This video must have literally been uploading as I typed out this morning’s post on pseudo-scientist and imposter Jordan Peterson’s pathetic forays in to climate denial.

The video is first class debunking. I did basically the same thing some 10 years ago, but looks like the BBC or somebody had a copyright claim on that piece, so nice to see someone redoing it.

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Wall Street Journal:

Dangerous fungal infections are on the rise, and a growing body of research suggests warmer temperatures might be a culprit.

The human body’s average temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit has long been too hot for most fungi to thrive, infectious-disease specialists say. But as temperatures have risen globally, some fungi might be adapting to endure more heat stress, including conditions within the human body, research suggests. Climate change might also be creating conditions for some disease-causing fungi to expand their geographical range, research shows. 

“As fungi are exposed to more consistent elevated temperatures, there’s a real possibility that certain fungi that were previously harmless suddenly become potential pathogens,” said Peter Pappas, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Deaths from fungal infections are increasing, due in part to growing populations of people with weakened immune systems who are more vulnerable to severe fungal disease, public-health experts said. At least 7,000 people died in the U.S. from fungal infections in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, up from hundreds of people each year around 1970. There are few effective and nontoxic medications to treat such infections, they said. 

In the video game and HBO show “The Last of Us,” a fungus infects people en masse and turns them into monstrous creatures. The fungus is based on a real genus, Ophiocordyceps, that includes species that infect insects, disabling and killing them.

There have been no known Ophiocordyceps infections in people, infectious-disease experts said, but they said the rising temperatures that facilitated the spread of the killer fungi in the show may be pushing other fungi to better adapt to human hosts and expand into new geographical ranges. 

A January study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that higher temperatures may prompt some disease-causing fungi to evolve faster to survive. 

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Dying Denial’s Last Gasps

February 2, 2023

I love it when attention seekers like Jordan Peterson hate being criticized so much that they promote the critique on their social media account.

Canadian Academic (what the hell does he do, actually?) Peterson has a big following among the impotently raging right wing incel crowd, and has recently turned to climate denial, not sure why. Graham Readfearn recently took him to the shed in the Guardian.

Guardian:

Canadian psychologist and darling of conservatives and the alt-right, Jordan Peterson, has been on an all-out attack on the science of climate change and the risks of global heating.

Peterson has 6.3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, and his videos also run as audio podcasts on platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

Since December, Peterson has been on something of a crusade publishing four interviews – each more than 90 minutes long – collectively amassing more than 2.2m views on YouTube alone.

The titles of Peterson’s latest offerings give a flavour of the content. “The World is not Ending”, “Unsettled: Climate and Science” and “The Great Climate Con”.

Last year Peterson came in for scathing criticism from climate scientists after claiming climate models were mostly useless. Peterson had badly misunderstood how models work, they said, with one saying: “He sounds intelligent, but he’s completely wrong.”

The criticism appears to have done little to discourage him from wading in even further. Peterson’s popularity among conservatives and, judging by many of the comments he receives, his almost God-like status among his fans, is helping to expose new audiences to old arguments on climate change.

One interview with retired MIT meteorologist Prof Richard Lindzen – a well-known veteran of contrarianism among climate science deniers – ran under the title “Climate Science: What Does it Say?”.

Let’s dive in. Lindzen’s answer was predictable. He has been arguing for three decades there is little to worry about from rising temperatures or adding CO2 to the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.

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Filipowski adds: 8% of the homes in FL have gas stoves. Ron lets the elitists pay no tax. The other 92% pay.

Yet another illustration of how entirely performative politics has become for those inside the right wing media silo.

Yahoo:

Texas will face a fourth day grappling through an ice storm that has caused power outages, grounded flights and triggered deadly accidents on slippery roads.

Cold has gripped the landscape across northern and central Texas, as well as parts of neighboring Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee since the storm swept into the region on Monday. Ice has knocked down trees and power lines, and created havoc for transportation through the region.

“Today is the last day and after that things should be improving,” said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center. “About a half inch of ice is across northern and central Texas and that is a lot of ice — it causes issues with the power grid.”

The ice storm is providing a painful reminder of how the southern US isn’t immune to extreme winter weather. The latest cold snap comes almost two years after a deadly storm in Texas caused the electrical system to fail, leaving millions of residents without power for hours and even days. State officials have made a number of reforms to the grid since then, including reinforcing natural gas plants and pipelines to withstand extreme weather.

As of early Thursday, more than 407,000 customers in Texas were without power, along with nearly 100,000 more in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida, according to PowerOutage.us.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said there is plenty of electricity in the state’s grid and blamed outages on falling trees, according to Tweets. He has also urged people to stay off the roads.

At least 8 people have died in accidents since the storm began, according to the Associated Press.

Another big driver of home battery adoption is the precipitous drop in battery storage prices, driven by EV and grid storage demand. In this case, climate impacts adding to a virtuous cycle of change.

Below, Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski and MIT’s Judah Cohen on climate change and the observed increase in cold arctic air outbreaks across the plains region of North America, especially in February. Just sayin’.

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Fossil fuel industry continues to hold up distractions, and there’s no shortage of rubes that keep falling for it.
Emily Atkin illustrates – in her essential Heated newsletter.

Emily Atkin and Arielle Samualson in Heated:

Last week, The Daily Show highlighted an oil and gas commercial that implied footballs could not exist without fossil fuels.

The ad from pipeline giant Energy Transfer shows a player teeing up a football for a kick, only for the ball to vanish into thin air. A few seconds later, a football jersey vanishes from its display case. 

“Our world would be unrecognizable if the products we rely on just *snap* disappeared,” it says.

Though the commercial doesn’t directly mention climate change or climate policy, it’s clear that’s what it was meant to address. Last year, the world’s largest consortium of climate scientists said the deadly, irreversible effects of climate change can only be prevented through a “substantial reduction in fossil fuel use.” 

Because that solution threatens fossil fuel profits, oil companies are increasingly making this argument that modern life’s pleasures couldn’t exist without fossil fuels. It’s designed to convince Americans that solving climate change would be far more painful than allowing climate change to worsen. 

Like so many other fossil fuel industry claims, it is a lie, designed to prevent us from imagining a more sustainable world.

The entire premise of Energy Transfer’s commercial is a red herring. No climate activist or politician is actually trying to take away footballs to solve climate change. But for the sake of argument, let’s consider the ad’s claim. Would footballs really have to disappear without fossil fuels?

We asked Madeleine Orr, a sports ecologist at Loughborough University London, who is developing the world’s first Masters program in sport and sustainability. “Football wouldn’t exist had it not been for oil,” she conceded. “It’s the turf products that they play on. It’s all of their padding. It’s their helmets.” And of course, it’s in the ball. 

“But I wouldn’t say that you can’t have football without oil,” she added. “We currently don’t, but we could.” All it would require is a little innovation and will.

Take the game ball. Most of it is made from leather. For Wilson game balls–the only name in the NFL game–the petrochemical process comes in when the cow hides are tanned at the Horween Leather factory in Chicago. More petrochemicals come in at Wilson’s factory in Ada, Ohio, where workers sew the leather panels with a cotton and vinyl backing. A polyurethane bladder is then inserted into the ball, and it’s laced up with polyester thread.

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“Private Drought Profiteers”? Or, more efficient use of increasingly scarce resource?

Fossil Fuel Bros want you to continue to bow the head, bend the knee, and pay thru the nose to any Russian Dictator, Arab Oligarch, or Texas Tycoon that is blackmailing you. Fortunately for us, the Ukrainians, and the Europeans, are saying “Hell, No.”

Houston Chronicle:

European oil giant BP predicted Monday the energy price spike caused by the war in Ukraine would drive a faster shift away from oil and other fossil fuels, as nations worried about their energy security turn to wind and solar power.

The oil company reduced its forecast for oil demand in 2035 by almost 6 percent from last year’s levels and raised its forecast for renewable energy, which also includes bio and geothermal energy, by the same amount.

“The events of the past year have highlighted the complexity and interconnectedness of the global energy system. The increased focus on energy security as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war has the potential to accelerate the energy transition as countries seek to increase access to domestically produced energy, much of which is likely to come from renewables and other non-fossil fuels,” said Spencer Dale, chief economist at BP.

The downgrading of oil demand comes as companies and government officials grapple with an increasingly volatile global energy market, as nations move to shift society away from fossil fuels but continue to rely on them for the vast majority of the world’s energy supply.

Speaking at an event Monday hosted by BP, Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, said governments need to overhaul energy policies like they did following the oil crisis of the 1970s.

“The energy transition is not going to be orderly. It’s too big a transition to undertake,” he said. “We’re not going to perfectly coordinate those declines in supply and investment.”

The new forecast comes as European nations move to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas by increasing investments in wind, solar and other forms of clean energy.

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But you knew that.

That whole thing with “oh, please don’t use our farmland for solar” is, as I’ve been saying, bullshit.

New study out of U Wisconsin.

Corn Ethanol vs. Solar Land Use Comparison – University of Wisconsin:

Wisconsin already uses over 1,000,000 acres of agricultural land for energy production in the form of corn used to produce ethanol.

Ethanol is a much less efficient form of energy production compared to solar photovoltaics (PV).

Using Energy Return on Investment (EROI) as a metric, solar PV is around 8 EROI while corn- derived ethanol is approximately 1.2 EROI. Using this metric, 88% of the energy generated by solar PV goes to society, while 12% is offset by production requirements.

In contrast, 20% of the energy generated by corn ethanol goes to society, while 80% is offset by production requirements.

Assuming average EROI, net energy production per acre is 100-125x greater for solar PV than for corn-based ethanol

Looking at land-use efficiency, corn-derived ethanol used to power internal combustion engines requires about 85x (range: 63-197x) as much land to power the same number of transportation miles as solar PV powering electric vehicles.

Even if the ethanol is converted to electricity to power more efficient electric vehicles, corn ethanol still requires 32x the amount of land to power the same number of vehicle miles.

Corn Ethanol vs. Solar

Wisconsin’s one million acres of corn for ethanol can power 10 billion vehicle miles travelled annually with internal combustion engines or 23 billion electric vehicle miles annually. If replaced with solar PV, those 1 million acres could generate enough electricity to power 804 billion electric vehicle miles annually.

This translates to 1 million acres of corn ethanol powering annual travel of 700,000 internal combustion engine passenger cars or 2 million electric vehicles. The same area of solar PV could power the annual travel of 60 million electric vehicles.

These numbers are even more spectacular than the comparison given me by Josh Pierce PhD at Michigan Tech 3 years ago.