Two new books, Ten Billion, by Stephen Emmot, and Population: Ten Billion, by Dan Dorley, claim too many people will bring on disaster. They claim humanity will be doomed by the combination of overpopulation, climate change and species loss.... Oddly, this claim has new proponents just as the world’s birth rate has reached an all time low. Births per woman in the poor countries have fallen from 6.2 at the end of World War II to about 2.6 today. The First World is already well below replacement, with birth rates still falling. The UN projections indicate only 6.2 billion people on the planet in 2100!
Prince Charles’s deeply felt positions on energy are likely to be even less comfortable for a suffering U.K. public in the years ahead. America’s NASA announced in 2008 that the Pacific had entered its cool phase, which implies moderately cooler global temperatures until roughly 2030 at least. Queen Elizabeth is highly unlikely to occupy the throne for so long.
Eugene Linden knows exactly nothing about the forces that have killed off every culture prior to our own—most of them for centuries at a time and many of them permanently. With few exceptions, the hundreds of failed cultures collapsed in the “little ice age” phases of the natural 1,500-year Dansgaard-Oeschger climate cycle.
Reuters reports German renewable energy subsidies may cost its consumers an extra $1.34 trillion over the next 20 years (about $6,400 per family)—but won’t provide much dependable power! In the U.S., President Obama has ordered his EPA to cut back electricity, starting with the coal-fired plants and working up to the natural gas from “fracking.”
Society’s real problem is to feed that peak population without destroying the world’s wild fisheries, eroding all its cropland and plowing down most of its wildlife habitat to produce our food in the meantime.
I was delighted to actually see a herd of nearly extinct bison – right in the middle of the oil sands mining project in northern Alberta, which I visited a few weeks ago. Much of this oil is destined for the USA, to reduce imports from dictatorships, and more will come in the Keystone XL Pipeline, if President Obama ever approves it.
A few years ago, Germany was “fully committed” to the EU’s goal of ending fossil fuel use. It was building lots of wind turbines, and even some solar farms despite its often-cloudy skies. After the tsunami, Prime Minister Angela Merckel announced Germany would phase out its nuclear plants quickly, implying more power from renewables.
Stanford University has just published a new study on organic foods—reporting that its physicians and nutritionists found no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious.
The earth has failed to warm at all for 15 years now, and American farmers are afraid of losing the “renewable fuel” mandate for corn ethanol—which has given them record crop prices and incomes since 2007. So, they’re proposing a new entitlement designed to ensure that they’ll never lose money again. Their proposed new federal farm bill would guarantee that farmers’ incomes don’t decline—and if future farm prices rise even more, the Feds’ guarantee would ratchet up too.
CHURCHVILLE, VA—Bjorn Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus have just joined one of the smallest clubs in today’s world: people who believe that high-yield farming is the path to a sustainable future for people and wildlife despite, and even because of, its pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irrigation dams, and blast-freezers. Lomborg, famous for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, summons a quadrennial panel of distinguished economists to examine where the world might invest more effectively to solve solvable problems. In 2004, his panel recommended more investment in fighting HIV/AIDS. In 2008, they suggested more investment in delivering micronutrients to malnourished populations. This year, [...]
Churchville, VA—President Obama stood in the Rose Garden and pledged to prosecute “oil speculators.” Bill O’Reilly goes on TV night after night and blames “speculators” for gas pump prices, while guest after guest tell him he’s wrong. My wife asks” “What’s an oil speculator?” Most of the speculators are common folk who buy futures contracts for oil to be delivered at some later date. The speculators actually have a lot in common with the rest of us who buy and sell stock when the price and product are attractive. If you want to play, go on line and find a futures [...]
Africa is suffering serious drought again—in both the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya) and in West Africa’s Mali. How bad is the drought likely to get? Three years ago, the New York Times reported a study of the lakebed sediments in Ghana’s Lake Bosumtwi. Lead author Tim Shanahan of the University of Texas said Africa gets serious drought every 30 to 65 years—but “changing Atlantic sea-surface temperatures” are capable of triggering “much longer and more severe future droughts.” The Bosumtwi mud revealed a West African megadrought during the Little Ice Age that lasted from 1400 to 1750! The trunks [...]
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control finally confirmed that drinking raw milk is more than twice as dangerous then drinking pasteurized milk. And the raw milk disease outbreaks are more dangerous, especially for kids and the elderly. This is the CDC’s reluctant response to a craze among the alternate believers for “all natural.” CDC made the announcement after a 13-year review!
Researchers may have broken the biofuel barrier. A new biotech discovery enables ethanol to be made from a common variety of brown seaweed. This would by-pass the biggest problem with corn ethanol and biodiesel—the world’s shortage of cropland. The new ethanol process uses the familiar E. coli bacterium working on kombu, a variety of edible brown kelp, which is common in the world’s seas and oceans. It has been grown and harvested commercially by such countries as China, Japan, and Korea for hundreds of years. If you like sushi, it is the brown wrapping on your favorites. The new process can turn [...]
The carbon footprint of shale gas is about one-third as high as if coal were burned to produce electricity, says a team of researchers who were obviously offended by the rush-to-block-any-new-fuel “study” of Cornell University’s Robert Howarth. Howarth’s recent widely circulated, paper in Climatic Change claims shale gas is perhaps twice as bad for the environment as burning coal. Dr. Lawrence Cathless III, also of Cornell, sees shale gas as a bonanza for the whole world. He and his team reject the Howarth contention that huge amounts of shale gas will leak during well completion and gas delivery. “For a high volume shale [...]