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Extinction Rebellion Facing ‘Organised Crime’ Curbs

Government crackdown on extremist group after “unacceptable” attack on free press

Whitehall sources said Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have asked officials to take a ‘fresh look’ at how Extinction Rebellion is classified under the law CREDIT: Alamy Live News

Extinction Rebellion could be treated as an organised crime group as part of a major crackdown on its activities that may also include new protections for MPs, judges and the press, the Telegraph can disclose.

Whitehall sources said Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have asked officials to take a “fresh look” at how the group is classified under the law, after the Prime Minister described its blockading of major printing presses as “completely unacceptable”. 

On Saturday, police were criticised for failing to act more quickly after the blockade began on Friday evening.

Hertfordshire police faced anger for stating that officers were “working to facilitate the rights of both the protesters and those affected by their presence” but protesters were not cooperating.  

“It’s clear they’re not your normal protest group, so you have to look at them in a different way,” said one Whitehall source.

Ministers are also considering new powers making it easier for police to stop demonstrators from entering particular areas, bolstering protections for parts of the UK’s critical national infrastructure, and explicitly outlawing disruption to “tenets of democracy”, such as MPs voting in Parliament, judges attending court, and the printing and distribution of the free press.

The move comes after nearly 200 activists used vehicles and bamboo structures to block roads outside major printing works at Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and Knowsley, near Liverpool.

The presses print The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, along with Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp titles including the Sun and the Times.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) accused the newspapers of failing to report on climate change and chained themselves to the bamboo structures to obstruct the roads outside the works.

But there are fears the group has been infiltrated by far left groups, who want it to pursue a more overtly militant socialist agenda. 

By Saturday night, 80 people had been arrested after the blockades resulted in delays to the distribution of several national publications to shops across the country.

Many readers of The Daily Telegraph were among those prevented from accessing a newspaper. 

The Met Police issued fines totalling £200,000 to activists after they exceeded the limit of 30 people in any one gathering. […]

On Saturday, senior ministers were also discussing whether and how the group could be reclassified to help police to crack down on its activities.

A Whitehall source said one option under discussion was for XR to be viewed as an organised crime group, which could result in its members being policed primarily by the National Crime Agency – Britain’s FBI.

Under the 2015 Serious Crime Act an organised crime group “has at its purpose, or one of its purposes, the carrying on of criminal activities, and consists of three or more people who agree to act together to further that purpose.”

Those found to have participated in the activities of an organised crime group can be imprisoned for up to five years.

More than a thousand XR members have been arrested amid demonstrations since 2018. Activists have been convicted for public order offences, criminal damage and obstructing an engine or a carriage using a railway.

A second Whitehall source said: “They do this in a way that makes it as hard as possible for the police to remove them. The Home Office is looking at various ways we could deal with this kind of incident.”

Some discussions have taken place about whether the group could even be proscribed as a terror organisation, but the source said it was thought to be highly unlikely that it would meet the legal threshold for such a move.

Last year, in a report published by Policy Exchange, Mr Walton said XR should be treated as an extremist anarchist group, after finding that it had a “subversive” agenda rooted in the “political extremism of anarchism” rather than just campaigning on climate change.

Full story (£)

The post Extinction Rebellion Facing ‘Organised Crime’ Curbs appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

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September 5, 2020 at 04:04PM

Derecho Iowa Corn Damage Imaged By Satellite

Corn crop destroyed east of Cedar Rapids on 10 August 2020 (Matt Rogers).

The August 10, 2020 derecho event caused an estimated 40 million acres of nearly-mature corn crop to be significantly damaged or destroyed, mainly in Iowa, but also in portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri.

I put together this NASA Terra satellite MODIS imager comparison of the area as imaged on September 2 in both 2014 (a normal crop year) and in 2020, a few weeks after the derecho struck. This date is sufficiently past the event to show areas where the crops are dead and dying. (Click on image if it doesn’t animate.)

Derecho damage to midwest corn crop as seen by the NASA Terra satellite MODIS imager on September 2, 2020 compared to the same date in 2014. (Click on image to animate).

The dashed line in Fig. 1 shows the approximate area where crop damage seems most extensive.

What Causes Derechos? How Common are They? Can they Be Predicted?

Derechos are severe thunderstorm “squall line” high wind events that are particularly widespread and long-lived, typically moving rapidly across multiple states. This video taken in Cedar Rapids shows about 25 minutes of very high winds, with occasional gusts taking out trees and tree limbs.

Derechos are particularly difficult to predict. For example, the NWS Storms Prediction Center early morning outlook (issued at 7 a.m.) for severe weather showed little indication of unusual severe storm activity prior to the August 10 event.

Fig. 2. Storms Prediction Center outlook for severe thunderstorms on 10 August 2020, issued at 7 a.m. CDT.

Once the derecho formed over eastern South Dakota and Nebraska, though, the forecast advisory was updated to reflect the high probability that it would persist and move east.

Like all severe thunderstorms, we know that derechos require an unstable air mass (usually during summertime), with some wind shear provided by an advancing cool front and upper-level trough to the west. But most of these synoptic situations do not cause derechos to form, and forecasters can’t predict one every time such conditions exist or there will be a lot of false alarms.

The following plot shows an 18 year climatology of derecho events during May-August of 1996 through 2013 from a 2016 study by Gaustini & Bosart. 

Fig. 3. Climatology of progressive derecho events for the warm season (May–August) of 1996–2013. The number of progressive derechos passing through a given 100 km × 100 km grid box over the 18-yr span is located at the center of the grid box and is plotted for those boxes containing at least one progressive derecho. (From Gaustini & Bosart, 2016 Monthly Weather Review ).

Note that a farmer in the corn belt will be impacted by maybe one or two derecho events per growing season, depending upon their location, although ones of the severity of the August 10 event are much more rare. Of course there is nothing a farmer can do about such events, even if they were accurately forecast.

Given the central placement of derecho activity in the corn belt, I suspect that these events are made somewhat worse by the huge moisture requirements of corn, which leads to very high dewpoints (oftentimes in the low-80s F) when the corn is actively growing and transpiring water. Any extra water vapor is extra fuel for these storms.

via Roy Spencer, PhD.

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September 5, 2020 at 03:50PM

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Reposted from The Pipeline

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At this point in the global hysteria — increasingly mixed with petty bureaucratic malevolence — over Covid-19, we have seamlessly passed from tragedy to farce, as a Marxist might say. As far back as April, it was already clear that the international Left was being forced to choose between its twin apocalyptic wet dreams of global destruction via “climate change” and global destruction via the second coming of the Black Death, aka, the Dreaded Coronavirus. If we didn’t all drown from the rising oceans or fry under a burning sun, we would fall like tenpins to a virus of such deadliness that it has a kill rate of .04% and most victims don’t even know they have it.

Why the Left has such a burning psychological need to constantly fantasize about destruction is no secret: in effect, they are a monomaniacal suicide cult with the added fillip of wanting to take the rest of the world down with them. They exist fearfully in a crabbed, constricted self-prison, in which anything — a breath, a fart, a sneeze, the flick of a light switch — can unleash cataclysmic events. What the arbitrary and capricious lockdowns have taught us — in addition to the fact that the American constitution is now clinically dead, and that the Bill of Rights no longer is absolute — is to fear our fellow man and thus turn ourselves into a nation of snitches and scolds.

A rising tide sinks all boats.

And so we are lectured to by children, and harried by agents of the state for the most trivial of offenses, most of which seem to be violating laws passed yesterday by thug governments criminalizing dissent from state orthodoxy. This story, concerning a pregnant woman arrested in front of her husband and children is bad enough:

“Arresting a pregnant female, it’s never going to look good. The optics of arresting someone who is pregnant is terrible,” Mr Cornelius said. “We were very keen to understand the circumstances and consider whether or not in all the circumstances that action was appropriate. And I can say to you, based on the briefings that have been provided to me and my colleague, Assistant Commissioner Cindy Millen, we’re satisfied in those circumstances the members behaved appropriately and in accordance with our policy.”

Mr Cornelius said the handcuffing of Ms Buhler was standard procedure when officers are executing a search warrant at a home but the handcuffs were removed as soon as police rendered the situation safe. “I’ve seen the footage, and you know, in my assessment, the members have conducted themselves entirely reasonably,” Mr Cornelius said.

Watch the video at the link just above and you be the judge of its “reasonableness.” And then watch this:

Once a penal colony, always a penal colony.

Still, on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend pro tempore, it’s been amusing to watch the two imaginary bugbears of “climate change” and the “Dreaded Corona” turn on each other. Not only has the virus spared us further manifestations of Greta Thunberg, last seen going sheepishly back to school in wintry Sweden, it’s also seriously damaged the “green energy” quasi-industry:

Before the coronavirus pandemic arrived this year, clean energy was one of fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy. But since moderate stages of recovery began, experts say the industry has struggled to find footing. Just 3,200 jobs returned to the clean energy sector in July, Labor Department data shows.

That 0.1% employment growth has left more than 500,000 workers in fields including energy efficiency, solar and wind energy and clean vehicles without a job, an industry-sponsored analysis by the BW Research Partnership shows.

Before you can say, gee, that’s too damn bad, there’s more:

The last few months have seen a major reversal of fortune for a sector that grew 70% faster than the entire economy between 2015 and 2019 and had been employing three times as many workers as real estate, banking or agriculture. At July’s growth rate, industry leaders say, it will take 15 years to replace the jobs that were wiped away by the pandemic.

The slow rebound can be blamed, they add, on a slate of pandemic-related restrictions and consequences that have combined to affect the industry.

Well… who decreed the “pandemic-related restrictions” in the first place? Which political party signifies its acquiescence to the whims of the state by wearing face masks on all possible occasions? How do the Karens of the world vote?

This is the path madness takes, once you go crazy. A central tenet of Leftist “woke” practice is 1) posit a counter-factual and, 2) act upon it as if it were real. The problem comes when the gulf between what you believe (imminent annihilation caused by driving to the supermarket to load up on groceries) and reality (the sun comes up tomorrow on pretty much the same planet it came up on when Caesar walked the earth).

Accordingly, the Left has spent — and demanded that we spend as well — billions of dollars to indulge their “climate change” fantasy: money now circling the drain in order to indulge their “Black Death” fantasy. That both fantasies are devoted to the destruction of the capitalism system in general and the U.S.A. in particular accounts for their passionate devotion to both, even though that were both true, their own destruction is equally guaranteed.

Some of the job losses have come in the energy-efficiency industry which — as long as it makes economic sense — is regrettable. Everybody wants to pass less for energy, not more, so it the more we can make our appliances better and more efficient, the more insulated our homes are, the better it is for “the planet” (if the planet cares, which it doesn’t) and our pocketbooks.

“Out of the 3.2 million people who work in the clean energy field — or did up until this year — the vast majority are in the energy efficiency field,” Bob Keefe, executive director of the non-partisan advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), told UPI. “Those are people who go into buildings and do everything from installing insulation in the walls and ceilings to swapping out incandescent lighting for LED lighting.”

The sudden idling in the industry has brought into focus impressive growth it has experienced in recent years. By late 2018, more than 2.3 million Americans were working the field, and the growth rate was more than 5%, according to last year’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report.

Only a sheep could love them.

Another element in the slowdown are the declining sales of such talismans as solar panels, sold to a gullible public as helping to power your own home when the sun shines but in reality simply making the sucker pay to contribute to the electric grid for others.

One theory is that homeowners are wary of strange workmen coming to their homes while the Black Death runs wild in the streets, but a more likely answer is that the customer has finally wised up to the scam.

As for the unsightly goliaths slowing spinning their alien turbines above the water line, or disfiguring the landscape from sea shore to mountain ranges, the nearly prohibitive cost of making, maintaining, and disposing of them, the less said the better.

But it’s an article of faith among the regressive Left that the way forward is backward, to the days of windmills and waterwheels. Lacking a belief in God, the feminized Left increasingly lacks a belief in Man as well, especially in his ability to adapt to changing conditions with inventions and common sense. As Camille Paglia wrote in her seminal treatise on sex and culture, Sexual Personae, “If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.”

This is the end result of a Safety First philosophy, under which any outcome that could possibly be bad is to be avoided by simply refusing to engage. No ships should cross the ocean, no wagons rolling westward ho, no rockets to infinity and beyond. Progress cannot come without death, the thinking goes, so if death cannot be tolerated, then neither can progress. Which means, in the end, that the end stage of “progressive” liberalism can only be totalitarianism: that which is not expressly allowed is forbidden, unless we whimsically decree otherwise.

Why, just this week, another embarrassing Antipodean country, New Zealand, ha suspended the shipments of one of the few things anybody wants to buy from it — cattle — after a boat bearing 6,000 moo cows capsized and sank, with a horrifying bovine death toll. Instead of finding out why the vessel sank off the coast of Japan (which doesn’t have a lot of grazing land), the reaction was… well, let the New York Times tell it:

New Zealand has suspended the export of live cattle after a ship that left its shores with 43 crew members and nearly 6,000 cows capsized off Japan this week, raising fresh questions about the safety and ethics of transporting livestock by sea.

Animals rights activists say the move did not go far enough because the transnational livestock trade is rife with abuses. “Ultimately, this is a trade that has to be banned,” said Will Appelbe, a spokesman for SAFE, an animal welfare group in New Zealand.

Of course it does, along with everything and anybody else that could go wrong. And if — like Pennywise the Clown from It, you have to live the rest of your life in a sunless subterranean lair, comrade, remember: it’s for your own safety.Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints, and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace and its sequel, The Fiery Angel. His latest book, Last Stands, a study of military history from the Greeks to the present, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in December. Follow him on Twitter @dkahanerules

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September 5, 2020 at 04:20PM

Huge temperature drop for Denver

“I looked at the forecast today (Saturday, 5 Sep 2020) for Denver, CO and noticed an extreme drop in temperature coming up,” says Reader Jack Hydrazine.

“On Labor Day, 7 Sep 2020, the high temperature is expected to be 91 degrees F (32.8C). On Tuesday, 8 Sep 2020, the high is expected to be 37 degrees F (2.8C) and the low will be 27 degrees F (-2.8C) with 4.1 inches (10.4cm) of snow on the ground.”

“The following days are forecast to be 52 degrees F, then 65, 79, and 83.”

https://www.wunderground.com/forecast/us/co/denver

The post Huge temperature drop for Denver appeared first on Ice Age Now.

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September 5, 2020 at 02:19PM

Council ‘sorry’ as energy company collapses

This scheme trumpeted: “Since July 2018 all of the electricity we supply to our customers is 100% green*. Whichever tariff you take from us all of the electricity we provide is certified as being sourced from UK based wind and solar generators.”
But now comes the real cost – a loss of many millions of pounds incurred by local ratepayers as it all goes pear-shaped. If anyone is surprised, they shouldn’t be.

– – –
The council leader admits selling the customer base will not make back the millions it invested, reports BBC News.

Robin Hood Energy (RHE) is shutting with the loss of 230 jobs despite millions poured into it by Nottingham City Council.

British Gas will take on its customer base of thousands of homes in England.

The council said the sale will not make up all its losses, which leaked documents suggest are £38.1 million.

Extract from the BBC analysis:

This has been a disaster and an embarrassment for Nottingham City Council.

At a time when they routinely criticise central government for a loss of funding, they’ve been publicly shamed for losing millions in taxpayer cash.

What’s more, they’ve had to accept it. No spin. No deflection. A straight and unavoidable mea culpa.

Full report here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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September 5, 2020 at 12:54PM

Criminal charges dropped in case of polar bear shot by cruise ship guards in 2018

The guards from a cruise ship who shot an emaciated bear in self-defense in late July 2018 on the remote island of Phippsøya in northern Svalbard have had criminal charges against them dropped. It is illegal to kill polar bears in Norway, so the death of the bear automatically triggered a criminal investigation.

Polar bear shot in self defense on the island of Phippsøya in the Sjuoyene group north of Spitzbergen 28 July 2018 by guards from a cruise ship, photo courtesy Govenor of Svalbard.

This case, which made international headlines and sparked outrage at the time, also saw charges laid against the cruise ship that employed the guards. However, all charges against the company have also been dropped. See below for details on the decision and my post about the incident in 2018. No information on the condition of the bear was included in the statement about criminal charges.

Phippsøya is part of the Sjuoyene island group in northern Svalbard.

Here is the report from the Govenor of Svalbard (4 September 2020), courtesy Google Translate:

The first public prosecutor at Troms and Finnmark public prosecutor’s offices has dropped the criminal cases against the polar bear guards who shot and killed a polar bear on Phippsøya in July 2018 and against the company.

– The cases against the polar bear guards who shot and killed the polar bear have been dropped due to emergency law. This means that the act is punishable, but is considered legal because it was taken to save the life of the man who was attacked by the bear, says assistant governor Sølvi Elvedahl.

-In the case of the company, the Public Prosecutor has also not found that the conditions for punishment are present. The case against the company is therefore left to the position of the evidence, she states.

The incident happened on Saturday 28 July 2018 when four polar bear guards, an expedition leader, a photographer and a number of other crew members – a total of 14 people, from the tourist ship “Bremen” were put ashore with two zodiac boats in Isflakbukta on Phippsøya.

The polar bear guards went ashore first. Shortly after disembarking, the first two polar bear guards were sent out into the terrain to check for polar bears on the other side of a bank. The area was visible and appeared clear. However, it turned out that a polar bear was staying in a dump, so it was not visible from the boat or the beach. One polar bear guard went after the bear, who in cash attacked him.

The polar bear guard suffered head injuries after the attack, but survived. The polar bear was first shot at with frightening agents without reacting visibly to this, and without wanting to end the attack on the polar bear guard. Then three shots were fired that killed the polar bear.
– The case was documented with photos from the photographer who was involved, and the prosecution thus got a good overview of the incident, says Sølvi Elvedahl.

Criminal cases were opened against the two who shot at the polar bear and killed it – which follows from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, where it is a criminal offense to kill a polar bear.

A case was also opened against the company. The investigation focused on, among other things, whether the company had routines that properly mapped hazards and problems, as well as the company’s measures with regard to procedures for polar bears and polar bear protection.

via polarbearscience

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September 5, 2020 at 12:11PM

Hurricane Laura was the latest storm to strengthen fast, but is rapid intensification really becoming more common?

Chris SlocumColorado State University

Hurricane Laura blew up quickly as it headed for the Louisiana coast, intensifying from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in less than 24 hours. By the time it made it landfall, it was a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 150 mile-per-hour winds.

The Atlantic has seen several hurricanes rapidly intensify like this in recent years.

In 2018, Hurricane Michael unexpectedly jumped from Category 2 to Category 5 in the span of a day before hitting the Florida Panhandle. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017 also met the definition of rapid intensification: an increase of at least 35 miles per hour in a 24-hour period. Based on preliminary reports from the National Hurricane Center, Laura gained 65 mph in one 24-hour period and, more impressively, added 80 mph from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27.

But do all these fast-growing, powerful storms in recent years mean rapid intensification is becoming more common?

With information about hurricanes coming through social media and phone apps, that’s a question hurricane scientists like myself are hearing a lot. It’s useful to consider a few things: the history of U.S. hurricanes, why the Atlantic is currently so active, and the ingredients that allow storms to strengthen so quickly.

What makes storms blow up?

Just as a pastry chef needs all the ingredients to successfully make a cake, storms like Laura need favorable conditions to be able to form and rapidly intensify.

Three key ingredients help a hurricane rapidly intensify:

  • Warm ocean waters. Hurricanes draw energy from warm surface water, particularly when it’s at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.
  • Ample moisture, or water content in the atmosphere, to maintain clouds.
  • Low vertical wind shear. This is a measure of how the wind changes speed and direction with height in the atmosphere. High wind shear will disrupt the clouds, making it hard for the storm to stay together.

When all of these ingredients are present, vigorous thunderstorms can form and organize, allowing a robust eyewall to develop. Large-scale changes in ocean temperature, like the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, can also have an impact on hurricane activity.

Because these ingredients change, the Atlantic hurricane season varies year to year. This year, as the seasonal forecasts created by Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned, the ingredients are favorable for an active season with more major hurricanes. A review of storms from 1981 to 2012 found that 70% of major Atlantic hurricanes – those reaching Category 3 or higher – had gone through rapid intensification. https://www.youtube.com/embed/9-_obMEF_2o?wmode=transparent&start=0

Why don’t all storms grow this quickly?

Just having the right water temperature and moisture won’t ensure that storms will undergo rapid intensification or become major hurricanes.

We saw that with Hurricane Marco. It swept through the Gulf of Mexico just ahead of Hurricane Laura but weakened to a tropical storm before landfall.

A big difference was the wind shear. The thunderstorms powering Marco’s core struggled to stay connected to its circulation as high wind shear in the Gulf of Mexico stripped them away.

When then-Tropical Storm Laura passed over Cuba into the Gulf, the high wind shear conditions had receded, leaving nothing but a favorable environment for Laura to develop catastrophic winds and a dangerous storm surge.

As with ice skaters who pull their arms in during a spin to rotate faster, the thunderstorms of Laura’s eyewall pulled in the atmosphere around the storm, causing the winds to accelerate into a high-end Category 4 storm. While there are additional complexities to this process, a theoretical framework for intensification that I further developed with colleauges highlights how the location of eyewall thunderstorms relative to the storm’s maximum winds triggers rapid intensification. This theory has been supported by eyewall observations collected during “hurricane hunter” flights.

So, are these events becoming more common?

This is a challenging question and an active topic of research.

Because rapidly intensifying hurricanes are fairly rare, there isn’t enough information yet to say if rapid intensification is happening more often. The hurricane research community has consistent, reliable observations of storm intensity only since the start of the satellite era and routine storm-penetrating “hurricane hunter” flights since the 1970s.

We have seen more rapid intensification events in recent years, and some scientists have concluded that the warming climate is likely playing a role. However, we’ve also had more active hurricane seasons in those years, and more work needs to be done in this area to understand global trends, such as why hurricanes are crossing ocean basins more slowly.

To try to answer this puzzle, hurricane researchers are using historical records to help refine mathematical theories and computer simulations of storms to better understand rapid intensification. The new knowledge will continue to improve forecast guidance and lead to a better understanding of how hurricanes will change in an evolving climate system.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

Chris Slocum, Physical Scientist, NOAA and Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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September 5, 2020 at 12:05PM