JoNova

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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Tuesday Open Thread

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“Apologizing for the climate scare” — Another Environmentalist joins skeptics

Click to go to Amazon*

UPDATE: The page this links to may or may not be “inactive” at Forbes. Perhaps they’ve run out of electrons? If the article link doesn’t work. Try Google Cache. Web archive. Or Tallblokes PDF.

At some point there will be a rush — a phase change as real environmentalists realize they are being used as useful idiots for multinational giants and Big Bankers. Then there will be a scramble to outgreen the establishment Greens by denouncing some key aspects of false alarm. We’re not there yet. But the Michael Moore documentary is significant and Michael Shellenberger fits a similar mold. We’ll know the moment has arrived when there is more cheering for rather than vitriol against the “traitors”.

Michael Shellenberger was, a long time ago, very Green. Among other things, he was named a Time magazine Heroes of the Environment (2008), winner of the 2008 Green Book Award.  In 2015, Shellenberger joined with 18 other self-described ecomodernists to coauthor An Ecomodernist Manifesto. He’s been shifting through a transition over the years from extreme Green, to pragmatic Green (pro nuclear in 2004, see his TEDX in 2017) and now to a pro-civilization, pro power, anti-alarmist. But seemingly not as far [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Climate skeptics are terrorists now (the “terror”is talking about coal)

We can tell skeptics are winning by the scale of the panic

Labor made a “big” concession this week and it has triggered the Anti-carbon Tribe. Anthony Albanese dared to concede that coal might have a future but only with impossible fantasy carbon capture limits. In his horror at this, Bernard Keane of Crikey.com puts forward his best scientific argument — essentially that 50% of Australians who don’t hate coal like he does, are ignorant denialist terrorists who vote for pork barrelling representatives who are willing to “blow up their own government”.

As usual, he is projecting his own destructive politics onto those who disagree. He aims to silence debate through personal denigration, to win an argument through character assassination, and to continue being (in his terms) a debate-denialist who pretends that tens of thousands of skeptical engineer’s and geologist’s and meteorologist’s opinions should be mocked and ignored. He’s also a voter-denialist suggesting that the representatives of half of Australia could not possibly represent a genuine point of view. They work as agents of  “Murdoch”.

Bernard Keane promotes the science of tribal namecalling

Bernard Keane, Crikey.com

Labor offers to deal with terrorists in climate wars

The worst possible [...]

Penguins pretty happy about melting sea ice

Adelie Penguins would probably benefit from a bit of global warming. When 175 were tagged and tracked it turned out that they ate more krill when there was less sea ice. This is not so surprising given that they swim better than they waddle, so long stretches of sea ice make it harder to get to the supermarket and back.

And Krill (dinner) apparently like less sea ice too. Phytoplankton bloomed when the sea ice was gone.

Penguins on sea ice.  Photo by Danielle Barnes on Unsplash

Penguins may be an unlikely winner from climate change

Tom Whipple, The Australian

“Counterintuitively for this ice-dependent species, body conditions and breeding success ­improved in the ice-free environment,” wrote researchers from the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research, in the journal Science Advances.

The scientists used accelerometers, video cameras and tracking devices to plot each hunt. They found that when there was no ice the penguins did a lot more swimming — and this was a good thing.

“For penguins, swimming is a whopping four times faster than walking.

For the first three seasons the sea ice was large, then it shrank and the penguins went crazy:

[...]

Labor in Australia finally gets a message from the voters and “wants to end climate wars”

Labor dumps a bit of green extremism, but it’s mostly symbolic

Anthony Albanese says “Yes” to Coal (only with Carbon Capture) but still “No” to Nukes.  Keeps the same emissions target.

After losing three elections in a row on and with help from SARS-2, the Labor Party have realized they can’t wedge the coalition by being holier-than-all-the-workers that used to vote for them. They can’t be seen as anti-coal. So just in time for a key marginal byelection, Anthony Albanese, leader of the Opposition, offers a token olive leaf.

He’s got his eye on the Queensland election due in October, and all those seats the Labor party lost one year ago.

Anthony Albanese urges Scott Morrison and Coalition to work with Labor on energy policy

Federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has urged the Coalition to work with Labor on a bipartisan energy policy…

So Labor will support “development” of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). This is the impossible idea of stuffing a gas back down the small hole it used to live in, when it was a rock and before it met O2 and grew threefold in weight and 2,000 times in volume.* Everyone in polite society knows [...]

Thursday Open Thread

One in three hospitalized with Covid may be “harmed for life” say UK docs

It is never a good idea to let a mystery virus with likely man-made “Gain of Function” changes run free in the population.

Virus scars for life as doctors warn of long-term health damage

London: One in three patients who recover from COVID-19 could be harmed for life, with long-term damage to their lungs, as well as chronic fatigue and psychological disturbances, research suggests.

Experts said there was growing evidence that the virus could cause persistent or even permanent trauma, including impairment to the brain and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Hilary Floyd, clinical director at the NHS Seacole Centre in Surrey, said she had been shocked by how young many of its patients were. Healthy people who were in their 40s and 50s when the virus struck were now facing long-term fatigue and disability.

“These are people who were independent, they might be running their own business, going to the gym, swimming, active – now they are at the point they can’t get out of bed,” she said.

“We have a couple of patients in their 40s at the moment; we really didn’t expect that. We were [...]

In the pandemic, investors fled from “Green Energy”. Desperate industry predicts 40 deaths a month in wake

Is that the dark smell of desperation?

Green energy is so essential and profitable that when the chips are down, investors ran a mile.

IEA: COVID-19 crisis causing the biggest fall in global energy investment in history 31 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has set in motion the largest drop in global energy investment in history, with spending expected to plunge in every major sector this year—from fossil fuels to renewables and efficiency—the International Energy Agency said in a new report.

The unparalleled decline is staggering in both its scale and swiftness, with serious potential implications for energy security and clean energy transitions.

global investment is now expected to plummet by 20%, or almost $400 billion, compared with last year, according to the IEA’s World Energy Investment 2020 report.

Not only has the money gone, but renewables have been out-competed at the thing they are supposed to do best.

The Global Pandemic is the world’s greatest carbon reduction program since the Black Plague:

Those short-term benefits [of the Coronavirus] have been substantial. Consumption for jet fuel and gasoline, for example, declined by 50 and 30 percent, respectively, from early March to June 7, while electricity demand [...]

Freedom is closed borders, crowd limit now “30,000″

Western Australians will be allowed have 30,000 spectators at the biggest venue in the state this weekend. Phase four means half packed stadiums, nightclubs bars and gyms are all back in action. Venues will be allowed to pack in people to the two square meter rule. Phase five starts July 18th where all rules are dropped, bar two — the state border will stay shut and so will remote indigenous communities.

The state border is the reason nearly everything else within it, is close to normal. Coronavirus crisis: Stage four of roadmap allows 30,000 fans to attend football at Optus Stadium from this Saturday

 The West Australian: “Big events at these venues can be organised over the next few weeks. Western Australians will hold the largest crowds in the country by far.

Suddenly open borders doesn’t look so appealling to NSW

All states in Australia closed their borders, except for New South Wales and  Victoria. For the last month the states with the most virus to share have been demanding the states without virus open up their borders. But after 160 new infections in Victoria this week, the Premier of NSW is now advising constituents not to visit [...]

Protest hypocrisy blows away social distancing. How much did that feed second waves?

As lockdown restrictions are released, and social distancing is blown away by riots and rallies, the virus is coming back in some parts.

Victoria gets 25 new cases, cancels “reboot” and ramps up restrictions again

Two weeks after restrictions were partially released and the BLM rallies took place in Melbourne, the surge comes. Actual spread at the BLM rallies is hard to pin down but the rank hypocrisy that allowed the rallies to take place skewered the community commitment to social distancing. With thousands congregating, almost entirely without fines and in breach of the rules, no wonder family gatherings grew. People had given up so much during the lockdown, but indulgent rally organizers could not delay the rallies by another month, or shift them to an online form.

Among a new string of coronavirus cases in Victoria are people who knew they were infected but continued to work and socialise anyway, Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed.   The state will reintroduce restrictions after recording another 25 new coronavirus cases in the past day, with concerns that a second wave of COVID-19 is possible.

Blaming families seems a bit rich given the flagrant disregard shown by protestors and the politicians, [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Asymptomatic covid patients with no symptoms still get lung damage

Results from China, Japan, and USA show that half or more of asymptomatic cases have lung damage

Asymptomatic cases show a weaker immune response. In a small study in China, the asymptomatic cases had a lower, slower immune response, which means they shed virus for longer than the symptomatic cases, perhaps even as long as 14 days. Though the presence of viral RNA does not necessarily mean they can infect other people. It may be fragments of the whole virus.

a, CT scan of a 45-year-old female showing focal ground-glass opacities in the lower lobe of the left lung (arrow). b, CT scan of a 50-year-old female showing ground-glass opacities and stripes coexisting in the lower lobe of the right lung (arrows).

Below, a Scripps review found the rate of lung damage was as high as 70% of asymptomatic cases. Both these studies are small, non randomized, retrospective studies.

It’s not surprising that people might not notice that their lungs were underperfoming. We have so much extra lung capacity for day to day living that many people don’t notice damage.  In cases of lung cancer, people are often not diagnosed until they are in an advanced late stage.  Presumably, [...]

SA: Still at risk of blackout, one third of solar PV “switching off” to save state, needs $1.5b interconnector bandaid to NSW

A $1,500 million dollar emergency line  is needed to rescue South Australia from renewable blackouts.  Image: Marcus Wong Wongm

 

Why do so few see the enormous subsidy cost of keeping the South Australian electricity experiment alive?

Having got too much intermittent, unreliable electricity, the state is still in danger of another statewide blackout. One third of the solar panels on homes are being switched off automatically because the electricity they provide is not just useless, but dangerous. What the state needs is baseload power, but the solution we’re told is to spend another incredible $1.5billion dollars on an interconnector with NSW, presumably so SA gets a lifeline to the reliable coal power in Queensland.

That’s a $1,500,000,000 repair bill for an unreliable system that cost a fortune to build, but is unsustainable without a giant bandaid.

Price rises coming in NSW and QLD:

As more unreliable generation and random green electrons infect the NSW and Qld grids, their cheap baseload providers will also find it harder to compete. The increased downtime will chew out some of their profit margins, but their costs will be almost the same. So, as sure as the sun rises, they will have to raise their [...]

Friday Open Thread