Trudeau Loses Bid for Security Council Seat

I must say that I find this hysterical:

Canada loses bid for seat on UN Security Council

The Liberal government lost a four–year bid for a UN Security Council seat Wednesday, a humbling experience after a high-profile campaign led by the prime minister. Canada finished third, behind Norway and Ireland in the race for two seats on the Security Council. After the vote Justin Trudeau... said it had been a worthwhile exercise. “We listened and learned from other countries, which opened new doors for cooperation to address global challenges, and we created new partnerships that increased Canada’s place in the world,” he said.

Uh-huh. As if, had it gone the other way, we wouldn't all have been subjected to the incessant bleating of "Canada's back!" from the loyal Trudeaupians in the Canadian media, like Rosemary Barton?

Now, as Matt Gurney points out, Canada's losing this contest doesn't really matter. Unless...

Unless you count the millions of public dollars that Trudeau eagerly spent in campaigning for the seat. And the fact that he compromised Canadian principles, breaking a longtime pattern of not supporting anti-Israel resolutions at the UN while sweet-talking some pretty unsavoury world leaders in an attempt to win their votes. Not to mention the vast government resources he marshalled in pursuing his vanity project, even as Canada was dealing with a pandemic crisis of historic proportions.

Which is to say, Trudeau expended a lot of political and actual capital to demonstrate that he's beloved throughout the world and he ended up with egg on his face.

Even funnier, remember last week when we discussed Greta Thunberg's letter encouraging the UN electorate to lean on Canada and Norway for emission reduction concessions in exchange for votes? If it was actually leaned on, Norway has apparently ignored it, as it's just announced that they are full steam ahead on oil production since the price-per-barrel is on the rise.

What's next for Justin? Well, he'll probably get back to kicking the oil and gas industry for a bit, to vent some frustration. And then maybe he'll turn his focus to a snap election in the fall. Hopefully the Conservatives will have an actual leader by then.

'Chill Greta, Chill!'

Last December, the 45th president of the United States offered Greta Thunberg some solid, practical advice:

I don't have any insight into her anger issues, but Trump's second and third points are spot on. Catching an old movie with a friend is always a good idea, and there must have been several floating around at the time, just before Christmas -- Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck is a personal favorite, or perhaps Alastair Sim in A Christmas Carol (the only version worth your time). And hey, there's always Gone with the Wind, right? Oh, wait...

But point three is really key: "Chill." It's something that Greta's parents should have said to her long ago, instead of, you know, using her. While most of us were mastering baking or catching up on our reading, Greta has devoted herself to -- what else -- hectoring various and sundry nations about their carbon footprints.

Here's one example which I found particularly galling -- Greta & Co. have been indirectly pressuring Canada and Norway to "commit to no new oil and gas exploration or production, and phase out their existing production." How? Well, Norway and Canada are (along with Ireland) vying for a spot on the UN Security Council. As the European votes are likely to go to the European contenders, Justin Trudeau decided to woo other parts of the world, particularly African countries, such as Ethiopia and Sengal

Greta, however, signed a letter to UN ambassadors of small island states, leaning on Trudeau's targets to turn up the heat, particularly on Canada:

Thunberg and the others say Canada is nowhere close to hitting its Paris climate agreement targets. They also say Canada is the second-biggest supplier of fossil-fuel subsidies among the world's wealthiest 20 countries and has opened up billions of dollars in loans to fossil-fuel companies as part of its COVID-19 economic aid.... The letter-writers said if Canada was serious about implementing the Paris agreement it would make permanent its temporary ban on extracting oil and gas in the Arctic, cancel both the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipeline projects, and end all subsidies to the oil and gas industry.

So if Canada were really serious about the Paris agreement, it would immediately shut down 10% of its economy -- and since an economy isn't a machine, but an interconnected, organic thing, that would really mean contracting by at least 25 or 30 percent --  eliminating countless jobs and immiserating numerous Canadians? Makes sense to me...

Seriously, get a hobby Greta. One that doesn't include robbing people of their livelihood. And, more important: "Chill!"

Trudeau's Oil Sands 'Relief' a Bust

Back in 2017, Justin Trudeau was speaking at a town hall event in Peterborough, Ont., and was asked about his government's decision to approve an extension to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, which seemed in tension with his environmentalist commitments. He replied:

We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels but it’s going to take time and in the meantime we have to manage that transition.

This was widely considered to be a gaffe of the Kinsley variety, which is to say the type in which a politician "accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head." Trudeau was acknowledging that somewhere in that woolly brain of his is the desire to shut down Canada's oil sands, the backbone of Canada's western economy, and a key sector of the national economy as well.

The representatives of affected Canadians were compelled to respond. Rachel Notley, whose socialist New Democratic Party was enjoying a rare period in power in Alberta, said, “[Our] oil and gas industry and the people who work in it are the best in the world and we’re not going anywhere, any time soon.” Jason Kenney, who would replace Notley as premier two years later, asked whether Trudeau's "phase-out" meant "he wants to hand-over all global oil production to Saudi [Arabia], Iran, Qatar, et al?" Then-opposition leader Brian Jean replied, "If Mr. Trudeau wants to shut down Alberta's oil sands... he'll have to go through me and four million Albertans first." The pushback was such that eventually -- that is, more than a week later -- Trudeau walked back the comment, saying that he "misspoke," and that he had “said something the way I shouldn’t have said it.”

Fast forward to our present calamity, which has seen Canada's oil and gas industry pounded by a perfect storm consisting of the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdowns on the one hand, and the Saudi/Russian production war on the other. Back in the middle of March, as the nature of these twin crises was becoming clear, news began to surface about Ottawa's proposed response.

The federal government is preparing a multibillion-dollar bailout package for Canada’s oil and gas sector that is expected to be unveiled early next week, sources say.... [G]overnment insiders are saying little about the details... but the oil and gas sector can expect to get more access to credit, especially for struggling small and medium-sized operations, and significant funding to create jobs for laid-off workers to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells.

One senior Alberta source said the province is expecting Ottawa to provide $15-billion in relief to an industry that has been hammered by the COVID-19 crisis and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has cratered oil prices and energy-company stocks.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau assured the nation on March 25th that the government understood that "the energy sector is in a particularly challenging situation," and that the rumored bailout was imminent, not "weeks [but] hours, potentially days" away.

Well, not hours or days, but nearly a month later details of the relief package were made public, and they were underwhelming to say the least. Reports of a $15 billion package were off by almost an order of magnitude, as the actual package came to $1.7 billion, largely geared towards environmentalist priorities. Whereas oil and gas representatives had been asking mainly for new lines of credit and an easing of regulations, the actual package earmarked the vast majority of dollars for the remediation of abandoned oil wells and methane-gas emission reduction.

As Grant Fagerheim of Whitecap Resources put it, “This is not going to do anything... If this is as good as it gets, it will do very little or nothing to assist with operations for companies.”

What changed? Well, for one thing, the environmentalists got involved. Around the time of Morneau's pledge, a coalition of environmentalist groups wrote an open letter to Trudeau arguing against such a package, saying

"Giving billions of dollars to failing oil and gas companies will not help workers and only prolongs our reliance on fossil fuels."

They seem to have had an influence. As one oil executive observed to the National Post:

[T]he announcement appeared to adhere closely to Ottawa’s tendencies around environmental messaging, rather than addressing immediate concerns on private sector balance sheets. “I think they made the calculation that it would be politically unpalatable in Ontario and Quebec to provide direct supports to oil and gas."

Of course, Canada's environmentalist groups were elated and were quick to offer praise:

Josha McNabb of the clean-energy think tank Pembina Institute said well cleanups and methane reductions are good steps toward reorienting Canada’s economy toward a low-carbon future. “Those are types of things that are going to lead to an oil and gas sector that is more competitive because it’s cleaner, and also (develop) the kind of expertise that is going to be in demand,” she said.

Even more to the point was the statement put out by Tzeporah Berman of Stand.Earth, which read,

Today, Prime Minister Trudeau made clear that Canada’s bailout package will prioritize addressing the climate crisis and building the cleaner, safer economy we need. This is the kind of leadership the world needs .… This bailout announcement is a major turning point for oil and gas politics in Canada.... [W]inding down the oil and gas industry [is] a hard, but necessary part of achieving [Canada's Paris Agreement climate] targets.

Of course, Trudeau's cabinet is itself brimming with borderline enviro-activists, including Catherine McKenna, Navdeep Bains, and Steven Guilbeault (the latter a full blown activist, who spent ten years with Greenpeace before running for office). None of them needs much pressure -- public or private -- to leave the resource sector out in the cold. No doubt when Morneau said that relief was "hours, possibly days" away, that was based on his perception of the negotiations as they stood at the time. Perhaps he was even trying to hurry his fellow ministers along. But he appears to have gotten ahead of his skis, and in the end the greenies won out.

Furthermore, despite requests from industry representatives, the Trudeau government insisted on going ahead with its plan to double the Federal Carbon tax and merely delayed the implementation of their Clean Fuel Standard by a few months.

“Just because we are in one crisis doesn’t mean we can forget about the other crisis, the climate crisis, that we’re facing as a world and as a country,” said Trudeau.

It must be mentioned that one request from the resource industry was included in the relief package, namely expanding credit availability for small and medium sized energy companies, and there has been talk of further assistance aimed at ensuring that the industry maintains liquidity. There's a good argument for such interventions -- since government ordered lockdowns are a major contributor to the industry's plight, it makes sense that the government would help shoulder the burden while oil and gas companies work their way through this. And it's worth noting that, as the energy sector has contributed more to the Canadian economy over the past 20 years than any other, a lot of that money comes from oil and gas to begin with.

Even so, the core of this package makes plain the Prime Minister's priorities. Weighted as heavily as it is toward capping off old wells, it serves mainly as an instruction to an ailing industry that it had better restructure itself with an eye towards closing up shop for good. Rahm Emmanuel famously advised Barack Obama in 2008 to never let a good crisis go to waste, and Trudeau and his ministers appear to have taken that to heart. Never mind that the resource sector makes up roughly 10 percent of the Canadian economy; that, as this pandemic has reminded us, it contributes the material to make personal protective equipment and ventilators; or that the Green Energy Industry on which they have pinned their hopes has been shown to be a sham. This is their moment. They will not let it pass.

Damn the Economy, Save the Paris Agreement!

I'm glad he has his priorities straight:

Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi warned on Monday that the Paris climate accord could face death if steps to fight global warming were put on the backburner to facilitate the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Many economists and policymakers are forecasting a steep global recession this year as countries are forced into lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus, curtailing business activity in a major blow to jobs and incomes.

“It would virtually mean the death of the Paris accord if we gave priority unconditionally to economic recovery, while neglecting the environment,” Koizumi told Reuters in an interview.

To date, there have been only 109 deaths from the coronavirus in Japan, although last week prime minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in the Land of the Rising Sun -- one that is far less socially and economically restrictive than those in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. So that's a relatively easy call for Koizumi to make.

Still, if an imaginary threat at some distant point in the future outweighs your country's current health and economic crises... that's not a cult at all.


Sauron: Coronavirus Shows Need to Focus on 'Climate Change'

Have you by any chance heard about this whole global pandemic thing? COVID-19, coronavirus, the WuFlu, or whatever you want to call it? If not, well, you've likely been living under a rock. The topic is harder to avoid -- by far -- than actually getting the virus. It's all the media are talking about. So I can sympathize with the first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, for using it as a gateway for something he'd much rather be focusing on: the so-called "Climate Emergency" and the legislation he's had a part in crafting to deal with it.

Known as the European Green Deal, the legislation promises to transform Europe's economy, enshrining in law that every EU member nation reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, mandating that a substantial portion of every budget category be dedicated to reaching that goal (for instance, "40% of the budget for the common agricultural policy and 30% of fisheries"), and imposing heavy fines on those nations not on track. Which, as Patrick Michaels of the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, is insane:

Suppose bankrupt Greece isn’t reducing its emissions fast enough to meet the 2050 goal. Then the EU will throw “hefty” fines at it. Because Greece won’t be able to pay — being bankrupt, you know — the rest of the EU (read: Germany) effectively will have to pay. The proposed law is, therefore, a recipe for disaster that will increasingly rely on Germany to rescue other EU nations.

Still, this pesky global pandemic is getting in Timmermanns' way. People are even suggesting -- talk about an extreme reaction! -- that perhaps the virus running amok throughout continental Europe should be a priority for the the EU Commission. Nonsense, says Timmermans:

“The focus this week should be completely on the happening in Syria, in Turkey and what is happening in Greece, should be on containing the coronavirus and solving it. That’s absolutely a priority,” he said. [But] the climate law was “so important”, because “it allows you to focus on other things without losing track of what you need to do to reach climate neutrality”.

“Even if the Eye of Sauron is on something else for a bit, the trajectory to 2050 will be clear,” he said, in a reference to the dark forces in the Lord of the Rings. “Because we discipline ourselves with the climate law.”

Which is to say, we need to pass the European Green Deal precisely so that we can focus on other things! The Climate Emergency is always the priority! If we turned our "Eye of Sauron" (weird and telling that he uses that reference to describe the EU, by the way) towards those thousands of sick Italians and Spaniards even for one moment, I mean, what would Greta say? Unfortunately for Timmermans, Greta has already called his bill a "surrender."

Rough day for Sauron.

The Poster Child for Eco-Anxiety

Just a quick addendum to Michael Walsh's excellent article Suffer the Little Children, in which he explores the growing problem of "eco-anxiety" among young people, psychological trauma which results from the incessant "end-of-days rhetoric" kids today hear from teachers, celebrities, and politicians.

The beau ideal of eco-anxiety is, of course, Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish environmentalist who was shown Sir David Attenborough’s (subsequently debunked) film on the collapse of polar bear populations when she was 8 years old and was basically scarred for life. Greta's mother has just published a memoir about her life with her daughter, recently excerpted in The Guardian, and it makes for really disturbing reading:

Greta was 11, had just started fifth grade, and was not doing well. She cried at night when she should be sleeping. She cried on her way to school. She cried in her classes and during her breaks, and the teachers called home almost every day. Svante [her father] had to run off and bring her home to Moses, our golden retriever. She sat with him for hours, petting him and stroking his fur. She was slowly disappearing into some kind of darkness and little by little, bit by bit, she seemed to stop functioning. She stopped playing the piano. She stopped laughing. She stopped talking. And she stopped eating.

The girl was eventually diagnosed with Asperger's and OCD, and those diagnoses, along with a change of schools, helped regularize her behavior. However, she continued to fixate on climate change and the destruction of the world (perseverating on dark themes is classic Asperger's).

In school one day, Greta’s class watches a film about how much rubbish there is in the oceans. An island of plastic, larger than Mexico, is floating around in the South Pacific. Greta cries throughout the film. Her classmates are also clearly moved. Before the lesson is over the teacher announces that on Monday there will be a substitute teaching the class, because she’s going to a wedding over the weekend, in Connecticut, right outside of New York. “Wow, lucky you,” the pupils say. Out in the corridor the trash island off the coast of Chile is already forgotten. New iPhones are taken out of fur-trimmed down jackets, and everyone who has been to New York talks about how great it is, with all those shops, and Barcelona has amazing shopping too, and in Thailand everything is so cheap, and someone is going with her mother to Vietnam over the Easter break, and Greta can’t reconcile any of this with any of what she has just seen.

She saw what the rest of us did not want to see.

Thus began Thunberg's well-known climate strikes, which saw her and eventually other children in her country and around the world skipping school to protest the reluctance of governments to enact measures which would put an end to civilization as we know it so that, you know, the world doesn't end.

Which is to say, she followed what her teachers, her parents, and opportunistic politicians and activists told her to a logical conclusion.

Who knows where Greta's story will end? She'll probably keep winning awards, maybe eventually get that Nobel Peace Prize she's missed out on twice already. And politicians will name-check her for decades whenever they attempt to pass some ruinous Green initiative. But because no one is going to actually legislate us back to a hunter-gatherer society, I can't imagine Greta will ever achieve anything in life that she will find satisfactory. Most likely, her legacy will amount to nothing but a generation of similarly eco-traumatized children.

Very sad indeed.

'Climate Change': Passing the Paris Parcel Back Again.

Boris Johnson received a very early Christmas present this week when the courts told him that Her Majesty’s Government could not proceed with its plan to build another runway at Heathrow Airport on the grounds that an extension would clash with its legal commitments on climate change. That may not sound like much of a gift, but the court’s ruling saved the Prime Minister from betraying a well-known personal pledge.

As the MP for a constituency in the path of Heathrow, he had told his discontented voters that he would personally lie down in front of the bulldozers rather than let the extension proceed. And though election promises are like pie-crusts, made to be broken, as Lenin remarked, voters tend to remember those promises that directly affect their personal and local interests, especially when they have been expressed with Boris’s trademark vivacity.

As a very new Prime Minister, however, he had inherited an established policy of Heathrow expansion that was supported by the Transport ministry and—moreover—in line with his wider economic policy of letting Britain rip in an orgy of borrowing and infrastructure development. He was trapped in the jaws of a dilemma.

Now, with one bound, our Boris was free.

The Court of Appeal had lain down in front of the bulldozers instead, ruling that it was illegal for HMG to approve a third runway without taking its own climate change commitments under the Paris Treaty (subsequently put into UK law) into account. Its judgment is interesting. It attributes HMG’s error as follows: “the reason why it was never done is that the secretary of state received legal advice that not only did he not have to take the Paris Agreement into account but that he was legally obliged not to take it into account at all.” In particular HMG had not issued a National Planning Statement as it is required to do.

That’s quite a mistake.

Ministers were free to appeal the judgment but decided not to do so. It’s true they have other options. They could now re-embark on the process of developing the case for Heathrow expansion by consulting with interested parties, holding hearings, and, of course, taking the Paris accords into account. But that process would add at least eighteen months to something that has already taken a decade. It would extend the uncertainty that, like the Brexit uncertainty (still quietly continuing), has so far bedeviled the plans of business and exporters. Above all, it would still not guarantee that any future Heathrow expansion plan would be approved by courts examining its fidelity to the Paris agreement.

Those are the immediate costs of saving Boris’s face. So stitch-up or cock-up? My guess is the latter because, as we shall see below, the costs of this judgment go higher and further than Heathrow.

It’s customary at this point for those who, like me, deplore the intrusion of the courts into what have hitherto been political decisions to denounce the rise of undemocratic judicial imperialism. And I shall give mild vent to these opinions lower down. But there is no avoiding the fact that in this case the courts have been invited by government and Parliament to intervene. A succession of laws have laid down that government planning and economic decisions must observe the legally-binding obligation to reduce carbon emissions consistent with holding a global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees between now and the end of the century.

That’s the Paris agreement, but Britain had already proposed even more drastic carbon reductions in earlier domestic legislation. The Climate Change Act of 2008—passed with only five brave, honest, and intelligent MPs voting against it, among them the Cambridge science graduate, former deputy prime minister, Lord (Peter) Lilley—laid down that Britain must reduce its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. And this target was made still more unrealistic by Theresa May’s government in 2016 when the 2050 target was raised to 100 per cent of carbon emissions.

Successive governments had kept their fingers crossed and hoped they could argue that these targets are aspirational—and, hey, we made a good faith effort but we just missed again! But if you make such targets legally binding, then both Ministers and the general public must anticipate that the courts may intervene to require their enforcement. An earlier and more deferential generation of British judges might have been more willing to accept ministerial prerogatives on such plainly political matters. But today’s judges are more interventionist than those in the past. And, after all, they can reasonably claim that they were invited to ensure that on climate change HMG would keep its word and fulfill its treaty obligations.

Accordingly, it seems that the courts—other things being equal—will now help to impose a zero-carbon policy on the British economy. As Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh, “an international public law expert at Leiden University” in the Netherlands, told the Guardian: “For the first time, a court has confirmed that the Paris agreement temperature goal has binding effect. This goal was based on overwhelming evidence about the catastrophic risk of exceeding 1.5 C of warming. Yet some have argued that the goal is aspirational only, leaving governments free to ignore it in practice.”

Her judgment seems more authoritative on the law than on science. For activists will certainly mount legal challenges to any future substantial infrastructure or energy exploration projects. The government, other public bodies, and industry will find that many of their legal arguments have been foreclosed by this judgment. All industrial projects will be slowed down; many, perhaps most, will be either abandoned or not proposed in the first place.

Heathrow itself would struggle to meet the requirements of the UK’s climate legislation even without the lawyers’ mistakes. Its third runway is estimated to likely to bring in 700 more planes a day with a consequent large rise in carbon emissions contrary to the law. But that’s true also of the policy now touted as an alternative to another Heathrow runway—namely the expansion of existing British airports, especially Birmingham, to accommodate the rise in passenger and goods traffic that is the aim of Boris’s policies of overall economic expansion and the economic “leveling up” of regions outside the South-East.

It would also prevent his other great personal infrastructure project: the HS2 super-railway between London and Birmingham in the next decade and to Scotland and the North later. Indeed, objectors would be able to kill almost any industrial project that increased carbon emissions overall from a small power-station to a massive national industrial program like HS2—kill either by direct prohibition or, more likely, from endless legal delays as in Canada over pipeline construction. When other nations from the US to China are building runways and exploring new energy sources, oblivious to the fact that a British court had outlawed such things (pace Professor Wewerinke-Singh), Britain will be suffering from a historically unique plague: a legally-binding rule of national impoverishment. Such a policy might have been devised by the European Union to make Brexit an apparent failure.

Not surprisingly, HMG is coy about the likely costs of this. Ministers have outsourced the estimates of a zero-carbon economy by 2050 to the Climate Change Committee established under the 2008 legislation which estimates a £50 billion cost for 2050. But the Committee is composed mainly of enthusiasts for climate puritanism, and its estimates have been challenged both within and outside government. An overall review of cost estimates has been made by Harry Wilkinson of the Global Policy Warming Institute which includes a warning from the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to Prime Minister Theresa May that the cost was likely to be 40 per cent higher, at £70 billion per annum—with households paying an average of £2,400 every year between now and 2050. Ministers have since gone quiet on making estimates about the costs of their policies, but Wilkinson quotes an overall estimate by Andrew Mountford that total costs would probably exceed £3 trillion when the investments needed for decarbonising transport and industry are taken into account.

Cut this estimate in half and it is still staggering!

If this policy continues unchanged, it will prove extraordinarily unpopular with the voters who have been given no warning at all that the idyllic Green future they have been promised (and which they have largely embraced) would come with such a massive bill both in money and in job losses. Only climate zealots from the parliamentary climate committee to Extinction Rebellion will be happy with the outcome—and perhaps only Extinction Rebellion, which actually wants the pre-industrial world of equality in misery that a zero-carbon planetimplies in the absence of major scientific advances such as nuclear fission on which it would be reckless to depend.

More than half of the blame for this extraordinary leap into the carbon-free unknown, however, has to be placed on the politicians—all but the gallant five MPs who rejected such dangerous extremism in 2008. Politicians of all parties in recent years have wanted to appease Green hordes—which in practice meant never seriously challenging their wildest forecasts. Their method of doing so has been to pass “aspirational” laws that mandated massive emission cuts, and even to make modest bows to the Green agenda where it was easy -- as Boris Johnson did when he ruled out “fracking” in the last Tory manifesto because a non-existent industry has few supporters, while ignoring such laws when they obstructed existing policies they considered important such as his infrastructure agenda. That way they could claim to be following environmentalist policies while putting off their actual more painful implementation until another party took power.

As Ross Kemp points out in the Spectator, moreover, this habit of exiling serious policy commitment to enforcement by the courts or semi-independent bodies like the Climate Committee has grown without anyone really thinking through the consequences: “Is the government going to be able to freeze fuel duty in the Budget? That too could be said to be inconsistent with working towards zero emissions. Then again, is Rishi Sunak going to be able to announce any spending increase? I am not a lawyer, but there doesn’t seem to me to be any reason why, say, the Taxpayers’ Alliance should not go full Gina Miller and take the Chancellor to court on the basis that he has failed to run a surplus – something which was written into George Osborne’s Charter for Budgetary Responsibility."

Boris escaped one minor trap when the court decided to declare the expansion of Heathrow illegal, but it placed him and Britain in a much more restraining one when it made his entire policy of infrastructure expansion dependent upon the approval of activist judges. To escape from that trap, he will have to repeal or amend laws that passed overwhelmingly. And that’s a bigger battle than Brexit.

CNN Blames 'Climate Change' for Evolutionary Extinction Events

Worried that your favorite plants and animals might be going extinct, right before your very eyes? Gonna miss those little buggers when they're gone? Blame climate change!

Take a moment to cherish your plants and appreciate the animals you see around you. In 50 years, a third of them may no longer exist. Using data from surveys that studied 538 animals, insects and plants from 581 sites across the globe, researchers John J. Wiens and Cristian Román-Palacios from the University of Arizona found that approximately one in three plant, insect and animal species could face extinction by 2070. However, things could be even worse if emissions continue to rise as rapidly as they have in recent decades. In a worst-case scenario, that number could rise to over 55%.

Wow, that sounds pretty bad, right? Every time a human being exhales, another snail darter bites the dust, or whatever snail darters bite. Wait -- it gets worse!

"Of the 538 species studied, 44% of them have already experienced an extinction in a particular local area. The researchers found that local extinction sites had larger and faster changes in the hottest yearly temperatures than those that did not... researchers found that the key to predicting whether a population will go extinct is the maximum annual temperature, as opposed to the average yearly temperature. This is notable because average temperatures are typically used as markers in measuring climate change.

In other words, a heat wave can polish off legions of weak-sister species. Who knew? But everything will be just peachy keen if we only... live up to the Paris climate agreement and keep that darn "global warming" below 2 degrees Celsius above "pre-industrial" levels. "Based on our sample of 538 species, we projected a loss of 30% of the species under a more extreme warming scenario, but only about 16% if we stick to the Paris Agreement," Wiens told CNN. "So, think in 1 in 6 species, not 1 in 3."

Pretty scary, huh? But hang on... what's this?

Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Many of them perished in five cataclysmic events.

We may be in the middle of another mass extinction event, but biologists aren't pinning it on "climate change." During a PBS round-table on the subject, Peter Ward, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, noted:

Geologists, I think, see this in terms of time scales that most of us probably don't think of. We think of the next 100 years or the next 300 years as the overall time scale over which much biotic impoverishment may take place. But I've spent my life looking at the past mass extinctions. Certainly the fastest we have on record was the end of the dinosaurs, the so-called K/T extinction, but over the last five years we've looked in great detail at what happened at the end of the Permian and what happened at the end of the Triassic, and neither of these were events that took place in, let's say, a 100-year time scale or a 300-year time scale. I think in the past, if we use the past as a record, 100,000 year intervals of mass extinction are certainly what has taken place.

My view of the current mass extinction is that it has been going on for 15,000 years. The loss of the mega-mammals, to me, was really the opening shot of what's going on, and it is now filtering down to ever-smaller animals. The current mass extinction has been unfolding for millennia, and unlike the greenhouse effect, global warming, or the hole in the ozone, it is visible without sophisticated imagery or complex computer modeling. It is real, and it is happening to a greater or lesser degree all over the globe; it is most apparent, however, in the tropics. It will not eliminate life from the Earth; no mass extinction does that. But enough species will die that the nature of life on the Earth will be forever changed.

In other words, species' extinction is not an anomaly brought on by cow farts and SUVs but part of the natural cycle of life on earth, stretching back hundreds of thousands of years. Darwin even wrote a book about it! (On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.) Climate hysterics like CNN's Allen Kim, who wrote the piece cited above, aren't arguing science at all, but merely cherry-picking data that serves to prove their utterly falsifiable thesis and, as an important byproduct, are simultaneously reaching into your pants pockets and stealing you blind. And all the while, they're out to terrify you with their predictions of Apocalypse Now.

"In a way, it's a 'choose your own adventure,'" Wiens said. "If we stick to the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, we may lose fewer than two out of every 10 plant and animal species on Earth by 2070. But if humans cause larger temperature increases, we could lose more than a third or even half of all animal and plant species, based on our results."

Note the hedge: "we may, we could." The fallacy of this kind of thinking should be obvious, but as long as it convinces suckers to diminish their own lifestyles and transfer money to the global-governance crowd, propagandists will keep pushing it. in the meantime, who misses the 99.9% of species that have gone extinct? We don't even know today how many species of anything there actually are, or were, or will be. Let's give the last word to ecologist Ariel Lugo, director of the USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico:

I think certainly we are grossly underestimating the number of species on Earth, and the more we look, obviously, we're going to find a lot more than we think we have. And the destruction of habitat is why we are so scared about the potential for huge extinctions. The problem is that we also need to rely on models to relate the extinction rate to the destruction of habitat, and we don't have, I don't think, sufficient information to define the relationship between habitat loss and species loss, mostly because the complexity of nature is just absolutely huge, and our understanding is very primitive.

And most of the controversy, I think, comes because we're naturally cautious -- it's obviously better to err on the side of caution -- but nevertheless, we don't seem to give credit to nature's resilience and to the ability of organisms to cope with change. And to the degree that the models do not incorporate resilience mechanisms -- I'm referring to the trick of relating, for example, rate of deforestation to rate of species loss -- to the degree that those models don't take into consideration the possibility that species recover from changes in the habitat, to that same degree, our estimates of the numbers of extinctions may be too high. So I would assume that we're grossly underestimating the diversity of the world, but we're probably overestimating the rates of extinction.

In other words, the science is not settled. Don't let them tell you otherwise.  And keep your wallet in a safe place.