Friday, November 26, 2021

Germany to complete the transition away from coal over the next nine years

They are going to rely on Russian natural gas instead. Rather hilarious, really

Germany plans to phase out coal use by 2030, eight years earlier than previously planned, as part of its latest climate pledge. That same year, the country wants 80 percent of its electricity to come from renewable sources. Per the BBC, Olaf Scholz, the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, announced the plan on Wednesday as part of a deal that will see the former vice-chancellor govern the country at the head of a three-party coalition made up of the Greens and Free Democrats.

Germany’s September 28th national election saw the Greens claim 118 seats in the Bundestag, making it the party’s best-ever showing. Scholz is expected to tap Greens leader Annalena Baerbock to serve as his foreign minister. Moreover, it’s likely Greens co-leader Robert Habeck will get the vice-chancellorship and the chance to oversee the country’s energy transition.

Notably, the coalition didn’t set a more aggressive emissions reduction target. By 2030, the country still plans to cut emissions by 65 percent from 1990 levels. According to an estimate from nonprofit Climate Action Tracker, Germany needs to reduce its greenhouse gas output by at least 70 percent by the end of the decade to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target put forward by the Paris Agreement.

Additionally, in making a deal with the Social Democratic Party, the Greens made a significant compromise. Per Bloomberg, the country will use natural gas to ease the transition between coal and renewables. Critics also say the coalition had to do more to push electric vehicle adoption. The government only plans to have 15 million EVs on German roads by 2030. “This does not look like a coalition for progress,” Christoph Bautz, the head of Campact, told Clean Energy Wire. “The climate movement will have to keep pushing the coalition to truly make it a climate government."


British Net-zero plans scaled back amid concerns over rising fuel and heating bills

A key component of the government’s net-zero strategy, which would have pushed up gasoline and heating bills, has been scaled back amid concerns over the cost of living.

The Telegraph has learned that proposals to expand Britain’s emissions trading system in an effort to cut carbon emissions have been watered down significantly after a backlash from senior ministers.

A consultation on where the scheme, which limits carbon emissions in certain sectors, should be applied, covered fuel used for vehicles and heating in the UK.

But both elements have now been removed for fear it could set off a political storm as gasoline and utility bills have risen significantly in recent months.

The battle in Whitehall is set in private, with repeated reformulations of the consultation before it is released to the public.

The paper outlining the approach was set to be published in the summer, ahead of the UN COP26 UN climate summit in November.

It is now expected in the spring of 2022. Early drafts said the emissions trading system would be expanded “radically”, but that word would have been removed from the latest version of the document.

The scaling back reflects pressure from Tory MPs over how Boris Johnson will deliver on his promise to make the UK a “net zero” carbon emitter by 2050.

Polls indicate broad support for tackling climate change, but support wanes as voters face personal costs that may be related to greening the economy.

The plans will still aim for emissions trading for the maritime sector and waste incineration, which could ultimately drive up costs for shippers and municipalities.

The door will also be opened to one day creating a trade emissions scheme for the agricultural sector by announcing a new impetus to measure CO2 emissions there. Government figures, however, continue to claim publicly and privately that no decision has been made on limiting agricultural emissions, given the political sensibility of adopting what critics call a “meat tax.”

The UK Emissions Trading Scheme sets limits on CO2 emissions in certain sectors, imposing a price on each tonne of carbon dioxide or its equivalent. The cap is then lowered over time, pushing the price up and encouraging businesses — and consumers, who can see the price increase pass them on — to use cleaner energy sources.

The arrangement, which came into effect in January and replaced a version of the European Union, is seen as a crucial way to help the UK achieve its net-zero ambition by encouraging change.

It currently applies to energy-intensive industries, the power generation sector and aviation, but the government wants to expand its scope.

Plans that the scheme would apply to vehicles and heating leaked out to . in July The times, with suggestions that average car and utility bills could each rise by £100 a year or more. But both elements have now been removed from the consultation, The Telegraph understands, despite the fact that the sectors contribute a large proportion of total UK emissions.


Keep burning those fossil fuels

Fossil fuel. No two words evoke greater disgust in the 21st century. Newsreaders utter these dread words with naked disdain. Green campaigners speak of fossil fuels in the same fearful, besmirching tones that medieval Christians would have used when speaking of Beelzebub. Google these two F-words and you’ll be treated to photo after photo of black, choking factories. ‘Keep it in the ground!’, environmentalists cry, convinced that humanity’s digging for coal, oil and gas, and our burning of these long dormant fuels to create energy, has propelled our planet into a hellscape of pollution. The Extinction Rebellion death cult marches behind banners declaring ‘Fossil fuels = death’. These dug-up fossils are ‘fuelling the apocalypse’, academics claim.

The relentless demonisation of fossil fuels reaches to the very top of political life. The great and the good have spent the past fortnight at COP26 wondering out loud when fossil fuels might be phased out. The draft text of the COP26 agreement contains, in CNN’s words, ‘unprecedented language around fossil fuels’. It calls for an acceleration of ‘the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels’. Of course even these fossil-bashing promises are not enough for the eco-doomsters who dominate so much of political and media discussion today, who are convinced that humanity’s exposure of the evil black sludge of oil and coal has been an unmitigated disaster for the planet. They want a drastic reduction in fossil-fuel use now. ‘We need urgent, deep cuts in emissions this decade’, says Caroline Lucas of the UK Green Party.

The feverish loathing of fossil fuels unites people from across the political spectrum. One-time climate sceptic Boris Johnson is these days indistinguishable from environmentalism’s prophetess of doom, Greta Thunberg. Both used their platforms at or around COP26 to demonise Britain’s Industrial Revolution, which of course was powered by the burning of coal. That started the clock ticking on ‘doomsday’, Boris madly claimed. Capitalists and anti-capitalists alike bristle at fossil fuels. BP once rebranded itself Beyond Petroleum. Two descendants of the Rockefeller and Getty capitalist dynasties wrote a piece for the Guardian on the eve of COP26 titled: ‘Fossil fuels made our families rich. Now we want this industry to end.’ Talk about raising the drawbridge! Meanwhile, self-styled anti-capitalists beat the streets to demand an end to the oil industry and the closure of coalmines, sounding more Thatcherite than Trotskyist.

Everywhere one turns, fossil fuels are getting a bad rap. They’re the source of all our woes, apparently. We must keep them buried, in Earth’s guts, forever. There’s only one problem with this rash, hyperbolic onslaught on fossil fuels: everything about it is wrong. Far from destroying life on Earth, our discovery and exploitation of these fuels improved it enormously. If it wasn’t for humankind’s liberation of the ancient sunlight trapped in coal, or our burning of the petroleum that accrued from chemical reactions in the seas of the prehistoric era, modernity as we know it simply would not exist. Fossil fuels gifted us the wealth, comfort and liberties we in the West enjoy, and they’re doing the same right now for emerging countries like China, India and Brazil. We need to utterly flip the script on fossil fuels. They shouldn’t be demonised; they should be celebrated for helping to radically improve human existence.

The first thing to note about the demand that we ‘keep fossil fuels in the ground’ is just how staggeringly obtuse and callous it is. Fossil fuels supply the vast majority of the world’s energy. The vast bulk of all the heat, electricity and fuel humankind needs in order to ward off the cold, create light, produce food, make and power machines, transport goods and essentials, power hospitals and generally protect itself from the vagaries and diseases of nature comes from the coal, oil and gas we are encouraged to loathe. According to the 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy, no less than 84 per cent of global energy comes from fossil fuels. Oil supplies 33 per cent of world energy, coal supplies 27 per cent, and gas supplies 24 per cent. There is something genuinely bizarre, if not outright perverse, about a world in which we are educated in schools and instructed by the political class to feel fear and hatred for the fuels that underpin almost every facet of our lives. Fuels that energise production, consumption, travel, health. What next – a global crusade against the evils of water? Air?

It is worth considering how borderline psychotic the demand for Net Zero is in a world in which 84 per cent of our energy comes from fossil fuels. The ‘deep and urgent’ reduction in fossil-fuel use that greens dream of would, if it ever came to fruition, be a calamity for humankind. It would do far more to bring about the parched, impoverished conditions of their apocalyptic fantasies than carbon emissions ever could. As Alex Epstein, author of the brilliant book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, puts it: ‘Environmentalists’ climate proposals would result in exactly the kind of apocalyptic scenario they claim climate change is causing.’ Climate change is a problem, but a ‘middling one’, as Bjorn Lomborg describes it. It threatens nothing as horrendous as a sudden reduction in fossil-fuel use would. Keeping fossil fuels in the ground would stall growth in emerging countries, plunge millions back into the poverty they’ve only recently been liberated from (courtesy of the burning of fossil fuels), and set a precedent in which the protection of nature from carbon emissions would be accorded more importance than the liberation of human beings from drudgery. Progressives should fear the ideology of Net Zero far more than the burning of coal and oil.

Listening to the neo-aristocrats of the Western environmentalist movement, you could be forgiven for thinking fossil fuels nurtured a hellish dystopia. In truth, these fuels made life better than it has ever been in human history. The coal-fuelled Industrial Revolution dragged humankind from the old era into a brand new one – one in which life expectancy leapt up, health vastly improved, new discoveries were made, cities sprung up, workers’ rights were secured, and democracy was born. And one in which climatic events have less impact on human beings than they did in the past. As Epstein points out, the more fossil fuels humanity has burnt, the fewer ‘climate-related deaths’ there have been. Over the past century CO2 emissions have risen inexorably, but climate-related deaths – that is, deaths from storms, floods, droughts and wildfires – have fallen spectacularly, from around half a million each year to just 14,000 in 2020.

In short, burning fossil fuels has helped to protect us from climatic events and ‘weather of mass destruction’. How can this be? How is it that the burning of fossil fuels, which we are constantly told is causing climatic catastrophe and untold human suffering, has coincided with the lowest risk ever of dying from a disastrous weather event? Because contrary to the fossilphobia of Western greens, contrary to the anti-production, anti-consumption prejudices of the eco-elites, humanity’s increased use of oil, gas and coal over the past couple of centuries has not been some crazed, greedy, destructive endeavour. It is not just about driving SUVs, taking cheap flights, and eating as many hamburgers as we can (though there’s nothing wrong with any of that). Rather, it is a process that has birthed a world of machines that assist in the protection of humankind from the hunger, sicknesses and climatic tragedies that stalked our species prior to the modern era. The truth is that we would be facing far worse environmental conditions and living conditions if we hadn’t used as much fossil fuel as we have.

And we don’t have to go all the way back to our own Industrial Revolutions to see the benefits of these fuels. Just look at China and India today. Sniffy Westerners, wallowing in the gains and comforts of the industrialisation their own nations underwent two centuries ago, look at China and India as bleak, black carbon nightmares. Think again. Globally, fossil-fuel use has risen enormously since 1980. Between 1980 and 2012 worldwide use of fossil fuels rose by 80 per cent. And much of this was down to the rise of China, India and other countries as emerging industrial powers. These nations continue to account for much of the growth in fossil-fuel consumption. The 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy notes that China had been responsible for a full three-quarters of the growth of energy consumption in the previous year, followed by India and Indonesia. China is also a leading player in the growing demand for oil. What has been the impact of all this fossil-fuel use in these countries? Disaster? Far from it.

In China and India, just as in Western countries in the past, the huge hike in fossil-fuel consumption has coincided with a massive growth in life expectancy. Not coincided, in fact – caused. As Epstein points out, fossil-fuel use really started to take off in China and India in 1970, and then rose enormously from 1990 onwards in China in particular. And in this same period, life expectancy in China went from under 65 in 1970 to around 75 in 2010 (it’s now closer to 77), and from around 50 to 65 in India in the same period (it’s now almost 70 in India). Income has also risen exponentially in China and India. All of these things are intimately related. Fossil fuels powered growth and industry, leading to more jobs and higher wages, leading to longer, healthier lives. If we kept fossil fuels ‘in the ground’, as noisy green doom-mongers insist we must, life in China and India would be a great deal harder and more unpleasant than it currently is.

But won’t we run out of fossil fuels? They’re finite, after all, and eventually all this fuel will dry up, right? This is another favoured argument of the eco-doom lobby, though, notably, it’s one we hear less of these days in comparison with the past. Which isn’t surprising, because this dystopic vision of humanity running out of fuel was built on highly questionable science. Peak Oil, Peak Coal, Peak Gas – around 20 years ago these millenarian fears were widespread in polite society. Yet as Michael Lynch of the Energy Policy Research Foundation says, ‘the entire concerns about peak oil were based on misinformation or junk science’. In 2013, the World Energy Council reported an ‘abundance’ of energy resources. ‘There is a greater abundance of energy resources in the world today than at any other time’, the council said.

So fossil fuels aren’t running out, their use has brought about fewer climate-related deaths, and they have helped to power a radical transformation in the life expectancy, living standards, health and knowledge of humankind. Then why do we hate them? How have they become the most raged-against things on Earth? Burning them emits carbon, of course. But here’s the thing – the very world that fossil fuels have helped to create is one in which we have more and more resources to devote to alleviating the impact of carbon emissions and solving the problems of pollution. The richer a country becomes, the more it can afford to focus on cleaning up its natural environment as well as lifting its populace out of poverty. Fossil-fuel consumption did not create a world of filth and disaster; it created the conditions in which we have far greater leeway to master our own living conditions and the environment.

The hostility to fossil fuels seems increasingly to be driven by misanthropy rather than reason; by an elitist feeling of revulsion for the gains of modernity rather than by a rational assessment of the undoubted problems humankind still faces. To my mind, our unlocking of the long-hidden wonders of fossil fuels, and our use of this furious energy to make the world anew, has been the most important thing humanity has done thus far. Consider coal, the most feared fossil fuel. Coal stores the surging heat of the Carboniferous period of about 300million years ago. It was about a thousand years ago that people first started to tap into these black, glistening containers of ancient heat, using it to heat homes, which meant less forestland had to be cut down and more croplands could be created. Later came the Industrial Revolution, when the heat of long-gone eras was unlocked to the end of motoring machines, factories, trains and unprecedented movements of things and people. It should be a source of pride for our species, taught in schools across the world, that we developed the means and the capacity to transform the deathly heat of the Carboniferous period into the fuel of the modern era; that we marshalled the ancient past to invent a brand new future. But it isn’t. Instead we’re meant to view coal as a filthy thing, and our burning of it as a sin against Mother Nature. The modern rage against fossil fuels is at root an irrational turn against modernity itself, and against the human endeavour that made it possible.

As Epstein has argued, the entire debate about energy in the 21st century is the wrong way around. ‘How can we reduce fossil-fuel use?’, campaigners and politicians ask, when what they should be asking is this: ‘How can we create such an abundance of energy that every human being will enjoy comfort, health and happiness?’ We need a human-centred view of the future, a human-centred morality, not the pre-modern, nature-worshipping fears and hysteria of contemporary environmentalism. Of course we could go beyond fossil fuels at some point, but only if we get serious about nuclear, about unlocking the awesome power of uranium. Until then, fossil-fuel consumption should not be demonised and it certainly should not be halted. And it should also not be merely tolerated, viewed as an unfortunate necessity in a world that needs energy. No, it should be encouraged, it should be cheered, and it should be celebrated as the modern wonder that it is.


Australia to support private sector in natural gas push

Taxpayers will fund the private sector to accelerate gas exploration across Australia, with the federal government’s new strategy pinpointing locations off the coast of Victoria and the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin as priorities for development.

The national gas infrastructure plan, released on Friday, says the government must act to alleviate the risk of gas supply shortfalls and support companies to open up new gas basins and construct gas pipelines.

A fortnight after nations at the Glasgow climate meeting, including Australia, affirmed the need to keep global warming within 1.5°C and phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, the new plan has angered climate and environment groups, which describe it as “corporate welfare”.

Under the plan, the Commonwealth will support the private sector to search for viable gas fields and develop an extensive network of new pipelines and related infrastructure. The plan’s modelling suggests at least one new basin will be required to meet projected domestic and export requirements.

“There may be circumstances where private sector investment is not available in time to ensure priority infrastructure projects are in place when required,” the plan says. “In such conditions, the government stands ready to drive new infrastructure development.”

The 36-page plan document, which does not mention climate change, was released along with an investment document that details which types of projects would be prioritised.

Australia’s energy market operator, AEMO, has warned that Victoria and the other southern states face a shortfall of natural gas on peak-demand winter days by 2024, and probable gas price rises.

To date, $285 million has been committed by the federal government to the development of private gas projects, including $224 million for the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and $21 million for Queensland’s North Bowen and Galilee Basin.

The gas industry’s expansion sets Australia at odds with the global shift towards renewables. Earlier this year the International Energy Agency released analysis that found the global route to net zero emissions was “narrow and extremely challenging”, and that no new fossil fuel projects should be approved.

The federal priorities include the development of the Port Kembla gas terminal in NSW, and envisages opening up new gas basins. The Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory should be brought into production by 2025, Narrabri in NSW from 2026 and Queensland’s Galilee and North Bowen basins in production by 2028, the plan says.

The plan also identifies potential offshore supply from the Bass, Otway and Gippsland basins. But the majority of new southern fields within these basins are in the ‘discovery’ phase, and it is unclear when production might start.

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the fracking industry in the Northern Territory, still in an exploratory phase, was being supported by “corporate welfare”.

“The Morrison government would be better off giving taxpayer money to just about any other industry if it wanted to seriously stimulate the economy,” Mr Sawyer said.

The Climate Council’s head of research, Dr Simon Bradshaw, described the plan as a “disaster”. “What part of gas is a polluting fossil fuel does this government not understand? The science is very clear: to avoid a climate catastrophe, fossil fuels must stay in the ground,” he said.

The plan underlines the government’s interest in developing its so-called “clean” hydrogen industry, noting hydrogen may be produced using gas and that carbon emissions could be stored using the controversial practice of carbon capture and storage. This would not be classed as “green” hydrogen, which is produced with renewable energy.

Not everyone is convinced Australia faces a looming gas shortage. Environment Victoria analysis found there is enough gas supply capacity in Victoria until 2027.

Over the following three years there is a shortfall of between 26 petajoules (PJ) and 85 PJ, but the adoption of gas-demand reduction measures, like increasing energy efficiency and electrification, eliminates the forecast shortfall.




Thursday, November 25, 2021

Global warming scare-mongers refuted as Arctic ice growing, on track to be the most ice in 2 decades

The scariest scenario of the global warming doomsayers has been the idea that the melting Arctic ice cap would put coastal cities underwater. For example:

'Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice,' reported the BBC back in 2007. 'Their latest modelling indicates that northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.'

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski from the Department of Oceanography of the US Navy predicted an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the summer of 2013.

Maslowski added that his prediction was on the conservative side, too: "Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007. So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative."

There are plenty more such forecasts:

'Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice,' reported the BBC back in 2007. 'Their latest modelling indicates that northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.'

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski from the Department of Oceanography of the US Navy predicted an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the summer of 2013.

Maslowski added that his prediction was on the conservative side, too: "Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007. So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative."


In 2010, Mark Sereeze, the newly appointed senior scientist at the US government's Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo. was famously quoted as saying: "the Arctic is screaming."

But, as with countless other prophesies of climate doom, they were alarmist BS. Cap Allon writes:

This week, Arctic sea ice is approaching 10,000,000 km2 — the second highest ice extent of any of the last 15 years.

Furthermore, the years 2008 and 2005 are on course to be eclipsed in the coming days/weeks, as are many from the early-2000s and mid/late-1990s — this means that 2021 will soon claim the title of 'the highest Arctic sea ice extent of the past two decades' (since 2001). (snip)

According to the latest data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Arctic sea ice 'volume' has been on something of a tear in recent weeks — it is now tracking above all recent years (black line on the below chart), and shows no signs of abating:

It's so cold in the Arctic that

[t]wo icebreakers are on the way to rescue ice-locked ships on Northern Sea Route (snip)

District authorities in the Russian Far East have decided to commission two icebreakers to aid the vessels currently ice-locked in the East Siberian Sea. (snip)

The commissioning of the powerful icebreaking vessels comes as severe sea-ice conditions have taken shippers by surprise. There are now about 20 vessels that either are stuck or struggling to make it across the icy waters.

But what about the Antarctic ice cap?

That's not about to melt, either:

[T]he South Pole also just witnessed a historically cold winter. As reported last month: "Between the months of April and September, the South Pole averaged a temperature of -61.1C (-78F). Simply put, this was the region's coldest 6-month spell ever recorded, and it comfortably usurped the previous coldest 'coreless winter' on record: the -60.6C (-77F) from 1976 (solar minimum of weak cycle 20)."

In fact, it turns out that, according to a study released a week ago:

Paleoclimate data indicate there was less Arctic sea ice during the pre-industrial period than in modern times, or when CO2 concentrations were 100 ppm lower than today (280 vs. 380 ppm).

Scientists (Diamond et al., 2021) assert that during the 18th and 19th centuries Arctic sea ice extent minimum (September) values averaged 5.54 million km².

Though modern sea ice losses are often characterized as dangerously low, satellite data indicate the 2002-'06 five-year average minimum sea ice extent was 5.92 million km², which is 0.38 km² above the 1700s and 1800s or pre-industrial (PI) levels. This would not appear to be consistent with claims of unprecedented sea ice losses in recent decades.

Also, CO2 peaked at only ~280 ppm during the Last Interglacial (LIG), which is approximately the same as the PI CO2 concentration. And yet due to the additional 60-75 W/m² shortwave Arctic forcing during that interglacial relative to today, there was "a consistently ice-free LIG Arctic from early August until early October" from about 130,000 to 115,000 years before present (Diamond et al., 2021).

(Polar bears — thought to be dependent on summer sea ice presence to hunt seal — nonetheless survived an ice-free Arctic for millennia.)

Joe Biden and the climate grifters don't care about the data. They want to spend trillions of dollars converting the motor vehicle fleet to battery-powered electric cars whose power source will be...something. Not quite sure what. Windmills and solar panels won't work, and the greenies hate nuclear power.

It's all a scam


Senator Kennedy Has Some Thoughts on Biden's Energy Policy

When things are going wrong in the world, there are few better to offer thoughts than Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy whose way with words and ability to "cut the crap," as he often says, is unrivaled in the upper chamber.

Joining Fox News on Tuesday night to talk about rising gas prices and President Biden's decision to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Senator Kennedy didn't hold back.

"One of the differences between people and dogs is that dogs would never allow the weakest or the dumbest to lead the pack," Sen. Kennedy remarked. "President Biden's energy policy is both weak and dumb."

"Releasing 50 million barrels of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve — which is our national emergency oil savings account — won't make any difference on the price of gas," Sen. Kennedy said, echoing criticism from many observers — including Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (WV) — who find the President's use of emergency oil to be little more than a band-aid that won't move the needle on oil and gas prices.

As Sen. Kennedy pointed out, "America consumes about 20 million barrels of oil a day, so that's two and a half days. That's why shortly after the President's announcement oil futures actually went up — not down — so we're going backwards here."

"He and his 'woker' friends have eliminated, terminated, ended America's hard fought energy independence," criticized Sen. Kennedy before summing up the Biden administration's energy policy: "Let's force America to buy oil from foreign countries that hate us so those foreign countries will have money to buy weapons to try to kill us."

"Another way of putting it is the reason gas prices are going up is because the oil's in Louisiana and Texas and the dipsticks are in Washington, D.C.," Kennedy concluded. I read that somewhere and it seemed appropriate."


“Hot Talk, Cold Science” and The Dangers of Centralized Planning in the Name of Climate Change

When former President Barack Obama says “We are nowhere near where we need to be” in terms of climate change, he’s not talking about reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The stated goals of the U.N. Paris Agreement that Obama, and other world leaders, embrace are properly viewed as a proxy for a larger agenda aimed at dismantling American independence and freedom.

After all, the U.S. already leads the world in reducing Co2 emissions thanks in large part to hydraulic fracturing that accelerated during Donald Trump’s presidency. Forbes reports on the emissions reductions that occurred much to the consternation of the news media and its cheerleading for U.N. directives that raise energy costs without impacting climate.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has collected data that shows how innovative drilling techniques has unleashed natural gas, which in turn has been driving down emissions. This trendline has continued into the Biden presidency in part because natural gas has replaced coal and in part because of COVID-19 restrictions on travel and other activities.

So, if Obama isn’t talking about emissions, what did he actually mean while addressing the U.N’s latest climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland earlier this month? The answer comes in the form of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law on Monday, and other anti-energy initiatives, ostensibly advanced in the name of climate change. The directives and mandates included in the legislation make it evident that what Obama really meant during his talk at the U.N. is that centralized planners in Europe and America are “nowhere near” where they would like to be as it relates to implementing coercive policy measures.

The climate change agenda initiated under Obama and reloaded under Biden is built around an anti-carbon mindset that seeks to replace fossil fuels with expensive, unreliable forms of energy that will raise household and transportation costs for the average citizens “Lunch Bucket Joe” claims to represent. The American Energy Alliance, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit group that favors free market policies in the energy sector, details the taxpayer-funded “subsidies and slush funds” for favored special interests now in motion in a recent analysis of the infrastructure bill.

But the problem here is not just with the economics of what Team Biden has wrought, but with the science of climate change. A good source here is the late Fred Singer, an American physicist, who was also a professor of environmental science at the University of Virginia, and a research fellow with the Independent Institute, a public policy research organization based in Oakland, California. The institute has just released an updated version of Singer’s book “Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate that exposes how the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has peddled “misinformation and alarmist” rhetoric that does not hold up under scientific scrutiny.

Singer, and his co-authors, document how the IPCC has had to “walk back” several alarmist claims. The book notes, for instance, that the U.N. panel was finally forced to concede that -- counter to its projections -- a 15-year period “of no significant warming since 1998 despite a 7 percent rise in atmospheric Co2 levels.” Singer viewed the IPCC as a political rather than scientific organization that “deliberately and repeatedly” hid “uncertainty,” and “the absence of critical data” while evading “evidence that questions or contradicts its apocalyptic prediction.” The end result, he wrote, is a “terrible crime against science” and “the adoption of unnecessary and very costly public policies, and grave damage to the reputation and credibility of science.”

That part about “unnecessary and very costly public policies” is applicable to the Biden climate change agenda and the impact it will have on American energy consumers.

Tom Pyle, president of American Energy Alliance, puts it very well in a press statement.

“Spending with no return is the theme of this bill,” Pyle said. “Tens of billions for rail, which few Americans choose, let alone use. It seems Congress insists on repeating and expanding the fantastically expensive built train boondoggle in California. Expanding mass transit in our large cities, which forces people together, in an era of pandemic and physical distancing is mindboggling. Even the spending on actual highways, a mere 10% or so of the total bill, is likely to net only a limited gain.

Pyle continued:

“This infrastructure bill does nothing to fix the actual problems facing America today and those which voters are most concerned about: the supply chain crisis and rocketing inflation. That this wasteful and unnecessary legislation has consumed the attention of Congress for half the year is an indictment of the institution. We can only hope that wasted time and wasted money are the only consequences of this legislation.”

So then, what are the prospects for economic renewal and the restoration of sensible energy policies? If Obama is expressing frustration at the rate of progress made toward government control over energy use, this would suggest there is time to reverse course. That was the message Rob Bradley, CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, delivered while addressing the Heartland Institute’s most recent international climate change conference held in Las Vegas this past October.

With an eye toward history, Bradley told audience members that the U.S. “has been in a very strange, negative energy situation before and come back.” He pointed to the centralized planning that occurred under President Wilson during World War I that gave the federal government power to impose price controls on oil products leading to “Gasless Sundays, Heatless Mondays, Meatless Tuesdays, Wheatless Wednesdays and Lightless Nights” as they were described at the time. These polices were reenacted on a larger scale during World War II, Bradley said when “ration books” were dispersed restricting the acquisition of simple items like coffee and more vital items like gasoline.

“The end of the climate crusade will be to have energy rationing and maybe even carbon rationing,” Bradley warned, where “people who get the big allotments such as during World War II are the politicians and the bureaucrats…and then at the bottom are the forgotten men and women.”

But over time, Bradley does see free market energy policies winning out.

“We have a very solid worldview, and we need to keep in mind we have the moral high ground,” he said. “We need to be proud of each other for going against the mainstream and I think there’s reason for optimism. Classical liberalism, which you can also call small L libertarianism or the science of liberty, it is a worldview that really makes sense, it hangs together, you have to study it a little more than the other side.”

With government intervention, the simple answer is to pass a law, Bradley explained. “Well, it takes a lot more understanding to appreciate the free market and why doing the easy thing with government has unintended consequences and negative intended consequences,” he said.

Singer’s book provides a roadmap for a future administration devoted to free market energy policies. He credited Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, which Singer said, “lacked any scientific justification” and is “unfairly biased against American interests.” But Singer also made the observation that Trump should have gone a step further to withdraw the U.S. from the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since he didn’t, Biden was able to simply re-enter the U.N. agreement only a few months after the U.S. was officially out. There’s a lesson in that.


Australia: Fanatical warmist high school teacher allegedly berated students who wanted airconditioning turned on in 30C-plus heat

Schoolteachers are refusing to turn on classroom airconditioning, citing climate change as the reason to keep the kids sweating, a frustrated parent has claimed.

The father of a student at Corinda State High School in Brisbane’s west claims the teacher refused cool air relief to uncomfortable Year 9 pupils on November 4, saying she would consider turning it on if the temperature hit 40C.

The Courier-Mail has been told the aircon has remained off since that date, including days over 30C with extreme humidity

The parent claims the teacher berated the class about their lack of interest in climate change and called them “ignorant and selfish”. Corinda State High School has solar panels generating 266.6kW of power.

As the Queensland Government works towards completing its $447 million program to install airconditioners in all state schools by next June, the parent said teachers needed to be aware of what the Department of Education’s policy was on airconditioning, and needed to adhere to the policy regardless of any personal climate change beliefs.

“Several pupils spoke up to the teachers requesting aircon,” the parent said. “She advised the students she’d reconsider the request if the temperature reached 40C – a preposterous position by any reckoning.

“She didn’t appreciate the way the students were thinking about the issue of climate change and they should be grateful previous generations are doing things to prevent climate change.

“Her comments are unwarranted, abusive and harassing — contrary to her obligations under the fiduciary relationship which exists in her classroom.”

The parent claims the school has not responded to an email asking for an apology to the Year 9 students.

The use of airconditioning and its impact on the planet is a hot topic as the warmer it gets the more airconditioning is used.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said that the department is aware that an anonymous complaint email was received.

“To date, the anonymous complainant has not responded to the principal’s invitation to address their concerns,” she said.

“The school has diligently investigated these claims, however, none of the classroom students confirmed the allegations or expressed concerns regarding classroom temperatures or the teacher’s conduct.

“Teachers use airconditioning in their classrooms as needed to ensure that everyone in the classroom benefits from the best conditions for learning.”




Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Reporters Exploit Normal Weather to Fan Climate Fear

Exaggeration of weather events to sell climate crisis is not something new. In the case of a Sky News account of flooding in one Indian city, my own observations — backed up by independent data — are absolutely contrary to the news report.

Chennai — my home state’s capital, formerly known as Madras — is prone to floods, whose severity I’ve personally witnessed. In fact, the last time Chennai was flooded, I narrowly escaped by fleeing the city at the last hour. But, for me, that trauma does not make any more reasonable the media’s melodrama about climate’s role in floods.

The city is prone to yearly deluges from the strong Northeast Monsoon system during the months of October – January. This, coupled with poor planning and destruction of natural waterways, has led to an urban nightmare of flooding as a common event.

However, Sky News’ international Twitter report did not let the facts get in the way of its climate narrative. Standing in knee-high water, the reporter said, “We know that as a result of our warming planet, we are going to see more radical and frequent shifts in extreme weather – extreme heat to extreme rain.”

Except for a massive deluge in 2015, Chennai — located on India’s southeastern coast — has had a relatively steady amount of rainfall since 1969. For example, yearly rainfall variation (in the image below) shows that years of both intense and light rainfall have been common for the city.

Monthly data for the city also show the sporadic nature of rainfall in the city with many high rainfall months since 1969. This means that intense downpours are not uncommon in the city.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, a meteorological expert said, “These extreme rains have happened several times in the past too. It is not due to any climatic change. The record for the highest rainfall in Chennai on a single day in November is still 1976.”

The main reason for the flooding is the unplanned expansion of the city, which resulted in the encroachment of natural reservoirs and the blocking of key natural drains for rainwater. This is a well-established fact backed up by satellite imagery.

A 2020 report from the Indian Government, titled Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region, laid out a comprehensive analysis of various factors affecting the climate in the country. According to the report, a medium-range analysis of cyclone frequency in the North Indian Ocean Basin revealed a decrease in frequency of severe cyclones between 1951 and 2018.

The data may be surprising to the reader because the mainstream media — like the Sky News journalist — regularly claim that extreme weather events increased in this period because of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. But the reality is completely different.

“Long-term observations (1891–2018) indicate a significant reduction in annual frequency of tropical cyclones in the North Indian Ocean basin.”

In addition, there has been no significant warming in the city since 2004. In fact, satellite measurements captured a global pause in warming between 2000 and 2020, a trend like that observed in Chennai.

So, rainfall, cyclone landfall, and temperature have shown no dangerous increase in the city of Chennai. This case of interweaving the theory of climate crisis into a normal weather event by Sky News is typical of mainstream media. Either Sky News assumed its international viewers were unlikely to research the real reasons behind the flooding, or the news channel is ignorant of the facts itself.

We recommend applying a healthy dose of skepticism to assertions of climate-induced weather events. You also might want to follow more responsible outlets for your facts, such as the CO2 Coalition.


Bill Gates’ vision for next-generation nuclear power in Wyoming coal country

KEMMERER, Wyoming — In a triangle-shaped park, a bronze statue honors the legacy of J.C. Penney. In 1902, he opened a dry-goods store here to serve workers who dug coal from a nearby mine. The entrepreneur would go on to forge a nationwide retail empire.

More than a century later, a J.C. Penney department store still sells clothing in this town of fewer than 3,000 people. In the blocks surrounding the park, many businesses have closed, leaving behind aging storefronts. Some that remain open have “for sale” signs in the windows.

Kemmerer’s decline has come as the coal industry, despite a recent surge in demand, has suffered a long-term loss of markets to cleaner, cheaper sources of electricity. In 2025, the town faces a stark reckoning when Rocky Mountain Power’s Naughton coal plant is scheduled to close, which also will leave a more difficult future for a nearby mine.

“With the power plant shutting down in five years, would you open a new restaurant or new business of any kind?” said Tom Crank, a former state legislator and civil engineer who has lived in Kemmerer since 1968. “This is slowly eating away at the community.”

This week came big news, and fresh hope for an economic revival of Kemmerer.

TerraPower, a Bellevue-based nuclear energy company founded by Bill Gates, announced plans to build a new reactor called Natrium — cooled by liquid sodium — at the site of the Naughton coal plant.

The plant was one of four scheduled for closure that were under consideration for TerraPower’s Wyoming Advanced Nuclear Demonstration Project.

“We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry,” Gates said in a June virtual appearance in Wyoming. “Wyoming has been a leader in energy for over a century. And we hope that our investment in Natrium will allow Wyoming to stay in the lead for many decades to come.”

Nuclear power generates electricity without the direct combustion of fossil fuels that releases greenhouse gases. And Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, has been one of America’s most high-profile proponents of nuclear power to help the nation reach net-zero emissions by 2050. In his virtual appearance, Gates promoted Natrium as a safer, more flexible and less-expensive reactor than those cooled by water in conventional plants.

Gates’ advocacy has earned him praise — and pushback — amid a global debate about nuclear power’s role in the 21st century. In Europe, Germany plans to shut down its last nuclear power plants in 2022, while France remains dependent on nuclear for most of its electricity. In China, the government is backing a program of nuclear expansion that until U.S. restrictions were imposed in 2019 included a TerraPower proposal to build an experimental reactor south of Beijing.

In the United States, where nuclear provides 20% of the electricity, critics say it remains a costly option with unresolved issues over long-term waste storage. And they say the potential of advanced reactors is being oversold.

“Many of the claims that are being made about these types of reactors are simply untrue or highly misleading,” said Edwin Lyman, a physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists who this year published a report on advanced nuclear technology that included a harsh critique of TerraPower’s project.

Shannon Anderson, staff attorney with Wyoming’s Powder River Basin Resource Council, said the TerraPower reactor is “no silver bullet solution,” and would be too little, too late to address climate change or the economic impacts of coal’s decline in Wyoming. “It doesn’t answer the tough questions that we really need to have answered in the state,” Anderson said.

Since 2009, TerraPower has spent more than $1.4 million on contributions to national campaigns and lobbying, according to Open Secrets, a nonprofit tracking money in politics.

TerraPower has benefitted from bipartisan political support.

During the June announcement of the four sites, Gates was joined by U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Gov. Mark Gordon — eager to launch nuclear power generation in the nation’s largest coal-producing state.

TerraPower’s Wyoming project is projected to cost nearly $4 billion. Taxpayers, under contract terms, pick up half that, matching private sector spending dollar for dollar.

Congress already has allocated most of the nearly $2 billion to the Energy Department to spend on TerraPower, much of it in the infrastructure bill signed into law Monday by President Joe Biden. The company’s CEO, Chris Levesque, calls it the largest public investment in an advanced nuclear power project in the nation’s history.

The Energy Department’s contract stipulates the Natrium reactor must be operating by 2028 — lightning speed in the nuclear world. A partner in the project is Rocky Mountain Power’s parent company, PacifiCorp, controlled by Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company led by Gates’ billionaire friend Warren Buffett.

The 345-megawatt TerraPower reactor is designed to generate electricity around the clock and would be coupled with a molten-salt system to store heat and enable the plant to surge up to 500 megawatts for over five hours — enough electricity for about 400,000 homes.

The project would employ 2,000 workers during construction and 250 others to operate the plant. TerraPower officials hope this project can be replicated at other U.S. coal plants.

“This [TerraPower] technology is amazing — there’s no other word for it,” said Gary W. Hoogeven, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, which plans to close 19 coal-fired power plant units by 2040.

“I couldn’t be more excited for you, those communities and our employees that there is a solution. It’s coming, and TerraPower, I believe, is it,” Hoogeven said as the project was announced.

In Kemmerer, a conservative town in a fiercely Republican state, some are wary of Gates’ wide-ranging agenda, from combating climate change to developing COVID-19 vaccines.

But many people strongly support the new nuclear plant.


Biden’s Energy Secretary Has No Idea How Much Oil Americans Need

Speaking to reporters at the White House Tuesday afternoon, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was asked how many barrels of oil Americans consume and need each day. She claimed she didn't have the answer.

The answer is 18 million barrels, which exposes President Biden's move to release 50 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a futile, political move.

In recent weeks, Granholm laughed off riding energy prices and admitted during remarks this week that the United States is in the middle of a "transition" away from oil and gas, which is causing pain at the pump.


Australian Labor Party senator warns party about reacting to climate ‘extremists’

Victorian Labor senator Raff Ciccone has warned his colleagues against demonising regional industries, particularly forestry, as the federal opposition prepares to finalise its climate policy ahead of next year’s election.

In a speech to the Senate on Tuesday night, Senator Ciccone said “extremists” who sought to damage or disrupt the activities of timber workers were not only hurting the livelihoods of families but would make it harder for Australia to hit its climate goals.

The senator has been a vocal advocate for timber workers and has criticised his side of politics over the Victorian Labor government’s decision to phase out native forest harvesting from 2024, with a full shutdown by 2030.

The federal opposition is close to settling its climate policy, which is likely to include revised emissions reductions targets, but is wary of creating a blue-collar worker backlash after failing to convince voters over climate change during the past decade.

Senator Ciccone told the Senate on Tuesday evening the timber industry would prove critical to Australia’s hopes of hitting net zero by 2050, which the federal government officially signed up to at this month United Nations climate summit.

Labor climate policy poised to respond to PM scare tactics
“We cannot afford to be distracted by radicals more concerned with making themselves feel good than protecting our planet,” Senator Ciccone told the Senate.

“The real climate heroes are providing sustainable, green building materials to our construction industry. They are taking and storing carbon from our forests and re-growing the harvested trees to store even more carbon.”

He cited research from the Centre of Policy Studies at Victoria University, released earlier this month, which found the forestry industry would almost double as decarbonisation boosted tree planting to take advantage of bio-sequestration opportunities.

The report found a net-zero policy would lead to significant increases in forested land and increased sales of logs for processing and export as forest pulp.

Senator Ciccone said the paper showed the forestry industry was Australia’s greenest form of carbon capture and would need to grow to meet climate targets.

“Radical activists need to understand that attacking the timber industry is not going to prevent climate change. You are targeting an industry that needs to get bigger, not smaller, to protect our planet.”

He said the Coalition government also needed to show greater support for the industry by spruiking the role forestry would play in reaching emissions targets over the coming decades.

“The Morrison-Joyce government needs to understand that leadership isn’t just waving a brochure around at a press conference,” he said. “Leadership is assessing the impact of your decisions on the Australian economy, so we can help those who will need a leg-up and create the jobs of the future right here in Australia.”

The industry has argued Australia has untapped potential as a bioenergy powerhouse through industrial heat in the future renewable energy mix. The federal government’s road map forecast that bioenergy could make up a fifth of Australia’s resource potential.

Veteran CFMEU forestry union leader Michael O’Connor has criticised Victorian Labor’s “disgraceful” treatment of timber workers in the state and warned it was under­mining federal Labor’s pitch to voters that workers and communities reliant on transitioning industries would be looked after.

“Federal Labor’s task of convincing blue-collar workers and communities they will be looked after is threatened by the approach of the Andrews government toward timber workers and their communities. Because these workers are being thrown on the scrap heap,” Mr O’Connor said last month ahead of the Glasgow climate summit.




Tuesday, November 23, 2021

After Glasgow, The 1.5°C Target Is Dead – Get Over It

The Glasgow climate conference represents a strategic defeat for the West, and for Britain in particular. Boris Johnson unleashed everything he could muster. The royal family hosted receptions for multibillionaires. The Foreign Office sent climate envoys around the world.

Glasgow would show the world that Britain could outdo France’s performance six years ago at the Paris climate conference.

Wrong. Whereas the French knew what they were doing in Paris, the British were at sea in Glasgow. The result was a display of the rank amateurishness of the British state.

If Boris Johnson and his ministers had done their homework, they would have known they were on a road to nowhere. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol failed because it exempted the developing world from cutting its emissions.

The West attempted to remedy this at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009 with a climate treaty that would bring the major emerging economies under a multilateral regime of emission targets and timetables.

The attempt was sunk by China, India, South Africa, and Brazil acting in concert.

The West accounts for a declining share of global emissions. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” Barack Obama had boasted in 2008.

Obama and the West were desperate for a climate agreement to justify increasingly punitive domestic climate policies.

The Paris agreement is the climate equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Sinatra Doctrine, under which the captive nations of eastern Europe could do it their way. It signaled that the Soviet Union had lost the Cold War.

In a similar fashion, the Paris agreement signaled that the West had accepted its defeat and had given up its attempt to create a multilateral regime of emission cuts.

Instead, the Paris agreement is based on nationally determined contributions. Each party to the agreement would do it its way.

After Copenhagen, small island states lobbied intensely to tighten the temperature target from 2 degrees above industrial levels to 1.5 degrees.

Their islands, they claimed, were in danger of sinking beneath the waves. The West swallowed the sinking island sob story, which is how 1.5 degrees came to be included in the Paris agreement as a subsidiary ambition to the 2-degree target.

It was fake science, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) later confirmed.

“Observations, models, and other evidence indicate that unconstrained Pacific atolls have kept pace with [sea level rise], with little reduction in size or net gain in land,” the IPCC said in its net-zero report.

Because Paris included 1.5 in its text, the IPCC brought forward the indicative timetable for net-zero from the second half of the current century to 2050.

In the waning days of her premiership in 2019, Theresa May decided to make net-zero her legacy. She was effectively setting the UK on a path of economic suicide.

It was incorporated as a binding target under the 2008 Climate Change Act after a ninety-minute debate in the House of Commons, even though MPs had no idea how much it would cost or whether it was remotely feasible.

But one thing is clear: whatever net zero costs Britain, it is pointless for Britain to decarbonize if the rest of the world doesn’t follow suit.

The regulatory-impact assessment accompanying the Climate Change Act signed by Ed Miliband as climate and energy secretary could not have been clearer: “The UK continuing to act while the rest of the world does not, would result in a large net cost for the UK.”

The benefits of UK climate action would be distributed around the world, but the UK would bear all the costs.

The Climate Change Act was passed in the runup to the Copenhagen climate conference, which was supposed to produce a binding climate treaty.

“Showing leadership through the Climate Change Act, the UK will help to drive a global deal,” Miliband asserted, showing that climate hubris is embraced by all Britain’s political parties.

Now, for a second time, a UN climate conference has produced a dud. The fantasy that Britain would lead and the rest of the world would follow has been exposed.

The question mark over net-zero has been answered. After Glasgow, we now know that net-zero is all pain for no gain.


How green activists mislead and hold back progress

Exaggerating and impractical, the climate movement undermines its cause and everyone suffers, says environmental writer TED NORDHAUS

TWELVE YEARS ago, the UN’s climate summit in Copenhagen, COP15, was dubbed “Hopenhagen”. The 11-day event opened with a short film depicting a fictional Scandinavian girl having a nightmare: an Earth wracked by climate change opens up to swallow her and violent waters threaten to drown her. She wakes up screaming, watches world leaders giving speeches about climate change on the COP15 website, and then videos herself begging the politicians to “please help the world!”

But the proceedings ended in failure. Environmental groups and European officials blamed America. Small island nations blamed China. China and India blamed rich countries.

Today, a real Scandinavian girl insists the nightmare has come true—and blames world leaders for failing to act. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood,” Greta Thunberg thundered, to cheers from the global climate commentariat at the UN General Assembly in 2019. “There is no Planet B,” she sneered, “blah blah blah,” mocking the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for adopting the long-time slogan of environmental activists, at a youth climate summit in September.

At the UN climate conference in Glasgow, COP26, the phony optimism of Hopenhagen and the adolescent cynicism of Greta were present in roughly equal measure, two sides of the same apocalyptic coin. Activists, scientists and commentators conjured up catastrophic futures and bemoaned the lack of progress, while inveighing against “doomism” and demanding an immediate, dramatic social and political transformation.

Taken at face value, doom would not be an irrational reaction to the claims of the climate movement. If planetary catastrophe, societal collapse and perhaps even human extinction are likely (absent a complete transformation of human civilisation), then fatalism is a reasonable response. But the realities of climate change are less terrifying and the global response more promising than the reductive claims of environmental activists might lead people to believe.

Neither dystopian not utopian

Deaths around the world from climate-related disasters are at an all-time low. People’s vulnerability to extreme weather has fallen rapidly in recent decades. Recent research in Global Environmental Change shows that climate vulnerability has declined the most in recent decades among the poor globally, owing to the resilience that comes with economic growth and development.

At the same time, long-running efforts to slow the growth of emissions appear to be working. Global emissions appear close to a peak and the International Energy Agency projects that the world is on track for less than 3°C of warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, a far cry from forecasts of 5°C or more that many thought likely a decade ago. Admittedly, a warming of 3°C is not a walk in the park. But given continuing economic growth and development, it is likely to be a future in which human societies will fare reasonably well. The good news is that if countries uphold their commitments from the past several years to sharply cut emissions, the world will be in position to limit warming closer to 2°C, the long-standing international target for climate stabilisation.

Unfazed by these less-than-dystopian assessments, the global climate-industrial complex—a nexus of campaigners, green charities and sustainable-business practitioners who are aided, abetted and amplified by their ideologically (and socially) aligned handmaidens in academia and stenographers in media—has simply moved the goalposts for climate stabilisation, from 2°C to 1.5°C warming above pre-industrial levels, precisely when major emitting countries had found a workable framework to limit warming to 2°C, or at least be within shouting distance of it.

The 1.5°C target, by contrast, is implausible (and, like all temperature targets, largely arbitrary). Achieving it would require rebuilding the entire global energy economy within a decade or so. That means inventing technologies to make steel, cement and fertiliser, and to power ships, aircraft and much else on a similar timeframe, as well as removing vast quantities of carbon from the atmosphere over the latter half of the century. The activist community further insists upon re-engineering the global economy without many of the technologies that most technical analyses conclude would be necessary, including nuclear energy, carbon capture and carbon removal.

The exaggerations and impractical demands of the global climate movement are frequently excused as useful idiocies, a prod to national leaders to take more ambitious action. But there are other consequences that are far less salutary. To appease influential domestic environmental constituencies, Western political leaders have made far-reaching but non-binding commitments to cut emissions that they almost certainly cannot keep. To justify those commitments politically, even as theatre, those same leaders need to demonstrate that they are demanding similar commitments from emerging economies, notably China and India.

And so, even as China has promised to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060 and India by 2070, many national leaders and environmentalists demand ever more, such as a phase out of all new coal generation by the end of the decade, despite the fact that most wealthy nations continue to depend heavily on coal, oil and natural gas themselves.

China and India are large and powerful enough not to be bullied. But other poor countries are not. Finance for even natural gas, the least emitting of all fossil fuels, has dried up across Africa and much of the developing world, under pressure from Western countries and Western-led development institutions.

From the perspective of fairness, economic development and (not incidentally) climate resilience, fossil-fuel infrastructure arguably has the highest value in poor countries. Historically, international-development finance has underwritten those investments. But in the hothouse that is international climate politics, those are the investments that the climate movement and Western political leaders insist must be abandoned, ironically in the name of climate justice, even as rich countries pursue projects like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the Cumbria coal mine in the name of energy security.

The resulting contradictions are head-spinning. Tough talk by Western leaders to appease the climate movement is followed by commitments that are modest, symbolic and unenforceable. Grand agreements to end deforestation and phase out fossil-fuel infrastructure within a decade, turn out, upon closer examination, to be vague and subject to wildly different interpretations.

The costs, predictably, fall on the global poor. Stoked by an apocalyptic panic among the chattering classes in the richest countries in the world, unable to give up fossil fuels domestically or force their emerging economic competitors to do so, Western leaders punch down on the poorest nations in the world.

See the world as it is

Therein lies the fundamental tension within the climate movement. To acknowledge progress or recognise that climate-mitigation objectives need to be balanced with other societal priorities—not least the adaptive capacity that is enabled by the continuing use of fossil fuels—would require abandoning pseudo-scientific claims that hard biophysical boundaries loom, and jettisoning utopian fantasies of global government and a world powered entirely by renewable energy. Moreover, it would mean giving up self-flattering notions that the future of humanity hangs on the outcome of an epic struggle between corporations and environmentalists.

A climate movement less in thrall to fever dreams of apocalypse would focus more on balancing long-term emissions reductions with growth, development and adaptation in the here and now, recognising that the former will take decades to achieve while the latter confer not only much greater climate resilience today, but a range of further benefits for people far into the future.

Unfortunately, doing this serves none of the discursive needs of the climate-industrial complex, which seems to grow both larger and wealthier with every failure. The real outcome of the COP26 meeting is to further entrench the sad reality that the global poor are on their own. Practical action to cut emissions and improve resilience will remain primarily a national, not global, enterprise.

More than a decade after COP15, poor nations are still waiting for the modest pledges of technology transfer and climate-adaptation aid made at Copenhagen. Meanwhile, Western nations and development institutions, egged on by the climate movement, will proceed with efforts to choke off virtually all finance for fossil-fuel-based infrastructure in poor countries. It’s easy pickings for Western environmentalists, UN functionaries and political leaders alike, and there is no one capable of stopping them.

What would a constructive way forward look like? An activist movement that took its concerns about climate justice seriously would acknowledge that the environmental impacts happen at the intersection of a warming climate and poverty—and it would support, rather than oppose, continuing access to fossil fuels for the poorest people in the world, since they’re too expensive to replace for the moment and they make poor countries more resilient to the impact of climate change. Moreover, the movement would understand that because energy economies are path-dependent and emergent, they won’t yield quickly to calls for sweeping and immediate transformation and that, as such, there are limits to what both politics and protest can accomplish.

Most importantly, a wiser green-activist movement would recognise that when it places Western leaders between impossible demands and the realities of their domestic political economies, it is the poor, not the activist class, that end up paying for it.


Metals firm fights Peru’s plans to close mines over environmental impact

UK metals firm Hochschild Mining is to fight plans by Peru’s government to hasten the closure of four mines in the southern Ayacucho region because of concerns over their environmental impact.

The London-listed mining company has promised to “vigorously defend” its plan to continue mining gold and silver from two mines – Pallancata and Inmaculada – which it claims operate under the “highest environmental standards”.

Ignacio Bustamante, the Hochschild chief executive, said he was “surprised” by the “illegal nature” of the government’s planned action and would “vigorously defend its rights to operate these mines using all available legal avenues”.

Shares in Hochschild plunged nearly 40% on Monday morning, wiping more than £300m off the value of the company, after the Peruvian prime minister, Mirtha Vásquez, told local media over the weekend that four mines in the southern Ayacucho region would be barred from further expansion, and would be closed “as soon as possible”.

Hochschild said it had “not received any formal communication from the government regarding this matter”.

The plan could have severe consequences for Lima-headquartered Hochschild, which sources more than two-thirds of its gold and silver from its Peruvian mines.

The announcement is likely to raise hackles throughout the mining sector in Peru, the world’s second largest producer of copper, which includes UK miners Anglo American, Newmont, Glencore and Freeport-McMoRan. Peru’s mines are also operated by China’s MMG and Chinalco alongside local producers such as Buenaventura.

Peru’s mining industry has been linked to a string of environmental issues in recent years including deforestation, pollution and the mistreatment of environmental activists.

Bustamante said: “Our goal is to continue investing in Peru, growing our resources and extending mine lives, in accordance with the Peruvian legal framework.”

Hochschid said it was a significant employer in the region, employing more than 5,000 people directly and about 40,000 indirectly, and has long-term investment plans for the local region.

“We are prepared to enter into a dialogue with the government in order to resolve any misunderstandings with respect to our mining operations. However, given the illegal nature of the proposed action, the company will vigorously defend its rights to operate these mines using all available legal avenues,” Bustamante added.


Australia: Climate weed sentenced to 12 months in prison over coal train disruption

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A climate activist involved in protests that disrupted the Hunter region's rail network for two weeks has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Eric Serge Herbert was sentenced in Newcastle Local Court to 12 months' imprisonment with a non-parole period of six months.

The charges included causing obstruction to a railway locomotive or rolling stock, attempted hinder working of mining equipment and attempted assist in obstruction of rail locomotive or rolling stock.

A police strike force was established last week in response to the ongoing protest action, which impacted coal, grain and passenger trains trying to access the Port of Newcastle.

The NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller delivered a stern warning to protesters, announcing that the continued behaviour could result in charges laid under the Criminal Act that carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

The ABC approached Police Commissioner Mick Fuller to comment on the sentence but he was unavailable.

Group says it's a 'matter of concern'

Climate activist group Blockade Australia held a press conference in Newcastle this morning, describing the police action to stop the ongoing protests as "repression" and an "outrage".

One spokeswoman, 21 year old Hannah Doole, said she was "angry and scared on Sergio's behalf".

"This is a matter of concern for everybody that expresses dissent to the current political system and to politics in this country in whatever form.

"This is a young person who is fighting for their life, fighting for all life on the planet.

"And they have just been sentenced to six months no parole. 12 months imprisonment is an outrage," she said.

Another Blockade Australia representative, 24 year old Jarrah Kershaw, said he did not believe protesters would be deterred.

"Last week, people were threatened with 25 years in jail. And for the next three days, people continued to take action despite that," he said.




Tesla drivers angry after app outage stops them using their cars

I use a metal key to enter and start my conventional car and it has never yet had an "outage"

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has apologised on Twitter after hundreds of car owners were locked out of their vehicles due to an outage of the manufacturer’s app.

A number of Tesla drivers around the world complained on social media on Friday that they were unable to use their cars with their phone apps and had to rely on keycards if they happened to be carrying their keycards with them.

Eventually, Mr Musk announced late on Friday that “server issues” which had caused the problem with the app had been resolved.

Musk responded directly to a South Korean driver who reported receiving a message about a server error while attempting to connect with his Tesla Model 3 via the app on his iPhone.

Functionality should “be coming back online now. Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic,” Musk tweeted. “Apologies, we will take measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

But drivers had already posted a multitude of complaints online, such as one who tweeted: “I’m stuck an hour away from home because I normally use my phone to start car.”

Another wrote: “THOUSANDS of @Tesla owners are locked out of their vehicles because Tesla servers went down over two hours ago.

“I’m one of them. They said we’d be helping the environment by owning an electric vehicle, but ‘walking’ isn’t what I had in mind.”

The problem seemed to be widespread, with tweets surfacing in countries such as the US, Canada, Denmark and Germany.


Climate change: Wet wipes face ban in the war on waste

A ban on wet wipes in England is being considered in government plans to tackle plastic pollution in rivers and seas.

Ministers announced a call for evidence on how to tackle common plastic litter including wet wipes, tobacco filters and single-use cups.

It comes after a consultation was announced in August over the use of other plastic items including single use plates and cutlery. It will also look at alternatives to plastic balloon sticks.

Campaigners have long called for a ban on wet wipes that contain plastic, warning that they pile up on beaches and riverbanks and turn into tiny plastic fibres when broken down.


A Convenient Myth: Climate risk and the financial system

In an October 21 press release, Janet Yellen — Treasury secretary and head of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), the umbrella group that unites all U.S. financial regulators — eloquently summarized a vast program to implement climate policy via financial regulation:

"FSOC is recognizing that climate change is an emerging and increasing threat to U.S. financial stability. This report puts climate change squarely at the forefront of the agenda of its member agencies and is a critical first step forward in addressing the threat of climate change."

You do not have to disagree with one iota of climate science — and I will not do so in this essay — to find this program outrageous, an affront to effective financial regulation, to effective climate policy, and to our system of government.

Of all the threats posed by a slowly warming climate, why is Ms. Yellen talking about financial stability? The answer is simple: Financial regulators are not supposed to implement each administration’s policies on non-financial matters. Financial regulators may only act if they think financial stability is at risk.

Why? Imagine that Trump returns. He declares, “Illegal immigration is an existential crisis. I can’t get Congress to do anything about it. Financial regulators: Tell banks to freeze the bank accounts of any customers who can’t prove legal status. Scour people’s accounts for payments to illegal employees. Freeze out any business that hires an illegal.” You would be shocked. The nation would be shocked. Ms. Yellen would be shocked. There is no financial risk here, we would all say. This is a vast abuse of power.

Financial regulation can only touch climate policy if there is a risk to the financial system that only coincidentally involves climate. But how could climate possibly pose a risk to the financial system?

A “risk to the financial system” does not mean that someone, somewhere, someday, might lose money on an unwise investment. A risk to the financial system means an event like 2008: a shock so big, so pervasive, and so fueled by short-term debt that it sparks a widespread run, a wave of defaults, and threatens the ability of the whole system to function. “Financial regulation” means looking at the assets and liabilities of financial institutions to mitigate such a risk. It can at best look a few years in the future.

So, if we use plain English, a “climate risk to the financial system” that “financial regulators” can contain must mean the climate might change so drastically, so abruptly, and so unexpectedly, in the next five years, that the economy tanks so terribly that financial institutions blow through the cushions of equity and long-term debt, to spark a widespread systemic crisis like 2008 or worse.

The trouble is, there is absolutely nothing in even the most extreme scientific speculations to support that possibility. Climate is the probability distribution of weather: the chance of heat and cold waves, floods, fires, and so forth. We know with great precision what the climate will be for the next five years. Nobody writing insurance in Florida is unaware of the chance of hurricanes. The chances of extreme weather are not going to change unexpectedly in even ten years. The sea level is rising. It will continue to rise, about 4 millimeters per year – 2 cm in the next five years – slowly and predictably. Risk is the unknown. This is known.

Moreover, even weather extremes just don’t move the economy that much. We have had many financial crises in history. Not one was sparked by an extreme weather event. Our modern, national economy is remarkably immune to weather.

It is simply not true that the economic damage of extreme weather events is either large or substantially increasing. Weather-related damages were 0.18 percent of global GDP in 2020. That’s tiny, and it’s decreasing, down from 0.26 percent in 1990. The part of it that could be described as unexpected, threatening financial reserves, is tinier still. GDP fell 10 percent during the COVID recession. Unexpected climate risks would have to be 50 times larger in the next few years to approach that level of damage. Even the most extreme weather events are local, a blip on the national economy and the assets of diversified banks.

In 1900, half a million people died in storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme temperatures. By 2020, the number had declined to 14,000. So far, 5,500 people have died from climate-related disasters in 2021. There are about 35,000 car crash deaths each year in the U.S. alone, and COVID has killed 750,000 Americans.

Still, one could defend the effort. Our financial regulators completely missed the possibility that mortgage-backed securities might bring down the financial system in 2008. Despite the army of Dodd-Frank regulators and stress-testers, regulators missed the possibility that a pandemic threatened to do the same in 2020. Only another massive round of bailouts saved us from another 2008. The Fed went on to completely miss the chance that inflation might break out, while it orchestrated the printing of $3 trillion sent out to people as checks. A dispassionate, honest effort to look at out-of-the-box risks to the financial system, together with a humble attitude towards regulators’ ability to foresee them, is a good idea.

What might that effort find? What if (when?) China invades Taiwan, and the U.S. and allies blockade China? A huge global recession. What if the U.S. chooses to fight and loses? Greater catastrophe. What if the Middle East blows up, or a nuclear weapon goes off? What if we have a real pandemic, one that kills 10 percent of the people it infects as plague, cholera, typhus, and tuberculosis did? What if that pandemic comes out of a lab, this time deliberately? What about a massive financial cyberattack? What if bond investors give up on U.S. Treasury debt and force a sovereign-debt crisis? These are all unlikely. But the chance of any of these is thousands of times greater than the danger of climate change to the financial system.

And what should one do about such risks? Does it make sense for bank regulators and stress testers to demand that each bank rank the sensitivity of each loan it makes for its exposure to Chinese-invasion risk, and calibrate its portfolio accordingly? Or, as is increasingly popular, to interact these risks and model general-equilibrium effects? No. The response to out-of-the box unquantifiable risks is simply to demand that banks finance themselves with much more equity capital, which can absorb unforeseen losses without imperiling the bank and financial system.

It is patently obvious that regulators did not evenhandedly open this Pandora’s box, or consider why, of all the risks to the financial system, climate change is the only one worth talking about. Regulators want to tell banks to stop lending to fossil-fuel companies while, coincidentally, the political parts of the administration decided on the same climate policy. And given their method, to regulate bank investments against “climate risks” that they cannot even define, rather than protect the system with equity (financial adaptation!), they are clearly not interested in actually protecting the financial system against unknowable catastrophes.

Pressed, advocates will quickly admit that’s not what they mean. Instead, they say, they worry about the risk of “stranded assets,” “transition risks,” losses in fossil fuel and other legacy industries.

Will environmental regulators, legislators, presidents, prime ministers, really fly back from Glasgow and pass laws and regulations so onerous that they tank the economy and financial system? Well, they just might. But then at least one might be honest and call it “climate-policy risk!”

But even this story does not pass muster. Climate-policy advocates are turning to financial regulation precisely because presidents and legislatures, accountable to voters, are refusing to impose draconian carbon-killing policies. It has some chutzpah, too: Carbon regulations might kill the fossil-fuel industry. So we have to. . . kill the fossil-fuel industry first.

This view has resonated through financial-policy circles for the last few years, though a tiny dose of econ-101 common sense told us that if you restrict fossil-fuel supply, prices and profits go up, not down. Today’s spike in coal, natural-gas and oil prices illustrates just how competent this effort is.

We are in an energy transition. But old, dying technologies never cause crises. New ones do. The 1929 stock-market crash did not come from the horse and buggy industries; radio, movies, and cars crashed. The 1999 stock market crash did not come from the typewriter, slide rule, carbon paper, and landline-telephone industries. Tech, slightly ahead of its time, failed. Tesla, valued at $1 trillion, upwards of ten times more than GM — now there is a teetering domino! Since the tulips themselves, so-called bubbles have always come from exciting new technologies, often fueled by subsidies and cheered on by central banks and regulators, not from slowly decaying legacy industries.


Australia: Natural gas mining project under fire from Greenies

Woodside is set to make a final investment decision on a major LNG project in Western Australia's north within weeks, but opponents are vowing to push on with their attempts to stop it.

But Woodside says the project has been through rigorous environmental assessment processes

The project — which has been labelled Australia's biggest new fossil fuel investment in nearly a decade — involves developing the Scarborough gas field, west of Karratha, and expanding its current Pluto facility on the Burrup Peninsula in the Pilbara, where the gas would go for processing.

If the project goes ahead, it is expected to emit millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually at a time when countries are being urged to decarbonise.

large pipe with gas plant infrastructure in the background
Woodside says it's set a target for its expanded Pluto LNG facility to reach net zero emissions by 2050. (Supplied)
Woodside received an important financial boost this week, selling a 49 per cent stake in its $7.6 billion proposed second train at Pluto to New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

As the clock ticks on Woodside's financial commitment to the project's future, former WA Labor Premier turned Conservation Council President, Carmen Lawrence, has spoken out against the plan, fearing the environmental impacts it could cause.

"I don't see how anyone living in Western Australia can ignore this because it adds to our emissions," Dr Lawrence said.

"Climate change is happening now, it's real, it's destructive and anything that adds to it, surely has to be questioned."

Woodside's chief executive Meg O'Neill received a fresh legal letter from the Conservation Council of WA last week, warning the project could have a negative impact on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, on the other side of the country.

The ABC requested to interview Ms O'Neill, but she was unavailable all week.

A spokesperson for Woodside said the primary environmental approvals from both the Commonwealth and state governments were in place to support the final investment decision, but requests to start drilling were still being assessed by Australia's offshore energy regulator.

"The development of Scarborough has been assessed by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Australian National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority," the spokesperson said.

"These environmental assessment processes concluded the proposal may be implemented, subject to conditions and activity-specific Environment Plans."