Tuesday, December 01, 2020

2 December, 2020

Sheldon Whitehouse’s Climate Inquisition continues

Senator Torquemada wants to jail those who dissent from his alarmist views on climate

Paul Driessen

Five years ago, I said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) behaves like Torquemada, using Inquisition-like tactics to harass “manmade climate crisis” skeptics, and threatening to prosecute them for racketeering. Tomas de Torquemada was the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition that interrogated, tortured, imprisoned and executed thousands for religious heresy.

The senator took great umbrage, and denounced me in Senate chambers where I once worked. But he didn’t change his ways. If anything, he has become more intolerant and vindictive.

He recently said Democrat control of the Senate would enable him and his colleagues to launch investigations, haul climate realists before committees (for star-chamber show trials), and even employ grand juries and criminal prosecutions – to intimidate, silence and punish climate crisis nonbelievers.

People could certainly conclude that the thin-skinned senator would feel right at home in Inquisition Spain, Stalinist Russia, Red Guard and Xi Jinping China, or book-burning pre-Holocaust fascist Europe. Their history of silencing dissenters, erasing them from history, and sending them off to gulags and salt mines (or worse) is legendary. Their economic and governing ideology is classic fascism:

an extreme, intolerant system, under which an authoritarian government does not own businesses and industries outright, but does dictate what they can make, do, sell and say – while controlling citizens’ thoughts, speech and choices – through intimidation, silencing, arrest, prosecution, and fear of being fined, jailed, fired, sent to penal or reeducation colonies, and being beaten or executed.

These tactics are reprehensible and dictatorial. They are un-American and anti-science. Indeed, science achieves no progress without dissent, discussion and debate. It requires not just hypotheses, theories and computer models, but solid, empirical evidence to confirm or disprove hypotheses, models and predictions.

Discussion, debate, dissent and evidence are especially vital in addressing the assertion that humanity faces an unprecedented manmade climate crisis. That assertion is being used to justify demands that the United States, Europe and developed world eliminate the fossil fuels that provide over 80% of our energy, petrochemical and pharmaceutical raw materials, fertilizers and countless other benefits.

It is being used to justify demands that we replace this reliable, affordable energy and raw material base with wind, solar, battery and biofuel power. Not only are these alternatives intermittent, weather-dependent and far more expensive. They involve extensive mining, land use, wildlife, pollution and other environmental impacts. They are not renewable, sustainable, environment-friendly or climate-safe.

In the United States alone, we would have to replace some 7.5 billion megawatt-hours of electricity and electricity-equivalent fossil fuel use per year; replace enormous amounts of oil and natural gas raw materials; and overhaul our transportation, home heating and other systems. That would require millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of 1000-pound battery modules, tens of millions of acres of corn, canola, soybean and other biofuel crops – and tens of trillions of dollars.

Democrat urban population and voter centers will likely oppose those industrial-scale installations in their backyards. They would have little objection to locating them in what many ruling, media and Hollywood elites imperiously and derisively refer to “flyover country” – western, Midwestern and southern states.

This “transformation” – under the Paris climate treaty, a Green New Deal or a Biden-Harris regulatory program – would massively disrupt America’s economy, jobs, living standards, health and wellbeing, especially for poor, minority, blue-collar, fixed-income and flyover country families and communities.

Climate alarmists insist that any lost jobs would be replaced with “green” jobs. But those would be mostly minimum-wage positions: hauling, installing, maintaining, dismantling, removing and landfilling turbines, panels and batteries. Moreover, most of those green technologies would be manufactured overseas, especially in China, because environmentalists battle any mining in the USA, and a climate-focused energy system would provide insufficient reliable, affordable power for factories.

Those huge and unprecedented amounts of mining and manufacturing would require fossil fuels. So the only thing that would change is where the fossil fuel use and emissions occur.

It would be mostly in Asia and Africa, in countries that are not obligated under the Paris climate treaty to reduce their fossil fuel use or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; countries that will build as many hundreds or thousands of coal and gas-fired power plants as needed to lift their people out of poverty ... and make “green energy” technologies they will happily sell to America, Australia, Canada and Europe.

That means, even if the US went cold-turkey on fossil fuels, it would make no difference to global GHG emissions or global atmospheric concentrations. And that means, even if carbon dioxide is the primary factor in climate change, destroying US and other modern economies would bring no climate benefits.

The EU’s and UK’s unwavering belief in human-caused climate cataclysms is already hammering its industries, workers and families, as numerous articles attest: here, here, here and here, for instance.

Thankfully, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that assertions of Climate Armageddon have been miscalculated, exaggerated or fabricated. Average global temperatures are rising far less rapidly than predicted by climate models: by at least a half-degree F.

Violent (F4-F5) US tornadoes have actually declined in number the past 35 years (1985-2020) versus the previous 35 years (1950-1984); and in 2018 not one F5 tornado touched down in the United States. For a record twelve years, from Wilma in 2005 until Harvey and Irma in 2017, no Category 3 to 5 hurricane struck the US mainland. Overall, there is little or no trend in tropical cyclone activity or intensity.

All that is not surprising in light of new research by Drs. William Happer and Willem van Wijngaarden that strongly indicates even doubling carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) in Earth’s atmosphere would have minuscule effects on global temperatures and climate (but would benefit plant growth).

Indeed, it is impossible to distinguish human influences from natural factors, fluctuations and cycles regarding temperatures, polar ice, storms and droughts. Some scientists certainly claim otherwise – and generally just blame humans. But they have little or no actual, empirical evidence to support their claims, predictions and models. They simply say the science is settled, and we must ban fossil fuels, so shut up.

With so much at stake for America and the world, this is completely intolerable. At the very least, those claiming we face a climate calamity must be required to present solid empirical evidence to support their assertions – and engage in in robust, transparent debates with manmade climate change skeptics.

That is precisely what Senator Torquemada seems determined to prevent and punish, while transforming “the world’s greatest deliberative body” into a Russian Politburo or Chinese National People’s Congress – and an integral part of the $multi-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex.

In that quest he would certainly be aided by the Big Media and Big Tech moguls who share his views on climate change, silencing scientists and evidence that contradicts climate cataclysm catechism, and blacklisting “climate heretics” in government, academic and corporate circles.

People have been conditioned to kowtow to government lockdown edicts, to save humanity from Covid. Climate alarmists assume we will now be sufficiently compliant about banning fossil fuels to “save the planet,” when we’re trying to recover from Covid. Or their Torquemadas will make us compliant.

It’s time to reject politicized junk science, demand debate, and resist green climate and energy edicts. Perhaps most of all, the US Senate must assert its Advice and Consent responsibilities on the Paris climate treaty, the most far-reaching international agreement Americans were ever asked to ratify.

Via email

This green fantasy will bankrupt us

It’s 2050. You wake in your cosy, insulated house, turn on the windfarm-powered lights, cook up a breakfast coffee on the hydrogen stove before jumping into your electric car. You whizz silently along roads with air as fresh as a mountain stream past happy e-bikers and carbon-neutral schools to your heat-pump powered office.

So, viewed from Britain in 2020, can you spot the odd one out? Here’s a clue: the e-bikers get no subsidy. Everything else on this list loses money, and needs state support on a massive scale to get even halfway to the nirvana glimpsed by the prime minister this week. Today’s subsidy, of course, is tomorrow’s tax rise.

Home insulation? £2bn is barely enough to get some sort of programme started. The disruption from insulating your home will be enough to discourage us from taking up this offer, almost regardless of the accompanying bribe. As we saw with double glazing and solar panels, the cowboy installers and fraudsters will be the principal beneficiaries.

WIndfarms? The easier sites are already filled up, driving development further offshore to have any chance of quadrupling today’s contribution. The bulk of new contracts are going to overseas manufacturers, while evidence of catastrophic damage to seabirds is growing, and nobody knows the long-term cost of maintaining this hi-tech engineering in a hostile environment.

Hydrogen home cooking? Hydrogen is much harder to handle than natural gas, and a compulsory conversion programme – the only practical way to exploit the existing pipework – would meet stiff resistance. Besides, like electricity, hydrogen is not a fuel but an energy transmission mechanism. Making it from actual fuel is like trying to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Heat pumps? The capital cost typically runs into tens of thousands of pounds per dwelling, even where your garden is big enough to take one. They are also likely to be rather more expensive to maintain than your ‘fridge.

As for the electric car, despite subsidies of thousands of pounds per vehicle, with promises to spend billions more on sockets to charge them, motorists remain suspicious. After all, it is only a few short years since we were being urged to buy a diesel car, to make each barrel of oil go further. Now diesel is officially an evil producer of particulates that kill children.

Reconfiguring the electricity grid for electric vehicles will cost much more than the £2.5bn allocated in the government’s plan. Then there is the £40bn a year raised from fuel duties which will disappear if electricity takes over. It is almost a rounding error in the context of the hundreds of billions which the UK is going to waste with this week’s fashionable projects. They may indeed create thousands of jobs, but then so would digging large holes and filling them in again. Jobs that destroy wealth rather than creating it make us all poorer.

The government’s cheerleaders may argue that no price is too high to pay for “saving the planet”, but this week’s programme, if it is really implemented, will be ruinously expensive. After a year when the UK economy has shrunk by a tenth, we cannot afford more government repression, even cloaked in greenery. A smaller economy makes paying for the NHS, for example, much harder. Worse still, Britain’s self-harm makes almost no difference to global CO2 emissions, when China makes meaningless pledges of good behaviour while building two coal-fired power stations a week. How they must be laughing at us.

This is what a bear market looks like

The chart from commercial estate agents CBRE looks reassuring. Its Property Values Index has recovered splendidly from the depths of March and is almost unchanged on the year. Industrials have forged ahead, and even retail is only marginally down.

Does anyone seriously believe this can be right? The idea that a bog-standard office block is worth 99 per cent of what it was in January is laughable. City centres are struggling, shops everywhere are closing, and the upwards-only rent review is being destroyed under the hammer-blows of the Creditors Voluntary Arrangement. Nobody seriously expects that work and spending patterns in 2022 will look anything like those in 2019.

The pandemic has exposed the cosy relationship between property businesses and those paid to value the assets. It has been most acute in the £12bn of open-ended property funds, most of which were forced to close in March to prevent a rush of investors to the exit. The standard excuse was the difficulty of valuing things during the first Covid wave, although the real reason was that the prices offered would be just too horrible to contemplate.

Most funds have now re-opened, although the values often seem to owe more to estate agents’ relentless optimism than to real life. Units in Legal & General UK Property, one of the biggest, are only 3.2 per cent cheaper today than on 18 March, when the doors were closed.

Last week Land Securities, the UK’s biggest listed property company, reported a 9.5 per cent fall in net asset value, to £10.79 a share. The shares stand at a 35 per cent discount to that new valuation. There are significant differences between a fund and a share, but the most important is that share prices look forward, while fund prices look back.

Land’s shares started falling in mid-February, when Covid seemed like someone else’s problem far, far away. In today’s changed world, the share prices of commercial property companies are signalling the start of a long and disruptive bear market for offices, shopping malls and non-food shops, as rents fall and yields rise. Those with capital in property funds should take note.

The popularity of these funds is an enduring mystery, probably owing more to the commissions they generate for intermediaries than to any fondness for office blocks. For supposedly liquid investments, property funds could hardly be less well suited. If you really want to double down on property after buying your house, buy the shares, not the funds.

Business groups clash over EU’s 2030 climate goal

Europe’s largest employer’s association, BusinessEurope, has questioned “the value and credibility” of the economic analysis underpinning the EU’s proposed climate target plan for 2030, triggering an immediate backlash from pro-climate corporate groups.

The European Commission was over-optimistic when analysing the costs and benefits of raising the EU’s 2030 climate goals, BusinessEurope argues in a document criticising the EU executive’s climate policy.

The document questions Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s assertion that tougher climate policies are the bloc’s new “growth strategy”, saying there are too many uncertainties in the Commission’s own impact assessment to make such a claim.

“Every core scenario” in the cost-benefit analysis accompanying the Commission’s 2030 climate target plan, “is conducted with pre-COVID-19 data and does not take (the pandemic’s) economic impacts into account,” the group argues.

“The sensitivity analysis is based on the assumption of a quick recovery, but what if the expected economic recovery takes longer than anticipated?” BusinessEurope asks. It points to the International Energy Agency’s latest world energy outlook, which explores the scenario of delayed recovery, finding that by 2030, the global economy is nearly 10% smaller than in a fast recovery scenario.

Moreover, models used in the analysis “have not been developed or discussed in any detail” and were not open for public scrutiny, BusinessEurope points out, saying this “weakens the value and credibility of the presented results for an informed decision making.”

“In our view, there needs to be a broader approach when implementing Europe’s recovery plan and to focus much more on how to turn the Green Deal into a real growth driver.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced plans on Wednesday (16 September) to target a 55% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as part of a broader European Green Deal programme aimed at reaching “climate neutrality” by mid-century.

BusinessEurope’s comments triggered immediate reactions from pro-climate corporations, which stepped forward in defence of the European Green Deal and denounced an attack on the EU’s climate policies.

In a statement, the CEO of Unilever, Alan Jope, said: “One of the most dangerous mindsets in the world is to set up a false dichotomy between sustainability and economic growth. The low carbon revolution will be a booming space for jobs. We strongly support the EU 2030 target – good for the environment, good for livelihoods, good for growth.”

The European Corporate Leaders Group, a pro-climate business lobby managed by the University of Cambridge, led the charge against BusinessEurope, saying: “There is a groundswell of opinion crossing business sectors and EU member states that identifies the Green Deal as Europe’s growth strategy and wants to see it implemented swiftly and effectively”.

“The evidence is clear that taking an ambitious approach to the climate transition and unlocking green investments can lead to better outcomes in terms of economic growth and jobs while managing the huge risks associated with climate change,” said Eliot Whittington, Europe director at CLG Europe.

The clash between rival corporate factions highlights divisions in the business community about the urgency to act on climate change.

Two years ago, a leaked internal memo from BusinessEurope revealed the association’s plans to “oppose” any increase in the EU’s climate ambition for 2030, by “using the usual arguments” that Europe cannot take action on its own. The European Corporate Leaders Group reacted by denouncing an “extreme lowest common denominator” that does not represent their views.

Leaked memo exposes business rift on climate change
BusinessEurope, the EU employer organisation, was urged to reconsider its stance on climate change after a leaked internal memo exposed what others in the business community have now rebuked as an “extreme lowest common denominator” that does not represent their view.

Yet, BusinessEurope is far more influential and representative. Through its member trade associations in 35 European countries, it represents 20 million companies. The European Corporate Leaders Group, by contrast, has only 16 full members.

Still, Lucie Mattera from climate think tank E3G said there was growing support from business groups for ambitious climate action, pointing to a letter from more than 170 European CEOs calling for a “clearly defined target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030”.

“It seems that BusinessEurope is trying to poke holes in the impact assessment because they do not have a robust case against the inevitability of the overall direction of travel,” Mattera said, urging businesses to look at the big picture instead.

“The big picture is that Europe needs a strategy to transform its economy to deal with the existential threat of climate change, turn that transformation into an opportunity, and design the right set of tools and policies to make it socially fair. We can argue about digits after the comma, but is it what is at stake?”

“It would be more constructive if Business Europe engaged on what’s needed to shape and manage the green transition,” Mattera said.

Business leaders back EU’s draft 55% carbon target for 2030
More than 150 business leaders and investors have urged EU countries to set higher climate goals for 2030, backing a draft European Commission plan to aim for a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.

Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation representing 3000 companies (mostly SMEs) in the EU committed to sustainability, supports the Commission’s initiative to raise the EU’s emissions reduction target for 2030.

We therefore strongly disagree with this attack from BusinessEurope on the Commission’s target of 55% emission reduction in 2030. It does not at all reflect the opinion of sustainable frontrunners. Our members confirm that the importance of issues of climate and sustainability have only increased since Covid-19. And as Vice President Timmermans has repeatedly stated, the costs of inaction outweigh the costs of climate action by far. We hope that the Council will finally reach a decision on the target in December 2020.


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http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://john-ray.blogspot.com (FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC) Saturdays only

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RE - "This Green Energy Will Bankrupt Us"

There's an excellent video on how Hydrogen will contribute to that, here.