Friday, August 14, 2020

AOC’s Green New Deal Documentary Gets Emmy Nomination

Most Americans are well aware that Hollywood leans to the left end of the political spectrum. However, for those who still question Hollywood’s penchant for liberal politics, the latest Emmy nominations should erase any such doubt.

On August 6, The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) announced its nominees for the 41st Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards. In a press release, NATAS said, “As we continue to innovate and honor the best in our industry, we are for the first time honoring our news and documentary communities with distinct ceremonies … We will honor those professionals that consistently deliver crucial, clear and factual reporting so critical during these unprecedented times.”

Pardon my French, but that is a bunch of bulls***. After perusing the list of Emmy nominees for news and documentaries, one thing is crystal clear: Hollywood only nominates news networks and documentaries with a decidedly leftist agenda.

Just look no further than the fact that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was nominated for an Emmy for her short film, “Art of the Green New Deal.” Upon hearing the news, AOC immediately tweeted, “So... while 2020 is highly unpredictable, I *definitely* did not expect to be nominated for an Emmy Award for our Green New Deal project with @theintercept, @mollycrabapple, @NaomiAKlein & others. Rather shocked & very grateful.”

AOC, trust me, you are not the only one who did not expect that you would be nominated for an Emmy. I am just as shocked as you are, if not more.

Yet, should I be all that shocked that a socialist congresswoman would be celebrated by Hollywood for making a seven-minute film about climate change? Of course not. That is par for the course these days in Tinseltown.

Just in case you were wondering, AOC’s film will face some stiff competition. AOC’s pet project is up against “Tiller and Beyond: Abortion Wars in Kansas” from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, “Equal Play” from The New York Times, “Detained by a Dictator” from Real America with Jorge Ramos, and last but not least, “‘Infested,’ He Says” from CNN’s New Day Weekend.

Yeah, Hollywood really went out on a limb in making sure its nominations covered the full spectrum of political philosophy. Not!

Actually, Hollywood went well out of its way to guarantee that its nominees only spouted the all-too-typical Leftist ideology. If you think this is hyperbolic, consider the breakdown of media entities that garnered nominations—and those that did not.

PBS was the leader of the pack with 48 nominations. This was followed by CNN with 30. Rounding out the top 10 were HBO with 27, Univision with 18, CBS with 17, Netflix with 15, The New York Times with 14, NBC with 12, ABC and FX Networks with nine each, and Al Jazeera International USA with six.

Shockingly, FOX News did not garner a single nomination. In fact, the only media entity to receive a nomination that could be portrayed as right-of-center was The Wall Street Journal, which got two. For comparison, MSNBC received five nominations. Even CNN en Espanol (three) and VOX (two) received nominations!

For decades, Hollywood has trended in a liberal direction. However, it sure seems like those in La-La-Land have abandoned any notion of objectivity in deciding who gets Emmy nominations for news and documentaries these days. Unlike FOX News’ slogan, Hollywood is far from “fair and balanced.”


Green activists get litigious

It has been a busy few weeks for climate litigators. On July 31st the Supreme Court in Dublin compelled the Irish government to devise a more detailed plan for the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050. This is one of the few times a court has forced a government to up its climate game. In another case in December, the Dutch Supreme Court found the government’s emission-reduction goal insufficient and ordered further cuts.

Meanwhile Katta O’Donnell, a student, filed a class-action lawsuit against the Australian government last month, alleging that it failed to disclose the risk that climate change poses to sovereign-bond holders like herself. That echoes another Australian case in which a young man is suing his pension fund for not revealing climate-related risks to his investment. Indeed, climate litigation is something of a burning issue down under. A recent study found that Australia saw the second highest number of climate-related lawsuits between 1986 and 2020, trailing only America.

Non-profit organisations and green activists, frustrated by the lack of state action, are increasingly turning to the courts, leading to a spike in climate-related lawsuits in recent years. Often these suits invent clever new ways to promote climate action. The two Australian cases, for instance, are thought to be the first of their kind. If successful, they could inspire cases in other countries.

It is not just governments in the dock. Businesses are increasingly common targets. There are at least 40 ongoing cases against fossil-fuel producers, mostly in America. They range from claims by shareholder that oil firms misrepresented climate risks to cases in which cities and citizens are seeking damages for natural disasters made worse by global warming. Because causation is so hard to prove, the latter are particularly difficult to win.

But climate activists expect that winning such cases will be easier in the future. The science of linking disasters to climate change will improve, and they hope that next generation of judges will be better acquainted with climate-change issues and may take a tougher stance. Political pressure may help, too. Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential contender, recently unveiled a climate plan that promises to support legal action against polluters. The courts may become an important weapon in the fight against climate change.


Offshore wind power vast boondoggle that New York can no longer afford

Advocates claim offshore wind will contribute to a low-carbon future, spur an economic renaissance and create thousands of jobs. Don’t buy it. The mandates are yet another boondoggle that will benefit a well-connected few, saddling everyone else with even higher power costs.

Consider Rhode Island’s 30-megawatt, six-turbine offshore wind project located off Block Island and operated by Deepwater Wind. A decade ago, Rhode Island’s public utility commission rejected the project, concluding that the sky-high prices it would charge the local electric utility would adversely affect consumers. Yet the Rhode Island legislature ignored consumer interests and forced the commission to approve a 20-year contract.

At the start, in 2016, the local utility paid $245 per megawatt-hour for the project’s electricity, with a guaranteed increase of 3.5 percent each year. In 2035, the last year of the contract, the price will be an eye-popping $470 per MWh. By contrast, the average price of wholesale electricity in New England last year was about $31/MWh. In New York, average prices ranged between $22 per MWh upstate to $51 per MWh in Gotham.

Elsewhere, the dozen offshore projects now under development have lower-priced contracts, but they are still far higher than market prices. In New York, the first-year prices for the 816 MW Empire Wind and 880 MW Sunrise Wind projects will be $99/MWh and $110/MWh, respectively. And that’s cheap compared to electricity from some other wind projects in the Atlantic, which range from $77.76/MWh to $202/MWh.

Yet these prices, which are already high, are understated — because offshore wind projects have two dirty secrets. First, a detailed analysis of similar European projects has shown that their output decreases by an average of 4.5 percent a year (almost half after 10 years), with newer, larger turbines tending to suffer the most failures. Operation and maintenance costs also have proved to be much higher than anticipated.

These operational realities lead to a second, even more pernicious impact: The higher-than-expected operating costs mean that the projects are likely to be abandoned prematurely, creating a cascade of costs that consumers and taxpayers will absorb.

Although the offshore projects will be developed by large, international firms headquartered in ­Europe, they are structured as single-purpose, limited-liability companies whose only assets are the turbines themselves. So when the projects are no longer profitable to operate, the owners of these LLCs can walk away, with virtually no ­financial consequences.

Offshore wind projects must be decommissioned at the end of their lives. But unlike nuclear power plants, which have strict ­requirements to fund their eventual decommissioning, there are no such requirements for offshore wind facilities.

And those decommissioning costs will add up. A 2017 decommissioning study in Britain pegged the cost at around $240,000 per MW. With New York aiming to build 9,500 MW of offshore wind projects, that translates into over $2 billion in eventual decommissioning costs.

All this is against a backdrop of staggering economic losses thanks to the lockdowns. According to New York’s Division of the Budget, the budget shortfall for fiscal year 2021 alone is expected to be north of $13 billion, and $61 billion through fiscal 2024. The state now wants to raise New Yorkers’ electricity costs — already 50 percent above the national average — to pursue a virtue-signaling policy that will have no measurable impact on world climate. That will encourage even more businesses and jobs to flee.

The situation is akin to states that promise lavish pensions, while failing to fund them. When the bill’s due, there are only two options: renege on the promises or collect the money from someone else.

In the case of offshore wind, expect the result of higher-than-anticipated operating costs and premature abandonment to either be “renegotiations” with state regulators to raise contract prices — or a green middle finger to taxpayers. Either way, the public will lose.


Australian state grants Whitehaven's controversial coal mine expansion

A New South Wales state regulator on Wednesday gave the green light for Australian miner Whitehaven Coal Ltd to proceed with the expansion of a controversial coal mine, in a blow to local farming communities.

Whitehaven applied in 2018 to expand the Vickery project, asking for approval to increase coal extraction by nearly 25%, increase the peak annual extraction rate more than three-fold and also expand the so-called disturbance area.

The state's Independent Planning Commission (IPC) said it had received 1,928 unique submissions regarding the application – with 40% in support, 57% against and 2% neutral – as well as 935 campaign emails objecting to the application.

However, the IPC said it found that the impacts associated with the expansion were "acceptable" and "in the public interest", when weighed against an increased disturbance footprint and additional environmental impacts.

Whitehaven welcomed the decision, saying the A$700 million ($498 million) expansion would generate jobs for 500 people during construction and 450 ongoing roles thereafter.

The Lock the Gate Alliance community action group described the outcome as bitterly disappointing and an indictment of the New South Wales state government's failure to protect farmland, communities, and water resources.

"Following this approval, if the company decides to proceed with the new 10 million tonnes per annum coal mine, it will irreparably alter the social fabric of the Boggabri farming community and hurt agriculture in the district," it said in a statement.

The IPC's decision comes ahead of its ruling due in September on a coal seam gas project at nearby Narrabri proposed by Santos Ltd.

The project has also drawn strong opposition from farmers and environmental groups due to concerns about potential damage to water supply and a state forest.



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