Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
A couple of excerpts from Matt Ridley, writing in The Australian:
No matter how many scares are proved wrong, the next set of dispatches of doom are treated with the same reverential respect.
Remember what the media said about the Y2K computer bug? “This is not a prediction, it is a certainty: there will be serious disruption in the world’s financial services industry . . . It’s going to be ugly” (The Sunday Times); “10 per cent of the nation’s top executives are stockpiling canned goods, buying generators and even purchasing handguns” (New York Times); “Army Fears Civil Chaos From Millennium Bug: Armed Forces Gearing Up To Deal With Civil Chaos” (Canada’s Globe and Mail). In the event nothing happened, but the media were soon saying the same thing about the next scare.
There’s a broad constituency for pessimism. No pressure group ever got donations by telling its donors calamity was unlikely; no reporter ever got his editor’s attention by saying that a scare was overblown; and no politician ever got on television by downplaying doom. …
Governments all round the world are interfering with markets to try to bring about this environmental revolution. One of the policies they have adopted has taken 5 per cent of the world’s grain crop and turned it into biofuel to power motor vehicles. This has driven up food prices, increased malnutrition and encouraged the destruction of rain forest, while enriching farmers.
Yet, given that the planting and harvesting of biofuels use about as much oil as the fuels they displace, it has had precisely zero effect on carbon emissions. Nonetheless, it is considered a green, progressive policy.
Another policy is to bribe rich landowners to festoon the most picturesque landscapes with concrete pads on which are placed gargantuan steel towers topped with wind turbines containing two-tonne magnets made of an alloy of neodymium, a rare earth metal mined in inner Mongolia by a process of boiling in acid that produces poisoned lakes filled with mildly radioactive and toxic tailings.
The cost of this policy is borne by ordinary electricity users and their would-be employers. So far, the wind industry’s contribution to cutting carbon emissions is precisely zero, because it provides less than 0.5 per cent of world energy use and even that has to be offset by keeping fossil fuel plants running for when the wind does not blow.
Oh, and wind turbines have killed so many white-tailed eagles in Norway, wedge-tailed eagles in Tasmania and golden eagles in California that local populations of the species are in increased danger of extinction. And this is a green, “clean”, progressive policy?
Writing in the American Thinker a year ago, Andrew Walden made similar points about the astonishing waste associated with government subsidies to wind farms – they are vastly expensive to build and maintain, they kill wildlife, they save no carbon emissions or fuel.
The same applies to large scale solar power installations.
But still Western governments are intent on spending our money on these utterly uneconomic, wasteful, and non-renewable ‘renewable’ energy plans.
We continue to face a major economic crisis, exacerbated by idiotic ‘stimulus’ spending which sucked up money from sectors which produce and employ.
At the same time, the Australian Federal government is determined to introduce a carbon tax which, even if the worst climate alarmist theories are true, will make no difference to the world’s climate.
What it will do as a certainty, is increase the cost of transport and energy, the cost of living for every person in Australia, and reduce our productivity and the competitiveness of the agricultural and mining exports on which our economy depends.
Somebody is making money out of these scares. But it isn’t me. Or any other ordinary Australian.
Although The Age is a left leaning paper, I was a regular reader up until a few years ago.
I am not sure what changed, but it seemed to me that The Age was no longer content with giving people the news and then saying ‘This is what we think about it.’
Instead ‘what we think about it’ was presented as the news. Alternative opinions, even on the letters page, were not welcomed or considered.
So I stopped buying it. As did other people. Circulation declined notably more rapidly than other metropolitan dailies.
But in the last week, two columns have appeared which offer opinions different from The Age’s customary editorial line.
The first was Paul Sheehan’s article on the SBS crockumentary Go Back to Where You Came From.
In this column Sheehan points out that the SBS uses its customary cut and paste tricks to mislead viewers – see Immigration Nation for several spectacular examples – and notes that real empathy for refugees would lead to policies quite different from those of our present government.
The second was an article by Professor Bob Carter on the fallacies and dangers of climate change alarmism.
Here are some of the facts Bob thinks Australians should be aware of:
Fact 1. A mild warming of about 0.5 degrees Celsius (well within previous natural temperature variations) occurred between 1979 and 1998, and has been followed by slight global cooling over the past 10 years. Ergo, dangerous global warming is not occurring.
Fact 2. Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees, over the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased by 5 per cent. Ergo, carbon dioxide emissions are not driving dangerous warming.
Fact 3. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial. In increasing quantity it causes mild though diminishing warming (useful at a time of a quiet sun and likely near-future planetary cooling) and acts as a valuable plant fertiliser. Extra carbon dioxide helps to shrink the Sahara Desert, green the planet and feed the world. Ergo, carbon dioxide is neither a pollutant nor dangerous, but an environmental benefit.
Fact 4. Closing down the whole Australian industrial economy might result in the prevention of about 0.02 degrees of warming. Reducing emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 (the government’s target) will avert an even smaller warming of about 0.002 degrees. Ergo, cutting Australian emissions will make no measurable difference to global climate.
Fact 5. For an assumed tax rate of $25 a tonne of carbon dioxide, the costs passed down to an average family of four will exceed $2000 a year.
So the cost-benefit equation is this: ”Your family pays more than $2000 a year in extra tax in return for a possible cooling of the globe by two one-thousandths of a degree.” Remember, too, that Garnaut’s recommendation is that the tax rate should be increased at 4 per cent a year, which would result in a cost doubling in less than 20 years.
I think the $2000 estimate of costs to the avergae family is too low, and does not take sufficiently into account the flow on from increased energy and transportation prices.
Nonetheless, I suspect that this will be the first time Age readers have been exposed to opnions/facts from an actual scientist questioning the media consensus.
There is a poll at the end of that article which asks readers ‘Do you think tackling climate change should be a priority for Australia?’
At the time of writing the results were: 74% No, 26% Yes.
When that sort of result appears in a poll in The Age, then maybe the tide of public opinion and commonsense is finally pulling the Titanic of the Australian print media back on course.
A few days ago Viscount Monckton suggested that those who think like professional climate boogeymen Ross Garnaut are on a short road to fascism.
Cue legacy media frenzy of horror. His comments were bizarre, appalling, distasteful, etc, etc. He should be disinvited from everything and no one should ever be seen near him again.
Yeah, but, yeah, but ….
When a group of well paid politicians, public servants, movie stars and journalists claim that some people should not be heard or published, that they should be imprisoned for their views, that they should be tattooed so that they can be easily identified, that is is fine to abuse them – not just for their views on matters of science and policy but for their physical appearance, that democracy should be suspended, that it is amusing to show videos of children being blown up at the the press of a button…
Then how does that not sound like they are on a short road to fascism?
Lord Turnbull was Permanent Secretary of the UK Department for the Environment from 1994 to 1998, and Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service 2002-05.
He has written a twenty page briefing paper for the Global Warming Policy Foundation. It is called The Really Inconvenient Truth Or “It ain’t necessarily so.” You can download the report in PDF format here.
Lord Turnbull discusses the claims of the IPCC specifically from the point of view of providing a basis for government policy.
He notes that there is general agreement that the world has gotten warmer by about 0.8 degress Celsius over the last 150 years. There is general agreement that there is a ‘greenhouse effect’ and that CO2 contributes to it.
(Not every scientist agrees that this is so. Alan Siddons, for example, claims there is no evidence of any real world greenhouse effect at all, and that it is not even theoretically possible.)
But back to Turnbull. He goes on to point that the alarm over climate change is based on the untested and increasingly unlikely looking assumption that a harmless and possibly beneficial 1 degree increase in global temperature caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would be amplified to between 3 and 6 degrees by various other ‘positive feedbacks,’ mainly a dramatically increased greenhouse effect caused by higher levels of water vapour.
Now in his own words:
The Really Inconvenient Truth is that the propositions of the IPCC do not bear the weight of certainty with which they are expressed. However, the purpose of the paper is not to argue that there is another truth which should become the new consensus, but to point out the doubts that exist about the IPCC viewpoint and serious flaws in its procedures. It is also to question why the UK Government has placed such heavy bets on one particular source of advice.
Even if the IPCC scenarios were correct, the impacts are frequently selective and exaggerated. The economic policy choices being made will not minimize the cost of mitigation. The paper concludes with a call for more humility from scientists, more rational reflection from politicians, and more challenge from our parliamentarians.
There it is: The economic policy choices being made will not minimize the cost of mitigation.
Climate change is inevitable, and difficult to predict.
Responsible government would act so as to minimise the negative effects of climate change.
But the Gillard Labor government is acting in exactly the opposite way. Its policies are designed to slow development and economic growth.
A ‘carbon tax’ is meant to hurt. It is meant to force us (the poorer of us, anyway) to reduce the amount we travel, to reduce our levels of consumption.
This means less tax income for government, less expenditure on infrastructure, less money for companies to put into research and development.
In other words, current policy directions will not enhance, but rather severely reduce our ability to mitigate the effects of future climate change whether warmer or, more likely and more damagingly, colder.
That was Louie the fly, in the famous Mortein ads. But it might as well have been organic food, except then it would need to be ‘Straight from manure pile to you.’
Health authorities were issuing warnings years ago about the increased dangers of ‘organic’ foods. Take this, from the Angelo State University in 2001, for example:
Organic Food May Hold Hidden Dangers
Going organic may be hazardous to your health.
The reason is a strain of the E. coli bacteria may actually contaminate certain vegetables when they are fertilized with organic materials, says Dr. Mandy A. Carr, a research scientist and assistant professor of animal science at Angelo State University.
Typical symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection can include acute cramps, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and, in worst cases, kidney failure, Carr said. Children under 5 and the elderly are most susceptible to the infection.
Recent research, she said, has shown that E. coli O157:H7 causes over 40,000 infections and 250 deaths each year in the United States alone. The organism can incubate in the human intestinal tract for up to four days before symptoms develop. The illness can last up to 10 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labels E. coli O157:H7 as one of the top four concerns related to the national food supply.
Or this, in 2002, from the Center for Global Food Issues:
Harsh Organic Reality
Organic food is more dangerous than conventionally grown produce because organic farmers use animal manure as the major source of fertilizer for their food crops. …
Organic farmers compound the contamination problem through their reluctance to use antimicrobial preservatives, chemical washes, pasteurization, or even chlorinated water to rid their products of dangerous bacteria.
The new E. coli attacks even the strong. It inflicts permanent damage on internal organs. It even kills healthy adults. The new salmonella is nearly as dangerous.
As these lethal new bacteria spread, organic foods have clearly become the deadliest food choice.
Bloggers have also drawn attention to the problems of contamination of ‘organic’ food. This from Brian Dunning at Skeptoid in 2007:
Some supporters of organic growing claim that the danger of non-organic food lies in the residues of chemical pesticides. This claim is even more ridiculous: Since the organic pesticides and fungicides are less efficient than their modern synthetic counterparts, up to seven times as much of it must be used. Organic pesticides include rotenone, which has been shown to cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and is a natural poison used in hunting by some native tribes; pyrethrum, which is carcinogenic; sabadilla, which is highly toxic to honeybees; and fermented urine, which I don’t want on my food whether it causes any diseases or not.
Supporters of organics claim that the much larger amounts of chemicals they use is OK because those chemicals are all-natural. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe or healthy — consider the examples of hemlock, mercury, lead, toadstools, box jellyfish neurotoxin, asbestos — not to mention a nearly infinite number of toxic bacteria and viruses (E. coli, salmonella, bubonic plague, smallpox). When you hear any product claim to be healthy because its ingredients are all natural, be skeptical. By no definition can “all natural” mean that a product is healthful.
Consider the logical absurdity proposed by those who claim conventional growers produce less healthful food. To the organically minded, conventional growers are evil greedy corporations interested only in their profit margin. What’s the best way to improve the profit margin? To buy less pesticides and fertilizer. This means they must use far more advanced and efficient products. The idea that pesticides leave dangerous residues is many decades out of date. Food production is among the most regulated and scrutinized of processes, and today’s synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are completely biodegradable. They’re supported by decades of studies that demonstrate their total safety.
In the United States, 2006 brought two major outbreaks of E. coli, both resulting in deaths and numerous illnesses, ultimately traced to organically grown spinach and lettuce. According to the Center for Global Food Issues, organic foods make up about 1% of all the food sold in the United States, but it accounts for 8% of E. coli cases.
And now, surprise, surprise, the latest massive E. Coli outbreak in Europe which has infected over 2,000 people and killed 22, has been traced to an organic sprout farm in Germany.
I have often wondered about the economic and environmental value of public transport buses lumbering through city traffic.
I have lived in rural areas most of my life, and it has always annoyed me that I have to pay for those busses through my taxes when I never use them, and when I pay more for petrol, earn less, and have to travel further to work than the people I am subsidising.
So I was interested to read Ezra Levant’s article The bus stops here: The truth about public transit in the Edmonton Sun a few days ago.
Here are a few paragraphs:
Let’s start off with the obvious: Buses are extremely expensive. They take billions of dollars each year from all levels of government. And yet despite these massive subsidies, bus fares continue to skyrocket.
But everyone knows government transit is a huge waste of money. That’s a given. But buses are supposed to be environmentally superior to cars. That’s the whole excuse for them.
It’s a lie.
For a couple of hours each day, buses are full — so they’re efficient. But outside of rush hour, buses are mainly empty. But they still burn nearly as much gas and still cost the same to run and maintain as if they were full.
Using data from the Washington-based CATO Institute, investigative reporter Kevin Libin found that when you compare the amount of energy burned and pollution emitted per person, per mile, buses are bigger polluters than cars are.
City buses burn 27% more energy per passenger mile than cars do. Of course — because most of the day, those huge tanks are barreling down the road with just a few people in them, sometimes just the driver. And city buses emit 31% more CO2 than cars do.
If you want to reduce pollution, drive your car. Don’t take a bus….
Same thing with bike lanes, including in wacko cities such as Toronto and Vancouver where actual car lanes on the street have been blocked off for bikes only. So in rush hour, thousands of cars sit idling in traffic jams — wasting time and wasting fuel. The odd bike goes by — but thousands of drivers are punished.
Buses are more expensive, use more fuel, and pollute more per passenger mile than cars. And because they slow traffic, bike lanes cause more, not less, pollution.
Canada does not have a monopoly on dopey big spending policies which achieve the opposite of what they intend. And we’re not short of wacko cities in Australia either.
Well, no, actually. But, hey Bill McKibben et al, don’t let mere facts stop you.
Bill McKibben was one of the first (they are pretty quick, but he was the quickest) of the global warming alarmists to claim the Joplin disaster was OUR FAULT. Because of CO2 and stuff.
In reality that is a complete crock of doodoom, as Dr Roy Spencer points out.
There has been a decrease in the average number and intensity of tornadoes as the world has warmed. Tornadoes are stronger and more frequent in cooler years.
The warming trend began to reverse ten years ago. The current year is cooler. So it is not surprising that tornadoes are beginning to become worse.
But if blaming global warming makes you happy, well I guess reality is not for you.
However, you might still enjoy reading through The Times article from 1974 ‘Another Ice Age?’
Yep, looks like everyone is pretty much agreed, the science is settled, we’re headed for global cooling. And one of the signs is more frequent and more intense tornadoes.
And then there’s this:
Bishop George Browning, formerly Anglican Bishop of Canberra/Goulburn, had this to say:
Our generation has been given humanity’s last chance to avert a climate emergency. Our grandchildren will just have to bear with the results of what we decide to do now. The naysayers are holding Australia back from taking responsible action with their fear-mongering and misinformation. Not only can we act, we must act.
Actually George, you’ve got it the wrong way around. It is the misinformed fear-mongers who are demanding that we take irresponsible action.
No wonder nobody goes to the Anglican church any more. It seems to have nothing to say except for desperate attempts to be relevant by chasing every trendy issue. The end result, of course, is that everyone recognises it is completely irrelevant. To everything.
How hard can it be?
- There is no evidence, ever, anywhere, that CO2 has ever been a driver of climate change.
- Changes in temperature over the last century have been relatively mild by geological standards, and well within the range of normal change.
- The world has been getting cooler for the last ten years.
- There is no correlation between human production of CO2 and changes in global climate.
How about, George et al, holding off trying so hard to be cool, and actually saying something really relevant. Like ‘Jesus loves you.’
Just a suggestion.
The Australian Greens have accused polluters of an “ugly attack” on Hollywood star Cate Blanchett, who has come out in a new television advertising campaign in support of a carbon tax.
Yes, but if CO2 is a pollutant, then everyone still breathing is a polluter, right?
A tax on CO2 will have a serious effect on the ability of average householders to pay for fuel, electricity and ordinary household items. The whole point of a CO2 tax is to make it impossible for ordinary people to go on using the resources they use now. In other words, the point is to make people poorer.
But Cate’s response to these concerns is not just ‘Let them eat cake,’ but ‘No problem, let a few starve or freeze. Can someone bring me my second cappuchino. And where is the limo to take me to my private jet?’
And for heaven’s sake, why can’t the people who want a tax talk clearly about what it is they want?
They don’t want a ‘carbon tax.’ They want a tax on human production of CO2. Calling CO2 ‘carbon pollution’ makes as much sense as calling water ‘oxygen pollution.’
When Cate Blanchett lives in a two bedroom cottage like I do, uses only rain water like I do, car pools like I do, uses less than 6000 kWh of electricity per year as I do, then I will listen to what she has to say on the subject of reducing our resource usage.
Until then, she can keep her preaching to herself.
Harold Camping was wrong. 200 million Christian believers were not ‘raptured’ up to heaven on Saturday.
If Christian fundamentalists keep this up, it will only be another 100 or so wrong predictions and they will have as much of a credibility problem as the global warming alarmists.
How is it that someone like Camping gets two predictions wrong, and the media treats him like a clown, and people like Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen, Tim Flannery and others, get hundreds of predictions wrong and are lauded by the media and given six figure salary jobs selling government climate policy?
This is a picture of a tolerant crowd outside Campings radio headquarters gloating over his mistake.
Maybe science won’t make a fool of you, but bad science will, and so far, it’s doing a better job than Harold Camping.
‘Will your home be underwater?’ asks the Adelaide Advertiser, which seems to be taking on a new role as the Adelaide (Labor Party) Advertiser.
Under political pressure over its unspecified carbon tax, the Federal Government will release its latest topographical information about rising sea levels which shows up to 43,000 residential properties along the Adelaide coast, valued at between $4.4 billion and $7.4 billion, will be compromised by flooding on an annual basis or even more often.
The latest modelling also shows a sharp increase in heat-related deaths is predicted as the number of hot days above 35C more than triples by 2050.
The research, to be unveiled in Adelaide today by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, uses detailed colour maps and shows significant areas of the city’s coastal fringes will be subjected to regular flooding by the end of the century.
The only meaningful words in this story are ‘Under political pressure over its unspecified carbon tax…’
‘Unspecified’ is probably the ideal word to describe this government, with its unspecified carbon tax, its unspecified illegal immigration policies, its unspecified $6000 per household internet connections, its unspecified health ‘reforms,’ its unspecified national curriculum, etc, etc.
Sadly for Greg Combet, residents of Adelaide are not as dumb as he would like them to be. These are a few comments from readers of the Advertiser story:
wayne of barossa Posted at 1:04 AM Today
if this ever happens what will difference be if we all pay a carbon tax, i suspect nothing. but we will have less money and the incompetent government that lied to us and said no carbon tax before we elected them will have more of our money to waste and give away to other countries.
Sick of all the con games of The Poorhouse Posted at 4:57 AM Today
How will melting ice caps cause flooding if 90% of ice is already underwater? Put some ice in a glass and fill to the brim with salty water, betcha the water wont overflow when the ice melts. Also, how exactly is paying truckloads of money going to cool the planet? Is climate change really about saving the planet or is it just another scam to fleece an already overworked overtaxed and cash strapped public?
KM of Adelaide Posted at 5:46 AM Today
Does anyone actually believe this BS anymore! The government can release as many figures as it likes, this whole thing is the biggest scam ever!
WTF of Adelaide Posted at 5:52 AM Today
The sky is falling, the only reason there will be a increase in heat related deaths is that electricity is to expensive to use for pensioners, and with the carbon tax it will get worst, politicians are breeching their duty of care with their policies and should be personally liable
drbob Posted at 6:00 AM Today
Inundation of these coastal areas has occurred many times in pre-history … to link the next ‘predicted’ event to atmospheric carbon dioxide increases is junk science, junk journalism and junk government policy …
Will Thornton of Adelaide Posted at 6:10 AM Today
Give me a break, “the centre of Port Adelaide will flood at high tide!”. I can remember 50 years ago stepping out of our front door in Dale St and wading in the Port River. Was that man made global warming back then Combet? of course not, the world will change from time to time and there is NOTHING you can do about it. I just love watching you Labor clowns dangle on strings whilst the idiotic Greens pull the strings.
Bill of West Beach Posted at 6:33 AM Today
Well thats one way to have the government attempt to reduce property values.Let the scaremongering begin
In the early eighties I went through a stage of uncertainty about the ordination of women to the priesthood. I was living in Adelaide at the time, studying at Flinders/The Adelaide College of Divinity for priestly ministry in the Anglican Church.
I had listened to debates about this in New Zealand. The bishops all seemed to be earnestly in favour, and that made it something I had to consider. I read books, listened to the debates at Synod. There was lots of talk about justice, but I was not entirely convinced.
I went to a public discussion. The usual arguments were put. There was much nodding of heads by serious bearded gentlemen, and grumpy-looking nuns.
So I asked how we could reconcile what was proposed with the example of Jesus, the teaching of the Apostles, and the universal practice of the Church. Did we really believe that Jesus, the Apostles and the entire Church before us had misunderstood the will of God, and that our generation was the first to see things clearly?
The answer was a look of astonished fury, and the raising of two fingers, accompanied by laughter from the serious bearded gentlemen and grumpy nuns.
That was a turning point for me. If anger, rude gestures and public mocking were the best arguments they had, then this was not much to stack up against what Jesus had done, the Apostles had taught, and the entire Chuch had practised for 2,000 years.
Sadly, this is a style of debate that still has its adherents. Example:
The best arguments they have are to swear, call people names, suggest anyone who disagrees with them is corrupt or stupid, and wave their boobies.
They might have a chance of convincing people if they answered a few questions:
Is there any correlation between human activity and changes in global climate? (Answer – No)
Is there any evidence human actvity has changed the rate of sea level increase? (Answer – No)
Is there any evidence for the claimed positive feedback from water vapour that would increase a possible but harmless 1 degree increase in temperature caused by a doubling of atmospheric CO2 to a dangerous four degrees or more? (Answer – No)
Or if they showed any sign of engaging with, or even awareness of, the vast body of peer reviewed literature that questions the global warming frenzy (and associated government funds feeding frenzy).
Till then, thanks, but I think I prefer this:
As a contrast to the appallingly dumb judicial decision in the previous post, I offer this as a counter-example:
The environmental lobby group was deregistered as a charity last year after the Charities Commission decided it had an overtly political role, particularly in its promotion of peace and disarmament.
The High Court declined Greenpeace’s appeal, saying it is clear the group sees itself as an advocate rather than an educator.
Justice Heath said the group uses non-violent, but potentially illegal, activities to make a point – which are not necessary to educate the public.
The decision means Greenpeace will not be exempt from income tax, a status granted to registered charities.
Makes sense to me – if you are primarily a political lobby group, no matter how noble you think your causes are, you are not a charity.
Especially interesting that this decision has been made in New Zealand, where Greenpeace has a large following, and the sunken Rainbow Warrior is treated as a kind of holy shrine.
The shine is coming off.
The World Bank’s annual index shows global food prices have soared 36 per cent in 12 months, adding a further 44 million people to the 1.2 billion who live in extreme poverty.
The greater proportion of your income you need to spend on food, the greater the impact of higher food prices. If you spend 15% of your income on food, as many westerners do, then a 36% increase in food costs is a nuisance. If you spend 75% of your income on food, a 36% increase could mean starvation.
Government pressure to include a proportion of bio-fuels in petrol has put pressure on food prices. There are other factors of course, but the additional pressure from diversion of food crops into fuel is still significant.
Nor are biofuels any better for the environment than fossil fuels. Palm oil is efficient compared with other oil crops in the amount of oil produced per hectare. But a new palm oil plantation would take 840 years of efficient cropping for biofuel to recover the carbon emitted when the forest it replaced was cut down and burned.
Now a new study has shown that a proposed biofuel plantation in Kenya could generate up to six times more CO2 than it saves:
Tribal Elder, Joshua Kahindi Pekeshe, who lives in the forest says:
“My people have lived here for generations. If the jatropha plantation goes ahead, we will become squatters on our own land. We will lose our homes, farms and the only school our children have.
“The company promised us jobs, dispensaries, roads and water, but it just makes me laugh. When somebody wants something from you, they know they must give you promises. We don’t trust them because nothing was written down.
“This is a direct violation of our rights. We voted for the new constitution that says the community owns the land directly. What right do they have to take it from us?”
Tim Rice, ActionAid’s biofuels expert, said:
“Biofuels are far from the miracle climate cure they were thought to be. Like most other biofuels, jatropha could actually end up increasing carbon emissions. Crucially the Dakatcha case also shows how biofuel plantations can rob entire communities of their land, homes and jobs.”
Based on an article by Dr Ross McKitrick in the Vancouver Sun.
Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every social, technological and medical advance in the 20th century has depended on inexpensive and reliable electricity.
Giving women the freedom to work outside the home was partly a by-product of the availability of electrical appliances that freed up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing.
The development and provision of modern health care would have been impossible without cheap, reliable electricity.
Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the need to cook over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke and parasite related lung diseases.
Anyone who cares about the environment and about people and wants to see conditions in the developing world improve should celebrate access to cheap electricity from fossil fuel based power generating stations.
The mentality of Earth Hour is the demonisation of electricity, upon which all of the great technological and social advances of the last century have depended, including advances in food production and medicine.
That mentality would deny to people in developing nations, people who are desperately poor, the advantages we have as result of that cheap reliable electricity. It would keep them in huts, with no clean water, burning wood and dung for heat and cooking. It would keep them at life spans half of ours, and with child mortality rates up to ten times higher.
Earth Hour celebrates poverty and backwardness. It is ignorant and cruel.
Leave the lights on, and let’s work to bring light, water, medicine and industry to those who need them most.