U.N. Climate Report: Cloudy, with No Chance of Silver Linings

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has come forth with a new sixth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. In it the IPCC pretends science can predict what is impossible to predict: the variables in something as complex as climate. (If something is impossible to predict it is not based on science).

The IPCC's solutions are no better than its science. Given the IPCC’s leftist political orientation it ignores the data which show that increases in available energy sources and capitalism demonstrably lift more boats and improve the environment faster and more substantially than handing over money to government agencies and restricting conventional energy production.

The proposals the IPCC advances require a lot of fast and fancy footwork to obscure the fact that they can’t withstand close scrutiny:

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Wildfires

The section on the effect of climate change on wildfires begins with an assertion that in the Amazon, Australia, North America and Siberia wildfires are burning wider areas than in the past and human-caused climate change has driven the increases in the forests of western North America but, that “elsewhere, deforestation, fire suppression agricultural burning, and short-term cycles like el-Nino can exert a stronger influence than climate change.” It’s of a piece with claims made earlier by others, including NASA, and just as false.

In fact, bad land-management policies in western North America are a more significant driver of wildfires than anthropogenic climate change.  Depending on moisture content, most fuels must reach ignition temperatures between 644°F (340°C) and 795°F (440°C) to start a fire. The IPCC report makes the same mistake that NASA earlier made:

Stronger winds are more dangerous in part, because they transport larger embers. Small embers lack adequate energy to raise fuels from ambient temperatures of 70°F or 90°F to an ignition temperature of 644°F and higher. More so, the 2°F increase in global air temperatures since the Little Ice Age, increases the fuel’s temperature insignificantly and thus highly unlikely to increase 'the likelihood of a fire starting, or increasing the speed at which it spreads' as NASA claimed.

Reduction in both fire -uppression policies and the creation of fire breaks are a more likely driver of western wildfires. The warmer dry periods in these areas cannot be sufficient to reduce the humidity inside trees so as to affect wildfires: “From a global warming perspective, if relative humidity is kept constant during California’s rainless summers, for every 2 °F increase in temperature anomalies, calculations estimate that moisture content will only decrease by a rather insignificant 0.056% .” In any event the drier air is more closely related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the el Nino and la Nina events over which man has no role. Historically, wildfires increased in the southwest when “let it burn” policies were instituted; and ice cores reveal that “maximum fire activity in boreal forests occurred during the Little Ice Age between 1500-1700 AD and was attributed to the failure of Asian monsoons about which, again, man has no control and as to which he had no impact.

Dr. Jon Keeley, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who researched the topic for four decades was clear: “We’ve looked at the history of climate and fire throughout the whole state [of California] and through much of the state, particularly the western half of the state, we don’t see any relationship between past climates and the amount of area burned in any given year.”

 Every politician, every environmental group and every scientist trying to scare up more funding by uncritically blaming wildfires on CO2- induced climate change are not only ignoring good published science, but they’re also pushing wrong remedies and downplaying the correct remedies needed to benefit society and our environment. Better managed landscapes that control fuel supplies, and the re-introduction of fires via prescribed burns, will create more effective firebreaks and more healthy open habitat that coincidentally also increases wildlife diversity.

I cannot fathom the motives of the IPCC authors of this section but if one were to suggest it was to cover the rear end of California governor Newsom and his blinkered forest management policies, you’d be hard pressed to refute that. Of course, given the overall tenor of the report one might as well suspect the idea is to enrich Third World countries at our expense under the guise of preventing a disastrous climate change.

Trust us.

Plastics

As if there weren’t enough U.N. generated, we’re-all- going- to- die scenarios, it has added plastic pollution to its doomsday tallies. Representatives of 175 nations at the U.N. committed to creation of a plastic treaty that would not only deal with recycling, but as well to the production of plastics. They hope to get it written by 2024, which I suppose gives us some breathing room in which legislative virtue-signalers can further beset us with limitations on useful products.

 “We are making history today,” said Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s climate and the environment minister and president of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which took place for the past week in Nairobi, Kenya. In an earlier interview, he said that, given Russia’s war in Ukraine, it was particularly significant that “this divided world can still agree on something, based on science.”

Based on science? The effort seems, like much in the IPCC report, short on the concepts of human ingenuity and mitigation. Locality after locality in the United States has jumped on the band wagon, banning plastic straws, and banning or taxing shopping bags. For what end, besides virtue signaling and grift? (As in the District of Columbia where the tax on plastic grocery bags supposedly to clean up the Anacostia River went to fund a project by the council member who proposed it and when, having left the council, now heads the non-profit which has nothing to do with cleaning up the river?)

Ninety percent of the plastics in the ocean come from ten rivers, and those rivers are all in Asia. In descending order, the waterways are the Citarum River in Indonesia, the Yangtze River (China), the Indus River (Pakistan), The Yellow River (China), the Hai River (China) the Ganges River (India), the Pearl River(China) the Amur River (China and Russia) , the Niger River( 5 African countries), the Mekong River (China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam).

Most of these countries have several things in common: They are poor or have substantial numbers of poor citizens and are generally poor managers of their public spaces and community hygiene. You can bet that, just like China and India’s exemption from international carbon emissions controls, they will angle for and receive exemption in this yet-to-be devised treaty . Claims that richer nations have fobbed off the environmental degradation caused by plastics by shipping off plastic trash to such countries, ignores the benefit to them and the environment of recycling this material.

Import of plastic waste in lower-income countries like these also has been associated with growth in gross domestic product. It seems a great deal of the plastic waste shipped there from places like the United States and Britain are recycled and used instead of virgin materials to make useful products. That  process results in fewer carbon emissions and  ocean pollution. It’s an economical practice which uses less fossil fuels, the climate-change advocates' bogeyman. For a time, the used plastics from the U.S. and Britain were sent to China, but because of scandals involving mixing toxic waste into these plastics and dumping instead of reprocessing them, China stopped allowing their importation. Naturally, the doomsters believed this would only add to ocean pollution. Instead, it went to even poorer Asian countries where recycling it has been evolving into big business. There people such as Seah Kian Hoe, who as a kid used to collect scrap door-to-door for reuse now employs 350 people to run Heng Hiap Industries one of the top five plastic recycling businesses in his country which processed tons of waste per year.

There's gold in them thar bottles.

It's labor-intensive work and like clothing manufacturing takes less skilled workers and less capital. It’s a normal national economic progression. Such work is done in poorer countries and as they get richer they can hire more skilled workers, invest in more advanced technologies, and they can use those technologies to simplify and increase production, improve workers health and safety, and reduce pollution.

Heng Hiap Industries works with over 28,000 domestic plastic recyclers to buy and convert plastic scraps into high performance resin before selling it to clients that include top South Korean appliance manufacturers and Japanese automotive companies… By digitally transforming its plastic recycling operations, Heng Hiap aims to collect more and better-quality plastic by extending its collection infrastructure beyond informal collectors and grassroots recyclers, all the way to the household level, through a simplified and user-friendly collection process. In the long term, the plastic recycling company envisions creating a truly circular economy for plastics by helping its business-to-business (B2B) customers address the growing pressure from eco-conscious consumers for greater transparency and traceability.

This is not a new phenomenon. We’ve seen over and again how capitalism, ingenuity, and adaptability all combine to lift poor nations up. And higher GDP correlates with better environmental practices. In other places, we’ve seen poor countries go from labor-intensive but capital-short clothing manufacturing to such things as chip manufacturing in a very short time. As the process of recycling plastic has gone from low-level Chinese recycling to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, we are seeing improved infrastructure, products,  returns for  both the manufacturers and the customers of the end products, and the environment.

'Climate Change' -- Minorities Hardest Hit

Like the coronavirus, which seems to disproportionately injure African-Americans and other minorities, "climate change" appears to be fundamentally racist. Regarding the Wuhan bug, don't take my word for it -- Al Jazeera, NPR, and the BBC all sing ecumenically from the same hymnal:

This is pure racialist bilge, of course, deriving directly and selectively from the cultural Marxist notion of "proportionality" that has come to infect almost every aspect of our public policy thinking, from "disparate impact" in housing and labor issues (a tendentious derivative of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), to Title IX sex discrimination (from the 1972 Education Amendments Act) to the current shibboleths of "diversity" and affirmation action. It ignores, for example, the very real differences among ethnic groups regarding susceptibility to certain diseases -- Tay-Sachs disease among Ashkenazic Jews, skin cancer among the Anglo-Irish, sickle cell anemia and hypertension among blacks. On the Left, however, the only possible explanation for any racial disparities in any field whatsoever is racism -- except of course, when it comes to sports. A predominantly black NBA or an overwhelmingly white NHL are, at least for now, perfectly fine.

As has become clear, the collectivist Left has decided to conflate the Wuhan virus with their overall fascist fantasy of "climate change," and now regard the unconstitutional lockdowns and other restrictions on personal autonomy and freedom as a dry run for what's to come next. "Progressives" regard the de facto outlawing of communal religious services, for example, as an unalloyed good -- not because it "flattens the curve" or saves lives, but because the abolition of religion has been a mainstay of their political philosophy since at least Rousseau and, latterly, Marx. So it's no surprise they've racialized something as impersonal as the Wuhan virus in order to continue their ur-Narrative of Western social racism and economic exploitation, and are now connecting it to "climate change" via the Rousseauvian myth of the noble savage:

When the wildfires hit Australia last year, Bee Cruse was horrified at the sight of the red sky, the black ash falling like snow, and the smoke choking the whole East Coast. The fires were a direct reminder of the British genocide against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people like her, and the tearing of them from country and their traditional ways of land management.

In an article for Vox, Cruse, a Wiradjuri, Gomeroi, and Monaroo-Yuin storyteller, told me, “We see and feel the spirit of our animals and our land; they are our ancestor spirits. We don’t own country, country owns us; we come from her to protect her. When country hurts, we hurt. When our animals, our spirit cousins, cry, we cry.”

What Cruse was describing was climate grief, a psychological phenomenon that affects Black and Indigenous peoples, and other people of color, in uniquely devastating ways.

This sort of thing used to be called superstition, but we're too sensitive for such blunt talk these days.  The whole corpus of Western civilization, from its art to its faith, to its sciences, is now being called into question by an alien philosophy of nihilism imported from central Europe, which elevates relativism and a bogus egalitarianism above all else. If all cultures are equally good (objectively impossible), then why shouldn't we heed the animal spirits?

WHO, hoo.

What's new today is not connecting primitivism to moral virtue but to take the principle of egalitarianism to the next level, and argue that true egalitarianism means that not only are some people simply more equal than others (Orwell roasted that concept in Animal Farm) but are, in fact, superior. As British historian Tom Holland illustrates so convincingly in his recent book on Christianity, Dominion, much of the atheist Left's credo is derived directly from Christianity ("the last shall be first"); my addition to his refreshingly apolitical argument is that it's now being used as a club against the genuine article.

Those paying attention have long seen this coming: it's the notorious Rule No. 4 of the Marxist agitator Saul Alinksy, mentor to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules." La Rochefoucauld's famous observation that "hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue," becomes clear when viewed in a religious context, since otherwise there would be no need for hypocrisy were it not traveling under the cloak of Christian virtue.

Just as we are seeing with the COVID-19 outbreak, environmental racism forces people of color, especially Black and Indigenous peoples, to bear the brunt of global disaster. We are not only disproportionately affected by the climate crisis—breathing in more pollution, living in communities with higher temperatures, suffering from more medical conditions, experiencing more natural disasters, and being displaced at much higher rates—but we carry the pain of the climate crisis deep inside us.

Since the earth's population is disproportionately "non-white," and most people live in what we used to call Third World countries with the attendant substandard levels of hygiene, waste disposal, and medical technology, this is exactly what one might expect; it's not a plot, it's a result. Now throw in hand-me-down notions of Freudian psychology exported from Vienna to the Outback, you have a concatenation of neo-Marxist resentment:

In its 2014 report, Beyond Storms & Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that the climate crisis was affecting human mental health across the globe. Anyone can experience climate grief, regardless of their identity. But for us, our grief—and our anger—is rooted in centuries of painful history, and the current ecological violence hurled at our communities.

“Just like other stressors that people of color experience, ecological grief is often magnified,” said Dr. Tyffani Dent, a licensed psychologist and author, in an interview. “People of color know…society is going to make sure we’re impacted first, and impacted the hardest,” Dent said.

You can see where this argument is heading: the world would be much better off without the Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels, and electricity, and the medical breakthroughs in the treatment of infectious diseases; in short, the Third World would prefer to live without the ministrations of the Renaissance and its cultural successors in the West, minus Marxism. And thus in savagery, in the sense of "primitivism." So out with the lot of it:

Xiye Bastida, a youth climate activist, a member of the Indigenous Mexican Otomi-Toltec nation, and an organizer of Fridays for Future, says that her climate grief is deeply tied to her Indigenous identity. “For Indigenous people, climate grief comes from when they’re first displaced by fossil fuel companies, by drilling, by fracking infrastructure that makes Indigenous communities be moved from their place of origin, their place that they have a relationship with. (Our) relationship with the land is the first thing that we care about,” Bastida said.

For Black and Indigenous peoples, you could argue that the history of our oppression is the story of the Anthropocene itself—the current geological age defined by the dominant influence that human activity has had on mass extinction, climate, and the environment. Without colonization, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the genocide and oppression of Indigenous peoples around the world, we likely would be living in a different reality.

That's for sure. But the current trend in historical "scholarship" -- as evidence by the absurd "1619 project" of racial grievance and historical revisionism recently published by the New York Times -- is not enlightenment but revenge:

Research has bolstered the idea that white supremacy has led to the climate crisis. Scientists from University College London found that the mass genocide that accompanied the colonization of the Americas in the 15th century permanently altered Earth’s climate, due to “a huge swathe of abandoned agricultural land” that “pulled down enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.”

Ravenous for the mass production of lucrative commodities such as salt, cotton, and sugar, the slavemasters and colonists stripped the land in what’s now known as Canada and the United States, the Caribbean, and South America, murdering countless Africans and Indigenous peoples along the way. Worldwide, the memory of indescribable racial terror informs the climate grief of our people.

Of the brutal savagery of "indigenous peoples" like the Aztecs pre-colonization -- which included human sacrifice and cannibalism -- nothing, of course, is said. And when such peoples got their hands on the conquistadors, the violence was horrific. But that is human nature, as red in tooth and claw as Nature herself.

There's much more to this absurd essay, but it does illustrate just how deeply cultural Marxism has penetrated Western thinking, and how open we are now to prima facie ridiculous notions of our own villainous complicity in a plot that must have started very, very long ago indeed. The history of civilizations indicates that all things must pass, from the Roman Empire, to the Incas of the Americas, to the the Islamic Mughals in India, to the U.S.S.R. All the Third World has to do is wait, and all will be well again.