Monday, May 11, 2020

California Avoids Addressing Causes of Its High Energy Costs

Californians will continue to pay some of the highest costs for electricity and fuel use as the State unexpectedly collides catastrophically with the global pandemic that will impact businesses and employment for an unpredictable economic future.

The State’s much-touted $21 billion operating-budget surplus is likely to disappear entirely due to declining tax revenues and rising public welfare costs.

Sacramento has not yet disappeared by seawater submergence but its urban-centered politicians—who were elected by misinformed Californians—continue to skirt logical solutions addressing the causes of the state’s ultra-extreme consumer energy costs. Such extra-ordinary energy costs can only lead to the state’s stagnation and retard its post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

As America recovers from the COVID-19 shelter-in-place medical treatment of choice on the nation’s economy, California  cannot rid itself from the continuing and state-prescribed high costs of energy that other states are not shackled by, and those elected California  officials will not do anything to effectively and forever resolve the causes of the energy high costs that severely limit the state’s economic base and its potential for improvement.

Today. the intermittent electricity from low-power density renewables is expensive, far more than oil and natural gas, and have been contributory prices for electricity in California being 50% higher than the nation’s average for residents, and double for commercial consumers. Costs to homeowners and industry are projected to go even higher with the continuation of Governor Newsom’s carbon dioxide gas emissions-centric puppeteering radical Green Crusade.

Adding to the onerous problem of affordable electricity, California is closing nuclear reactors that have been safely generating uninterrupted carbon dioxide-free electricity for decades. In 2013, California shutdown Southern California Edison’s San Onofre plant, which generated 2,200 MW. It has ordered the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon 2,160 MG generators by 2024, but only if Sacramento still exists in its present format as a voter approved official legislative entity! Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, known to desire the governorship of California ,  recently announced forthcoming closures of three natural gas-powered plants at Scattergood, Haynes, and Harbor: “…this is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles.” His demanded replacing technologies are economically iffy and presently infeasible; indeed, they are high-cost substitutes.

Since California  is currently unable to generate sufficient electricity in-state to meet demand, the state is forced by its own policies to import more electricity than any other state, an outcome that is not in the financial interest of any California  resident. Without any known state-fostered plans to rebuild with more in-state power generation, California continues to shut down its safely functioning nuclear and natural gas electricity generation plants! California’s electricity costs are already among the highest in the country and will continue to increase as imports from other states increase and become more expensive—Newsom’s intentional imposition, his “Save Everyone Hostage Effect”—as well as necessary to fill the impending absence of all those shuttered power-plants, whatever their fuel source.

Psychically skewed, enviously radical green abnormal California politicians profess leadership of everyone, spouting laudatory pride as the only state in contiguous America that imports most of its crude oil energy from foreign countries.

Misguided Sacramento leaders have caused California  to increase imports from foreign countries from 5 percent to 57 percent of total consumption. The imported crude oil costs California more than $60 million dollars a day being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, depriving Californians of jobs and business opportunities.

Apparently, Governor Gavin Newsom wants to markedly reduce in-State oil production even more and is seeking to permanently ban oil-shale fracking technology’s use. Such a California  governmental action, by law or regulation with the effect of law, would INCREASE costly foreign crude oil imports to California to fill the gap of ever-declining California and Alaska production, further crippling the State, forcing the continuation of California  as a remarkable national security risk for the USA.

Once the world’s 5th largest economy, tax-paying Californians now must cope with uncertain future bureaucracy-distributed State and local monetary expenditures along with the state’s unfunded pension debt liabilities of one trillion dollars, or almost five times the State’s 220 billion-dollar 2020-21 budget! Newsom’s moral dilemma: “Save Everyone” yet continue the state’s lavish and hyperbolic operations which nowadays must be based on a sudden COVID-19 fundamentally weakened state economy and national economy. Certainly, California seaports, both coastal and inland, will need to endure the effects of an international trade throughput decrease, especially with China.

Our post-pandemic about energy policies that California  politicians refuse to address correctly, is not intended for the 5% of taxpayers who contribute 70% of monies to the State’s General Fund, but for the 95% of uninformed and poorly informed voters who pay, every day, for the foolish actions and evil inactions, of the unrealistic California politicians who were empowered by election outcomes.


Dr. Patrick Moore & Dr. Caleb Rossiter Rebut Wash Post: Oops! Climate Change Actually NOT the Cause of Coastal Flooding

Consumers of the climate religion media - which comprises pretty much every outlet from CNN leftward - should be forgiven for believing that a climate crisis requires that we ban the cheap, reliable energy that powers 80 percent of the world economy. After all, those outlets only run stories on one side of the question and brook no debate. The recent "Earth Day" issue of the Washington Post Sunday magazine is a case in point. It was devoted to finding evidence of climate changes caused by the warming gases that are emitted when fossil fuels are converted to energy. The most important of these emissions, by far, is carbon dioxide, a non-toxic plant, and plankton food. Unfortunately, the evidence started out weak and got weaker. And of course, the magazine refused to run letters pointing that out.

There was the requisite image of a polar bear clinging to a melting iceberg, and a story on lower counts of wood thrush in the DC region. But neither of those has anything to do with climate change. Polar bear counts, as all researchers have shown since the elegant animal became a favored fund-raiser for Green groups 20 years ago, are increasing. The wood thrush story itself pointed out that housing development and deer density are the primary problems.

The final insult to scientific fact, though, was the centerpiece story on flooding in communities around Norfolk, Virginia, which was presented with this subtitle: "Climate change is forcing many communities to imagine leaving the waterfront behind." That claim mirrors the U.S. government's 2018 summary National Climate Assessment, which includes Norfolk and its U.S. naval facilities as examples of places threatened by rising seas due to CO2-driven climate change.

However, according to the UN's most recent report, the current global rate of sea-level rise - about an inch a decade, or 3.2 millimeters per year - is the same as it was 100 years ago. These estimates are uncertain, as sea-level is difficult to measure, but it is clear that the rise is related to the steady increase in global temperature since the Little Ice Age ended around 1800.

All of this, of course, was long before 1950, which the UN reports was when industrial carbon dioxide was first emitted in sufficient quantities to cause measurable warming. Ironically, this UN information about sea-level rates being the same before and after CO2 warming was included in the scientifically-detailed version of the National Climate Assessment, contradicting the widely-publicized summary.

Sea-level rates include the fall, or "subsidence," of land due to a variety of natural and human-caused processes that have nothing to do with temperature. The reason that sea-level rise is higher than average (about 3.9 mm per year, according to the U.S. Geological Service) at the mouth of the Chesapeake is that the land there is sinking at a rate that far exceeds the global subsidence rate. Who says so? Every scientist who studies it, as shown in the U.S. Geological Service's 2013 report, Land Subsidence and Relative Sea-Level Rise in the Southern Chesapeake Bay Region: "Land subsidence has been observed since the 1940s in the southern Chesapeake Bay region at rates of 1.1 to 4.8 millimeters per year (mm/yr), and subsidence continues today.

This land subsidence helps explain why the region has the highest rates of sea-level rise on the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Data indicate that land subsidence has been responsible for more than half the relative sea-level rise measured in the region."

Why is land falling around Norfolk? As the USGS points out, "most land subsidence in the United States is caused by human activities." The withdrawal of groundwater for human use and agriculture causes 80 percent of it nationally. In the Norfolk area, the USGS reports that water use compacts the clay layers in the aquifer system, permanently. That is why the USGS recommends moving Norfolk's pumping activities far inland. Groundwater levels have already fallen by about 200 feet around Norfolk in the past century. But in Norfolk, there is yet another important source of land subsidence: what the USGS calls "glacial isostatic adjustment" and estimates at one mm per year. As land levels a few hundred miles north of Norfolk rebound from the melting of heavy, mile-high ice 18,000 to 12,000 years ago, Norfolk sinks in response.

For purposes of comparison, let's use the data for the longest periods in the USGS report's Chart 3: 3.9 mm annual rise in sea-level, but a long-term global average of 1.8 mm, both of which include land subsidence. But the local land subsidence is 2.8 mm, meaning that at least 72 percent of the change in flooding is due not to rising seas but sinking lands. Yet in the magazine article, there is no mention - not one word out of thousands - about land subsidence.

An additional possible factor in land subsidence is the geology around Norfolk, which is unique in America due to a remarkable event 35 million years ago: the impact of an asteroid that left a crater right at the opening of the Chesapeake 55 miles around and a mile deep. Some USGS scientists see the crater as a continuing factor in land subsidence, while others, as in the 2013 summary report, discount it. Like the rest of the possible factors in sea-level rise in Norfolk, the crater has nothing to do with CO2-driven "climate change."


Net-Zero Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, and Extinction Capitalism

To climate-shame corporations is to hobble economic dynamism.
Shutting down the whole global economy is the only way of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Centigrade, Yvo de Boer, the former United Nations climate chief, warned in the runup to the 2015 Paris climate conference. Thanks to COVID-19 we now have an inkling what that looks like. The conference went further and chose to write into the Paris agreement an aspiration to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. The 1.5°C backstory reveals much about the quality of what passes for science and gets enshrined in U.N. climate treaties — and is directly relevant to American corporations that now find themselves on the front line of the climate wars.

Nine weeks before the Copenhagen climate conference, the one where Barack Obama was going to slow the rise of the oceans, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives held the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting. “We are trying to send our message to let the world know what is happening and what will happen to the Maldives if climate change isn’t checked,” Nasheed told reporters after resurfacing. It was part of a campaign by the Alliance of Small Island States claiming that climate change magnified the risk that their islands would drown.

The sinking-islands trope has been endlessly recycled by the U.N. for decades. In 1989, a U.N. official stated that entire nations could disappear by 2000 if global warming was not reversed. Like so many others, that prediction of climate catastrophe came and went. The failed prediction didn’t prevent the current U.N. secretary-general, António Guterres, from declaring last year, “We must stop Tuvalu from sinking.” There was no science behind 1.5°C and the sinking-island hypothesis. Studies show, here and here, that the Maldives and Tuvalu have increased in size. As the 25-year-old Charles Darwin might have told the U.N., coral atolls are formed by the slow subsidence of the ocean bed.

Having incorporated 1.5°C into the sacred texts of the U.N. climate process, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was charged with coming up with a scientific justification for it. In 2018, the IPCC published its report on the 1.5°C limit. It debunked the sinking-islands scare, reporting that unconstrained atolls have kept pace with rising sea levels. The IPCC had a bigger problem than non-sinking islands. The IPCC’s existing 1.5°C carbon budget — the maximum amount of greenhouse gases to keep the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C — was on the verge of being used up. Like some end-of-the-world cult after the clock had passed midnight, it would find itself in a predicament that promised to be more than a little embarrassing.

Help was at hand. As skeptics had long been pointing out, IPCC lead author Myles Allen confirmed that climate model projections had been running too hot and that they had been forecasting too much warming since 2000. Together with some other handy adjustments, the IPCC managed to more than double the remaining 1.5°C budget. Although it could muster only medium confidence in its revised carbon budget, the IPCC had high confidence that net emissions had to fall to zero by 2050 and be cut by 45 percent by 2030. In this fashion, net zero by 2050 was carved in stone.

That timeline is now being used to bully American corporations into aligning their business strategies with the Paris agreement and force them to commit to eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. In fact, the text of the Paris agreement speaks of achieving a balance between anthropogenic sources and removals “in the second half of this century.” The net-zero target has no standing in American law or regulation. Net zero is not about a few tweaks here and there. It necessitates a top-down coercive revolution the likes of which have never been seen in any democracy. This is spelt out in the IPCC’s 1.5°C report, which might as well serve as a blueprint for the extinction of capitalism.

The IPCC makes no bones about viewing net zero, it says, as providing the opportunity for ‘intentional societal transformation.’ Limiting the rise to rise in global temperature to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels — an ill-defined baseline chosen by the U.N. because the Industrial Revolution is our civilization’s original sin — requires ‘transformative systemic change’ and ‘very ambitious, internationally cooperative policy environments that transform both supply and demand.’

Thanks to COVID-19, we have a foretaste of what the IPCC intends. It envisages, for example, the industrial sector cutting its emissions by between 67 and 91 percent by 2050, implying a contraction in industrial output so dramatic as to make the 1930s Great Depression look like a walk in the park, a possibility the IPCC choses to ignore. The IPCC places its bets on a massive transition to wind and solar, but no amount of wishful thinking can overcome the inherent physics of their low energy density and their intermittency, which explains why countries with the highest proportion of wind and solar on their grids also have the highest energy costs in the world. One option the IPCC does not favor — a wholesale transition to nuclear power — seems unachievable anyway on the timetable it has in mind. Nuclear power stations typically take well over five years to build, and not many are planned for now. Germany is switching out of nuclear power, the Japanese are, to quote the New York Times “racing to build new coal-burning . . . plants” and the Chinese are wary of overdoing their nuclear construction because of the risk of accident.

Rather than address the possibility of a sustained slump in economic activity the IPCC’s approach is to say the benefits of holding the line at 1.5°C are — surprise, surprise! — greater than at 2 degrees Centigrade while studiously ignoring the extra costs of the more ambitious target. A few numbers show why. A carbon tax sufficiently high to drive emissions to net zero would range up to $6,050 per metric ton, over 60 times the hypothetical climate benefits estimated by the Obama administration, indicating that the climate benefits of net zero are less than 2 percent of its cost. In a rational world, discussion of net zero would end at this point.

You don’t have to be a Milton Friedman to fathom the incompatibility with free markets and capitalist growth of what the IPCC terms “enhanced institutional capabilities” and “stringent policy interventions.” So it’s easy to understand why the governments of the world have no intention of achieving net zero by 2050. As Todd Stern, one of the principal architects of the Paris agreement, remarked last November, “there is a lack of political will in virtually every country, compared to what there needs to be.”

Led by Britain, several European countries have legislated net-zero targets without having a clue how they might meet them or their economic impact. Indeed, Britain can claim to be the world’s leading climate hypocrite. Having offshored its manufacturing base to China and the European Union, it is the G-7’s largest per capita net importer of carbon dioxide emissions. Before adopting its net zero target, the Committee on Climate Change observed that Britain lacked a credible plan for decarbonizing the way people heat their homes and that government policy was insufficient to meet even existing targets.

If governments — the legal parties to the Paris Agreement — have no collective intention to achieve net zero, why should America’s corporations? There is no environmental, economic, or ethical good when a corporation cuts its carbon dioxide emissions to meet the net-zero target when the rest of the world doesn’t, unless, that is, you’re one of the select few who believes that self-impoverishment is inherently virtuous. Yet corporations are increasingly being held to ransom by billionaire climate activists like Mike Bloomberg and BlackRock’s Larry Fink with the demand that they commit to net zero, make their shareholders and stakeholders poorer, and give a leg up to their competitors in the rest of the world, especially in the Far East.

The arrogation of the rule-making prerogatives of a democratic state by a handful of climate activists raises profound questions on the demarcation between the rightful domains of politics and of business. It also raises profound questions about the future of capitalism. “Capitalism pays the people that strive to bring it down,” Joseph Schumpeter, the greatest economist of capitalism, observed in the 1940s. They won’t succeed, but for the efforts of soft anti-capitalists within the capitalist system.

The moral case for capitalism rests on its prodigious ability to raise living standards and transform the material conditions of mankind for the better. To climate-shame corporations without the sanction of law or regulation will extinguish the economic dynamism that justifies capitalism. Remove its capacity to do so, and we will have entered a post-capitalist era. This is how capitalism ends.


West Australia's decision to keep its mines open amid coronavirus may have saved Australia's economy

Stephen Easterbrook manages risk for a living and as he watched COVID-19 spreading across the globe and edging closer to Australia, he was nervous.

Mr Easterbrook is the managing director of Breight Group, a Perth based mining services company which prides itself on its safety training for scaffolding workers.

When he learned the West Australian Government had deemed mining an essential service, the former rigger breathed a big sigh of relief.

"Prior to hearing that, there was a lot of sleepless nights," he said.

But the reprieve has come with a price for fly-in, fly-out workers.

Some Breight Group staff are now working on mine sites in WA's north west for up to six weeks at a time.

The longer swings were an attempt to minimise people movement and prevent the spread of the virus.

"We've got guys that are working four, six weeks away from their families," Mr Easterbrook said.

"This shows a commitment to the value of the mining industry, that we're all prepared to [make sacrifices] to keep ourselves employed, and also what we're able to do by contributing to the Australian economy to keep it going."

WA's decision to keep workers flying in and out of mine sites has been praised by Federal Treasury Secretary Stephen Kennedy.

"Western Australia … deemed mining an essential service in the sense in which they were imposing their restrictions," he told a Senate committee late last month.

"These were important, carefully calibrated decisions. "As long as the health risks are well managed in what's a reasonably low employment environment, that's a very important economic flow."

Analyst Philip Kirchlechner, from Iron Ore Research, was even more explicit. "By keeping the mines open … Western Australia is supporting the whole country," he said.

"Iron ore miners are paying company tax which goes to the Federal Government, so it's all the Australian people [who] benefit from the taxes the mining companies pay."

It has helped that despite the virus, China has kept buying iron ore from Australia and two of the nation's biggest competitors, Brazil and South Africa, haven't been able to operate as normal.

Mr Kirchlechner said Brazil was on the brink of reopening two mines forced to close because of a deadly dam collapse when COVID-19 hit. "Because of the virus, the restart of those mines has been delayed," he said.

"South Africa and also India have put in stoppages, they have put in place lockdowns for the whole country, so South Africa's iron ore production has been affected and its guidance has been reduced about 50 per cent."

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt said deciding whether to keep mines open was a big call, but he believed his Government got it right in keeping the industry going. "It was an incredible time, one of those things that I think I'll look back for the rest of my life," Mr Wyatt said.

"Because as the coronavirus was coming at us and our numbers were, you know, something like 20 a day … you got a real sense of fear in the community … how far we were going to have to put the brakes on everything to get the virus under control … and I think we got that right."

Mr Wyatt said the crisis had underlined the importance of WA's mining sector.

Ben Wyatt wearing a grey suit and pink tie, smiling outside an office building.
WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the coronavirus crisis underlined the state's economic importance.(ABC News: Julian Robins)
"I think Australians now really understand what Western Australia has been talking about for such a long period of time — that is, we have a world-class mining sector," he said.

"The fact we've been able to keep it operating during this time has not only protected the Western Australian economy, but has underwritten the Australian economy.

"I know Josh Frydenberg, the Commonwealth Treasurer, every day will be waking up and thanking Western Australia's mining sector."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


No comments: