A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Opportunists and the backlash: Tree changers meet a megafire, and Greens meet some rage

Catastrophic fires are predicted tomorrow across the East Coast of Australia.  Around 500 schools will be closed tomorrow. Some 400,000 people have been warned “to be ready. Thousands are evacuated. A state of emergency has been declared. 1,400 interstate fire fighters have gone to NSW to help.

For updates about  New South Wales, check the NSW RFS website. For Queensland, see the QLD RFS website.

MyFireWatch has a live map updated regularly with outbreaks.


How close and thick was that forest?

Shots from the ABC news Monday. To appreciate what happened, see the moving scene as people approach these ruins through tiny lanes surrounded by dense forest. (Full ABC segment below).

Bobin, NSW, Fire damage

Bobin, NSW, Fire damage, ABC News

Fires, Rainbow flat, NSW

Look at the trees around this house at Rainbow Flat

The backlash begins

The opportunistic greens are already crying “climate change” while firestorms rage and lives are potentially under threat

Greens playing politics with fire, say Labor and Coalition

Greg Brown, The Australian

Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale sparked fury from both major parties when he said the ­nation’s emissions policy had caused the fires that killed three people and injured 100.

Greens policies increasing bushfire threat, Barnaby Joyce says

Greg Brown, The Australian

“The problems we have got have been created by the Greens,” Mr Joyce told The Australian.

“We haven’t had the capacity to easily access (hazard) reduction burns because of all of the paperwork that is part of green policy.

“We don’t have access to dams because they have been decommissioned on national parks because of green policy. We have trees that have fallen over vehicles and block roads, so people cannot either get access to fight a fire or to get away from fires. And we can’t knock over the trees because of Greens policy.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has lashed the “disgraceful, disgusting” behaviour of “raving inner-city lunatics” for linking climate change to the ferocious bushfires burning across Queensland and NSW.

Spot the fuel

Our hearts go out to those that have lost homes.  But in every scene here, tree changers who never thought it would happen to them, were living with their $3000 bicycles in idyllic fire traps. How much were these folk misled by an ABC constantly reporting on climate change, and barely ever discussing fuel loads and almost never interviewing skeptics? Firefighters who recite the permitted “climate change” lines were put on a pedestal. Firefighters with data on fuel loads don’t get called.

And why was that ABC journalist wearing brand new fluro fighting gear to interview the victims?

But proximity is not the biggest problem.

If the fuel loads are too high across the state, there is no firebreak big enough to stop the embers in a Firestorm. Once a fire is generating its own weather and high-speed-wind every house would need a 10km clearing all around.

Wytaliba where two died, was badly hit

The houses are dotted among a thousand square miles of forest. A great way to live until the firestorm burns the soil, the microflora, macroflora, seeds, old growth, everything. It will take years to recover.


Wytaliba (See GoogleMaps to get close up). Arrows mark houses or shed visible in Google maps. Image: Copyright 2019 CNES / Airbus, Landsat / Copernicus, Maxar Technologies, Map data, Google.

The treechange movement has a day of reckoning coming

The forests have changed. Open canopies and scrubby undergrowth have maximized the fuel.

Hippies of Nimbin admit bush got too wild

Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Des Layer has for 30 years ridden his horses through hills now being ravaged by fire. For decades he has watched the structure of the bush change from what he says is poor logging and lax management.

Before the area became ­national park, Mr Layer said, he would get permits to collect firewood from the state forests. Since the national park was declared there had been no permits issued.

“It has just been building up,” he said.

Poor logging practices have changed the forest’s ability to cope with fire. First the fire-retardant edges were lost and then the high-value canopy trees. With the big trees gone, the ­humidity of the forest was reduced, the canopy was opened to allow palms to grow and then drop dead fronds into the undergrowth. Extended dry conditions have resulted in a tinderbox of lantana and weeds in an area that has not seen a significant fire for half a century

The forecasts for Tuesday: Embers could fall on the Opera House

With a situation this bad, it’s hard to believe there is room for hyperbole…

 Sydney’s ‘ring of fire’: Terrifying map shows suburbs most likely to be ravaged by bushfires tomorrow and why embers could fall on the Opera House

Charlie More, Daily Mail Australia

Every suburb in Sydney must brace for devastating bushfires on Tuesday as 37C temperatures, 10 per cent humidity and 60kmh winds create ‘catastrophic’ conditions, fire chiefs have warned.

But fire bosses have warned ‘no area is entirely safe’ as high winds could send dangerous embers capable of sparking secondary fires towards beachside suburbs such as Manly and even the CBD, home to the Opera House.

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But weren’t solar panels supposed to stop bushfires?

Scenes of Armageddon in New South Wales today and people are calling it a climate emergency on twitter. Ban new coal mines! Blame Tony Abbott!  (See #nswbushfires). So far there are three deaths, and 150 houses lost (at least). The latest report tonight from @NSW RFS is that at 12:30am, there were 74 bush fires across NSW, 43 still not under control.

Wow. That is a lot of forest being converted into cloud in that satellite image.

Fires, tweet. Coal and climate change


Too much fuel causes extreme bush fires, not climate change

67 years of hazard reduction in Western Australia shows exactly how to control wildfires. It’s just chemistry.

We leave all that fuel lying around then get surprised when it burns? Western Australia fire management burns off about 8% of the forest under management each year — a one in 12 year rotation. Californian management burns once every 500 years.

The men with decades of experience, and indigenous practices estimate that a six year rotation is better.

Bushfires, graph, Western Australia, 50 years of hazard reduction graphed.

More prescribed burns means less wildfire area burnt.  Source: Bushfirefront Western Australia

More posts about Fires:

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Weekend Unthreaded


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African oil and gas booms and first world rich XR calls Africans “climate criminals”

Extinction Rebellion, Red Brigade, Image by Gazamp

The Red Brigade uniforms are mass produced and the same all over the world.

Big finds in Mozambique, Saudi trouble, and the anti coal movement are helping African oil and gas:

Why Africa’s Oil & Gas Sector Is Exploding

By Tsvetana Paraskova – Nov 05, 2019, OilPrice

Major oil and gas discoveries and subsequent investments in infrastructure projects are set to help the oil and gas industry in Africa to grow, also helped by improved governance and regulation, PwC said in its newly released Africa oil & gas review 2019.

“One of the most dramatic finds in Africa over the past decade is Mozambique’s natural gas estimated at over 180 tcf, which has already unlocked the first three large-scale LNG projects,” according to PwC.

These projects and additional exploration could make Mozambique the world’s third-largest LNG producer after Qatar and Australia by 2030, PwC says.

 So seven XR groupies turn up outside an African oil and gas conference to show just how arrogant they are:

Extinction Rebellion calls Africa Oil Week delegates “climate criminals”

By , GroundUp

In a media statement, the group said: “Following the protest on Tuesday 5 November, Extinction Rebellion continues to oppose Africa Oil Week being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. This conference brings together international corporations, governments, investors and lobbyists, who – despite the global ecological crisis – continue to value profit over both people and the planet. The delegates who attend this conference are climate criminals.

“While they make billion-dollar deals, they do not care about global warming caused by their industry, or the floods, droughts, typhoons, pollution, crop failures, refugees and misery that result… These climate criminals are not welcome here!”

XR demands the declaration of a “climate emergency” which would legally assist vandals and self-serving protestors with an excuse for the damage and danger they may create:

Extinction Rebellion want government to acknowledge and declare a “climate and ecological emergency, reverse all policies inconsistent with addressing climate change, and work alongside the media to communicate this to their citizens”.

XR also want to force everyone to do what they want and to subvert democracy because voters are not as smart as 21 year old activists:

They also demand a legally binding policy to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, and for the creation of a national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee these changes.

Seriously? Seven people dress up in red outfits, make selfish, immature demands and that’s international news?

The African’s have exactly the right response:

No apologies: Africans say their need for oil cash outweighs climate concerns

Libby George, Reuters

Two floors above, the hundreds of delegates at Africa Oil Week were largely unaware – and mostly unmoved – by the display.

“Under no circumstances are we going to be apologizing,” said Gabriel Obiang Lima, energy minister of Equatorial Guinea, adding that they need to exploit those resources to create jobs and boost economic development.

“Anybody out of the continent saying we should not develop those fields, that is criminal. It is very unfair.”

h/t GWPF

Image: wikimedia by Gazamp  Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Red Brigade’ at the end of Smeaton’s Pier in St Ives, Cornwall August 2019

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Cut carbon emissions by drinking eco-vodka


Eight full grown trees of carbon in every bottle of Eco-vodka

No seriously, yesterday Air Co launched a type of vodka made from air instead of potatoes. One bottle allegedly soaks up “as much CO2 as eight fully grown trees.”

At $65 a bottle, this will be a must have for fashionable snowflakes who have too much money and not enough taste buds.

This solves the hole in the market for all the people wanting low carbon Bloody Mary’s.

The vodka, which costs $65 for a 750 ml bottle, is made from only two ingredients, carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) and water. That’s unlike traditional vodka, which is typically made by fermenting grains such as corn, potato and wheat. Producing a typical bottle of vodka could create around 13 pounds of greenhouse gases, according to Fast Company, while Air Co.’s product is carbon negative, removing a pound of carbon from the air with every bottle produced.

More efficiently than plants?!

The process uses the same principles as photosynthesis in plants but does so more efficiently,” Constantine tells CNBC Make It.

Air Co.’s technology splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, then combines the hydrogen with carbon dioxide (collected from factories near its Brooklyn, New York headquarters), which creates alcohol and water, only emitting oxygen into the atmosphere.

I like that they collected that carbon dioxide from factories, rather than stealing it from farms or forests.

Finally, someone finally found a way to do something useful with solar panels!

Air Co. says its patented system works by using (renewable solar) electricity to turn carbon from the air into pure ethanol.

Next up, someone can sell conversion kits for home solar to moonshine. (Do it for  The Grid!)

Air Co. says its vodka is also free of the impurities that can left behind from the grains used in traditional vodka production.

Free of impurities for sure, and possibly also any residual flavour. I can’t see this technique threatening the wine industry.

Presumably they could have just called this drink “Ethanol” but Vodka is so much more catchy.




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Meet the doomers: The near term human extinction support group

In this world, the deniers are the ones who think humans will survive

There are people more extreme than Extinction Rebellion. Though in a quieter way. They’ve given up. They’re so convinced by the apocalypse — a world careering towards doom — that they only feel at home around others who share their fears. Many have lost relationships, and now often hide their beliefs from their family. Many have dropped out of protests.

Activism means growing opium poppies so they have painkillers to make the end-time easier instead of starving. Kind of like “preppers” but not that optimistic.

James Purtill the ABC journalist, admits he himself was too dark for his girlfriend. “We broke up”.

The doomers get evicted and isolated from mainstream believers because “they sound too much like deniers”. Just as the deniers (he means skeptics) say there is no point cutting emissions, so do the doomers: they figure death is coming, it’s too late, why bother? Indeed.

Unlike the XR-attention-seekers, these are the gullible but they’re introverted, nicer, not forcing their beliefs on anyone. After the fantasy leap to believe in experts and models, there’s a certain kind of logic to it.

More collateral damage of the climate scare:

Breaking up over climate change: My deep dark journey into doomer Facebook

James Purtill, ABC

The Near Term Human Extinction SUPPORT Group was set up in 2013 and now has 6,400+ members and a description that reads: “For people who have accepted that HUMAN EXTINCTION IS INEVITABLE IN THE NEAR TERM due to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the consequences, based on trends determined by scientific research.” (Their caps locks).

It politely adds: “This is a forum for friendly and non-threatening discussion.”

But clarifies: “Note: If you believe that humans will survive, we ask that you join other more relevant groups such as Positive Deep Adaptation.”

The admins of the group proved hostile to me, a random Australian reporter.

“Luckily” he could win them over because he too shared some of their gloom:

Roblyn explained that the people she spoke to had found refuge in these online groups after their world had fallen apart. First, they had been traumatised by what they had learned about climate change and the future, and then they had lost their friends and family and their status in the community by trying to communicate the urgency of their discovery to others.

“Many of them only had these online groups to believe them and to talk to them as though they were serious human beings,” she said.

It’s an interesting, if melancholy read. The group was traumatized when they realized there was a reporter present. They already felt isolated.

What the doomers don’t realize is that they have to get evicted from the climate religion because their do-nothing defeatism is a threat to “the cause”. To get maximal motivation, believers must balance on the fine edge of belief that the world is about to end, but that it is just barely savable. A lot of careers and $1.5 trillion dollars of industrial climate gigs benefit from maintaining this crest atop the endless wave of shifting goal posts. Tomorrow it’ll be too late…

The ABC journo draws the approved solution, of course — all roads lead to “a means to an ends”:

Like Flannery, I’m beginning to think climate rebellion is the only way, which is scary.

On the plus side:

 ”But at least I don’t have to worry about retirement any more.” — one doomer to another.


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Real Estate worth 7% less in low lying climate “believer” areas

Beach House, Pixabay, PaulBr75

Image Paulbr75

Beachfront property in skeptical areas is worth 7% more than equivalent homes in “believer” neighborhoods.

Presumably believers think those homes are at risk of being washed away — at least that’s what the researchers think. But it could be that believers suffer an immediate social penalty — imagine turning up to the local dinner party and having to admit to the thought-police that you just bought a beachside mansion?

Then again, the real motivator might be that people will pay more to live next to a skeptic.

This brings the dilemma for skeptics — save 7% on the new house, but live surrounded by snowflakes, or pay more and get on better with neighbors?

Does climate change affect real estate prices? Only if you believe in it

According to a new study from the UBC Sauder School of Business, buyers could end up paying significantly more for a home.

For the large-scale study, researchers combined sea level data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), geographic data about climate change attitudes from the Yale Program on Climate Change, and proprietary data on millions of repeat real estate transactions from Zillow to examine patterns in high-risk areas.

They found that, even after taking myriad variables into account, homes projected to be under water located in climate change “denier” neighbourhoods sell for roughly 7 percent more than homes in “believer” neighbourhoods.

“If everyone were to say, ‘I’m not buying beachfront property here because it’s going to get flooded,’ then prices would collapse. But if you don’t believe in climate change, you might say, ‘You guys are crazy. Climate change isn’t a real thing, so I see a buying opportunity,’” explains UBC Sauder School of Business assistant professor and study co-author Markus Baldauf.

Keep reading  →

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Doomsday poll shrinks 25%: Now just 11,000 MeToo scientists say “panic now”

11,000 unskeptical scientists sign for a climate emergency.

Who remembers that 15,000 scientists signed some climate declaration in 2017? The same Prof Ripple, and Bioscience probably hope you don’t, because two years later there is the same rehashed, but with only 11,000 signatories. So 4,000 disappeared without a trace. There are however, the same comic indefendable graphs. Call it “extreme graphing” — every line needs to be diagonal. All “pauses” are disappearing. No fallacy remains unbroken.

To stop storms we apparently need to reduce the global population, stop mining “excessive” minerals, eat more veges,  and we need to preserve biodiversity, reefs, forests and greenery at whatever it was in 1685 or whenever the sacred preindustrial year of Life On Earth is declared. You know the drill — coal and oil are demon spirits. Exorcise them now! Then rinse, repeat and …hand-wash your undies.

This is panic-science: hold the error bars, hide the adjustments and heap on the hype.

Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists.

“We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” it states. “To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live. [This] entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.”

There is no time to lose, the scientists say: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity.”

It’s not peer reviewed, but for the first time in history, The Guardian and The ABC don’t care. It‘s published in the journal BioScience. That’ll do.

Signs of catastrophe

Pack up your tea-leaves, here are the 21st century signs of the 6th mass extinction. Who knew — per capita meat production is a new signal of doom. And air transport is not an engineering feat but inherently extinct-ifying. Here’s their introduction to this graph:

 Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse (figure 1file S1).Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014). Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

Climate Emergency Extreme, cherry picked, adjusted, graphs.

Fig 1: Doomsday graphs. Click to enlarge.

Note the careful expansion of scale to fit any box, regardless of meaning. All diagonal lines are are the path to salvation.

Climate Emergency Extreme, cherry picked, adjusted, graphs.

Fig 2: death and destruction “squared”. Click to enlarge if you dare.

What scientist needs error bars, raw data, or cause and effect?

See “J”: if the Y axis showed the range of pH that life on Earth existed under the line would look flat. Indeed it would look flat even if it showed the range some parts of the ocean varied each day and night.

The bigger better skeptic petition

Ten years ago 31,487 American Scientists, including 9,029 with PhD’s signed the Global Warming Petition Project warning that there is no convincing scientific evidence that man-made CO2 will cause catastrophic heating, and that agreements like the Paris Accord are harmful, and hinder science.

The double-layered hypocrisy-on-a-rocket is that skeptics have outnumbered and outranked believers in the signatory game for a decade, but the ABC and The Guardian never thought that was news worth mentioning, then or even now. And The Alliance of World Scientists’ List breaches all the same code rules which made the Petition Project supposedly unacceptable, but the same journalists who ignored the skeptics bigger, better list then soak up the believer one — no hard questions asked.

The other big difference is that the Petition Project aim was only to show there is no consensus and there should be a debate. The believer list is far more ambitious — It’s being used to claim there is a global emergency, and that we should not just spend billions, but transform our lives. Skeptics just want a debate. Believers want your way of life, your tithe, and your tummy.

The skeptics list only draws on the US pool of scientists.  The Alliance of World Scientists had to reach all around the world — they even counted one safari tour operator in Namibia. Perhaps he had a degree and forgot to mention it?

UPDATE: Ezra Levant on Rebel-News goes through the Canadian “scientists” on the list and finds people with diploma-mill science degrees from “non-accredited” institutions, others are experts on “reincarnation”, or “romance”.

As I said then:

The Petition Project was better done, done years ago, done twice, and has twice as many names on it.

Don’t miss the opportunity to pop in on the same journalists that think a list of 15,000 scientists doing a ten second internet form is newsworthy, but 30,000 checked and accredited scientists signing and mailing a paper form is not. Let them bask in their hypocrisy. Turn the screws on their cognitive dissonance. Be polite. Enjoy their struggle.

For the most part, the media actively ignored 30,000 scientists probably because it didn’t fit with their religion, their own voting preferences, or because they were afraid people they call “friends” might call them a names and stop inviting them to dinner. Cowards. (Let’s talk about being brave: Art Robinson, who organised the Petition Project, later ran for Congress, and his three youngest children all had their PhD’s simultaneously canceled, snatched or dismissed by none other than Oregon State University — the same place that this new “poll” is hosted — OSU.)

Where are the respectable, serious modelers?

The 2019 signatories are almost all me-too scientists who assume other scientists are correct, but don’t appear to check their assumptions.  Are they even aware of the failure of upper tropospheric water vapor predictions (the hot spot)?

Strangely, the world’s about to die and yet none of the top climate scientists are willing to put their name on the list. Instead, there are nearly 974 “students” and 342″candidates” for PhD work. About 20% are ecologists, some overlapping part of another 20% are biologists. There are also agri-specialists, economists, activists, policy managers, microbiologists, and zoologists.

After crowing about how unqualified skeptics were, only 156 (1%) of the 11,000 have the word “climate” in their job title or specialty. And even these climate experts mostly seem to be experts in adapting or mitigating climate change. They know things about food, forests, ecology, land use, disease, law, agriculture, policy, economics, communication and tree survival. This is not to say that they are wrong because of their qualifications (they’re wrong because of the arguments they make), but isn’t it rather odd, that the real experts in the field of climate modeling are all missing? Could it be that these 11,000 scientists are the me-too propaganda arm endorsing graphs and arguments that real modelers can’t afford to?

Of the so-called top ten climate scientists, not one signed it. No Michael Mann, no David Karoly, Phil Jones, Myhre, Gavin Schmidt, Andy Pitman,  Matthew England, or Wallace Broeker. There’s no Syukuro Manabe, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, William F. Ruddiman, John Francis Brake Mitchell, Susan Solomon, or Tom M.L. Wigley.

Could it be that these graphs are so bad, so indefensible, that the leading modelers can’t afford to be seen near them? That way, if they get asked any hard questions they can just duck it… not my petition. Questions like — which place on Earth has already been affected by man-made ocean acidification. Real NOAA scientists admit in private that they can’t name any place affected by ocean acidification.

Is there anyone on their list who has reviewed the only chapter that matters in the IPCC report?

Last word

Looking over the 11,000 signatories from scientists declaring a climate emergency, I found a certain Professor Micky Mouse, Institute for Blind, Namibia. It seems as much quality control has gone into this survey as climate science. I think I’ll switch off the alarm bells.

Marc Hendrickx,
Berowra Heights, NSW

 When a few spam signatures made the Petition Project that was an excuse to debunk the whole list….

h/t Colin, Pat, Travis, T, Jones, Old Ozzie, Dave B, George, Jim Simpson.

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Midweek Unthreaded

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A town in Texas went “100% renewables” and prices jumped 20%

Georgetown Texas did the Fake Renewables Show and Dance — the one where they “buy” 100% renewables but are connected 24/7 to a grid maintained by the usual non-renewable baseload generators. No doubt they paid for the right number of gigawatt hours of renewables but it’s a mere electrical-accounting trick. They didn’t cut the cord, and they’re not paying for all the hidden costs they would incur if they did.

The real cost of the mythical “100% renewables” does not include a gas fired backup station (which they’re using) — but it does include a huge storage system, transmission lines, and frequency control. They’d need something like 60,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries costing about $2 billion dollars* and maybe a couple of dams too.


How 100% renewables backfired on a Texas town

Edward Klump, E&E News reporter



Electricity from various sources commingles on the main Texas grid, and the city said it’s not claiming that electrons produced in West Texas are the same ones people consume in central Texas. Georgetown’s customers have been paying for all-renewable energy since April 2017, based on a standard in Texas, it said. Still, the city said it incorrectly projected the cost of its energy approach by about $26 million over a few years and used one-time solutions to cope with that.

The city ended its 2018 fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2018, with an electric fund balance of $1.97 million, or $6.84 million less than projected.

The monthly bill for an average home in Georgetown that uses 1,000 kWh per month climbed about 22% to $144.35 in 2019 compared with 2018, according to the city. Much of that jump, though not all of it, is related to a higher power cost adjustment.

The big problem for renewables is that fracked gas is too cheap:

If only those gas engineers hadn’t found a way to extract gas so cost effectively — then everyone would be happy paying more for renewable energy:

Joshua Rhodes, a senior energy analyst at Vibrant Clean Energy LLC in Colorado, said people were trying several years ago to figure out how the fracking revolution would change the price of gas. He said there was an expectation that it would recover.

Instead, gas has remained cheap given massive U.S. production numbers. And power prices have been relatively low in Texas’ main power market, despite some summer spikes.

“They made the best-laid plans that they had at the time,” Rhodes said of Georgetown officials. “But luck wasn’t on their side when it came to the price of natural gas.”

Such terrible luck.

Though the poor residents of Georgetown are still paying less for electricity than most Australians.


h/t Climate Depot

*Georgetown population is 50,000 so 3% of South Australia — see Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly’s estimates.

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Just like that: US serves notice to quit Paris Agreement

First nation out leads the way:

US Flag, Flying.Lisa Friedman, New York Times

Trump serves notice to quit Paris Aggreement

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations on Monday that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, leaving global climate diplomats to plot a way forward without the cooperation of the world’s largest economy.

The action, which came on the first day possible under the accord’s complex rules on withdrawal, begins a yearlong countdown to the United States exit…

A true leader, Trump didn’t wait for herd approval, just made his own path.

But why does it take so many years to get out?  It’s a non-binding, non-treaty with no legal teeth except ones countries domestically screw on themselves. The wording is “should” not “shall”. Most nations aren’t even aiming to meet their own targets, and their commitment is essentially to turn up and renegotiate their commitment, and get told off for not fawning enough, whether or not their actual target reductions in carbon emissions are met or not. Is there any reason why this can’t be extinguished overnight except that the deep state bureaucrats knew the agreement was so disadvantageous they’d have to tie nations down to stop them leaving?

Paris was only ever a PR theater stunt — the point being for big-government-actors to use it to win domestic funding or to hang domestic legislation off it.

It’s worth remembering that the fourth largest nation in the world, Indonesia, has also threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement. And when asked, 48% of Australians were happy to pull out of Paris. No biggie.

In other news, last week Sri Lanka scrapped its carbon tax

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will scrap a controversial carbon tax from the end of the year, under tax changes passed in parliament.

Sri Lanka brought a carbon tax for cars escalating for older cars used by less affluent persons who drive less.

But Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has now scrapped the tax. However it will be charged for 2019.

h/t Dave B, Pat, Marvin W, Joe Bast Heartland


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Japan: The precautionary principle killed more people than the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Japanese homeless woman.The panicked closure of nuclear power in Japan pushed electricity prices up. The UN agrees that no people died from radiation in the Fukushima event, but the frenzied over-evacuation killed up to 2,000 people. After that, higher electricity prices led to at least 1280 extra deaths in the 21 largest cities. That translates into 4,500 deaths if the mortality rate was similar across the rest of the country.

Japan nuclear shutdown did ‘more harm than good’, study finds

World Nuclear News

Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident, by Matthew Neidell, Shinsuke Uchida and Marcella Veronesi. A discussion paper by the Germany-based IZA Institute of Labor Economics.

“Our estimated increase in mortality from higher electricity prices significantly outweighs the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production caused more harm than good.”

The authors calculated that these higher electricity prices resulted in at least an additional 1280 deaths during 2011-2014. This is higher than a previously documented estimate of 1232 deaths which occurred as a result of the evacuation after the accident, they say.

“Since our data [on mortality related to higher electricity prices] only covers the 21 largest cities in Japan, which represents 28% of the total population, the total effects for the entire nation are even larger.”

 Who would have guessed, irrational scare campaigns can be deadly:

Earlier this year, Michael Shellenberger, president of research and policy organisation Environmental Progress, told delegates at the XI International Forum Atomexpo 2019 held in Sochi, Russia that a “panicked over-evacuation” of the area had caused around 2000 deaths, with fear of radiation causing “significant psychological stress”. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation found there had been no deaths from radiation that escaped from Fukushima, he noted.

The Precautionary Principle turns the normal cost-benefit analysis into a binary yes or no lottery.

As a regulatory tool, the precautionary principle – that activities should not proceed when the threats of damage are not fully understood – has previously been met with mixed reactions, the authors of the IZA report say, and question why, given such “surprising” results, governments invoke this principle.

“One possible explanation is that salient events, such as a nuclear disaster, affect perceived risk, which is often based more on emotions and instincts than on reason and rationality.

On the plus side, the Precautionary Principle neutralizes numbers, appeals to simpler minds and makes good bumper-stickers. On the down side, it kills people.


h/t Paul Miskelly

Image: wikimedia by Comessu

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Older adults can still improve memory with high intensity exercise

Treadmill HIIT exercise.

Image profvideos

Just 4 sets of four-minute-long bursts of intense exercise was all it took for sedentary people aged 60 -88 to get an improvement in memory scores of up to 30%.

They worked out three times a week for 3 months, and the short sharp sets were better than 50 minutes of moderate exercise. Five hundred million years of evolution will do that — hone organisms to adapt to common stressors. And even if don’t need to outrun lions very often now, we still carry the genes that did.

This won’t surprise people who’ve been reading medical research papers.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) appears to be good for fat loss, anxiety, depression, improves blood vessel function, may slow Parkinsons, and colon cancer, is quicker, can restore glucose uptake in diabetic muscles in just two weeks.

Obviously the 30% memory boost mostly happens to people who start out sedentary. There may not be such spectacular gains for people who are already semi fit. But it only took 12 weeks.

Researchers at McMaster University who examine the impact of exercise on the brain have found that high-intensity workouts improve memory in older adults.

Researchers suggest that intensity is critical. Seniors who exercised using short, bursts of activity saw an improvement of up to 30% in memory performance while participants who worked out moderately saw no improvement, on average.

Keep reading  →

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Weekend Unthreaded

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No laws needed Scott Morrison — tell the coward companies not to give in to namecalling bullies

 We need more free speech, not less

Extinction Rebellion protest

Is National Australia Bank scared of this? @ExtinctionR

The witchdoctor activists have been demanding bankers and insurance firms boycott new coal mines. One by one these corporate giants have jumped to obey, like towers of saluting jelly. Australia’s PM, Scott Morrison,  has “threatened a radical crackdown” as if there is some way, and some worth, in forcing free people to choose a sensible option. But this is not the way. What the nation needs is not more laws to stifle speech but someone with the balls to speak freely. Persuade the nation instead! Half the country quivers in fear of being called a climate denier by a teenage girl. Tell them to grow up and get over it.

The activists are just namecalling bullies — too chicken to engage in polite conversation because their case falls apart like a crystal mousetrap — looks good, but destroys itself on deployment. If they had overwhelming evidence they just need to explain it — not beat people over the head with it. Australians are good people, right?

They’re only a threat if we take them seriously

Whatever we do, don’t take them seriously. Instead of locking them up, we need to mock them up. Giggle at gullible babies who think coal mines control the climate. Smile at superstitious voodoo. Pat the so called fans-of-science on the back, and ask them how long the glue will last.

Most of all we need a leader with the courage to laud those who don’t cave in and who know what free speech means.

The ABC has been turning the bullies into heroes and the whistleblowers into political-lepers. Someone needs to stand up to the ABC.

Miners drive the nations engine. XR is the glue on the road. Treat them accordingly — possibly with a garden hose, not federal legislation.

Scott Morrison threatens crackdown on protesters who would ‘deny liberty’

Paul Karp, The Guardian

PM signals action on secondary boycotts of resources companies and says progressives want to tell Australians ‘what you can say, what you can think’

 Morrison told Australian corporations to listen to the “quiet shareholders” and not environmental protesters, who he suggested could shift targets from coal companies to all carbon-intensive industries including power generation, gas projects, abattoirs and airlines.

In a speech proposing limits on free speech advocating boycotts against polluting companies, Morrison said progressives wanted to tell Australians “what you can say, what you can think and tax you more for the privilege of all of those instructions”.

And so they do. But apparently so does Morrison.

Making laws “just for them” and trying to stop them speaking is not just wrong, but like pouring fuel on a fire. It will inflate their egos, power their sense of purpose and, in a way, give them just what they want. Mindless attention without any hard questions. Better to let them talk about science. The more they say they sillier they look.

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