11 September 2021 0 By Bambam

Climate change deniers are as slippery as those who justified the slave trade

Nick Cohen is a moderate Leftist but he has fallen for the egotistical fallacy that what goes on in his own head goes on in most other people’s. He declares skeptical arguments disproven without looking at the shallowness of the “disproofs”. He is just gullible. Calling climate skeptics “cranks” just reveals him as a bigot. What he writes is a smear, not an argument

No one seems as defeated as the global warming “deniers” who dominated rightwing thinking a decade ago. Like late 18th-century opponents of abolishing the slave trade, Lord Lawson and the claque of Conservative cranks who filled the comment pages of the Tory press are remembered today as dangerous fools – assuming they are remembered at all.

The billions of dollars spent by the fossil fuel industry on propaganda and its acceptance by know-nothing elements on the right caused incalculable damage. They might have followed Margaret Thatcher, who warned in 1989 of C02 admissions leading to climate change “more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known”. The desire of business to protect profits and the vanity of politicians and pundits, who saw themselves as dissidents fighting the consensus rather than fanatics enabling destruction, helped to waste two decades of valuable time.

Every argument they advanced has been disproved, as much by the experience of everyday life as science. Journalists are advised: “If someone says it is raining and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the window and find out which is true.” The world only had to look at the weather outside to know who was trying to fool it.

To pick from the dozens of examples in Richard Black’s history of the conspiracy theory (Denied: The Rise and Fall of Climate Contrarianism) , global warming is not a “swindle”, as a Channel 4 documentary informed its viewers in 2007. Glaciers and ice sheets are shrinking and the seas are becoming more acidic. If there was swindling, it was at Channel 4, as Ofcom suggested when it found the station guilty of several breaches of the broadcasting rules. It is not “erroneous” to assume that humanity is driving the climate catastrophe, as the Spectator assured its readers as late as 2017. The pace of man-made climate change is faster than anything in the Earth’s history and all attempts to invent other explanations have failed.

Viscount Ridley, who presided over the collapse of Northern Rock, and now dismisses the collapse of the planet in the pages of the Times, said climate change was doing “more good than harm”. We should adapt to a warmer Earth and celebrate the reduction in deaths from the winter cold. But the seas and icecaps cannot adapt, nor can cities threatened with flooding and countries facing desertification. The lights did not go out as we switched to renewable energy, as so many pundits said they would. And energy bills have fallen rather than risen, despite the assertions of the noble Lawson to the contrary. Rightwing denialism appears buried so deep in the dustbin of history it can never be recycled.

And yet there is nervousness among the impressively large number of Conservative politicians who are serious about pushing for net zero. They are pleading with their colleagues to understand the advantages to consumers and businesses that a determined remaking of the economy would bring. The Conservative Environmental Network is already in a fight with a small group of rightwing MPs, who claim “the poorest will pay the highest price for net-zero fantasies” (even though no measure is more likely to reduce fuel poverty than a government home-insulation drive). That battle will only intensify.

I put “denier” in quotes at the top of this piece because the enemies of science (and of us all) are endlessly malleable shapeshifters. Once they can no longer deny the existence of man-made global warming, they shift and keet on shifting so no one can ever pin them down. In this, they mirror the defenders of slavery 230 years ago, who created the modern world’s first corporate PR campaign and provided an example for all who have followed.

The comparison isn’t harsh. One day, the attack on climate science will be seen as shocking as the defence of human bondage. Indeed, that day should have long passed. They are overwhelmingly old men or, in the case of Lawson, a very old man. They grew up in a 20th century where the carbon economy was natural: the way the world was and would always be. Slavery was equally natural to the plantation owners and slave traders of Georgian Britain. It had always existed, everywhere on Earth.

The 18th century had its Viscount Ridleys who opined that slavery did more good than harm. In 1789, during the hearings for the first abolition bill in history, one witness told parliament that Africans wanted to be enslaved and “nine out of 10 rejoice at falling into our hands”. The pro-slavery lobby was as well funded as the fossil-fuel lobby, and as relentless. The Telegraph comment pages did not exist in 1789 so it commissioned The Benevolent Planters by one Thomas Bellamy to appear at the Theatre Royal in London’s West End. The play told the story of Oran and Selima, lovers who are separated in Africa. Their capture by slavers is a blessing. Far from being oppressors, kind slave owners bring the couple together in the West Indies and allow them to live productive lives together.

William Wilberforce was assailed by claims that if Britain abolished slavery, “our manufactures will droop in consequence, our land-tax will be raised, our marine destroyed, while France, our natural enemy and rival, will strengthen herself by our weakness”. Today, Nick Timothy, the man who destroyed Theresa May’s premiership, tells Telegraph readers the British will be forced into penury by “net-zero zealots” while other countries “break their promises” and profit from our naivety.

In the 18th and 21st centuries, as soon as one fake position was exposed, another took its place. The arguments change. The intent remains the same.

It remains an open question as to whether Boris Johnson secretly shares a denialist intent. Conservative environmentalists look on him with approval as he prepares to host the Cop26 climate change conference in November. He says all the right things, but the investment and political will needed to electrify transport, reduce meat eating and refit the housing stock are nowhere to be seen. Denialism is a shapeshifter. Its latest form may be a bombastic prime minister who promises the Earth but does next to nothing to protect it.

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WHAT CORALS CAN TELL US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

There is a long research article under the heading above that would not be appropriate to reproduce here. I did however like one of their graphs. I reproduce it below. You will note that the temperature was the same in 1550 and 1950. Not much global warming there!

The lesson is that the temperature goes up and down in random ways

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How to fight microplastic pollution with magnets

Microplastics are fragments smaller than five millimetres and either come directly from the products we use or are created as larger plastic objects break down in the environment. They are ubiquitous – they have been found at the bottom of the world’s deepest ocean trench and lodged in Arctic sea ice.

Microplastics are found in our clothes, cosmetics and cleaning products. One load of laundry can release an average of 700,000 microplastic fibres. Less than a millimetre in length, these fibres make their way into rivers and oceans, where they are eaten by fish and even corals. Because of their tiny size, microplastics are able to pass through filtration systems, making it very difficult to avoid them.

One 2018 study, plastic contamination can also be found in bottled water, with 93% of 259 bottled water samples the scientists examined containing microplastics.

According to recent research, we constantly inhale and ingest microplastics during our daily lives. One study in 2019 by researchers at the University of Newcastle found that globally people ingest an average of 5g of plastic every week – the equivalent of a credit card. The impact that this diet of microplastics has on our health, however, is still poorly understood.

Chemicals used in plastic have, however, been linked to a range of health problems including cancer, heart disease and poor foetal development. Studies have found that human exposure to microplastics could cause oxidative stress, inflammation and respiratory problems.

It was on his local beach that Ferreira came up with a solution that could extract microplastics from water. “I found some oil spill residue with loads of plastic attached to it,” he says. “I realised that oil could be used to attract plastic.”

Ferreira mixed vegetable oil with iron oxide powder to create a magnetic liquid, also known as ferrofluid. He then blended in microplastics from a wide range of everyday items, including plastic bottles, paint and car tyres, and water from the washing machine.

After the microplastics attached themselves to the ferrofluid, Ferreira used a magnet to remove the solution and leave behind only water.

Following 5,000 tests, Ferreira’s method was 87% effective at extracting microplastics from water.

Ferreira is currently in the process of designing a device which uses the magnetic extraction method to capture microplastics as water flows past it. The device will be small enough to fit inside waterpipes to continuously extract plastic fragments as water flows through them. He has also been working on a system that could be fitted to ships so they can extract plastics on the oceans.

After receiving funding from the Footprint Coalition, which was founded by actor Robert Downey Jr, Ferreira started scaling up the technology so it could be used at wastewater treatment facilities and prevent microplastics from escaping into the ocean.

He is currently working with US company Stress Engineering to fine-tune his invention and design a device out of stainless steel, glass or recycled plastic. “We’re trying to make something where we are not creating more plastic pollution,” he says.

The technology is “very quick, cheap and low energy,” he says, adding that it can easily be integrated into existing facilities and is able to handle normal flow rates of water.

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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Move to Block Newly Cleared Climate Regulations

No sooner did a Pennsylvania state commission narrowly approve new climate regulations this week than state lawmakers advanced a resolution to prevent those rules from taking effect.

The five-member Independent Regulatory Review Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday to approve “cap and trade” regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions, endorsed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, in an executive order in October 2019.

Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted Thursday to approve a concurrent resolution to spike the regulations. They were joined by state Rep. Pam Snyder, a Democrat, whose district includes Greene, Fayette, and Washington counties.

The regulations would enable Pennsylvania to become part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate agreement to address climate change that includes 11 New England and mid-Atlantic states.

Government regulators in participating states compel electric utilities to purchase carbon allowances at quarterly auctions whenever the power companies surpass the cap on carbon dioxide emissions established by RGGI, as the pact is known.

During the Wednesday meeting, Commissioner John Soroko made a motion to disapprove of the regulations, which failed 3-2. Commissioner Murray Ufberg then made a motion to approve the regulations, which passed 3-2.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly created the Independent Regulatory Review Commission in 1982 to determine whether state agencies have the statutory authority to adopt regulations and whether regulations are consistent with state lawmakers’ intent.

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My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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