Dutch Cabinet Postpones New Climate Measures because of Virus

Guest opinion by Wim Röst

Introduction

The Dutch government has been in the forefront for ‘Climate Action’. But a remarkable switch in policy has been caused by the economic reality resulting from ‘the virus’.

Postponement of new climate measures

Autumn 2019 the Dutch Parliament asked the Dutch government to take extra climate measures. But in an announcement last Friday the Government stated that no new measures will be taken to diminish CO2 emissions because of the corona virus crisis.

“Many people now have other things to do. So do we.” said minister Wiebes from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

This fundamental switch by the Dutch government is quite logical given the recent developments in the economy caused by the corona virus. A real crises asks all energy and money to be directed to other goals than the virtual goal of ‘trying to avoid a possible danger for the year 2100’. Even the internationally well known ‘Urgenda Court Ruling’ does not have any priority. In the words of the Minister: “The court ruling is not off the table, but there are other priorities”.

Urgenda

According to the Urgenda Court Ruling the Dutch government is obliged to do more to achieve the present emission goals. This year many more measures should be taken to reach those goals. Economic reality however puts the climate goals aside. One of the groups that is putting pressure on governments to do so is Clintel which stands for ‘Climate Intelligence’.

Clintel’s letter to World Leaders

Last week a letter co-signed by Professor Richard Lindzen, by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (and many others) asked world leaders to let the actual virus and economic crisis prevail over climate goals. In the words of Prof. Guus Berkhout, president of Clintel:

“Your Excellencies, compared to COVID-19 climate change is a non-problem! It is based on computer models and looks into the far future. In current health emergency, however, your attention to the peoples’ needs is today! Please, don’t continue pushing your zero carbon emission ambition in a time that the world is dealing with a deadly global crisis. Yes, there is an emergency, but it is NOT the climate.”

A translation of the open letter is available in many languages.

Conclusion

The decision of the Dutch government to postpone new climate measures signals a fundamental change in priorities by a country that has been one of the most committed to achieving climate goals.

Economic reality will urge many governments to follow.

With regards to commenting: please adhere to the rules known for this site: quote and react, not personal.


About the author: Wim Röst studied human geography in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The above is his personal view. He is not connected to firms or foundations nor is he funded by government(s).

Polar Push and Pull

Guest post by Renee Hannon


Introduction
This post examines regional temperature reconstructions during the past several thousand years relative to different baselines and the responses of end member deviants, the Arctic and Antarctic polar extremes. And it’s a quite interesting tug of war.

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Steve Milloy wins against Exxon with SEC

By Andy May

h/t Willie Soon

Steve Milloy is the publisher of junkscience.com and trained as a lawyer and biostatistician. He was “lauded” as one of the top ten “climate deniers” by George Monbiot at the Guardian. Milloy has filed a shareholder proposal with Exxon-Mobil insisting that they account for their “greenwashing” activities that are not required by law. He defines greenwashing as expenditures that are supposed to be environment-related but are actually undertaken to improve the company’s public image. These insincere green activities waste shareholder money, deceive shareholders and the public.

Exxon Mobil submitted a request to the SEC to exclude Milloy’s proposal from the shareholder meeting, scheduled for May 27, 2020. The SEC ruled in Milloy’s favor as you can see in Figure 1.

Figure 1. SEC summary of their decision, they turned down Exxon Mobil’s request to exclude Milloy’s proposal. Source: SEC.

Exxon-Mobil management has long been divided on the risks of climate change, as I have written here. But, the risks of human-caused climate change have been investigated by thousands of researchers, worldwide, since 1979 and they have uncovered nothing significant. The only solid impacts of human-caused global warming or climate change uncovered are positive, as seen here.

Greenwashing by Exxon-Mobil, sends the wrong signal to the public and the environmentalists. They use it as a club to beat the fossil fuel industry, saying “See climate denier, even the largest private fossil-fuel producer agrees with us!” As a long-time Exxon-Mobil shareholder and a past Exxon employee, I will vote with Milloy and against Exxon-Mobil in May. Exxon-Mobil should stand up for itself and what is right.

#exxon-mobil, #steve-milloy

How much human-caused global warming should we expect?

By Andy May

OMG! The world is going to end, and we caused it. This story, in one form or another, goes back to biblical times. According to Genesis (6:9 to 9:17) God decided that humans had sinned too much and must be punished, so he called up a great flood to destroy the world. A similar story also appears in the earlier Epic of Gilgamesh. End of the world predictions are very popular and recur regularly in human history.

More recently, prognosticators have predicted climate change disasters that are due to human actions (sins?). During the Little Ice Age (see Figure 3 in the link), the European public blamed the cold weather on witches and Jews, over 50,000 “witches” and tens of thousands of Jews were killed because they supposedly caused the cold weather and glacial advances. Thus, the idea that humans somehow control climate change is very old. We have no more proof that this is the case today than people had in 800AD, which is about when Archbishop Agobard of Lyons, France said:

“In these parts nearly everyone – nobles and common folk, town and country, young and old – believe that human beings can bring about hail and thunder … We have seen and heard how most people are gripped by such nonsense, indeed possessed by such stupidity…” (Behringer 2010, p. 69)

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#2-degree-limit

The Virus: Helicopter Money Needed

Guest opinion by Wim Röst

Abstract

A virus dies out if it cannot spread to ‘fresh people’ for two or three weeks. All infected people should be contained at the beginning of an epidemic. ‘Helicopter money’ is proposed to prevent the further spread of the virus and to boost parts of the economy. It should be provided broadly to all individuals in affected areas and to essential parts of the economy needed to respond effectively to an unknown situation. Unusual times require unusual but effective measures.

Introduction

After an internationally relatively ‘quiet’ period ‘the virus’ is spreading explosively over larger areas, even worldwide. Because the virus spreads by physical contact all people should be isolated as much as possible which lays a heavy burden on the economy. National and international economies are affected but also millions of ‘personal economies’. People need to earn money and that is why they continue with physical contacts and spread the virus.

Original measures are needed to stop the spiral.

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Wash your Trash! Is recycling working?

By Andy May

The recycling movement started in the 1970s and it has been very popular in Western countries. Participation varies with location, but in our small community of The Woodlands, Texas, over 90% participate in our curbside recycling program. However, the value of recycled materials has fallen dramatically in recent years because far too much unrecyclable material is put in the bins by the public and much of what is recyclable is contaminated with water, food, or other contaminates that make the “good” stuff unusable. Waste disposal companies often charge “contamination fees.” In addition to the contamination problem, the value of recyclables is going down and cost to process them into a usable form is going up. Processing, that is cleaning and sorting a load of recyclable material, has gone from earning a community $25/ton to costing the community $70/ton or more in many areas. In 2015 recycling was a revenue generator for Houston and other cities in the area. Bellaire, for example, generated $12,000 in 2015 from curbside recycling, but in 2017, they lost over $80,000 for the same program.

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#recycling

Climate Change is not a problem: Unless we make it one.

Guest Post by Martin Capages Jr. PhD PE

INTRODUCTION

As long as humans have been on Earth, they have been adapting to changes in regional climates. A regional climate is the average of the weather for a relatively long period of time, usually 30+ years, at a particular location on the planet. The natural periodicity of prolonged regional weather variations has been documented in various ways by humans for eons. For a comparison of human civilization in the northern hemisphere to Greenland ice core temperatures for the last 18,000 years see here. Some of the means of documenting changes in long term weather patterns, i.e. climate change, include crude prehistoric cave drawings of the animals and plants, paintings of frozen rivers (see Figure 1 of ice skating on the River Thames in 1684), and archaeological digs. There are also written records of climatic conditions as early as 5,000 years ago, perhaps even earlier. Ice, subsea, peat and lake bed cores are also used, for a more detailed discussion of the methods used see here and the links therein.

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#climate-change