Take California -- Please

The epicenter of all things destructive, California is a tragicomedy of the highest – or lowest – order. If you are looking for something, anything, destroying America today, California is the pot at the end of your rainbow, filled today with brass, not the gold.

Although California is re-creating the car market of Cuba with the recent diktat of no more gasoline cars sold after 2035, thereby ensuring used cars stay on the road decades past when they otherwise would have been exchanged for cars of greater efficiency and less pollution, the state's forest management is way ahead of its automobiles in producing a negative impact on the climate – assuming one subscribes to current dogma, as California most assuredly pretends.

Since about 1969, my brother and I have spent a week each summer backpacking in the California Sierra Nevada mountains. Though we try to spend as much time above timberline as possible for the views, time is spent in the forest, as well, appreciating these great trees for their beauty, their shade on a hot trail, their strength in holding up one’s hammock at night. I’ve also car-camped many times through the Sierras with my own family. If one were to design a forest management system worse for the environment and climate, as well as the wildlife and visitors on foot or car, one could not design a system worse than that of California. Though this is a topic of annual summer discussion and critique, what are the numbers this year, in 2020?

The dead and the dying.

About 150 million dead trees are standing, leaning or lying on the ground in the forests of the Sierra. My experience shows that these trees are between 40-70 feet tall and usually between 10 and 16 inches in diameter: we can use 12 inches and 50 feet as an average. The average tree in the California forests now aflame weighs about 2,000 pounds, or about 900 kilograms. Burning a kilogram of wood will generate between 1.65 and 1.8 kg of CO2. Using an average of 1.7 kg, 150 million burned trees will have generated 230 billion kg, or 230 million metric tons of CO2. In an average year, California emits 359 million metric tons of CO2. Faulty forest management in 2020 could increase by 64 percent the amount of CO2 emitted by California.

When a mega-fire caused by a century of bad forest management burns through, it doesn’t burn only the dead trees. If one of every ten trees burned was dead to start, that 230 million metric tons becomes 2.3 billion and an increase of 640 percent in total California CO2 emissions. Governor Newsom may always have Paris, but the Paris climate accords aren't going to fix a six-fold increase in CO2.

Why does California reject the same forest management practices of other states? One big reason stems from the spotted owl controversy of decades ago and the subsequent California infestation of far-left environmentalists and California regulations and budget priorities limiting the ability to harvest trees or remove deadwood, “for the sake of the environment and animal habitat.”

The same California adding its wind farms has resulted in the annual deaths by slicing and dicing in windmills situated in their flight paths, of millions of migratory birds, as well as the birds of prey that feed on them. This is because birds are smart enough to use the wind to aid their migration, but climate alarmists demand their use of the wind is more important than those tens of millions of birds that have been using the wind for tens of thousands of years. Evidently, the Spotted Owl habitat must be preserved so we can chop them up later. So much for concerns about the original inhabitants of the land…

We can’t manage the forests because of its wildlife and we can’t let wildlife stand in the way of wind farms. Wildlife loses both ways thanks to California’s “environmentalists.” As a California native, camper and backpacker, I find this loathsome.

Birds beware: no pot of gold here.

But it is not just CO2 and forests burning down and wildlife burning up or being sliced into pieces by 200 mph windmill blade tips. Wood is more expensive because it’s out there burning down and not at the lumber yard ready to build a home. Add the close-the-door-behind-me housing regulations in California and the cost of home ownership is prohibitive for a new family.

But that’s OK, because the left hates families anyway and finds children worse than useless so they don’t have any. Children have to be educated, yet California ranks 37th out of 50 in education, which seems odd when you think of the California tech titans and the size of the California economy; the only possible reason is that Democrat single-party governance of California just doesn’t care.

(For more on how California committed suicide, please see the first chapter of Michael Anton's new book, The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return.)

Remember: Democrats have owned education for over 50 years; if they wanted better education, we would have better education. Research also shows that kids turn out better when Mom stays home with them when they are young (what family in California can get by on the earnings of only one adult?) And we have too many people anyway. Besides, families want a house, not an apartment (the left hates the suburbs), and then they need water, electricity, and they'll probably want to heat and cool their homes and cook their meals, all of which require an amount of energy bird-Cuisinarts can’t provide.

California is the home to two large university systems, the University of California, and the California State University. What is being taught? Socialism: Anti-capitalism. How is a clean environment created? Wealth. How is wealth created? Capitalism. How is wealth destroyed? Socialism. “Ecocide” (the killing of the ecology)  is the term that had to be invented when we got a look into the ecological catastrophe created by the socialist paradise of the USSR after it destroyed itself via… communism.

No drilling please, we're Californians.

California’s rejection of oil drilling -- the industry that helped makes its fortune -- is widely known. Rarely discussed is that by refusing to drill under the strong environmental strictures enforced in a wealthy first-world country, oil drilling is forced into third world countries with little or no environmental restrictions. Results: Dead people and a dirtier environment.

And then there’s Big Tech, using its breadth of contact and ability to censor – often without the knowledge of the audiences – to ensure the magnification of propaganda supporting socialism and denigrating capitalism. Result: A dirtier environment.

The server farms of these massive tech companies (Google, FaceBook, etc.) consume enormous quantities of electricity as they proselytize against energy use.

According to the SMART 2020 report, server farms create carbon footprints that grow more than 7% per year, making them one of the greatest challenges faced by the proponents of green IT. Data centers need numerous auxiliary systems, including storage devices, power supplies, and cooling systems. In 2010, over 10% of electricity in the U.S. was due to computer and IT equipment usage. At the current rate we're going, analysts and experts figure that 10% of the world's power bill will be spent on running computers.

To give a more concrete example of how much energy this is, Dixon shows that one 50,000 square feet data center uses about 5 megawatts, but continuously. This energy output would satisfy the needs of 5000 homes. In another staggering example, assorted US data centers use a collective 7000 megawatt data centers from seven different plants; this is more power than is used by the State of Mississippi. Even more surprising is that this astronomical power consumption is just by the plants themselves - cooling systems use as much energy as the plants.

Maybe Big Tech want us to heat, cool, transport and feed ourselves with windmills because they want all the base load electricity?

To summarize, California voters continue to perpetuate in office those whose climate and environmental polices are destroying millions of acres of forest, emitting into the atmosphere billions of tons of CO2 , chopping millions of migratory birds into pieces and burning millions of mammals unable to run from the fires these officials refuse to act to prevent, sending oil drilling to places that lack the wealth to control it, educating children that the economic system that everywhere and every time destroys standards of living, learning, wealth and the environment, somehow is superior to a system that generates the wealth required to improve these standards, while BigTech is using enormous quantities of non-green base-load electricity to manipulate the information and voters to continue this mess all in the name of…

… saving the environment for future generations the left refuses to have.

And that takes a lot of brass.

It's Not Nice to Mow Mother Nature

Recently, a friend sent me a Globe and Mail article entitled “Is it Time to Decolonize Your Lawn?” with the comment that he guessed it was a slow news day. Before I had finished the first few paragraphs, I saw what I was in for: a censorious screed against green grass combining anti-Western, anti-capitalist animus with an oft-incoherent environmentalism. 

The article, by Sierra Bein and Christopher Katsarov, informs readers that while many people associate a green lawn with carefree childhood summers, and may even “feel a sense of pride” about their carefully tended grass, such positive associations are a delusion. Just as we now regard with mystification the Victorian practice of affixing dead birds to ladies’ hats, so we may come to reject the traditional lawn as a symbol of violence. The lawn’s troubles stem from its location “at the confluence of two hot-button issues: climate change and Indigenous rights.” 

Not everything in the essay is nonsense. It is true, for example, that green lawns require a lot of water during hot summers, and that in drought-prone areas, the need for water—and for chemical fertilizers—is a problem. But a fact-based argument about alternatives to the grassy lawn would not have allowed the authors to range over such guilt-inducing preferred topics as cultural appropriation and planetary peril. 

The essay is a hodgepodge of assertions and half-made arguments, many over-stated or self-contradictory. Readers are chided for not realizing that weeds “are as wonderful as any other plants” (“when you actually get to know them”) and then told a paragraph later that attempts to get rid of weeds “often lead to more” (though wouldn’t that be a good thing according to the article’s logic?). At one point, lawns are criticized for failing to mitigate heat, as if gardeners don’t know that’s what trees are for. Biodiversity is touted, but never with the recognition that most serious gardeners seek biodiversity.

Nonetheless, despite its tangents, the essential ideas in the article are unambiguous: 1. Lawns are expressions of colonialism and private property, and are therefore a vestige of the bad old days; and 2. Lawns indicate our western attempt to control nature, a dangerous act of hubris that must be overcome.  

A settler-invader strikes again.

The suggestion that lawns violate “Indigenous rights” is perhaps the weakest of all the article’s dubious assertions, and it is never seriously pursued. But we are told that lawns are “a lasting symbol of how settlers appropriated Indigenous land and culture.” How so? The article never manages a coherent answer. It is stressed that the idea for green lawns—to be used for picnicking and croquet playing—was brought by European immigrants to North America in the late nineteenth century, even though the conquest and colonization of the land that would become Canada and the United States had occurred centuries earlier and had nothing to do with lawn care. It’s hard to believe that relations between Native and non-Native peoples would have developed differently if European Canadians had never come to valorize a swath of green, and I doubt many contemporary Indigenous advocates lie awake at night plotting to eradicate the lawn-mower.

The greater issue here, one suspects, is the opportunity for the authors to tout the superior ecological virtues of the Indigenous way of life, and to shame non-Native people for their alleged failures. A First Nations advocate is quoted extolling the respect Natives peoples traditionally held for the land. Jayce Chiblow, a member of the Garden River First Nation and spokesperson for a group called Indigenous Climate Action, says of plants that “Our teaching is that those are our relatives and that we belong to the land. It’s an entirely different concept” (from the destructive, instrumentalist attitude of non-Natives). Chiblow adds that “for Anishinaabe people, the bush was their pharmacy and fridge. ‘It was our everything.’” That “everything” was decimated as a result of the arrival of Europeans, who caused “a decline in the biodiversity so relied on by Indigenous people” and who brought “invasive species over with them.”

This is a familiar idea sometimes referred to as the motif of the Ecological Indian, the widely-held conviction that Indigenous people have a special caretaker ethic vastly different from, and superior to, the exploitative mentality of non-Native peoples. The reality is far more complex, as anthropologist Shepard Krech demonstrates in his book The Ecological Indian: Myth and Reality. Providing an extensive exploration of the notion that Native Americans were closer to nature than Euro-Americans, he examines the mass extinctions that accompanied the arrival of Native peoples on the North American continent, Native use of fire in agriculture, and the fates of buffalo, deer, and beaver populations under Native control. 

Myth

He concludes that although Native peoples certainly did emphasize the interrelatedness of human beings and other living things, neither their actions nor their belief systems—specifically their belief in animal reincarnation—supported a concern for the balance of nature or what would now be considered environmentalist principles. No matter. The romantic idea that non-Indigenous descendants of “settlers” (sometimes called “settler invaders” for the added sting) should engage in self recrimination for their despoliation of a pristine world is a hardy doctrine of contemporary belief. 

Related to the emphasis on non-Native desecration of the land is an equally familiar attack on property ownership. The article makes the link between lawns and “the property ownership mentality,” the capitalistic (i.e. bad) idea “that we can own” things at all. Readers are informed that, once established in North America, the manicured lawn became a sign of respectability and of wealth. “Every backyard essentially became a private park” as mini-landowners vied with one another for conspicuous displays of their status. All of this is presented as if its immorality and negative consequences are self-evident, and as if giving up our lawn-mowers and allowing the weeds to sprout unhindered are necessary acts of environmental and communal contrition. 

It doesn’t seem to matter to the article’s authors that it is impossible to establish any positive correlation between state or communal ownership of land and ecological flourishing: quite the opposite. Environmental catastrophe is the signature of Communist regimes, which lack the responsibility incentives of private or commercial ownership. As Thomas DiLorenzo points out in The Problem with Socialism, to envision the greater care involved in private ownership, one need simply notice “how car owners treat their property compared to how rental cars get treated, or how homeowners treat their homes and property compared to how renters treat theirs.” But in the upside-down vision of radical environmentalists, the man who lets everything go to weed is practising greater care than the person who labors to make his home beautiful.

The impetus behind the many flabby generalizations and utopian imaginings on display here is ultimately an anti-human one, as is made clear in the authors’ respectful quoting of Dr. John Douglas Belshaw, a Canadian history professor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., who asks rhetorically, “What is a lawn but a statement of control over nature?” Belshaw goes further to itemize the indignities practiced by “settler culture” against our mother nature in furtherance of the settler culture imperative. “You see that river there? We can dam that. We can organize that water, we can make that water work for us. It’s essentially the same mindset. I can reorganize this landscape, flatten it, plant lawn, find a non-indigenous species of plant, of grass, and completely extract anything that’s not homogenous, that doesn’t fit with this green pattern and control it… A backyard with a big lawn is like a classroom for colonialism and environmental hostility.” 

Reality.

Belshaw does not mention that Native peoples too sought to control nature and make it work for them, but lacked the technology to do so as effectively as their European counterparts. Is this professor of Canadian history really advocating that we stop trying to make nature work for us? The degree of success of the European adventure in North America is rendered vivid by this well-read man’s inability to imagine how gruesome and full of suffering and death our lives would be without our much-denigrated “control” of nature.

Alleging a series of historical, cultural, economic, and environmentalist accusations against lawns, this preachy article seems intended to provoke in readers a massive guilt and sense of illegitimacy. From whatever angle it is viewed, the green lawn accuses its owner of wastefulness, pride, immorality, and perhaps even complicity in genocide. 

With an article like this, we have left the realm of the rational, of cause and effect, and of individual agency far behind. The new conceptual arena we enter is one of collective shaming and technocratic governance.  As our ability to feel confidence in even the most seemingly apolitical actions and basic values is undermined, our need for reliance on “experts” including Indigenous advocates, conservation officers, radical environmentalists, and anti-humanist professors, must increase. The “decolonizing” project has almost nothing to do with lawns or biodiversity, everything to do with delegitimizing western freedoms and prosperity, and destroying our ability to understand or defend them. 

Down the Rabbit Hole of Climate-Change Funders

This article is the first in a multi-part series that aims to expose where at least some of the money is coming from to support the "climate change" movement, while alerting readers to foreign interference in our grasp at energy independence.

When one starts to hunt for who funds the global warming movement, it quickly evolves into a convoluted rabbit hole with countless branches designed to confound.  The very idea that deliberate obfuscation exists when trying to follow the money should signal that the intentions of the Global Warming Alarmists (GWAs) are hardly noble.

One of the major hubs is the Sea Change Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) with over $250 million in assets as of 2018.  Almost every year since its creation in 2006, its founders have contributed millions to it.  In 2018, its founders contributed over $53 million through four separate entities.  This would be the same Sea Change Foundation whose website is about as deliberately obscure as possible.

Who are the founders?  Nathaniel and Laura Simons.  They usually give to Sea Change personally and through three separate trusts, and they are usually the only direct contributors.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t other contributors to those three trusts, however.  As the Guardian revealed in 2017, those trusts are actually sub-trusts of a massive Bermuda trust created by Simons’ father, James, known as the Lord Jim Trust.

One of the Democratic party’s top donors has spent decades building a hidden offshore fortune of more than $8bn in the tax haven of Bermuda, according to leaked documents. James Simons, a hedge fund magnate who spent $11m in support of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, amassed investment profits in the Lord Jim Trust, a vast private wealth fund set up on the Atlantic island in 1974.

Confidential legal files from 2010 show lawyers and advisers for Simons worked to protect him and his children from “particularly severe” US tax bills that would be triggered if they tried to bring the funds onshore. Bermuda imposes no taxes on profits or income.

The Simons trust was revealed in the Paradise Papers, millions of leaked offshore files reviewed by the Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and others. The files give a rare glimpse inside trusts used by the super-rich to ensure confidentiality and minimal regulation.

As the article notes, Bermuda has no tax on income or investment gains, and offshore trusts are often used to conceal massive wealth. As long as the money isn’t used for personal benefit, the trust can and apparently has been funneling money to the patriarch’s childrens’ sub-trusts.

Simons himself made his fortune running the Renaissance Technologies, a "a quantitative investment management company trading in global financial markets, dedicated to producing exceptional returns for its investors by strictly adhering to mathematical and statistical methods," hedge fund, which currently manages over $100 billion.

You’d never know it, but Renaissance was also among the largest federal campaign donors, with virtually all donations going to Democrats in 2020.  The firm contributed more than $33 million during the 2016 election cycle.  So for any Democrats who think big business only contributes to Republicans, think again.

Sea Change also received $13 million in 2010, and $10 million in 2011 from a mysterious entity known only as Klein Ltd., another Bermuda firm:

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd. No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy.

Klein was highlighted in a 2014 minority report from the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 

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Following that report, Rep. Lamar Smith and Rep. Randy Weber from Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in 2017.  The letter alleged that Klein Ltd. may receive money from Russian interests intent on disrupting U.S. fracking operations.  Klein, they said, donated money to Sea Change which then donates to other environmental activists.

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It wasn’t until July of 2018 that Nathan Simons publicly acknowledged that he was the sole director of Klein and that it never received any contributions from non-family sources.  That is, Klein Ltd. was probably another sub-trust of the Lord Jim Trust, and was also renamed to Sea Change Foundation International.

In a statement released to Inside Philanthropy, Nat Simons also stated that Klein Ltd.—a Bermuda-based entity that contributed to Sea Change and has drawn speculation about foreign funding of environmentalists—is directed solely by him and funded exclusively by Simons family wealth. Klein has been renamed Sea Change Foundation International, and will continue as a Bermuda-based philanthropy that shares the mission of the couple’s stateside foundation.

“I wish to clarify that press reports speculating that Klein has received funding from outside sources are factually incorrect and have no basis. Neither Klein nor Sea Change Foundation has ever solicited or accepted contributions from non-family related sources,” Simons said.

"A condemned British seaman on the run from a grievous mistake in his past may find redemption in the Far East."

The only question is why did it take so long to come clean, so to speak?

Now that we’ve apparently traced the rabbit hole’s entrance back to the Lord Jim Trust, the next question is who is also at the center of the Sea Change hub, and what Sea Change does.  

The 2014 Senate report is the place to begin, where its scathing exposé detailed how the Sea Change Foundation and others utilize so-called “charitable giving” to influence energy policy and support GWAs:

…an elite group of left wing millionaires and billionaires, which this report refers to as the “Billionaire’s Club,” who directs and controls the far-left environmental movement, which in turn controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Even more unsettling, a dominant organization in this movement is Sea Change Foundation… In turn, Sea Change funnels tens of millions of dollars to other large but discreet foundations and prominent environmental activists who strive to control both policy and politics.

As a 501(c)(3), the trustees can invest the funds and then give as much as they like to whomever they like.  Unlike actual charitable foundations, however, the grants are only given to those who operate in concert with the donor’s political agenda.  These are the entities that Sea Change “donates” to. 

So who is helping the Simonses pass all this money around, since they are the only directors?  There is a staff that comes from a firm known as Tempest Advisors which is, of course, another entity with no apparent website.  It is a limited liability corporation based in Redwood City, and offers “Administrative Management and Consulting Services” according to its annual corporate filing. Its executive director is someone named Tom Steinbach

Tom is an expert in developing and implementing philanthropic strategies to address complex social and environmental challenges, and has more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, the non-profit sector, and government. Prior to joining Tempest Advisors, Tom was Environment Program Director at the Hewlett Foundation and Executive Director of the Greenbelt Alliance.

Brigid McCormack is the Deputy Director, who was the Executive Director of Audobon California, VP for External Affairs at the ClimateWorks Foundation.  The remaining individuals all have policy, finance, energy, and philanthropic backgrounds.

The only other information available regards a company that may or many not be the same entity. TempestAdvisors.com exists but has no website, a Facebook page says it is located in Bulgaria, and another page says:

The firm provides economic analysis and studies, merger and acquisition, divesture, joint venture, recapitalization, spin-off, and corporate restructuring advisory services. It offers due diligence, business valuation, strategy formulation, profit optimization planning, industry and sector research, damage analysis, forecasting, litigation support, initial screening, funding need assessment, project proposal preparation and management, and research work publicizing services. Additionally, the firm provides written analysis on economic, business, and social issues. It caters to private organizations and governments. Tempest Advisors EOOD is based in Varna, Bulgaria.

A job search listing describes Tempest as offering, “Consulting support is focused on the serious threat posed by climate change and the role of philanthropy in climate change mitigation.” Sea Change’s website suggests that Tempest exists for the sole purpose of “providing professional philanthropic series to Simon family philanthropic entities”.   

Thus far, we’ve found an entrance to the rabbit hole, and its primary hub in the form of Sea Change, as well as a side chamber of its advisors from Tempest.  Next time, we’ll dig into the branches that lead from Sea Change to the recipients of its donations.

Whatever Happened to Puritan Wine?

Writing back in February, Christopher Horner had a great line which pops back into my head every now and again:

[C]limate changes – it always has, it always will. Of course, saying “climate changes” makes one a “climate change denier.” Go figure.

I was reminded of his observation recently, while reading David Hackett Fischer's classic historical study, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. The book itself argues that America's complex culture can be understood, in large part, by looking at the waves of English-speaking settlers who came to the New World between 1629 and 1775, with each wave bringing men and women from a particular region of England to a particular region in America, and with them the peculiar habits and mores (and accents) of their points of origin.

In the first section of the book, concerning the emigration of East Anglians to Massachusetts in the early 1600s, Hackett Fischer describes the initial, and fairly grim, encounter with the New World of those Puritans who had crossed over on the advance ships of the Winthrop Fleet, as documented in their journals:

Their first sight of America was not encouraging. In the month of June 1629, when England was all in bloom, these weary travelers reached the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. Suddenly the wind turned bitter cold and they passed an enormous iceberg hard aground in forty fathoms of frigid water, with the green Atlantic surf roaring against it. It seemed to be "a mountain of ice, shining as white as snow, like to a great rock or cliff," towering above their little ships. In great fear they sailed onward through a foggy night, while drift ice scraped dangerously against fragile hulls and the ships' drums beat mournfully in the darkness.

Dress warm, Pilgrims!

As they traveled further south towards Massachusetts Bay, things became more pleasant, but Hackett Fischer spends some time meditating on the unusual climate of the land the Puritans found themselves in, which proved surprisingly amenable to the foundation of their "Calvinist utopia."

The first and most important environmental fact about New England is that it was cold -- much colder in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than today. The Puritans arrived in a period of the earth's history which climatologists call the "little ice age." Ocean temperatures off the coast of New England were three degrees centigrade colder in the eighteenth century than the mid-twentieth. In the coldest years of the seventeenth century, the water temperature off New England approached that near southern Labrador today. The Puritans complained of "piercing cold," and salt rivers frozen solid through the winter. One wrote that many lost the use of fingers and feet, and "some have had their overgrown beards so frozen together that they could not get their strong-water bottles into their mouths."

It's worth noting that Hackett Fischer doesn't say a single word about the industrial revolution or any other purported horseman of anthropogenic climate change. Most historians would include a virtue signalling nod in this direction today, but Albion's Seed was written in 1989, just before the current climate narrative had hardened into gospel. He simply states the widely shared interpretation of climatological data of the time.

Welcome to the Bay State: brrrr.

That interpretation was, essentially, that fairly dramatic worldwide climatic fluctuation is a common feature of both the historical and scientific records, with the Roman and Medieval warming periods providing a background to the expansion of the Roman Empire, the far-flung voyages of the Vikings, and the building of the great cathedrals. (There is also agricultural evidence for this warming, memorably mentioned by Mark Steyn, who pointed out that in the Middle Ages, there were vineyards "in places where one would certainly not dare to drink any local wine now," such as northern and southeastern England).

And then, round about 1300, the world began to cool, with the aforementioned Little Ice Age as the result. (Though even this is an overly-neat presentation of the data, as we know that there was a dramatic cold spell in the 900s A.D., and tree-ring records seem to indicate that some of the hottest years in the history of the Mediterranean occurred during the Little Ice Age).

Temperatures began to rebound in the mid-19th century, though they haven't done so in anything like a straight line, as the popular presentation seems to suggest. In 1974, Time Magazine famously warned us all about what was then "three decades" of global cooling, which, it was speculated, could be "the harbinger of another ice age." More recently, beginning in the late 1990s, temperatures have been more or less flat, which climatologists have taken to calling the "pause" in global warming (though one wonders if this "pause" is the basis for their terminological shift to the more accurate, if less meaningful, "climate change"). All of which is to say, there have been ups and downs, as well as plateaus.

Of course, from the perspective of the experts invested in climate change, these fluctuations had to be made to disappear. As John Robson put it,

Climate doomsters don’t like to talk about the Little Ice Age for obvious reasons: a natural temperature drop between around 1300 and 1650 and a rebound after 1850 make it pretty plain that much of the increase in the last 150 years was, at least prima facie, natural as well. And to get rid of the LIA they also had to do in the Medieval Warm Period, along with the Roman and Minoan ones and for that matter the Holocene Climate Optimum.

The climate changes. Modern climatologists would have you believe that change is rare, that gentle cooling was the norm for at least a thousand years before humans started emitting significantly more carbon through industrial activities. But both sides of that statement -- the gentle decline and dramatic increase of temperatures -- are contradicted by both science and history.

Just ask the Puritans, who might not have been induced to leave East Anglia had it been full of the vineyards their distant ancestors had once tended there. Then again, considering the abstemious nature of their sect, had they grown up surrounded by the grape, they might never have become Puritans.

To Save California from Fire, Burn It

As the state of California slowly returns to the state of Nature, politicians such as Gavin Newsom -- the worst governor in Golden State history, so bad he makes one yearn for the second coming of Gray Davis -- and the arsonists in Sacramento propose to make things worse, not better. Newsom, whose name should be changed to Noisome, blames the outbreak of fires during, um, fire season on "global warming" and "climate change."

And not just are the hots getting hotter -- the wets are getting wetter!

“This is a climate damn emergency,” Newsom said, standing amid the ashes of the North Complex fire in Oroville in Northern California. The fire is one of 28 major blazes currently raging across the state — four of which are among the 10 largest wildfires in state history.

“I’m a little bit exhausted that we have to continue to debate this issue,” Newsom said of climate change, standing in Butte County, the same county that suffered the Camp fire in 2018 — the deadliest in state history — only to face massive fires again this year.

“The debate is over on climate change,” Newsom added. “Just come to the state of California.”

Well, governor, I've lived in California multiple times in my life, including growing up in San Diego, working as a reporter and critic in San Francisco, and writing in Hollywood. I love California -- or at least what it used to be. I knew California -- and your state ain't no California any more. But that's what happens when the same few interlocking wealthy families control the state's destiny for far too long: it becomes Mexico, ruled by aristocrats and cauldillos as they punish the peasants for their penury.

The fact is, the current wildfires are not, as the Huffington Post would have it, "among the largest wildfires in state history." Maybe in recorded state history, but that doesn't go back very far. Bjorn Lomborg, the "Skeptical Environmenalist," has a few words for the governor:

The massive fires raging in California are being blamed squarely on climate change. Alongside ominous photographs of orange skies, the front page of the Sunday Los Angeles Times blared: “California’s Climate Apocalypse.” Golden State Gov. Gavin Newsom says the cause is climate change. Anyone who thinks differently, he insists, is in denial.

The governor is right that climate change is real, man-made and something we need to deal with smartly. But the claim that the fires are caused by climate change is grossly misleading. To understand why, it helps to know that California wildfires used to be much bigger. This past decade, California has seen an average burnt area of 775,000 acres. Before 1800, however, California typically saw between 4.4 and 11.9 million acres burn every year.

In other words, up to 12 percent of the entire area of the state — had its modern boundaries existed in the 18th century — burned every year. This all changed after 1900, when fire suppression became the norm, and fire declined precipitously. In the last half of the 20th century, only about 250,000 acres burned annually.

But because most fires were stopped early, this left ever more unburnt fuel in the forests. According to one estimate, there is now five times more wood-fuel debris in Californian forests than before Europeans arrived. Californian fires are slowly coming back to their prehistoric state because of the enormous excess fuel load. Putting up solar panels and using biofuels will be costly but do virtually nothing to fix this problem. Prescribed burns will.

Ah, but the Left -- which systematically discourages the study of history -- believes (as did the French revolutionaries and the Soviet communists) -- that the world began anew with them. As far as the modern California Left is concerned, the Golden State sprang into being fully formed, like Athena from the brow of Zeus. They never give a thought to the white male easterners and midwesterners who came out west and made the desert bloom, who dammed the Sierra lakes and rivers, tamed the Colorado River, built the beautiful neighborhoods of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and most of all, learned to prevent forest fires via brush clearing and controlled burns (so, by the way, did the Indians).

That couldn't stand -- why, didn't they know that managing the fire threat was inflicting pain on Mother Gaia? The Left is nothing if not superstitious and anthropomorphic, and in the guise of "environmentalism" is hurtling the state back to the stone age.

Here's Michael Shellenberger, who like Lomborg believes that the warming trend is in part attributable to human activity, giving the governor a meteorological lesson. Please watch the video:

The climate hysterics don't want to hear this, of course. It's critical to their view of the world to believe in the innate evil of mankind, the better to salve their consciences as they punish their fellow citizens with ever higher taxes to appease the angry climate gods who do not, in fact, exist. Of such delusions are the ruination of once-great states made.

Special Report: Major Environmentalist Organizations and their Funders

A few months ago we highlighted an article written by Heritage Foundation visiting fellow (and occasional economic adviser to the Trump Administration) Stephen Moore in which he discussed an appearance he'd made on CNN which provoked more hate mail than he had ever previously received.

What topic of discussion could have inspired such vitriol? None other than the massive amounts of money raked in by what he called the "Climate Change Industrial Complex.”

I noted that “in America and around the globe governments have created a multi-billion dollar Climate Change Industrial Complex.” And then I added: “A lot of people are getting really, really rich off of the climate change industry.” According to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Federal funding for climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adaptation has increased from $2.4 billion in 1993 to $11.6 billion in 2014, with an additional $26.1 billion for climate change programs and activities provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.”

He went on to point out that this "doesn’t mean that the planet isn’t warming. But the tidal wave of funding does reveal a powerful financial motive for scientists to conclude that the apocalypse is upon us."

But why, one wonders, does this kind of observation arouse so much rage? The answer is that environmentalists -- like so many other activists -- have courted an image of being men and women indifferent to their personal interests, who've given themselves wholly over to the cause. And, for their part, their biggest fans are happy to be taken along for the ride, and unhappy about the intrusion of "filthy lucre" spoiling their reverie.

Well, tough.

Environmentalists have a massive influence on our society, from their lobbying for laws and regulations to coerce compliance with their beliefs, to their educational efforts which persuade (or, occasionally, indoctrinate) children from a very young age. When they are doing that with tax money, or money from tax exempt donations, us tax-payers deserve to know something about it.

That being so, our crack team of researchers here at The Pipeline have spent the past month combing through publicly available documents and taking note of the major donors to some of America's most influential environmentalist groups for your information and edification.

So break out your green eyeshade, and enjoy:

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Click on the links below to read the rest of our research:

Money makes the world cool down.

Earthjustice Majors Funders

Greenpeace USA Major Funders

Natural Resources Defense Council Major Funders

Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future Major Funders

Ohio Citizen Action Major Funders

As Deep Throat said during Watergate, "Follow the money."

Extinction Rebellion and Tony Abbott: the Climate Changes

As the lockdowns begin to fray around the world, so the pre-lockdown controversies emerge blinking into the light, seemingly unchanged by their experience of hibernation. We’ve just had two resurrections of the climate change debate in London in the last week. And though the arguments heard in them are much the same as before, there are signs of a slight chill in the public’s response, hitherto quite favorable, to them.

The first was the blockade on Friday night/Saturday morning of the printing works that produce most of the Brits’ morning newspapers by Extinction Rebellion protesters. One hundred XR demonstrators, chaining themselves to vehicles, blocked roads to three printing sites from which the great majority of newspapers are transported to homes and newsagents across Britain. Printing then began at other sites, but most people in provincial Britain missed the papers that on a Saturday give them a vast panorama of information and entertainment on news, politics, the economy, real estate, sport, travel, movies, music, theatre, etc., etc.

Much noise was made by XR to the effect that the print works and two papers they print, the Times and the Sun, are owned by Rupert Murdoch who is a hated figure on the Left. But Murdoch’s rivals, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, and the Financial Times are also printed at his works. And the FT is editorially friendly to the XR’s claim that climate change now constitutes an emergency.

Talk about an existential threat.

Until this happened, the public had seemed partly sympathetic, partly resigned, to the inevitability of such demonstrations. Very few people had been inconvenienced by earlier blockades, and the costs in delayed journeys or diverted routes to those who had was modest. Being deprived of a long Saturday read over coffee at the breakfast table, however, though hardly a tragedy, was nonetheless very irritating. And irritation is a favorite British emotion.

Then the XR spokesmen made matters worse for themselves by their justifications of the blockade which generally boiled down to claiming that the papers misled their readers on the urgency of dealing with climate change. Here is the choicest argument from activist Gully Bujak (27):

"The climate emergency is an existential threat to humanity. Instead of publishing this on the front page every day as it deserves, much of our media ignores the issue and some actively sow seeds of climate denial.”

It’s pretty clear that Mr. Bujak wouldn’t make a very good editor, running the same story on every front page every day, but he wouldn’t be a very good reporter either. Almost all the U.K. mainstream media, far from actively sowing seeds of climate denial, are united in their belief that climate change is a major challenge facing humanity and that we should be prepared to cut living standards in order to lower carbon emissions. That’s true not only of the leftish Financial Times but also of the hated (but widely read) Murdoch press. In fact copies of the tabloid Sun diverted or blocked by XR demonstrators were that day carrying an article by Britain’s most celebrated BBC environmentalist, David Attenborough, on how to combat climate change (because readers of the Sun think of little else.)

Occasional op-eds taking a climate-skeptic viewpoint appear in their  pages because newspapers not edited by Gully Bujak have a professional bias in favor of debate and controversy. But the mainstream media are generally careful not to stray too far from officialdom’s climate-change orthodoxy.

XR protesters, however, stray very far from that orthodoxy in the opposite direction, demanding net-zero carbon emissions within five years and more or less eliminating both holiday air travel and meat from peoples’ diets, these changes to be supervised by unelected and unaccountable “citizens’ assemblies.”

Given the puritan authoritarianism of these aims, XR’s assertion of its right to halt the distribution of newspapers because they disagreed with the opinions they expressed on climate change rang a very loud warning bell. Commentators across the spectrum condemned the blockades as attacks on press freedom. Members of the public started to ask why the police had appeared to cooperate with the protesters so that the blockades could be enforced with minimum inconvenience to third parties. Aren’t newspaper readers and printing companies, not just third parties, entitled to go about their business without deliberate let or hindrance too? (Maybe, yes: 72 protesters were eventually arrested.)

Even government ministers, who have been somewhat timid of late, spoke out firmly in defense of “a free press, society and democracy” (Home Secretary Priti Patel) and against this particular attack on the free press (“completely unacceptable,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson.)

In short there was a rare bi-partisan consensus that Extinction Rebellion had laid an egg and that in future it should no longer be allowed to run around bullying people in order to impose a minority opinion that if implemented would have grim consequences in lower living standards for the rest of us. Except, as the Daily Mail’s combative centrist columnist, D.P. Hodges, pointed out mildly, until this weekend almost all the people now fulminating had given the impression of admiring the idealism of XR protesters even if they mildly deprecated their occasional excesses. Was that now changing?

I’ve seen too many false dawns of that kind to believe so without crossing my fingers and hoping to die. But a second event makes me ever-so-slightly more hopeful. In the middle of last week it was leaked in London that the Johnson government would be asking the former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, to join the Board of Trade as a senior advisor in its forthcoming drive to sign post-Brexit free trade deals with a wide range of countries, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, and, er, Australia.

Abbott: an almost infinitely complex mechanism.

There’s no doubt that was a shrewd and sensible move. Britain badly needs to accelerate its trade diplomacy not only for the sake of future deals but in order to show to Brussels that London has enough good options so as not to need to appease the European Union in the current talks—now at make-or-break time. Abbott has the experience of trade negotiations and a knowledge of the players that would improve the chances of success. As Mark Higgie—a former Aussie ambassador to the EU—pointed out in the Australian Spectator www.spectator.com.au, Abbott as prime minister negotiated free trade deals with China, South Korea, and Japan which between them covered 50 percent of Australia’s trade.

Not everyone in Britain wants its extra-European trade diplomacy to prosper, however, because they hope to limit the country’s global reach and to keep Britain even outside the EU inside the EU’s sphere of influence. That makes them especially wary of the concept of CANZUK which promises to develop a closer trade, security, and migration relationship between four of the five countries in the “Five Eyes” intelligence cooperation agreement. There’s modest but growing support for this concept—which already exists in its subordinate but important parts like security cooperation—and Abbott is sympathetic to it. From some points of view, he’s an obstacle to a closer UK-EU relationship down the road.

That’s not a point of view, however, that can be openly argued with any chance of success. So Abbott was denounced as unsuitable to the Board of Trade role because he was a misogynist, opposed in the past to gay marriage, pro-life, and above all a “climate change denier.”

None of these charges is relevant to the post for which he was being considered. Most of them describe (or caricature) legitimate opinions held by very large groups of voters, most of whom lean to the Tories. And one at least—Abbott’s supposed “misogyny”—is simply false. But the charge of being a “climate change denier,” which was probably the most damaging of the charges, is worth at least unpacking since we have some evidence in relation to it.

The first thing to be said is that “climate change denier” is not a scientific term but a political one intended to silence or blacklist anyone so described. If it is to have any clear meaning, that must be someone who denies that the climate is changing or—to be a little more flexible—that it’s rising so rapidly as to pose a serious threat to humankind that can only be countered by emergency measures of mitigation not far short of those advocated by Extinction Rebellion. Fear of being called a “denier” explains the contradiction, noticed by Hodges above, that many politicians and public figures now denouncing Extinction Rebellion have been very mild in their criticisms of it until now. They don’t want to be accused of backing XR’s aims but refusing their means and thus being a “denier” in practice.

Get thee behind me, Satan.

But this apparent contradiction is a false one and the fear it generates groundless. As the science writer and author (most recently) of “How Innovation Works," Matt Ridley, pointed out a few years ago in Quadrant magazine:

These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change—that it’s real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it’s not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it’s real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the “lukewarmer” school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.

And the evidence is overwhelming that Tony Abbott belongs to this lukewarmer school because he delivered a  lecture to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2017 on this very topic:

Physics suggests, all other things being equal, that an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would indeed warm the planet. Even so, the atmosphere is an almost infinitely complex mechanism that’s far from fully understood.

Palaeontology indicates that over millions of years there have been warmer periods and cooler periods that don’t correlate with carbon dioxide concentrations. The Jurassic warm period and the ice ages occurred without any human contribution at all. The medieval warm period, when crops were grown in Greenland, and the mini-ice age, when the Thames froze over, occurred well before industrial activities added to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Prudence and respect for the planet would suggest taking care not lightly to increase carbon dioxide emissions; but the evidence suggests that other factors such as sun spot cycles and oscillations in the Earth’s orbit are at least as important for climate change as this trace gas – which, far from being pollution, is actually essential for life to exist.

Certainly, no big change has accompanied the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration over the past century from roughly 300 to roughly 400 parts per million or from 0.03 to 0.04 per cent.

Well, maybe someone in Downing Street was paying attention, because after a few days of ministers looking like frightened Bambis in the glare of klieg lights amid the thunder of media questioning, Boris Johnson appeared in public to state the obvious: that while he didn’t agree with everything that was said by the government’s many advisors on many topics, Tony Abbott was nonetheless a whiz on trade and that he was happy to have him on board. And as often happens when it’s clear that a prime minister really isn’t going to surrender to a media mob, the storm dispelled—and a much more convenient storm blew up over Extinction Rebellion’s candid attack on press freedom.

My optimism remains provisional, but one thing is clear and another thing is possible. Political and public opinion is growing more hostile to the claims of XR and other alarmists that their belief in climate catastrophe gives them a right to override democracy and free speech; and as more and more scientists, economists, and politicians who aren’t intellectually intimidated by fear and/or alarmism adopt a "lukewarmer" stance, the prospect increases of a more rational policy that treats climate change as a serious problem requiring a prudent mix of mitigation and adaptation in response rather than as an imminent catastrophe calling for sackcloth and ashes.

It won’t happen overnight, and there’ll never be a consensus on it. How could there be? As Matt Ridley wrote in that Quadrant article: You can’t have a scientific consensus about the future.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

At this point in the global hysteria -- increasingly mixed with petty bureaucratic malevolence -- over Covid-19, we have seamlessly passed from tragedy to farce, as a Marxist might say. As far back as April, it was already clear that the international Left was being forced to choose between its twin apocalyptic wet dreams of global destruction via "climate change" and global destruction via the second coming of the Black Death, aka, the Dreaded Coronavirus. If we didn't all drown from the rising oceans or fry under a burning sun, we would fall like tenpins to a virus of such deadliness that it has a kill rate of .04% and most victims don't even know they have it.

Why the Left has such a burning psychological need to constantly fantasize about destruction is no secret: in effect, they are a monomaniacal suicide cult with the added fillip of wanting to take the rest of the world down with them. They exist fearfully in a crabbed, constricted self-prison, in which anything -- a breath, a fart, a sneeze, the flick of a light switch -- can unleash cataclysmic events. What the arbitrary and capricious lockdowns have taught us -- in addition to the fact that the American constitution is now clinically dead, and that the Bill of Rights no longer is absolute -- is to fear our fellow man and thus turn ourselves into a nation of snitches and scolds.

A rising tide sinks all boats.

And so we are lectured to by children, and harried by agents of the state for the most trivial of offenses, most of which seem to be violating laws passed yesterday by thug governments criminalizing dissent from state orthodoxy. This story, concerning a pregnant woman arrested in front of her husband and children is bad enough:

“Arresting a pregnant female, it's never going to look good. The optics of arresting someone who is pregnant is terrible,” Mr Cornelius said. “We were very keen to understand the circumstances and consider whether or not in all the circumstances that action was appropriate. And I can say to you, based on the briefings that have been provided to me and my colleague, Assistant Commissioner Cindy Millen, we're satisfied in those circumstances the members behaved appropriately and in accordance with our policy.”

Mr Cornelius said the handcuffing of Ms Buhler was standard procedure when officers are executing a search warrant at a home but the handcuffs were removed as soon as police rendered the situation safe. “I've seen the footage, and you know, in my assessment, the members have conducted themselves entirely reasonably,” Mr Cornelius said.

Watch the video at the link just above and you be the judge of its "reasonableness." And then watch this:

Once a penal colony, always a penal colony.

Still, on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend pro tempore, it's been amusing to watch the two imaginary bugbears of "climate change" and the "Dreaded Corona" turn on each other. Not only has the virus spared us further manifestations of Greta Thunberg, last seen going sheepishly back to school in wintry Sweden, it's also seriously damaged the "green energy" quasi-industry:

Before the coronavirus pandemic arrived this year, clean energy was one of fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy. But since moderate stages of recovery began, experts say the industry has struggled to find footing. Just 3,200 jobs returned to the clean energy sector in July, Labor Department data shows.

That 0.1% employment growth has left more than 500,000 workers in fields including energy efficiency, solar and wind energy and clean vehicles without a job, an industry-sponsored analysis by the BW Research Partnership shows.

Before you can say, gee, that's too damn bad, there's more:

The last few months have seen a major reversal of fortune for a sector that grew 70% faster than the entire economy between 2015 and 2019 and had been employing three times as many workers as real estate, banking or agriculture. At July's growth rate, industry leaders say, it will take 15 years to replace the jobs that were wiped away by the pandemic.

The slow rebound can be blamed, they add, on a slate of pandemic-related restrictions and consequences that have combined to affect the industry.

Well... who decreed the "pandemic-related restrictions" in the first place? Which political party signifies its acquiescence to the whims of the state by wearing face masks on all possible occasions? How do the Karens of the world vote?

This is the path madness takes, once you go crazy. A central tenet of Leftist "woke" practice is 1) posit a counter-factual and, 2) act upon it as if it were real. The problem comes when the gulf between what you believe (imminent annihilation caused by driving to the supermarket to load up on groceries) and reality (the sun comes up tomorrow on pretty much the same planet it came up on when Caesar walked the earth).

Accordingly, the Left has spent -- and demanded that we spend as well -- billions of dollars to indulge their "climate change" fantasy: money now circling the drain in order to indulge their "Black Death" fantasy. That both fantasies are devoted to the destruction of the capitalism system in general and the U.S.A. in particular accounts for their passionate devotion to both, even though that were both true, their own destruction is equally guaranteed.

Some of the job losses have come in the energy-efficiency industry which -- as long as it makes economic sense -- is regrettable. Everybody wants to pass less for energy, not more, so it the more we can make our appliances better and more efficient, the more insulated our homes are, the better it is for "the planet" (if the planet cares, which it doesn't) and our pocketbooks.

"Out of the 3.2 million people who work in the clean energy field -- or did up until this year -- the vast majority are in the energy efficiency field," Bob Keefe, executive director of the non-partisan advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), told UPI. "Those are people who go into buildings and do everything from installing insulation in the walls and ceilings to swapping out incandescent lighting for LED lighting."

The sudden idling in the industry has brought into focus impressive growth it has experienced in recent years. By late 2018, more than 2.3 million Americans were working the field, and the growth rate was more than 5%, according to last year's U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Only a sheep could love them.

Another element in the slowdown are the declining sales of such talismans as solar panels, sold to a gullible public as helping to power your own home when the sun shines but in reality simply making the sucker pay to contribute to the electric grid for others.

One theory is that homeowners are wary of strange workmen coming to their homes while the Black Death runs wild in the streets, but a more likely answer is that the customer has finally wised up to the scam.

As for the unsightly goliaths slowing spinning their alien turbines above the water line, or disfiguring the landscape from sea shore to mountain ranges, the nearly prohibitive cost of making, maintaining, and disposing of them, the less said the better.

But it's an article of faith among the regressive Left that the way forward is backward, to the days of windmills and waterwheels. Lacking a belief in God, the feminized Left increasingly lacks a belief in Man as well, especially in his ability to adapt to changing conditions with inventions and common sense. As Camille Paglia wrote in her seminal treatise on sex and culture, Sexual Personae, "If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts."

This is the end result of a Safety First philosophy, under which any outcome that could possibly be bad is to be avoided by simply refusing to engage. No ships should cross the ocean, no wagons rolling westward ho, no rockets to infinity and beyond. Progress cannot come without death, the thinking goes, so if death cannot be tolerated, then neither can progress. Which means, in the end, that the end stage of "progressive" liberalism can only be totalitarianism: that which is not expressly allowed is forbidden, unless we whimsically decree otherwise.

Why, just this week, another embarrassing Antipodean country, New Zealand, ha suspended the shipments of one of the few things anybody wants to buy from it -- cattle -- after a boat bearing 6,000 moo cows capsized and sank, with a horrifying bovine death toll. Instead of finding out why the vessel sank off the coast of Japan (which doesn't have a lot of grazing land), the reaction was... well, let the New York Times tell it:

New Zealand has suspended the export of live cattle after a ship that left its shores with 43 crew members and nearly 6,000 cows capsized off Japan this week, raising fresh questions about the safety and ethics of transporting livestock by sea.

Animals rights activists say the move did not go far enough because the transnational livestock trade is rife with abuses. “Ultimately, this is a trade that has to be banned,” said Will Appelbe, a spokesman for SAFE, an animal welfare group in New Zealand.

Of course it does, along with everything and anybody else that could go wrong. And if -- like Pennywise the Clown from It, you have to live the rest of your life in a sunless subterranean lair, comrade, remember: it's for your own safety.

California Bows to Energy Reality

Last week I described the dilemma facing the California State Water Resources Control Board. It could demand adherence to the schedule for closing coastal gas plants which use sea water by the end of this year. If they did so, they would compound California's energy crisis; if not, the board would have to face the fact that renewable energy was insufficient for the State's needs and acknowledge that it needed these fossil fuel plants to continue operating or the state would face further blackouts.

Today it acknowledged reality, as the Los Angeles Times reports. The board allowed the plants to remain in operation for a few more years until --  they hope -- chimerical renewable energy can pick up the load:

State officials threw a lifeline to four fossil fueled power plants along the Southern California coast, deciding the facilities are still needed to provide reliable electricity even as they contribute to the climate crisis.

Tuesday’s vote by the State Water Resources Control Board to let the gas plants keep operating past the end of this year followed brief rolling blackouts over two evenings last month, as a heat wave caused air conditioning demand to soar, and California found itself short on electricity supplies.

Energy regulators are still investigating the causes of the power shortage. But they said allowing the coastal gas plants to stay open a few more years would help prevent more outages as California continues its transition to cleaner energy sources — an ironic solution given that climate change almost certainly exacerbated the recent heat wave.

Maybe it won't ever get hot again in California. Maybe there never will be smoke and smog blocking sunlight. Maybe storage capacity will be vastly increased. Maybe the gas plants will find an efficient , affordable way to discharge seawater without substantially affecting marine life. Maybe not.

Of course the notion that the warm sea water discharge from the plants seriously harms marine life may also be open to some  debate.I remember environmentalists claiming the caribou would die off if the Alaskan pipeline was built, but it turns out the caribou love it:

Thirty years later we can see the effects of the pipeline on the caribous. Walter Hickel, a former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and governor of Alaska, said the caribou has not only survived, but flourished. In 1977, as the Prudhoe region started delivering oil to America's southern 48 states, the Central Arctic caribou numbered 6,000:it has since grown to 27, 128.

It's hyperbolical predictions like this, that make me chary of the environmentalists claims, which always exaggerate the risks of real energy production while they ignore the risks related to "renewables,"such as the risk to birds from large solar arrays in the dessert and from windmills and the danger now of disposal of solar panels and windmills that are now out of commission or soon will be.

Let me know when they march on the auto companies to highlight the environmental risks in the creation and disposal of electric car batteries.

'Global Warming' Does Not Cause California Wildfires

Global Warming Alarmists have a habit of blaming everything on global warming.  They even pivoted to the term “climate change” so they weren’t hemmed in by catastrophes that might be the result of global cooling. So, naturally, global warming is the reason for both the existence of wildfires (primarily but not entirely in California) as well as their number, frequency, and severity.

The “argument,” such as it is, goes something like this: global warming makes the air warmer, which more efficiently dries out flammable vegetation, making it easier to set ablaze.

Like most nonsense arguments, it fails to account for all the other factors that are involved in wildfires.  The oversimplification and lack of intellectual and scientific rigor is a hallmark of Leftist “thought,” and this scenario is no different.

We can dispense with the claim that the number of fires has been increasing.  The National Interagency Fire Center shows that there is no obvious trend whatsoever, with an average of 41,617 fires per year and a standard deviation of 5,283 – meaning there’s a wide variance, as well.

There’s more.  The area of forest land that has been burned in the US – even in years where consumption was greatest -- is far below both the average and peak years from 1926 to 1950.

Remember, the peak period of fires occurred prior to the years of alleged man-made global warming.  The reduction in fire isn’t because of deforestation, either.  The USDA Forest Service reports that forest area “has been relatively stable since 1910.” Yes, dry fuel feeds and maintains fires.  Northeasterly winds kick up and spread the fires. Some spark, such as lightning strikes or arson or public utility incompetence, lights the proverbial match.

Yet none of this is the result of global warming.  California is dry in the summer because the Pacific Ocean doesn’t throw off thunderstorms.  It’s cooler than the Atlantic.  The jet stream also shifts further north in summer.  Thus, by the time “fire season” rolls around, all the fuel lying around for fires is going to be naturally dried out.  Even if they weren’t dried out, the winds that kick up during fires would dry them out anyway.

All of this is to say that "global warming" doesn’t matter.  California is dry, period.  Fuel is added to the inevitable fire during the winter rains, as more grass and plant life grows.  When summer rolls around, all of this life still dries out, adding to the undergrowth.

Does global warming contribute to higher rainfall in California, thereby contributing to more vegetation growth, and therefore more fuel?  Nope.  The National Climate Assessment demonstrates that rainfall from December to March has no discernible pattern.

This leaves the question of the winds.  Almost every wildfire in California is accompanied by the famous Santa Ana winds.  These winds are generated in the intermountain west by high pressure at the surface that builds up.  Once it crests at the level of the terrain, known as “ridging,” the winds start to blow.

Is global warming responsible for increased ridging?  The NOAA Earth System Research Laboratories suggest that there is not.

There are other factors that contribute to the wildfire situation.  If one insists on attaching human involvement in wildfires, it isn’t global warming that’s the culprit.

A major contributor to wildfires is fire suppression itself.  While there is an obvious need to protect homes and property, there is a natural inclination to just knock down fires wherever they spring up.  Yet doing so creates thick underlayers of growth that merely provide more fuel for the next fire.

Nature has a purpose, and fire serves a purpose.  We refer to wildfires as “devastating” but any biologist will tell you that fires burn overgrowth, effectively “re-booting” nature in any given area.  When chaparral and other growth become thick and prevalent, most wildlife moves on and is replaced by scavengers and bottom-feeders.  New life emerges when areas burn naturally, and burn out naturally. 

Fire suppression forestalls this process.  Fire suppression is unnatural, and we’ve been doing it since 1905. 

Have you hugged a tree today?

Then there’s the environmental movement itself, in which preservation of land seems to be almost sacred in comparison to permitting timber activity of any kind.  That creates more fuel.  Almost half of California is federal land and political battles have restricted the timber industry, as well as livestock grazing.

Not only that, the importance of controlled burns – “prescribed fires” -- to reduce fuel is undisputed.  The National Forest Service says:

Prescribed fire is one of the most important tools used to manage fire today. A scientific prescription for each fire, prepared in advance, describes its objectives, fuels, size, the precise environmental conditions under which it will burn, and conditions under which it may be suppressed. The fire may be designed to create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals, to help endangered species recover, or to reduce fuels and thereby prevent a destructive fire.

However, a host of problems have kept this tool in check in California. The sad state of affairs in California is that global warming isn’t the problem. 

Seven months after the Camp Fire killed 85 people and destroyed much of Paradise, and with another potentially catastrophic wildfire season getting underway, a growing body of experts say California is neglecting a major tool in its battle against mega-fires: the practice of fighting fire with fire.

These experts say state and federal firefighting agencies should allow more fires that don’t threaten the public to run their natural course. What’s more, they say fire agencies should conduct more “prescribed” burns — fires that are deliberately set, under carefully controlled conditions, to reduce the fuels that can feed a disaster.

In California, the debate over prescribed burns is complicated by a deadly history with wildfires that have grown quickly out of control, the state’s stringent environmental regulations, fear of liability lawsuits and infringement on property rights, and the huge swaths of federal forestland with their own management rules and oversight.

There are several other problematic policies that set communities up for wildfires.  Almost one in twelve homes in California are located in wildfire zones.  The lunacy of permitting high-risk wildfire areas to be zoned for residential housing can be laid at the feet of the state and federal governments.  While multiple parties stand to benefit from the creation of housing – home builders, the construction lobby, large businesses that seek new population zones to open stores in – it is the state and local government that stand to benefit the most.  Property taxes aren’t as lucrative on undeveloped land, after all.

New neighborhoods bring people, which bring families, which bring children, who need to go to school.  Schools require teachers and unions, and more government services and regulations, and of course, more income taxes.   The wealthier the community, the higher the taxes that get collected.

Insurance companies are hip to these poor decisions, however.  They have become increasingly restrictive in writing and maintaining policies in wildland – urban fire zones.  Naturally, California state government tried but failed (this time) to force them to insure those zones where homeowners engaged in mitigation, known as “home hardening.”

The bottom line is that global warming does not cause or contribute to wildfires in California.  Foolish and short-sighted policies are to blame.