CheckMate is a weekly e-newsletter from RMIT FactLab which recaps the most recent on this planet of misinformation and truth checking, drawing on the work of FactLab and its sister organisation, RMIT ABC Reality Test.
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CheckMate June 24, 2022
This week, CheckMate appears into whether or not Germany, a poster little one for renewable power, stays reliant on brown coal for nearly three-quarters of its electrical energy manufacturing.
We additionally deliver you the details on “sudden grownup loss of life syndrome”, and dig into claims that cow deaths and fires within the US are all a part of a plan to create meals shortages.
Why claims about Germany’s reliance on brown coal are bunkum
As Australia battles an ongoing power disaster and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese commits to a 43 per cent reduce in carbon emissions by 2030, the Labor authorities has promised to “present the framework for renewable power for storage and transmission”.
However in the case of the success of different international locations in embracing renewables, some individuals on-line are casting doubt on Germany, a rustic lengthy held up because the “gold customary” for economies trying to transition away from fossil fuels.
In response to plenty of posts to Twitter and Fb, together with one by an unbiased candidate within the current federal election, Germany continued to be overwhelmingly powered by brown coal.
“Germany has spent $750 billion on its transition to renewable power thus far,” Stuart Bonds, a coal miner and candidate for Hunter, wrote on Fb alongside a chart purporting to point out power sources within the nation.
“At 2am this morning [Saturday, June 18] Germany was working on 72% brown coal and 15% nuclear.”
However that is incorrect.
The graph included within the social media posts, which seems to have first been printed on Twitter by a climate sceptic and author with greater than 120,000 followers, exhibits a point-in-time breakdown of the combination of power sources being produced by German power firm RWE.
Of the electrical energy being produced at the moment, the graph exhibits 72 per cent was sourced from lignite (generally generally known as brown coal), 15 per cent from nuclear, 7 per cent from storage and 4 per cent from offshore wind.
In an e-mail, a spokeswoman for RWE confirmed the graph had come from its web site, however defined that it didn’t symbolize power manufacturing in Germany as a complete.
“Since we’re solely considered one of many electrical energy producers in Germany, it says nothing concerning the power mixture of Germany as a rustic,” the spokeswoman stated, pointing to an official authorities web site for whole-of-market statistics.
In response to a authorities information launch printed on that web site, renewables accounted for 47.9 per cent of power manufacturing in Germany within the March quarter, whereas 52.1 per cent got here from “standard” sources, together with 17.8 per cent from brown coal.
The RWE spokeswoman additionally offered CheckMate with a hyperlink to a graph exhibiting that greater than 60 per cent of Germany’s electrical energy manufacturing on June 18, the day referenced within the social media posts, was sourced from renewables.
Moreover, Anne Kallies, a senior lecturer on the RMIT Graduate Faculty of Enterprise and Legislation, instructed CheckMate that RWE operated a “notably huge standard energy fleet”.
“RWE is the most important proprietor of lignite stations in Germany — they personal and run three of the 4 greatest lignite energy stations,” stated Dr Kallies, who researches power, atmosphere and local weather.
Information stories this week stated that regardless of the nation needing to reopen beforehand closed coal-fired energy crops after power provides from Russia had been reduce, Germany remained dedicated to its purpose of closing all coal energy stations by 2030.
US meals manufacturing facility fires and cattle deaths no proof of deliberate meals shortages
Information that hundreds of cows died abruptly within the US state of Kansas has added gasoline to conspiracy theories that highly effective elites, together with Invoice Gates and the World Financial Discussion board’s Klaus Schwab, are orchestrating meals shortages to pressure a shift away from meat consumption and in the direction of options equivalent to edible bugs.
The deaths — estimates for which vary between 2,000 and 10,000 over two days — have additionally been linked to claims that America’s meals provide was “beneath assault” following an obvious spate of fires affecting meals processing crops.
“10,000 cows died in a single day in Kansas … 79 meals processing crops mysteriously burn[ed] down…after which this,” reads one tweet, accompanied by a picture of the world’s largest edible cricket farm, which is ready to open in Canada.
In response to one other Twitter person: “For those who imagine 3k cows dropping lifeless in Kansas suddenly has nothing to do with the orchestrate[d] meals scarcity and the mysterious burning of dozens of American meals manufacturing crops to the bottom, you deserve EVERYTHING that is about to come back your method.”
Nevertheless, such claims are baseless.
As truth checkers at Reuters, Snopes, FactCheck.org and Related Press have all reported, the cows in Kansas died from warmth stress.
This was as a result of a mixture of native elements that consultants described as a “excellent storm”: minimal wind, temperatures above 37 levels Celsius and excessive humidity, all of which occurred shut collectively over a number of days.
Importantly, one professional instructed FactCheck.org, temperatures remained above 21 levels within the evenings, which means the cows had been unable to shed the warmth they’d collected in the course of the day, as they usually would.
In the meantime, claims that meals plant fires had been on the rise have been debunked by a number of fact-checking models, with Reuters discovering that such fires had been no extra frequent than traditional and that there was no proof these incidents had been intentional.
Certainly, a spokeswoman for the Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation instructed FactCheck.org that between 2015 and 2019 there have been greater than 5,300 fires every year, on common, in US manufacturing and processing amenities of any kind, and that these fires “occur extra typically than individuals suppose”.
An investigation by Snopes additionally revealed that a minimum of a few of the examples circulating on-line didn’t help the claimed improve, together with, for instance, a hearth in a butcher’s store, one other in an deserted constructing, and but others that didn’t have an effect on meals manufacturing.
CoronaCheck: No improve in Sudden Grownup Dying Syndrome, regardless of claims
A spate of stories articles a few situation generally known as Sudden Grownup (or Arrhythmic) Dying Syndrome (SADS) has pushed a brand new wave of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
An article initially printed in late Could by the Irish Mirror detailed the sudden loss of life of a 31-year-old lady in Eire, and was subsequently referenced in plenty of Australian information tales printed by media shops together with information.com.au and 7 Information.
Regardless of not making point out of COVID-19 vaccines, the articles garnered hundreds of social media feedback baselessly linking SADS deaths to the vaccines.
Additionally making the vaccine hyperlink, conservative information web site Spectator Australia went so far as to say that “an odd new medical anomaly has medical doctors baffled because it sweeps throughout the nation”.
Nevertheless, because the Baker Coronary heart and Diabetes Institute’s Elizabeth Parazt instructed CheckMate, there was nothing to help such claims.
“There isn’t a proof of both an increase in SADS nor that COVID-19 vaccines are contributing to an increase in SADS,” Dr Paratz stated in an e-mail.
In response to the RACGP, SADS is an “umbrella time period to explain sudden deaths in younger individuals” 40 or beneath, whose reason for loss of life couldn’t be decided throughout an post-mortem.
As Dr Paratz defined, SADS had “been recognised for a few years” as “the commonest reason for sudden loss of life within the younger”.
Certainly, analysis printed within the Medical Journal of Australia way back to 2004 has examined the prevalence of sudden cardiac deaths in younger individuals.
Talking to CheckMate, Sean Lal, a scientific tutorial heart specialist on the College of Sydney and director of acute coronary heart failure companies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, stated he has not seen a rise in SADS.
“There has not been a rise in sudden cardiac loss of life as a result of COVID vaccination,” Dr Lal stated.
“In actual fact, we noticed a rise in sudden cardiac loss of life within the younger due to COVID an infection secondary to extreme myocarditis [heart inflammation].
“Vaccination protects sufferers towards such extreme sicknesses.”
Internationally famend heart specialist Christopher Semsarian, who can be a professor at Sydney College, agreed with Dr Lal.
“I am unaware of any information that implies there’s any rise in SADS in Australia. I do suppose there’s extra consciousness of SADS each within the medical world, and the neighborhood,” he instructed CheckMate.
Mark Latham says greater than 13,000 NSW academics can not work due to their vaccine standing. Is that right?
As academics in NSW communicate out about “atrocious” employees shortages and elevated workloads, NSW One Nation MLC and former federal Labor chief Mark Latham has prompt vaccine mandates are accountable.
“The newest information exhibits that 13,699 academics on [the NSW Department of Education] payroll system aren’t allowed to show due to insufficient vaccination standing,” Mr Latham tweeted. “That is your NSW instructor scarcity disaster proper there.”
However RMIT ABC Reality Test this week discovered that declare to be deceptive.
In response to a report that Mr Latham pointed to because the supply of his declare, solely 865 academics on the NSW Division of Schooling payroll had been confirmed, as of March 31, to be unvaccinated or solely partially vaccinated, or to have offered proof of vaccination that was subsequently rejected.
A spokesman for the division instructed Reality Test that, as of June 6, simply 208 everlasting educating employees and 381 academics on momentary contracts had been dismissed for not complying with the vaccine mandate.
The majority of the determine quoted by Mr Latham was made up of inactive academics who had not attested to their vaccination standing. These academics weren’t presently working and, due to this fact, not required to attest, nor had been they essentially searching for work.
The determine additionally captured energetic academics who had not attested to their vaccination standing however who could not have been required to take action. These academics could have been nominated to affix a college however not but assigned a job, or could have been on prolonged go away.
Edited by Ellen McCutchan and David Campbell with because of Ewa Staszewska