Earth Day 2022: Gladness Expels Gloom

Cameron English explains in his ACSH article Earth Day 2022: Doomsday Isn’t Around The Corner.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

As earth day approaches, activist groups have amplified their predictions of an impending environmental disaster. A brief survey of the evidence shows that the situation isn’t nearly as dire as they claim.

Earth Day is just around the corner. Activists outfits like Environmental Working Group (EWG) are using the run-up to this annual celebration to promote fear of pesticides and, for some reason, the musings of Michelle Pfeiffer. Let’s use the time a little more wisely and consider just two examples that illustrate how much progress we’ve made in promoting human flourishing and protecting the environment.

The point of this exercise, to plagiarize myself from this time last year, is to remind the world that doomsday isn’t inevitable. As we deploy more resources to solve the very real environmental problems we face, life on this planet gets better.

Let’s start with a well-established theory from economics known as the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC): economic growth is initially accompanied by increased pollution. Over time, however, we acquire enough resources to invest in technologies that promote sustainability. As the authors of a 2020 study noted:

The EKC literature suggests that economic growth may affect environmental welfare through three different channels: scale effects, composition effects and technique effects. The growth of the economic scale would result in a proportional growth in environmental pollution, and the changes in the industrial structure would lead to the reduction of pollution intensity.

Further economic growth causes technological progress through which dirty and obsolete technologies are replaced by upgraded and cleaner technologies that improve environmental quality.

That’s a foundational point worth remembering because EWG and its ideological allies would have you believe the opposite conclusion, that our “exploitation” of earth’s resources is inherently destructive.

Evidence from all over the world exposes the folly of such thinking.
Let’s consider some examples.

Cleaner air than ever before

To enlarge, double-click image or open in new tab.

Since 1970, the EPA notes, the combined emissions of six common pollutants have plummeted by almost 80 percent, facilitating “dramatic improvements in the quality of the air that we breathe,” the agency added. To get more specific:

Between 1990 and 2020, national concentrations of air pollutants improved 73 percent for carbon monoxide, 86 percent for lead (from 2010), 61 percent for annual nitrogen dioxide, 25 percent for ozone, 26 percent for 24-hour coarse particle concentrations, 41 percent for annual fine particles (from 2000), and 91 percent for sulfur dioxide.

The EPA attempted to pat itself on the back by attributing these declines to its regulatory actions. But that analysis is incomplete. [Unmentioned was the fact consumption of clean-burning natural gas increased 23% during the same period these pollutants declined.] Meaningful environmental protection efforts don’t come cheap; wealthy countries are usually the only ones with the resources to reduce pollution. There’s a tight correlation between a nation’s GDP and the number of deaths attributed to outdoor pollution.

To enlarge, double-click image or open in new tab.

Our World in Data drew two very important observations out of these numbers; both point to the importance of economic growth as a weapon against pollution. Death rates tend to be lowest in the poorest and wealthiest countries. Nations with higher death rates, India, for instance, are often emerging economies that haven’t yet turned their attention to pollution reduction. There are some outliers to this trend, of course. Certain countries have high rates of pollution but low rates of respiratory mortality, Our World Data also explained:

Countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and the UAE have a comparably lower risk of premature death, despite high levels of pollution. They do, however, have a significantly higher GDP per capita than their neighbors … Overall health, wellbeing and healthcare/medical standards in these nations significantly reduce the risk of mortality from respiratory illness.

Sustainable food production increasing

In response to critics of animal agriculture, I’ve recently noted that the environmental footprint of food production is significantly smaller in developed countries. The trend is similar whether we consider the amount of land dedicated to farming or the use of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. Even looking at agricultural carbon emissions, the ultimate boogeyman these days, we can see that economic growth fuels important reductions. Our World in Data helpfully noted that.

We see a very strong rich-poor country divide. High-income countries tend to have energy-intensive industry or service-based economies. Food systems can contribute as little as 10% to total emissions.

Another way to verify this trend is to consider the environmental impacts of local vs. global food production. The latter invites the use of technological innovations and economies of scale that offset the emissions farmers inevitably generate. Policies that unnecessarily restrict access to tools like biotech crops depress crop yields and force more land into food production, further boosting carbon emissions.

Conclusion

There are more examples of economic growth driving increases in sustainability, but the point is clear: our planet gets “greener” as we get wealthier. The warnings that we’re running out of time “to restore nature and build a healthy planet” will grow more shrill as Earth Day approaches. Just remember to take the doomsday predictions with a grain of salt and reflect on the tremendous progress we’ve made in living sustainably.

 

#1 Security Threat: Net Zero Asset Managers

Rupert Darwall writes at Real Clear Energy Woke Investors Threaten the West’s Security.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

In an era of rising geopolitical tensions, it is folly
to let Wall Street determine the nation’s energy policy.

As the West grapples with the energy implications of a hostile Sino-Russian alliance, the steering group of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, whose members manage over $10.4 trillion of assets, issued a statement urging Western governments not to sacrifice climate goals for energy security. “The world is still heading for an excess of fossil fuel-based energy use that will vastly exceed the carbon budget needed to meet the 1.5° Celsius Paris agreement goal. This trend must be halted,” the United Nations-backed alliance said in its April 8 statement, arguing that “the national security argument for accelerating the net-zero transition has strengthened considerably.”

What, one might ask, is the standing of asset managers to opine on national security matters? They have no expertise in this domain. It turns out that their understanding of the economics of energy policy is defective, too.

The Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance claims that development of new oil and gas reserves will lock in fossil fuel subsidies, exacerbating market distortions. In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2021 net-zero report states that under its net-zero pathway, tax revenues from oil and gas retail sales fall by about 40% over the next twenty years. “Managing this decline will require long-term fiscal planning and budget reforms,” the IEA warns. Similarly, Britain’s Office of Budget Responsibility estimates that net zero policies will result in the loss of tax receipts representing 1.6% of GDP. So much for the fossil fuel subsidy myth.

If fossil fuels were heavily subsidized, eliminating them would mean fossil fuel subsidies disappear. Instead, it’s tax revenues that would melt away to zero.

The net-zero investors cite figures for the decline in solar and wind energy costs. These numbers are based on so-called levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a metric that aims to measure a plant’s lifetime costs. Wind and solar power are intermittent, but LCOE metrics exclude the costs of intermittency, which increase the more wind and solar are put on the grid. Because wind and solar output responds to weather and not to demand, the value of this output declines the more installed wind and solar capacity is available. It was for these reasons that MIT professor of economics Paul Joskow concluded in a foundational 2011 paper that using LCOE metrics to compare intermittent and dispatchable generating technologies, such as coal and natural gas, is a “meaningless exercise.”  [ See proper energy costing here: Cutting Through the Fog of Renewable Power Costs ]

Wind and solar investors don’t need to understand the economics of the grid to make money – they are shielded from the intermittency costs their investments inflict on the rest of the grid, which is one reason why their views on energy policy can be taken with a pinch of salt. Their economic illiteracy does, however, make it easy for them to subscribe to the green fairy tale of 100% renewables. They’re not responsible for keeping the lights on – that depends on traditional power plants staying fueled up and ready to spin, which is what Germany can’t do without Russian gas. Adopt the net-zero alliance’s call for no new fossil-fuel investment, and the cost of energy is bound to spiral. And if the lights go out, politicians – not woke investors – get the blame.

Investors’ opinions on energy and national security would matter less if they didn’t have political power. Bloomberg opinion writer Matt Levine argues that asset managers of giant funds form a parallel system of government that exercises overlapping legislative powers with those of governments. These government-by-asset-managers, as Levine calls them, tell companies to do things they think are good for society as a whole, “making big collective decisions about how society should be run, not just business decisions but also decisions about the environment and workers’ rights and racial inequality and other controversial political topics.”

Foremost among these areas is climate policy. Although the Biden administration has set a net-zero goal, Congress has not legislated it, and it lacks the force of law. The absence of legislation passed by democratically accountable legislators, however, presents no barrier to government-by-asset-managers legislating climate policy for the companies in which they invest. “Investors are making net zero commitments for themselves and demanding that companies issue greenhouse gas reduction targets and transition plans for meeting those targets,” says the Reverend Kirsten Snow Spalding of the not-for-profit Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk and Sustainability.

Neither Spalding nor the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance make a case that forcing net-zero targets on companies will boost investor returns, demonstrating that this is not about investors’ traditional concerns – making money – but about pursuing politics by other means. In this, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is working hand in glove with woke climate investors. Commenting on the SEC’s newly proposed rule on climate-risk disclosure, Spalding says that for investors who have committed zero emissions by 2050, “this draft rule is absolutely critical.”

Unlike elected politicians, woke climate investors are not accountable for the effects of their climate policies: They exercise power without responsibility. This arrangement weakens America’s ability to respond to the geopolitical challenges of a revanchist Russia and an expansionist China. “We are on a war footing – an emergency,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm declared at the CERA energy conference in Houston last month. “We have to responsibly increase short-term supply where we can right now to stabilize the market and to minimize harm to American families.” Addressing oil executives in the audience, Granholm told them: “I hope your investors are saying these words to you as well: In this moment of crisis, we need more supply . . . right now, we need oil and gas production to rise to meet current demand.”

As Granholm suggested, woke investors have been trying to do the opposite. Despite the war in Ukraine, there has been no let-up in investor pressure on oil and gas companies to scale down their operations. Whatever criticisms might be made of the Biden administration’s handling of the war in Ukraine, it is responsible for taking the awesome decisions that war involves. Investors, by contrast, have no responsibility for the nation’s security and America’s ability to lead the West. By helping investors impose their desired energy policies on American oil and gas companies, the SEC is undermining the national security prerogatives of the Biden administration and eroding America’s ability to meet the challenges of a dangerous world. The SEC is playing in a domain that it has no business being in.

CDC’s Pandemic Failures From the Top

At Wall Street Journal Opinion Paul Gigot interviews Marty Makary about the state of covid in the US and how CDC keeps making mistakes.  A transcript of the video is provided below in italics with my bolds.  Further on there are excerpts from the Federal court ruling CDC’s transportation mask mandate unconstitutional.

Gigot:  Under fire for its handling of the Covid19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky announced plans this week to revamp the embattled agency saying in an email quote it is time to step back and strategically position CDC to support the future of public health. Since the pandemic began more than two years ago, the agency has come under increasing criticism for its response, from initial delays developing a coronavirus test, to the agency’s often unclear guidanceon masking, isolation and quarantine and now booster shots.

Let’s bring in Dr. Marty Makary. He’s a professor at the John Hopkins Schools of Medicine and a Fox News contributor. Welcome Doctor. Look, what do you make of this plan to revamp the CDC. It’s hard for me to recall an agency that was supposed to meet a crisis, I mean this agency was designed for that. And yet their reputation is in tatters. What do they need to do?

Makary: Well many of the problems are structural, but they have 21,000 employees and an $11 billion budget. It’s not the fault of the 21,000 employees that they ignored natural immunity. It’s not a structural problem that the CDC closed schools. That was a leadership problem. These are bad decisions: not spacing out the two doses and focusing of the first dose; not warning the country of the pandemic, and limiting testing in such a way that we couldn’t really follow this thing early on. These are problems of leadership. Not problems with the structure.

And I think there’s an attempt now to say: Hey, we’re going to something to fix the problem, even though it’s not the direct fix.

Gigot: OK, so you mean they’re going to try to rearrange the bureaucratic furniture. But I thought that the CDC of all agencies was supposed to (pardon the cliche): Follow the Science. Are you saying that they let politics supersede the Science?

Makary:  Well right now that is the growing perception among medical professionals. If you look at the way the CDC rules their own expert advisory committee. You know the CDC was designed to help us eradicate and take care of cholera and malaria and polio and smallpox. What they’re doing now is getting involved in evictions. They’re adjudicating on every aspect of American life including how kids wear a cloth mask in school.

They fund studies which are so highly flawed they would not be peer reviewed in any respected journal. But they published them in their own journal called MMWR. And then cite their own flawed research. So this has become a farce. And in the medical community many of us have been saying: This is not the scientific process and ignoring natural immunity was a big deal. For this head of the CDC to ignore natural immunity is like the head of NASA believe the earth is flat.

Gigot:  OK, so what about this new variant that’s spreading. You have a big breakout in Washington DC. A super spreader event at the Gridiron dinner involved a lot of politicians. Should we be more concerned about this new variant than we’ve been led to believe?

Makary:  We should think of it as a bad flu season. It’s going around. It’s more ubiquitous than influenza. Now the infection fatality rate in an analysis publish about two weeks ago and Financial Times showed that it is now officially lower than that of influenza in a typical flu season. So we shouldn’t be alarmed by should recognize this as an infection that is ubiquitous, inevitable in most people. And those who avoided BA1 are probably getting the more contagious BA2.

It is definitely going up. We’re seeing cases go up in the Northeast primarily, somewhat in Florida. But if you’re following cases using the CDC’s numbers like you were following a stock price on a ticker, you’re not going to see those increases because most people are using home testing. The key is we are not seeing a surge in hospitalization. That should always be the ultimate indicator of how we’re doing.

Gigot:   OK. There’s been controversy as well over the second booster shot and whether to get it. CDC was leaning in the direction for certain that individuals above a certain age and immuno compromised to get it. What do you think of that decision?

Makary:   Well, it was not based on any compelling data. We finally got the data after the FDA authorized th second booster. It was published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Not very convincing. It showed that if you boost an entire population with a second booster, the added benefit is a very slight: 1 in 42,000 people in the population have risk reduction in severe illness not hospitalizations, but those who develop real symptoms. That’s why the editor of the New England Journal has said before the committee, he doesn’t see compelling data. This FDA bypassed their own experts to ream through this authorization.

And it’s very odd. They gave Pfizer more than they applied for. Pfizer asked to authorize for people over 65, and it was granted for everyone over 50. And while they put this through in supersonic speed they are still sitting on covaxin and novavax, (traditional vaccines) and covaxin has better coverage against variants. And we’re going to get the omicron specific vaccine data reading out is a few weeks. Many people have been saying, wait for that, then get the second booster and an omicron specific vaccine.

Gigot:   Suppose I am over 60 years old and I’ve had two shots and then a booster, and then came down with Covid, one of these breakthrough cases. A lot of people I know have had exactly that pattern. Do you need a booster in those circumstances?

Makary:   No, there’s no compelling reason, and boosters do have rare but real side effects. We’ve seen reports of ringing in the ears, and you can’t keep pumping boosters in people every 3 to 6 months in perpetuity because we are seeing that protection only lasts a matter of weeks. That was the study in the New England Journal. It really was sustained for about six weeks and the time followed. So no, natural immunity and hybrid immunity is very powerful and for now there’s no scientific data to support getting a booster after having convalescent infection.

Gigot:   Thanks Dr. Makary, appreciate it.

Federal Court Overturns CDC’s Transportation Mask Mandate

The Mask Mandate Is Illegal: Quotes from the District Court Judgment

Excerpts from Brownstone Institute report in italics below with my bolds

Within the past two years, the CDC has found within § 264(a) the power to shut down the cruise ship industry, stop landlords from evicting tenants who have not paid their rent, and require that persons using public conveyances wear masks. Courts have concluded that the first two of these measures exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority under §264. …

No court has yet ruled on the legality of the third. At first blush, it appears more closely related to the powers granted in§ 264(a) than either the sail order or the eviction moratorium. But after rigorous statutory analysis, the Court concludes that§ 264(a) does not authorize the CDC to issue the Mask Mandate….

As the list of actions suggest, the federal government’s use of the quarantine power has been traditionally limited to localized disease elimination measures applied to individuals and objects suspected of carrying disease…. Though the government once conceded that § 264(a) merely “consolidates and codifies” this history, see id., it now finds a power that extends far beyond it to population-wide preventative measures like near-universal mask requirements that apply even in settings with little nexus to interstate disease spread, like city buses and Ubers. Such a definition reverses the import of history as well as the roles of the States and the federal government….

The opposite of conditional release is “detention” or “quarantine.” Anyone who refuses to comply with the condition of mask wearing is – in a sense – detained or partially quarantined by exclusion from a conveyance or transportation hub under authority of the Mask Mandate. They are forcibly removed from their airplane seats, denied boarding at the bus steps, and turned away at the train station doors-all on the suspicion that they will spread a disease. Indeed, the Mask Mandate enlists local governments, airport employees, flight attendants, and even ride-sharing drivers to enforce these removal measures.

The CDC issued the mandate in February 2021, almost two weeks after the President called for a mandate, eleven months after the President had declared COVID-19 a national emergency, and almost thirteen months since the Secretary of Health and Human Services had declared a public health emergency. This history suggests that the CDC itself did not find the passage of time particularly serious….

Although a closer question than the failure to properly invoke the good cause exception, the Mask Mandate fails this reasoned-explanation standard. Beyond the primary decision to impose a mask requirement, the Mask Mandate provides little or no explanation for the CDC’s choices. Specifically, the CDC omits explanation for rejecting alternatives and for its system of exceptions. And there are many, such that the overall efficiency of masking on airplanes or other conveyances could reasonably be questioned.

In sum, irrespective of whether the CDC made a good or accurate decision, it needed to explain why it acted as it did. Since the CDC did not explain its decision to compromise the effectiveness of its Mandate by including exceptions or its decision to limit those exceptions, the Court cannot conclude that the CDC “articulated a ‘rational connection between the facts found and the choices made.”

[T]he Mandate exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions. Because “our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends,” the Court declares unlawful and vacates the Mask Mandate.

 

Hey Groomers, Leave Those Kids Alone!

Today’s topsy turvy world has turned the classic Pink Floyd admonition inside out, with teachers and others grooming kids for inappropriate sexual behavior without any moral context.  Helen Roy explains at American Mind Groomergate.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Say the word. Scare the establishment.

When I was a child, there was a girl I knew whose father was well-known amongst us girls to show his penis at sleepovers. In retrospect, even aside from our loud murmuring, signs of abuse were everywhere. But the man was fairly prominent in evangelical circles, and a talented musician. Other adults cheered him on in public. Other adults permitted and promoted the idea that his house was a good place for sleepovers. Maybe these other adults were completely ignorant, maybe they were in denial, maybe they didn’t care, maybe they thought it was normal, or maybe they were playing a popularity game in a toxic social system of their own.

Either way, prepubescent girls were being molested for years. And those who weren’t being molested were learning their sexual dignity didn’t matter, which undoubtedly paved the way for poor sexual decisionmaking in the future. Perhaps if these parents would have been called out by other parents for their active participation in the grooming exercise, they would have realized their culpability in the matter.

But back then, much like today, many people didn’t like to call groomers out.

Abuse remained in the shadows, under the cover of adult reputation. The difference now is that the culture of harm and perversity has been institutionalized across America. What was once seen as an indiscretion is now an industry.

And so, last week, as if triggered by some kind of underground bat signal, several familiar faces of Conservative Inc. simultaneously released op-eds and Twitter threads insisting that use of the term “groomer” in the context of fighting LGBT indoctrination in schools was very, very bad indeed.

In their view, the epithet is unfair, even immoral, because some take it as an unsubstantiated accusation of active pedophilia. “You may not be aware,” as David French lectured, “but right-wing media is swarming with allegations that anyone who, for example, opposes Florida’s House Bill 1557 (the bill misleadingly termed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by Democrats and many in the media) is either a ‘groomer’ or in league with groomers.”

Why any self-identified conservative would make defending groomers’ honor their first priority in this debate is a mystery for another day. But strictly on the merits, their conclusion is wrong because their premise is wrong. Grooming is a complicated system of behavior. What is it?

Most basically, to groom is to prepare or train someone else for a particular activity.

In the current political context, “grooming” certainly—and accurately—connotes sexually inappropriate ends, especially as its most recent usage was entirely swept up in the #MeToo movement. Even as grooming discourse reached its apparent zenith a few years ago, rape was not always the intended or actual end of the story. Rather, it was understood that to be a groomer was to actively participate in the broader system of manipulation. Ghislaine Maxwell and similar “recruiters” may not have been doing the raping, but they were all certainly engaged in grooming. Active participation does not imply full knowledge of the system itself; whether you’re a groomer or not does not rely on your own self-awareness. Orchestrated by the ill-intentioned, grooming is often facilitated by good country people, unaware that the cliches they’ve adopted as life mantras are actually deeply damaging to themselves and the people around them.

Love is love, Miss Whatever exclaims, as she caringly simulates anal sex on a teddy bear to a classroom full of five-year-olds.

In the David French version of reality, where drag queen story hour is considered a blessing of liberty, a rainbow flag in preschool is merely a neutral object, misplaced by well-intentioned people who definitely don’t have any negative intentions for your children whatsoever. How do we know this? Because they’ve never explained their intentions. We must give everyone, especially our self-proclaimed enemies, the benefit of the doubt. Stated aims are to be believed as true intentions despite any evidence to the contrary. So, conservatives should bite their tongues. It’s just not fair to suggest that their behavior, no matter how thoroughly it greases the wheels for sexual misconduct and confusion, is grooming. Don’t believe your lying eyes, and definitely don’t say groomer.

I’d like to offer some encouragement for anyone who, as a result of has-been NeverTrump countersignalling, now finds themselves reticent about using the term “groomer” in the general political sense that current usage implies: use it.

Use it because it’s true. As I’ve just explained, people can be groomers without themselves wanting to rape children.
Use it because it’s effective. The culture war is a real war, and a very particular type of war at that: an insurgency.

On one side, you have the institutions; on the other, a merry band of loosely organized rebels. Insurgency is characterized by asymmetry. Because they lack the institutional power, insurgents must rely on guerilla tactics in order to make any progress whatsoever. These tactics, in a war of language and law, boil down to political incorrectness. Political incorrectness, especially the word “groomer,” offends the enemy while galvanizing friends. Powerful memes such as this rarely conform to the tastes of bourgeois sensibilities.

Use it because they disapprove.

One of the first requirements of submission to transgender ideology (or any totalitarian regime, really) is mandated speech. Recall the Jordan Peterson phenomenon circa 2015: Canadian professor comes under fire for resisting the enactment of a bill requiring the use of preferred pronouns; failure to comply was punishable by termination of employment. Fundamentally, the modus operandi of this movement is in the manipulation of reality through language. “Here’s a more palatable way to say this,” has become a favored tactic of those who manage the decline into unreality. If only as an act of resistance to this familiar tendency, this slippery slope we’ve been gaslit into denying, say the unspeakable words. The moment we stop is the moment we lose them forever.

And if we don’t use “groomer”, we lose this moment, too—and all that comes after. Midwit middle managers, bureaucrats, and journalists, whose life mission is to keep the establishment and their establishment career afloat, know that forcing their opposition to adopt their own sensibilities is an act of political castration.

If you want to win on parents right, you must refuse
to be groomed for establishment’s eunuch class.

Stella Paul adds at American Thinker Confessions of a Disney writer

For many years, I made my living writing TV shows for Disney. I was proud of my work, considering it a privilege to make kids laugh all over the world. But in light of Disney’s disastrous embrace of pro-pedophilia policies, I’m glad that I grew disillusioned with kids’ TV and walked away from the field.

Every kids’ TV writer knows that when crafting a story, you have to be careful about “modeling behavior.”

Whatever kids see, they imitate, so you should “model” positive traits in your scripts, particularly when writing for pre-schoolers. Imagine inserting a pint-size Larry David character in your story who is obnoxious, argumentative, and sneaky. Inevitably, you’d get back notes from the story editor telling you to revamp the script to avoid modeling negative behavior.

So Disney’s recent commitment to “add queerness” wherever possible can’t be explained as just trying to teach tolerance and inclusivity. The executives know that by showing “queerness,” they are modeling queerness and encouraging kids to imitate that behavior.

Parents are now furious about Disney’s woke agenda to sexualize children, and they’re organizing and protesting. Will their consumer boycotts of Disney’s products and theme parks have a long-term impact on Disney’s bottom line? It’s too soon to tell, but Disney’s hostility to traditional family values is not winning it friends, and its brand magic seems to be evaporating.

Footnote: Math Homework in Missouri

 

China Demos Big Time Covid Tyranny

Todd Jaquith reports at BizPac Review Fauci touts China’s COVID protocol when confronted on Shanghai lockdown: ‘Better than almost anybody else’.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The horrific events in Shanghai continue to shock the world with images of a beleaguered population entirely at the mercy of a soulless bureaucratic regime.

But the medical bureaucrats closer to home refuse to draw the unavoidable conclusions from that terrible example, while continuing to suggest that lockdowns remain a vital tool in the federal government’s bag of tricks. As a case in point, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently spoke with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell to discuss the latest developments involving the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked by Mitchell about the situation in Shanghai, Fauci waffled, refusing to condemn the lockdowns and even seeming to repeat the discredited canard that China’s draconian lockdowns had somehow enabled them to handle the pandemic “better than almost anybody else.”

[Note:  That assertion rests on obviously bogus China statistics.  Example from China Also Abuses Covid Statistics ]

“How concerning is the outbreak in China?” Mitchell asked. “We see the lockdown in Shanghai and the State Department now ordering families out, all non-essential workers out of Shanghai.”

“Well, China has a number of problems,” Fauci replied, “two of which are that their complete lockdown, which was their approach, the strictest lockdown that you’d never be able to implement in the United States, although that prevents the spread of infection, and remember early on they were saying—and, I think, accurately—that they were doing better than almost anybody else. But lockdown has its consequences. You use lockdowns to get people vaccinated, so that when you open up, you won’t have a surge of infections, because you’re dealing with an immunologically naive population to the virus.”

That lockdowns were meant to be used to get people vaccinated must come as a surprise to most of us, given that lockdowns were implemented for nearly a year before a vaccine even existed, and were originally sold as a means to “slow the spread.” Regardless, although observing that lockdowns do indeed have “consequences,” Fauci would not condemn the practice, and even seemed to lament that China’s draconian quarantine practices could not be implemented here at home. He also refused to comment on the moral odiousness and human toll of such measures.

Meanwhile, the situation in Shanghai, a city of 25 million that has been forced into strict lockdown since mid-March, is reaching a boiling point. The terrified, starving population has displayed a rare spirit, taking to the streets by the thousands to protest the government quarantines and the lack of food.

In something that seems lifted straight from a dystopian science fiction film, like 1984 or Blade Runner, videos on social media show how drones patrol the skies, imploring the people to stay inside and “control [their] soul’s desire for freedom,” and people are reportedly even fined directly from their CBDC digital yuan accounts (a kind of state-controlled cryptocurrency) if they venture onto their balconies without a mask. Meanwhile, “dog robots” patrol the streets, barking orders at civilians to stay inside as seen in posted videos.

 

Shanghai has been reporting north of 20,000 new COVID cases a day, and the situation has strained the local authorities’ ability to find space for quarantine centers. Worse, reports indicate that people are required to wait for the delivery of water and food supplies, which is overwhelming the food distribution and delivery networks as supplies run low. Anger is widespread, and people have taken to the streets against the strict orders of the ruling Communist Party to demand redress of their myriad wrongs—prompting Shanghai to promise to ease restrictions.

In what are perhaps the most disturbing images from Shanghai, what seem to be police forces in hazmat suits can be seen assaulting and arresting angry civilians on the streets.

As the apocryphal Chinese curse says: “May you live in interesting times.” The people of Shanghai are learning this the hard way. We can only hope that those American admirers of the CCP’s “Zero COVID” policy are unable to enforce the same tactics here in the United States.

Footnote:

Remember that the Truckers demand was to end the “covid emergency.”  This kind of tyranny is still possible when a new “emergency” can be declared at any time without legal recourse.

Note also: China is moving to lockdown Hong Kong and Guangzhou, places known for political dissidents.

 

Climate-Change ‘Solutions’ Way Worse Than the Problem

Wonder Land: Democrats have wrecked the cities and the border. Why would climate policy be any different? Images: Zuma Press/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly  Link to video is below

https://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/v3/iframe.html?guid=5D0A20A9-75C5-4506-B1B1-9EC96ABBBEE9

Jason De Sena Trennert writes at WSJ Opinion Climate-Change ‘Solutions’ That Are Worse Than the Problem.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images H/T John Ray (here)

The political assault on fossil fuels comes at the expense
of the poor, peace, and the environment.

If you can afford a Tesla, you probably find it hard to imagine that there are some 3.5 billion people on Earth who have no reasonably reliable access to electricity. Even less obvious may be the way rich countries’ pursuit of carbon neutrality at almost any cost limits economic opportunities for the world’s poor and poses serious geopolitical risks to the West.

Anyone on an investment committee has likely spent untold amounts of time discussing ways to mitigate the impact of climate change, but they’ve likely never heard anyone state one simple and incontrovertible fact: The widespread exploration and production of fossil fuels that started in Titusville, Pa., not quite 170 years ago, has done more to benefit the lives of ordinary people than any other technological advance in history.

Before fossil fuels, people relied on burning biomass, such as timber or manure, which was a far dirtier and much less efficient source of energy. Fossil fuels let people heat their homes in the winter, reducing the risk of death from exposure. Fossil-fuel-based fertilizers greatly increased crop yields, reducing starvation and malnutrition. Before the advent of the automobile, the ability for many people to venture far from their hometown was an unfathomable dream. Oil- and coal-burning transportation opened up access to education, commerce, professional opportunities, and vital services such as medicine. There has been, and remains, a strong correlation between the use of fossil fuels and life expectancy.

Limiting the availability of fossil fuels in the name of climate activism would cut off many of the world’s poor from these benefits. Climate activists worry about a potential “existential crisis” decades down the road, but poor people, really poor people, face an existential crisis every day. Even for those who aren’t among humanity’s most unfortunate, rising energy prices force serious economic trade-offs. Purposely eschewing America and Europe’s own natural resources increases costs to consumers, raises the cost of doing business, and limits economic growth. Viewed with this in mind, the debate over emissions seems like an upper-class problem.

If Chinese belligerence and increasing authoritarianism over the past two years have taught us anything, it is that no amount of trade and international cooperation will instill what are generally considered to be Western values in other civilizations who have no real desire to adopt them. Trusting China to do anything other than what is directly in its own best interests, especially when it comes to the trade-offs between economic development and climate issues, would seem to be in direct conflict with history and common sense—and it poses serious geopolitical risks to the international democratic order. The war in Ukraine has emphasized how leaving European and American fossil fuels in the ground can put the West at the will of dictators, increasing the risk of atrocities, war or even the use of weapons of mass destruction.

An easing of regulations on drilling in the U.S. and easier regulations on liquefied natural gas exports to flood the global market with oil and natural gas would do far more than any sanctions to stop Vladimir Putin’s barbarism.

The climate-change solutions the West is pursuing also pose a danger to the environment. The lodestar of the environmental movement today appears to be electric vehicles. One would be hard-pressed to find a product more dependent on resources from extractive materials. An electric car requires almost four times as much copper as an automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. The widely accepted goal of having 30% of the world’s vehicle sales be electric by 2030 would require enormous investments in mining industries that are decidedly not eco-friendly.

And whatever emission cuts America and Europe manage to make by forcing electric vehicles and other inefficient technology on consumers will be negated by emissions from other nations. Regimes like Russia and China won’t put aside their geopolitical ambitions for climate activism; developing countries like India won’t sacrifice economic development and their peoples’ well-being in the hope it’ll slow global warming.

Sadly, environmentalism has grown into a secular religion
in which reasonable debate is regarded as heresy.

But if politicians and voters can approach climate change with an open mind, they’ll see that economic growth is likely to solve the issue without heavy-handed government intervention. History has shown that free markets produce incredible leaps in human ingenuity. The greater access the world has to all sorts of energy sources, the faster humanity will discover new technologies that are more environmentally friendly. Rationing fossil fuels would only retard the process of decreasing carbon emissions and cost lives in the process.

Resources:  Four Part Series of infographics World of Hurt From Climate Policies

 

Musk Has Twitter All Atwitter

Sergei Klebnikov at Forbes reports Musk Says He Has ‘Sufficient Funding’ To Buy Twitter, Claims He Has ‘Plan B’ If Offer Is Rejected.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Tesla’s billionaire CEO Elon Musk, who submitted a $43 billion bid to buy Twitter on Thursday, said later in the day at a TED conference in Vancouver that he has “sufficient assets” to buy the social media company and already has a “Plan B” ready if the board decides to reject his offer.

KEY FACTS

♦  “I can do it if possible,” Musk said at the conference when asked if he could actually afford to buy Twitter, adding that he has “sufficient assets” to carry out such a deal, amid doubts that he has enough liquidity given almost all his wealth is tied up in SpaceX and Tesla stock.

♦  The Tesla billionaire also said that he “has a Plan B” if Twitter’s board of directors, which will meet to discuss his attempted acquisition, reject his offer.

♦  The comments notably contrast with what Musk said earlier in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, when he described his $43 billion takeover bid for Twitter as his “best and final offer.”

♦  Musk reiterated that he wants to buy the social media platform as it has become the “de facto town square” and it remains imperative for there to be “an inclusive arena for free speech” in society.

♦  “I don’t care about the economics at all,” Musk responded when asked about making money on Twitter, adding that he wants to convert the platform to an open-source algorithm where users could review the code, instead of “having tweets sort of be mysteriously promoted and demoted with no insight.”

Musk’s bid to buy Twitter was met with mixed reactions from Wall Street analysts on Thursday. Some experts are adamant that Twitter will have a hard time rejecting the $43 billion offer or that this is just the beginning of a hostile takeover battle. Others remain highly skeptical, with some analysts calling Musk’s latest moves a “distraction” from challenges at Tesla.

 

Fuel Efficiency Rule De Facto EV Mandate

Kevin Stone explains at Heartland Daily News. Fuel Producers, States Challenge New EPA Rule Effectively Mandating Electric Vehicles.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T John Ray

An unlikely coalition is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised fuel economy rules.

At issue is a revised fleetwide. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 55 miles per gallon in model year 2026. The shortened timeline for the much higher fuel economy forces automakers to reduce their fleets’ carbon dioxide emissions by 22.6 percent more than previous rules required.

Sixteen states, plus groups representing the fossil fuel and ethanol industries in 15 states, are challenging the Biden EPA’s emissions rules. They argue the EPA’s new standards effectively mandate a national transition from internal combustion powered vehicles to electric vehicles starting in 2026.

Farmers, Drillers, Attorneys General

A mix of corn and soybean growers associations from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota joined with Diamond Alternative Energy in one of the lawsuits filed to block the EPA’s new rules.

In addition, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas, joined by the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. Arizona filed a separate lawsuit to block the rules.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), along with additional petitioners such as the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, a nationwide coalition of 39 associations representing the oil and gas industry, also filed a lawsuit to block the new standards.

Essentially an EV Mandate

The lawsuit filed by representatives of various states’ biofuel associations argues the new standard is an unauthorized de facto mandate forcing people to use electric vehicles.

“Through the final rule, EPA seeks to unilaterally alter the transportation mix in the United States, without congressional authorization and without adequately considering the vast greenhouse gas reduction benefits provided by renewable fuels,” the complaint states.

CEI and its co-petitioners make a similar argument in their filing by lead attorney Devin Watkins, saying the rules exceed the agency’s authority.

“EPA is trying to transform the motor vehicle market from gas-powered to electric vehicles by making gas-powered cars more expensive,” Watkins’ petition states.

Ambitious or Unworkable?

The EPA’s new standard and timeline are unrealistic because the mass adoption of electric vehicles and construction of the infrastructure needed to support and power them won’t magically appear overnight, says Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which co-publishes Environment & Climate News.

“It’s vital to remember that President Joe Biden, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and other climate-focused activists aren’t talking about just replacing current fossil fuel vehicle use or electricity generation,” said Driessen. “They also want to convert home and office heating, cooking, and water heating to electricity; convert factories from coal and gas to running on wind- and solar-generated electricity; and have massive battery modules as backup power for windless, sunless days.

“That means nearly doubling existing U.S. electricity generation, and doing all of it with intermittent, unreliable, weather-dependent power generation systems,” said Driessen. “It means millions of onshore and offshore wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of 1,000-pound battery modules, and thousands of new transformers, covering tens of millions of acres, all powered by wind and sunshine, and all connected via thousands of miles of new transmission lines to power users all across America.”

‘It Is a Pipedream’

Electrifying the transportation system and in fact the entire U.S. economy is a fool’s errand, doomed to fail while placing an unnecessary burden on the public, says Driessen.

“They expect, hope, and fantasize this will somehow work, that a massively stressed power grid never built or tested before will be able to handle huge, sudden electricity surges and cutoffs due to wind and sunlight cooperating with demand only incidentally, failing minutes, hours, or days at a time and crashing repeatedly and catastrophically,” said Driessen.

“It is a pipedream that has failed everywhere it’s been tried on much tinier scales than what they intend to impose on us,” said Driessen. “Think of Texas two winters ago, and South Australia a few years ago, multiplied a thousand times over. We’re going to be asked to accept having electricity for every aspect of our industry, hospitals, and lives, when it’s available instead of when we need it.”

It’s ‘MAGIC’

There is no way the United States can get the needed raw materials and do the infrastructure transformation required by the EPA’s and other agencies’ new rules implementing Biden’s “whole of government approach” to fighting climate change, says Driessen.

“Just getting the metals, minerals, plastics, concrete, and other raw materials to create this system will take mining at scales unprecedented in human history,” said Driessen. “Team Biden seems to think this will just happen, under a government-mandated program you could call Materials Acquisition for Global Industrial Change, abbreviated MAGIC.

“This new, unworkable system would totally bankrupt America,” said Driessen. “Energy analyst David Wojick, Ph.D. calculates that building a battery system to back up just New York City’s current peak electricity needs, not counting new electric cars or future growth, for one week of no wind or sunshine would cost $3 trillion! For all of New York State, it would cost $8 trillion. And that’s just New York.”

 

 

China Also Abuses Covid Statistics

Michael Senger writes at Brownstone Institute China’s Covid Numbers are Manifestly Absurd.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Wall Street Journal published a piece titled “Shanghai Has Recorded More Than 130,000 Covid Cases—and No Deaths.” Seeing the darkly comic headline, I was excited. Finally, after two years, the WSJ appeared to be calling out the data fraud that was the foundation for this whole sordid experiment in totalitarian virus mitigation, however belatedly.

Alas, my excitement was premature. As it turns out, the authors of the article tie themselves into knots to explain China’s data. They even trot out Ryan Tibshirani, co-leader of Carnegie Mellon’s COVID-19 modeling team, to tell us that China’s death rate “can also be affected by factors like the age distribution and racial makeup of its population, vaccination status, type of vaccine and average distance to a healthcare facility,” the implication being that Prof. Tibshirani sees nothing wrong with China’s data, thank you very much.

Apparently, China’s low vaccination rate among its elderly population means they can have 130,000 cases and zero deaths. Make it make sense. “Science!”

For two years, the elite journalists, scientists, politicians, and health officials who speak for our most prestigious institutions have been conspicuously and vehemently deferential to the integrity of China’s Covid data. Here’s what the New York Times’ David Leonhardt wrote just two months ago:

Well, now, in Shanghai, we have a “big outbreak” which the CCP has not covered up—but the death data coming out is still manifestly fraudulent. Would the New York Times care to revisit their conclusion that “the country’s official Covid counts have been at least close to accurate…because big outbreaks are hard to cover up”?

Here’s Rochelle Walensky, shortly before assuming office as Director of the US CDC:

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these elites want, so badly, for China’s Covid data to be real, because for two years they’ve been imploring their citizens to emulate China, scoffing at our childish attachment to human rights and civil liberties.

By demanding western elites conform to a false reality in which they had to pretend China’s data was real, the CCP forced them into a referendum as to whom they were truly loyal—China, or their own people. In the vast majority of cases, they chose China. And two years on, even amid the horrific spectacle of China’s lockdown of Shanghai, they remain too cowardly and morally vacuous to reconsider their choice.

Even among lockdown skeptics, many can’t accept that public health officials could possibly be that incompetent. It all seems too dumb, too banal. But since March 2020, every single pandemic policy—from the strict lockdowns and masks to the tests, death coding, and vaccine passes—has been imported from China based on the idea that these “extreme social-control measures” had effectively allowed China to “control the virus.”

In an Orwellian “war on COVID misinformation,” those who pointed out that China’s data was obviously fake were vilified by their own governments as alt-right racists, neo-Nazis, and anti-vaxxers—even if fully-vaccinated. They were censored, professionally ostracized, and, as I experienced firsthand, had their social media accounts purged. Hundreds of millions were thrown into poverty, millions of small businesses were bankrupted, an entire generation of children was forced to isolate and cover their faces, and billions of life years were lost, all in service to the collective fantasy encapsulated by this graph.

 

 

Would You Prefer With or Without Ice?

Raymond at RiC-Communications has produced the above poster on the theme expounded in a previous post In Celebration of Our Warm Climate, reprinted below. The above image is available in high resolution pdf format at his website The last ice age and its impact.

His other science infographic projects are:

The World of CO2

The World of Climate Change

The World of Energy

Legacy and social media keep up a constant drumbeat of warnings about a degree or two of planetary warming without any historical context for considering the significance of the alternative.  A poem of Robert Frost comes to mind as some applicable wisdom:

The diagram at the top shows how grateful we should be for living in today’s climate instead of a glacial icehouse. (H/T Raymond Inauen)  For most of its history Earth has been frozen rather than the mostly green place it is today.  And the reference is to the extent of the North American ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).

For further context consider that geologists refer to our time as a “Severe Icehouse World”, among the various conditions in earth’s history, as diagramed by paleo climatologist Christopher Scotese. Referring to the Global Mean Temperatures, it appears after many decades, we are slowly rising to “Icehouse World”, which would seem to be a good thing.

Instead of fear mongering over a bit of warming, we should celebrate our good fortune, and do our best for humanity and the biosphere.  Matthew Ridley takes it from there in a previous post.

Background from previous post The Goodness of Global Warming

LAI refers to Leaf Area Index.

As noted in other posts here, warming comes and goes and a cooling period may now be ensuing. See No Global Warming, Chilly January Land and Sea.  Matt Ridley provides a concise and clear argument to celebrate any warming that comes to our world in his Spiked article Why global warming is good for us.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Climate change is creating a greener, safer planet.

Global warming is real. It is also – so far – mostly beneficial. This startling fact is kept from the public by a determined effort on the part of alarmists and their media allies who are determined to use the language of crisis and emergency. The goal of Net Zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is controversial enough as a policy because of the pain it is causing. But what if that pain is all to prevent something that is not doing net harm?

The biggest benefit of emissions is global greening, the increase year after year of green vegetation on the land surface of the planet. Forests grow more thickly, grasslands more richly and scrub more rapidly. This has been measured using satellites and on-the-ground recording of plant-growth rates. It is happening in all habitats, from tundra to rainforest. In the four decades since 1982, as Bjorn Lomborg points out, NASA data show that global greening has added 618,000 square kilometres of extra green leaves each year, equivalent to three Great Britains. You read that right: every year there’s more greenery on the planet to the extent of three Britains. I bet Greta Thunberg did not tell you that.

The cause of this greening? Although tree planting, natural reforestation, slightly longer growing seasons and a bit more rain all contribute, the big cause is something else. All studies agree that by far the largest contributor to global greening – responsible for roughly half the effect – is the extra carbon dioxide in the air. In 40 years, the proportion of the atmosphere that is CO2 has gone from 0.034 per cent to 0.041 per cent. That may seem a small change but, with more ‘food’ in the air, plants don’t need to lose as much water through their pores (‘stomata’) to acquire a given amount of carbon. So dry areas, like the Sahel region of Africa, are seeing some of the biggest improvements in greenery. Since this is one of the poorest places on the planet, it is good news that there is more food for people, goats and wildlife.

But because good news is no news, green pressure groups and environmental correspondents in the media prefer to ignore global greening. Astonishingly, it merited no mentions on the BBC’s recent Green Planet series, despite the name. Or, if it is mentioned, the media point to studies suggesting greening may soon cease. These studies are based on questionable models, not data (because data show the effect continuing at the same pace). On the very few occasions when the BBC has mentioned global greening it is always accompanied by a health warning in case any viewer might glimpse a silver lining to climate change – for example, ‘extra foliage helps slow climate change, but researchers warn this will be offset by rising temperatures’.

Another bit of good news is on deaths. We’re against them, right? A recent study shows that rising temperatures have resulted in half a million fewer deaths in Britain over the past two decades. That is because cold weather kills about ’20 times as many people as hot weather’, according to the study, which analyses ‘over 74million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries’. This is especially true in a temperate place like Britain, where summer days are rarely hot enough to kill. So global warming and the unrelated phenomenon of urban warming relative to rural areas, caused by the retention of heat by buildings plus energy use, are both preventing premature deaths on a huge scale.

Summer temperatures in the US are changing at half the rate of winter temperatures and daytimes are warming 20 per cent slower than nighttimes. A similar pattern is seen in most countries. Tropical nations are mostly experiencing very slow, almost undetectable daytime warming (outside cities), while Arctic nations are seeing quite rapid change, especially in winter and at night. Alarmists love to talk about polar amplification of average climate change, but they usually omit its inevitable flip side: that tropical temperatures (where most poor people live) are changing more slowly than the average.

My Mind is Made Up, Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts. H/T Bjorn Lomborg, WUWT

But are we not told to expect more volatile weather as a result of climate change? It is certainly assumed that we should. Yet there’s no evidence to suggest weather volatility is increasing and no good theory to suggest it will. The decreasing temperature differential between the tropics and the Arctic may actually diminish the volatility of weather a little.

Indeed, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) repeatedly confirms, there is no clear pattern of storms growing in either frequency or ferocity, droughts are decreasing slightly and floods are getting worse only where land-use changes (like deforestation or building houses on flood plains) create a problem. Globally, deaths from droughts, floods and storms are down by about 98 per cent over the past 100 years – not because weather is less dangerous but because shelter, transport and communication (which are mostly the products of the fossil-fuel economy) have dramatically improved people’s ability to survive such natural disasters.

The effect of today’s warming (and greening) on farming is, on average, positive: crops can be grown farther north and for longer seasons and rainfall is slightly heavier in dry regions. We are feeding over seven billion people today much more easily than we fed three billion in the 1960s, and from a similar acreage of farmland. Global cereal production is on course to break its record this year, for the sixth time in 10 years.

Nature, too, will do generally better in a warming world. There are more species in warmer climates, so more new birds and insects are arriving to breed in southern England than are disappearing from northern Scotland. Warmer means wetter, too: 9,000 years ago, when the climate was warmer than today, the Sahara was green. Alarmists like to imply that concern about climate change goes hand in hand with concern about nature generally. But this is belied by the evidence. Climate policies often harm wildlife: biofuels compete for land with agriculture, eroding the benefits of improved agricultural productivity and increasing pressure on wild land; wind farms kill birds and bats; and the reckless planting of alien sitka spruce trees turns diverse moorland into dark monoculture.

Meanwhile, real environmental issues are ignored or neglected because of the obsession with climate. With the help of local volunteers I have been fighting to protect the red squirrel in Northumberland for years. The government does literally nothing to help us, while it pours money into grants for studying the most far-fetched and minuscule possible climate-change impacts. Invasive alien species are the main cause of species extinction worldwide (like grey squirrels driving the red to the margins), whereas climate change has yet to be shown to have caused a single species to die out altogether anywhere.

Of course, climate change does and will bring problems as well as benefits. Rapid sea-level rise could be catastrophic. But whereas the sea level shot up between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago, rising by about 60 metres in two millennia, or roughly three metres per century, today the change is nine times slower: three millimetres a year, or a foot per century, and with not much sign of acceleration. Countries like the Netherlands and Vietnam show that it is possible to gain land from the sea even in a world where sea levels are rising. The land area of the planet is actually increasing, not shrinking, thanks to siltation and reclamation.

Environmentalists don’t get donations or invitations to appear on the telly if they say moderate things. To stand up and pronounce that ‘climate change is real and needs to be tackled, but it’s not happening very fast and other environmental issues are more urgent’ would be about as popular as an MP in Oliver Cromwell’s parliament declaring, ‘The evidence for God is looking a bit weak, and I’m not so very sure that fornication really is a sin’. And I speak as someone who has made several speeches on climate in parliament.

No wonder we don’t hear about the good news on climate change.