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Beware Catastrophizing Climate Models And Activists

Beware Catastrophizing Climate Models And Activists

Authored by Ramesh Thankur via The Brownstone Institute,

All true believers of The Science™…

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Beware Catastrophizing Climate Models And Activists

Authored by Ramesh Thankur via The Brownstone Institute,

All true believers of The Science™ of climate change have taken careful note of the lessons offered by the coronavirus pandemic during 2020–22 for managing the ‘climate emergency.’

The two agendas share nine items in common that should leave us worried, very worried. 

The first is the revolting spectacle of the hypocrisy of the exalted elites who preach to the deplorables the proper etiquette of abstinence to deal with the emergency, and their own insouciant exemption from a restrictive lifestyle. Most recently we witnessed the surreal spectacle of Britain’s Parliament interrogating disgraced former Prime Minister Boris Johnson on allegations that he serially broke the lockdown rules he had imposed on everyone else—but not questioning the anti-scientific stupidity of the rules themselves. Possibly the most notorious American example was California Governor Gavin Newsom and his cronies dining maskless in the appropriately named French Laundry restaurant at a time when this was verboten, being served by fully masked staff. 

Similarly, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Al Gore, and John Kerry have all been widely mocked for jetting around the world to warn people about global warming. I wonder if anyone has done a calculation of the total carbon footprint of each annual Davos gathering where CEOs, prime ministers and presidents, and celebrities fly in on private jets, are driven around in gas-guzzling limousines and preach to us on the critical urgency of reducing emissions? I understand the hookers do quite well during that week, so perhaps there is a silver lining. 

A second common element between Covid and climate change is the mismatch between models that inform policy and data that contradict the models. The long track record of abysmally wrong catastrophist predictions on infectious diseases from the Pied Piper of Pandemic Porn, Professor Neil Ferguson, is if anything exceeded by the failures of climate change alarmist predictions. The most recent example of the drum roll of “The end is nigh and this is absolutely your last chance to avert the end of the world from climate collapse” is yet another Chicken Little Sixth Assessment Report from the indefatigable Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

At some point the IPCC morphed from a team of scientists into activists. “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” the report warns us. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called it a “survival guide for humanity.” But a one-time climate action journalist-turned-sceptic, Michael Shellenberger, described the UN as a “Climate Disinformation Threat Actor.”

Calls for urgent climate action based on the language of “edging towards ‘tipping points” have been made over many years. Atmospheric scientists and former IPCC members Richard McNider and John Christy note that climate modeling forecasts have “always overstated the degree to which the Earth is warming compared with what we see in the real climate.” A few examples:

  1. In 1982, UNEP Executive Director Mostafa Tolba warned of an irreversible environmental catastrophe by 2000 without immediate urgent action.

  2. In 2004, a Pentagon report warned that by 2020, major European cities would be submerged by rising seas, Britain would be facing a Siberian climate and the world would be caught up in mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting.

  3. In 2007, IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri declared: “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late.”

  4. Most hilariously, in Montana the Glacier National Park installed “Goodbye to the glaciers” plaques, warning: “Computer models indicate the glaciers will all be gone by the year 2020.” Come 2020, all 29 glaciers were still there but the signs were gone, taken down by embarrassed park authorities.

Third, the rapidly consolidating Censorship Industrial Complex covered both agendas until Elon Musk began releasing the Twitter Files to expose what was happening. This refers to the extraordinary censorship and suppression of dissenting voices, with extensive and possibly illegal collusion between governments and Big Tech—and, in the case of the pandemic, also Big Pharma and academia.

Even truth was no defence, for example with accounts of vaccine injuries, if their effect was to promote narrative scepticism. The social media Big Tech censored, suppressed, shadow banned and slapped labels of “false,” “misleading,” “lacking context” etc. to content at variance with the single source ministries of truth. “Fact-checking” was weaponized using fresh young graduates—with no training, skills or capacity to sift between authentic and junk science—to put such judgmental stamps on pronouncements from world-leading experts in their field. 

Fourth, an important explanation for the spread of Covid and climate catastrophism is the promotion of fear and panic in the population as a means to spur drastic political action. Both agendas have been astonishingly successful.

Polls have consistently shown the hugely exaggerated beliefs about the scale of the Covid threat. On climate change, the gap between the stringent actions required, the commitments made and the actual record thus far is used to create panic. The notion that we are already doomed promotes a culture of hopelessness and despair best epitomized by Greta Thunberg’s anguished cry: “How dare you” steal my dreams and childhood with empty words. 

A fifth common theme is the appeal to scientific authority. For this to work, scientific consensus is crucial. Yet, driven by intellectual curiosity, questioning existing knowledge is the very essence of the scientific enterprise. For the claim to scientific consensus to be broadly accepted, therefore, supporting evidence must be exaggerated, contrary evidence discredited, sceptical voices stilled and dissenters ridiculed and marginalized. This has happened in both agendas: just ask Jay Bhattacharya on one and Bjorn Lomborg on the other. 

A sixth shared element is the enormous expansion of powers for the nanny state that bosses citizens and businesses because governments know best and can pick winners and losers. Growing state control over private activities is justified by being framed as minor and temporary inconveniences in the moral crusade to save Granny and the world. 

Yet in both agendas, policy interventions have over-promised and under-delivered. The beneficial effects of interventions are exaggerated, optimistic forecasts are made and potential costs and downsides are discounted. Lockdowns were supposedly required for only 2-3 weeks to flatten the curve and vaccines, we were promised, would help us return to pre-Covid normalcy without being mandatory. Similarly, for decades we have been promised that renewables are getting less expensive and energy will get cheaper and more plentiful. Yet increased subsidies are still needed, energy prices keep rising, and energy supply gets less reliable and more intermittent. 

Seventh, the moral framing has also been used to discount massive economic self-harm. Alongside the substantial and lasting economic damage caused by savage lockdowns to businesses and the long-term consequences of a massive printing of money, the obstinate persistence of excess deaths is painful proof of collective public health self-harm. 

Similarly, the world has never been healthier, wealthier, better educated, and more connected than today. Energy intensity played a critical role in driving agricultural and industrial production that underpin the health infrastructure and comfortable living standards for large numbers of people worldwide. High income countries enjoy incomparably better health standards and outcomes because of their national wealth. 

Eighth, government policies in both agendas have served to greatly widen economic inequalities within and among nations with fat profits for Big Pharma and rent-seeking Green Energy. A lot of money was said to be required to keep Mahatma Gandhi in the style of poverty he demanded. Similarly, a lot of money is required to support Covid and climate policy magical thinking where governments can solve all problems by throwing more money that must neither be earned nor repaid. 

In the triumph of luxury politics, the costs of the rich suffused in the golden glow of virtue are borne by the poor. Should a billion more Chinese and Indians have stayed poor and destitute over the last four decades, so Westerners could feel virtuous-green? Alternatively, for post-industrial societies, climate action will require cutbacks to living standards as subsidies rise, power prices go up, reliability comes down and jobs are lost. 

Attempts to assess the balance of costs and benefits of Covid and climate policies are shouted down as immoral and evil, putting profits before lives. But neither health nor climate policy can dictate economic, development, energy and other policies. All governments work to balance multiple competing policy priorities. What is the sweet spot that ensures reliable, affordable and clean energy security without big job losses? Or the sweet spot of affordable, accessible and efficient public health delivery that does not compromise the nation’s ability to educate its young, look after the elderly and vulnerable and ensure decent jobs and life opportunities for families? 

The final common element is the subordination of state-based decision-making to international technocrats. This is best exemplified in the proliferation of the global climate change bureaucracies and the promise—threat?—of a new global pandemic treaty whose custodian will be a mighty World Health Organisation. In both cases, the dedicated international bureaucracy will have a powerful vested interest in ongoing climate crises and serially repeating pandemics.

Reposted from Resistance Press

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/05/2023 - 21:40

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

More Travel:

With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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