Immunity by Easter?

Could it be that doors and societies will open and life be reborn as early as Easter 2021?  That depends upon lockdown politicians and scientists who advise them.  One such is Dr. Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, chief medical adviser to Sesame Care, and author of “The Price We Pay.”.  His article at Wall Street Journal is We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Covid cases have dropped 77% in six weeks. Experts should level with the public about the good news.

Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing.

Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.

Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.

There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.

Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity. Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop “memory” once they are activated by the virus. Survivors of the 1918 Spanish flu were found in 2008—90 years later—to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells.

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. would also suggest much broader immunity than recognized. About 1 in 600 Americans has died of Covid-19, which translates to a population fatality rate of about 0.15%. The Covid-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23%. These numbers indicate that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has had the infection.

In my own conversations with medical experts, I have noticed that they too often dismiss natural immunity, arguing that we don’t have data. The data certainly doesn’t fit the classic randomized-controlled-trial model of the old-guard medical establishment. There’s no control group. But the observational data is compelling.

I have argued for months that we could save more American lives if those with prior Covid-19 infection forgo vaccines until all vulnerable seniors get their first dose. Several studies demonstrate that natural immunity should protect those who had Covid-19 until more vaccines are available. Half my friends in the medical community told me: Good idea. The other half said there isn’t enough data on natural immunity, despite the fact that reinfections have occurred in less than 1% of people—and when they do occur, the cases are mild.

But the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.

My prediction that Covid-19 will be mostly gone by April is based on laboratory data, mathematical data, published literature and conversations with experts. But it’s also based on direct observation of how hard testing has been to get, especially for the poor. If you live in a wealthy community where worried people are vigilant about getting tested, you might think that most infections are captured by testing. But if you have seen the many barriers to testing for low-income Americans, you might think that very few infections have been captured at testing centers. Keep in mind that most infections are asymptomatic, which still triggers natural immunity.

Many experts, along with politicians and journalists, are afraid to talk about herd immunity. The term has political overtones because some suggested the U.S. simply let Covid rip to achieve herd immunity. That was a reckless idea. But herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination. When the chain of virus transmission has been broken in multiple places, it’s harder for it to spread—and that includes the new strains.

Herd immunity has been well-documented in the Brazilian city of Manaus, where researchers in the Lancet reported the prevalence of prior Covid-19 infection to be 76%, resulting in a significant slowing of the infection. Doctors are watching a new strain that threatens to evade prior immunity. But countries where new variants have emerged, such as the U.K., South Africa and Brazil, are also seeing significant declines in daily new cases. The risk of new variants mutating around the prior vaccinated or natural immunity should be a reminder that Covid-19 will persist for decades after the pandemic is over. It should also instill a sense of urgency to develop, authorize and administer a vaccine targeted to new variants.

Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.

Don’t Fence Me In!

Why Team Left Cheats More than Team Right

One of the few pleasures remaining during pandemania involves sports competitions where rules are followed and enforced by unbiased officials, so that teams or individuals win or lose based solely on the merit of their performances.  Elsewhere with identity politics and political correctness, it is a different story.  People on the right perceive accurately that their opponents on the left are not bound by the rules, and break them readily in order to win.

Brent E. Hamachek explains in his blog post Why They Cheat-a look at the behavioral differences between Team Right and Team Left.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

America is divided into two political teams; Team Right and Team Left. As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris assume office, many Team Right members are still trying to come to terms with the results of the 2020 election. They feel certain that Team Left cheated in a variety of ways in order to produce enough votes to secure victory.

Setting aside the MSM’s agreed-upon talking points of “baseless accusations” of election fraud and their “despite there being no evidence to support such claims” mantra, we now know that there was significant evidence of election tampering. That is actually a “fact” about which I’ve previously written. It is also, at this point, irrelevant. Joe Biden is in office. Focusing on 2020 election cheating is fine for investigators in various states if they so choose (there will be no federal investigation), but it is not helpful for ordinary citizens who would like to reverse trends.

The more helpful issue to explore in order to make a difference going forward is in answering this question: Why do Team Left members seem to be more willing to cheat than do Team Right members?

This is a question, I believe, that we can answer without needing any sort of physical proof. We can prove it solely through the use of our reason and with a clear understanding of the ethical structure, and attendant influences on behavior, of modern-day Team Left members (many of whom were election officials and vote counters).

When the typical person says they are “ethical,” they really mean that in their mind the things they do are the right things to do. This suggests a sort of self-legislating capability on the part of each person to know right from wrong. An idea like this can be found in the work of famous philosophers ranging from Immanuel Kant, to Karl Marx, to many others. They argue that each person is capable of such self-legislating and engage in the process constantly.

Very few people realize that there are actual ethical systems that have been “constructed” to help direct us on the path to making consistent and appropriate decisions as to how to act and behave in any given situation. We have the above-referenced Kant’s categorical imperative (if what I’m thinking of doing now were a rule that everyone had to follow, would it be workable for society?). We have Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism (pure cost-benefit analysis) or John Stuart Mill’s more refined and kinder version, which calls for for cost-benefit analysis with an allowance for the subjective nature of “higher” human values.

There are a number of ways to view the development and deployment of moral and ethical behavior, but the typical person knows little, if any, of this. Yet they will tell you that they are ethical, and others are not. By what standard? How do they know? This logical dilemma, by the way, exists in people whether they were supporters of Donald Trump or Joe Biden; whether they are members of Team Right or Team Left. There is absolutely no difference in that respect. There is a difference we will get to eventually, but it does not involve ethics.

Hobbes was right!

It is my opinion, based upon many years of studying political philosophy, working in a large corporate environment, working with and running privately owned businesses, and doing political advising and writing, that the greatest of all the political philosophers, the one who got the most important thing right, was Englishman Thomas Hobbes. Born in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada, it is said that his mother went into premature labor upon seeing the ships off the English coast, thereby birthing poor Thomas out of fear.

Hobbes spent the rest of his life focusing on the fearful nature of humans, among other things.

He is the father of social contract theory, which describes man’s compact to enter into civil society as a way to control his more primitive impulses. He is famous for his line about man’s life in the state of nature, before the social contract, which he describes as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes suggested that, owing to their nature, men are unable to be left to govern themselves without stern direction. His diagnosis of us as people? Fearful and self-destructive. His prescription? A strong sovereign.

Hobbes is also the father of the idea of moral relativism. His contention is that, for the typical human, their calculation of whether or not something is “right or wrong” is nothing more than a reduction to looking at things that please them and things that offend them. They maximize the one and avoid the other. In that process, they create their own morality, or set of ethics, that is based solely upon their own desires and aversions.

My own fifty-eight years of study and empirical observations have led me to conclude that this theory of human behavior and ethical development most accurately describes the greatest number of people Assuming a human population existing under a bell curve, Hobbes’s ethical construct describes the greatest number of people gathered around the mean.

At this point you might think I’m suggesting that Biden supporters, Team Left members, are moral relativists and Trump supporters, Team Right members, are not. That somehow I believe we are inherently better creatures than are they. You’d be wrong. I am not. I believe that most people are moral relativists in general, and even that people who attempt to operate under a more disciplined structure of ethics, including the Christian ethic, can become moral relativists at the very moment that they find themselves placed most at risk.

Survival is in our nature. When it is in jeopardy, even the most truly righteous can attempt to hedge their ethical bets.

Since I am concluding that there is no fundamental difference in ethics between the typical Trump or the typical Biden supporter, why go through all the trouble to share this background on ethics? After all, the purpose is to demonstrate how we can prove that Team Left members are more likely to cheat. I walked through the ethical piece because people typically consider cheating to be “unethical.” Yet it happens, and it happens more by their team than by ours.

To understand why, I believe we need to look beyond ethics and consider Tom Hanks, World War II, and the ancient Stoics.

Duty as a differentiator

Love or hate his personal life and politics, Tom Hanks makes spectacular movies and is especially good in war roles. A few months back, I had a chance to watch him in the Apple Television release of Greyhound. It is a story based on the U.S. Navy convoys that brought supplies and armaments across the Atlantic during World War II. It is not a long film, but it is nonstop action packed. For ninety minutes, there is nothing but German U-boat peril. American sailors show incredible courage, some losing their lives, others saving lives, up against challenging odds.
What happens to make men so courageous in one moment and so devoid of any kind of ethical or moral compass in the next? I think the answer lies in the notion of duty. Those men on the ship with Tom Hanks in that movie were driven in those moments by a higher calling. They had a sense of duty. Some, when they returned home, for whatever reason might have lost their way; found themselves left with no higher calling. Absent duty, they were left with only their own personal moral and ethical framework in which to operate. Given moral relativism, they became able to justify almost any behavior.

This notion of duty is a very Stoic concept. Stoicism, which dates back to Ancient Greece, emphasizes duty and the importance of virtue. There were four attributes of virtue: wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. Doing one’s duty was central to the Stoics. Duty manifested itself in more than just following orders; it meant adhering to the four key elements of virtue and to keeping in sync with all of nature.

One does not have to buy into all of Stoic philosophy to grasp the importance of duty. It is with duty that we can begin to answer our question: How can we know that Team Left members will cheat?

The answer lies in the absence of a sense of duty to something outside themselves. The typical contemporary Team Left member does not have any external force that commands him or her to “behave better.”

Again, operating under the bell curve, the mainstream Trump supporter tries to follow either the voice of God, the call of patriotism, or both. Both are external to themselves. Both set standards for behavior that transcend their own personal calculations of convenience. Both provide fairly clear direction, either through Scripture or the Constitution. Both rest like weights upon their shoulders, burdening them with a non-ignorable sense of obligation.

It doesn’t mean they won’t fail. It doesn’t mean they will not behave badly. It simply means they have a better chance of making a better choice than does a person who is not encumbered by any sense of duty other than to themselves. Duty is typically viewed as a call to act. It can just as easily be seen as the antithesis to action, which means it can inhibit. I must because it’s my duty. I must not because it betrays my duty.

Common responses I have received from Team Left members over the years when I ask them about feeling a sense of duty include:

• I have a duty to those around me.

• I have a duty to those less fortunate than myself.

• I have a duty to humanity.

The shared characteristic of each of those “duties” is that although they sound as if they reside “outside” the individual, they are wholly subjective with regard to their definition. Each individual person gets to define their “duty to others” however they see fit. There is no separate standard. For those focused on a Christian duty, there is the reasonable clarity of the Bible. For those who pledge allegiance to the United States of America, there is our Constitution bolstered by the original Declaration of Independence.

For those, however, who say that they simply have a duty to help “others,” the others can be whomever they so choose, and need whatever kind of help it is the helper decides they should provide.

Machiavelli provides the final element

To succinctly summarize my thoughts to this point, it is my personal belief that the members of Team Right are not inherently any more ethical than are their counterparts on Team Left. When it comes right down to it, individual to individual, most people are basic moral relativists as identified and defined by Hobbes, and given no other considerations, most people conduct themselves under an ethical code that is simply one of convenience.

The difference between the two is that those who answer to a calling of duty that is outside themselves and more objective than subjective in nature can have their individual passions held in check. It gives their better angels a chance to be heard and followed.

Machiavelli’s statement about ends and means explains why the modern-day Team Left member, almost always a Democrat, is so willing to cheat. Existing as a typical moral relativist where little to nothing is malum in se, and being for the most part unconstrained by a sense of duty other than that which they conveniently self-define, any sort of activity is permissible so long as they end up getting what they want. They give cover to this behavior by saying their actions are necessary to “help others.” As has been shown, that statement can mean whatever they want it to mean.

By our nature as humans, we are flawed and sinful creatures. That goes for Trump supporters as well as those who lined up behind Joe Biden. The difference is that for those of us who truly have a good old-fashioned love for God, country, or both, we have a voice outside ourselves warning us to control our nature. It asks us to heed a higher calling. It limits us in a way that is beneficial to maintaining an ordered, predictable, and just society.

Those who operate without that sense of duty are left to do whatever their free will wishes, unbound by any real constraints. They can justify their actions through the simple pleasure they feel or the pain they avoid. Their ends always can justify their means.  That is why they cheat. That is how we can use our reason to know they cheat.

Postscript:  Dennis Prager sees the left/right distinction in terms of focus on politics vs. persons.

That’s a major difference between the right and the left, concerning the way each seeks to improve society. Conservatives believe that the way to a better society is almost always through the moral improvement of the individual by each person doing battle with his or her own weaknesses, and flaws. It is true that in violent and evil society such as fascist Communist or Islam is tyrannies, the individual must be preoccupied with battling outside forces. Almost everywhere else, though, certainly in a free and decent country such as America, the greatest Battle of the individual must be with inner forces, that is with his or her moral failings.

The left on the other hand, believes that the way to a better society is almost always through doing battle with society’s moral failings. Thus, in America, the left concentrates its efforts on combating sexism, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and the many other evils that the left believes permeate American society.

One important consequence of this left right distinction is that those on the left are far more preoccupied with politics than those on the Right. Since the left is so much more interested in fixing society than in fixing the individual, politics inevitably becomes the vehicle for societal improvement. That’s why whenever the term activist is used, we almost always assume that the term refers to someone on the left.

See also: Left and Right on Climate (and so much else)

See also: Climate Science, Ethics and Religion

 

 

 

Preview Senate Briefing on Election Wrongdoing

As the cartoon suggests, the media is covering up rather than reporting the election issues.  Yesterday in a zoom conference state senators from the battlegrounds got a briefing on wrongdoing spoiling the 2020 Presidential election.  The materials may provide a preview of what will be publicly aired on January 6, 2021, when US Representatives and Senators challenge the electors from those states.  The full documentation is available at:

Evidence of voter, ballot, and election irregularities and lawlessness in the presidential election of November 3, 2020

Synopsis

The 2020 election witnessed an unprecedented and coordinated effort through public-private partnerships to improperly and unlawfully influence the election for Mr. Biden by:

1) creating a two-tiered election system in which state and local officials targeted Biden constituencies to turn out the vote while targeting Trump constituencies to depress the vote;

2) using private funds to pay election judges and officials who managed the way ballots were received, accepted, cured, and counted;

3) having private interests dictate or encourage local election officials to violate state laws protecting the integrity of the ballot;

4) consolidating counting centers to justify the delivery of hundreds of thousands of ballots to one location, removing Republicans from their lawful right to view the receipt, handling, and counting of ballots in the consolidated counting centers;

5) initiating scores of lawsuits as early as March of 2020 to undermine ballot integrity measures;

6) accepting and receiving more than $400 million from private interests to dictate terms in which the election would be managed in Democrat strongholds;

7) allowing private interests to gain special access and use of sensitive citizen information maintained by government;

8) benefiting from Big Tech monies and censorship of information;

9) training left-leaning poll workers in Democrat strongholds on how to commit fraud;

10) fighting transparency by resisting legitimate requests to audit and review ballots, ballot envelopes, and computer logs;

11) threatening legislators with criminal investigation and prosecution if they disagreed with blue state executive officials on the election result;

12) locking Republican legislators out of the state capitol to prevent them from meeting and challenging election certification; and

13) engaging in illegal ballot harvesting.

This conduct resulted in an election in which the American people cannot have faith, which violates state law and which should not be certified.

Below are several thousand pages of evidence and hours of video explaining this evidence for your review.

The Case for Ivermectin Covid Regimen

Physicians in many parts of the world needing inexpensive, effective Covid treatments have turned to Ivermectin with encouraging success.  This news is largely ignored, but is now being compiled and promoted by frontline medical caregivers.

Dominican Republic One Example of Ivermectin Results

For example, consider the experience of Dominican Republic, a nation whose primary industry of tourism has been decimated by the pandemic.  At newspaper Dominican Today Doctor explains 99.3% of COVID-19 patients treated with Ivermectin recovered in five days.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

After eight months of active clinical observation and attending about 7 thousand patients of Covid-19 in three medical centers located in Puerto Plata, La Romana, and Punta Cana, Dr. José Natalio Redondo revealed that 99.3% of the symptomatic patients who received care in his emergency services, including the use of Ivermectin, managed to recover in the first five days of recorded symptoms.

The renowned cardiologist and health manager affirmed that Ivermectin’s use against the symptoms of Covid-19 is practically generalized in the country and attributed to this factor, among others, the fact that the risk of dying from this disease in the Dominican Republic is significantly lower than in the United States.

He added that “in a therapeutic format duly tested over the years, infections have always been cured faster and leave fewer sequelae if antimicrobial treatment is applied as early as possible since this allows the use of lower doses of the selected drugs. This has been one of the dogmas that remain in our daily medical practice.”

The key is early treatment.

“From the beginning, our team of medical specialists, who were at the forefront of the battle, led by our emergency physicians, intensivists and internists, raised the need to see this disease in a different way than that proposed by international health organizations, says Dr. Redondo in his report.

And he adds that the Group’s experts proposed the urgency of reorienting the management protocols towards earlier and more timely stages. “We realized that the war was being lost because of the obsession of large groups, agencies, and companies linked to research and production of drugs, to focus their interest almost exclusively on the management of critical patients.

“Our results were immediate; the use of Ivermectin, together with Azithromycin and Zinc (plus the usual vitamins that tend to increase the immune response of individuals) produced an impressive variation in the course of the disease; it was demonstrated that 99.3% of the patients recovered quickly when the treatment was started in the first five days of proven symptoms, with an average of 3.5 days, and a fall of more than 50% in the rate and duration of hospitalizations, and reducing from 9 to 1 the mortality rate, when the treatment was started on time.”

The Global Review of Ivermectin Protocol Studies

The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) provides historical and global perspective on this treatment protocol Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19 Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Recommended Protocol

Despite the growing list of failed therapeutics in COVID-19, the FLCCC recently discovered that ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine, has highly potent real-world, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. This conclusion is based on the increasing study results reporting effectiveness, not only within in-vitro and animal models, but also in numerous clinical trials from centers and countries around the world. Repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes have now been reported when ivermectin is used not only as a prophylactic agent but also in mild, moderate, and even severe disease states from multiple, large, randomized and observational controlled trials. Further, data showing impacts on population wide health outcomes have resulted from multiple large “natural experiments” that appear to have occurred when various regional health ministries and governmental authorities within South American countries initiated “ivermectin distribution” campaigns to their citizen populations in the hopes the drug would prove effective. The tight, reproducible, temporally associated decreases in case counts and case fatality rates in each of those regions compared to nearby regions without such campaigns, suggest that ivermectin is proving to be a global solution to the pandemic. This is now further evidenced by the recent incorporation of ivermectin as a prophylaxis and treatment agent for COVID19 in the national treatment guidelines of Egypt as well as the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India, populated by 210 million people.

[The article provides a comprehensive review of the available efficacy data as of November 8, 2020, taken from in-vitro, animal, clinical, and real-world studies all showing the above impacts of ivermectin in COVID-19.]

The FLCCC recommendation is based on the following set of conclusions derived from the existing data, which will be comprehensively reviewed below:

1) Since 2012, multiple in-vitro studies have demonstrated that Ivermectin inhibits the replication of many viruses, including influenza, Zika, Dengue and others (19–27).

2) Ivermectin inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication, leading to absence of nearly all viral material by 48h in infected cell cultures (28).

3) Ivermectin has potent anti-inflammatory properties with in-vitro data demonstrating profound inhibition of both cytokine production and transcription of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), the most potent mediator of inflammation (29–31).

4) Ivermectin significantly diminishes viral load and protects against organ damage in multiple animal models when infected with SARS-CoV-2 or similar coronaviruses (32, 33).

5) Ivermectin prevents transmission and development of COVID-19 disease in those exposed to infected patient (34–36,54).

6) Ivermectin hastens recovery and prevents deterioration in patients with mild to moderate disease treated early after symptoms (37–42,54).

7) Ivermectin hastens recovery and avoidance of ICU admission and death in hospitalized patients (40,43,45,54,63,67).

8) Ivermectin reduces mortality in critically ill patients with COVID-19 (43,45,54).

9) Ivermectin leads to striking reductions in case-fatality rates in regions with widespread use (46-48).

10) The safety, availability, and cost of ivermectin is nearly unparalleled given its near nil drug interactions along with only mild and rare side effects observed in almost 40 years of use and billions of doses administered (49).

11) The World Health Organization has long included ivermectin on its “List of Essential Medicines” (50).

Ivermectin in Post-COVID-19 Syndrome

Increasing reports of persistent, vexing, and even disabling symptoms after recovery from acute COVID-19 have been reported and which many have termed the condition as “long Covid” and patients as “long haulers”, estimated to occur in approximately 10% of cases (77–79). Generally considered as a post-viral syndrome consisting of a chronic and sometimes disabling constellation of symptoms which include, in order, fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pains and chest pain. Many patients describe their most disabling symptom as impaired memory and concentration, often with extreme fatigue, described as “brain fog”, and are highly suggestive of the condition myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition well-reported to begin after viral infections, in particular with Epstein-Barr virus. Although no specific treatments have been identified for long COVID, a recent manuscript by Aguirre-Chang et al from the National University of San Marcos in Peru reported on the experience with ivermectin in such patients (80). They treated 33 patients who were between 4 and 12 weeks from the onset of symptoms with escalating doses of ivermectin; 0.2mg/kg for 2 days if mild, 0.4mg/kg for 2 days if moderate, with doses extended if symptoms persisted. They found that in 87.9% of the patients, resolution of all symptoms was observed after two doses with an additional 7% reporting complete resolution after additional doses. Their experience suggests the need for controlled studies to better test efficacy in this vexing syndrome.

In summary, based on the existing and cumulative body of evidence, we recommend the use of ivermectin in both prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19. In the presence of a global COVID-19 surge, the widespread use of this safe, inexpensive, and effective intervention could lead to a drastic reduction in transmission rates as well as the morbidity and mortality in mild, moderate, and even severe disease phases.

 

Pandemonia Funnies Madebyjimbob

Humor is important as a means of poking holes in narratives that assert beliefs contrary to reality.  Jimbob has become a force skewering notions of climate change, as well as other distorted ideas comprising the “woke” PC canon.  Those inside the believer bubble will not be affected, but the important audience are those ignorant or agnostic about the so called “progressive, post-modern agenda.”   Philosopher Mortimer Adler put it this way:

Any teacher will tell you it is much easier to teach a student who is ignorant than one who is in error, because the student who is in error on a given point thinks that he knows whereas in fact he does not know. . .It is almost necessary to take the student who is in error and first correct the error before you can teach him. . .The path from ignorance to knowledge is shorter than the path from error to knowledge.

And the best part is that the alarmist side is denied any use of humor due to their doomsterism.  Below are a selection from the many cartoons madebyjimbob, currently touched by the virus and shutdowns along with  everything from climate change to racism, to cancel culture to genderism to the failure of higher education.

Footnote:  H/T to Liz Wolfe writing at the Federalist featuring an interview with madebyjimbob A Conversation With The Anti-Political Correctness Satirist Who Is Pissing Off Instagram

Footnote: BTW, there’s a new dance craze sweeping Quebec, a new version of Blame It On Co-Corona.

Kid’s Climate Lawsuit Dismissed on Appeal

Juliana et al. Vs US Federal Government is Dismissed.

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a lawsuit by children and young adults who claimed U.S. government climate policy put their future in jeopardy, a major blow to the high-profile case after a string of failed similar bids.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs, who were ages 8 to 19 when the lawsuit began, lacked legal standing to pursue their case, and that the issues they raised should be decided by other branches of the federal government.

The decision derails the potentially far-reaching case, one of more than half a dozen similar cases filed in state courts, from Washington to Alaska, by an Oregon-based youth advocacy non-profit called Our Children’s Trust.

The lawsuit had first been filed in an Oregon federal court in 2015, charging that the U.S. government’s environmental and energy policies violated the children and young adults’ constitutional rights to thrive in a liveable atmosphere. (Reporting by Sebastien Malo Editing by Franklin Paul and Frances Kerry) Source: National Post

Full PDF of Ruling is here: Climate Change / Standing  Excerpts of Summary in italics with my bolds

The panel reversed the district court’s interlocutory orders in an action brought by an environmental organization and individual plaintiffs against the federal government, alleging climate-change related injuries to the plaintiffs caused by the federal government continuing to “permit, authorize, and subsidize” fossil fuel; and remanded to the district court with instructions to dismiss for lack of Article III standing.

Some plaintiffs claimed psychological harms, others impairment to recreational interests, others exacerbated medical conditions, and others damage to property. Plaintiffs alleged violations of their constitutional rights, and sought declaratory relief and an injunction ordering the government to implement a plan to “phase out fossil fuel emissions and draw down excess atmospheric [carbon dioxide].”

The panel held that: the record left little basis for denying that climate change was occurring at an increasingly rapid pace; copious expert evidence established that the unprecedented rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels stemmed from fossil fuel combustion and will wreak havoc on the Earth’s climate if unchecked; the record conclusively established that the federal government has long understood the risks of fossil fuel use and increasing carbon dioxide emissions; and the record established that the government’s contribution to climate change was not simply a result of inaction.

The panel rejected the government’s argument that plaintiffs’ claims must proceed, if at all, under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). The panel held that because the APA only allows challenges to discrete agency decisions, the plaintiffs could not effectively pursue their constitutional claims – whatever their merits – under that statute.

The panel considered the three requirements for whether plaintiffs had Article III standing to pursue their constitutional claims. First, the panel held that the district court correctly found that plaintiffs claimed concrete and particularized injuries. Second, the panel held that the district court properly found the Article III causation requirement satisfied for purposes of summary judgment because there was at least a genuine factual dispute as to whether a host of federal policies were a “substantial factor” in causing the plaintiffs’ injuries.

Third, the panel held that plaintiffs’ claimed injuries were not redressable by an Article III court.

Specifically, the panel held that it was beyond the power of an Article III court to order, design, supervise, or implement the plaintiffs’ requested remedial plan where any effective plan would necessarily require a host of complex policy decisions entrusted to the wisdom and discretion of the executive and legislative branches.

The panel reluctantly concluded that the plaintiffs’ case must be made to the political branches or to the electorate at large.

District Judge Staton dissented, and would affirm the district court. Judge Staton wrote that plaintiffs brought suit to enforce the most basic structural principal embedded in our system of liberty: that the Constitution does not condone the Nation’s willful destruction. She would hold that plaintiffs have standing to challenge the government’s conduct, have articulated claims under the Constitution, and have presented sufficient evidence to press those claims at trial.

Several posts here on this legal initiative: For example:

Climate Kids Spurious Lawsuit Claims

Facts Omitted by Climatists (The record to which the panel refers, uncontested by litigants)

Climate War Human Shields (Background on Our Children’s Trust)

 

Best Cartoons Madebyjimbob

Humor is important as a means of poking holes in narratives that assert beliefs contrary to reality.  Jimbob has become a force skewering notions of climate change, as well as other distorted ideas comprising the “woke” PC canon.  Those inside the believer bubble will not be affected, but the important audience are those ignorant or agnostic about the so called “progressive, post-modern agenda.”   Philosopher Mortimer Adler put it this way:

Any teacher will tell you it is much easier to teach a student who is ignorant than one who is in error, because the student who is in error on a given point thinks that he knows whereas in fact he does not know. . .It is almost necessary to take the student who is in error and first correct the error before you can teach him. . .The path from ignorance to knowledge is shorter than the path from error to knowledge.

And the best part is that the alarmist side is denied any use of humor due to their doomsterism.  Below are a selection from the many cartoons madebyjimbob, touching everything from climate change to racism, to cancel culture to genderism to the failure of higher education.

Footnote:  H/T to Liz Wolfe writing at the Federalist featuring an interview with madebyjimbob A Conversation With The Anti-Political Correctness Satirist Who Is Pissing Off Instagram

 

Choose Life over Climate Despair

I have often written that prudent policymakers recognize the future will include periods both warmer and cooler than the present, and cold is the greater threat to human life and prosperity. Thus, government priorities should be to invest in affordable reliable energy and robust infrastructure. A recent article gets the importance of energy abundance, and makes many lucid points about climate policy failures, even while accepting uncritically some mistaken suppositions about the issue and what can be done about it.

Matt Frost published an article at The New Atlantis After Climate Despair. Excerpts in italics with my bolds, some images and comments.

The dream of a global conversion to austerity has failed to stop climate change. Energy abundance is our best hope for living well with warming — and reversing it.

Overview

Each of us constitutes a link between the past and the future, and we share a human need to participate in the life of something that perdures beyond our own years. This is the conservationist — and arguably the conservative — argument for combating climate change: Our descendants, who will have a great deal in common with us, ought to be able to enjoy conditions similar to those that permitted us and our forebears to thrive.

But the dominant narrative of climate change, though it claims to be aimed at protecting future generations, in fact leaves little room for continuity. Preventing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above the nineteenth-century baseline, the latest aim of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will, as they put it, require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

Only a vanishingly unlikely set of coordinated global actions — an extraordinary political breakthrough — can save us from what the most pessimistic media portrayals describe as “catastrophe,” “apocalypse,” and the “end of civilization.”

Only by changing our entire energy system and social order can we preserve the continuity of our biosphere. And so climate politics has become the art of the impossible: a cycle of increasingly desperate exhortations to impracticable action, presumably in hopes of inspiring at least some half-measures. Understandably, many despair, while others deny that there is a problem, or at least that any solution is possible.

But we are not condemned to a choice between despair and denial. Instead, we must prepare for a future in which we have temporarily failed to arrest climate change — while ensuring that human civilization stubbornly persists, and thrives. Rather than prescribing global austerity, reducing our energy usage and thereby limiting our options for adaptation, we should pursue energy abundance. Only in a high-energy future can we hope eventually to reduce the atmosphere’s carbon, through sequestration and by gradually replacing fossil fuels with low-carbon alternatives.

It is time to acknowledge that catastrophism has failed to bring about the global political breakthrough the climate establishment dreams of, and will not succeed in time to avert serious warming. Instead of despairing over a forever-deferred dream of austerity, our resources would be better spent now on investing in potential technological breakthroughs to reduce atmospheric carbon, and our political imagination better put toward preparing for a future of ever more abundant energy.

[Frost could have added that human flourishing has always occured in warmer, rather than colder times. Our Modern Warm Period was preceded by Medieval Warming, before that by Roman Warming, and earlier Minoan Warming. Each period was cooler than the previous, so the overall trend in our interglacial is downward. Ensuring favorable conditions for future generations means protecting against the ravages of frosty times. (pun intended)]

The Futility of Dread

The bleak poll results may reflect a broad, if perhaps tacit, agreement that we have reached diminishing returns on dread. Even now that most Americans accept the dire predictions of scientists and journalists, their assent does not change the fact that we currently lack the institutional, technological, and moral resources to prevent further climate change in the near term. The lay public has been taught to regard stabilizing the climate as an all-or-nothing struggle against the encroachment of a dismal future.

The bar for success is set high enough that failure is now the rational expectation.

A common reaction to “there is no solution” is “then there is no problem.” No matter how persuasive the evidence of impending danger, most people find ways to dismiss or evade problems that appear insoluble. Attempting to build political support for impossible interventions by making ever more pessimistic predictions will not work; it will only leave us mired in gloom and impotence. This polarized fatalism will grow more extreme as opposing partisans, recognizing our dearth of practicable options, choose either glib denial or morbid brooding.

Entirely predictable Time Magazine declares Greta Person of the Year. Just like Big Brother she is watching.

Missing the Target

We will not stop global warming, at least in our lifetimes. This realization forces us to ask instead what would count as limiting warming enough to sustain our lives and our civilization through the disruption. There can be no single global answer to this question: Our ability to predict climate effects will always be limited, and what will count as acceptable warming to a Norwegian farmer enjoying a longer growing season will always be irreconcilable with that of a Miami resident fighting the sea to save his home. But because our leadership has approached climate change as a problem of coordinated global action, they have constructed quantitative waypoints around which to organize the debate.

Some news sources portrayed 2030 as an official deadline for avoiding climate catastrophe. It is worth noting that the report’s lead author, Myles Allen, has warned against this interpretation: “Please stop saying something globally bad is going to happen in 2030. Bad stuff is already happening and every half a degree of warming matters, but the IPCC does not draw a ‘planetary boundary’ at 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond which lie climate dragons.”

The extreme unlikelihood that we will meet the target of 1.5 degrees becomes even clearer when we notice that doing so requires that we not only cut emissions radically, but at the same time remove enormous volumes of carbon dioxide already emitted. The report estimates that a total of 100 billion tons must be removed by 2050. For comparison, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted globally from fossil fuels last year was around 37 billion tons.

Even were it possible to scale bioenergy and capture that quickly, doing so would have a major drawback: It would take up an immense amount of farmland. By one 2016 estimate, capturing enough carbon to meet even the 2-degree target by the end of the century could require devoting up to three million square miles of farmland to bioenergy crops — nearly the size of the contiguous United States.

[Frost seems not to realize the the 2C target, and more recently 1.5C are both rabbits pulled out of a magical activist hat. Economists have projected that future generations will be far wealthier than us, and only slightly less so should there be all the warming predicted from burning known carbon fuel reserves. Many dangers are based upon scenario RCP8.5 which is so unrealistic that some analysts say that models using it should be revised. Principled inaction is appropriate when threats are claimed without solid evidence.]

The Age of Overshoot

Expanding the climate options we allow ourselves to consider is easier said than done. The political and moral challenges are daunting. We will need to adapt to a warmer climate for perhaps decades to come, while at the same time preparing technological and policy solutions for a more distant future where we can finally claw our way back to lower levels of carbon and warming. At the same time, the stressors that a warmer climate will bring will be unequally felt across the globe, likely making our politics more divided and only dimming hopes for international coordination.

We must finally abandon the empty hope of imposing equitable austerity via globally coordinated government fiat.

Furthermore, as we adapt to a warmer climate, complacency will be tempting, since we will likely not experience a sudden decline in global quality of life or biodiversity, and may be able to avoid the most dire disruptions. Changes will be slow, with many unfolding on a generational time scale, and with dramatically different impacts among populations. The misery that climate change is likely to cause, or is already causing, will be difficult to distinguish from deprivation as we already know it — the people most harmed, that is, will be the poor, who are already most vulnerable to natural forces. Even if there is a distinct moment of irrecoverable failure, or a tipping point that triggers the worst feedback effects, most people might not notice until it has passed.

[His belief that CO2 is some kind of temperature control knob is touching, but naive and dangerous. H2O is actually earth’s thermostat, and we don’t have a dial for that either. Fortunately the climate system includes complex negative feedbacks which throughout history have kept both ice house and hot house eras from being permanent. Otherwise we would not be here to talk about it.]

The global failure to control emissions is not just a failure of political will or technological progress. Rather, it reflects the problem’s inherent resistance to unambiguous characterization. Different observers can all adopt different conceptions of the problem, many of which are not mutually exclusive but remain practically or politically irreconcilable.

For this reason, we will no more agree on some single new ethics than we will on the “correct” amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Addressing the problem, then, must not mean the coordinated pursuit of a single solution but a perpetual process of decentralized negotiation and risk reduction. Our varied conceptions of climate change will never fully converge, and so the “correctness” of any approach is best evaluated not by whether it meets the latest IPCC target but by how well it affords broad political buy-in. Identifying alternatives to our current, failed approach to climate change requires identifying a more constructive set of ideas — practical, political, and sentimental. We will then be able to focus our resources on those interventions most likely to succeed.

[Among the failed solutions is the idea that modern societies can be powered with solar and wind energy.  Not only is bioenergy land intensive (as noted above), so are these other renewables.  Here is the map of UK showing the acreage required to power London without thermal generators.]

The gray area would be covered in wind farms, while the yellow area is needed for solar farms.

Austerity vs. Abundance

What should motivate our response to climate change is what got us into this mess in the first place: our desire for the abundance that energy technology affords. Energy is the commodity that allows us to protect ourselves from the ravages of nature and to live distinctly human lives, and many of the benefits we enjoy today were made possible by the exploitation of fossil energy. Our children should enjoy greater energy abundance than us, not less.

But the mainstream climate establishment — the government officials, researchers, advocates, and journalists who sustain the consensus agenda represented by the IPCC — is bent on austerity. They demand that we ration fossil energy consumption until zero-emission sources like wind and solar replace the fossil share of the global energy budget.

Discussions about climate change are also riddled with population anxiety. Lugubrious climate dread appears both as the idea that we should not inflict any more humans on this dying world and that we should not inflict this dying world on any more humans. For the most part, we no longer suffer from feverish speculation about runaway global population growth, since the population may peak anyway by the end of the century. Yet we still hear the old Malthusian idea that our limited energy resources will only be enough for everyone if there are fewer people to whom they must be handed out. Because the climate establishment views energy consumption as the problem, energy consumers must be on the negative side of the ledger — even if their welfare, or their grandchildren’s welfare, is supposed to be the good being protected.

An alternate framework based on abundance would engage each of us as participants in the flow of human history, as the forebears of unknown successors. It would complement even the doomsayers’ calls for taking expensive measures today, since the benefits of mitigating climate change would apply to more people as the population increases. The number of future occupants of our planet is, or should be, the salient variable in any calculation of the long-term costs and benefits of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. We can’t know the economic return on any dollar we invest today in stabilizing the future climate, but we can model it as a function of, among other things, the number of our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Our climate approach should presuppose that we are the benefactors of a burgeoning future population, not the progenitors of an ascetic cult formed to dole out a dwindling stock of resources. New sources of carbon-free energy would offer more value to more people than whatever new levers of social control we might invent to enforce a worldwide carbon-rationing regime.

A stronger focus on human utility does not discount the non-human biosphere: When we evaluate the natural world for its beauty or its diversity, we are still expressing human values, and those values are part of the civilization we hope to carry forward in time. For instance, the desire to protect coral reefs, one of the first casualties of global warming, can increase as more people gain freedom from poverty, allowing them to see the reefs’ aesthetic and ecological benefits as worth spending resources to preserve.

An abundance framework is also aligned with our persistent human desire for comfort, and would lead us to reformulate our collective problem as one of scarcity, rather than prodigality. Instead of constraining our energy budget, we would look to a future in which a large, decarbonized energy capacity allows more people to enjoy the access to wealth and comfort that many of us take for granted. It would make little sense to leave cheap fossil energy underground in the name of future generations’ well-being, only to also leave those descendants an energy-constrained world full of incentives to drill. To remove those incentives, they will need abundant energy.

Obviously, meeting the energy demand of a high-growth world would require new sources of carbon-free power in amounts beyond the IPCC’s most optimistic scenarios. But we are already stuck hoping for a global political breakthrough. Technological breakthroughs are less far-fetched a solution. And a mass embrace of abundant energy is more realistic than sudden globally coordinated altruistic self-abnegation. Once we embrace abundance as a normative principle, it directs our attention and ambition toward the bets that, however long the odds, might actually pay off.

Embracing abundance means more than just a rhetorical or sentimental overhaul; it should change how we rank our policy and technology options. And gaining new energy sources would actually expand our options beyond the limited ones available to us now. Choosing abundance does not require that we first have all the answers for how to produce carbon-free energy, or how to reduce current levels of carbon dioxide. Rather, shifting our mindset from austerity to abundance will open up the political space necessary for imagining these answers and pursuing them.

In the near term, we must accept that expanding our political capacity to regulate carbon dioxide depends on driving down the cost of carbon-free energy. Penalizing fossil-energy use can encourage research and development of alternatives, but panic alone will not engender a new democratic mandate for costly restrictions on emissions. Cheap, low-carbon energy can be an alternative to bureaucratic rationing or socially enforced austerity. If we are stuck hoping for a breakthrough, let us hope for one that further emancipates us from want rather than one that more efficiently imposes it.

After Despair

We are stuck waiting for a breakthrough. The sort of breakthrough we await says much about who we are and where we hope to go. The consensus austerity view would have us hope for a moral breakthrough of penitential retrenchment. The abundance view would have us hope for a technological breakthrough to enable a flourishing future. One says that we have used too much energy, and our descendants should use less. The other implies that we have not devoted enough energy to capturing and storing carbon dioxide, and that we must leave our children and grandchildren as much energy capacity as possible to clean up our carbon waste.

Our mission must be to provide future generations with better technological alternatives than the ones currently on offer, which range from prohibitively expensive (like BECCS) to wildly reckless (like pumping sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to block sunlight). We owe our descendants progress toward the long-deferred dream of energy “too cheap to meter,” as Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, famously said in 1954. We owe them the tools with which to dispose of the waste carbon they will inherit. We owe them a better sentimental investment than morbid despair about the future they will occupy.

Other policy approaches are less applicable to a strategic framework of energy abundance. “Weaning ourselves off nuclear energy,” as Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes, is a fatuous idea even within the austerity framework, if the risks of climate change are as dire as predicted. Replacing already online, zero-carbon generation with wind and solar plants that require carbon-emitting construction and infrastructure overhauls will only dig us deeper into debt. In an abundance framework, the proposal becomes even more misguided.

The policy measures we pursue in the near term should express the ethos of abundance and continuity. They should avoid emission cuts today that might limit wealth and technology options tomorrow. And they should set us up to take the best advantage of whatever breakthroughs, technological or political, we might be fortunate enough to see in the coming years.

Key Points

Global conversion to austerity is a lost cause.

Energy abundance is our best hope for the future.

We have always lived well when it warms.

When nature reverses and cools, we had better be ready.

Footnote: Since 1985 the band Opus has celebrated Life and access to energy (I’m sure they were referring to electrical power as well as personal mobility).

 

Closing the Endangered Species Piggy Bank

By Ronald W. Opsahl writes August 26, 2019, at Real Clear Policy Trump’s Environmental Reforms: Good for the Environment, Bad for Lawyers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Between 2016 and 2018, environmental groups filed over 170 lawsuits alleging violations of the Endangered Species Act, making the ESA one of the most abused environmental laws in the United States. On Monday, the Trump Administration announced much needed revisions to regulations of the ESA.

The response of leading environmentalist groups was entirely predictable. They immediately threatened lawsuits. Indeed, lawsuits make up the core business plan of many purported wildlife conservation groups. They sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for alleged violations of the ESA, and often force agency decisions that do not actually benefit any species.

These groups then seek, and frequently succeed, to recover their attorneys’ fees from the federal government, drawing limited funding away from actual species conservation and into their war chests to fund additional ESA litigation. And the cycle goes on and on.

Major environmentalist groups not only earn money directly from litigation, but they also use lawsuits as a fundraising tool, rallying their donors by claiming to “fight” for endangered and threatened species in the courts, even when those lawsuits do little to promote actual conservation.

Big Environmentalism is doing brisk business these days. Since these groups essentially earn a living by abusing the ESA, they have a lot invested in the status quo. ESA reform is a genuine threat to their business model. They characterized Trump’s proposed reforms as a rollback of protections for species at risk of extinction, but it is actually a rollback of their lucrative legal work that terrifies them.

The Trump Administration is proposing three main changes. The change attracting the greatest criticism involves presenting the public with the economic impacts of listing decisions. It is true that listing decisions under the ESA are supposed to be based upon scientific evidence, without regard to economic impact. However, there is no prohibition on preparing and disclosing the potential economic impacts that would result from listing a species. In fact, officials are required by law to consider economic impacts whenever they designate a critical habitat for a species.

Environmentalists may want to keep the public blind to economic impacts, but that could hardly be said to be in the public’s interest. Too often, environmentalists seek critical habitat designations under the pretense of conserving species, but in fact their true intent is to prevent any resource development.

A second revision raising environmentalist ire is the elimination of its so-called “blanket rule,” which automatically affords threatened species the same protections granted to endangered species. Instead, going forward, FWS will evaluate the threats to newly listed threatened species, and tailor the conservation measures to each species’ needs.

Tailored conservation is smarter conservation. The National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency responsible for protecting marine species under the ESA, has never employed the “blanket rule” and has always tailored protections to species’ needs. Furthermore, the “blanket rule” is not provided for by the text of the ESA. Thus, the proposed changes would bring the government’s application of the ESA back into alignment with the Congress’ actual intent.

A third proposed revision to the regulations would clear up some disputed language in the law. Under the ESA, a species may be listed as threatened if it is at risk of becoming endangered in the “foreseeable future.” Previously, the term was undefined, leading to numerous lawsuits intended to force the agency to list species as threatened based upon little more than speculation.

Unfortunately, the weaponization of the ESA will continue until the law is fundamentally changed to eliminate the big dollar incentives that lead to endless litigation in the name of “species conservation.” More reform is needed to curb the rampant abuses of the law by environmental groups. Until then, the “sue and settle” approach will continue clogging up the courts, consuming vast federal resources in endless lawsuits, and taking those resources away from the real work of conservation.

Nevertheless, the proposed reforms are a step in the right direction. The Trump Administration’s ESA rule revision takes power out of the hands of lawyers and puts it back in the hands of scientists and trained wildlife management officials—where it belongs.

Ronald W. Opsahl is an attorney with Mountain States Legal Foundation, specializing in natural resources law, and is a trained wildlife biologist.

New York: Climate Cuckoo’s Nest

Scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This just in from the Cuckoo’s Nest AKA New York State Legislature: N.Y. lawmakers agree to historic climate plan by Benjamin Storrow, E&E News. Excerpts in italics with my bolds. The comments are powerful displays of the brain damage from drinking too much climate kool aid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said yesterday he has reached an agreement with legislative leaders over a bill to slash New York’s greenhouse gas emissions, setting the stage for one of the most significant state climate victories since President Trump took office.

The announcement, coming just days before the close of the legislative session, represented a big victory for climate activists, who have spent three years pushing for major legislation to curb greenhouse gases in the Empire State.

Lawmakers were still working on final amendments yesterday, but the outlines of the deal were becoming clear. The legislation calls for reducing emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 and 85% by 2050. The remaining 15% of emissions would be offset, making the state carbon neutral. The bill would also require that all electricity generation come from carbon-free sources by 2040. A Climate Action Council would be established to ensure the state meets its targets.

“I believe we have an agreement, and I believe it is going to pass,” Cuomo said in a radio interview on WAMC.

The comment ended months of speculation over the fate of climate legislation in New York. Democratic lawmakers, who seized complete control of state government when they took over the state Senate last fall, had been pushing a bill called the “Climate and Community Protection Act.” The bill would spend 40% of the state’s clean energy revenues on energy efficiency measures and renewable installations in disadvantaged communities.

That drew repeated public objections from Cuomo, who said he wanted to ensure that environmental revenue was spent on environmental programs. Ultimately, the two sides settled on a compromise: At least 35% of revenues would go to disadvantaged communities. That funding could rise as high as 40%, which would amount to $370 million in fiscal 2018-19.

“It was a question of the distribution of the funding,” Cuomo told WAMC. “I understand the politics on these issues. Everyone wants to make all these advocacy groups happy. Taxpayers’ money is taxpayers’ money. And if it’s taxpayers’ money for an environmental purpose, I want to make sure it’s going to an environmental purpose.

“This transformation to a new green economy is very expensive. We don’t have the luxury of using funding for political purposes.”

Business interests had urged Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers to slow down, saying the legislation threatened 40,000 manufacturing jobs in the state. The Business Council of New York State called zero carbon emissions “unrealistic.”

But Democratic lawmakers forged ahead, working through the weekend to iron out a deal with Cuomo before a filing deadline for legislation Sunday. They argued that:

The risks of climate change, coupled with the benefits of a green energy economy, outweighed the potential costs.

“It means that on Father’s Day, when I see my grandchildren next year, I’ll have a lot less uncertainty about their future than I did yesterday morning,”

said Democratic Assemblyman Steve Englebright, a champion of the climate legislation. “It means we are going to be in the vanguard among states, tackling a problem that will affect every jurisdiction here and around the globe.

New York will lead the way.”

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D) said New York’s action would send a major signal to markets, helping companies plan for a cleaner future. But ultimately, he said, lawmakers were responding to voters.

“Our constituents told us, ‘Don’t come back without doing something on climate,'” Kaminsky said. “The future is now. I think we’ve taken that important step.”

Policy mandate with teeth’

Republican control of the state Senate meant climate policy in New York had been centered in the governor’s office until this year. Cuomo has pumped out executive orders banning hydraulic fracturing, calling for the closure of the state’s remaining coal plants in 2020 and targeting a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, among other things.

The legislation enshrines many of Cuomo’s targets into law, ensuring they will outlast the current governor. The new Climate Action Council would be required to issue recommendations on how to install 6 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035 and 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.

But the law also represents a power shift of sorts. Environmentalists have long criticized Cuomo for failing to follow through on many of his environmental objectives. His environmental agencies have yet to produce a climate action plan, despite an executive order directing them to do so. And his coal regulation arrived earlier this year, when only two coal plants remained (Climatewire, May 10).

The legislation ensures the governor will follow through, advocates said. It would require an annual greenhouse gas inventory. The Climate Action Council would release a report every four years detailing the state’s progress (or lack thereof) toward its emissions goals.

And by putting the state’s climate commitment in law, it would open the door for citizens to sue if New York does not meet its targets.

“This isn’t just a planning document. It is a policy mandate with teeth that they can’t evade or avoid,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.

“By inserting climate justice, it becomes a plan about humanity; it becomes a plan about the dignity and value we place on humanity. There are ways to help all of us to catalyze economic development for all of us,”

Bautista said. “That is why so many people are excited about this plan and hope it replicates.”

Unlike many of its peers, the Empire State is casting its gaze beyond power plants, the traditional realm of state climate policy. Transportation accounts for roughly a third of the state’s emissions, followed by residential heating and cooling (16%) and electricity generation (13%). The bill would direct the Climate Action Council to recommend emissions performance standards for the transportation, building and industrial sectors.

At the same time, the legislation leaves considerable questions regarding how New York intends to slash emissions. Much would depend on the Climate Action Council and the governor, who will ultimately be charged with implementing the legislation.

New York has considerable ground to make up. The state cut emissions only 8% between 1990 and 2015, according to the most recent New York greenhouse gas inventory.

Greens acknowledged the amount of work ahead but said they are optimistic.

“Now, for the first time, we actually have our commitment on climate enshrined into law,” said Conor Bambrick, who leads the air and energy program at Environmental Advocates of New York. “That is going to allow for real long-term planning and action so New York can get serious about tackling this problem, serious about getting innovative about ways to tackle this problem and doing it equitably.”

My Comment:

Sorry New York, you are not leading the way. Germany and South Australia have already gone down this rabbit hole, and you can only surpass them by an even greater destruction to your economy and society.