Friday, May 28, 2021

Energy 144, Shell and oil companies are penalized because consumers and motorists use their products

The climate alarm activists are winning more often these days. They targetted the big oil companies to be penalized for their "climate crimes" because people find their products very useful -- for ordinary cars and motorcycles to tractors, harvesters, buses, boats, planes, etc. (This Pixar planes and cars from Worthpoint).

My three related articles on this:

1. Climate Tricks 51, The CCC, Greenpeace and fossil fuels, February 01, 2016

2. Climate Tricks 56, Using the CHR for climate harassment, July 30, 2016

3. CHR investigates ‘carbon majors’ by using more fossil fuels 
January 7, 2019 | 9:41 pm 
https://www.bworldonline.com/chr-investigates-carbon-majors-by-using-more-fossil-fuels/

This week, they won. See these reports and opinions below. So the climate activists like Greenpeace and UN, governments climate negotiators use lots of fossil fuels with their frequent travels worldwide (pre-pandemic, slowly recovering now) and it's the fault of the oil companies, hahaha, what a hypocrisy.
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Shell Ordered by Dutch Court to Cut Carbon Emissions
Lawyers say the ruling, which Shell can appeal, could set a precedent in other Western jurisdictions
By Sarah McFarlane  Updated May 26, 2021 3:01 pm ET
wsj.com/articles/shell-ordered-by-dutch-court-to-cut-carbon-emissions-11622038961

The ruling, issued by the district court in The Hague and stemming from a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, found Shell must curb its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, compared with 2019 levels. 

Oil Giants Are Dealt Major Defeats on Climate Change as Pressures Intensify
Shell and Exxon lose landmark decisions on the same day, demonstrating growing threats to fossil-fuel companies from activists and investors
By Sarah McFarlane and Christopher M. Matthews   Updated May 26, 2021 7:46 pm ET 
https://www.wsj.com/articles/oil-giants-are-dealt-devastating-blows-on-climate-change-as-pressures-intensify-11622065455

...in the U.S., an activist investor won at least two seats on Exxon’s board, a historic defeat for the oil giant that will likely require it to alter its fossil-fuel focused strategy.

The back-to-back, watershed decisions demonstrated how dramatically the landscape is shifting for oil-and-gas companies as they face increasing pressure from environmentalists, investors, lenders, politicians and regulators to transition to cleaner forms of energy.

Dutch Court Orders Shell To Aggressively Cut Carbon Emissions In Landmark Decision
BY TYLER DURDEN   WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2021 - 08:40 PM 
https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/dutch-court-orders-shell-aggressively-cut-carbon-emissions-landmark-decision

The big change here is that until now oil companies have mostly faced lawsuits related to environmental damages that they specifically caused, like an oil spill. Now, court rulings could allow activists to influence energy company policy more directly, with courts threatening massive fines if the firms don't comply.

Activist Wins Exxon Board Seats After Questioning Oil Giant’s Climate Strategy
Engine No. 1’s victory in one of the most expensive proxy fights ever is unprecedented setback for Exxon and CEO Darren Woods
By Christopher M. Matthews  Updated May 26, 2021 6:17 pm ET 
https://www.wsj.com/articles/activist-wins-exxon-board-seats-after-questioning-oil-giants-climate-strategy-11622050087

An activist investor’s successful campaign to win seats on the board of Exxon Mobil Corp. represents a historic defeat for the oil giant, one that will likely force it to more directly confront growing shareholder concerns about climate change.

What The Shell Climate Case Means For Big Oil
By Cyril Widdershoven - May 27, 2021, 1:00 PM CDT 
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/What-The-Shell-Climate-Case-Means-For-Big-Oil.html

One group that is likely to be celebrating this ruling is the national oil companies around the world. Rulings like this reduce the market power of IOCs and independents, leaving national oil companies and private-equity to supply, produce, and rule oil and gas in the future. When looking at the legal basis of the court order, it could be argued that moving all oil and gas volumes into the hands of national oil companies could result in exactly the opposite of what the court was attempting to achieve.

Shell’s Court Rebuke Marks the Start of a New War Against Big Oil
The group that won a landmark climate ruling by a Dutch judge is already working on cases against other fossil fuel companies
By Laura Millan Lombrana  May 27, 2021, 8:18 PM GMT+8 
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-27/shell-s-court-rebuke-marks-the-start-of-a-new-war-against-big-oil

“We are already supporting other organizations to set up similar cases in their countries,” Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands said. 

“This court case and verdict open a whole new approach to climate litigation and because of its success it will be copied by other civil society organizations in the rest of the world,” Pols said.

Expect A Wave Of Climate Lawsuits Against Big Oil Following Shell's Case
By Tsvetana Paraskova - May 27, 2021, 11:00 AM CDT 
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Expect-A-Wave-Of-Climate-Lawsuits-Against-Big-Oil-Following-Shells-Case.html

Friends of the Earth Netherlands filed the lawsuit against Shell in the Netherlands and is now helping other organizations to force emissions reductions at other companies in other countries...

Commenting on the Dutch court ruling against Shell, Andy Palmen, interim director of Greenpeace Netherlands, said: “We can hold multinational corporations worldwide accountable for the climate crisis.”

Meanwhile, WTI has touched $67+ per barrel today, highest this year. Could be a reaction to these two events. The climate alarmism activists can only attack western based companies but they may never have the courage to do that companies owned by the governments of Russia, Saudi, Iran, Venezuela, China, etc.
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See also:
Energy 141, Carbon-methane-nitrogen tax, environmental damage of RE, March 09, 2021 
Energy 142, Earth Day, Miscellaneous energy articles, April 28, 2021 
Energy 143, IEA embraces darkness economics, May 23, 2021.

BWorld 489, Should we return to the office?

* My column in BusinessWorld, May 25, 2021.
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This is the title of the BusinessWorld Insights online forum series today, May 25. My position on this question is “Yes, we should return to the office, very soon.” I have three reasons and they are substantiated in the tables and summary of various company experiences below.

One, indefinite lockdown and stay-at-home orders which cover even many young and healthy people are anti-growth. Among the top 50 largest economies in the world in 2020, the Philippines was the 4th worst performer. And in the first quarter 2021, of the 34 of these top 50 countries which have reported their GDP as of this writing, the Philippines is again the 4th worst performer, behind the UK, Portugal, and Spain (see Table 1).

Two, among Philippine industries, the worst affected are those that involved face-to-face customer relations, like hotels and restaurants, malls and office/residential condos, and public transportation, especially provincial buses. Construction is adversely affected by the strict lockdowns and mobility restrictions like checkpoints between provincial and city boundaries (see Table 2).

Three, working from home (WFH) and remote offices cannot be a one-size-fits-all model for all industries and sectors, even for those that remote work is theoretically possible. Slow internet connection in many houses (unlike in offices) and regular power interruptions in some provinces are among the factors that make WFH not ideal for seamless work.

Being one of the speakers in the BusinessWorld Insights event, I asked some friends to share with me their company experiences, some interesting results of which I summarize below. Only Norconsult Management Services (NMS) Philippines and Protégé Communications (a PR firm) agreed to divulge their company names, the rest want to remain private. Thank you, friends.

Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in a physical setup vs. working remotely?

1. NMS

Physical set up: Advantage — coordination is easier, most equipment is in the office including printers, IT servers; conversations/meeting feel more human. Disadvantage — fear of virus exposure, stress is magnified and eats into staff productivity.

WFH: Advantage — safe, time saving, no grooming/preparation to go to the office, travel. Disadvantage — breaks in-between work seem to be totally forgotten; one ends up sitting the whole day in front of the computer working or attending Zooms.

2. PROTEGE COMMUNICATIONS

WFH: Advantages — not having to wake up at 5 a.m. for a 9 a.m. meeting; many face-to-face meetings can actually be covered by an e-mail. Disadvantages — losing human contact; you cannot e-mail a firm handshake or pat an employee on a back for a job well done.

3. LAW OFFICE

WFH: Advantages — Less time wasted on the road/traffic; personal interaction and networking maintained. Disadvantages — delivery of justice at its worst; court hearings last year were down 80-90%. This year, system is slowly improving.

4. AUDITING FIRM

WFH: Advantages — safe; staff in provinces now not renting room in Makati; minimize office rent and utility; availability of staff 24/7, can respond to e-mails even at late night. Disadvantages — additional cost to cover staff communication and electricity; emotional stress, thin line between work and personal lives, they feel exhausted; power interruption happens regularly in some areas in Luzon affecting work; staff lack sense of corporate identity due to minimal attendance in corporate gathering; life span of laptops tend to be short, no aircon at home, added cost to buy new laptops.

5. ENERGY COMPANY

WFH: Advantages — communications, interactions, meetings, events, interviews, or whatever kind of connection changed to Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Streamyard, FB Live etc.; allowed for longer work hours, heightened productivity and more instantaneous results as stressful travel/traffic is gone. Everybody was accessible all the time now. Disadvantages —Less human interaction affects team dynamics; weak internet signal at home affecting productivity.

6. FOOD RETAIL CHAIN

WFH: Advantages — remote supervision of business; initially resulted in poor engagement and more lapses, could also be caused by overall stress of getting sick, fears of the stores closing down. Disadvantages — face shields and facemasks wear down employees making them mistake-prone, adjusted later. Now no one is raising fears of the virus but mostly unemployment concerns.

7. POPCORN CHAIN

Physical set up: Advantages — Set hours of physical presence; easy communication through centralized location, access to files; easy access of customers and business affiliates; easy dispatch of customer order and delivery; easy and faster delivery receipt of raw materials from suppliers. Disadvantages — traffic, time and fuel consumed; risk of virus contamination.

WFH: Advantages — flexible hours and mobility; no attire restriction; risk-free from virus; less (physical) pressure from boss and co-workers. Disadvantages — Less communication between management and co-workers; increase in house utilities bill; temptation to slack off, house/family distraction.

8. SAVINGS BANK

Physical set up: Advantages — Onsite reporting. Disadvantages — semblance of normalcy, but one year after the pandemic, reporting onsite has become abnormal; lost good people to companies with full WFH arrangements.

WFH: Advantages — allows employees to report to nearest branch; saves travel time. Disadvantages — needed more space and connectivity provisions in telecommute branches.

9. HOTEL WITH OPLAN KALINGA CONTRACT FOR RETURNING OFWS

Employees would rather have House Use (free hotel accommodation) than WFH or work remotely. Advantages — employees are more comfortable and have confidence on safety protocols in the hotel; poor connectivity at home; eliminates stress from commuting and contracting the virus.

The decision to return to the office and go back to old normal ultimately rests on the companies and individuals themselves. For those who are confident enough because they have attained natural herd immunity (especially the young), or been vaccinated, or have effective prophylaxis and early treatment drugs, government should not impose more mobility restrictions and lift the strict and indefinite lockdowns.
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See also:
BWorld 486, What is the optimal energy mix? May 05, 2021 
BWorld 487, Vaccination rates and lockdown, May 13, 2021 
BWorld 488, GDP contraction, government overspending, and non-green recovery, May 23, 2021.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Covid 39, Call To Action vs Corruption, Lockdowns and COVID-19

Reposting here the latest statement of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH).
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A Call To Action For All Filipino Leaders and Citizens vs Corruption, Lockdowns and COVID-19

For a growing number of Filipinos, this pandemic has uncovered not just a disease from a virus but a cancer in the very fabric of our society. We are greatly disturbed to find a palpable bias by social media platforms, health institutions, some health experts and government health regulators against the array of means and medications with great potential for prevention and cure of COVID-19. Many of these are cheap, readily available, safe and effective measures against respiratory diseases like COVID-19. For many months now our health authorities have either ignored or advised against the use of the Essential Medicine Ivermectin, Vitamins C and D, exposure to sunlight, exercise, focused protection of the elderly and vulnerable, limited testing and symptoms-based diagnosis.

  In lieu of common sense and standard medical practices mankind has followed in decades past, Filipinos today are being forced to adhere to rules that are often ineffective and costly with some even having been proven to be extremely damaging. These include city- or region-wide lockdowns and closures of our businesses, irrational and pointless quarantines of OFWs and other travelers, the scientifically baseless confinement of our children and the shuttering of their schools, the mandatory use of face shields which leave users prone to accidents, and the reliance on the notoriously inaccurate high cycle RT-PCR for diagnosis and screening. 

This oppressive and unprecedented response to this health crisis is wholly undemocratic and clearly motivated by greed. As though our human rights have not been violated enough, immoral and unconstitutional legislation is now pending in Congress that would force experimental vaccines on every Filipino -- children included -- while a few power-mad lawmakers appear to be seeking to guarantee nothing but discrimination against Filipinos who have the inalienable God-given right to choose whose medical advice to take and whose not to trust.

It is time to end this nightmare. It is time to act now to take back our lives for the sake of our children and grandchildren, the elderly and our economy. Filipinos must come together today to defend our rights and liberties, not just as patients but as law-abiding and tax-paying citizens whose lives and livelihoods have already been ruined over the last 15 months by the rudderless and incoherent management of the Department of Health. It is time for our people to demand that the President replace the Secretary of Health and the Director General of the FDA with responsible public officials who will remember that they are in their positions to serve the free and sovereign Filipino people, not to call us names, treat us like children or tell us how to run our lives. We have suffered their arrogance long enough. Our OFWs have suffered their callousness enough. Our children have suffered their incompetence, shortsightedness and possible corruption enough. God help the Philippines! 

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines
May 20, 2021
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See also:
Covid 36, CDC PH new website, FB disabled-restored again the group page, May 13, 2021 
Covid 37, Facebook deletion of CDC PH page, Doc Iggy at Congress Committee hearing, May 18, 2021 
Covid 38, Dr. Agbayani debunks Dr. Salvana vax pushing, May 23, 2021.

Macroecon 5, Inflation rates of many countries, Oct 2020 to April 2021

The advocates of "modern monetary theory" (MMT) which is actually medieval monetary hypothesis (MMH), that government should print print print money then spend spend spend, are possibly happy with the new trend of rising inflation in many countries because their real leftist goal is hyper inflation and destruction of economies.

Inflation rate (%) Oct. 2020 to April 2021, G7 countries except Japan. I will include Japan in the next chart.

https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/inflation-rate

North East Asia plus India. Japan deflation continues while S. Korea, Taiwan and China experience rising inflation. India has erratic trend.

The ASEAN-6, same trend of rising inflation except Indonesia. What is Pres. Jokowi doing that is right?

We prepare our pockets with double whammy from governments -- rising inflation rates today, rising taxes and fees tomorrow.
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See also:
Macroecon 2, Modest growth in Q1 2021, some Asian countries, April 30, 2021 |
Macroecon 3, Five quarters of consecutive Philippines GDP contraction, May 11, 2021 
Macroecon 4, Q1 2021 GDP of Europe, SE and NE Asia, May 22, 2021.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Energy 143, IEA embraces darkness economics

The ecological socialism agenda has shown their power once again with strong sway over the International Energy Agency (IEA).

IEA: Net-Zero Goal Means No More New Oil And Gas Investment Ever 
By Tsvetana Paraskova - May 18, 2021, 9:00 AM CDT
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/IEA-Net-Zero-Goal-Means-No-More-New-Oil-And-Gas-Investment-Ever.html

The IEA’s Latest Proposal Is Both Reckless And Impossible
By Cyril Widdershoven - May 18, 2021, 7:00 PM CDT
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-IEAs-Latest-Proposal-Is-Both-Reckless-And-Impossible.html

Ban All New Gas Boilers By 2025 Say IEA 
By Paul Homewood   MAY 18, 2021
https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2021/05/18/ban-all-new-gas-boilers-by-2025-say-iea/

Net Zero by 2050   A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector (224 pages) https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/0716bb9a-6138-4918-8023-cb24caa47794/NetZeroby2050-ARoadmapfortheGlobalEnergySector.pdf

On page 20 of the report, this is summary of their ecological socialism agenda -- by 2021 no new coal plants, no new oil and gas fields; by 2030 phaseout of all coal power plants in rich countries, by 2040 phaseout of all other coal plants even in poor countries, by 2050 solar-wind must constitute 70% of global electricity generation. The other 30% from where, biomass, geothermal, hydro? Note that there is zero mention of nuclear power.


Implicitly supporting Darkness Economics, IEA pretends to be ignorant that the real "dirty energy" are candles which the poor buy if there is no electricity. More candles, more fires. Also animal dung (methane emission) or firewood (heavy smoke) for cooking instead of using LPG. 
See Climate 101, Degrowth and Darkness Economics, Fr. Villarin lecture, May 15, 2021.

A good article from Reuters, there is pushback from some Asian governments.

Asia snubs IEA's call to stop new fossil fuel investments 
Yuka ObayashiSonali Paul  May 20, 2021  9:35 AM PST 
https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/asia-snubs-ieas-call-stop-new-fossil-fuel-investments-2021-05-19/

...Akihisa Matsuda, the deputy director of international affairs at Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), said the government has no plans to immediately stop oil, gas and coal investments.

"The report provides one suggestion as to how the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, but it is not necessarily in line with the Japanese government's policy," he said.

"Japan needs to protect its energy security including a stable supply of electricity, so we will balance this with our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050."

Asia snubs IEA’s call to stop new fossil fuel investments 
By Paul Homewood  MAY 20, 2021 
https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2021/05/20/asia-snubs-ieas-call-to-stop-new-fossil-fuel-investments/
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Other related stories: 

Think Gas Shortages Are Bad? Buckle Up
Jason Isaac   May 18, 2021
https://www.theepochtimes.com/think-gas-shortages-are-bad-buckle-up_3818902.html

And Elon Musk is pushing to make gasoline-using cars become expensive via carbon tax so that his "no carbon emission" kuno electric cars would appear artificially cheaper. This is like FirstGen pushing to make coal power plants become expensive via higher excise tax, soon carbon tax, so that their "low carbon emission" kuno gas power plants would appear artificially cheaper.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk renews call for carbon tax
'It's not like we shouldn't have carbon-generated things, there should be a price on this stuff,' he recently said on a podcast.
by Louis Casiano May 13, 2021
https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/elon-musk-carbon-tax

Elon Musk Demands a Carbon Tax
Eric Worrall  May 15. 2021
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/05/14/elon-musk-demands-a-carbon-tax/

"a call for a carbon tax is a heartless attack on poor people, an admission the alternative to fossil fuel is too expensive to thrive without government coercion."
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See also:
Energy 140, Texas blackouts, wind turbines frozen, February 21, 2021 
Energy 141, Carbon-methane-nitrogen tax, environmental damage of RE, March 09, 2021 
Energy 142, Earth Day, Miscellaneous energy articles, April 28, 2021.

Covid 38, Dr. Agbayani debunks Dr. Salvana vax pushing

I am reposting here a Viber post by Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani Jr., President of the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH, https://cdcph.org/). 

A few days ago, Dr. Edsel Salvana, the most high profile medical consultant of IATF on indefinite lockdown and vaccines, posted 10 points about the vaccines. This meme is from one of the lectures of Doc Iggy. 

Doc Iggy and his former Professor at the UP College of Medicine, Dr. Romy Quijano, have a great discussion about herd immunity, vaccines, lockdowns, Ivermectin, other medical and non-medical treatment and prevention of Covid – “Health updates May 21, 2021”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jFHUm9_5T0

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A CRITIQUE OF EDSEL SALVANAS UPDATE ON VACCINES
By Dr. Iggy Agbayani
May 23, 2021 

I’M NOT A VACCINE EXPERT BUT I’M A DOCTOR TOO, AND LIKE ALL CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO VERIFY AND CRITICIZE ANY SHARED INFO ON HEALTH.

Edsel Salvana (ES): “1. ALL approved vaccines work well against severe COVID-19 infection. All people who are in the vulnerable population should get ANY properly approved vaccine as soon as possible.”

ME: There is No study that has shown evidence to predict that all approved vaccines will work well against severe infection. Covid -19 vaccines have not shown any long term safety studies to be highly recommended especially in the elderly with many comorbids.

ES: “2. FULL vaccine protection kicks in 2 weeks AFTER the 2nd dose (except for J&J). There is already partial protection from the first dose. For Astra with the 2nd dose at 12 weeks it can be up to 80%.”

ME: “Full vaccine protection” is often not achieved. You can be fully vaccinated but not fully protected. It’s an intentional play of words and half truth to convince us that we get full protection with every vaccination even if we don’t.

ES: “3. DO NOT SKIP the 2nd dose. While many studies are now showing that ALL EUA vaccines incite ROBUST antibody responses, the second dose will be ESSENTIAL to ensuring LONG-LASTING protection.

ME: The second dose is needed to allow a vaccine to gain its potential of providing prevention but no one knows if it can provide “LONG LASTING” protection because there are no long periods of testing for efficacy for any COVID-19 vaccine.

ES: “4. Vaccine mixing studies are underway, and a recent Astra + Pfizer study shows good antibody response. Take note that UNLIKE clinical trials, this data is PRELIMINARY at best and only measures antibody production. The TRUE test of a vaccine (or rather a mix) is its ability to PREVENT clinical disease - these studies are still ongoing. DO NOT MIX vaccines at this time. There is also data that mixing vaccines can lead to more INTENSE systemic reactions, and so we still need more data on which vaccines are compatible and work best from a safety and efficacy standpoint.“

ME: Mixing vaccines must clearly prove that it is both safety and efficaciousbefore being approved for EUA. It is unauthorized and unethical to promote it at this time. Any suggestion to allow it is unethical.

ES: “5. DO NOT start a second vaccine course with another vaccine if you already completed one. Aside from unknown data on safety and efficacy, you will be DEPRIVING someone of their vaccine shots because the supply is still not enough for everyone.

ME: A second vaccine is asked because of doubts on the protection of COVID -19 vaccination. Vaccine companies should provide some determination of vaccine efficacy for confirmation or as part of an on going clinical trial through a neutralizing antibody test. A USFDA approved neutralizing test is available in the some test labs in the Philippines.

ES: “6. Boosters are NOT YET a done deal. Most clinical trials have only observed efficacy for 6 to 8 months and the responses are STILL ROBUST. DO NOT get a "booster" until there is sound clinical data. Aside from unknown safety and efficacy, you will also steal someone's shot.”

ME: Agree. COVID-19 infection also provides ROBUST immunity.

ES: “7. There is more and more evidence that ALL approved vaccines also substantially decrease transmission. Recent data for Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac and Astra among others point to substantial transmission risk reduction. This INCLUDES variants. The data is so compelling that the US CDC has stated that fully vaccinated individuals (see #2) can safely remove their masks even indoors. We are NOT THERE yet in the Philippines since our % vaccinated population is still low and we are still recovering from our latest surge.”

ME: Although I agree that vaccines can substantially decrease risk of transmission, the mentioned CDC recommendation is half true, “You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.

You still get tested 3-5 days after international travel. You still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses. If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States. You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.” Apparently the data is not compelling.

ES: “8. The data on decreased transmission following vaccination is persuading many countries to gradually open up to fully-vaccinated tourists. The most liberal policies do away with testing and quarantine completely for fully vaccinated travelers. Germany and Saudi Arabia have already done this and more countries are at least lowering their testing and quarantine requirements when dealing with fully vaccinated travelers. This will really help the economy recover. We will continue to study this for local consideration and recommend as appropriate. One more reason to get vaccinated.

ME: There is data that show vaccination can be often associated with an increase of cases. The reason for countries opening up for tourist is mainly due to economic pressures and lowering case numbers in some countries and not necessarily of vaccination. Travel still requires testing and symptom free status.

ES: “9. Don't worry about the brand of vaccine for travel. All available vaccines are expected to eventually get WHO Emergency Use Listing and it is expected that most countries will recognize this as sufficient to admit travelers.

ME: Optimistic but of weak basis.

ES: “10.You DO NOT need to check antibody levels after vaccination. While a recent study showed that neutralizing antibodies seem to correlate with SYMPTOMATIC protection from COVID-19 following vaccination, this DOES NOT mean you need to have demonstrable antibodies to have protection. The types of kits being used vary, and different vaccines have different target antigens and the antibodies may not show up on some tests. These also do not measure cell-mediated immunity (T-cells) which are very important for clearing virus that are inside infected cells.”

ME: ES placed the most contentious statement for last. It is important to get confirmation of efficacy under phase 3 trials. The most objective way to do this is by a neutralizing antibody and IgG testing. It cannot be done feasibly for all vaccinated patients due to massive cost of testing everyone hence it is done randomly to a significant percentage of vaccinees. This US FDA approved test can help determine immunity of past COVID-19 infection too. It will help reveal the real efficacy of vaccs and herd immunity better.
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See also:
Covid 35, Dr. Rafael Castillo letter to HPAAC, May 06, 2021
Covid 36, CDC PH new website, FB disabled-restored again the group page, May 13, 2021 
Covid 37, Facebook deletion of CDC PH page, Doc Iggy at Congress Committee hearing, May 18, 2021.

BWorld 488, GDP contraction, government overspending, and non-green recovery

* My article in BusinessWorld, May 18, 2021. 

In 2020, the Philippines was the worst performing economy in Asia with a 9.6% GDP contraction. Nine East Asian economies reported their First Quarter (Q1) 2021 GDP as of this writing, and the Philippines is again the worst performing: China’s Q1 2021 GDP is 18.3%, Taiwan’s is 8.2%, Hong Kong’s 7.8%, Vietnam’s 4.5%, South Korea’s 1.8%, Singapore’s 0.2%, Malaysia’s -0.5%, Indonesia’s -0.7%, and the Philippines’s -4.2%.

There are many proposals that are supposedly meant to help the Philippines recover faster. For this piece, I will deal with two of those proposals: 1.) government spending must expand, and, 2.) there should be “green path” to recovery.

Among the Opinion pieces here in BusinessWorld arguing for (1) is “Why we need extraordinary government spending” (by Men Sta. Ana, May 16) and arguing for (2) is “How to ensure a green recovery from the pandemic” (by Nazrin Camille D. Castro, April 27).

Both arguments are wrong and not based on hard facts.

For (1), it has been done — government spending grew double-digits in 2020 and Q1 2021 but this was not enough, or government may have worsened contraction in household spending and private investments because these two constitute the largest portions of GDP (see Table 1).

Spain and the UK also did (1), their budget balance as percentage of GDP expanded four to six times: for Spain, -2.9% in 2019 to -11.5% in 2020, and for the UK, -2.3% in 2019 to -13.4% in 2020. And yet they are the worst performing countries among the world’s top 50 largest economies in 2020: Spain’s GDP was -11.0% and the UK’s GDP was -9.9% (see https://www.bworldonline.com/10-reasons-to-lift-the-lockdown/, April 26).

There is a close positive relationship between power generation and GDP growth, so if we want to propel faster and sustained economic recovery, our electricity production and power supply should rise more at competitive and cheaper prices. In Table 2, I divided the selected countries (all belong to the top 50 largest economies in the world) into group A, Europe; group B, North and South America’s largest economies, and group C, major East Asian economies.


Table 2 shows two important trends: 

One, as experienced by many countries, as the percent change in power generation declines from the 2000s to 2010s, average GDP growth also declines.

Two, European economies with low and anemic growth have a high share of wind-solar over total power generation. Conversely, Asian economies with fast growth have a low share of wind solar over total power generation.

The Philippines needs to prioritize more growth and economic dynamism, more businesses and job creation, and this is possible only with more fossil fuel use, not less. Or use nuclear power but many people are still scared of it.

Efforts to attain “net zero” carbon emission by 2050 or 2040 for the Philippines will be counter-productive and poverty expanding, not reducing. As of 2020, wind + solar + biomass combined contributed only 3.5% of total electricity generation. Geothermal + hydro contributed 17.7% of the total. So, the total RE share is 21.2% of total electricity generation. To demand that this should rise to 100% by 2050 is unrealistic and irrational.

Concerns about climate change is understandable but climate change is natural (nature made), not man-made. It is cyclical (warming-cooling) and not “unprecedented, unequivocal warming” since the planet Earth was born about 4.6 billion years ago. We do not “fight” what is naturally and cyclically occurring and, in the process, condemn our economy and people to perennial poverty.
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See also:
BWorld 485, 10 reasons to lift the lockdown, April 30, 2021 
BWorld 486, What is the optimal energy mix? May 05, 2021 
BWorld 487, Vaccination rates and lockdown, May 13, 2021.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Macroecon 4, Q1 2021 GDP of Europe, SE and NE Asia

The lockdown lovers EU countries are again the topnothcers in economic contraction ('negative growth') in Q1 2021. Not all big economies have reported their Q1 data yet. Anyway see the big economies of Europe, GDP growth the past seven quarters.

https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gdp-annual-growth-rate

In South East Asia, it seems only Thailand and Philippines are fans of strict lockdown Europe.


North East Asian countries are generally non-fans of Europe. Of course question mark on China, the origin of Wuhan virus aka Covid-19, in GDP growth. Mongolia posting fast growth in Q1 can be explained by its low base in Q1 2020.


Once more (with feelings)... Lockdown is dictatorial and anti-growth.
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See also:
Macroecon 1, Household debt to GDP ratio, March 23, 2021 
Macroecon 2, Modest growth in Q1 2021, some Asian countries, April 30, 2021 |
Macroecon 3, Five quarters of consecutive Philippines GDP contraction, May 11, 2021.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Covid 37, Facebook deletion of CDC PH page, Doc Iggy at Congress Committee hearing

Today, Facebook has deleted the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) for the 3rd time. See my previous posts,

Facebook disabled CDC PH group, then restored it, May 05, 2021 
Covid 36, CDC PH new website, FB disabled-restored again the group page, May 13, 2021.

Last May 15 or three days ago, FB already gave warning of "being disabled" again. Why? See next two screen shots. FB and its "fact checkers" super-hate non-vax treatment to Covid like Ivermectin, or HCQ, or perhaps even more sunlight.
 



Yesterday, FB disabled the group's page.... Why... Then I requested a review... next 3 screens hots:


Meanwhile, CDC PH President Dr. Iggy Agbayani was among the resource persons in a Congressional Committee hearing yesterday. Among the slides he showed:




Concluding statement, this is what Doc Iggy conveyed.

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See also:
Covid 34, Drs. Romy Quijano and Iggy Agbayani on IVM, May 05, 2021 
Covid 35, Dr. Rafael Castillo letter to HPAAC, May 06, 2021
Covid 36, CDC PH new website, FB disabled-restored again the group page, May 13, 2021.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Climate 101, Degrowth and Darkness Economics, Fr. Villarin lecture

Truth is stranger than fiction -- that is proven once more by new irrationalities of climate alarmism. Take these three examples.

1. Degrowth Economics

Climate Change Modeling of “Degrowth” Scenarios – Reduction in GDP, Energy and Material Use
By UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY MAY 11, 2021
https://scitechdaily.com/climate-change-modeling-of-degrowth-scenarios-reduction-in-gdp-energy-and-material-use/

Degrowth: Universities Push Permanent Poverty as the Solution to Climate Change
by Eric Worrall    May 13, 2021
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/05/12/degrowth-universities-push-permanent-poverty-as-the-solution-to-climate-change/

1.5 °C degrowth scenarios suggest the need for new mitigation pathways 
Lorenz T. Keyßer & Manfred Lenzen  Published: 11 May 2021 
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22884-9

"Degrowth focuses on the global North and is defined as an equitable, democratic reduction in energy and material use while maintaining wellbeing. A decline in GDP is accepted as a likely outcome of this transition." 

"A ‘degrowth’ society could include:

* A shorter working week, resulting in reduced unemployment alongside increasing productivity and stable economic output. 

* Universal basic services independent of income, for necessities i.e. food, health care, transport.

* Limits on maximum income and wealth, enabling a universal basic income to be increased and reducing inequality, rather than increasing inequality as is the current global trend."

There, climate alarmism are more direct that they want deindustrialization, ecological socialism, forced equality, using climate as smoke screen. Less snow or more snow, less storms or more storms, less flood or more flood, less snakes and more snakes, they are all "proof" of climate crisis/emergency. 

So in 2020, the "degrowth" socialists were jumping with joy, see GDP contraction of G7 countries: US -3.5%, Japan -4.8%, Germany -4.9%, UK -9.9%, France -8.2%, Italy -8.9%, Canada -5.4%. Plus other rich countries Spain -11.0%, Russia -3.1%, S. Korea -1.0%. 
Numbers here, https://www.bworldonline.com/10-reasons-to-lift-the-lockdown/.

Climate crisis meets virus crisis and they are very happy.

Climate crisis: No natural or nature-made CC, no cyclical warming-cooling, only "man-made" CC and "unprecedented warming". So more man-made "solutions" like more climate bureaucracies, climate junkets, climate loans, carbon tax,...

Virus crisis: No natural herd immunity, so only man-made "solutions" like vax-induced immunity, endless lockdowns.

2. Darkness Economics

Left-wing activists demand Democrats exclude nuclear and carbon capture from climate bill
by Abby Smith, Energy and Environment Reporter |   | May 12, 2021 09:00 AM https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/activists-demand-renewable-energy-standard

Left Wing Activists Demand Americans Freeze in the Dark… Because?
David Middleton   May 15, 2021
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/05/14/left-wing-activists-demand-americans-freeze-in-the-dark-because/

"Hundreds of environmental and grassroots groups, including national groups such as Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, sent a letter to lawmakers Wednesday calling on them to pursue a national standard requiring 100% renewable power by 2030....

Nobody knows exactly how to get there yet because nobody is trying. We need to actually try, and how we try is by putting on very stern deadlines as close as possible to now.”

They want 100% RE in the US by 2030, especially wind solar. Note that as of 2019, wind solar was only 9.3% of total electricity generation in the US.

Meanwhile, Dr Ross McKitrick, a famous Prof. of Economics at University of Guelph, Canada, gave an online talk for the Irish Climate Science Forum and the international CLINTEL Foundation.

Presentation Ross McKitrick: is a worst case scenario really bad?
By Marcel Crok | 13 May 2021
https://clintel.org/presentation-ross-mckitrick-is-a-worst-case-scenario-really-bad/

"With uncertain climate effects, very costly abatement policies (applies both for Kyoto and Paris), overestimation of both the CO2 and temperature trends, low to zero estimates for the Social Cost of Carbon (if you use observational estimates for climate sensitivity and take into account the benefits of higher CO2 levels for agriculture), there is only one conclusion possible: “We are on pretty safe ground to prioritize economic growth over very ambitious climate policies”.

3. Fr. Jett Villarin lecture

Last May 1, Fr. Jett Villarin, former President of Ateneo de Manila University, a famous private university here in the Philippines, gave an online lecture last May 1. The man has impressive credentials, aside from being a priest and university administrator, he's a scientist, BS Physics, MS Physics, and PhD in Atmospheric Physics.

Moderator and the one who invited me is former Senator, former DILG Secretary Joey Lina. Joey is also my friend and former Rotary classmate.

Fr. Jett showed climate alarmists views. To briefly review his lecture, I show some of his slides on the left, and related data that he did not show because the latter would destroy the alarmist agenda.

Fr. Jett is an atmospheric physicist and I really wonder why he did not show it when discussing about climate. He's too focused on demonizing CO2. I saw a few foreign atmospheric physicists, astrophysicists lecture about climate and they really use topics in physics -- solar forcing, planet obliquity, eccentricity, solar cycle, milankovitch cycle, planet orbital cycle, etc. And how they can affect planet Earth's climate. Zero mentioned in his lecture.

He also parroted the usual fake news or lie that storms are getting stronger, or plentier. No, they are not, see data from Dr. Ryan Maue. 

And he showed fictional scenarios of more extreme weather, less water availability, more sea level rise, etc. from WWF. A physicist citing fiction drawings from a non-science NGO WWF? Wow. Anyway, Fr Jett ended his lecture similar to what Degrowth and Darkness Economics advocate above -- 100% RE for the Philippines by 2050, "decarbonize transport" meaning all electric cars jeeps buses, more bicycles and scooters.


Fr. Jett and many climate alarmists deny, they close their eyes, to PH energy realities that as of 2020, wind + solar + biomass combined contributed only 3.5% of total electricity generation, geothermal + hydro was 17.7%, or total RE share of 21.2% of total electricity generation and they want this to become 100% in the next 29 years? They are day-dreaming and hallucinating.

Climate alarm remains the religion or cult of irrationality in public policies.
----------------

See also:
Climate 98, Australia's worst flooding for decades, March 25, 2021 
Climate 99, Cooling trend, virus alarm and climate alarm, April 15, 2021 
Climate 100, Marc Morano lecture, May 12, 2021.

Inequality 40, Real minimum wage is zero

A good paper on labor policy by Dr. Gerry Sicat, former NEDA Chief and retired Prof. at UPSE:

Making labor policies modern and flexible
Gerardo P. Sicat - May 12, 2021 - 12:00am
(Continued from April 14, 2021)
https://www.philstar.com/business/2021/05/12/2097512/making-labor-policies-modern-and-flexible

"Because the minimum wage laws protect the entrenched workers and those with better skills, the young cannot find good jobs that enable them to build upon a work experience. As a result they end up either unemployed or finding very low productivity jobs."

True. Because the real minimum wage is zero. If people cannot be hired because the state-mandated and legislated minimum wage (to fight "labor exploitation") is beyond capacity of the employer, many people become jobless, and that is the "wage" that the jobless get, zero, nada. Very often people employ themselves via the informal sector (street/ambulant vendor, tricycle driver, etc) and there is no fixed and stable income, the average pay is low.

So a true modern labor policy is zero government legislation, zero DOLE or LGU orders on minimum wage. Of course this is easier said than done, socialist and Marxist belief in capitalist "exploitation of workers" is still prevalent until now. (This photo from asia.nikkei.com)

Hong kong for many years has no minimum wage law. So the labor market was very dynamic, unempl rate was about 1-2% which is technically, a full employment econ bec the 1-2% are "voluntary unemployed", like being offered salary of X per month but the person has a "reservation wage" of 1.25X and so the person is not taking the job offer. Then the local bleeding hearts activists plus socialists from China lobbied for minimum wage in HK. 

My free market friends at Lion Rock Institute (LRI) in HK opposed the min wage legislation. They asked the HK parliamentarians:

LRI: What will you do for those who won't be hired because of high min wage?

HK parliamentarians: We will give them unemployment allowance. 

LRI: we tell our kids that we must do hard work to prosper, now they see some parents get money even if they are not working, what values do we tell our kids?

HK parliamentarians: (the sound of silence, ala Simon and Garfunkel)

Nonetheless, the socialists and bleeding hearts always win, so HK has a min wage law several years ago.
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See also: 
Inequality 37, Freebies forever, March 04, 2019 
Inequality 38, Forbes' billionaires 2019, March 06, 2019 
Inequality 39, Capitalism and its detractors, October 03, 2019.
Welfarism 36, On mandatory 20% discount for seniors, PWDs, June 13, 2020.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

BWorld 487, Vaccination rates and lockdown

* My column in BusinessWorld, May 11, 2021.

One of the promises or hypotheses of all these hurried vaccines is that as more people are vaccinated, COVID-19 cases and deaths will decline as people will no longer suffer severe cases of infection. Has this been achieved?

I personally wanted to see a quantitative answer to this question. I got data on vaccination by country from https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations. I chose countries with high vaccination rates. Then I checked their respective COVID-19 cases by country from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries.

The result is interesting, or confusing. There are countries with high vaccination rates (at least one dose) of 45% to 69% of their total population and yet have rising cases. These are the Seychelles, the Maldives, Bahrain, and Mongolia.

Then there are countries that followed the promise and hypothesis, high vaccination rates of 44% to 63%, and cases-deaths are falling. These are Israel, the United Kingdom, the USA, and Hungary (see Chart A).

And there are countries with high vaccination rates of 32% to 44% and cases are fluctuating or mildly declining but still at high levels. These are Chile, Qatar, Canada, Uruguay, and Germany.

I added Japan and the Philippines, with low vaccination rates of only 2.4% and 1.7%, respectively. The Philippines experienced cases of 4,000 per day starting March 12, two weeks after Sinovac started being administered on March 1, then 6,000 to 10,000 per day has become normal from mid-March to the present (see Chart B).

These results are not exactly inspiring or assuring for people to get the rushed vaccines.

Meanwhile, the indefinite lockdown, 14 months straight, continues to damage the Philippine economy. See this column’s previous piece, https://www.bworldonline.com/10-reasons-to-lift-the-lockdown/, and here are additional indicators.

One, the Philippine Stock Exchange remains the worst performer in the Asia Pacific region, year to date (Jan. 1 to May 7, 2021) contraction of -12.3% vs growth in Hong Kong of 5.1%, Japan of 7%, Thailand of 9.4%, South Korea of 11.3%, Singapore of 12.5%, and so on.

Two, government borrowings are worsening. In 2019, government borrowings to cover the budget deficit and other obligations was P0.88 trillion, this rose to P2.5 trillion in 2020 (a nearly threefold increase), and P1.19 trillion in the first quarter 2021 or nearly one half of the full year 2020 level. The outstanding debt stock in 2019 was P8.22 trillion, this rose to P10.25 trillion in 2020 or an increase of P2.03 trillion, and P10.77 trillion in Q1 2021.

Three, more government debt means more taxes, fees, fines and penalties that will be imposed on the public. Among the new taxes being pushed are: 1.) a wealth tax, pushed by former National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Winnie Monsod, 2.) a carbon tax of $25 per ton of CO2 emission, pushed by the IMF, and, 3.) a real property valuation tax hike, pushed by the Bureau of Local Government Finance of the Department of Finance.

Four, the country’s first quarter 2021 GDP (to be released on May 11) is expected to see a continued contraction of -2.6% based on a BusinessWorld poll of 18 analysts. In contrast, our neighbors that already reported their Q1 2021 GDP have already shown recovery: Taiwan’s is 8.2%, Hong Kong’s 7.8%, Vietnam’s 4.5%, South Korea’s 1.8%, and Singapore’s 0.2%.

On May 3, the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines met with Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and a week before that, on April 29, the group also met with Senator Francis Tolentino. Both Senators plus Sen. Bong Revilla have expressed support for the group’s efforts and advocacies to lift the lockdown via a Focused Protection Plan of frontliners and vulnerables (elderly and with comorbidities) with ivermectin and early treatment, and home care treatment for those with symptoms to avoid hospitalization.

The government body, led by the Department of Health, that decided on these 14 months of indefinite lockdown has become the Inter-Agency to Terminate Functional businesses (IATF). The country’s 2020 GDP of P17.5 trillion was even lower than 2018 GDP of P18.3 trillion even though the population has increased by around 3.4 million people. The IATF officials must have the humility to accept that 14 months of lockdown have produced no meaningful decline in cases and deaths. Making people economically and mentally stressed out for more than a year is itself an immune system-depressing policy.

Now that ivermectin can be mass produced with Food and Drug Administration’s pullback from hard opposition to this drug, the IATF must lift the lockdown starting May 15, or at least move to the lowest level of quarantine, Modified General Community Quarantine, nationwide and remove many travel and business restrictions.
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See also:
BWorld 484, Earth Day, Greenpeace and the RE lobby, April 22, 2021 
BWorld 485, 10 reasons to lift the lockdown, April 30, 2021 
BWorld 486, What is the optimal energy mix? May 05, 2021.

Covid 36, CDC PH new website, FB disabled-restored again the group page

The Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC PH) has a new website, https://cdcph.org/  The group was formed in September 2020 with the main goal of "Lift the Lockdown, Flatten the Fear." 

I am not among the original members, I joined it about a week after its launching when the core group felt they needed an economist in the group to discuss and help explain to the public the economic impact of the lockdown. I have been critical of the lockdown even before it was imposed by the government in March 16, 2020. My first two articles arguing for lifting the lockdown were:

End the lockdown, no more extension
April 22, 2020 | 7:05 pm 
https://www.bworldonline.com/end-the-lockdown-no-more-extension/

Growth lockdown and Solar sa Politika
May 6, 2020 | 9:27 pm
https://www.bworldonline.com/growth-lockdown-and-solar-sa-politika/

CDC PH has a FB page before with 30k+ members already, then FB just took it down. The group created a new page and when there were few thousand member, FB again took it down.

I created the current CDC PH group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/168609228434049, last April 1, I think. Since then, FB has disabled it twice already, last week, See
Facebook disabled CDC PH group, then restored it, May 05, 2021.

Today, FB disabled again the group's page, and restored after few hours. It has 6,800+ members and followers.

FB hates discussion about Ivermectin (IVM) and its beneficial effect on people both as prophylaxis against Covid (preventive, person is not sick) and early treatment (person has symptoms already, still at home) to avoid hospitalization. FB has "fact checkers" who seem to be heavily biased against IVM and following the main WHO-DOH-pharma-medical groups' main narrative and agenda -- vax vax vax.

So the CDC PH group will likely be disabled again by FB again and again because majority if not all members and followers of the page are pro-IVM. Big tech with Big power to decide which stories and data should be allowed or not allowed.
----------------

See also:
Covid 33, CDC PH statement on lifting the lockdown, April 28, 2021 
Covid 34, Drs. Romy Quijano and Iggy Agbayani on IVM, May 05, 2021 
Covid 35, Dr. Rafael Castillo letter to HPAAC, May 06, 2021.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Climate 100, Marc Morano lecture

I watched a lecture by Marc Morano in Heartland Institute and hosted by Sterling Burnett, cool.
ICCC-14 Preview, Ep. 2: Marc Morano on his new best-seller, "Green Fraud", 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyY0yj_za6k

Marc has many slides, I repost below some interesting ones. To save space, I put them side by side.









Some old stories here.

Brutal 2020/21 Northern Hemisphere Winter One For Record Books…And Continues Into Late April! 
By P Gosselin on 21. April 2021
https://notrickszone.com/2021/04/21/brutal-2020-21-northern-hemisphere-winter-one-for-record-books-and-continues-into-late-april/

Where Is The “Climate Emergency”?
Willis Eschenbach  April 25, 2021 
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/04/25/wheres-the-emergency/

UAH Global Temperature Update for April 2021: -0.05 deg. C 
May 2nd, 2021 
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2021/05/uah-global-temperature-update-for-april-2021-0-05-deg-c/
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See also:
Climate 97, Econ and infra implications of a cooling planet, February 24, 2021 
Climate 98, Australia's worst flooding for decades, March 25, 2021 
Climate 99, Cooling trend, virus alarm and climate alarm, April 15, 2021.