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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Video: Flies Laying Eggs

The Risk-Monger @zaruk 

It is quite fascinating to watch the how many eggs a fly can lay:



As you watch this, tell me again why you are so strongly against plastic packaging and other forms of food hygiene.

IARCgate: Shouldn’t IARC Stop Lying?

on

Outgoing IARC Director, Christopher Wild, refused to attend the US House Science Committee hearing into the IARCgate scandal. In actions of arrogance never seen before at any UN agency, Wild is snubbing IARC’s single largest funder. To make matters worse, several days ago (on January 11), Wild wrote a regrettably undiplomatic letter to the honourable US Congressional leaders in language that was terse, insulting, demeaning and factually incorrect. As IARC is searching for a new head for this moral train-wreck of an agency, Wild seems determined to leave it in tatters.

As US lawmakers are surely befuddled by such ill-chosen lack of decorum (and by present standards in DC, that is saying something!), the Risk-Monger thought it worthwhile to be the one to answer to Chris Wild’s outrageous claims, trickery and misinformation. The following read-through of Wild’s loathe-letter to America will hopefully shine some light on how horrible IARC has become.  It highlights six different ways Chris Wild, in his letter, lied to the US Congress........To Read More...

Naturopathic Cult Populism

on

This is Part 2 of the Insignificant Trilogy.

We are witnessing a rapid rise in naturopathic populism.
  • Up to two thirds of Americans are using non-conventional methods to treat cancer. Naturopathic doctors (see an excellent overview) wear white coats, work in clinics and deceptively offer a simple, painless, ineffective alternative to modern medicine.
  • Four in ten in France do not believe vaccines are safe (there is presently a deadly measles epidemic in one French region) and vaccine safety has become an election issue in Italy. Measles cases are up 300% with 20,000 victims last year.
  • Sales in organic food, unregulated supplements and bogus detox programmes have been rising exponentially. These marketing opportunists have attracted the big food manufacturers and brands to move into the organic food space to cash in on financial margins built on fear and lies.
  • It is almost impossible to find a policymaker today in Europe who will stand up and publicly support agricultural technologies (pesticides, fertilisers, plant breeding).
Over the last decade, there has been a concerted attack on scientific expertise, authorities and conventional practices by a coalition of gurus, anti-industry campaigners, interest groups and environmental NGOs. Naturopaths (defined broadly as those blindly favouring natural methods, substances and treatments over conventional scientific ones) operate across a wide range of disciplines from homeopathy, alternative medicine, organic food and supplements, utilising a network of retailers, producers, lobbyists and media actors.

They are zealots (eco-religious fundamentalists) putting forward a naturopathic populism based on fear campaigns, simplistic alternatives and outright lies. Anti-vaxx, anti-chemicals, anti-pharma, anti-industry, anti-trade, anti-science … these agitators have done well by fostering doubts and distrust of experts and regulators while raising an heroic profile of the brave naturopathic guru leading individuals who resists the status quo. This blog will consider how their techniques fit within a populist cult playbook.......To Read More....

Climate Change Weekly #276

Carbon Tax Cabal, Part One: Economic Punishment

H. Sterling Burnett

Last month, Congress joined with President Donald Trump to deliver a substantial tax cut to the American people. Leaving more money in the hands of the people, instead of under the thumb of government bureaucrats, is always a good idea.

This particular tax cut is already paying dividends as retirement funds and stock portfolios have boomed, corporations are repatriating billions of dollars they sheltered overseas, multiple companies have indicated they are going to invest right here in America with new factories and business expansion, and millions of workers have reaped benefits totaling thousands of dollars each in tax cut bonuses, stock options, etc.

Because of these evident benefits, it might surprise you to hear some liberal governors and members of Congress are already angling to raise taxes once again.

In this essay, I discuss why various proposed carbon taxes can’t work as promised and would be unfair. In the next edition of Climate Change Weekly, I will explain why any carbon tax scheme is doomed to fail and would be immoral.

The governors of Washington and Oregon and Democrat members of Congress are pushing bills to raise the price of energy through a tax on carbon dioxide emissions or by establishing a cap on carbon dioxide emissions and forcing industry and businesses to buy allowances to emit carbon. Capping carbon dioxide emissions and selling allowances to emit certain amounts of carbon dioxide is just a carbon (dioxide) tax by another name.

These tax schemes penalize the use of the cheap, abundant energy sources which built the modern, prosperous economy and are largely responsible for pulling the United States out of 2008 recession. While the rest of the U.S. economy was foundering, the fracking revolution brought about tremendous growth in domestic oil and natural gas production, dramatically reducing energy prices in the process. Lower energy prices helped raise the economy out of the depths of the recession. Energy is the lifeblood of any economy. Economies and people with access to relatively cheap, abundant, reliable energy resources prosper and are freer than those lacking the same. As a result, a carbon dioxide tax is a tax on freedom and prosperity.

In addition, carbon dioxide taxes are regressive, an especially pernicious tax on the poor and those on fixed incomes. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report found a $28 per ton carbon tax would cause the burden of energy costs to be 250 percent higher for the poorest one-fifth of U.S. households than for the richest one-fifth because “Low-income households spend a larger share of their income on goods and services whose prices would increase the most, such as electricity and transportation.”

The plans from Oregon and Washington substitute governments’ spending priorities for the people’s, taking money from the poorest among us to fund green energy schemes favored by the wealthy. This makes the carbon tax a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

The state of Washington’s proposed carbon tax would begin at $20 per metric ton emitted in 2019 and increase annually by 3.5 percent. It would amount to a whopping $3.35 billion tax increase over four years, in addition to a 20-cents-per-gallon increase in the cost of gasoline. The new tax revenue would then be used to fund renewable-energy programs—or so proponents claim.

In an effort to reduce regressivity, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) propose giving taxpayers the money raised from the sale of carbon allowances to industry. The U.S. Treasury department would conduct the emissions auctions, and the IRS would return the revenues to every person with a (valid, one hopes) Social Security number each quarter.

There are multiple problems with this plan. I’ll highlight just a few. First, government rarely leaves a revenue scheme alone for long. Once the federal government starts receiving the revenue, past experience shows us Congress and the President will soon decide to keep some or all of the money to finance their preferred government programs or pay down the debt. After all, gas taxes were supposed to be dedicated solely to funding roads and bridges, but legislators have siphoned money away from highways to finance bike trails, museums, visitor centers, and other programs that don’t help move people down the road quickly and safely. Hundreds of millions of dollars are diverted from road and bridge construction and repair each year, yet legislators complain current fuel taxes don’t raise enough money to maintain or expand basic infrastructure. Highways and bridges crumble while Congress raids the piggy bank to fund pet projects.

There is no reason to think Congress won’t find other uses for carbon tax revenue rather than returning it to the people as promised.

Second, even if Congress keeps its hand out of the till, it’s just a fact some of the money, probably a good portion, will be diverted to the bureaucracies involved in selling the allowances and cutting the dividend checks. No government program is cost-free.

How are we to calculate or track the amount of the dividend each individual should receive from the Internal Revenue Service each quarter? Will the government just give an equal check to everyone with a Social Security number? This would end up shorting some people, including truck drivers and others who use a lot of energy in their daily lives or at work, while overcompensating those who use little energy. On the other hand, maybe everyone will have to use their Social Security cards when purchasing gasoline or paying their utility bills, with the government assuming an additional set amount in payment for the higher costs of food and other goods for which fossil fuels are used in creation and transportation.

The carbon (dioxide) scheme would also result in higher policing costs: the criminal-justice system would have to deal with carbon cheats, efforts by organized criminal groups to profit by creating false Social Security numbers for illegal aliens, and attempts to sell fake carbon allowances to companies. In addition, some companies will almost certainly try to underreport their emissions, necessitating more bureaucracy, investigation, and recordkeeping costs.

Just as with every other government program, there will be huge transaction costs for collecting, tracking, auditing, and archiving taxes paid and rebates paid out. New employees will have to be hired, or existing federal government workers will have to divert their time from other responsibilities to focus on selling carbon (dioxide) allowances, policing the program, and sending out the quarterly dividends.

These and other costs will eat up billions of dollars each year. Unless these costs are paid directly out of the revenues from the sale of the allowances—in which case all the revenues will not be returned to taxpayers as promised—then the government will have to impose other taxes or take on additional debt to pay for the program.

Third, although the fees paid by companies buying carbon allowances could, in theory, be returned to taxpayers, that would still not reimburse people for the higher energy prices they will pay as a result of the program. As fossil fuel use is limited under the carbon cap, more expensive, less reliable, alternative energy sources will have to be substituted. Wind and solar power are many times more expensive, than coal and natural gas, so prices will rise because of the need to purchase allowances and because higher-cost energy sources are substituted, an amount not accounted for in this energy tax scheme.

Whatever the system—a straight tax or a cap and refund system—these government-imposed restrictions on fossil fuel use will cost billions, reducing people’s disposable income and making it harder for U.S. businesses to compete around the world.

Climate Realist to Chair EU Environment Council

Neno Dimov, Bulgaria’s Environment Minister, ascended to the presidency of the European Union’s (EU) Environment Council on January 1. Dimov previously served as Bulgaria’s deputy minister of the environment, from 1997 to 2002, simultaneously serving as a member of the management board for the EU’s European Environment Agency, which is comparable to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dimov is unique as an Environment Council president because he is an explicit climate skeptic, or realist.

Like U.S. President Trump, whom he has told the press he admires, Dimov is known for arguing environmental protection must be balanced against economic growth. In his book From Environmentalism to Freedom (2012), Dimov argues EU environmental regulations have gone too far, harming people and the economy for little or no environmental gain.

Forbes reports Dimov has said in myriad interviews the theory of global warming is being used as a tool of intimidation. In a May 2017 television interview, Dimov said, “Climate change is a scientific debatŠµ; there is no consensus, and every part has arguments,” and said he disagrees with the theory. In an online video from 2015, Dimov says global warming is a “fraud … used to scare the people. The melting of the ice will not raise the sea level even a millimeter.” In the same video, Dimov also said, “The main factor for climate change is solar activity.”

SOURCE: Forbes

Germany, Other EU Members Miss Emission Targets

Germany is leading a parade of EU member states falling behind in their carbon dioxide reduction goals under the Paris climate agreement. The Wall Street Journal reports Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Malta have each fallen behind in reducing emissions, with Germany facing the largest gap between commitments and current emission levels. In early 2018, Germany announced it would miss its target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Germany announced in 2016 its emissions rose for the second year in a row, emitting 2.6 million tons more greenhouse gases than in 2015. A government spokesman announced, “The environment ministry is preparing itself to purchase emission allowances from countries that have surpluses in the coming years.”

A report commissioned by the BDI German industry group estimates meeting Germany’s share of the EU’s overall long-term target of cutting emissions 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 would cost Germany $1.2 trillion. This price will rise if Germany’s emissions continue their upward trajectory in the short term. SOURCES: The Wall Street JournalClimate Change News


Pentagon Drops Climate From Defense Concerns

The Pentagon released its 2018 National Defense Strategy, and for the first time since 2008, it doesn’t mention anthropogenic global warming as a national security threat. The Daily Callerreports the Huffington Post did a keyword search of the National Defense Strategy’s 11-page summary and found neither “global warming” nor “climate change” was mentioned.

In 2008, the Bush administration added global warming to the defense strategy for the first time, with the Obama administration expanding on that in subsequent years. The 2018 report follows the National Security strategy released by the Trump administration in December 2017, deemphasizing climate change as a security threat. The National Defense Strategy’s discussion of energy issues is brief, saying the United States would “foster a stable and secure Middle East” and “[contribute] to stable global energy markets and secure trade routes."  SOURCES: The Daily CallerNational Defense Strategy

University sued after censuring a scientist for criticizing great barrier reef alarmism

February 1, 2018 by , 1 Comment @ CFACT

 

Professor Peter Ridd, a noted coral reef expert, is suing an Australian university for violating his academic freedom by censuring him for being critical of research hyping the “death” of the Great Barrier Reef.
James Cook University, where Ridd works, issued a “final censure” against the geophysicist for not acting in a “collegial” manner during an August interview with Sky News over the quality of science on the Great Barrier Reef.

This isn’t the first time James Cook University has censured Ridd for being critical of scientists hyping the “death” of the Great Barrier Reef. But this time, Ridd is fighting back.


Ridd has filed suit against his employer, arguing they are violating his academic freedom. Ridd said the censure “is unacceptable” and “flies in the face of my instinct for truth and honesty, and my academic freedom,” according to a GoFundMe.com page to raise money for his legal fight.

 The whole controversy started in 2016 when a strong El Nino warming event pushed up ocean temperatures surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, causing a massive bleaching event that consumed much of its northern reaches.
 
Scientists studying the reef came out with studies warning the bleaching had affected 93 percent of the reef, and follow-up studies claimed 67 percent of northern shallow reefs had died. The news coverage only heightened the alarm, pointing the finger at man-made global warming.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies put out some of the more alarming studies on the reef that got the most media coverage. ARC reef expert Terry Hughes was quoted in many papers warning about the impacts of global warming.

“Climate change is not a future threat,” Hughes told The New York Times last year. “On the Great Barrier Reef, it’s been happening for 18 years.”


 Ridd criticized the quality of ARC’s research in an interview with Sky News in August 2017. Ridd was invited to come on air to discuss a chapter he wrote for the book “Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” which was published by the Institute of Public Affairs, an Aussie think tank.
 
“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more,” Ridd told Sky News.

“I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef,” Ridd said. “I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.”

James Cook University said Ridd’s comments denigrated the university’s reputation, despite no individual researchers being mentioned nor the fact that Ridd worked for the school.

“At no point in my Sky News interview did I name the university where I work or any of my colleagues. Nor did I make any statements which I believe to be untrue,” Ridd wrote on his fundraising page.

Ridd said his comments in the interview were based on peer-reviewed research he published and are shared by other experts in the field.

“My point was about academic integrity and scientific research, which I am entitled to make under the intellectual freedom provisions of my employment agreement,” Ridd said.

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller

NPR Is Seeking a Science Editor. Science Education Not Required.

By Alex Berezow — February 5, 2018 @ American Council on Science and Health

The job ad is appalling.

NPR, which to its credit at least attempts to cover science and health, is looking for a new Science Editor. Unfortunately, actually being trained in science is not required for the job.

Under the qualifications section, the ad says, "Education: Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience." Amazingly, not only is a background in science unnecessary, college itself is optional. Despite such a low bar, whoever gets hired for the job will be responsible for covering "consumer health trends, medicine, public health, biotech and health policy." Seriously?

The only substantive qualification in the ad is "broad and deep experience reporting and editing stories on health, medicine and science." But that's so vague, it could mean nearly anything. Whoever wrote "13 Amazing Sex Tips From Around The World" for Cosmopolitan would probably be qualified.

Journalists and editors pay lip service to the notion that society needs better science communication, but their actions prove they don't mean it. Why hire a Ph.D. or a person with a bachelor's degree in science when it's cheaper and easier to hire a social media intern who has spent the last few years copying-and-pasting press releases about scary toxins and miracle vegetables?
If you've ever wondered why science journalism is so incredibly bad, this is why. (It's also one reason why we ranked NPR's science coverage rather poorly.) But it's not just NPR. It's almost all of journalism.

KCTS, the PBS affiliate in Seattle, has a job ad for Science/Environment Producer. Once again, neither a background in science or even a college degree is required. Instead, the jaw-dropping ad reads:
"The ideal candidate will be an experienced field producer with a deep understanding of Northwest environmental issues, including urban sustainability and environmental justice."
In other words, the ideal candidate works for Greenpeace or Sierra Club in policy issues rather than accepting science.

A few years ago, I spoke with one of the head editors at The Economist. He told me that the newspaper rarely hires anyone with a journalism degree. Why? Because in Britain, journalists are expected to major in "something real." Then, they can be taught the craft of journalism on the job.
Until more media outlets adopt that very sensible standard, we can expect (science) journalism to continue to fail us miserably.

Has Scott Pruitt Brought Armageddon to the EPA?

Calvin Beisner  

According to two former Administrators, current federal Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has set the agency back by anything from several years to as much as three decades due to “regulatory rollbacks, mass attrition and budget cuts."

That sounds ominous. It isn’t.

At present EPA is operating under FY2017 funding levels. While projected FY2018 funding cuts will be substantial, they have not yet taken place.

The FY2018 budget’s 28% reduction for the Superfund program and $427 million cut to geographic programs such as the Great Lakes, Puget Sound, and Chesapeake Bay are reasons for concern. But EPA is known for its vast labyrinth of complex and convoluted regulations. Like any federal agency, it has bloat and inefficiency, problems endemic to large bureaucracies. So some rollback of regulations is welcome........To Read More....