Flawed Science Behind Nitrogen “Crisis” (Briggs and Hanekamp)

The Dutch Nitrogen Faux Crisis — Jaap Hanekamp Interview

William M Briggs and Jaap Hanekamp discuss the Dutch nitrogen “crisis.”

Farmers in the Netherlands are unhappy with government wanting to shut them down or reduce their operations, because of a supposed plague of nitrogen.  The “crisis” is, however, completely model driven. First by the Curse of the Wee P, and second by Lack of Skill.

Jaap and William have been involved in this “crisis” for many years, publishing often on how much over-certainty there is and about bad models.  Give a listen and find out why the government is wrong and they are right.  For those who prefer reading, below is an excerpted transcript from closed captions in italics with my bolds.

How in Netherlands Nitrogen Policy Became Nature Policy

The Netherlands is famous for its Dutch cheese, not for much longer as the government sells off all of the Farms or or buys up all the farms. We’ve been working on this this topic. Our audience knows me a little bit but they don’t know you. Jaap has formal training in chemistry and he is a chemistry professor. He’s also got a PhD in Theology and teaches on that. And he and I have been working together on this so-called crisis, this fake crisis for a number of years.

So the so-called uh mediator who was once a part of the official panel to investigate the crisis, and due to some sort of bureaucratic trick, became an independent expert, today recommended that the government buy off the biggest farmers. What’s the deal with that?

Of course we have a small country with loads of agriculture so the government and house of Parliament and NGOs from the environmental side think that we should reduce our impact on ecosystems, nature in the Netherlands. That is strange, given our history. You know, it’s long been said that God created the world, and the Dutch created the Netherlands. It’s so obvious here that we engineer nature, like any other organism or creature on Earth that reorganizes nature around itself to suit itself. But we in the Netherlands were rather exuberant in that arena so we created our whole ecosystem around us in terms of of cities, in terms of agriculture. Any kind of Natural Area we might have is created in the Netherlands almost literally either intentionally or unintentionally anyway. And those places are quite nice and beautiful.

There is sort of a very strong protective streak in policy saying we should protect the natural areas we still have, and protect simply means more or less a status quo, keep it as it is which doesn’t make much sense. But the weapon of choice is nitrogen now. There is a strange thing about this because influences are from all sides, especially here groundwater, precipitation, temperature, climate and so on, and of course also nitrogen. And we chose nitrogen, so nature policy is nitrogen policy, and nitrogen policies are nature policy in the Netherlands. Which is a very odd thing to do but anyway this is what we have.

The Dutch government wants to spend 30 billion euros which is a large chunk of our budget on protecting nature via the reduction of nitrogen emissions and depositions. So that’s it.

Believing in Ecological Crisis

But why why do they believe that this crisis exists? I mean they must have had something in the expertocracy as I call it. They have Solutions in search of problems in my my estimation. They have a solution they want to meddle with certain things because of their understanding of what nature is. So they go look for a problem, and they created a lot of nitrogen other other countries are using carbon dioxide, of course the Netherlands as well, l so we’ve part of that of course.

But why this thing and after you answer why, then let’s start talking about the the research that they’re using on this and and the stuff that you and I have discovered.

Why can be answered on multiple levels. You could look from a scientific perspective, which is not really that interesting; we’re going to discuss this later. Because the problem we have nowadays everywhere is that science or scientism or exportocracy should solve everything and anything. Whether or not there’s a problem, there must be some solution to some issue because of science. That’s a huge problem in itself. Why do we think that science could actually do that, or understand it or research it, or fathom it to such an extent I would actually find solutions to to the problems that might exist or might not exist.

The other part is harder to Fathom; it has to do likely with the problem coming from the 1970s: Acid rain and the disappearance of forest. The forest dieback was originally a German issue. Der Spiegel actually brought out a huge paper with the title The Ecological Hiroshima, the idea that acid rain would obliterate within a decade every single forest in the world.

I remember that, it was sort of the the climate change catastrophe 101 basically. That acid rain story sort of disappeared from view, people didn’t talk about it anymore. But during that time of the 1970s and 80s dangers of agriculture came into view because producing ammonia and of course deposited on nature areas.

And the idea was, okay ammonia is of course a base, but it will acidify the soil
and that will destroy the forest and will aid in the forest in dying off.

So that’s where it originated, say 50 years ago. But of course the whole Forest dieback disappeared and now it’s about soil acidification and loss of biodiversities. Those are the the terms that actually have survived the debacle of the acid rain Forest dieback apocalypse.

On the one hand we can very well monitor the dying of forest; you can actually observe that. Yeah it didn’t happen, not even close. So they had to move away from that theme. I still remember pictures of monuments dissolving into nothing as if this has happened overnight; algae blooms on lakes as if these were brand new; all kinds of things like that. So they had the same problems. not just in Germany yeah. And course the the famous dangers came from Eastern Europe, loads of sulfur dioxide from foundries for instance were blasted into to Forest. And sulfur dioxide is not really a healthy chemical if you if the concentration is really high. Of course most plants or humans or any other organism would really love to have sulfur dioxide blown in their face so sulfur dioxide was an issue. And that was tackled since then which is basically a good thing. You obviously shouldn’t pump stuff in the air just randomly.

But of course the story got bigger and bigger and in the end disappeared because yeah the forest just grew happily uh through all our own brouhaha about all these problems. But what remained is the idea that ammonia changes soil chemistry, changes ecosystems, changes our biodiversity and that’s a bad thing. And it just became a matter of theology almost; it became a truism. And then it seems after that truism, they went in search of evidence in the form of models.

Examining the Notion of Chemical Critical Loads

The science of nitrogen and the impact on ecosystems has been around now for the past 50 years, at the same time as the forest issue. And it never has grown out to be an adult critical discourse scientifically speaking. Now it’s just confirming what the other guy says and based on the work from some other type; so there’s no real conflict no real discussion within this discourse at all. It’s just basically doing the same old same old thing and sort of publishing stuff without really critically reflecting on the results that came out of that research.

And we’ve shown that especially when we have to discuss the critical loads issue. The idea was that beyond a certain level of deposition per area, ecosystems suffer from a certain kind of deposition, meaning the the amount of nitrogen that’s falling on the land, in precipitation or dry deposition or whatever you can imagine.

Critical loads have been devised on the idea that above a certain kind of of raining down or depositing a certain chemical, ecosystems suffer a certain amount of risk, that’s the critical loads topic that now you and I have investigated that quite thoroughly. We’ve found it to be at best wanting, that’s being very very euphemistic.

We discovered so many caveats, which are embarrassing on the one hand,
on the other hand sloppy, imprecise, statistically nonsensical,
experimentally badly done.

So to apply this idea of nitrogen critical loads you have to define the critical point when we’re gonna stop things. They went and did these experiments, basically they took small plots just a couple of meters square. And they would grow certain grasses or other other types of plant matter on this and they would measure all kinds of things: the rate of growth, the width of the stems, and the root penetration and so on. And if they tested a difference between something that had a higher nitrogen content than a lower nitrogen content and it gave a wee P value, well that was said to be a nitrogen critical load. But there was no consistency to what they meant by a critical load or what was actually affected or the or the range of stuff that could be affected. And they had these ridiculous numbers extrapolating from a couple of square meters to the area of the entire country

Using these kinds of things, we showed if you just take a proper accordance of the uncertainty in these measurements, the critical loads just evaporate, they have no meaning unless you were to design really good experiments . We proposed large scale experiments taking a couple of hundred square meters and doing this experiment for years and years and years.

But there’s another problem you described quite well in in our paper. Of course nitrogen instigates change in ecosystems but the question is: In what terms do you regard this as damage or bad? Sure things change, but to what extent does is change a good thing or or not?

They assumed that change of any kind was a Bad Thing. Any difference between the sort of control group and a nitrogen group was considered bad. Which is which is ridiculous because you have to have nitrogen, you can’t eliminate nitrogen. It’s absolutely like eliminating carbon dioxide. In epidemiology you can do elimination studies, for instance antioxidants intake. You can do that because you can survive antioxidants intake for a certain while. But you can’t really do an elimination study in nitrogen and plant growth no that’s not going to work.

The other great thing we found is that there’s always a background concentration in the atmosphere and how much deposited on the area you’re looking at and background is important because you want to know at the control level how much nitrogen will rain down anyway. We found that studies were taking yearly averages, sort of polls of plots of the countryside. Which of course doesn’t give us much information about anything.

So you cannot really take the control and look at the experiment. They would calculate these single numbers from a small area and apply them either to an entire region or even Countrywide. And then averaging by year. I mean as the basis of policy it’s quite absurd. Of course there are other observational studies which are much harder to do experimentally. That is observing what happens to to certain ecosystems in in areas where there’s much more nitrogen deposition than somewhere else. But it’s hard to to extrapolate precise information from these studies anyway.

So this whole critical load debate is basically devoid of any critical reflection. We were the first ones that published a paper which was critical on on anything. And of course we got no response from the community, nothing at all. There was a weak response in Dutch in an internet Forum, which was poorly written and and sort of a hand-waving response. There was no real critical reflection on that at all. And we weren’t surprised because the researchers in that Arena are not at all versed in critical discourse as we are in chemistry. In mathematics and in physics you have to be critical, you’re critical of other people as well, because that’s how the the whole discourse develops. But in this matter not so much, in this discourse none whatsoever.

Central Role of Aerius OPS Chemical Transport Model

In fact the whole nitrogen policy is reduced to two things: the critical loads we just discussed and Aerius OPS (Operational Priority Substances), which is a model. Aerius OPS is a transport model that calculates the emission or actually how much of a certain chemical is transported through the atmosphere, and where and and to what extent it deposits at some point from the source where this emission comes from.

Now you can imagine to measure and analyze deposition in the Netherlands you would have maybe a hundred thousand measuring points. Or you can measure different chemicals like ammonia which is not possible. So I always say modeling itself is not a problem, but you have to model in this case because you can’t sample a hundred thousand areas in the Netherlands and decide exactly how much were the deposits. And that still doesn’t cover the problem: Where do all these emissions come from, which is another issue altogether.

So modeling itself is not a problem but OPS areas is a problem and keep in mind both critical load and Aerius OPS are part of the nitrogen laws in the Netherlands so in order to define how much you contribute to nitrogen deposition in Netherlands you have to use areas OPS the model run by the National Institute of Health and Environment. You have to use that model to calculate your own addition to the background levels of of nitrogen deposition. So it has huge policy implications.

Now I was part of a scientific committee that had to analyze the scientific quality of areas OPS and and all the other stuff. Not critical loads by the way, we didn’t discuss very much. But here’s the thing: We never really looked under the hood in OPS, we never looked at the Machinery of OPS. We did say as a committee the calculations done per hectare were too imprecise. That’s as far as we got with our criticism of Aerius.

Then of course validation studies via FOIA requests came on the table and you were courteous enough to look at these validation studies, which by the way we didn’t get as a scientific committee, which still annoys me actually. As a good scientist, you know science needs to be transparent. That’s the a priori of any kind of scientific work. People should have put on these validation studies immediately on the table. That’s what you do; you don’t make others to have to ask for them. That’s part of questioning the science. But here that makes you a denier and so forth; you’re just supposed to accept because this is how the expertocracy works.  But we did get these things and we were able to investigate how well this model performed you can explain much more than I can what were the what were the results. 

We have a two-tier approach here. The first part was for our esteemed colleagues to provide the underlying data of these validations. We didn’t get that, at least not immediately; there’s a nice story to that. But the first stage of this two-tier approach was your analysis of the quality of the validation studies, and how well the model actually worked according to those studies.

Aerius OPS Model Lacks Necessary Predictive Skill

Let me explain something about this model: it stinks, it doesn’t have good predictive ability at all. I want to explain this concept called skill. I’ve explained it a million times but it never sticks in people’s minds for some reason. So we have this expert model this OPS model, with all kinds of science going it. And it makes predictions of something like SO2 or NOx concentrations of something like this in the atmosphere. Now that’s a very sophisticated model, there’s lots of code and all this kind of stuff in here.

Before you continue you do an experiment. You open a bottle of sulfur dioxide or ammonia or whatever gas can be transported through the atmosphere. You measure distances over time, or over a certain time frame you measure concentrations when you open the bottles and you afterward find certain atmospheric concentrations. And of course they diminish over time because of a convection of wind, blah blah. You have these data from these measurements which has a certain precision. But now the model subsequently needs to predict based on all this physics and chemistry and these concentrations you just measured in the experiments. So the sophisticated model is making a prediction of these numbers.

I’m just going to take the seasonal average, the location experimental average we have. I’m going to make a guess of the mean, just the average, and I’m going to pretend that average is itself a forecast. In other words for every measurement I’m going to predict the mean. Now that’s a really crude model; it’s a very simple but a useful model. In fact we use it all the time to say winter is colder than summer in the northern hemisphere because of these types of averages.

It’s a very rough and crude model, but if this OPS model itself has any weight to it,
it should easily beat this mean model.

It should be more precise than just taking seasonal averages. That’s what skill is. The skill is relative performance over a supposedly weaker model. The OPS model often does not have skill against this simple mean model. It just doesn’t work. The error of the model itself increases as the concentration of the chemical (whatever we’re measuring) increases.

In other words, when these chemicals are in small amounts down and hovering around zero, the model has skill. But if you get large amounts and they become interesting, the model becomes worse and worse and worse .

So that’s one of the problems with it. The second problem is when our researcher ran the model for a farm at a particular downwind site. It’s what you’re supposed to do if you have a farm yourself so our researcher populated this farm with 400 fictional cows and then halved it to 200 cows and halved it again to 100 cows and then again to zero cows. And looked at comparing the amount of nitrogen that was deposited at this particular location according to OPS. OPS predicted the grand difference between all 400 cows and no cows at all was just under six moles per hectare per year. From 400 to 200 cows, it went down to like four or something so we’re talking about a difference of two moles per hectare per year. So now tell us as a chemist what is the difference in terms of numbering six or four or two

But of course that’s just completely fictional because there is no way
I can tell the difference between four and six moles per hectare per year.
I couldn’t measure it.

Though the model says as we increase the number of cows the amount deposited does increase. So based on that if I had to make a policy decision I’d say: Oh this is terrible the only way I could fix this is if I eliminated the cows or I’d cut them in half and then the number does go down. So based on that kind of reasoning therefore I should do something.

But you’re talking about a difference so small, so down into the noise you’d never be able to tell if you really reached it in reality. That’s our main criticism against this this whole policy making. It’s completely virtual, it sort of suggests a world which doesn’t exist, except in the zeros and ones in the computers. The biggest problem I have with the model is that it’s completely an imaginary reality not the world that we live in.

I couldn’t stress this enough Aerius is Central to the whole policy making. You need to use it in order to have a computation whether or not you add or subtract, increase or decrease your ammonia additions to a nature area near by. That is of course very worrying because that’s still in place. This model should be scrapped immediately because it produces bogus results as this very nice pictures shows. At least it should be tested, be investigated and then judged by independent parties.

Food Supply and Livelihoods At Risk from Nitrogen Policies

The irony of this whole situation is that the Dutch institution literally produces misinformation . We show that it’s completely misinforming about the reality of of any kind of nitrogen deposition from a certain Farm which wants to increase or decrease its number of animals.

That’s actually the case, so now where are the Netherlands going to get their food once the Farms are shut down,  Of course it’s not suddenly we have less food to eat no that’s not how it works. Fortunately that’s not how agriculture markets work, happy to say.

But there is another problem which I do not understand: We have a war in Ukraine in our backyard. If War would actually be extended to other parts of Europe we have a big problem, also a big agricultural problem. So where do we get our food from? So yes of course you can you can diminish your your livestock that’s not gonna over change overnight the the the food situation. But in this particular case, this could be more worrisome in the long term.

There’s also another problem, the biggest issue now is that we invest huge amounts of money to buy out all these farmers, and we have no idea what we get back for it. More nature? Of course we know this is not going to happen because it’s a virtual world all these policy makers look at. But of course that means less income for the Netherlands and more unemployment. So it’s a lose-lose situation on all sides.

We don’t get what we want in nature, and we get less income and and food
not just for us, but actually for the European Union and beyond.

People should be looking meticulously at the Netherlands, because what’s happening here is a huge top-down policy influence on a huge economic sector based on mere fantasy of apocalyptic risks related to nitrogen deposition. Because other countries like Canada, US and and other European countries are feverishly hoping the Netherlands government can pull this off. Because it’s a trick to disenfranchise huge parts of of the population in the Netherlands for no Return of Investment.

Footnote: List Of Evidence Showing There Is No Nitrogen “Crisis” In The Netherlands

To read studies exposing the flawed science basis to the so called Dutch nitrogen crisis, see the link above at wmbriggs.com.

There is no nitrogen emergency,
except for government nitrogen policies
threatening global food supply.


Inside the Carbon Cult

In Glasgow, members of an activist troupe protest climate change.(Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images)

Kevin D. Williamson has written a study on this topic, subtitled:

Reports on the religious character of the environmental movement

Below in italics with my bolds is the excerpted Introduction and at the end a link to the entire pdf. H/T Competitive Enterprise Institute.

This is not a religious book in the sense of its being meant to convey a religious message or for people of a particular religion—it is a book containing three journalistic reports about a religion, or a sort of religion, that emerged from and then subsumed the environmental movement. Today, that movement is a kind of cult and not a political movement at all, if it ever was one. Those who profess one of the Abrahamic faiths have a religious interest in idolatry because it perverts religion and leads religion to inhuman ends—Norman Podhoretz, in his very interesting book The Prophets, describes the ancient Israelite “war on idolatry” as a matter that is not exclusively otherworldly but very much rooted in a campaign against the ghastly social practices associated with idolatry: cannibalism, child sacrifice, etc.

And if idolatry makes a hash of religion, it is, if anything, even more of a menace
to the practice of politics, which is my subject.

I suspect that some of you may object to the term idolatry here, or to the description of the environmental movement as a kind of cult—that some readers may regard these as rhetorical excesses. All that I have to say in my defense is that this is a factual and literal account of what I have seen and heard in reporting about the environmental movement, in the actual explicit religious ceremonies that were conducted in and around the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow in 2021, in my conversations with such figures as the “voluntary human extinction” activist who calls himself Les U. Knight, in my conversations with those who object to clean and economical nuclear power on grounds that are, even when not accompanied by pseudo- religious Gaia rhetoric, fundamentally metaphysical. What is at work is a kind of sophomoric, cartoon puritanism that regards modernity—and, in particular, the extent and pattern of consumption in the modern developed world— as sinful. One need not squint too much to recognize very old Christian (or even Stoic) aversion to “luxury” in these denunciations.

Indeed, we need only take the true believers at their word. As scientists have been searching for economic, abundant, and environmentally responsible sources of energy to support human flourishing, the environmentalists have resisted and abominated these efforts: Amory Lovins of Friends of the Earth declared that “it would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy”—and please note there the inclusion of clean—while Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich famously opined that “giving society cheap, abundant energy at this point would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” Professor Ehrlich gives up the game with “at this point”—meaning, of course, in our fallen, postlapsarian state.

It was, of course, inevitable that Professor Ehrlich— who has been spectacularly wrong about practically every prediction he has made in his lucrative career as a secular, Malthusian prophet—should be back in the news at the same time scientists were announcing a breakthrough in nuclear fusion research. Professor Ehrlich, recently seen on 60 Minutes (which still exists!) and elsewhere, downplays the recent advance in fusion on the grounds that current patterns of human living are “unsustainable.” Professor Ehrlich has been giving the same interview for decade and decades—advances in energy production will not matter because “the world will have long since succumbed to overpopulation, famine,” and other ills, as he insisted in an interview published by the Los Angeles Times—in 1989— not long after insisting that the United Kingdom would be ravished by famine no later than the year 2000. 

End-of- days stories have long been a staple of religions and cults of many different kinds and characters, of course, and the environmental movement is fundamentally eschatological in its orientation, by turns utopian and apocalyptic. It is at the moment more apocalyptic than utopian, but that is a reflection of a broader trend in our politics and our society. The Western world, in particular, the English-speaking Western world, has been fervently praying for its own demise for a generation. Future historians will note the prevalence of zombie-apocalypse stories in our time—The Walking Dead has recently concluded its main series but will be supplemented by numerous spinoffs, while one of the most intensely anticipated television series of 2023 is The Last of Us, an adaptation of a video game that is based on yet another variation of the zombie-apocalypse theme—but beyond zombie-apocalypse stories we have alien-invasion- apocalypse stories, and, precisely to our point here, eco-apocalypse stories by the dozen (The Day After Tomorrow, Snowpiercer, Waterworld, Interstellar, Wall-E).

What these stories have in common is not the particular source of anxiety, though environmental concerns are interlaced into many stories: The Last of Us is a zombie story, but the zombies are produced by global warming, which allows a particular fungus to colonize and control human brains. (One shared article of faith that is present not only in zombie movies but also from campy, anencephalic or macrocephalic aliens of Mars Attacks! and Independence Day—the enemy is the brain.) What they have in common, rather, is a two-sided fascination with social collapse, both the negative aspects—the inevitable suffering—and the positive—the possibility of a return to innocence and a shared born-against experience that retroactively sanctifies that suffering. 

Which is to say, what we have here is the old mythological cycle
of suffering, death,and rebirth told at the social level
rather than at the level of individual hero or martyr.

None of this is to say that there are not real environmental challenges in front of us. These are real, and they deserve serious attention. But here in the third decade of the benighted 21st century, the environmental movement is not about that. It is an apocalyptic-fantasy cult. Of course there are people who think of themselves as adherents of that movement who are doing real work in science and policy, in much the same way that the alchemists and magicians of the medieval period laid the foundations for much of modern science, including a great deal of chemistry and astronomy. The two phenomena are by no means mutually exclusive.

But if you want to understand why there has been so frustratingly little meaningful progress in environmental policy in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union in the past 30 years or so, then understanding the cultic character of the environmental movement is essential. The real environmental-policy debate should be, not to put too fine a point on it, boring, though by no means simple—a largely technical matter of understanding tradeoffs and drawing up policies that attempt to balance competing goods (environmental, recreational, economic, social, etc.) and putting those policies to the test of democratic accountability. None of this is easy in a connected and global world—prohibit the use of coal in the United States and you might end up increasing worldwide coal-related greenhouse-gas emissions as relatively dirty power plants in China and India take up the slack in consumption—but none of it ought to present a Manichean conflict, either.

Demagoguery is an old and obvious factor in all political discourse, but there is at work here something deeper than mere political opportunism, and that is the invariable human need, sometimes subtly realized, to rewrite complex stories as simple stories, replacing real-world complexity with the anaesthetizing simplicity of heroes and villains. We have been here before, of course. Consider Robert Wiebe’s anthropology of bureaucracy in the Progressive Era in The Search for Order:

The sanguine followers of the bureaucratic way constructed their world on a comfortable set of assumptions. While they shaded many of the old moral absolutes, they still thought in terms of normal and abnormal. Rationality and peace, decent living conditions and equal opportunity, they considered “natural”; passion and violence, slums and deprivation, were “unnatural.” Knowledge, they were convinced, was power, specifically the power to guide men into the future. Consequently, these hopeful people also exposed themselves to the shock of bloody catastrophe. In contrast to the predetermined stages of the idealists, however, bureaucratic thought had made indeterminate process central to its approach. Presupposing the unexpected, its adherents were most resilient just where the idealists were most brittle.

Of course, the assumptions described by Wiebe are precisely backward:
It is deprivation and violence that are natural, peace and plenty that are unnatural.

As Thomas Sowell famously observed, poverty has no causes— prosperity has causes, while poverty is the natural state of human affairs, present and effective ex nihilo. But the conflation of the natural and the desirable is always with us: Like most Americans, I treasure our national parks and have spent many enjoyable days in them, but it is difficult to think of any environment anywhere on Earth that is less natural than Yellowstone, the highly artificial environment that is the product of planning and policy, for instance in the programmatic introduction of grey wolves and other species.

To subscribe to a genuinely natural view of the world and man’s place in it, as opposed to a quasi-religious environmental dualism, is to understand man as integral part of nature, in which case you might think of Midtown Manhattan as a less artificial and more organic environment than Yellowstone, its features and patterns considerably more spontaneous than what one finds in a diligently managed nature preserve. If, on the other hand, you understand the natural world and the wild places in it principally as a paradisiac spiritual counterpoint to the fallen state of man as represented in our urban and technological civilization, then you cannot make any kind of reasonable tradeoff calculation when it comes to, say, drilling for gas in the Arctic, which must be regarded not as a poor policy choice but as a profanation, a “violation” of that which is “pristine” and “sacred”—words that one commonly hears applied to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and to many less exalted swamps and swathes of tundra.

For myself, what I want is a boring environmental policy, one that is, in Wiebe’s terms, less brittle and more resilient, one that in “presupposing the unexpected” is able to account for developments that complicate our environmental policies by enmeshing them in other policies that they also complicate. For example, try putting yourself in the position of a responsible policy analyst in 1968, when Ehrlich’s Population Bomb hit the shelves. In 1968, it would have been very difficult to imagine the subsequent transformation of China into a modern economic power—and even more difficult to imagine that this development would be not entirely and unqualifiedly good for the world, given the resources it has put at the disposal of what today must be regarded as history’s most encompassing and sophisticated police state. (So far.)

But instead of a political discourse that can take such developments on their own terms
and put them into a context of competing goods and tradeoffs,
we end up instead with a parade of Great Satans.

For the environmental cultists, the Great Satan is Exxon; for certain self-described nationalists in the United States, the Great Satan is the Chinese Communist Party; the strangely durable Marxists and the neo-nationalists on the Right have, with utter predictability, converged on their choice of Great Satans, these being transnational “elites.” And so the religious appetite is satisfied through politics, including, in a particularly intense way, through environmental politics. To take one example that seems very obvious to me, the United States and much of the rest of the world, including the developing world, would be much better off on practically every applicable metric if there were wider and more sophisticated deployment of nuclear power, which is not a panacea by any means, but is a reliable, economical, and effectively zero-emissions way to produce electricity at utility scale. The case against nuclear power might be described, in generous terms, as “moral” or “pseudo-religious” but might be described more accurately as “superstitious.” But maybe that kind of metaphysical primitivism is to be expected from a political movement whose economic agenda includes a great deal of physical primitivism as well: In the neo-Neolithic future of their dreams, there won’t be much to do in the evenings except bark at the moon, so one may as well try to imbue it with some transcendent meaning.

The environment matters. So do property rights, trade, development, agriculture, medicine, energy, the rule of law, democracy, and the uncountable other constituent elements of human flourishing. A reasonable environmental policy can work with that, but a spiritualized and cultic environmental policy cannot. I hope these reports will help to make it clear just how real the choice between these two kinds of environmentalism is.

Kevin D. Williamson

Multiple Choice Question re Green Energy

Jack Hellner poses the issue in his American Thinker article. A single multiple choice question for the ‘green’ energy pushers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Here is one burning question for scientists, entertainers, journalists, politicians,
bureaucrats, and others who claim they can control the climate:

Which of the following has caused the reservoirs to fill up rapidly in California and elsewhere in the West?

A. The Paris Climate accord.

B. The misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act” in which the Democrats claimed they can control the climate by handing out huge amounts of money to “green” pushers.

C. All the United Nations gabfests where people fly in private jets to stump about the need to cut emissions.

D. Shuttering coal and natural gas utility plants.

E. Transitioning the peasants to cricket and mealworms as “food” to control cow flatulence.

F. Making people buy inefficient, expensive, impractical electric cars powered by the dangerous, highly-flammable pollutant lithium.

G. Sequestering CO2, a clear, innocuous, non-pollutant gas that makes plants thrive and allows the world to be fed.

H. Record rain and snow that came cyclically and naturally.

(I’m sure you guessed, but the correct answer is: H.)

According to scientists, this winter’s downpour in California and other western states turned out to be a positive, as it brought relief to the drought-ridden environments:

All the moisture has helped alleviate dry conditions in many parts of the western U.S. Even major reservoirs on the Colorado River are trending in the right direction.

Of course, the scientific “experts” who somehow failed to predict this record rain and snow, warned of the “stubborn” aridity:

But climate experts caution that the favorable drought maps represent only a blip on the radar as the long-term effects of a stubborn drought persist.

Here is a hint: The Sahara Desert used to be fertile until around 9,000 years ago. A stubborn drought has persisted since then and it was not caused by oil, coal, CO2, cars, methane, or any of the other things “climate experts” blame for causing droughts, flooding, too much snow, too little snow and whatever else with which they want to scare the public.

Why should we trust scientists or anyone else whose dire predictions of doom and gloom on the climate or global warming have been 100% wrong the last hundred years?

Everyone should understand that scientists and others who push the “green” agenda make a lot of money pretending they can control the climate. They would have their spigot of money cranked off if they told the truth that the climate is and has always changed cyclically and naturally. As always, follow the money.

The same people who claim they can control the climate:
    1. Apparently lack the ability to properly regulate banks…and then blame Trump for the problem.
    2. Can’t control or tell the truth about the crisis at the borders…and then blame Trump for the problem.
    3. Can’t tell the truth or control the “spread” of COVID. Why would anyone trust the so-called “experts” at the CDC and the WHO who spread so much misinformation about COVID and destroyed so many businesses and people with their government edicts?
    4. Told so many lies about Obamacare, including the “you can keep your doctor” and “keep your plan” shticks, premiums would go down substantially fib, and that it would lower the deficit. And most of the media still says how great it is.
    5. Can’t educate children — no matter how much money they throw at it — to read or do math at grade level. 

Yet we are told that these people can control temperatures, sea levels, and storm activity forever if we just give them trillions of dollars and allow them to destroy industries that produce reasonably priced energy and thousands of other products that have greatly improved our quality and length of life.

They have trouble predicting the climate a few days out and did not predict the record amount of rain and snow in California this year but supposedly they can predict temperatures within one degree one hundred years out, with all the natural variables?

Does it sound remotely intelligent to believe these people?


Why Are Climate Crisis Dissenters Labeled “Deniers”?

Renowned climate activist G. Thunberg: “People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. This is all wrong”.

Accused climate denier J. Peterson: “One of the consequences of carbon dioxide overproduction is that paradoxically and contrary to all of the predictions of the environmentalists, the planet is now 15% greener than it was in the year 2000. That’s larger than the area of the United States, and it isn’t obvious to me that’s a bad thing… and it’s more than that, the most remarkable greening has occurred in semi-arid areas, and so the deserts are supposed to be expanding as the globalist globe warmed and the climate changed… yet the green has invaded semi-arid areas.”

Denier, denier, pants on fire? Call the phenomenon: Exaggeration for Action. Why? Because the political consensus is about action. It’s Consensus Fundamentalism that loves things black and white, and hates nuance. Because the lukewarmists and others like Peterson are upsetting the catastrophism that the mainstream Consensus Totalitarians need you to buy into. Because there are two kinds of modes: Thought and Action. They want action. I’d bet these Psychological Totalitarian Action Figures also need it personally, out of hidden fear of having their own suppressed doubts triggered.

So they fight back. They label challengers with something hugely ugly. The term Deniers lumps them together with Holocaust deniers. It doesn’t get uglier!

One prolific poster here calls these status quo name-callers Neoliberal Totalitarians. Whatever the name, totalitarian runs through. See if the following rings true.

The Totalitarians are of 2 categories. The first are run of the mill self-interested Monopolists, who know a good game when they see one. The second are the Ideologues, both Evil and the Misguided Do-Gooders. The evil ones seldom admit it, you have to read a lot and use your imagination. They love the sport of slavery and dominance, pure and simple. Call them Egoic Psychopaths. They live for the Power Pleasure of getting you to do unspeakable things to yourself, and the side-slapper is when you ask for more. Their curiosity is piqued by how wayward society will go. It’s perverse, it’s a tradition. Their methods are psychological and scientific. They do, because they can.

The Misguided Do-Gooders, which account for the vast majority,
actually believe they have the Solutions for the Greater Common Good.

But the Stupid People and the Democracy Delusion get in the way, even as they need to play Democracy, Transparency and Equity to win your trust. They thrive on fashionable buzzwords. Their gambit is to defer to the Experts for whom The Science Is Settled. Mostly it isn’t. Instead, the Science is weaponised. Their tactic is to get you to Trust while tweeking your Sensitivity and Guilt Buttons, resulting in Obedience and Compliance. They cannot admit their Infallibility. Ever. Because this reduces their Trust Quotient, which together with their Solemn Smiles they’ve staked everything on. So they double down. Into Tough Love and Pretzel Logic. They’ll eagerly jump through burning hoops of absurdity and hypocrisy forwards, backwards and sideways, even resort to Legalising Censorship and the Comeback of Shaming to keep up the Illusion.

If this last variant sounds like Justin Trudeau in Canada, the Dems in America,
and some Euro parliamentarians, you’re probably right.


Climate Realist for Canada PM, Please!

Published at CO2 Coalition A Plea To Pierre Poilievre, A Climate Realist for Prime Minister of Canada by Ron Barmby.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Dear Pierre,

There will probably be a federal election in Canada in the coming months as Justin Trudeau’s government is in a minority position with waning support.

His past three successful elections have all included fighting climate change as a key and winning platform. His current legislative agenda indicates his next campaign will have the same focus.

As Leader of the Official Opposition [pictured above], and in the best position to form a new government, you are currently advocating eliminating Trudeau’s national carbon tax and “letting technology handle CO2 emissions.”

That is probably a strategy to avoid playing to Trudeau’s strength, which is instilling fear of climate change in the voting public. But you could take it further by highlighting Trudeau’s main climate weakness: he misrepresents or is willingly ignorant of, the science of climate change.

Election campaigns require talking points, but I can offer you the following thinking points on the science of climate change that I hope you will find useful.

1500+ Scientists agree and disclared No Climate Emergency

1500+ Scientists Agreed and Declared No Climate Emergency

The Climate Changes but There Is No Climate Emergency.

Trudeau’s declaration of a national climate emergency is based on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts of between 2.5°C and 3.5°C warming between now and the year 2100 (intermediate and high emissions scenarios).

If those forecasts—which are not compliant with the scientific method—were reasonable, surely the planet would be on that warming trend now. It’s not.

The most accurate and complete temperature survey of the planet comes from satellites, beginning in 1979. Over the past 44 years, satellite data reveals that the trend of global warming has been 0.13°C per decade, which if continued would add only 1°C by 2100.

Interestingly, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased by 25% over those four decades. CO2 doesn’t seem to have caused much warming during that time.

The warmest year on the satellite record is 1998 (caused by an El Nino event) indicating no current warming trend for the last 24 years. And CO2 concentrations have since increased by 14%.

This satellite data is backed up by the world’s most sophisticated land-based temperature survey designed for scientific research. The United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN) was set up to provide continental U.S. temperature data using state-of-the-art triple redundant instruments in pristine locations unaffected by human activity.

There has been no warming trend in the continental United States since USCRN data collection began 18 years ago. Interestingly again, CO2 concentrations were up 10% during that period.

Mr. Poilievre, this lack of warming is well-known and documented in the public domain. The limitations of CO2 causing global warming are also well-known and documented in the scientific domain and even accepted by the IPCC.

That is why Trudeau, with only tepid backing from the IPCC, is now claiming increased extreme weather events as the new basis for fear of climate change.

Except it’s not true that we’re experiencing increased extreme weather events. A recent study using established and accepted international databases saw no statistically significant increasing trends in the intensity of heatwaves, hurricanes and/or tropical storms, tornadoes, global and extreme precipitation, droughts, or floods.

On a Canadian note, the 2021/22 extreme weather events in central British Columbia consisting of a succession of a polar vortex, heat dome, wildfires, and flooding were not a result of CO2-induced climate change. They are all linked to instability in the jet stream, solidly backed up by meteorological science.

The Natural Causes of Climate Change Are Very Large.

The sun provides the Earth with almost all of its surface heat. On the time scale of recent human history, changes in the output of the sun are the smoking gun for climate change.

A less active sun has a weakened magnetic field, which allows more galactic cosmic rays to hit our atmosphere and ionize molecules. These ionized molecules become cloud-building sites. Low, dense clouds block the sun’s heat from reaching the surface of the Earth, causing temperatures to drop.

The opposite is true; a more active sun has a stronger magnetic field that shields the Earth from cosmic rays. This means less ionization and cloud-building, so more of the sun’s warming energy reaches the surface.

When the sun’s activity is low for many decades it is called a Grand Solar Minimum. During the Little Ice Age of 1300 to 1850, we experienced four consecutive Grand Solar Minimums; at that time the average global temperature was about 1°C lower than today.

Conversely, sustained high solar activity is called a Grand Solar Maximum and the most recent occurrence was during much of the 20th century when we experienced about 1°C of global warming.

The IPCC, with Trudeau‘s adherence, dismiss solar changes even though a 1% reduction in cloud cover could explain the global warming of the past century.

Eliminating The Carbon Tax is a Great Idea.

As Dr. Lars Schernikau, Ph.D. in Energy Economics and who grew up in the centrally planned economy of East Germany points out “…because pricing one externality but not others leads to economic and environmental distortions… causing human suffering.”

His example is particularly applicable to Canada where CO2 pricing is only on combustion, but green technology is exempt:

“How else could a ‘Net-Zero’ label be assigned to a solar panel produced from coal and minerals extracted in Africa with diesel-run equipment, transported to China on a vessel powered by fuel oil, and processed with energy from coal- or gas-fired power using partially with forced labor?”

Technology Cannot Handle CO2 Emissions.

In fact, technology is rather bad at handling CO2 emissions. Let’s look at wind power first. A 15% drop in wind speed equates to a 40% drop in electrical generation. Europe is a prime example of the failure of wind power.

That failure transferred European energy security to Russia which enabled it to invade Ukraine. American solar power failures became the highlight of Michael Moore’s documentary Planet of the Humans.

Hydrogen fuel cells were aptly described by Elon Musk as “mind-bogglingly stupid.” Burning hydrogen directly is not only an extreme safety risk (leaks from plastic local distribution pipelines), but it produces six times the smog-causing nitrous oxides that natural gas does.

Many hydroelectric dams produce more greenhouse gases than the burning of coal due to the cement-related CO2 and methane emissions from the artificial lakes.

Fully electric vehicles are a bad idea for Canada because (a) in very cold weather their driving range is halved while the charging time is doubled and (b) we don’t have the grid capacity to charge them anyway.

Adding ethanol to gasoline does not reduce CO2 emissions. That’s just an accounting trick, but not much of a trick because ethanol emissions are simply not counted. However, it does drive up food prices significantly, as food is converted to fuel. This is devastating to the world’s poor.

Carbon capture and storage in Canada’s oil sector would divert large sums of money away from being available for health care and reducing taxes while providing no impact on the steadily increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration (which incidentally is also driving up global crop yields).

Capping CO2 emissions from Canada’s oil industry just means a dictator’s oil will fill the market gap we could have ethically and responsibly filled.

Canada’s Next Election.

A global fear of climate change has led to panic, panic has led to bad decisions, and bad decisions have led to failure. The result is energy poverty, hunger, massive distortions of the free market, and a shooting war in Europe. That’s a far cry from the United Nations’ mandate of promoting peace.

Trudeau’s game plan for climate change is more fear, more panic, and more failure. Meanwhile, not a single signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement is on track to meet their 1.5°C emissions reductions target. Additionally, Canada now holds the title of the world’s most useful climate idiot and we have become a house divided.

A rational game plan would include only facts established by the scientific method, and dispassionate deliberation from the larger scientific and engineering community (wherein Canadians still enjoy a respected reputation).

Canadians should not fear climate change; they should understand it and prepare as necessary. We need a new plan based on evident realities, not science “experienced differently” by Trudeau.

What we should truly fear is Trudeau’s fight against climate change.

Best regards,

CO2 Coalition Member Ron Barmby (www.ronaldbarmby.ca) is a Professional Engineer with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, whose 40+ year career in the energy sector has taken him to over 40 countries on five continents. His book, Sunlight on Climate Change: A Heretic’s Guide to Global Climate Hysteria (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), explains in layman’s terms the science of how natural and human-caused global warming work.

Official Censors Misinform on Covid, Climate

Ross McKitrick writes at Financial Post Policing misinformation from the misinformation police.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds and added images.

State-sponsored ‘experts’ on ‘misinformation’ are typically the worst offenders

As citizens of a liberal democracy Canadians have long believed that only the free contest of differing points of view can produce genuine intellectual progress. But now we are told we face a crisis of “misinformation” that calls for vigorous censorship of heretical opinion. On all of today’s major public controversies, we are asked to believe, all of us would enthusiastically assent to the one obviously correct view (which happens to be the view promulgated by the governing class) were it not for the pernicious influence of a shadowy conspiracy of social-media traffickers in misinformation — voices that must be suppressed for the good of society.

In his 1859 essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill decisively rebutted this argument. “Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion,” he wrote, “is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right.” It is one thing, Mill argues, if the holders of received opinion conclude their view is correct because, though challenged, it has not been refuted; but another thing altogether if it’s simply assumed true and challenge is therefore forbidden.

Yet that’s precisely the position of today’s would-be “misinformation” police.

In reality, state-sponsored “experts” on “misinformation” are typically the worst offenders. Presuming themselves infallible, they call for new laws to shut everyone else up.

In the climate domain, a group called the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) boasts a Climate Disinformation Team consisting of five staff members, all trained in arts or political science (none in economics or physical sciences) who have put out a long report (and follow-up) supposedly documenting these networks of online misinformation and calling for new legislation and stricter rules for social media companies to combat it.

The reports feature screenshots of social media posts that critique
alarmist climate claims or the high costs of climate policy.

The ISD does not rebut but simply displays these posts — as if their mere existence is proof censorship is needed. For instance, they say “Calling into question the viability and effectiveness of renewable energy sources is a common practice among climate sceptics and delayist actors,” and then show a series of social media posts pointing out problems associated with wind and solar power systems. But wind and solar power systems do have problems, including intermittency and the need for costly fossil-fuel backups. To suggest otherwise is itself misinformation.

Closer to home, an organization called the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), which purports to draw on top experts in Canada to give guidance to policy-makers, recently issued a report on “science and health misinformation” that concludes society would benefit from more vigorous efforts to suppress debate and ban more people from social media.

Much of the report consists of finger-wagging against anyone
who questioned anti-COVID public health measures.

For instance: “(O)ngoing claims that mask wearing is ineffective or even harmful have shifted firmly into the realm of misinformation.” Meanwhile, back in science, a newly-published, peer-reviewed meta-analysis summarizing 10 randomized control trials involving nearly 277,000 people concludes that “Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza-like illness (ILI)/COVID-19 like illness compared to not wearing masks.” So who’s spreading misinformation?

The CCA report also has much to say about supposed climate misinformation. But again none of the authors is an economist or climate scientist. The closest they come to an “expert” is a psychologist who has spent years studying, or more precisely denigrating, skeptical climate blogs and their contributors. In several places, the CCA report relies on his 2012 article asserting that climate skepticism is correlated with a wide set of dubious conspiracies, such as believing the moon landing was a hoax. But it fails to mention a 2015 statistical critique published in the same journal that showed its conclusions “are not supported by the data.”

CCA brags about its peer review process, saying reviewers were selected for their “diverse perspectives and areas of expertise.” But again the reviewers did not include climate scientists or economists; nor is there any evidence of diversity of perspectives. As a rule, one-sided and unimpressive polemicists constitute the CCA’s “expert team.”

And yet CCA complains (at length) about the public’s declining trust in scientific institutions.

To the extent the CCA report offers any factual assertions about climate change, it points to “catastrophic events” such as “droughts, floods, and wildfires exacerbated by climate change.” It fails to mention, however, that Chapter 11 of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report says, concerning droughts, that “Global studies generally show no significant trends” and that in most places around the world there’s “inconclusive evidence” tying droughts to human-induced climate change. In North America in particular there’s “low confidence in the attribution of long-term changes in meteorological drought.”

Regarding floods, “In general, there is low confidence in attributing changes in the probability or magnitude of flood events to human influence because of a limited number of studies, differences in the results of these studies and large modelling uncertainties.” As for wildfires, they have been trending down globally for the past decade. In Canada, according to the Canadian National Fire Database, both the number of forest fires and total area burned peaked in the late 1980s and has been declining ever since. Yet again the CCA offers misinformation to support its case for more censorship.

Here’s a better idea. Ignore the CCA and the ISD
and all the other would-be enforcers of orthodoxy.

Drop the fixation on “misinformation,” which is just the latest iteration of the same old desire of governments to censor their opponents. Allow the public the freedom, as Mill counselled, to hear arguments “from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them.” A dangerous thought in 1859, and judging by the current misinformation craze, an utter heresy today; yet true nonetheless.

Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph and senior fellow of the Fraser Institute.


10 Times Covid Experts Failed Us

Marty Makary presents a list of failures in his NY Post article 10 myths told by COVID experts — and now debunked.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

In the past few weeks, a series of analyses published by highly respected researchers have exposed a truth about public health officials during COVID:   Much of the time, they were wrong.

To be clear, public health officials were not wrong for making recommendations based on what was known at the time.  That’s understandable. You go with the data you have.

No, they were wrong because they refused to change their directives
in the face of new evidence.

When a study did not support their policies, they dismissed it and censored opposing opinions.

At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weaponized research itself by putting out its own flawed studies in its own non-peer-reviewed medical journal, MMWR.

In the final analysis, public health officials actively propagated misinformation
that ruined lives and forever damaged public trust in the medical profession.

Here are 10 ways they misled Americans:

Misinformation #1: Natural immunity offers little protection compared to vaccinated immunity

A Lancet study looked at 65 major studies in 19 countries on natural immunity. The researchers concluded that natural immunity was at least as effective as the primary COVID vaccine series.  In fact, the scientific data was there all along — from 160 studies, despite the findings of these studies violating Facebook’s “misinformation” policy.

Since the Athenian plague of 430 BC, it has been observed that those who recovered after infection were protected against severe disease if reinfected.  That was also the observation of nearly every practicing physician during the first 18 months of the COVID pandemic.

Most Americans who were fired for not having the COVID vaccine already had antibodies that effectively neutralized the virus, but they were antibodies that the government did not recognize.

Misinformation #2: Masks prevent COVID transmission

Cochran Reviews are considered the most authoritative and independent assessment of the evidence in medicine.  And one published last month by a highly respected Oxford research team found that masks had no significant impact on COVID transmission.

When asked about this definitive review, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky downplayed it, arguing that it was flawed because it focused on randomized controlled studies.

But that was the greatest strength of the review! Randomized studies are considered the gold standard of medical evidence.

If all the energy used by public health officials to mask toddlers could have been channeled to reduce child obesity by encouraging outdoor activities, we would be better off.

Misinformation #3: School closures reduce COVID transmission

The CDC ignored the European experience of keeping schools open, most without mask mandates. Transmission rates were no different, evidenced by studies conducted in Spain and Sweden.

Misinformation #4: Myocarditis from the vaccine is less common than from the infection

Public health officials downplayed concerns about vaccine-induced myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle.  They cited poorly designed studies that under-captured complication rates.

A flurry of well-designed studies said the opposite.  We now know that myocarditis is six to 28 times more common after the COVID vaccine than after the infection among 16- to 24-year-old males.

Tens of thousands of children likely got myocarditis, mostly subclinical, from a COVID vaccine they did not need because they were entirely healthy or because they already had COVID.

Misinformation #5: Young people benefit from a vaccine booster

Boosters reduced hospitalizations in older, high-risk Americans. But the evidence was never there that they lower COVID mortality in young, healthy people.

That’s probably why the CDC chose not to publish its data on hospitalization rates among boosted Americans under 50, when it published the same rates for those over 50.

Ultimately, White House pressure to recommend boosters for all was so intense that the FDA’s two top vaccine experts left the agency in protest, writing scathing articles on how the data did not support boosters for young people.

Misinformation #6: Vaccine mandates increased vaccination rates

President Biden and other officials demanded that unvaccinated workers, regardless of their risk or natural immunity, be fired.  They demanded that soldiers be dishonorably discharged and nurses be laid off in the middle of a staffing crisis.

The mandate was based on the theory that vaccination reduced transmission rates
— a notion later proven to be false.

But after the broad recognition that vaccination does not reduce transmission, the mandates persisted, and still do to this day.

A recent study from George Mason University details how vaccine mandates in nine major US cities had no impact on vaccination rates.  They also had no impact on COVID transmission rates.

Misinformation #7: COVID originating from the Wuhan lab is a conspiracy theory

Google admitted to suppressing searches of “lab leak” during the pandemic.  Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, claimed (and still does) he didn’t believe the virus came from a lab.

Ultimately, overwhelming circumstantial evidence points to a lab leak origin — the same origin suggested to Dr. Anthony Fauci by two very prominent virologists in a January 2020 meeting he assembled at the beginning of the pandemic.

According to documents obtained by Bret Baier of Fox News, they told Fauci and Collins that the virus may have been manipulated and originated in the lab, but then suddenly changed their tune in public comments days after meeting with the NIH officials.

The virologists were later awarded nearly $9 million from Fauci’s agency.

Misinformation #8: It was important to get the second vaccine dose three or four weeks after the first dose

Data were clear in the spring of 2021, just months after the vaccine rollout, that spacing the vaccine out by three months reduces complication rates and increases immunity.

Spacing out vaccines would have also saved more lives when Americans were rationing a limited vaccine supply at the height of the epidemic.

Misinformation #9: Data on the bivalent vaccine is ‘crystal clear’

Dr. Ashish Jha famously said this, despite the bivalent vaccine being approved using data from eight mice.  To date, there has never been a randomized controlled trial of the bivalent vaccine.

In my opinion, the data are crystal clear that young people should not get the bivalent vaccine. It would have also spared many children myocarditis.

Misinformation #10: One in five people get long COVID

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that 20% of COVID infections can result in long COVID.

But a UK study found that only 3% of COVID patients had residual symptoms lasting 12 weeks. What explains the disparity?

It’s often normal to experience mild fatigue or weakness for weeks after being sick and inactive and not eating well.  Calling these cases long COVID is the medicalization of ordinary life.


What’s most amazing about all the misinformation conveyed by CDC and public health officials is that there have been no apologies for holding on to their recommendations for so long after the data became apparent that they were dead wrong.

Public health officials said “you must” when the correct answer
should have been “we’re not sure.”

Early on, in the absence of good data, public health officials chose a path of stern paternalism.

Today, they are in denial of a mountain of strong studies showing that they were wrong.




Covid Coercion Coverup in Canada

In recent months, some demonstrators in Quebec have denounced what they consider government fear campaigns over COVID-19. The new measures included a mandatory rule on wearing masks during demonstrations. Sept. 2020 (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

John Hardie et al. dissect a recent publication attempting to whitewash blacken over suspension of citizens’ rights as well public health principles during the pandemic.  Their Epoch Times article is Pandemic Performance Study Blatant Attempt to Justify Feds’ Actions? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The Public Health Agency of Canada study’s conclusions are a fantasy,
quite divorced from reality

Rather than learning from the painful lessons of the past three years, it’s obvious that we’ve entered a post-pandemic phase of government-led alarmism.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)—including Theresa Tam—has published a study in a Canadian public health journal declaring that pandemic-inspired restrictions substantially reduced the impact of COVID-19 in Canada. “Counterfactuals of effects of vaccination and public health measures on COVID-19 cases in Canada: What could have happened?” asks us to believe an imagined story about what may have happened had Canada’s public health measures not been implemented.

However, the result is a counterfactual narrative of a fantasized Canada quite divorced from reality.

An elementary school in Montreal North is seen, Thursday, May 14, 2020 in Montreal. PHOTO BY RYAN REMIORZ /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Recent debate on the study’s findings has made it evident that Theresa Tam and her collaborators (“the authors”) are victims of common modelling pitfalls that have stripped their objectivity and, accordingly, affected the quality of their model and its output.

Instead of relying on modelling forecasts, the authors resort to “back-casting” to state “what may have happened” or “what could have been” had governments not acted on our behalf.

However, giving credence to such questionable results occurs all too often when sensational outcomes are observed. Unfortunately for any modelling study, the historical path—the one involving no interventions—was foreclosed the moment pandemic responses began. Neither the authors, nor anyone else, can ever observe the simultaneous response and non-response of Canada’s experience with COVID-19.

Quebec Premier François Legault says police in the province’s red zones — regions where COVID-19 cases are surging — will be issuing $1,000 fines to those who violate newly strengthened public health rules.  With fees, those fines will top $1,500 and can be issued for gathering in private residences or protesting without a face covering.

Their most dramatic claim is that, without social restrictions and vaccines, up to 800,000 COVID-related deaths could have occurred. The figure below shows 12 years of all-cause mortality data in Canada (blue line), with the authors’ “worst case” superimposed (red line).

The figure shows 12 years of all-cause mortality data in Canada (blue line), with the authors’ “worst case” superimposed (red line).

For us, two things make the authors’ assertion incompatible with any reasonable view: one, there was no obvious increase in all-cause mortality between 2020 and 2021 that exceeded historical trends (blue line), and two, the death count of “up to 800,000 people” (red line) surpasses the number of Canadians killed in the 1918 influenza pandemic and two World Wars—combined. It begs the question:

Could an infection with a survival rate >99 percent really have been
the single most devastating health event in a century?
The reader can decide if they find these results plausible, or fantastic.

All models are unrealistic to a degree (although this is not a “fatal flaw”). However, models are only as good as the assumptions upon which they are based. Unfortunately, the authors have hung their results on assumptions that underestimate the acquisition, extent, and durability of natural immunity and that very likely overestimate early viral spread and the duration of vaccine-acquired immunity.

The authors also assume that the spread of infection dropped consistently with the stringency of closures and other social restrictions: when strict, transmission was low; when relaxed, transmission increased. However, there is evidence that these measures didn’t work “as advertised.” In many provinces, their effect may have plateaued by April 2020.

Stricter measures did not translate into a proportionately slower spread.

Unfortunately, this didn’t stop the authors from forcing their model to respond as if they had. In their “worst case” scenario, large amounts of infection and disease are—conveniently—a foregone conclusion unless they get flattened by top-down government actions. The agency of Canadians and its bottom-up influences on transmission, such as people’s natural tendency to avoid contagion, are never considered.

Their least subtle omission was the failure to disclose conflicts of interest. While PHAC scientists might claim they only provide guidance on sub-national pandemic responses, the interests of many federal health-related agencies are certainly evident.

For example, the federal government’s purchase of COVID-19 vaccines preceded their approval by Health Canada, and some of the most restrictive measures imposed on Canadians (such as vaccine requirements for commercial travel) came from the federal level. As it happens, four of the authors are also directly employed by the federal government.

The study’s authors can hardly be viewed as not having competing interests
in favourably evaluating pandemic policies.

All this leads us to wonder: was their article a genuine evidence-based analysis of government policies? Or, rather, a blatant attempt to justify these policies? To their credit, the authors admit that Canada’s response to the pandemic was imperfect and any unintended consequences need to be investigated. It will truly be a measure of the honesty and integrity of PHAC and their provincial partners if the latter is ever realized.

Footnote Quebec Covid Situation October 1, 2020

Note that testing has quadrupled since July and the number of new cases followed, especially in the last month.  Meanwhile daily deaths are unchanged at less than five a day, compared to Quebec losing 186 lives every day from all causes..  Recoveries are not reported to the public, perhaps due to the large number of people testing positive but without symptoms or only mild illness and no professional treatment.  The graph below estimates recoveries assuming that people not dying 28 days after a positive test can be counted as cured or in recovery.

Recoveries are the number of people testing positive (misleadingly termed “cases”) minus deaths 28 days later.  Obviously, the death rate was high early on, and now is barely visible.  Meanwhile the Positivity rate (% of people testing positive out of all subjects) went down to 1% for several months before rising recently.  Since there is a lag of 28 days, we don’t yet see the outcome of the rise in positives along with the increased testing.

And yet, with an edict, as of October 1 the government of Quebec put 60% of the provincial population under strict restrictions, about 4.8 million people.  The article from CBC News provides the details Quebec gives police legal tools to enter homes quickly to stop gatherings during COVID-19

Cognitive Climate Games

Robert Bradley at Master Resource reports on how cognitive dissonance can be pushed below the level of awareness in his article “Cognitive Dissonance” and Climate Change: A Takedown.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Sometimes a rebuttal on social media is just too good to not memorialize. This one concerns a post about “Cognitive Dissonance” in reference to a 49-minute Apple Podcast, “Hidden Brain: When You Need It to Be True.” Its synopsis states:

When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other people. This week, we revisit a favorite episode from 2021, bringing you two stories about how easy it can be to believe in a false reality — even when the facts don’t back us up.

The upshot (see below) is that since we know climate science is settled and the verdict is a crisis (ahem), psychological explanations are necessary to understand why so many of us (the silent majority?) are not in anguish and demanding a transformation of modern life (like crying Peter Kalmus).

Susan Krumdieck, Research Director, Islands Centre for Net Zero, interpreted “When You Need It to Be True” as follows:

Cognitive Dissonance is a phenomena those of us in Energy Transition need to understand and develop ways to deal with in ourselves and others.

The first big dissonance was 40 years ago when the belief that scientific observations warning of environmental damage would cause the necessary change. I still want it to be true. But I look at data and evidence to determine what is most likely. And then I investigate how changes can work and how different people play a part.

Purposeful questions about assumptions is necessary. Questioning widely held assumptions about what can and can’t be done in what timeframe by whom means you are awake to facts.

This story about people believing alien guardians were going to come save them from the destruction of the earth should be of interest.

To which I commented:

I see ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ as the problem with climate alarmism and forced energy transformation. Waste, futile –and a mindset geared toward unnecessary ‘climate anxiety’.

But a comment before mine was the real takedown. Stated Richard Lyon of Lyon Energy Futures Ltd.:

Thanks, Susan. One of the first warnings 40 years ago was from prominent climate catastrophist Paul Ehrlich that “everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam by 1989”.

Since then, we’ve thrilled to warnings that the oceans would be “As dead as Lake Erie by 1980” (Ehrlich, 1970), that there would be a new Ice Age in 10 years (NASA, 1971), that England would cease to exist by 2000 (Ehrlich, 1971), that there was “no end in sight of the cooling trend” (New York Times, 1978), that the Maldives would be “completely underwater in 30 years (1989), that UK snowfalls were a thing of the past (University of East Anglia, 2000), that Britain would be “Siberian” by 2025 (Pentagon, 2004), that the Arctic would be ice free by 2013/2014/2016/2018 (Gore, US Navy, NASA), etc.

What you note as “warnings” 40 years ago are more accurately labelled as falsified speculations produced by climate models observably unfit for duty.

That is producing severe Cognitive Dissonance in an industry that depends on the hypothesis being true that there is a climate crisis, and is manifesting itself most visibly in the proliferation of what Lakatos proposes as “Auxiliary Theory” in his account of pseudoscience – “theory to explain the failure of the theory”

Bravo … And here we are where Richard Lyons (et al.) are arguing and winning the intellectual debate, while the alarmist believers of a Cognitive Dissonance are stuck in their own … cognitive dissonance. Message to Susan Krumdieck, who has bought into the climate alarm. Check your premises rather than try to find psychological explanations for the world not heeding the climate alarm.

Start with the time series data with each weather extreme,
as well as the satellite data on global warming.



[The graph above shows exhibit 2a from Truchelut and Staehling overlaid with the record of atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  From NOAA combining Mauna Loa with earlier datasets.]
To determine Integrated Storm Activity Annually over the Continental U.S. (ISAAC) from 1900 through 2017, we summed this landfall ACE spatially over the entire continental U.S. and temporally over each hour of each hurricane season. We used the same methodology to calculate integrated annual landfall ACE for five additional geographic subsets of the continental U.S.

Climate optimism, anyone?

Testimonial: No Climate Emergency

Recently OAN’s Stella Escobedo interviewed Dr. Matthew Weilicki concerning his joining the declaration against any climate “emergency.”  The video can be accessed by clicking on the red link above.  Below I provide a transcript with my bolds along with some exhibits. SE refers to Stella Escobedo and MW to Matthew Weilicki

SE:  Well, you have probably heard that climate change is an existential threat and we need to do something about it right away. The World Economic Forum was just held in Davos, Switzerland, with discussions of the climate crisis front and center. Biden has persuade Democrats in Congress to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.

But there are hundreds of scientists around the world who say there is no climate emergency. In fact, they have signed the World Climate Declaration. And one of the biggest things they say is climate science should be less political. And I’d like to welcome to the show Dr. Matthew Weilicki. He’s currently a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Alabama. Dr. Weilicki., thank you so much for joining us.

MW: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

SE: Of course..So before we get started, Dr. Weilicki, I want you to tell our viewers a little bit about your educational background and why you’re educated enough to to have this conversation and to talk about this topic.

MW:  Yes, absolutely. So my original bachelor’s degree is actually biochemistry and cellular biology. I worked in four novel vaccine companies for them through my original degree, and I went on to kind of shift gears and I went and got a Ph.D. in geochemistry from UCLA. And because I don’t really work in climate science per se, and I also don’t work in oil and gas exploration, I am an Earth scientist that uses a lot of the same tools that both of these types of fields will use. But I felt that I could take an objective look in and offer my expert opinion without really having any kind of, you know, any sort of motivation on either side. And I thought that would allow me to take an objective view. But the background that I have is very similar to the way that we try to identify what the climate looked like in the past, which is mainly through geochemistry.

SE: So, Dr. Weilicki, you are one of more than a thousand scientists who have signed this petition that says there is no climate emergency. Explain why you say that.

MW:  I think if we take an objective look at the data, it’s very difficult to see any metric that would allow us to explain the state of the climate as in an emergency or in a crisis, as you commonly hear. If we look at, for example, human lives lost from natural disasters, I ask my students this all the time and they are convinced that there has been significantly more lives being lost in natural disasters today than over the last hundred years. Let’s say that number has decreased by something like 97%.

Source: Bjorn Lomborg

And so it’s clear. And the graphic you’re showing now, another question that I ask is how often are how many natural disasters are occurring? And so these students are usually freshmen and sophomores and things like that. And I ask them these questions about about the state of the climate. And I’m noticing that they have the exact wrong view of what’s happening. They’re convinced that more people are dying, more disasters are happening. And if you look at the empirical evidence, the data just doesn’t support that claim. And I think that the mental health effects are really damaging to these young people.

Source: Roger Pielke, Jr.

SE: Well, any time we do have massive flooding, heat waves or wildfires, as you just mentioned, we’re constantly being told it is climate change. Even the World Meteorological Organization has legitimized it. What are your thoughts on that?

MW: This is really part of the problem. This is this is why I blame these organizations. I don’t blame these young people for for believing this. I think if I was in my twenties, I would probably believe that the world is in catastrophe mode. But, you know, these these constant catastrophizing of weather events, weather is not climate. And to to harp and to take advantage of every extreme event to try to push your narrative is so disingenuous.

And these are smart people. They know that weather is not climate. Climate is very different. We’re talking about long term trends and variability in weather patterns and to try to catastrophize a single flood or a single hurricane and make the claim that if we didn’t burn fossil fuels or if we lowered atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions, somehow the flood wouldn’t have occurred or the hurricane wouldn’t have occurred. That is absurd. We know in the geologic record that these events happen. Sometimes they happen worse more than other times. But these happen. This is not has nothing to do with the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.  This is a much larger issue.

And to suggest that we wouldn’t have extreme weather if we could just change
one trace gas in the atmosphere is absolutely not scientific.

SE: Well, you have so many smart people like yourself who are speaking up saying there is no climate emergency. And yet do you feel like people like yourself are getting any real attention? In fact, many scientists get defunded for speaking out, get called climate deniers. How do you respond to that?

MW:  Yes, absolutely. I think that’s such a it’s such a derogatory term. It’s. Clearly trying to link people that are skeptical about climate and making questions about science with Holocaust deniers. I was born in Poland, just a few hours from the gates of Auschwitz. I lost many family members in the Holocaust. To try to link me because I have questions about science to denying the Holocaust is absolutely disingenuous. It’s an ad hominem attack because people realize that the empirical evidence doesn’t support what they’re saying and how catastrophize they’re trying to make the climate and such. They don’t want to discuss the actual data, so they’d rather label you a name and try to deplatform you or defund you. And, you know, I find it to be a very disingenuous way of having a scientific discussion.

SE: You know, just a few days ago, you announced you’re leaving the university and a post on Twitter. I saw you say some of it is personal family related. But you also mentioned it’s no longer a place that embraces freedom of exchanging ideas. Can you elaborate?

MW:  Yes. My life dream was to be a professor. My father was a professor ever since I was about 12 years old. And we made a pretty big sacrifice by moving from all of our families in California. We moved to Alabama because I really wanted to pursue this career, and I really started to realize pretty quickly that it wasn’t the way that my father remembered it. And when we would have discussions and this rise of illiberalism, that’s what I like to call it, this idea, these ideological ideas, the fact that there are certain things that are undiscussed that you can’t discuss.

What I was talking about was DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion.
And even having a discussion about this is very similar to climate.

If you just want to look and investigate whether something that’s probably has good intentions like inclusivity. I understand it’s a noble cause, but if we don’t look at the outcomes, it’s very difficult to figure out whether this is having the intent that we want. And I started to realize that just speaking out about some of these things was really enough to get you labeled, you know, a certain degree bigotry term, whichever one it is, a denier or sometimes even a racist, because you’re having questions about the outcomes of some of these diversity equity inclusion policies.

And it was clear to me once I made my my Twitter thread, I was attacked by faculty members from all over the place, even UA, calling me a racist. They tried to link me to some anti-Semitic writings that happened on the sidewalk somewhere on campus. It just made it prove to me very clearly that if you have genuine questions and you see negative impacts on students, even bringing that up is, is is, you know, paradigm to being a heretic and you get ostracized and people call you out. And so that’s definitely one of the reasons that made it easier for me to start walking away from from this profession.

SE: Well, you’re not alone. And it’s unfortunate that this is happening. It’s happening in your industry. It’s happening to parents who are speaking out, you know, for their children in schools. So it’s unfortunate. But I do hope that this doesn’t push smart people like you completely out of science. Dr. Weiliki, thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Matthew M. Weilicki Homepage




Click to access WCD-version-100122.pdf