Sunday, January 23, 2022

Greenie authoritarianism

Greenies are intrinsically authoritarian. They are constantly trying to tell others what to do. We see below an open admission of that


Is authoritarian power ever legitimate? The contemporary political theory literature—which largely conceptualizes legitimacy in terms of democracy or basic rights—would seem to suggest not. I argue, however, that there exists another, overlooked aspect of legitimacy concerning a government’s ability to ensure safety and security. While, under normal conditions, maintaining democracy and rights is typically compatible with guaranteeing safety, in emergency situations, conflicts between these two aspects of legitimacy can and often do arise. A salient example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic, during which severe limitations on free movement and association have become legitimate techniques of government. Climate change poses an even graver threat to public safety. Consequently, I argue, legitimacy may require a similarly authoritarian approach. While unsettling, this suggests the political importance of climate action. For if we wish to avoid legitimating authoritarian power, we must act to prevent crises from arising that can only be resolved by such means.


Climate change impacts Coral Reefs A Tale of Two Media Perspectives

A Google news search for the term “climate change” today turns of a flood of stories discussing the recent discovery of a previously unknown and evidently pristine coral reef off the coasts of Tahiti. Most news outlets covering the story, like CBC, France 24, and the New York Post, only mentioned climate change in passing, noting this coral reef seems untouched by the myriad factors impacting neighboring coral reefs. CNN, perhaps predictably, tried to turn a story of wonder and hope, into a horror tale, warning the reef had to be protected from climate change.

The CBC story, titled “This huge coral reef has only just been discovered, and it’s undamaged by climate change,” was typical of most of the news coverage of the newly discovered, diverse and healthy reef. CBC writes:

Discovery of reef, deeper than most, suggests there may be more unknown large reefs in oceans.

Scientists have discovered a pristine, three-kilometre-long reef of giant rose-shaped corals off the coast of Tahiti, in waters of the southern Pacific Ocean thought to be deep enough to protect it from the bleaching effects of the warming ocean....

The reef off Tahiti lies in the “twilight zone” 30 to 120 metres below the surface where there is still enough light for coral to grow and reproduce. The discovery off Tahiti’s shores suggests there may be many more unknown large reefs in our oceans, given that only about 20 per cent of the entire seabed is mapped, according to UNESCO scientists.

“It also raises questions about how coral reefs become more resilient to climate change,” UNESCO’s head of marine policy, Julian Barbiere, told Reuters.

CBC and others said very little about climate change related to the reef because there was little to say, other than to imply warming waters affected other reefs nearby. Most of the coverage of the reef were hopeful in tone, uniformly covering the fact that the reef was healthy, diverse, proof reefs are can be resilient to climate change, and indicating, there could be untold numbers of reefs similar to it in the 80 percent of the world’s oceans and seas that have yet to be explored

CNN’s slant on the discovery, by contrast, took a decidedly alarmists tone.

“Deep in the ocean off the coast of Tahiti, scientists made an incredible discovery in November: acres of giant, pristine, rose-shaped corals blossoming from the sea floor in what’s known as the ocean’s ‘twilight zone,’” wrote CNN. A single paragraph later it turned a hopeful tale of discovery into climate change horror story.

“That a coral reef so large and so beautiful had yet to be discovered emphasizes how little we still know about the world’s oceans, scientists say,” said CNN. “And its impeccable condition — with no evidence that the reef has yet been harmed by the climate crisis — suggests the need for urgent action to protect the ocean’s remaining healthy reefs.” (emphasis mine).

Rather than touting the coral reef’s apparent resilience in the face of the myriad threats to coral health, the least of which, evidence suggests, is modestly warming oceans, CNN immediately presents the discovery as a cautionary tale about the dangers of climate change.

“Warming oceans and acidification caused by the climate crisis has led to widespread coral bleaching,” continued CNN. “Last year, scientists found the global extent of living coral has declined by half since 1950 due to climate change, overfishing and pollution.”

Thankfully, almost everything CNN said about the threats to and the abundance of coral reefs is false.

As explored in previous Climate Realism reports, here, here, and here, for example, corals evolved when the oceans were much warmer than at present and require warm waters to thrive. As a result corals have been expanding their range in response to modestly warming ocean waters. Most of the corals that have bleached in recent years, have recovered. Where corals have not recovered, their bleaching and death has been tied to coastal pollution, including from chemicals contained in sun screen, siltation from development, and agricultural run-off.

Indeed, research reported in suggests coral reefs are far from threatened.

According to the story, titled “Half a trillion corals: World-first coral count prompts rethink of extinction risks,” the number of corals in the Pacific Ocean alone exceed half a trillion. There are likely trillions more globally.

The scientists involved in the research say the sheer number of corals and coral species means the risk of extinction due to climate change is vastly lower than previously claimed.

“In the Pacific, we estimate there are roughly half a trillion corals,’ said the study lead author, Dr. Andy Dietzel from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University,” writes

“This is about the same number of trees in the Amazon, or birds in the world.”

“Dr. Dietzel said the eight most common coral species in the region each have a population size greater than the 7.8 billion people on Earth,” says, continuing, “The findings suggest that while a local loss of coral can be devastating to coral reefs, the global extinction risk of most coral species is lower than previously estimated.”

This research exposes the fact that although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list 80 coral species to have an elevated extinction risk, 12 of those species have estimated population sizes of more than one billion colonies.

When the discovery of this unexpected, pristine, massive coral reef in Tahiti’s waters was announced, corporate media outlets had a choice, the high road of truth, or the low road of false climate alarmism. Most media outlets took the high road, presenting the facts about the reef, its location, extent, and uniqueness, and discussing the marvels that this reef presented and the good news it might be telling about the abundance of corals in as yet uncharted waters. They limited their speculations about climate change.

CNN, as is its usual practice, took the low road, briefly describing the Tahitian reef’s discovery and its wonders, and then making the story about climate change. Along the way CNN presented half-truths, misleading information, and gross speculation about the threat climate change poses to coral reefs worldwide, in an attempt to say this newly discovered pristine coral reef is endangered, even though there is no evidence this is true, from human greenhouse gas emissions. Shame on CNN.


Revisiting the Keystone XL Pipeline and Joe Biden's False Promise of 'Green Jobs

America's hard earned energy independence is in jeopardy as a result of deliberate public policy decisions flowing from the Biden White House that disadvantage American workers and consumers while strengthening America’s strategic adversaries.

Joe Biden began his train wreck of a presidency a year ago by putting America last and never looked back.

On his first day in office, he canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have supported thousands of well-paying jobs while lowering energy prices. If constructed, the 1,200 mile pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels per day of oil from Alberta, Canada and North Dakota to Nebraska and from there converge with a completed portion of the pipeline that carries oil to the Gulf of Mexico.

Biden incessantly points to climate change as a rationale for canceling domestic energy initiatives that benefit average Americans. But his arguments don’t hold up under scrutiny. The Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit group that supports free market polices, cites figures that show the greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from transporting 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil would amount to 150 million metric tons per year, which is the equivalent of about 0.3% of the world total. That’s what you call tiny.

Canadian oil is still being produced in the absence of the Keystone Pipeline, but with a heavier environmental footprint that Team Biden leaves out of its equation.

“Without the pipeline, railroad capacity will grow, overall safety will decline, emissions will be higher and economic costs will be higher since rail and truck shipments are more expensive than pipeline shipments,” IER warned at the time Biden canceled the project. “Pipelines are simply safer for humans and the environment than alternative forms of transport.”

The statistics bear this out.

Pipelines carry roughly 70% of the ton-miles of crude oil and petroleum products in the U.S. while water transport accounts for about 23%, trucking 4%, and railroads 3%. Yet accident data shows that “pipeline incidents per ton-mile” are only about a quarter of those for rail transport and about 3% of those for truck transport.

So far, Biden’s decision to cancel Keystone made just one year ago has been a loser for the American people both economically and environmentally.

But what about those green jobs that were supposed to replace the jobs lost when Keystone was canceled? Now would be a good time to revisit some of the forecasts made by political figures and environmental activists who support wind, solar and other forms of green energy. The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on “Opportunities in the Clean Energy Economy in April 2021 that is worth reviewing now that Keystone workers have lost their jobs.

David Kreutzer, a senior economist with IER, offered testimony during the hearing where he highlighted government reports that described how green job creation fell “pathetically short of its goal” during the Obama years. A Department of Labor inspector general’s report found that job placement was only 10% of the target level while a subsequent report from the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics found more than 20% of the certificates and degrees went to recipients who had only one day of training.

Keep in mind that Biden has pledged to create 10 million “well-paying jobs” in the green energy sector. In his testimony, Kreutzer explained why there is good reason to be skeptical about the potential for the green jobs to boost the most economically disadvantaged members of society. He points out that the green expenditures that were part of the 2009 Stimulus Package failed to deliver any meaningful relief to unemployed workers.

“With history as a guide, there is reason to think that these programs will be encouraged and then usurped by the politically well-connected and the economically powerful,” Kreutzer observed in his testimony. “We saw this in 2009 and we have seen it more generally for decades. Big government expenditure too often helps the well-connected and powerful instead of the supposed beneficiaries.”

But there’s more at stake than just raw questions of economics and the feasibility of green jobs. Biden’s antipathy toward the oil and gas industry has real world consequences that were on display when a severe snowstorm hit the Washington D.C. area in early January. Recall that more than 50 miles of Interstate 95 was closed to traffic leaving thousands of people stranded for hours while households and businesses lost electricity. Severe weather speaks to need for diverse, reliable, affordable supplies of energy. But with Biden and blue state governors attempting to coerce the public into accepting intermittent forms of energy to power their homes and cars, blackouts could become the norm in emergency situations.

Biden’s repeated missteps on energy policy are not just a problem domestically as they also have geopolitical ramifications

The Keystone XL pipeline would have enabled the American consumers to draw oil and gas supplies from a stable, friendly neighbor to the north. By restricting domestic energy production, Biden is putting the U.S. in a position where it must rely more on imports at the expense of American consumers. That’s tragic since the U.S. became energy independent in 2019 for the first time in 50 years – meaning U.S. energy exports exceeded U.S. energy imports.

That hard earned independence is now in jeopardy as a result of deliberate public policy decisions flowing from the Biden White House that disadvantage American workers and consumers while strengthening America’s strategic adversaries.


UK: Stop posing. Start drilling

The current energy crisis, with domestic bills set to rise some 50 per cent in April, has confronted Net Zero-loving Westminster elites with the stark reality of the choices they’ve made. Twenty-five retail energy companies have gone bust, another has been nationalised, along with a fertiliser plant — so that it can produce carbon dioxide for fizzy drinks — all now featuring as extra costs on either bills or taxes. We are shipping fracked gas from the United States while banning fracking here, and we have undermined investment in the North Sea, while allowing Putin to use Nord Stream 2 as a bargaining chip over the future sovereignty of the Ukraine. It is literally the case that we are using public money to import gas to manufacture CO2, while claiming to lead the world on tackling climate change. Unsurprisingly, no one is following.

This mess is a feature not a bug of Net Zero

This mess is a feature not a bug of Net Zero, or more accurately the ideology that the driving mission of the British Government should be domestic decarbonisation, at any price.

This wasn’t always the case. British energy policy, in recent memory, used to be far more pragmatic. In the 1980s and 90s we led the world in liberalising markets, ending the dominating role of dirtier coal as the dash for gas reduced both costs and the environmental impact of generation. Governments didn’t pick winners; consumers and companies did, and as a result they chose the best and cheapest technology first.

As climate change rose as a concern, we adopted the energy trilemma as our guide. We understood that there were no easy choices and there would always be trade-offs between security of supply, affordability and decarbonisation. We further understood that that was the order in which they should be prioritised when making those choices.

Without security of supply, we don’t have affordability. We end up paying peak capacity prices of £2,000/MWh or more (as we did in November) to stop the lights going out.

Without affordability, we decarbonise more slowly. Treasure expended on overpaying for already redundant “green crap” cannot then be expended on innovation for cheaper better stuff in future.

With more expensive insecure energy, we cannot competitively manufacture energy intensive products, including the component parts of wind turbines, nuclear power stations and solar panels. Net Zero ideology creates a “green growth paradox” where measures designed to encourage export-led green growth instead deliver imports and offshoring to regimes with lower efficiency and higher emissions. That is why global emissions are still rising despite the West’s self-flagellation.

These simple truths of Net Zero are met with a wall of denial akin to utopian communism

These simple truths of Net Zero are met with a wall of denial akin to utopian communism that believes the only real problem is that we haven’t been pure enough. A typical response to concern about current gas prices for example is to claim that we are suffering due to a failure to invest fast enough in new nuclear and renewables decades ago.

Neither proposition stacks up. Nuclear is the little train that couldn’t. Our early experience of trying to “lead the world” in nuclear is a legacy for which we are still paying the bills today. We repeated the mistake recently by signing off Hinkley Point C, despite spiralling costs (£50bn more than claimed) and delays (the Finnish sister plant is ten years late). Nuclear power is not dispatchable; it’s baseload. In the UK this means the maximum contribution of nuclear power to the grid is close to the 20GW of capacity required in summer, not the additional 40GW needed for winter.

Most renewables (wind and solar) provide neither baseload nor reliable dispatchable power. They are weather dependent, meaning they need storage or back-up plants to provide security of supply. It was the fall in wind that caused last year’s price spike through the capacity market. It also takes 5-7 years to plan and deploy. Alongside nuclear, you would need at least 160GW of wind power with 40GW of back-up solutions to ensure security of supply from this source.

The only option for that back-up now, and for at least the next 20-30 years, is gas. Hydropower is geographically restricted, tidal power is hopelessly expensive, battery storage even more so with questions about the availability and sustainability of the materials used to make them. Adding carbon capture and storage to gas power just makes it less efficient, requiring even more to be burnt to create the same output




No comments: