“The 2015 Infrastructure Act introduced a legal duty to “maximise the economic recovery” of petroleum in the UK. If drilling companies fail to maximise their extraction of fossil fuel from an oilfield, they will be forced to surrender their licence to operate. In other words, while the government observes a legal minimum (the CCC’s target) for reducing greenhouse gases, it observes a legal maximum for increasing them.” – from a piece by Geoge Monbiot, 29 Jan., arguing against the absurdities of environmental quotas.
Approached for comment, Granny Weatherwax awakens with a start from her afternoon nap, the copy of Take a Break! falls from her lap, and she adds: “Does anyone seriously imagine record levels of carbon dioxide are not impairing the cognitive functions of those in whom we place our trust?”
If the authorities let the plane leave the runway (what happened to the good old days when the Captain, played by Sir John Mills, would cheerfully have stuck two British fingers up at the faffing local police, set his cap and decisively pushed the throttle forward, eh?), Britons returning from coronavirus-hit Wuhan will be placed in quarantine for 14 days.
“Officials are considering taking passengers to a military base once they arrive home, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.” (Guardian)
If I were you, mateys, I’d stay in China, you’ll be safer there.
Less chance of a suicide verdict.
Poor Aussies! You’ve got to feel sorry for them.
After a couple of nightmare months assailed by brutal heat, howling gales, huge dust storms you normally only see on Mars, floods, raging wildfires, rains of ash, poisoned rivers – choked in smoke and battered by hailstones, Open favorite Ashleigh Barty knocked out in the Semis – comes the Wuhan Fish ‘Flu virus, and the ultimate irony for possibly hundreds of being told that if they try to flee back from China now they will be exiled for days in quarantine on Christmas Island, 1,600 miles off the coast.
Still, they’ll be company for the one refugee family still stuck there after years while their case drags through the courts.
Meanwhile, a Chinese tourist who reported feeling unwell aboard the bloody ginormous cruise ship, Costa Crociere led to 6 thousand passengers being detained off the Italian coast at Civitavecchia while all of them were checked for the virus.
The Chinese passenger checked out negative.
A teenager severely disabled with cerebral palsy has died after his entire family were taken away and put into quarantine. The village authority in Hubei province gave him food at first but were too busy to go back for 6 days.
66% of screening tests at stations, ports and airports are failing to detect people incubating the virus, according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
161 people with suspected Wuhan virus have been tested in the UK, all turned out negative. A case has shown positive in Italy.
Let it rip: I must ask this. Should we not let this disease out into the global population and concentrate on curing patients, rather than trying with increasing futility to contain the virus in one terrified Chinese province? At between 2% and 3% the death rate is acceptably low, barely more than background; symptoms for the vast majority are no less manageable than any other ‘flu or cold virus, and once it spreads far enough the population will develop natural immunity, making any mutation less, rather than more lethal in the future?
(Ed. Note: it’s reckoned that over a million people die every week around the world, from all the usual causes.)
Update: 30 Jan., 7,700 cases. 170 dead – 162 in Wuhan.
Update update: 31 Jan., 01.00 hrs, 9,300 cases, 98 outside China. 212 dead.
Further update: 31 Jan. morning news, first 2 cases confirmed in Britain. Location secret. (Newcastle)
Updatiest: 01 Feb., 01.00 hrs: 11,000 cases, 258 dead. US bars entry to arrivals from China, despite having 15 million ‘flu cases of its own.
A BBC News website info page on the coronavirus as based on analysis of 99 cases shows:
“Most of the 99 patients were middle-aged, with an average age of 56 – and 67 of them were men.”
Yes ladies, man-flu! And you never believed us.
“About the Author
“Edward Russo is committed to preserving and protecting the environment. He acted as an environmental consultant for Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization for fifteen years.
“Edward is on the board of directors for Reef Relief (reefrelief.org) and the Florida Keys Community College Foundation (FKCC.org). He is president of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition (FKEC.org). Edward serves on the Monroe County Climate Change Advisory Committee (monroecounty-fl.gov).
“Edward is the former president of the Township Council of Chester Township, New Jersey, and a member of Chester’s Environmental Commission and Board of Health. He founded the organization Help Avoid a Landfill Tragedy (HALT) in Morris County, New Jersey. He served as the chairman of the planning board for Bedminster Township, New Jersey, and acted as cochairman of the town’s environmental commission.”
– Amazon books intro.
Edward drinks his milk at night. Edward loves his mom, and sometimes his sister too. Clever Edward has written an e-book. It’s about his green friend, the Orange President.
It’s titled ‘Donald Trump; an environmental hero’, and it basically argues that landscaping golf courses is, like, tidying up all that messy countryside. It’s even got a two-and-a-half star review on Amazon.
I don’t suppose ‘You have to be kidding, or crazy, or maybe you have a tremendous gift for irony’ counts as a review?
Abrogating America’s commitment to the now redundant Paris Accord while revoking, to date, 95 federal ordinances providing statutory controls on air and water quality, consumer and wildlife protections, greenhouse gas emissions, waste disposal and product standards on grounds that they cost the extractive and manufacturing industries (and any other entities that have paid their million bucks entry fee to his Inaugural Fund) too much money to comply with doesn’t seem to this reviewer like the actions of an “environmental hero”.
Rather, it looks like a frenzied assault on an unwelcoming America by a Marvel Comics villain. Donald Trump clearly resents and despises the country; hoping his legacy will be a shithole, awash with toxic waste and the corpses of benefit scroungers, brown folks, insolent TV satirists, baby grizzlies, women, Democrats and other immigrants, Greta Thunberg, and anyone who can’t afford to move to Mars.
Gizmodo reported, 9 Jan.:
“On Thursday, Trump announced revisions to one of the most consequential environmental laws in U.S. history known as the National Environmental Policy Act. The changes would essentially gut parts of the act, making it so regulators can’t consider the climate impacts of oil, gas, and other harmful projects and ensuring some projects are exempt from environmental review altogether.”
The one “landfill tragedy” this author won’t regret is when they bury fucking Trump, preferably in a biodegradable bin-bag, next to Edward the Environmental Adviser (clue: it’s got the word ‘mental’ in it….).
His rotting corpse, stuffed with cheeseburgers, embalmed in Diet Coke, will go on emitting methane for centuries.
Sadly, we won’t be here for that.
And Sleepy Joe, the Seniors’ delight
Lest we imagined the Democratic hopefuls have anything more enlightened to say on the subject, Gizmodo also reports:
“Over 55 scientists have signed an open letter rebuking Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that the climate plan rival contender Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders supports, the Green New Deal, isn’t supported by anyone in the scientific field.”
Climate change may be about to undo all Trump’s environmentally sound plans to keep migrants out of the USA. A 30-ft high section of his border “wall” in California running between Calexico and Mexicali (r u sure about those names? They sound like brands of canned beans. Ed.) was blown over in exceptionally high winds, 30 Jan.
Honey, did the markets move for you?
“…When volume goes from 1,000 every 10 minutes and jumps to as high as almost 17,000 in 10 minutes, something is going on.”
That Something, according to Andrew Harnik, business reporter for The Hive, Vanity Fair magazine’s newsletter, was in a few minutes to net traders on the Chicago stock exchange a cool $190 million in profits.
Barely 90 minutes before the Pentagon announced that the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani had been taken out in a drone strike on his convoy as it left the airport at Baghdad, the volume of trades in what are known as ‘March 2020 E-mini futures contracts’ suddenly ramped up like a startled gerbil, as if traders had been expecting a development and couldn’t wait to sell.
If I knew the first thing about the esoterica of markets I would comment wisely on this. But I don’t think a fumbling attempt to explain how you can make money when stocks fall off a cliff, or what an E-mini futures contract is, really matters.
Just think: a) bored men with money to burn, and b) two flies on a window pane.
What I gather from the article is that for many months the dedicated Mr Harnik among other financial journalists has been following the twists and turns of trading patterns in the market and their links to policy announcements emanating from this White House. Despite many hot-faced denials from many quarters, he seems pretty convinced that Something has been going on.
We have learned, for instance, that over the Christmas holiday Mr Trump was wandering the halls of Xanadu – Mar-a-Lago, of course – chuckling maniacally and braying to all and sundry, heedless of their total lack of security clearances, that he was going to do something really beastly to Iran when he got back to the office.
Trump is a security nightmare. He still refuses to have his personal iPhones swept for bugs, uses open communication channels and declared three years ago that he was the president so he could tell the Russians whatever secrets he liked; a statement that resulted in at least one highly placed CIA agent having to be clandestinely extracted from that estimable country; while the Mossad, Israel’s terrifyingly persuasive intelligence service, had to abandon an operation against the Islamic State and refused for months to speak to the CIA.
Nevertheless, he is currently protesting loudly that his canned former national security advisor, John Bolton’s forthcoming memoir, ominously titled “The Room Where It Happened”, contains Top Secret information and must not be published. As it’s not due out until next month, from my experience as a production editor it seems unlikely that anyone outside Simon & Schuster has actually read it, but the talk is of the bit where Bolton, in a sweet act of revenge, confirms that Trump actually told him “several times” that he was witholding the $391 million in aid to Ukraine precisely to push his fellow TV B-lister into announcing an investigation into the Bidens.
Be that as it may, the financial sleuths noticed that stocks in the big defense contractors like Raytheon, General Dynamics and Boeing had also spiked on January 2nd, hours before all hell broke loose over the Iran-Iraq border and we nearly ended up in World War Three (actually that’s been going on for years. we’re about up to WW9 by now. Oh, Trump says six. Okay, you’re the boss.).
Harnik quotes several fellow hacks and financial PROs of his acquaintance around the world suggesting archly that a few people might qualify for jail time over the affair, should the Securities and Exchange Commission ever be sufficiently uncorrupted to look into it. Insider trading is illegal, after all, and two Republican congressmen were recently convicted of it; while Trump’s spawn, Moron Jr, the Little Nazi and Ivanka are reportedly under investigation for market manipulation on their own account.
As you may kno’, The Pumpkin is full of conspiracy theories. A good bet has been that Trump insiders have been able to count for some time on the easily manipulated child-man to make the right noises in public about policy shifts, that will move markets in favorable directions for players to cash in. It’s just too sweet an opportunity to pass up, once you realize that owning your own president means the world will throw money at you whenever he, er, tweets.
How are Huawei shares doing, I wonder? Can anything now be believed?
GW: come into the kitchen and dry yourself off
Chile: government declares a state of emergency after days of heavy rain in Atacama – you know, the one place on earth Wikipedia tells you it never rains. 16mm in one day is slightly more than the average annual total. 1 person is thought to have died in floods and mudslides, although several missing have been located safe. (Floodlist)
Malaysia: over 200 people were evacuated to temporary flood relief centers after 0.8m deep floods hit Johor and parts of the peninsula, Jan 29. !n Indonesia, 6 people are dead, 3 missing and 22 injured after flooding broke bridges in North Sumatra. “Sibolga City, around 50km south of Barus, recorded 315mm (1 ft) of rain in 24 hours to 29 January. (Floodlist) More heavy rain is forecast.
East Africa: “Flooding in western Kenya has displaced hundreds of people and paralysed transport in Turkana after a period of heavy rain that began around 26 January, 2020. Homes and crops have been damaged and a bridge over the Oyombe river destroyed.” … 200km away, “Flood waters from the overflowing Talek river have left tourist areas of the Maasai Mara National Reserve isolated.” (Floodlist)
Europe: Severe-weather.eu continues its polar vortex theme – models are showing development of two huge blobs of weather, one exceptionally warm, the other exceptionally cold, dancing around one another over the next week, bringing starkly contrasting conditions to northern and central-southern Europe as far down as the Med. The cold stuff may extend as far as North Africa while the hot air wheels up across Greenland into the high Arctic. The vortex is located right over the British Isles.
Antarctica: the huge Thwaites glacier has been in the news recently as it’s been discovered it’s sitting on a pool of warm water and being rapidly hollowed-out from the underside. Fully melted, on its own it would result in 3.5 meters of global sea-level rise.
Turkey: Over 90 per cent of 11m saplings triumphally planted in a government tree-planting program personally endorsed by President Erdogan to re-green the countryside and meet carbon reduction targets have probably died from lack of water and being inexpertly planted at the wrong time of year, according to the agriculture and forestry workers’ union, who weren’t consulted, obviously.
Africa: According to the UN, more than 500,000 people – a quarter of Lesotho’s population – face severe hunger due to droughts that caused a 60% fall in cereal production last year, compared with 2018.
(All from Guardian)
The weather, a brief rumination
“…the matter-of-factness of being rescued in canoes.”
Past BogPo Posts wot people have been brunching on overnight are listed on the Dashboard stats section here in rainy Boglington. Sometimes I don’t recognise the titles and pop back in time just to remind myself of what idiocies I was maundering on about with much fruity swearing, back in the old days. My, but I was a much better writer then.
Anyway, this morning, one called There Must be a Reason cropped up, dating from about this time, February last year. Riffling through Granny Weatherwax’s meticulously researched backpage column listing extreme weather events from around the world, most of them in wearisomely familiar places – did they really have 5 feet of snow in Washington state that week? Like, wow! – it occurred to me that there’s a missing dimension to our reporting.
Week after week there have been reports on the various weather sites of major flooding in this or that country; of record snowfalls and heatwaves in a warming world. The same names crop up all the time: Peru seems to be in a permanent underwater state, parts of the Indonesian archipelago, east Africa – as is the American midwest, where there was a peculiar anomaly that week, a 90 degrees heatwave in one state, feet of snow in just the next.
According to the reports we turn up regularly on sites like Accuweather in the US, severe-weather.eu – part of the Copernicus satellite program – or the UN-sponsored Floodlist site, people are dying in droves. We go to lengths to list the numbers, evacuees too, hectares of crops lost, but you never get any sense of how the others, the ones who haven’t died, are coping – if they even notice any difference to their normal routine!
You rarely encounter any coverage in any other section of the media from people actually living in those areas where rainfall and its frozen counterparts, snow and hail, seem to be increasing disastrously. No-one Commenting in news threads from their Mom’s sofa seems to have noticed anything amiss outside the window, other than whatever doings of the left or the right they happen to be railing about.
Foreign correspondents don’t seem to take any interest in the weather in war zones, either. Life appears to go on as normal. When hundreds of thousands of people are marching in protest at something or other, being gunned down for their pains by the police – in Iran, for instance, where parts of the country this winter have been extensively flooded, again, and across the border into southern Iraq, in the flooded deserts of Yemen and Saudi Barbaria, even in dusty old Israel; when, yet again, Spain is battered by horrendous storms or roasting and on fire, the oddness of the weather in the background has held no special interest for editors.
Are these events even real?
Seldom if ever do we read news features on how ordinary people in low-lying Houston, Texas are coping with their three severe flooding episodes a year – only when Hurricane Harvey dumped a spectacular 5 feet of water on them in 72 hours did we take any notice of their everyday lives, the matter-of-factness of being rescued in canoes.
Is there, in fact, any real sense of disruption, any real awareness of the looming crisis we are told by Extinction Rebellion and others – not to mention The BogPo’s own alarmist GW column – that we are facing now? Are people really suffering, or are they just going about their daily lives with a shrug and a hey-de-ho, as the cars wash by, spinning in the tide?
Gazing out of the window here in Boglington-on-Sea, the rain spaffing down outside, I wondered if anyone, somewhere on the other side of the world, might be bogling about us, here, as I am about them; and wondering in turn what I’m on about?
Because my impression is, it’s hardly stopped raining here since the beginning of October. As measured in the little pots and tubs carelessly left out in the garden, there’ve been many days when we’ve been getting far more rain than the few paltry millimeters we report have been causing devastating “floods and landslides” in some faroff country. My largest bucket, empty after last summer, has held more than a foot of water and has been overflowing for weeks.
Yet it’s all perfectly normal. Tedious, inconvenient, but normal. it’s just rain. We’ll live. This is Britain! And besides, it mostly seems to rain at night.
Is there really a global crisis? We hear terrible things from SE Australia this winter – or summer as it is there. Last year, and the year before that, it sounds terrifying: reports of 49 degrees heat, floods and raging fires and violent storms; of approaching species extinctions and economic collapse.
My friend, Harry’s granddaughter emigrated to Melbourne just last year to take up a spectacularly well-paid job – one of several she’d been offered. I asked him with some trepidation the other day how she was coping with the apocalyptic fires and smoke, the hail and duststorms and the funnel-web spider plague we’ve all been hearing about.
Oh, he said, she’s loving it out there.
John Crace, The Guardian, 30 Jan.:
“…one journalist did ask whether the two men would consider swapping Prince Andrew for Anne Sacoolas.”
Uncle Bogler, The BogPo, edited 27 Jan.:
“Prince Andrew has provided “zero” cooperation with the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking inquiry, US prosecutors said on Monday, despite earlier promises to help investigations in any way possible. Could we perhaps arrange a swap with Anne Sacoolas, the American service wife wanted for further questioning over the death in the UK of teenage motorcyclist, Harry Dunn, by careless driving? She too is being extremely unco-operative.”