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Scientists protest as Trump picks climate change skeptic for key NOAA post

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David Legates in 2005. (University of Delaware)

President Trump has tapped a climate skeptic to help run the federal agency charged with overseeing the government’s research on climate change.

David Legates, a professor of climatology at the University of Delaware and a member of the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that denies that climate change represents a serious threat to the world, was appointed last week to serve as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s deputy assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, NPR reported.

The appointment comes as wildfires that most scientists agree have been made worse by climate change continue to rage throughout the Western states. Temperature records continue to fall, with NASA concluding that 2010-2019 was the hottest decade ever recorded. Hurricane Sally, the latest in a series of unusually strong tropical storms that scientists believe are linked to warming oceans, unleashed torrential downpours on Alabama and Florida on Wednesday. For just the second time in recorded history, five tropical cyclones are now active in the Atlantic Ocean.

David Legates in 2005. (University of Delaware)

In April, Legates published a piece that appeared on the Heartland Institute’s website which summed up his skepticism on climate change.

“Natural forces have caused climate changes and extreme weather events throughout history. What proof is there that what we see today is due to fossil fuel emissions and not to those same natural forces?” Legates and co-author Paul Driessen wrote.

In 2019, Legates spoke at a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee and denied what is now accepted scientific fact, that adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere leads to the greenhouse effect, trapping solar radiation and warming the atmosphere.

“Carbon dioxide is not this magic knob that decides the temperature of the planet. In particular, there’s an awful lot of other things that happen with it too. The planet does not warm like a greenhouse,” Legates testified.

But the agency to which Legates was just appointed also notes on its website that “the annual rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 60 years is about 100 times faster than previous natural increases, such as those that occurred at the end of the last ice age 11,000-17,000 years ago.”

Since the preindustrial era, the average global surface temperature has risen by roughly 2 degrees Celsius, according to NOAA.

Legates also published a 2007 paper questioning whether the habitat for polar bears was being affected by climate change, Inside Climate News reported, based on research funded by ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and Koch Industries.

Sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking by as much as 14 percent per decade, leading to starvation among some populations of polar bears that depend on it for hunting seals.

In response to Legates’s appointment at NOAA, the nonprofit American Geophysical Union issued a terse statement calling for his removal.

“With climate change producing raging wildfires in the western United States and devastating hurricanes in the Atlantic, our nation — and the world — cannot afford to have our federal government undermining the important work of climate scientists,” the group said on its website. “Legates’ appointment not only threatens our ability to combat the climate crisis and protect our planet for future generations, it undermines scientific integrity at NOAA.” 

David Legates, third from left, at the “Climate Hustle” panel discussion in Washington in 2016. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)
David Legates, third from left, at the “Climate Hustle” panel discussion in Washington in 2016. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

NOAA did not respond to a request for an interview for this story. On its website, however, the lead story on Wednesday highlighted the findings of the agency’s latest global climate report.

“Not only was August 2020 the second-warmest August on record, but the Northern Hemisphere had its warmest summer, and the globe as a whole had its third-hottest three month season, too,” NOAA said on its site.

Without mentioning climate change specifically, NOAA detailed the continued decline of Arctic sea ice to the smallest amount on record, and noted that “the 10 warmest Augusts have all occurred since 1998 — with the five warmest occurring since 2015.”

While Legates has made a career of downplaying the threat of climate change, he doesn’t have much company in the scientific community, including within the administration.

“Yes, the vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists — 97 percent — agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change,” NASA states on its website.

On Monday, while attending a briefing on the record-setting wildfires in California, Trump was pressured by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Wade Crowfoot, California’s secretary for natural resources, to accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and making fires there worse.

A firefighter watches the Bobcat Fire burning on hillsides in Monrovia, Calif., on Tuesday. (Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images)
A firefighter watches the Bobcat Fire burning on hillsides in Monrovia, Calif., on Tuesday. (Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images)

“If we ignore that science and put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed at protecting Californians,” Crowfoot told the president.

“It’ll start getting cooler,” Trump, a longtime climate change skeptic, replied. “You just watch.”

The day after Trump’s brief appearance in California, Scientific American endorsed Joe Biden, the first presidential endorsement in the magazine’s 175-year history, in part because of Trump’s record on climate change.

“In his ongoing denial of reality, Trump has hobbled U.S. preparations for climate change, falsely claiming that it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to mitigate it,” the editors wrote in their endorsement. “The changing climate is already causing a rise in heat-related deaths and an increase in severe storms, wildfires and extreme flooding.”

Biden promoted the endorsement with a simple message on Twitter.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Remains of 117 Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War returned

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Remains of 117 Chinese soldiers killed in Korean War returned
Chinese honor guard members put caskets containing the remains of Chinese soldiers in a cargo airplane during the handing over ceremony – South Korea Defense Ministry

The remains of 117 Chinese soldiers who died in the 1950-53 Korean War were returned to China on Sunday in an annual repatriation delayed this year by the coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea handed over the remains at a ceremony at Incheon airport outside Seoul, and a Chinese military transport plane flew them to Shenyang, a northeastern Chinese city near the North Korean border.

Chinese soldiers fought on the North Korean side against US-led forces in the South during the war on the Korean Peninsula.

Most of the 117 remains were found in the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea. It was the seventh annual repatriation, and the largest since the 437 returned in the first one in 2014. In all, the remains of 716 Chinese soldiers have been sent back.

This year’s return, originally planned for the spring, was postponed for several months because of the spread of Covid-19.

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Oil Heavyweights Look Ready for a Showdown

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Oil Heavyweights Look Ready for a Showdown

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7 Sin Stocks To Buy That Will Outperform the S&P 500

While the S&P 500 and a wide range of stocks continue their September slide, many investors are understandably jittery, wondering if a second market crash is coming this year. In response, they’re searching for industries that can offer more stability, but also growth and income over the coming quarters. One such group are the so-called “sin stocks,” which benefit when humans indulge in vices.Although there may be different definitions of sin stocks, these businesses include those in alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, gambling, adult entertainment, weapons and defense industries. What is viewed as a sin stock today may also change over time.Recent research by David Blitzo of Robeco Asset Management in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Frank J. Fabozzi of EDHEC Business School in Nice, France, highlights how “various studies … [of] the historical performance of sin stocks … [show] they have delivered significantly positive abnormal returns.”InvestorPlace – Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsThat is to say, sin stocks outperform the broader market time and again, and that isn’t based on one study; it’s based on many studies, by different researchers at different times.Sales figures from companies back up the anecdotal evidence that even in economically difficult periods, tobacco and alcohol consumption remain fairly stable. In fact, during the early weeks of the pandemic, alcohol sales in the U.S. increased by 27%. * 7 Hot Stocks to Buy on Robinhood Now Therefore, for investors whose convictions allow them to invest in these firms, such stocks can provide meaningful diversification during volatile market periods. On the other hand, some sin stocks, particularly casino stocks, have suffered greatly as gambling locations remain closed due to lockdowns.With all that in mind, here are seven sin stocks to invest for the long-run: * Advisor Shares Vice ETF (NASDAQ:ACT) * Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) * ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSEARCA:MJ) * iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (CBOE:ITA) * Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWBI) * VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (NASDAQ:BJK) * Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:VDC)Most sin industry stocks also bear juicy dividends. Thus, they could be appropriate for investors seeking passive income, especially in a low-interest environment such as this. Sin Stocks to Buy: Advisor Shares Vice ETF (ACT)Source: Shutterstock 52-Week Range: $16.16 – 26.95Dividend Yield: 2.41%Net Expense Ratio: 0.99 % per yearOur first choice is an exchange-traded fund (ETF), best for investors who would rather not risk capital on one company. The AdvisorShares Vice ETF concentrates mainly on U.S.-listed alcohol and tobacco companies. It may also hold stocks of firms conducting federally legal cannabis business, per the U.S. government.As regular InvestorPlace readers likely know, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the U.S. At the state level, legal status depends on the laws of the individual state. Outside of Canada, which was the first G7 country to nationally legalize cannabis, the size of the legalized marijuana industry remains very small. Yet that market is expected to reach $40 billion by 2023.In terms of ETF composition, cannabis-related firms top the list with a 40.9% weighting. Next are alcohol (27.1%), Restaurant & Entertainment (12.2%), and Tobacco with Cannabis Exposure (11.3%). Close to 80% of the companies come from North America, followed by Europe (13.3%).ACT’s top ten holdings comprise around 60% of total net assets, which stand close to $10 million. ACT’s top five companies are Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM), Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Turning Point Brands (NYSE:TPB) and Abbvie (NYSE:ABBV). A closer examination of the holdings shows that there is considerable emphasis on life-sciences. For example, in Canada, Thermo Fisher undertakes cannabis compliance activities. Another holding is Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG), which is known for its fertilizer products, used by marijuana producers.So far in 2020, the fund is up around 3%. Yet since the lows seen in early spring, ACT is up around 55%. In fact, on September 16, it hit a 52-week high.Any decline toward the $22.5-level would make the fund more attractive for long-term investors. However, we’d like to underscore the high management fee as well as the fact that it is still a smaller size fund. Constellation Brands (STZ)Source: ShinoStock / Shutterstock.com 52-Week Range: $104.28 – $210.65Dividend Yield: 1.62%Victor, New York-headquartered Constellation Brands’ website highlights that it is the fastest-growing large consumer packaged goods (CPG) company in the U.S. at the retail level. And in addition to the U.S., the global alcoholic beverage company has operations in Mexico, New Zealand and Italy as well.The group produces and markets beer, wine and a diverse range of spirits. Several of its well-known brands include Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, Robert Mondavi, SVEDKA Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila and High West Whiskey.In 2018, Constellation Brands took a considerable stake in Canada-based Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), providing the company with managerial and financial backing. There may be investors who are hoping that Constellation Brands, which holds a 38% stake in the company, will acquire the remaining shares of Canopy Growth. Given the question marks surrounding the cannabis industry and the global economy, we don’t expect such an acquisition to happen in the near-term.Year-to-date (YTD) the stock is down about 2%. Part of the weakness in price may come from the fact that its wine and spirits business has seen lower shipments in 2020. But the beer business is strong, posting the tenth consecutive year of rising shipments. * 7 Hot Stocks to Buy on Robinhood Now Since the lows seen in March, the shares are up about 80%. As a result of the rapid increase, forward P/E and P/S ratios have also been pushed up, standing at 20.75 and 4.33 respectively. We’d look to buy the shares around $170. ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ)Source: Shutterstock 52-Week Range: $8.81 – $23.44Dividend Yield: 10.76%Expense Ratio: 0.75%Our next choice is an ETF from the cannabis space. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF tracks the Prime Alternative Harvest index. MJ stock invests in companies that have exposure to global medicinal and recreational cannabis legalization moves.Pharmaceuticals (56.4%), Tobacco (24.7%) and Biotechnology (9.1%) are the top 3 sectors for MJ, which has 35 holdings. The top ten holdings comprise about 60% of total net assets, which are around $550 million. MJ’s top five companies are GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH), Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), Corbus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CRBP) and Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB).It’s important to note that U.K.-based GW Pharmaceuticals, a leading cannabinoid-focused biotech company, is MJ’s largest holding, accounting for 11.1% of its assets. Its drugs are widely used to treat spasms in multiple sclerosis patients. The fund also owns shares of the companies providing ancillary products and services to the cannabis companies.So far in 2020, Canada-based marijuana stocks have been plumbing new lows. Producing cannabis is capital-intensive, meaning pot firms make substantial initial and ongoing investments. These companies are also vulnerable to supply and demand issues.Over the past year, a wide range of Canadian regulatory logjams have resulted in supply problems for companies like Cronos, Canopy Growth, and Aurora Cannabis. Plus, most of the demand for cannabis is currently limited to Canada where there is still a resilient black market. As a result, the next few months may see consolidation in the industry north of the border.YTD, the fund is down about 36%. It is likely that MJ may re-test its lows seen earlier in March. Investors who are able to spare risk capital may consider investing for the long-run around $7.5. iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA)Source: Shutterstock 52-Week Range: $112.47 – $240.62Dividend Yield: 2.26%Expense Ratio: 0.42%The iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF provides exposure to U.S. companies that manufacture commercial and military aircrafts and other defense equipment. ITA, which has 35 holdings, tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Select Aerospace & Defense Index.The top ten companies comprise 75% of net assets under management, which stand close to $2.7 billion. Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Raytheon Technologies (NYSE:RTX) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) are the top three holdings for ITA. Put another way, investors are relying on a few major players for returns. * 7 Hot Stocks to Buy on Robinhood Now Many analysts concur that U.S. defense spending is likely to remain high. However, the headwinds affecting orders, especially for Boeing, may stay with us for some time. This fact is potentially already reflected in the price, which is down close to 30% YTD.Contrarian and dividend-seeking investors may find this fund appealing. Smith & Wesson (SWBI)Source: Supakorn Pe / Shutterstock.com 52-Week Range: $4.16 – $22.40Dividend Yield: 1.26%Springfield, Massachusetts-based firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson is our next stock. The company was founded in 1852. Earlier in August, it spun off American Outdoor Brands (NASDAQ:AOUT) as a separate entity.In August, the company released FY 2020 annual report and highlighted that nationwide firearm demand remained extremely high. Sales numbers and anecdotal evidence suggest that guns have recently been flying off the shelves in many parts of the country.During the year, the group introduced 230 new firearms. A third of those were brand new products, while the rest were line extensions. Net sales for the fiscal year were $678.4 million, an increase of 6.3% from a year ago. The firearms segment gross sales represented a 10% increase over fiscal 2019 sales. The company’s gross margins have been climbing and now stand at a robust 40.2%.YTD, SWBI shares are up close to 70%. The upcoming U.S. Presidential election may bring volatility in the stock price. However, long-term investors may consider buying the dips. Its P/S and P/B ratios stand out, at 1.01 and 1.95 respectively. VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK)Source: Shutterstock 52 Week Range: $ 20.02 – 43.73Dividend Yield: 3.23%Expense Ratio: 0.65%The VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF provides exposure to companies in the global gaming industry. That includes casinos and casino hotels, sports betting, lottery and gaming services, and gaming technology and equipment.BJK, which has 42 holdings, tracks the MVIS Global Gaming Index. The top sector allocation is Consumer Discretionary (91.1%), followed by Real Estate (9.2%).The top ten holdings constitute over 55% of net assets, which stand around $53 million. Flutter Entertainment (OTC:PDYPY), Galaxy Entertainment Group (OTC:GXYEF) and Draftkings (NASDAQ:DKNG) are the top three firms in BJK.At present, in the U.S., DraftKings and FanDuel, which is part of Europe-based Flutter Entertainment, are the two main online platforms for sports and sports fantasy betting. DKNG stock, which went public in late April, is up over 400%. Flutter Entertainment, which is one of the largest gambling companies in the world by revenue, is also up about 23%. * 7 Hot Stocks to Buy on Robinhood Now However, the fund as a whole is down about 9% so far in 2020. Investors who want to capitalize on the potential of sports betting as well as the growth in fantasy sports both in the U.S. and worldwide may want to do further due diligence on the fund. We’d look to buy the dips. Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund ETF (VDC)Source: Shutterstock 52-week range: $120.70-$172.31Dividend Yield: 3.05%Expense Ratio: 0.10% per yearOur final pick is another ETF. However, it’s not a pure play on sin stocks. Instead the Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund ETF provides exposure to a range of large-, mid-, and small-cap U.S. stocks in the consumer staples sector. As a result, this fund is defensive in nature.VDC, which has has 94 holdings, tracks the Spliced US IMI Consumer Staples 25/50 Index. The most important sectors (by weighting) are Household Products, Soft Drinks, Packaged Foods & Meats and Hypermarkets & Super Centers. In total, these four sectors make up about three-quarters of the fund.The top ten holdings comprise 65% of total net assets, which stand at $6.5 billion. These are businesses with competitive positions and strong balance sheets and revenue streams. Among those ten companies are two businesses that would be considered sin stocks, i.e., Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) and Altria (NYSE:MO).Phillip Morris International is a global cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company, whose products are sold in over 180 countries outside the U.S. The most recognized brand is Marlboro. Altria’s subsidiaries, on the other hand, include Philip Morris USA, which is engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes in the U.S. as well as several other brands which manufacture, produce and market tobacco products and wine.In 2020, the fund has returned about 0.3%, i.e. it’s flat. Given the health and economic uncertainties due to the pandemic, market participants may consider allocating some capital into VDC. We’d look to buy the dips, especially around $155 or below.On the date of publication, Tezcan Gecgil did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.Tezcan Gecgil has worked in investment management for over two decades in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to formal higher education in the field, she has also completed all 3 levels of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) examination. Her passion is for options trading based on technical analysis of fundamentally strong companies. She especially enjoys setting up weekly covered calls for income generation. She also publishes educational articles on long-term investing. More From InvestorPlace * Why Everyone Is Investing in 5G All WRONG * America’s 1 Stock Picker Reveals His Next 1,000% Winner * Revolutionary Tech Behind 5G Rollout Is Being Pioneered By This 1 Company * Radical New Battery Could Dismantle Oil Markets The post 7 Sin Stocks To Buy That Will Outperform the S&P 500 appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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LAPD officer injured after shooting inside station, authorities say

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LAPD officer injured after shooting inside station, authorities say

LOS ANGELES — An officer was injured following a shooting inside a Los Angeles Police Department station late Saturday, authorities said.

The LAPD announced that a “significant police incident” took place at its Harbor Station in San Pedro, California. The police officer was taken to a hospital with an injury that’s not considered to be life-threatening, the department said. A suspect was in custody.

“Some individual came into the Harbor station, and when an officer went to speak with him, some type of confrontation occurred where we believe an officer was disarmed,” said Chief Michel Moore, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to the Times, Moore said other officers reacted and pursued the individual, who fled the station but was apprehended by police soon after. Moore added that at least one officer opened fire, the Times reported.

Moore said on Twitter that the injured officer was not shot, adding: “He is resting and will be ok. Bumps and bruises.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed his concern on Twitter and sent his “best wishes for a quick and full recovery.”

The shooting comes after two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot in an apparent ambush earlier this month while sitting in a patrol car parked near a metro stop in Compton, California.

‘Long road to recovery’: LA sheriff’s deputies out of hospital; hunt continues for gunman

The nation’s second-largest city, already on edge after the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake prompted protests and unrest in the streets, is also dealing with its own racially divisive shooting by law enforcement.

Sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a Black man, Dijon Kizzee, after they attempted to stop him over an unspecified “code violation” as he rode his bicycle through an unincorporated section of south Los Angeles in August.

Related: Activists see progress after George Floyd’s death but say more must be done

Contributing: N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Police officer injured after shooting inside LAPD station

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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