal government.”
It is ironic, I suppose, that proponents of big-government regulation are quick to blame a lack of regulation for such singular tragedies as the explosion in West but fail to see how an abundance of expansive and oppressive regulations have led to the extent of tragedies like the modern California wildfires. But even that observation is overshadowed by an even larger irony, in an environmental sense.
[O]ver time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in uncharacteristically destructive wildfires, and the resulting loss of forest carbon is much greater than would occur if the forests had been thinned before the fire moved through. … [F]ailing to thin leads to a greater greenhouse gas burden than the thinning created in the first place, and that doesn’t even account for the avoided fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions due to the production of energy from the forest thinning. In the long term, leaving forests overgrown and prone to unnaturally destructive wildfires means there will be significantly less biomass on the ground, and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The reason for the regulations curtailing logging and the use of biofuels as an energy source is predicated upon environmental concerns. Specifically, “wood doesn’t burn as cleanly as natural gas,” and the “wood waste from timber operations” that used to be burned in biomass generators became scarcer. As such, there have been mass closures in recent decades of the biomass generators that once provided readily available and affordable energy. “What used to be burned safely in power generators is now burned in catastrophic fires,” DeVore writes.
Today, there are many who would defend the regulatory endeavors that have made logging less profitable and thereby less prevalent, and particularly might celebrate that such regulations have led to the closure of biomass fuel generators, in favor of massively subsidized wind and solar energy. But as early as 2006, it was observed by the Western Governors’ Association, in their Biomass Task Force Report, that:
It would be difficult to argue that federal and state regulations that curtailed the incentive for private companies to engage in forestry work have led to a better environmental outcome in terms of carbon emissions, and harder still to argue that such regulation has not led to the catastrophic extent of the devastation in California’s persistent wildfires.
And yet, what is the solution, according to California’s Governor Gavin Newsom? He has found a viable patsy for regulatory overreach by the government in the corporate entity known as Pacific Gas and Electric.
Count me among those critical of PG&E, as the arguably overbroad rolling blackouts in California have caused some days without power when the “high winds” (ostensibly the reason for the power outage) may not have blown a napkin off my patio table. But somehow, Newsom and his big-government cohorts, anxious to compel public sentiment toward more government regulation, feel that the best way to capitalize on consumer anger and correct the struggling company’s business practices is to allow state control in reshaping and regulating its practices — “even if it mean[s] a public takeover,” according to the New York Times.
Imagine the insanity in what is being offered to solve this crisis. For the crime of having equipment malfunctions which created the sparks that allegedly ignited some of California’s wildfires, the “solution” is to allow more expansive regulation to be crafted by the same regulatory bodies that allowed for the copious kindling and fuel which allowed those fires to burn at such levels as to consume so much of California’s forests and inhabited land, claiming the businesses, homes, and lives of so many of California’s citizens?
That is definitely misguided, and there’s an undeniable irony in Newsom suggesting that more government and environmental regulation will fix California’s problems with wildfires, when it seems obvious that expansive government and environmental regulation has greatly contributed to the destructive extent of the wildfires it is experiencing.
The sun may be dimming, temporarily. Don’t panic; Earth is not going to freeze over. But will the resulting cooling put a dent in the global warming trend?
A periodic solar event called a “grand minimum” could overtake the sun perhaps as soon as 2020 and lasting through 2070, resulting in diminished magnetism, infrequent sunspot production and less ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching Earth — all bringing a cooler period to the planet that may span 50 years.
The last grand-minimum event — a disruption of the sun’s 11-year cycle of variable sunspot activity — happened in the mid-17th century. Known as the Maunder Minimum, it occurred between 1645 and 1715, during a longer span of time when parts of the world became so cold that the period was called the Little Ice Age, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850.
But it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to the extreme cold from centuries ago, researchers reported in a new study. Since the Maunder Minimum, global average temperatures have been on the rise, driven by climate change. Though a new decades-long dip in solar radiation could slow global warming somewhat, it wouldn’t be by much, the researchers’ simulations demonstrated. And by the end of the incoming cooling period, temperatures would have bounced back from the temporary cooldown. [Sun Storms: Incredible Photos of Solar Flares]
Sunspots, which appear as dark patches on the solar surface, form where the sun’s magnetic field is unusually strong, and the number of sunspots waxes and wanes in a cycle that lasts about 11 years, fueled by fluctuations in the sun’s magnetic field.
But during the late 17th century, the sun’s spots all but disappeared. This episode corresponded with a period of exceptional cold in parts of the world, which scientists have explained as being connected to the changes in solar activity.
Sunspot activity was high in 2014 and has been dipping ever since, as the sun moves toward the low end of its 11-year cycle, known as the solar minimum, NASA reported in June 2017. But a pattern of ever-decreasing sunspots over recent solar cycles resembles patterns from the past that preceded grand-minimum events. This similarity hints that another such event may be fast approaching, the researchers reported in the study.
And the scientists have estimated how intense such an event might be, by analyzing close to 20 years of data recording radiation output from stars that follow cycles similar to that of our sun. Solar radiation output typically drops during a normal solar minimum, though not enough to disrupt climate patterns on Earth. However, UV radiation output during a grand minimum could mean activity plummets by an additional 7 percent, the researchers wrote in the study. As a result, air temperatures on Earth’s surface would cool by as much as several tenths of a degree Fahrenheit (a change of a half-degree F is the equivalent to about three-tenths of a degree Celsius) on average, according to the study.
The study’s findings will help scientists create more accurate climate model simulations, to improve their understanding of the complex interplay between solar activity and climate on Earth, particularly in a warming world, the study’s lead author, Dan Lubin, a research physicist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, said in a statement.
“We can therefore have a better idea of how changes in solar UV radiation affect climate change,” he said.
The Science Behind Santa Ana Winds, It Posted Below The News Story
The gusty Santa Ana winds that fanned multiple fires across Southern California this week will stay in the forecast at least through Friday evening as thousands of Southern California Edison customers remain in the dark.
The National Weather Service warned of “extreme red flag warning conditions” for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, “especially in the morning hours when winds will be strongest.” Similar conditions are expected for mountains and valleys of the Inland Empire and the inland portions of Orange County.
A National Weather Service map shows areas in Southern California that are under a red flag warning through Oct. 25, 2019.
Northeast winds will be the most powerful in the mountains, with gusts up to 40 to 64 mph. Temperatures will hover from 87 to 97 degrees and humidities will drop as low as 2 to 9%, the weather service said.
This means any ignition could potentially grow at a rapid and dangerous rate, forecasters added.
The red flag warning is effective through at least 5 p.m.
SoCal Edison power cuts
About 31,000 SoCal Edison customers lost service at the height of preemptive power cuts during this Santa Ana wind event, company spokesman Robert Viellegas told KTLA.
The utility has restored electricity for about 10,000 of them, but the rest remain without power as of 6:30 a.m. Friday.
That includes about 10,300 customers in northwest L.A. County, Antelope Valley and San Fernando Valley, and more than 7,400 customers in Fontana, Rialto, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Chino Hills and other unincorporated areas of San Bernardino County. Around 4,700 customers affected reside in Moorpark, Fillmore, Santa Paula, Camarillo, Ventura and some unincorporated areas of Ventura County.
Viellegas said the company has notified about 386,000 more customers that they could have their service cut.
The utility has not determined whether or not the power shutoffs will continue over the weekend, Viellegas said.
Downsloping wind funneled through the Mountains into the LA basin where the fire threat increases.
At a Glance
Notorious offshore winds of Southern California typically ramp up in October.
These high winds can down trees and power lines.
The biggest concern is the potential for these winds to rapidly spread wildfires.
Offshore winds in Northern California are also dangerous.
Named for one of the canyons through which they typically howl, Santa Ana winds are strong north-to-northeast winds that occasionally blast through parts of Southern California.
They are most common from October through March, according to a 2017 climatology study, but can occur anytime from September into June.
Santa Ana winds are produced when an area of surface high pressure builds into the Great Basin, setting up a large, anomalous pressure difference between the inland high and lower pressure near or off the coast.
If winds several thousand feet above the ground are also from the north or northeast, as they would be when an upper-level low-pressure system is swirling over Arizona, southern Nevada or northwestern Mexico, those stronger winds aloft could be pushed down to the surface, worsening the magnitude of the event.
Southern California’s mountains don’t allow these north-to-northeast winds to simply flow from the high desert to the coast in a straightforward fashion.
Instead, these winds are forced to squeeze and accelerate through mountain passes and canyons, such as the Santa Clara River Valley (including Interstate 5 northwest of downtown L.A.), Cajon Pass (I-15 north of the Inland Empire), the Santa Ana mountains of Orange County and Banning Pass (I-10 west of Palm Springs).
The strongest winds can be found just below passes and the mouths of these canyons, usually with gusts up to 60 mph. Nearby locations not near a pass or canyon may have light winds.
They usually peak late at night and in the morning, as nighttime cooling of the high desert air only strengthens the pressure difference discussed earlier.
In stronger Santa Ana events, damaging gusts to 70 mph will be more widespread, and the windiest canyons, such as Fremont Canyon in Orange County, will see gusts of 100 mph.
If the weather pattern described earlier remains in place, Santa Ana winds could occur for several days.
These offshore winds aren’t simply limited to Southern California. They’re known as Diablo winds around the Bay Area, and can also occur along the western slopes of the Sierra.
These damaging events in otherwise sunny skies might be hard to comprehend for those in other parts of the world where such winds usually accompany a storm with rain or snow.
The biggest concern, by far, in most Santa Ana wind events is the danger from wildfires.
What makes them particularly dangerous in October is that they occur when soil moisture is lowest and vegetation driest after the summer dry season.
These Santa Ana winds can whip an existing wildfire, just-developed small brush fire or smoldering campfire into an inferno within minutes or hours.
A hot, dry, shifting wind is a nightmare for firefighters anywhere.
The Tubbs Fire, which destroyed 5,636 structures in Napa and Sonoma counties last October, ranks as California’s most destructive wildfire, according to Cal Fire. A majority of the most destructive California wildfires have occurred in October.
Here’s the latest #GOES16 water vapor since our previous post. Yellow indicates extremely dry air and wavy lines assoc with mountain turbulence. Surfacing wind gusts over 60 mph persist in #SoCal mountains & foothills this morning. #CAwx#LAweather
August 4, 2014 Scientists seeking funding and journalists seeking an audience agree: panic sells.
“Global cooling is going to kills us all!” “No, wait: global warming is going to kill us all!”
All that’s missing is a back-and-forth of “You shut up!” “No, you shut up!” That is reserved for those who doubt the need for panic.
That’s the gist of an amazing chronology of the last 120 years of scare-mongering on climate, assembled by butnowyouknow.net and reprinted by the estimable Anthony Watts in Wattsupwiththat, who updates it to the present. It is truly mind-boggling:
1933 – “…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather…Is our climate changing?” – Federal Weather Bureau “Monthly Weather Review.”
1938 – Global warming, caused by man heating the planet with carbon dioxide, “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”– Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
1938 – “Experts puzzle over 20 year mercury rise…Chicago is in the front rank of thousands of cities thuout the world which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward warmer climate in the last two decades” – Chicago Tribune
1939 – “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer” – Washington Post
1969 – “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000″ — Paul Ehrlich (while he now predicts doom from global warming, this quote only gets honorable mention, as he was talking about his crazy fear of overpopulation)
1970 – “…get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters – the worst may be yet to come…there’s no relief in sight” – Washington Post
1974 – Global cooling for the past forty years – Time Magazine
1974 – “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age” –Washington Post
1974 – “As for the present cooling trend a number of leading climatologists have concluded that it is very bad news indeed” – Fortune magazine, who won a Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics for its analysis of the danger
1974 – “…the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure…mass deaths by starvation, and probably anarchy and violence” – New York Times
Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age
1975 – “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind” Nigel Calder, editor, New Scientist magazine, in an article in International Wildlife Magazine
1976 – “Even U.S. farms may be hit by cooling trend” – U.S. News and World Report
1981 – Global Warming – “of an almost unprecedented magnitude” – New York Times
1988 – I would like to draw three main conclusions. Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect. And number three, our computer climate simulations indicate that thegreenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves. – Jim Hansen, June 1988 testimony before Congress, see His later quote andHis superior’s objection for context
1989 -“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” – Stephen Schneider, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,Discover magazine, October 1989
1990 – “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing – in terms of economic policy and environmental policy” – Senator Timothy Wirth
1993 – “Global climate change may alter temperature and rainfall patterns, many scientists fear, with uncertain consequences for agriculture.” – U.S. News and World Report
1998 – No matter if the science [of global warming] is all phony . . . climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” —Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment, Calgary Herald, 1998
2001 – “Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.” – Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 09, 2001
2003 – Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration” – Jim Hansen, NASA Global Warming activist, Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb?, 2003
2006 – “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore, Grist magazine, May 2006
2006 – “It is not a debate over whether the earth has been warming over the past century. The earth is always warming or cooling, at least a few tenths of a degree…” —Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT
2006 – “What we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes. It is always…warming or cooling, it’s never stable. And if it were stable, it would actually be interesting scientifically because it would be the first time for four and a half billion years.” —Philip Stott, emeritus professor of bio-geography at the University of London
2006 – “Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling and warming scares during four separate and sometimes overlapping time periods. From 1895 until the 1930’s the media peddled a coming ice age. From the late 1920’s until the 1960’s they warned of global warming. From the 1950’s until the 1970’s they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt to promote opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.” –Senator James Inhofe, Monday, September 25, 2006
2007– “I gave a talk recently (on fallacies of global warming) and three members of the Canadian government, the environmental cabinet, came up afterwards and said, ‘We agree with you, but it’s not worth our jobs to say anything.’ So what’s being created is a huge industry with billions of dollars of government money and people’s jobs dependent on it.” – Dr. Tim Ball, Coast-to-Coast, Feb 6, 2007
2008 – “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress” – Dr. John S. Theon, retired Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program atNASA, see above for Hansen quotes
Section updated by Anthony:
2009 – Climate change: melting ice will trigger wave of natural disasters. Scientists at a London conference next week will warn of earthquakes, avalanches and volcanic eruptions as the atmosphere heats up and geology is altered. Even Britain could face being struck by tsunamis – “Not only are the oceans and atmosphere conspiring against us, bringing baking temperatures, more powerful storms and floods, but the crust beneath our feet seems likely to join in too,” – Professor Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre, at University College London, – The Guardian, Sep 2009.
2010 – What Global Warming Looks Like. It was more than 5°C (about 10°F) warmer than climatology in the eastern European region including Moscow. There was an area in eastern Asia that was similarly unusually hot. The eastern part of the United States was unusually warm, although not to the degree of the hot spots in Eurasia. James Hansen – NASA GISS, August 11, 2010.
2011 – Where Did Global Warming Go? “In Washington, ‘climate change’ has become a lightning rod, it’s a four-letter word,” said Andrew J. Hoffman, director of the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Sustainable Development. – New York Times, Oct 15, 2011.
2012 – Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists. “This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University’s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London. Reuters, Mar 26, 2012
2013 – Global-warming ‘proof’ is evaporating. The 2013 hurricane season just ended as one of the five quietest years since 1960. But don’t expect anyone who pointed to last year’s hurricanes as “proof” of the need to act against global warming to apologize; the warmists don’t work that way. New York Post, Dec 5, 2013
2014 – Climate change: It’s even worse than we thought. Five years ago, the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a gloomy picture of our planet’s future. As climate scientists gather evidence for the next report, due in 2014, Michael Le Page gives seven reasons why things are looking even grimmer. –New Scientist (undated in 2014)
The mainstream “consensus” on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) says the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) remained stable for millions of years, until the Industrial Revolution, when it went from 280 ppm in 1750 to 414.7 ppm in 2019. Environmentalists blame this on man’s consumption of fossil fuels, which has increased significantly since the early 1900s.
In support of the “consensus” view, climate change researchers write: “[T]he current CO2 concentration is unprecedented over the past 3 million years[.] … [G]lobal temperature never exceeded the preindustrial value by more than 2°C during the Quaternary” (Willeit et al., 2019). Environmentalists predict that, as anthropogenic CO2 rises, there will be more and more natural disasters, threatening the lives of millions of people around the world. These include more frequent and severe hurricanes, widespread flooding, extreme heat waves, and prolonged drought.
Belief in the dangers of AGW has led to the emergence of “climate change science,” an interdisciplinary field that is very different from the natural sciences. Regular scientists rely on objective, empirical methods to test hypotheses. Climate change scientists, on the other hand, manipulate data to fit preconceived beliefs; they are trained to ignore hypotheses challenging the AGW status quo, no matter how plausible. In the natural sciences, governments fund different avenues of research; in climate change science, only AGW receives funding because it is “politically correct.” Climate change scientists are expected to uncover positive correlations between anthropogenic CO2 and temperature; if they cannot find one, it will have to be manufactured out of thin air. Not only is there no research money for those seeking alternative explanations of climate change, but any attempt at falsifying the AGW hypothesis is considered heresy. Those who question the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)’s findings are dismissed as cranks challenging a well established scientific “consensus.” Climate change science has more in common with Lysenkoism than actual science.
Climate change scientists are not above using ad hominem rhetoric to silence legitimate debate. Geologists and other researchers who disagree with AGW are dismissed as “climate deniers,” even though no scientifically literate person denies that climate always changes.
In 2008, NASA’s James Hansen, whose testimony before the U.S. Congress in 1988 began the AGW scare, demanded that fossil fuel company CEOs be tried for “high crimes against humanity and nature.” Prosecution for thoughtcrime is apparently warranted because of refusal to accept mainstream “consensus” on AGW. In 2014, the pro-AGW documentary Merchants of Doubt smeared noted American physicist Fred Singer as a “liar.” Singer threatened to sue the film director for libel.
In 2009, a server at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) was hacked, and thousands of emails were leaked. These emails revealed a world seldom seen by the public, where manipulation of data and willful suppression of evidence had replaced scientific objectivity. Free from the glare of public scrutiny, the CRU disregarded the scientific method in pursuit of a political agenda.
The emails tell a tale of corruption at the highest levels of academia. In one email, a climate change scientist who had uncovered a decreasing trend in Northern Hemispheric temperatures was told to “hide the decline” using “Mike’s Nature trick.” By padding the trend with “instrumental” or thermometer data, the proxy temperature record was adjusted to reflect mainstream “consensus.” In other emails, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were routinely evaded and incriminating emails hurriedly deleted. Scientists who disagreed with the CRU were ridiculed and bullied. The scandal, known as “Climategate,” revealed a conspiracy among scientists to feed biased information to the IPCC. In the aftermath, the CRU’s top scientists narrowly escaped criminal prosecution because of a legal technicality.
In addition to its proponents’ questionable conduct, there are numerous problems with the evidence of AGW. Environmental activists typically rely on scientific “consensus” and the “hockey stick” graph to prove it. Claims of overwhelming scientific “consensus” on AGW are sourced from Cook, et al. (2013), a team of volunteers affiliated with SkepticalScience.com, a pro-AGW website. The study supposedly found that 97% of the scientific community endorses AGW. Re-analysis of the data revealed significant bias and unrepresentative sample sizes. Cook, et al. had excluded 75% of all papers discussing climate change. Geologists have long known about climatic fluctuations across geological and evolutionary timescales, but studies from geology and other earth sciences were woefully undersampled. Cook and his team of volunteers were taken to task for mistaking “a trend in composition for a trend in endorsement” (Tol, 2014).
Michael Mann’s iconic “hockey stick” (1998), the centerpiece of the IPCC’s case for AGW, ignited a firestorm of controversy and debate in the early 2000s, thanks to the efforts of Canadian researchers McIntyre and McKitrick. The original graph showed Northern Hemispheric mean temperature increasing dramatically after the early 1900s; this rising trend, when depicted graphically, resembled a “hockey stick.” McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) re-analyzed Mann’s data, concluding that it was “primarily an artefact of poor data handling, obsolete data and incorrect calculation of principal components.” They also uncovered a late–15th century “Medieval Warming Period,” when temperatures were higher than they are now.
Mann was criticized for using a computer algorithm that “mined for hockey stick shapes and overstated their dominance in the underlying data patterns” (McKitrick, 2014). His proxy temperature data for the “hockey stick” were based on tree ring analysis, which does not produce accurate results because ring width is influenced by soil conditions, amount of sunlight and rainfall, humidity, and CO2 availability. These effects must be disentangled before the data can be properly interpreted.
The IPCC believes that rising anthropogenic CO2 reduces ocean buffer capacity; if the ocean can’t absorb excess CO2, it remains trapped in the atmosphere with nowhere to go. As climate physicist Edwin X. Berry pointed out (2019), if this were true, concentration of atmospheric CO2 would be many times higher than it is now, given average CO2 variation across geological and evolutionary timescales. The IPCC apparently believes that anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic CO2 have the same molecular formulas but different molecular structures, a preposterous assumption that violates the laws of chemistry and physics.
The most accurate models always supply us with an explanation that best fits the data. Berry’s simple mathematical model “shows how CO2 flows through the atmosphere and produces a balance level where outflow equals inflow.” After nuclear testing during the 1950s and ’60s, there was a temporary accumulation of C14 in the atmosphere, which eventually dissipated after 1970. In order for the Bern model to be correct, this man-made CO14 would have remained trapped in the atmosphere. The data show this to be false, forcing us to conclude that Berry’s “physics model” is the most accurate explanation.
AGW is clearly not supported by the data, so what causes rising average global temperatures?
There is evidence that climate change is affected by solar magnetic flux, although the precise mechanism is still under debate. The most common theory suggests an inverse correlation between sunspot activity and cosmic ray intensity. During low sunspot activity, expansion of the sun’s corona produces faster and stronger solar winds. These shield the heliosphere from interstellar cosmic rays, which are needed for ionization of aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere. If ionization fails to produce enough charged particles, there is less formation of cloud condensation nuclei (CNNs), the “surface” area for water vapor condensation. Without sufficient cloud cover, incoming solar radiation will raise average global temperature because it is not being reflected back into outer space (Svensmark, 2019).
Environmentalists like to believe that there is a climate “control knob,” but we have as much control over the climate as King Canute of England had over the tides. AGW is a malicious fraud based on spurious correlation and post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning. The question remains to be asked: if AGW is so obviously wrong, why does the IPCC continue to promote it as if it were actually true? The answer is money and power. This means more money and power for governments, which get to collect carbon taxes and impose cap and trade policies, and for the IPCC and other U.N. bodies, which get to dictate global environmental policy and transfer billions of dollars from the West to third-world countries.https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/10/the_problem_with_anthropogenic_global_warming.html
Heartbreaking photos show emaciated grizzly bears wandering through the Canadian wilderness after freak salmon shortage caused by warming waters and open fish farming – just one month before they’re supposed to go into hibernation
Shocking photos of an emaciated mother grizzly bear and her two starving cubs have gone viral
Photographer Rolf Hicker snapped the animals searching for food on the Knight Inlet in British Columbia
He said he saw the bears several times, desperately searching for food amid a salmon shortage
Commercial fishermen in British Columbia have called this year the worst salmon season in nearly 50 years
A report by Fisheries and Oceans Canada said that climate change is negatively impacting the fish stocks
In Alaska, the Katmai National Park is celebrating Fat Bear Week 2019 – a far cry from the Canada photos
Death by drowning: Al Gore told us this was the future of polar bears but it wasn’t
In this short interview clip with Friends of Science director Michelle Stirling, I talk about the drowning polar bears in Al Gore’s 2007 movie that he implied would lead to the extinction of the species. Except that it didn’t…
These starving polar bears falsely blamed on climate change have scared kids to death
If you see kids marching with signs like the one below – from a protest earlier this year in Montreal – you know they have seen the white lies that have been spread online. Note the poster starving bear below compared to the real-life on from 2015 above.
Here I summarize the truth about all four of these starving polar bear images that have been used since 2009 to emotionally manipulate the public (especially young girls), into getting on board the climate change band wagon. Rational people have seen through the rhetoric and come to realize that climate change is virtually never the cause of starvation. However, some poor kids have been scared to death by these images and the stories of climate change catastrophe they inspired – they are very real victims of climate change messaging at its worst.
2009 AN ACT OF CANNIBALISM
An act of cannibalism by a lean – but not starving – adult male in November 2009 near Churchill was witnessed by tourists and caught on film by professional photographer Daniel Cox. It was falsely blamed on climate change by polar bear specialist Ian Stirling. The truth is that even fat adult males will kill and eat cubs: they don’t do it just because they are desperate for food. The news media ran with the story and despite rational people trying to set the record straight, the images and false message went viral on social media. My take on it and other incidents of cannibalism here and here.
Each year, several species of Pacific salmon – sockeye, chinook, pink and coho – travel up British Columbia’s Fraser River to reproduce. But the newly formed barrier has blocked the fish from accessing critical watersheds for egg laying.
Weeks of excavation have shown success: already, 12,000 salmon have passed through carefully constructed channels. And 44,000 salmon – as many as 3,000 per day – have been transported by helicopter.
“Nothing is off the table unless it’s determined as not being feasible. We are looking at any and all options,” Michael Crowe of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, told reporters on Wednesday. The team hopes to continue moving fish by truck, after the road was rebuilt, as well as developing a fish ladder.
Emergency crews have leaned heavily on local Indigenous communities, and their knowledge of salmon spawning, to help gather tens of thousands of fish.
“First Nations’ technical knowledge in fish capture – from beach-seining crews to a second fish wheel – underpins the operation,” said the government in a media release.
Muddy, fast-moving water has made it difficult for officials to estimate the number of salmon trapped below the landslide site. In previous years, said Crowe, millions of salmon would be passing through this section of the Fraser River. A number of fish have been outfitted with radio tracking collars in order to give a clearer picture of how many have successfully moved upstream.
The landslide, and the frantic effort to clear it, highlights the barriers – natural and human-made – that salmon face each year.
In much of western North America, hydroelectric dams have blocked critical spawning routes. In recent years, the plight of displaced salmon has prompted increasingly dramatic attempts to move the fish, including the “salmon cannon” – footage of which recently went viral.Advertisement
The efforts in British Columbia to free the trapped salmon comes amid a difficult times for the fish: recent data suggests sockeye salmon have plummeted 75% over the last century in Canada. Last week, the department of fisheries and oceans confirmed the dire state of sockeye when it warned only 600,000 were expected to spawn this year, as apposed to the normal return of five million. Chinook salmon, which are also stranded in the river, are also endangered.
Like swallows to Capistrano, last Monday the loons returned to Washington; as usual, they arrived from the left. Ostensibly, their purpose was to raise awareness of climate change. In reality, it provided further evidence of how far the Left has migrated from reality.
On September 23, a loose coalition of 14 environmental and social justice groups operating under the name “Shut Down DC” descended to accomplish their goal. On their website they stated, “We will block key infrastructure to stop business-as-usual, bringing the whole city to a gridlocked standstill.”
Spokesman Mike Golash said, “We hope with by our actions on Monday, we can raise public awareness on this issue and understand it’s just not going to be taken as business as usual, that we need some drastic action on climate change issues in the near future.”
There is irony bordering on the sublime that in a city known for its political gridlock, protesters intended to bring physical gridlock in order to break through that political gridlock. It would be like bringing coals to Newcastle, except that the activists would need to find a non-carbon-emitting replacement.
Civil disobedience was not the protest’s byproduct; it was the purpose. Event organizer Kathleen Brophy said, “We will not have permits. We will be engaging in civil disobedience. We are withholding our obedience from a system we do not agree with.”
The protest coincided with the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations General Assembly. Of course, that was in New York City, 225 miles to the north — a four-hour drive away, and considerably longer if you walk or bike instead.
Civil disobedience was not the protest’s byproduct; it was the purpose. Event organizer Kathleen Brophy said, “We will not have permits. We will be engaging in civil disobedience. We are withholding our obedience from a system we do not agree with.”
The protest coincided with the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations General Assembly. Of course, that was in New York City, 225 miles to the north — a four-hour drive away, and considerably longer if you walk or bike instead.
This is not to say that people, regardless of their power attributes, did not have to “deal with the disruption.” They did. Rhey were, however, “people without power” — at least as far as it went in regards to avoiding the traffic jams.
So there they sat in their cars. Idling their engines. Burning gas. For hours. As a result of a protest to stop global warming.
If the immediate result of the protesters’ effort was at best mixed, their methods for inflicting gridlock varied even more. Protesters sat in crosswalks (or “cross-sits” for a few hours) with signs. The more artistic danced and played drums. The less creative held banners — “Which side are you on?” — or passed out leaflets. One man, wearing a child’s plush toy hat (of undetermined animal likeness), placed a ladder in the street and climbed it. The most visible — and assuredly the most nautical — obstruction was a large pink and yellow sailboat towed into an intersection and crewed by protesters who chained themselves to it. Emblazoned “Rebel for Life,” this cruise over concrete presumably one-upped Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose zero-emission sailboat traversed only the waters of the Atlantic. A crewmember said, “We put up a roadblock to disrupt business as usual.”
If there was one thing about the protest that was less than mixed, it was its reception. While one sailboat crewmember described her voyage into D.C. as “pretty fun, honestly,” the protest was decidedly less so for those it impeded.
Many unintended “people without power” were “stood still” by the standstill. Probably most were unhappy about it. This also likely included many who were actually sympathetic to addressing climate change.
In a town based on lobbying to get “people of power” to listen to their concerns and then act sympathetically on them, alienating people and making them angry is a novel approach. Of course, that is because it is a counterproductive one.
Even protest participants questioned its productive impact. Azani Creeks said, “I don’t think this action will convince people one way or another, but at least they’ll know that we care and are doing something about it.” Even if that “something” is counterproductive.
Looking back on the protest, it is impossible to escape the obvious: Its means were dubious (if not counterproductive); it missed its ostensible targets (“people of power”); it hit hardest the people who organizers ostensibly were intending to help (“people without power”); its short-term result was the opposite of its long-term goal (masses of vehicles expending excessive emissions waiting for the protest to end); and its long-term result made few (if any) more receptive to the cause (and many possibly less so). All in all, this lobbying-in-reverse exercise was not a good morning’s work if judged by rational standards.
What it really amounted to was a temperature tantrum by the Left. Really, “the cause” was not what the protest was about at all. The protest was about the protesters and making them feel good about themselves.
Yet if the protest failed on all fronts — except raising the protesters’ smugness to potentially dangerous levels — it did unwittingly accomplish something valuable. It was an eloquent reminder of the Left’s inanity and ineptitude.
Start first with the media. Not only did its coverage of the protest not accentuate any of its numerous failures and outright contradictions but also virtually none of it bothered to cover any of the people affected by it — despite the fact that affecting people was the reason behind the protest.
On the other side, there was no shortage of coverage of the protesters themselves. This allowed the protesters ample additional opportunity to disseminate more of their muddled message.
Yet despite there being a far greater number of people affected by the protests than participated in it, they had effectively no voice.
The reason for this biased coverage is perfectly clear. The media is sympathetic to the protesters’ goals and was uninterested in doing anything to undermine them by covering the protest objectively. So, they simply ignored the rest — and actually the larger part — of the story. Without inconvenienced people, there was no effect — and hence, no story.
When the Weather Channel covered Dorian, it did not interview the hurricane. What goes for natural disasters should apply to unnatural ones too.
As for the protest itself, it reminds us that the Left is adept at identifying problems but particularly inept at solving them. If anything, the Left is more likely to exacerbate a problem — the greater the means at its disposal, the greater the mess it generally makes of it.
This certainly includes the environment. Communist countries were, and are, ecological hellholes. The continuum to environmental cleanliness runs thus: The cleaner the environment, the richer the country; and the richest countries are those that embrace capitalism.
The Left’s failures are hardly limited to the environment, though. Name the issue, attach the Left to it, and you know the outcome. The Left’s policies only appear to work when subsidized by others. When the subsidies run out, the Left’s policies grind to a halt.