Archives for category: Environmental

Let’s make sure we don’t repeat the obvious mistakes.

http://www.history.com/news/little-ice-age-big-consequences

The Little Ice Age was bad. Similar global cooling now will be harsh. Hopefully earth won’t significantly cool, but we have more reason to prepare for cooling than warming. A little warming is a good thing. A little cooling will cause famine and worse.

From the article, and this is my point:

Witch Hunts
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII recognized the existence of witches and echoed popular sentiment by blaming them for the cold temperatures and resulting misfortunes plaguing Europe. His declaration ushered in an era of hysteria, accusations and executions on both sides of the Atlantic. Historians have shown that surges in European witch trials coincided with some of the Little Ice Age’s most bitter phases during the 16th and 17th centuries.

I consider it exaggerated to blame that pope for ushering in an era of hysteria, but the official papal declaration did lend credence to the noble-cause-corruption evident. Of course, the Pope held responsibility for the Inquisition in his day.

I doubt I’m the only one with misgivings regarding the Pope’s recent stances on environmentalism, socialism, and a few other ominous topics, especially his assertion implying Trump cannot be Christian (and by association and extension, all who support wall-building).

Similarities between now and more than a few grave moments in history are striking.

Let us not lose sight of what is right. Do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Too many lives were sacrificed in learning those lessons and overcoming the mistakes.

No one can claim history has not warned us.

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I’ve seen more news on fusion power generation lately. Among the various claims, a company in Britain seems to think they can run D-T fusion in a tokamak as small as 1.5 meters.

I doubt it. I really doubt it.

D-T is almost certainly what we will use on earth and, perhaps, the moon, and D-T produces material-damaging 14 MeV neutrons. The neutrons also activate the materials, meaning the entire power unit becomes radioactive waste.

A sufficiently small D-T unit may be able to run longer because it will have low structural requirements, but the neutrons embrittle the materials such that the steel (or other material) walls become easy to break, like glass. At some point, the power unit is not structurally sound. It becomes unsafe and must be decommissioned, dismantled, and disposed of as radioactive waste–all of it.

Fusion power of some sort will be the only significant source of power at some point in humanity’s future, but it is not clean and not limitless. That mostly means it will always be expensive with high engineering requirements. It has very significant engineering and safety challenges, including environmental impacts. Granted, most of these challenges are likely to be easier to deal with than other power options, but it is simply false and misleading to suggest that fusion will be clean and inexhaustible.

We will burn fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. (The alternative is mass murder on the order of a billion people.) Nuclear fission will dominate in coming decades, for decades, perhaps for a century or two, then fusion. Once fusion is working, and we overcome the startup and growing pains, then it will be the only significant source of our energy needs for as long as humans do what humans do. I just happen to think generations of us will pass from this earth before the first gigawatt-hour of consumer-electricity is generated by fusion power reactors.

The media hates the church. Much of the left hates the church. Most of the radical environmental movement hates the church. When the enemies of the church support something the Pope says, it might mean they take his words out of context or twist them. With Ladato si, that is not the case. It can only mean the Pope has made statements detrimental to the church.

The Pope has espoused political power. Political entanglements harm the church. History is clear on that point. The Laudato si does more harm than good, more harm for all, especially more harm for the church.


Well, I need to read what the Pope wrote for myself, rather than take others’ word for it.

In the meantime, this particularly article is evenhanded and well quoted.

I do think the statements regarding climate will prove embarrassing, perhaps even regrettable and possibly even harmful.

Even older than the church, Primum non nocere: “First, do no harm.”

Anything that increases energy costs and food costs, including converting corn to motor-fuel is immoral, sinful, harmful to people, especially the poorest of us.

I assert boldly that burning edible food for fuel is sin. It is immoral. I will go so far as to say it is a crime against humanity. It increases the cost of energy, increases the cost of food, and reduces the availability of food. What could be more harmful to the poorest two-thirds of our population?

The fact is that actions taken in the name of saving the global climate, and actions taken in the coerced (referring to subsidies funded by taxes) support of alternative energy sources, are causing measurable harm today, right now.

No harm done today can ever be construed to justify a possible lessening of harm in some distant future.

We will do what we must.

Today, for our generation, for our children and grandchildren today, we should do all we can to improve all proven energy sources, especially nuclear, but also coal, oil, and natural gas. We have a moral imperative to increase availability of fuel and power production and to decrease the cost by all means of efficiency gains and economy of scale.

More energy, not less. That will accomplish the Pope’s stated goal of assisting the poorest of us.

Watts Up With That?

Guest opinion by Joe Ronan

climate-pope-cover

Laudato Si – A cry for the poor

Why is Pope Francis writing about climate change?  Because he cares for the poor, and wants us all to look at how we use the resources of the world.  His objective is to ask each of us to look at how we use the resources available to us, and how to be good stewards of creation.  Whether we consider ourselves as owners or tenants of this planet we are asked to use it’s bounty to the good of all, and to avoid laying it waste to the detriment of our brothers and sisters.

He looks at a number of ways in which the poor more than most suffer from environmental damage that man has control over.    The first thing he mentions (paragraph 20) is something well aired on these blogs: atmospheric pollutants affecting the poor, using as…

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Willis’ article is well presented and insightful. The comments, particularly those of RGB, are quite valuable. Some of the comments are good examples of what not to do. Some are educational and valuable.

Willis and RGB contribute greatly to WUWT, and they are among the greatest minds of our time. If you research the site, with the built-in search or your favorite search engine, you will find a wealth of knowledge and insight.

You will understand the global climate better if you read this article and the comments. The time spent reading will prove worthwhile.

While RGB points out that CO2 physically acts to increase global average surface temperature, Willis shows (in this and prior articles) that CO2 is not the only factor, and as RGB points out, more heat doesn’t necessarily mean hotter; it can instead mean faster, or slightly larger dissipative emergent phenomena.

Carbon dioxide is an essential ingredient in life. We must have it, and it has been deficient in the environment throughout human existence. It is likely still deficient. CO2 is no more a pollutant than O2 and H2O. Oxygen is a killer. Water, even more so. We humans suffer more expense and direct tragedy already, directly due to these other two essential ingredients of life than any plausible scenario associated with CO2.

We will burn all of the fossil fuels unless a genius breakthrough occurs. We will run out of all of it before CO2 even begins to become a true concern to the well being of humans and the biosphere.

Mostly, I agree with RGB (and Willis routinely expresses full solidarity with this sentiment) when he says that climate related policies, and even the vast sums spent on climate research are harmful to the least among us. The Pope wants us to respect the poor. That starts not with only small kindnesses, but with cheap energy by every means available.

RGB is correct when he says:
“At heart, all poverty is energy poverty. The units of energy are the units of work, and work, one way or another, is wealth.”

http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I got to thinking about how I could gain more understanding of the daily air temperature cycles in the tropics. I decided to look at what happens when the early morning (midnight to 5:00 AM) of a given day is cooler than usual, versus what happens when the early morning is warmer than usual. So what was I expecting to find?

Well, my hypothesis is that due to the emergence of clouds and thunderstorms, when the morning is cooler than usual, there will be less clouds and thunderstorms. As a result the day will tend to warm up, and by the following midnight it will end up warmer than where it started. And when the morning is warmer than usual, increased clouds and thunderstorms will cool the day down, and by the following midnight it will end up cooler than when it started. In other…

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If you want to save the earth, save the people first. If you want to save the people, get power to them. Affordable fuel and electricity will do more for the environment than anything else anyone can do, and it will save the humans and eliminate needless pain and suffering while doing so.

James Conca, writing for Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/04/20/the-ten-biggest-power-plants-in-america-not-what-everyone-claims/, points out some interesting facts about electrical power in the USA.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station generates most of the electricity for Phoenix, Arizona, coal makes up the rest. Kinda cool, really.

Mr. Conca provides this table:

Energy Source         average cf         high cf

Coal                              65%                   75%

Natural gas                50%                   85%

Nuclear                       90%                   98%

Wind                           30%                   45%

Solar PV                     20%                   30%

Solar thermal            24%                   40%

Hydro                         40%                    45%

Geothermal               70%                   75%

It should really drive home the pitiful uselessness of all varieties of wind and solar. Read the rest of this entry »

Good article here at The Breakthroughhttp://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/issues/nuclear/five-surprising-public-health-facts-about-fukushima.

My summary is that the scare over the nuclear incident harmed many immediately and long-term, the data and facts show little danger ever existed from the nuclear plant problems and long-term danger is too little to detect. The reaction was the problem, not the nuclear fallout. Fukushima was tragic for several reasons. The nuclear problems were minimal, and our engineering was sound. It was simply overwhelmed by the forces of nature, forces which we are now accounting for better. The net result is this nearly inconsequential contribution to the horrific disaster will be even less in the future.

Journalist Will Boisvert said of the forced evacuations and initial restrictions imposed by officials, “another instance of alarmism that causes more harm than the risk it’s trying to avert.”

That statement is particularly important. The ancient truism, “First, do no harm.” Don’t make matters worse when there is no real and quantifiable likelihood of making matters better in the long run.

Not only were people directly and immediately harmed by the forced evacuations, substantial resources were diverted from obvious use in alleviating immediate suffering of thousands. We really need better education in these matters. The information is available. We don’t need research and grants. The information is already accumulated. It is a matter of personal initiative. And I’ll state frankly that LNT is false and its use and imposition causes harm, harm that cannot be justified.

We live in a radiation filled environment. Millions of years, and we are going strong. There is a threshold for all types of radiation, and most of what we encounter with all sorts of radiation exposure are simply not dangerous. We will live longer and die happier if we just don’t worry about it.

Of course, yes, that can be taken too far, but we have a long way to go from where we are before we need to start worrying about not worrying enough.

This article, http://www.energyguardian.net/obamas-climate-deal-china-sends-signal-new-congress-back-home, indicates that our President just promised China that we would shut down a fourth of our factories, shut off a fourth of our lights, close a fourth of our hospitals, and drive only three-fourths of what we do now, all within 10 years. Okay, for what?

Well, apparently, in return for killing and impoverishing here at home, the Chinese have agreed to stop growing within 15 years. Huh?

Fortunately both are impossible. However, things might get ugly here in the USA if we cannot stop our sycophantic leader.

Elections have consequences, and quoting our dear leader, “We won.”

The word is getting out. EPA is the most dangerous thing on earth. EPA does more harm to humanity than anything else, at least in the United States. Sure, there are more horrific terrors to combat. There are more noble causes to champion, but in order to fix the world our children are inheriting, we must reduce and remove regulation in our governments.

First, phase out and replace the EPA. Congress has the responsibility to repeal the outdated laws associated with our environmental regulations and replace them. The focus must be to eliminate bureaucracy.

Heartland has a plan:

http://heartland.org/policy-documents/replacing-environmental-protection-agency

They have a PDF here:

http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/lehr_-_replacing_epa_0.pdf

 

Gina McCarthy said. “And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.”

Ms. Jo pointed this out, http://joannenova.com.au/2014/07/gina-mccarthy-epa-carbon-reduction-is-not-about-pollution-its-about-money/

Dr. Roy Spencer, likewise, http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/07/epa-admits-to-senate-that-co2-regs-not-about-pollution-control/

With governmental regulation agencies, it’s always about the money; more money for their budget and more power and control for them.

Regulation is what will destroy this county, not taxes or deficits.

 

Carbon dioxide is an essential ingredient of life. It is not pollution any more than oxygen or water, both of which are far more dangerous. Both oxygen and water contribute directly to billions of dollars in damages, both slow and sudden, and thousands of deaths every year.

Trying to control carbon dioxide means trying to control your breathing. Taxing carbon is half-a-step from taxing your very breath. Those who pretend we need to stop producing carbon prove their hypocrisy with every breath they continue to breath.

Charles Battig wrote this article for American Thinker: http://americanthinker.com/2014/06/beware_of_false_prophets.html

He is correct. We must reestablish the validity of science. It has become a radicalized, fundamentalist religion. They will be burning us at the stake soon, they already joke and write about it.

By the way, the industrial revolution and the inexpensive energy we have is what ended slavery. Fighting coal and forcing energy costs up will very likely bring back slavery, as slave labor is the only option for the hyperwealthy when the machines have no power, or when that power costs more than keeping slaves. The environmentalists want to put us all in chains as slaves, literally.

The EPA has become a monster that will destroy its creator, us. The EPA is the Frankenstein monster. It must be eliminated. We must repeal and replace the Clean Air Act with sensible, restricted, targeted legislation that makes sense for keeping our environment protected, but this replacement legislation must ensure citizens are not harassed and criminalized for building ponds on their own property. The new agencies to replace the EPA must be small, chartered, and limited, both in scope and in longevity. Such agencies should be chartered with Congressional oversight and not be put under full authority of the executive. Regulator agencies are law-givers, and thus must be under Congress, not the executive branch.

End the EPA. It is causing far more harm than good.

This is an important article:

http://www.cfact.org/2014/05/21/fda-no-low-dose-chemical-dangers/

Mr. Dennis T. Avery authored it, and it has been published in several publications.

We humans have been testing the theory that dose makes the poison for thousands of years. One can trust that hundreds of generations of people checking, and people trying to prove otherwise, would have succeeded. Accordingly, look for the data. Look for the results that show that there is more to harmful chemicals than just the dose.

You will find that it is not there.

Accordingly, one must conclude that either dose does make the poison, and at some level toxins become innocuous, or there is a huge conspiracy that hides all the information so that everyone will die.

Seeing that we ain’t dead yet, I’ll accept as fact that there is a safe level of lead in my diet.

I’m all for making easy choices in favor of eliminating possible problems. The easiest one is turning the power off of unused devices, like the lights.

That is, if I conserve the power, rather than leaving the light on for the convenience of not having to flip the switch nine hours later when I get home from work, then I will reduce an inefficiency, and I will be doing a small part in reserving the future resources needed to generate that power to provide the much-needed convenience of having light in my house to see by.

The fact is, it is much too easy to turn the light off, save the cost of the power, and turn the light on to justify leaving it on in the interim.

Bisphenol-A is a very useful and efficient plasticizer. While it may seem safe to avoid its use, one must think of the alternatives. Avoiding plasticizers, particularly BPA, has costs. Not using BPA will make plastics more expensive, and it will make the production processes more inefficient, and possibly more unhealthy in some other way. All in all, the costs and harm to society comes out high for banning of BPA, and such a decision is bad compared to the relatively proven case that BPA is not dangerous in any way at the levels encountered in our daily lives, even including our infants and their plastic baby bottles.

Unfortunately, Mr. Avery provided no references. I’m not finding anything recent.

I found this:

Quantitative Assessments of Genotoxicity Data

NCTR scientists are members of the Quantitative Analysis Workgroup of the HESI/ILSI Genetic Toxicology Technical Committee. The committee has developed best practices to analyze genetic toxicology data in a quantitative manner. Several dose-response modeling approaches using genotoxicity databases compiled by the workgroup were the basis for analysis. The workgroup found that a Benchmark Dose (BMD), which produces a 10% increase over the background response (BMD10), has the greatest utility as a Point of Departure (PoD) for establishing risk calculations. These recommendations were published in Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis.

For additional information, please contact Robert H. Heflich, Ph.D., Division of Genetic and Molecular Toxicology, FDA/NCTR.

I assume that is not what he was referring to. It doesn’t seem to fit, but perhaps he meant this:

February 21
Toxicity Evaluation of Orally Administered BPA

NCTR scientists have published companion papers in Toxicological Sciences presenting data from:

The 90-day, Churchwell et al study provides new data for use to further refine physiologically based pharmacokinetic models used to extrapolate exposures in rodent tests to real world human exposures. The study is a component of the concurrently published subchronic range-finding study Delclos et al.

The second, Delclos et al study was used to determine doses and toxicological direction of the ongoing long-term (two-year) toxicological study currently under way at the FDA. The Delclos et al study results have been publicly available for some time. The results from the FDA’s long-term (two-year) study, which will include data generated by NIEHS-funded academic investigators, are expected to be release in early 2016.

For additional information, please contact Barry Delclos, Ph.D., or Daniel Doerge, Ph.D., Division of Biochemical Toxicology, FDA/NCTR.

Perhaps one of the references here:

March 28
Society for Toxicology Annual Meeting

On March 23-27, 2014, NCTR scientists gave platform presentations in continuing education courses and workshops, as well as poster presentations at the 53rd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo™ of the Society for Toxicology (SOT) in Phoenix, AZ. The presentations covered a wide range of topics including:

  • miRNA biomarkers of toxicity
  • imaging biomarkers
  • pediatric anesthetics
  • drug-induced liver injury
  • nanomaterials
  • results of studies with compounds of high FDA interest such as BPA, triclosan, furan, and melamine/cyanuric acid

Additionally, Dr. Annie Lumen received the “Best Postdoctoral Publication Award” for her paper on modeling effects of iodide and perchlorate exposure during human pregnancy (Toxicological Sciencesdisclaimer icon, 2013, 133: 320-341). The SOT is the premier professional society for toxicologists from academia, industry, and government.

Society for Toxicology Awards

An NCTR research article titled “Ketamine-Induced Neuronal Damage and Altered N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Function in Rat Primary Forebrain Culture” was one of 2013’s top ten most cited articles inToxicological Sciences. The in vitro study showed that ketamine, a common pediatric anesthetic, induces neuronal cell death through upregulation of the NMDA receptor; and L-carnitine is neuroprotective against ketamine’s adverse effects (Toxicological Sciencesdisclaimer icon, 2013, 131: 548-557). 

For additional information, contact Merle Paule, Ph.D., Director, Division of Neurotoxicology, FDA/NCTR.

Another NCTR research paper titled “Prediction and Ealuation of Route Dependent Dosimetry of BPA in Rats at Different Life Stages Using a Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Model” (Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 270:45) was selected by a committee of the Risk Assessment Specialty Section as one of the Best Papers Published in 2013 Demonstrating Application of Risk Assessment.

A Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Biochemical Toxicology, received the SOT Carcinogenesis Specialty Section Postdoctoral Fellowship Award for the abstract entitled “Epigenetic alterations in the livers of Fisher 344 rats exposed to furan. The main focus of this study was to investigate the role of epigenetic alterations in the mechanisms of furan hepatotoxicity and carcinogenicity. The results of the study showed that exposure to furan causes dose-and time-dependent epigenetic aberrations that include alterations of DNA methylation status (global and gene-specific methylation), changes in the expression of chromatin modifying genes, and alterations in histone lysine methylation and acetylation patterns in the livers of male Fisher 344 rats. These findings significantly contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of furan carcinogenesis and could be helpful for the future development of prevention strategies for early hepatic adverse effects associated with the furan exposure. This award recognizes the best abstract related to the field of carcinogenesis submitted by postdoctoral fellows.

The study of interest wasn’t linked. I found it here, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X13001294, and they want $36 before I can read this study that our tax dollars paid for in the first place. Oh well. You can read the abstract there. It basically says they’ve finally proven out a mathematical model of how it works in rats. They note it is different in baby rats versus adult rats and monkeys. The abstract seems to admit there are still some assumptions being made. Hopefully they are remembering not to fool themselves.

FDA site on BPA here: http://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm064437.htm

In closing, the fact is that after we get clean enough, safe enough, and low enough concentration, there is more harm done making it more so than just resting in the accomplishment of having done enough. Most of the time, good enough really is as good as it can get.

How many episodes of Cosmos so far? I don’t care. Only one good episode, last week. This week sucked bad.

Overall, I love what they are doing, but they are such bullies and so arbitrary!

Alarmism is alarmism whether delivered by a fire-and-brimstone preacher, or a snake-oil salesman, or by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Yes, I’m comparing the three together, equating them. Neil is simply acting to scare people when he ridicules religion or tries to scare us into killing each other in order to stop burning fuel. Yes, the greens, the climate alarmists, the “Agent Smiths” of the world are calling for mass murder when they call for the ending of the fossil fuel era. Neil is simply lying when he pretends solar power can run our industrial, technological world. Part of why we were able to end the heinous crime, the sin, of slavery, is because of the inexpensive availability of fossil fuel and our innovation abilities to turn chemical energy into mechanical energy and production.

The alarmists and greens claim they are calling for the greater good but what will result, if they get what they want, is tyranny, murder, and slavery.

Learn. Study. Seek truth. ALWAYS question authority.

When it comes to Cosmos, be as smart as an old cow; eat the hay, and spit out the sticks. Many aspects of each show are good, but some of it is rotten. Throw it out.

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