Cornucopians vs. Malthusians
Back in 1980, Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon made their famous bet, recounted by John Tierney at its culmination 10 years later:
In 1980 an ecologist and an economist chose a refreshingly unacademic way to resolve their differences. They bet $1,000. Specifically, the bet was over the future price of five metals, but at stake was much more — a view of the planet’s ultimate limits, a vision of humanity’s destiny. It was a bet between the Cassandra and the Dr. Pangloss of our era.
They lead two intellectual schools — sometimes called the Malthusians and the Cornucopians, sometimes simply the doomsters and the boomsters — that use the latest in computer-generated graphs and foundation-generated funds to debate whether the world is getting better or going to the dogs. The argument has generally been as fruitless as it is old, since the two sides never seem to be looking at the same part of the world at the same time. Dr. Pangloss sees farm silos brimming with record harvests; Cassandra sees topsoil eroding and pesticide seeping into ground water. Dr. Pangloss sees people living longer; Cassandra sees rain forests being decimated. But in 1980 these opponents managed to agree on one way to chart and test the global future. They promised to abide by the results exactly 10 years later — in October 1990 — and to pay up out of their own pockets.
What was the result? Simon won handily.
But recent goings on with commodity prices have some people asking whether Simon’s timing was just lucky and perhaps Ehrlich views will ultimately triumph. In August, The Economist reported that had the famous bet extended to 2011, Ehrich would have won, as shown in the graph below. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
AD 1764-1791: The First Climate Change and Geoengineering Acts
Have environmentalism and climate change fear always been based on an unproven ideology full of hate against humanity and its material progress?
Carbon tax to cost $1 trillion: committee
October 7, 2011 – 12:14PM
The federal government’s carbon tax will cost every Australian $40,000 in the period to 2050 and a cost-benefit analysis should be conducted before it passes into law, an opposition-dominated Senate committee says.
The select committee on the scrutiny of new taxes on Friday tabled a 361-page report in parliament looking at whether a carbon tax should be brought in at a time of uncertainty about the global economy and whether there will be a concerted international effort to cut carbon emissions.
Labor’s laws to establish in a fixed $23-per-tonne carbon price from July 1, 2012, before moving to an emissions trading scheme in 2015, are set to pass the lower house next Wednesday before going to the Senate for debate.
The committee found that under the government’s own modelling the carbon tax would impose a $1 trillion cost on the Australian economy, or $40,000 per person.
Keystone XL: The wrong question
The Keystone XL pipeline from Canada’s tar sands would have pros and cons, but foes would do better to shift their focus to the larger environmental issues.
The question of whether to build an oil pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas is turning out to be one of the most important political decisions of the year for the Obama administration. It’s an agonizing choice because the costs and benefits of building it are so closely balanced; opponents have overstated the environmental risks, and proponents seem oblivious to the consequences of continuing to feed our nation’s oil addiction.
The Keystone XL pipeline would run 1,700 miles and cost $7 billion, generating thousands of construction jobs. It would increase oil imports from a stable, friendly neighbor while decreasing U.S. reliance on more volatile (and sometimes hostile) OPEC regimes. What’s more, pipelines are the safest way to transport oil. (LA Times)
American burying beetle becomes player in Keystone pipeline drama
Huhne’s Green Madness: Household Energy Crisis Looms
Thursday, 06 October 2011 14:29 Money Expert
Over a quarter of UK households are struggling to deal with energy bills, according to the latest research. 69% say the government has got it wrong on costly green energy policies.
Following this year’s 21% price hike, which added an extra £224 to the annual dual fuel bill, millions of homes across the country are finding it difficult to afford both gas and electricity.
A price comparison website found that 32% of households believe energy is already ‘unaffordable’ in the UK. A further 69% said that the government has not got it right when it comes to affordable energy and ‘going green’. (GWPF)
Fuel Prices Up – CO2 Down
Environmentalists oppose plan for £150m ‘green’ power station
ENVIRONMENTALISTS are objecting to plans for a £150m “green power” station that would use household waste to power more than 25,000 homes in Hull.
Hull-based engineering company C Spencer is seeking planning permission for the plant, a potential alternative to the failed incinerator at Saltend, at a meeting at Hull Council next week.
Friends of the Earth are objecting, claiming the station is a “slight improvement but not nearly enough” on plans for the incinerator, a long-running and controversial project which was finally ditched in January.
The plant will take 365,000 tonnes of commercial, industrial and municipal waste, as well as organic material, and will use processes including advanced gasification and anaerobic digestion, producing enough electricity for 25,000 homes as well as 900,000 therms of gas energy. In contrast the incinerator was originally due to burn up to 240,000 tonnes of household waste a year. (Yorkshire Post)
The Leaky Ark
By Jonathan H. Adler
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The failure of endangered species regulation on private land.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was enacted with much fanfare and little controversy in 1973. At the time, few anticipated how broadly the law would affect both government and private activities.1 Yet ever since its celebrated passage, the nation’s premier wildlife conservation law has been a source of conflict and controversy; it has been rightly described as “one of the most contentious of our federal environmental laws.”2 The ESA is a focus of controversy in part because of its strength. Indeed, the ESA may be the most powerful environmental law in the nation.
Homegrown GM Bean Won’t Fight Hunger, Critics Say
By Fabiana Frayssinet
RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 4, 2011 (IPS) – Critics complain that a genetically modified bean developed in Brazil, resistant to one of the country’s most damaging agricultural pests, was approved without enough debate or guarantees that the crop will not affect human health or the environment.
The GM bean, named 5.1, was developed by Embrapa, the government’s agricultural research agency, to resist the bean golden yellow mosaic virus (BGYMV), whose main symptom is a bright yellow or golden mosaic on the leaves, as well as leaf wrinkling and rolling. The seeds and plants are also stunted, malformed and discoloured, and flowers are aborted, leading to the loss of between 40 and 100 percent of the beans.
According to Embrapa, the virus transmitted by the whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) causes annual losses of between 90,000 and 280,000 tons of beans – enough to feed six to 20 million more adults in this country of 192 million people.
Rogue EPA Agent Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice
A former U.S. EPA agent who spearheaded the wrongful indictment of an refining plant manager — possibly to cover up his affair with an FBI agent — has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and perjury in a related civil case.
But now they are the World Whacko Fund and they produce absurd misanthropic propaganda:
Hot to be the new normal as species struggle
Soaring temperatures last century may have been hard work for many species across the planet but, by the end of this century, those temperatures, once considered extreme, will become the norm for many of the world’s most delicate ecosystems.
Research suggests that, over the coming decades, increased temperatures and rainfall will put increased stain on the survival of the Global 200 ecoregions, threatening both plant and animal life.
The Global 200 is a set of ecoregions that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has classified as having exceptional biodiversity. They contain a high concentration of the earth’s species. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Here’s some sad news for you guys – unless you only eat weeds and wildlife all your food has been modified and has been since the advent of farming.
In fact a lot has been modified very deliberately since Man learned to use fire for cooking (we alter the molecular structure of food to make it [more] digestible, palatable and/or nutritious).
Are “foreign” genes a particular hazard in foodstuffs? Of course not, some of our basic grains (wheats) contain 2 or 3 complete sets of 7 paired chromosomes – these are the staples of our diets that are made up of 2 or 3 complete genomes and have done for millennia, all without turning consumers into grasses.
Biotech enhanced foods are no more unusual or novel than strains developed by say chemical- or radiation-forced mutagenesis, a development not noted on packaging and information of no practical bearing on consumers.
Neither has biotechnology information any bearing on consumers except for scammers and fear mongers trying to extract premiums for inferior products by creating fear of competitor product. Amusingly none of the label promoters seem keen on such precise information being made prominent about their own products. How many worried young moms would buy that natural stone-ground wholewheat flour if the exact content of foreign materials (bug bits, rodent hairs, weed seeds, dust, grinding wheel residue and so on) was printed on the packaging? (Yes, there really is a percentage tolerance for “foreigns” in grains and flours and man, you should see what gets crushed for your fine wines 😉 )
Apart from organic and “natural food” fantasists (the same group stupid enough to consume raw [unpasteurized] milk) we have the misanthropes desperate to limit human population by suppressing more productive agriculture but they do not openly fly their people-hating colors during their sabotage efforts.
No one trying to foment hysteria over enhanced agriculture is acting in the best interests of humanity or the environment and the only reason to push labeling is to try to pretend biotech is somehow different or dangerous.
Group seeks labels on genetically altered food
Global Warming Policy Foundation Calls On Government To Suspend Unilateral Climate Targets
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 10:59 Dr. Benny Peiser
London, 4 October – The Global Warming Policy Foundation has welcomed the promise by Chancellor George Osborne that the government will no longer be bound by unilateral targets that cut CO2 emissions in Britain faster and deeper than other countries in Europe. (GWPF)
World far off UN-backed climate change targets, Panama talks hear
THE world remains far away from meeting UN-backed goals on holding back climate change, setting the stage for major damage without more ambitious efforts to cut emissions, a new study says. (AFP)
Group Urges Research Into Aggressive Efforts to Fight Climate Change
Sen. Inhofe: Obama’s EPA Waging War on Fossil Fuels
John Rossomando 10/03/2011
Job creation has been all over President Obama’s lips in the past few weeks, but GOP opponents say his Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war on fossil fuels is costing the economy far more than the estimated $447 billion price tag of his jobs proposal.
“The President of the United States wants to destroy American energy,” said Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee. “His intention is to kill fossil fuels, which we rely on for 99% of the energy in America.
“All of this killing of our energy supply is not by accident. It’s on purpose.”
EU Commission Agrees Specific CO2 Value For Oil Sands – Source
BRUSSELS–The European Union executive body has agreed to propose that oil extracted from sands should be treated as a dirtier fuel when compared with conventional oil, in a move set to add to an ongoing spat with Canada, a major producer of oil extracted from sands in Alberta. (Dow Jones)
Britain May Veto Green Plans To Ban Tar Sands, Shale Gas
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 20:29 Fiona Harvey, The Guardian
Fuel from oil sands projects would face effective ban under EU proposals, but UK government likely to veto green plan
Note the misinformation like “terminator technology” – hybrid seeds are generally infertile or revert to base stock after one generation – either way high-productivity hybrids are not suitable for seed saving, something which has absolutely nothing to do with biotechnology. Yes, some work was done to prevent illegal use of proprietary technology (like copy protection on music, videos and/or software that people shouldn’t but do steal – the same kind of thing that built the profits used for philanthropy by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 😉 ).
Either way “Big Agro” is the only way 9 billion people are going to be adequately fed on planet Earth, something farmer’s markets and superstitions like “organics” simply can not achieve. Retro nostalgia and primitive agriculture just won’t do the job. You could harvest between the ears of every greenie on the planet but you just won’t find enough crap to grow food for the current 7 billion population without using synthetic fertilizers and higher productivity crop plants. Get over it.
Battle Escalates Against Genetically Modified Crops
By Kanya D’Almeida
WASHINGTON, Oct 1, 2011 (IPS) – Home to a fast-growing network of farmers’ markets, cooperatives and organic farms, but also the breeding ground for mammoth for-profit corporations that now hold patents to over 50 percent of the world’s seeds, the United States is weathering a battle between Big Agro and a ripening movement for food justice and security.
Conflicting ideologies about agriculture have become ground zero for this war over the production, distribution and consumption of the world’s food.
One camp – led by agro giants like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – define successful agriculture and hunger alleviation as the use of advanced technologies to stimulate yields of mono-crops.
The other side argues that industrial agriculture pollutes, destroys and disrupts nature by dismissing the importance of relationships necessary for any ecosystem to thrive.
At the heart of this struggle is the debate about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which were given the green light in 1990 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated, “(We) are not aware of any information showing that GMO foods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.” (IPS)
Posted in Activists, Agriculture, Biotech, Chemophobia, Development, Enviros, Misanthropy, Pesticide, Pollution, Propaganda, Regulation, Research, Rubber room, Silly scares