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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Green Notes

"Federal agencies are charged with interpreting and implementing laws passed by Congress. They can promulgate two types of regulations: rules, which are binding regulations with the full force of law, and guidance, which interpret rules and are not binding. Rules must go through a public notice-and-comment period; guidance does not. To revoke a rule, an agency must once again undertake the notice-and-comment process, allowing opponents to intervene, protest, or sue. (Congress can also overturn recently finalized rules.) To revoke guidance, an agency need only issue a memo declaring the guidance to be null."



Colony Collapse Disorder and the Endangered Species Act
Global Warming
Pesticides and Good Health
Scientific Integrity




Dear Mr. President: Please Exit Paris

Are you are still wondering whether to Exit Paris? Overseas and US officials, environmentalists and bureaucrats urge you to Remain. But you promised voters you would Exit. Please keep your promises.

Exit Paris isn’t about the environment. It’s about letting us utilize our fossil fuel energy to create jobs, rebuild our economy, and Make America Great Again. It’s about avoiding immense transfer payments from the USA to foreign governments, bureaucrats and parties unaccountable to Trump-voting taxpayers.

Worse, even if the USA Remains, and the repulsive payments flow, Paris offers no help in removing real air pollutants. Carbon dioxide isn’t one of them, by the way: it’s plant food, not poison.

Exit Paris: Business

Some high profile American companies recently signed a note urging Remain. Follow the money. Many leaders of those companies didn’t support your election and voted Hillary. And they expect to get billions from us taxpayers and consumers, for locking up our fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy.

We who voted Trump, your base, want Exit. Just as you promised.

Remain, so that we maintain markets for American energy technologies? Some companies will make off like bandits. The rest of us will get skewered. Global buyers of energy systems understand the benefits of America’s world-beating fossil technologies. They understand the life-cycle value of after-sales support poorly delivered by our international competitors. Trust Chinese warranties? We don’t either.

Why ask corporations about Remain or Exit Paris? They pass Remain-driven energy costs on to consumers. Instead, ask consumers about ever-increasing energy bills. You’ll get a different answer.

Corporations have shareholders in the USA, of course, and some of them elected you. But corporations also have European shareholders. Corporations there must survive political economies aligned with Paris’s unaccountable bureaucratic control of energy, jobs, economic growth and living standards. You have to choose: shareholders, entrepreneurs, consumers and families – or rent seekers and bureaucrats.

Renewable energy lobbyists, Obama holdovers – and misguided souls in your own administration – say Remain, to keep a seat at the table. That’s nonsense. Businesses were flogged by the past administration and no longer recognize their obligations to shareholders, much less to societies they are supposed to serve with reliable, affordable power that creates and preserves jobs.

Those companies responded to incentives in a massively hostile American political economy. Those hostilities represent decades-long campaigns by anti-energy groups that got rich while claiming to represent shareholders, and by foreign governments seeking transfer payments. You promised change.

Exit Paris: Group of Seven

Mr. President, you’ll be pressured mightily at the G7 to Remain Paris. Hugely-invested and conflicted world leaders will give you no peace. Your delegation will hound you. Keep your Exit staff close. Why?

Because America got snookered into signing the Arctic Council’s May 11, 2017, Fairbanks Declaration. Now the same pro-Remain forces will claim America wants that language. What language?

Start with Perambulatory Paragraphs 8 and 9: “Reaffirming the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the need for their realization by 2030.” And this: “U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 13.a: Implement the commitment undertaken by developed country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible.”

They want to take our money, while they shackle our economy. But there’s more.

Paragraph 31 (p. 6): “…we welcome the updated assessment of Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic, note with concern its findings, and adopt its recommendations.…The Arctic states, permanent participants, and observers to the Arctic Council, should individually and collectively lead global efforts for an early, ambitious, and full implementation of the Paris COP21 Agreement….”

Your State Department Obama-carry-overs slipped this one past their boss, Secretary Tillerson – and you, by extension. This is where the real art of the deal comes in. Take a leadership role and terminate this. Don’t get sandbagged. Don’t sandbag the people who voted for you. Resist the pressures you’ll face in Sicily. Anything but Exit Paris undermines your credibility and betrays voter trust and America’s future.

Exit Paris: Diplomacy

One reason cited to Remain Paris and Remain UNFCCC and their climate treaties is to “avoid diplomatic blowback.” There certainly will be that, but it’s a cost far more easily borne than the sum of what we paid yesterday and will be told we must pay tomorrow in lost energy, jobs and money. Follow the money:

Emerging nations want the USA to Remain because they expect billions in cash from us every year – plus free technology transfers – at US corporate, taxpayer and consumer expense. Advanced countries want us to Remain because we will inadvertently fund and sign onto programs that they use to seize ever-greater bureaucratic control over energy, resources, jobs and living standards, within their own borders and ours.

The Chinese want us to Remain because it protects access to our market for energy technologies. Do you believe Chinese press releases and speeches that claim they are switching massively to renewable energy? Neither do we. But we see them building more coal-fired power plants in China, Africa and elsewhere.

Europeans want us to Remain in Paris to ensure that our fossil fuels, energy prices, economy, jobs, living standards and ability to compete globally are as shackled by climate insanity as theirs already are.

Some say Remain Paris for a seat at the table. Will the planet otherwise forget American leadership? Better that the deal crumbles without us making huge transfer payments and shackling our economy. Even better is that you lead America and the world back from the climate hysteria precipice.

Anti-America, anti-energy forces unite at the UN and its UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its director, Ambassador Espinosa of Mexico, spoke recently at Georgetown University – to advocate greater bureaucratic control over energy, natural resources, jobs, living standards and human lives. The past administration was in lock-step with this. You should absolutely be against every part of it.

Exit Paris: Science

Paris is a horrible idea, since unassailable empirical evidence demonstrates that: Carbon dioxide makes plants grow faster and better. Atmospheric CO2 levels trail rather than lead warming. Water vapor is a much more potent greenhouse gas. Thanks to carbon dioxide, agricultural productivity has increased over recent decades by over $3.2 trillion. Scientists project up to $10 trillion more in improved crop yields over the coming decades.

Climate science is absolutely not settled. Smart scientists who support you prove there’s no credible path to climate cataclysm due to fossil fuel use and CO2 increases. Doomsayers have gotten rich by peddling false, alarmist, anti-scientific claims, while the rest of us have suffered. This must not continue.

To support Exit Paris, you should reverse the absurd, scientifically unsupportable claim that carbon dioxide “endangers” our welfare. Doing that will substantially remove the ability of subsequent administrations to restore policies that demonize fossil fuels and CO2. Many of the policies addressed and corrected by your recent environmental Executive Order are vulnerable until the endangerment finding disappears. Much of the mischief and job killing of the last eight years can be laid at that doorstep.

Exit Paris, because even outgoing EPA officials admit it will not noticeably affect Earth’s temperature.

Exit Paris: US Politics

Paris intentionally provides for ever-tightening restrictions on American citizens and businesses – thus far with no vote by us or the Senate. Who rewrote our Constitution to allow a president, in his final days in office, to impose such a far reaching treaty on us without our advice, consent, approval or vote?

If you need Exit support of fellow elected officials or a constitutional avenue, submit Remain Paris to the Senate. The measure will crash on that rocky shore, giving you all the support you need to Exit Paris.

Your voters heard you promise to Exit Paris. The support you still enjoy from your voters is because we see that you are keeping your promises. Keep this one, too, Mr. President.

Please Exit Paris. Those who voted for you will remember and approve. Those who detest and resist you will still detest and resist you if you Remain.

Thank you for considering our heartfelt analysis.

Sincerely,

Paul K. Driessen and Mark J. Carr

Driessen is an environmental policy analyst and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death. Carr consults on energy, environmental, transportation and agricultural policy. (To contact President Trump about this vitally important Exit Paris issue, go here to sign CFACT’s Say No to Paris petition.)


Exiting the Mad Hatter’s climate tea party

Trump was 100% right (not just 97%) to show real leadership and walk away from Paris

Paul Driessen
 
I can guess why a raven is like a writing-desk, Alice said. “Do you mean you think you can find out the answer?” said the March Hare. “Exactly so,” said Alice. “Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice replied. “At least I mean what I say. That's the same thing, you know.”
 
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!” “You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!” “It IS the same thing with you,” said the Hatter.
 
Can you imagine stumbling upon the Mad Hatter’s tea party, watching as the discussions become increasingly absurd – and yet wanting a permanent seat at the table? Could Lewis Carroll have been having nightmares about the Paris climate treaty when he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
 
President Trump was 100% correct (not just 97%) when he showed true leadership this week – and walked America away from the madness laid out before him and us on the Paris climate table.
 
From suggestions that Earth’s climate was balmy and stable until the modern industrial era, to assertions that humans can prevent climate change and extreme weather events by controlling atmospheric carbon dioxide levels – to claims that withdrawing from Paris would “imperil our planet’s very survival” – the entire process has been driven by computer models and hysteria that have no basis in empirical science.
 
There is no convincing real-world evidence that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide has replaced the powerful natural forces that have driven Earth’s climate from time immemorial. Moreover, even if the United States totally eliminated its fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 levels would continue to climb. China and India are building new coal-fired power plants at a feverish clip. So is Germany. And China is financing or building dozens of additional coal-burning electricity generators in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
 
Plus, even if alarmists are right about CO2, and every nation met its commitments under Paris, average planetary temperatures in 2100 would be just 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.3 F) lower than if we did nothing.
 
But “our closest allies” wanted Trump to abide by Obama’s commitment. Some did, because they want America to shackle its economy and drive energy prices into the stratosphere the same way they have. Others dearly want to follow a real leader, and walk away from the mad Paris tea party themselves.
 
But even poor countries signed the Paris treaty. Yes, they did – because they are under no obligation to reduce their coal, oil or natural gas use or their CO2 emissions. And because they were promised $100 billion a year in cash, plus free state-of-the-art energy technologies, from developed nations that would have become FMCs (formerly rich countries) as they slashed their energy use and de-industrialized.
 
But the Paris climate treaty was voluntary; the United States wouldn’t have to do all this. Right. Just like it’s voluntary for you to pay your taxes. China, India and poor developing countries don’t have to do anything. But the USA would have been obligated to slash its oil, gas and coal use and carbon dioxide emissions. It could impose tougher restrictions, but it could not weaken them. And make no mistake: our laws, Constitution, legal system, the Treaty on Treaties and endless lawsuits by environmentalist pressure groups before friendly judges would have ensured compliance and ever more punishing restrictions. 
 
But hundreds of companies say we should have remained in Paris. Of course they do. Follow the money.
 
If we are to avoid a climate cataclysm, “leading experts” say, the world must impose a $4-trillion-per-year global carbon tax, and spend $6.5 trillion a year until 2030 to switch every nation on Earth from fossil fuels to renewable energy. That’s a lot of loot for bankers, bureaucrats and crony corporatists.
 
But, they assure us, this transition and spending would bring unimaginable job creation and prosperity. If you believe that, you’d feel right at home in Alice’s Wonderland and Looking Glass world.
 
Who do you suppose would pay those princely sums? Whose jobs would be secure, and whose would be expendable: sacrificed on the altar of climate alarmism? Here’s the Planet Earth reality.
 
Right now, fossil fuels provide 80% of all the energy consumed in the USA – reliably and affordably, from relatively small land areas. Wind and solar account for 2% of overall energy needs, expensively and intermittently, from facilities across millions of acres. Biofuels provide 3% – mostly from corn grown on nearly 40 million acres. About 3% comes from hydroelectric, 3% from wood and trash, 9% from nuclear.
 
Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and other states that generate electricity with our abundant coal and natural gas pay 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. California, Connecticut, New York and other states that impose wind, solar and anti-fossil fuel mandates pay 15 to 18 cents. Families in closely allied ultra-green Euro countries pay an average of 26 US cents per kWh, but 36 cents in Germany, 37 cents in Denmark.
 
EU manufacturers are already warning that these prices could send companies, factories, jobs and CO2 emissions to China and other non-Euro countries. EU electricity prices have skyrocketed 55% since 2005; 40% of UK households are cutting back on food and other essentials, to pay for electricity; a tenth of all EU families now live in green energy poverty. Elderly people are dying because they can’t afford heat!
 
The Paris treaty would have done the same to the United States, and worse.
 
The Heritage Foundation says Paris restrictions would cost average US families $30,000 in cumulative higher electricity prices over the next decade. How much of their rent, mortgage, medical, food, clothing, college and retirement budgets would they cut? Paris would eliminate 400,000 high-pay manufacturing, construction and other jobs – and shrink the US economy by $2.5 trillion by 2027. Other analysts put the costs of remaining in Paris much higher than this – again for no climate or environmental benefits.
 
Big hospitals like Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, NC and Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Northern Virginia pay about $1.5 million per year at 9 cents/kWh – but $3 million annually at 18 cents … $5 million at 30 cents … and nearly $7 million at 40 cents. How many jobs and medical services would those rate hikes wipe out?
 
Malls, factories and entire energy-intensive industries would be eliminated. Like families and small businesses, they would also face the new reality of having pricey electricity when it happens to be available, off and on all day, all week, when the wind blows or sun shines, instead of when it’s needed. Drilling and fracking, gasoline and diesel prices, trucking and travel, would also have been hard hit.
 
Americans are largely prohibited from mining iron, gold, copper, rare earth and other metals in the USA. Paris treaty energy prices and disruptions would have ensured that American workers could not turn metals from anywhere into anything – not even wind turbines, solar panels or ethanol distillation plants.
 
Most of the “bountiful” renewable energy utopia jobs would have been transporting, installing and maintaining wind turbines and solar panels made in China. Even growing corn and converting it to ethanol would have been made cost-prohibitive. But there would have been jobs for bureaucrats who write and enforce the anti-energy rules – and process millions of new unemployment and welfare checks.
 
Simply put, the Paris climate treaty was a terrible deal for the United States: all pain, no gain, no jobs, no future for the vast majority of Americans – with benefits flowing only to politicians, bureaucrats and crony capitalists. President Trump refused to ignore the realities of this economic suicide pact, this attempted global government control of lives, livelihoods and living standards of people everywhere.
 
That is why he formally declared that the United States is withdrawing from the treaty. He could now submit it for advice, consent – and rejection – by the Senate. He could also withdraw the United States from the underlying UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or negotiate that reflects empirical science and is fair to America and its families and workers. But what is really important now is this:
 
We are out of Paris! President Trump is leading the world back from the climate insanity precipice.
 
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

The Corrupt Climate Deal is all about Wealth Redistribution, Not the Environment

By The Common Constitutionalist June 2, 2017

President Trump has officially pulled us out of the Paris Wealth-Distribution Treaty. Hooray for the President! Yesterday, as many have heard, Trump said:
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord…”
 Well that’s terrific, or at least it would have been if he had ended there and simply said “thank you and have a nice day.” But he didn’t. His campaign promise was to pull out completely and leave it at that.

Yet he kind of left the door open by next saying:

“…but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or really an entirely new transaction, on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers…”
But why not just slam the door closed on this scam? Why leave the door open even a crack? Trump has exclaimed many times that he doesn’t believe in man-caused global warming. If this is indeed the case, what is there to “negotiate?”......To Read More...

Dear EWG, Why Are You Shaking Down Companies to Get on Your 'Verified' List?

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This holds true for individuals, companies, and NGOs. Let's focus on the Environmental Working Group. Although their science is generally appalling, they sure have marketing down to an art. 
This can, in no way, be more apparent than the group's new program (scam?), which is called EWG Verified™. It's actually very clever. Let's say that you own a company whose label doesn't contain the names of enough scary sounding ingredients that are not in that product. Then how will you get people will pay extra (for no good reason) to buy what you're selling? How can you step it up? Pay off EWG, and the next thing you know—bang! You're on their list of "verified products." Cool! And if you don't, well, then you're hosed. Because you and all of the other companies that sell stuff that isn't EWG Verified™ are going to look like you're putting Sarin gas in the mouthwash. EWG is nothing if not consistent. If you look at the ingredients on it "EWG Unacceptable List," pretty much all of them either 1) cause cancer, or 2) are endocrine disruptors. .....To Read More....


Dear EWG, Cinnamon Rolls Aren't Toxic

By Ana-Marija Dolaskie — June 2, 2017
 
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) loves ratings and listicles. Just take a look at their recent guide to the best and worst sunscreens, or their list of top pesticides consumers should avoid. But they must not love delicious baked goods, since they also go after cinnamon rolls, muffins, and donuts — and the supposed culprit isn't new nor surprising.

This time, the EWG zeroed-in on propyl parabens — derivatives of p-hydroxybenzoate — which they claim act as endocrine disrupters in humans. Endocrine disrupters is a term often used by activists when concrete scientific data fails to show a connection between chemicals and toxicity or carcinogens. The EWG even gives a detailed list of food items that contain propyl parabens, like Sara Lee's cinnamon rolls, Weight Watchers' cakes, and Weis' chocolate candies. In fact, the list is about the only thing they got right in their campaign since propyl parabens indeed are present in these foods. And for good reason.......To Read More.....

Dear EWG, This is Why Real Scientists Think Poorly of You

By Alex Berezow — May 25, 2017

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) uses an authoritative sounding name to peddle scientific half-truths and outright fabrications. Along with Greenpeace and PETA, it is beloved by activists but detested by scientists.

Several years ago, George Mason University surveyed 937 members of the Society of Toxicology, an association of professional toxicologists. Nearly 4 out of 5 (79%) of those responding said that EWG -- as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) -- overstate the health risks of chemicals.

Despite this vote of no confidence in EWG by the scientific community, the organization manages to scare enough people to operate a $12.5-million budget. Telling people that unseen dangers lurk in their food and inside their homes is a lucrative business.........  Read More

Paris Treaty: Big Businesses Tell Trump to Stay in, Free-Market Groups Say Get Out

By Theresa Smith June 1, 2017

The opinion of some of America’s largest companies is at odds with free-market organizations over President Trump’s eagerly-awaited decision on the Paris Agreement on climate regulations.
Twenty-four CEOs of large companies sent a letter to President Trump yesterday urging him to “keep the United States in the Paris Agreement.” However, forty-four free-market organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Eagle Forum, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute encouraged the president’s withdrawal in a letter sent on May 8:

“We, undersigned, write in enthusiastic support of your campaign commitments to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.”
 
The big-business CEOs told the president that remaining in the Paris Agreement would support U. S. competition, grow the job market from clean energy technology, and reduce the risk of infrastructure damage from climate change........To Read More.....

My Take - The reality of big business is this - they're not conservatives!  They're bottom liners, and will adopt policies that may be good for their bottom line, but disastrous in the long run.  As allies they are - at best - leaky vessels. 

Nipping a legal problem in the bud

Consult with all affected parties, to ensure informed endangered species and pesticide policies

Paul Driessen

One of my recent articles predicted that the Fish & Wildlife Service’s endangered species designation for the rusty patched bumblebee would lead to its being used to delay or block construction projects and pesticide use on hundreds of millions of acres of US farmland. The abuses have already begun.

Projects in Minnesota and elsewhere have been delayed, while people tried to ascertain that no bees were actually nesting in the areas. Now a federal district court judge has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to consult with the FWS before approving 59 products containing neonicotinoid pesticides that are used primarily as seed coatings for corn, canola, cotton, potato, sugar beet and other crops.

As crops bud and grow, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt must nip this problem in the bud. Thankfully, Judge Maxine Chesney has given them the means to do so.

The Endangered Species Act requires that EPA determine whether a pesticide “may affect” a listed species, she noted, and consult with the FWS and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS, which has no conceivable role in protecting domesticated or wild bees), before approving the 59 products, which contain the neonics clothianidin or thiamethoxam. So EPA must consult with the agencies and determine that the insecticides would have “no effect” on the species or establish stricter guidelines for using them.

The Center for Food Safety and a couple of beekeepers initiated their lawsuit to toughen restrictions on or ban use of the 59 pesticide products, because of alleged risks to bees and other pollinators. Pesticide manufacturers, their CropLife America trade association, and various farmers and beekeepers argued that these “neonic” insecticides are safe for bees, and no new measures or restrictions are needed.

Properly done, consultation would evaluate the conflicting claims and ensure more informed policies. During the Obama Administration, those consultations would likely have involved only the EPA, FWS and NMFS, where many analysts have anti-pesticide views, along with the anti-insecticide plaintiffs. The industry and other parties who intervened in the lawsuit would likely have been excluded or ignored.

But those interveners certainly bring essential expertise. So do farmers, other beekeepers, the Department of Agriculture, scientists who have been studying neonic and other threats to honeybees, and wild bee experts like Sam Droege in the Interior Department’s US Geological Survey.

Truly informed policies and regulations must involve all such experts, as well as parties who will be most affected by any EPA-DOI decisions: construction companies and unions, local government officials, conventional farmers who rely on neonics to protect their crops – and beekeepers who increasingly understand that honeybee colony losses in recent years were due to natural pests and pathogens, and that alternative pesticides are actually more harmful to bees than neonics.

Extensive studies have concluded that the actual cause of bee die-offs and “colony collapse disorders” has been a toxic mix of tiny pests (parasitic Varroa destructor mites, phorid flies, Nosema ceranae gut fungus, tobacco ringspot virus and deformed wing virus) – as well as chemicals used by beekeepers trying to control these beehive infestations. These diseases and pathogens can easily spread to wild bees.

Field studies involving crops where bees forage for pollen have consistently found no observable adverse effects on honeybees resulting from exposures to properly applied neonic seed coatings. The studies assessed neonic residues from bees and hives under actual pollinating/pollen-gathering conditions; they found that pesticide residues were well below levels that can adversely affect bees – and that neonics “did not cause any detrimental effects on the development or reproduction” of honeybee and wild bee

That should not be surprising. Coating seeds ensures that neonic pesticides are absorbed into plant tissues – and thus target only pests that actually feed on the crops. This reduces or eliminates the need to spray crops with much larger quantities of neonicotinoid, pyrethroid or other pesticides that definitely can kill birds, bats and beneficial insects that inhabit or visit the fields or are impacted by accidental “over-sprays.” Even organic farming can harm bees, as it often employs powerful, toxic “natural” chemicals (like copper sulfate) and spraying with live Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) bacteria.

Laboratory studies consistently overdose bees with pesticides, under conditions that do not come close to approximating what bees encounter in forests, grasslands or croplands. That makes their findings highly questionable to useless for devising responsible, science-based regulations.

These realities help explain the sudden attention to wild bees. When the hullabaloo over honeybee deaths and “colony collapse disorder” supposedly caused by pesticides (especially neonics) collapsed like a house of cards, eco-activists began raising alarums over wild bees species. That’s because so little is known that their latest “no wild bees – no food or flowers” claims cannot yet be refuted as convincingly as were claims about domesticated honeybees that have been bred and studied for centuries.

The FWS and Interior Department clearly opened a Pandora’s Box when they decided to list the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered (rather than merely threatened). That bee’s historic range covers nearly 4 million acres, scattered in unknown segments among 378 million acres across 13 Northeastern and Midwestern states. Other species that anti-pesticide activists want added to the endangered list (yellow-banded, western and Franklin’s bumblebees) were found historically in small areas scattered over more than a billion acres in 40 US states. Some nest in the ground; others in trees.

If environmentalists succeed in getting these endangered designations – especially coupled with a narrow consultation process – they could delay, block or bankrupt power lines, bridges, highways, pipelines, housing developments, wastewater treatment plants, plowing operations and other projects all over the USA. Non-organic farming, neonic-treated seeds, and other pesticide use could be particularly vulnerable.

The actual environmental benefits would be minimal – or profoundly negative, as farmers are forced to use other insecticides or switch to land-intensive organic methods. Additional ironies abound.

The constant environmentalist, court, news media and government agency attention to bees and pesticides is hard to understand in the context of policies that promote, mandate and subsidize large-scale wind turbine installations – while ignoring or exempting their impacts on raptors and other birds, bats, and even whales (NMFS should investigate that) and human health .

Meanwhile, extensive monoculture corn and canola plantations (to produce feed stocks for ethanol and biodiesel production) replace millions of acres of food crop and wildlife habitat lands, while using vast quantities of water, fertilizer and energy to replace the oil, coal and natural gas that rabid greens want kept in the ground. These biofuel operations reduce biodiversity and the numbers and varieties of flowering plants on which wild bee species depend. In addition, over their life cycles ethanol and biodiesel generate more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels per Btu of energy produced (see here, here and here).

Broad-based consultations are therefore essential, to ensure that all these topics are addressed by experts and affected parties who can help evaluate the science and policy implications for domesticated and wild bees, as well as for farming, construction, jobs, families and other species.

They must assess not just the alleged risks of using neonics, but also the risks of not using them, risks associated with having to use other classes of pesticides, and risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using modern neonic seed coatings. They should focus on replicable, evidence-based, field-tested science, not laboratory studies; balance agricultural, consumer and environmental needs; and consider bees in the context of how we protect (or don’t protect) other valuable wildlife species.

These steps would help restore science and common sense to policy and regulatory processes – and serve as a foundation for adjusting the Endangered Species Act to minimize regulatory and litigation excesses.

10 years after Colony Collapse Disorder scare, what have we learned about the plight of bees?

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Ten years ago, beekeepers in the United States raised the alarm that thousands of their hives were mysteriously empty of bees. What followed was global concern over a new phenomenon: Colony Collapse DisorderSince then we have realised that it was not just the US that was losing its honey bees; similar problems have manifested all over the world. To make things worse, we are also losing many of our populations of wild bees too.

Losing bees can have tragic consequences, for us as well as them. Bees are pollinators for about one-third of the plants we eat, a service that has been valued at €153 billion (US$168 billion) per year worldwide.  Ten years after the initial alarm, what is the current status of the world’s bee populations, and how far have we come towards understanding what has happened?.......To Read More

My TakeI question their figures and his conclusions. 
The real problem lies in three areas.
  1. Parasites.  It isn't just varroa mites, but there's a parasitic phorid fly that infests colonies that absolutely mimics all the sysmptoms of CCD.
  2. Pathogens.
  3. How they're handled by commercial bee keepers. 
Much of his information needs questioned and his conclusions are immaterial.  Furthermore - this issue has been fraught with scientific fraud.  Here's more information about the truth of CCD.

Scientists challenge Center for Biological Diversity report claiming wild bees near extinction

Richard Levine | April 4, 2017 | Genetic Literacy Project

The headlines, even after years of often-hyperbolic reports about an impending ‘beepocalypse’ and other bee health problems, were startling. “Hundreds of North American bee species face extinction: study,” wrote Reuters. Others, like Voice of America, published similar articles. TIME Magazine even produced a video to accompany an article titled “More than 700 North American Bee Species Are Headed Toward Extinction.”

What prompted this sudden burst in journalistic angst? The articles were based on a report released by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in early March, “Pollinators in Peril: A systematic status review of North American and Hawaiian native bees.” According to its solo author—Kelsey Kopec—749 North American wild bee species are in decline and almost half of them are at serious risk of extinction. The culprits? Habitat destruction, pesticide use, climate change, and urbanization. The CBD called it a comprehensive, “first-of-its-kind analysis.” ......To Read More....

European Commission: Scientists find neonicotinoids don’t harm bees, restrictions hurt farmers—but support permanent ban

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Every time I think the European Union’s regulatory bureaucrats have bottomed out on substance and integrity, they find a way to sink even lower.

In February, I wrote about how the European Union has rigged the evaluation of whether state-of-the-art neonicotinoid pesticides (“neonics”) are “bee-safe” by using a “Bee Guidance Review Document” whose test conditions were made deliberately impossible to satisfy. (For those of you just tuning in, neonics, introduced in the 1990’s, are currently the most widely used class of pesticides. Mainly applied as seed coatings to crops, they are taken up into the plant and selectively control only the pests that actually damage or destroy crops while minimizing exposure to humans, animals and beneficial insects—including bees.)

Since then, however, the stakes in the EU crop protection drama have only increased. The pressure from activists has intensified–as have the EU’s manipulative and dishonest regulatory machinations. (How appropriate that Machiavelli was from an EU country.)........Then, in a striking bit of Orwellian newspeak, EU health and food safety Commissioner Andriukaitis claimed that the 2013 ban was “at no time based on a direct link on bee mortality.” Rather, he explained, the ban was instituted simply because the “approval criteria were no longer satisfied”–criteria derived from the rigged, unapproved “Bee Guidance Document” mentioned above. This is the sort of bureaucratic doubletalk that has caused EU regulators to be so despised............To Read More....

My Take - It might be interesting to compare the despicable actions of EU bureaucrats and the EPA.  In 2005 the American Council on Science and Health petitioned the EPA under the Information Quality Act, which required agencies to base their regulations on the best information available, to stop declaring products carcinogenic based on rodent testing alone as that was not the best information available for that purpose. 

Months later - after giving themselves numerous extentions - the EPA responded saying these declaration didn't fall under the auspices of the IQA because they weren't based on science but EPA policy.  So the question everyone should be asking is this - if their policies aren't based on science - what's are they based on.

The EU is going to collapse and the EPA needs to be dismantled

Environmental health: Study linking chemicals and pollution to increased cancers misses mark

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Last week a colleague sent me an article in the New York Daily News titled “Increased cancer rate in US linked to bad environment” and asked my opinion of it.

The opening sentence read, “Improving the worst environments in the US could prevent 39 in every 100,000 cancer deaths.” The Daily News item refers to an article published in the journal Cancer, which is published by the American Cancer Society, and to an accompanying  editorial......To Read More........

Researchers have ditched the autism-vaccine theory. Here’s what they think actually causes it.









My Take - For years I've attempted to overcome the idea pesticides are a cause of autism and interestingly - now - that's not even being discussed.  One thing I always felt was an important clue that autism was a genetic issue was the fact autism is sexist!  Boys are more likely to suffer from autism than girls. 

That's genetics it seems to me, and that was where I thought researchers should have targeted their efforts.  Unfortunately loons like Wakefield and his loony Hollywood supporters like Robert DeNiro, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Oprah Winfrey infected the conversation and slowed the direction of good research. 

When are we going to get real with celebrities and stop listening to the clabber they spew out? I'm a big fan of "question everything", but you don't stop questioning and start answering until all the evidence is in.  The evidence wasn't in because it was fraudulent, and as usual, Hollywood bought into it lock, stock and barrel. 

I wonder if because they're so used to reading, memorizing and mouthing fiction for a living they're incapable of telling the difference any longer.

 

There is No Such thing as “Greenhouse Gasses”

By Adrian Vance May 9, 2017

“Greenhouse gas” is the label used to demonize carbon dioxide, CO2, methane, CH4 and all chloroflurocarbons.

The last two are not IR energy absorbers and there is no “greenhouse effect” in the atmosphere as gases cannot form surfaces like the glass that is responsible for greenhouses gathering and trapping heat.

If there were a shield between the Troposphere and Stratosphere it would work both ways. Sunlight would not enter, nor would any other light. Earth would be utterly dark! If there were a partial shield we would see a much greater intensity of sunlight when our rockets leave the atmosphere, but the increase is gradual and an expected function of the thinning atmosphere.

Nonetheless, every Ph.D. scientist promoting this myth talks about “the greenhouse effect” with seeming authority. They not only know better, but use the phrase as “comity code” telling peers, “Don’t out my scam and I will not expose yours,” justifying it with “We’re getting more money for science!” Ph.D. scientists universally feel they should be getting much more money from us because they are so much smarter than us! That is not the way the world works. We reward new products, processes and services. And, they are not so damn smart.......To Read More....

Settled science? 107 cancer papers retracted due to peer review fraud

New papers were found through investigations into previous fraud.  

Are neonicotinoid insecticide seed treatments endangering wild bees?

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“Federal protections may be the only thing standing between the bumble bee and extinction,” said Rebecca Riley, with the Natural Resources Defense Council, after the Trump administration released its hold in March and agreed to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered.
Bee activists are now lobbying the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list three other wild bumble bee species: the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), the yellow-banded bumble bee (Bombus terricola) and Franklin’s bumblebee (Bombus franklini).

The designation has received mixed reactions in different quarters. While some environmental groups are celebrating, making the case that all bees are facing extinction pressure and that pesticides are the main driver, the decision has stirred a backlash among some farmers and supporters of the Trump administration’s nascent infrastructure rebuild plan. The designation could require landowners and businesses to apply for special permits in areas where the bee is thought to live, opening the door for legal battles over development.

Bee health concerns

The rusty patch designation has also stirred a good deal of controversy because of questions about what might be causing the bees’ health problems and whether endangered-species status is the best approach to deal with the problem. It’s a vague statute that poses serious implications for farmers and for infrastructure improvements—and the job creation that goes with them—because they will inevitably be challenged by opposition groups........Rusty patched bumble bees are “generalists,” meaning they feed on a variety of flowering plants and can live in many different habitats, such as prairies, woodlands, marshes and agricultural landscapes. If pesticides were to blame for their problems, then we would likely observe declines in areas where pesticides are most widely used, and we would see healthy populations where they are not. However, they’ve declined in areas where pesticides are never used, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a huge area that encompasses 816 square miles. .........To Read More....

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Buying organic food to avoid pesticides? You may want to reconsider

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[Editor’s note: The Environmental Working Group released its “dirty dozen” list of pesticides on March 8, 2017. EWG is highly critical of conventional agriculture, claiming farmers’ use of ‘dangerous pesticides’ poses substantial health risks. The organization urges consumers to buy organic food, which it claims uses less pesticides. However, this is not accurate because organic fruit and vegetable farmers use non-synthetic pesticides, which can be more toxic to humans and beneficial insects than targeted synthetic pesticides. Organic pesticides are often untested. GLP]

Do you seek out organic fruits and vegetables to avoid those on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, fearful of ‘dangerous pesticide’ on conventional foods? Organic farmers use a range of  ‘natural’ pesticides, many of which have not been tested, and some more toxic than synthetic ones.......

Chemicals detected on organic samples in the 2015 PDP              
          
Acetamiprid, Ametoctradin, Azoxystrobin, Bifenazate, Bifenthrin, Boscalid, Carbendazim (MBC), Chlorantraniliprole, Chlorpropham, Chlorpyrifos, Clothianidin, Clothianidin Other, Cyazofamid, Cyhalothrin, Total (Cyhalothrin-L + R157836 epimer), Cypermethrin, Cyprodinil, DDE p,p’, DDT o,p’, DDT p,p’, Dichlorvos (DDVP), Diflubenzuron, Dimethoate, Dimethomorph, Dinotefuran, Diphenylamine (DPA), Ethoxyquin, Etoxazole, Famoxadone, Fenamidone, Fenbuconazole, Fenpropathrin, Flonicamid, Fludioxonil, Fluopicolide, Fluopyram, Imidacloprid, Iprodione, Linuron, Mandipropamid, Methomyl, Methoxyfenozide, Myclobutanil, Novaluron, O-Phenylphenol, Omethoate, Oxamyl, Oxamyl oxime, Pendimethalin, Permethrin cis, Permethrin trans, Piperonyl butoxide, Propamocarb hydrochloride, Pyraclostrobin, Pyrimethanil, Pyriproxyfen, Quinoxyfen, Spinetoram, Spinosad, Spinosad A, Spinosad D, Spirotetramat, Sulfoxaflor, Tebuconazole, Tebufenpyrad, Thiabendazole, Thiacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Triflumizole..........
 
There is, however, a rule in the organic certification system that any residue present at 5% or less of the USDA tolerance will be considered “unintentional” and thus not a reason to deny organic certification. 62.1% of the 2015 organic detections met that criterion, but interestingly so do 74.6% of the detections on non-organic samples from the US and 70.1% of the detections from imported, non-organic samples. Not so different........To Read More...
 

Insect-resistant GMO cowpeas could be available to Ghanaian farmers in 2018

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Ongoing field tests on genetically modified cowpea (Bt cowpea) have produced successful results and will be ready for commercialisation and release onto the local market in 2018.  This was revealed by Principal Investigator in charge of the research project Dr Mumuni Abdulai.  According to Dr Abdulai … the ongoing trials as part of regulatory procedures before the variety can be commercialised, is at an advanced stage.  [T]he plan is to jointly release the cowpea onto the market at the same time as the variety will be ready for release in Nigeria and Burkina Faso where trials are ongoing as well.......To Read More.....

The Schism Between Science And Science Journalism

By Hank Campbell — March 8, 2017 @ The American Council on Science and Health

The American Council on Science and Health and RealClearScience got a national dialog going about the credibility of corporate science journalism when we published our infographic ranking media companies and non-profits on how well they covered the science, and how interesting they were.

It's not easy to do both. I enjoy Physics World and MIT Technology Review, for example, but when people who curate science articles for a living say they are not "compelling" I know what they mean. They mean much of the public will not find them as accessible as USA Today or publications written for a larger audience. That means the science messages will get lost.

But is a panel of science editors wrong for putting that in a chart? It seems they are, at least if people who get a paycheck from corporations with poor showing don't like how they are identified.

Obviously these panels will be subjective but immediately the knives were out for the group. The New York Times and Mother Jones, who have never found anything wrong with hand-picked IARC committees chosen specifically to declare that pesticides cause cancer, for example, questioned the integrity of the panel itself.

Well, the panel consisted of three very experienced editors, two with Ph.D.s in science, and all with years under their belts curating science articles for millions of people per month. That is as expert as it gets yet they were considered suspect and dismissed as just "opinions." Writers for the New York Times especially rallied around their paychecks in a breathtaking display of voluntary corporate altruism.


Reject it if you want, and embrace yourself and your friends in the logical fallacy of the cloak of Pulitzers past, but in the very next Science Tuesday print edition of the New York Times we were treated to an endorsement of acupuncture (digital version last week.) This was a tiny study, it invoked useless fMRI, and it was about alternative medicine. There is nothing essential about it for a science audience, much less deserving of being in the print edition of a top five newspaper.


It was a trifecta of woo, and yet partisan political journalists at anti-science sites still defended its inclusion because, well, Harvard.


This kind of appeal to authority logical fallacy is everything that is wrong in science journalism. We shouldn't question the validity of a study on acupuncture because the writers are from Harvard?

Would Mother Jones accept a peer-reviewed study on atrazine that was done by Syngenta? Of course they wouldn't, they would actually dismiss it out-of-hand, even if every other scientist in America agreed with the findings, because Syngenta is not their political ally. Mother Jones writers are instead paid to undermine science and corporations and there is a similar anti-corporate mentality in academia. Yet when it comes to alternative medicine, which Mother Jones gets millions of dollars to advertise, their writers insist we have to give it a fair chance.

Teach the controversy! At least about the alternative medicine that Mother Jones readers and their corporate funders love.

To him, criticizing acupuncture, which has never been superior to a placebo in a double-blind clinical trial (that would instead make it medicine rather than an "alternative") is "trolling" but Mother Jones routinely dismissing the entire pro-science world as "industry front groups" is in the minds of Mother Jones writers (invariably, it is their go-to claim when they have no real argument) completely legitimate.

Why should the public trust their claims when they are clearly filtering the science they accept through the political beliefs of their readers and advertisers?

What hope does the public have for knowing who to trust?

At Nature, they discuss the hand-wringing of the New York Times, Mother Jones and others (outside academia, scientists nodded their heads in agreement) and put it in the context of a larger problem in science sensationalism (Nature 543, 150 09 March 2017 doi:10.1038/543150a - digital available now). Nature knows the real issue is that kind of sensationalism and a desire to get in corporate media, because Nature editors experience it every day. Just about every study will try to be in Nature first, and the claims they read will often be as provocative and scientifically sexy as possible. Being in a high impact journal means legitimacy. Activist groups will even groom high-profile scholars as senior authors to boost their chances of getting accepted.

Nature knows the difference, more often than not, because they have experts determining study validity, not journalists. Science is not going to come down in favor of acupuncture just because one political demographic in the audience overwhelmingly believes in it.

Compare that to corporate media, who love weak observational claims, the bolder and more ridiculous the better. It gets them attention, and that attention makes scientists want to appeal to corporate media like the New York Times writers because an appearance in the science section lends a veneer of credibility the same way appearing in Nature does. While Mother Jones writers will bow obsequiously to the name Harvard, Harvard is now bragging their acupuncture claim has been validated by the New York Times. Next, lots of woo sites selling acupuncture and other alternative facts about health will use that appearance in NYT to claim legitimacy.

Where are the New York Times science writers when it comes to objecting to this misuse of their science section? Nowhere to be found, it's a fellow insider and not to be criticized.

Science itself covers the entire cultural spectra. Science is about progress, it requires libertarian freedom to pursue, and the conclusions must be inherently conservative because peer reviewers are supposed to beSo whenever you can, get context from scientists and doctors rather than corporate journalists. Instead of trying to make corporate media more scientific, please help make independent science media like us as popular as corporate journalism.