Monday, May 23, 2022

Oceans are hotter, higher and more acidic, climate report warns

A great array of events are described below but attributing them to global warming is just an assertion. But there is one aggregate which could support a generalization about climate -- and that is the degree of warming over the last 150 years. And that figure is given below. It was 1.11 degrees, which is very slow and trivial warming indeed. If such warming repeats itself there would be NO cause for alarm. Such a slow and slight warming would be easily adapted to

The world's oceans grew to their warmest and most acidic levels on record last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday, as United Nations officials warned that war in Ukraine threatened global climate commitments.

Oceans saw the most striking extremes as the WMO detailed a range of turmoil wrought by climate change in its annual "State of the Global Climate" report. It said melting ice sheets had helped push sea levels to new heights in 2021.

"Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement.

The report follows the latest U.N. climate assessment, which warned that humanity must drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions or face increasingly catastrophic changes to the world's climate.

Taalas told reporters there was scant airtime for climate challenges as other crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine, grabbed headlines.

Selwin Hart, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's special adviser on climate action, criticised countries reneging on climate commitments due to the conflict, which has pushed up energy prices and prompted European nations to seek to replace Russia as an energy supplier.

"We are ... seeing many choices being made by many major economies which, quite frankly, have the potential to lock in a high-carbon, high-polluting future and will place our climate goals at risk," Hart told reporters.

On Tuesday, global equity index giant MSCI warned that the world faces a dangerous increase in greenhouse gases if Russian gas is replaced with coal.

The WMO report said levels of climate-warming carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere in 2021 surpassed previous records.

Globally, the average temperature last year was 1.11 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average - as the world edges closer to the 1.5C threshold beyond which the effects of warming are expected to become drastic.

"It is just a matter of time before we see another warmest year on record," Taalas said.

Oceans bear much of the brunt of the warming and emissions. The bodies of water absorb around 90% of the Earth's accumulated heat and 23% of the carbon dioxide emissions from human activity.

The ocean has warmed markedly faster in the last 20 years, hitting a new high in 2021, and is expected to become even warmer, the report said. That change would likely take centuries or millennia to reverse, it noted.

The ocean is also now its most acidic in at least 26,000 years as it absorbs and reacts with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Sea level has risen 4.5 cm (1.8 inches) in the last decade, with the annual increase from 2013 to 2021 more than double what it was from 1993 to 2002.

The WMO also listed individual extreme heatwaves, wildfires, floods and other climate-linked disasters around the world, noting reports of more than $100 billion in damages.


Banker busted for ‘saying the quiet bit out loud’ on climate change

HSBC has suspended a senior executive in charge of responsible banking after he gave a presentation downplaying the risk of climate change to investors at a conference called Moral Money, hosted in London by the Financial Times newspaper.

In his address, Stuart Kirk said that the average life of a loan at HSBC was six years, so any impacts of climate change that happened after that timeframe were irrelevant to investors.

“Who cares if Miami is six metres underwater in 100 years? Amsterdam has been six metres underwater for ages, and that’s a really nice place. We will cope with it,” he said, incorrectly, in the address made last Friday evening, Australian time.

Kirk said he accepted climate science and supported an economic transition, but that it should be viewed by investors as an opportunity rather than a threat.

He said that “nut jobs” had been warning of apocalyptic events throughout his career and had always been proved wrong, and lamented that an undue focus on climate had caused increased regulation and, in turn, more work for his team at the bank.

Kirk was particularly scathing of the former governor of both the central banks of England and Canada, Mark Carney, who famously spurred the global financial sector to recognise the threat of climate change with an address in 2015 now known as the Tragedy of the Horizons speech, arguing that climate change presented a huge economic threat to the world.

Kirk dismissed Carney’s argument, saying retired central bankers needed to find ways to fill their time and arguing that, as the world got richer over coming years, it could afford to pay for things such as increased firefighting budgets in a changing climate.

Kirk’s speech prompted outrage after it was given and, early this morning, the FT reported that Kirk had been suspended pending an internal investigation.

Dan Gocher, head researcher for the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, said the speech was an example of a banker “saying that quiet part out loud” and that, though it was now common for large financial institutions to voice support for social and ethical investing, many did not yet have their hearts in the cause.

He said it also reflected the inequality of outcomes in climate change. Investors were aware that when climate change starts hitting particular countries or markets, they can simply move their supply chains to safer environments, protecting investors’ wealth, but not people.

“I think that’s the thing that it exposes – it’s a very rich person’s view of the world, especially while the subcontinent baking 50 degrees in April and May.”

The bank’s chief executive officer Noel Quinn distanced itself from Kirk’s comments, calling them “inconsistent” with HSBC’s strategy, Bloomberg reported, adding that a bank spokesperson declined to comment.


Houston, we have a problem!

JUST over a year ago, the Texas electricity system was on the verge of a catastrophic total collapse. As it was, millions of Texans went without power for days after a winter storm knocked out much of the state’s wind farms. Hundreds died as a result.

Naturally, the renewable lobby tried to shift the blame on to gas power plants, some of which tripped out as the grid became unstable. But without the immediate back-up provided by those gas plants, the grid would have totally collapsed and the whole state would have been without power for weeks.

Fast forward, and Texas is again facing a shortage of power, as a heatwave this week has led to near record levels of demand for air conditioning.

Facing another crisis, ERCOT, the body which is responsible for running the Texas grid, has been begging customers to cut consumption of electricity. ‘We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers and dryers) during peak hours between 3 pm and 8 pm through the weekend,’ pleaded the CEO Brad Jones. I don’t know about Texans, but 78F sounds like heating, not air conditioning to me!

Naturally, the media has rushed to blame the crisis on a ‘record heatwave caused by climate change’. This is, you will not be surprised to know, fraudulent nonsense.

Temperatures peaked at 98F in San Antonio and 94F in Houston, but neither of these temperatures are unusual for May in these cities:

No, the real problem is the closure in recent years of reliable coal power plants and their replacement by unreliable wind power.

Since 2010 4GW of coal capacity has been lost, a cut of a fifth, while no new gas capacity has been added in net terms. Worse, demand for electricity has increased by 15 per cent, as the Texas population and economy continues to surge.

Texas is therefore effectively short of 20GW of dispatchable power capacity. And it does not take a genius to work out that wind power is low during anti-cyclonic heatwaves.

Given that we are still only in May, heaven help the Texans when they get a real heatwave!


Coal, gas to be the sticking point in the new Australian Senate: Bandt

Bandt is a nasty old Trotskyite but seems to have conned the Greens into thinking he is one of them

Greens leader Adam Bandt says Labor’s support for new coal and gas mines will be a sticking point between the parties in the Senate, saying it will be a “very critical question” in the next parliament.

Riding high behind the Greens' shock victories in the Brisbane seats of the Labor-held Griffith and Liberal-held Ryan, Mr Bandt asserted the party could end up with six seats in the lower house if voting in Macnamara and Richmond broke their way.

But with Labor likely to gain a majority in the lower house, attention has turned to the Senate, where Anthony Albanese will need to negotiate with the crossbench to ensure his legislative agenda can be passed.

“But on the question of climate, the big issue is coal and gas. And we were clear about that during the course of the election and we said to tackle the climate crisis, we can't open up more coal and gas mines now,” Mr Bandt told Radio National on Monday morning.

“And Labor went to the election saying they back the Liberals in opening more coal and gas mines. That is going to be something we were going to need to talk about in this Parliament. We can't put the fire out while we're pouring petrol on it.”

The Greens' demands for their support could put a raft of energy projects in jeopardy, including the Northern Territory's Beetaloo gas basin and mega-mines mooted for Queensland's Galilee Basin.




Sunday, May 22, 2022

UK: Farmers could ‘meet shortages’ caused by Ukraine war if Boris Johnson ditched Net Zero policies

Boris Johnson is "out of tune" with British farming and his pursuit of net-zero policies is causing farmers to "rip up wheat crops that could reduce" the impact of the cost of living crisis, a farm director has said.

Rayner Farms Director Colin Rayner told GB News that while Germany has “cancelled their green farming policies” in the face of an international crisis, the UK Government has refrained from acting accordingly and exaggerated the cost of living crisis. Mr Rayner said British farmers “could meet the shortages lost by Ukraine” if a similar approach to the Germans was adopted.

He said: “I think [the Government] is out of tune with what’s going on in the world. We can produce a lot of the food that was being produced in Ukraine in the UK.

“We have Government policies that are making us plant wildflower meadows. We’re ripping up wheat crops that could reduce the price of wheat.

“In Germany, they have cancelled their green farming policies and put a million hectares back into production.

“Why are we not doing this in the UK?”


How the Science Media Centre made science journalism worse

By Dr David Whitehouse

If you reduce science journalism to science communication and want spoon-fed quotes and only establishment views, then the Science Media Centre – aka Big Science’s PR Agency – is all you need.

In the 1990s I could sense that scientists were getting more and more frustrated with the news media, and more than a few times some were certain that they knew how to do my job as science correspondent better. Most of the flak was aimed at TV news which was seen as more important than my beat which was radio. Besides there was more science on BBC radio news than ever before. It made little difference.

I can see why some of them were unhappy. Take the BSE/CJD crisis. Many scientists warned of the risks of feeding herbivores processed offal and the possibility of interspecies disease transmission. It was the politicians that changed their tune about it after it was too late and some journalists suffered if they pointed this out.

Then there was Arpad Putzai’s GM potatoes that he fed to rats who got ill. In general the media did not report this story with due caution; they should have stamped on it hard as an unverified report that obviously had red flags. I was at BBC News Online by that time and it wasn’t my beat, but I recall holding my head in my hands about it.

One prominent scientist told me that the increased profile science was getting on the radio (Radio 4’s Start the Week which once had very few scientists was later criticised in the press for having too many!) made them think they wanted more, more influence and more control.Writing in the journal Science at the time novelist Michael Crichton floated a suggestion:

"If I were magically put in charge of improving the status and image of science, I’d start using the media, instead of feeling victimized by them. The information society will be dominated by the groups of people who are most skilled at manipulating the media for their own ends. Under the auspices of a distinguished organization—like AAAS—I’d set up a service bureau for reporters. Reporters are harried, and often don’t know science. A phone call away, establish a source of information to help them, to verify facts, to assist them through thorny issues. Over time, build this bureau into a kind of Good Housekeeping seal, so that your denial has power, and you can start knocking down phony stories, fake statistics, and pointless scares immediately, before they build. And use this bureau to refer reporters to scientists around the country who can speak clearly to specific issues, who are quotable, and who can eventually emerge as recognizable spokespeople for science in areas of public concern, like electromagnetic radiation scares, cancer diets, and breast implant litigation. Convince these scientists that appearing on media isn’t an ego trip, but is part of their job, and a service to their profession. Then convince their colleagues.”

Under attack

Likewise at a meeting at the Royal Society in 1999 the veteran pollster Robert Worcester said, “Science is under attack.” He pointed out that people’s faith in the government and institutions had declined in the previous three decades, adding that the media is distrusted, especially TV. He said the solution could be found in the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, “public opinion is everything.” He added, “the public may be ignorant of the background information which is necessary to put scientific developments in context.” About the same time New Scientist said, “let the people speak.”

Forces, scientific and otherwise, were on the move. The late 90s saw the rise of environmental activism and green consumerism. They realised that public opposition to science had the potential to be converted into considerable consumer power. Ethical management thrived and the sale of organic foods increased “because of the risks.” GM food was removed from sale. It was such a distrustful attitude combined with poor journalism that a few years later contributed to the MMR disaster.

Scientists latched onto this, the public are keen to be better informed. Their ignorance of science causes the public to fear them. The Science Media Centre (SMC) emerged from these sentiments and from a report by the House of Lords. Professor Susan Greenfield among other scientists pushed it through the Royal Institution where she had just become its director and thought it wasn’t regarded as important as she thought it should be. How that turned out is another salutary story.

Fiona Fox’s fascinating book Beyond the Hype tells the chequered story of the first 20 years of the SMC’s avowed campaign to change the culture of science communication. Many things it has done are to be commended, such as the opening up of government scientists, but it became too close to journalism, especially the BBC.

The BBC’s News guidelines prohibit it from becoming associated with pressure groups, however laudable their aims it states. The SMC is a pressure group but the BBC ignored this because who would not want better science in the media and who would not want Fiona Fox and her team to select suitable experts and collect quotes from them? For years the BBC’s Head of News, who claimed in 2005 that climate science was settled, was a SMC trustee. Today the BBC’s science editor is on its Advisory Committee as is a former BBC science correspondent. Its chair is a former senior BBC news executive.

The authority of science

It was an attitude that went to the top of the BBC. Director General Mark Thompson, after he left the BBC, bemoaned the failure of scientific authority to prevail. He thought that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was a “compendium of scientific evidence,” and also believed the ludicrous 97% of climate scientists non-survey. Thus was science journalism undermined from the very top of the BBC.

The BBC’s climate coverage in particular was hampered by its myopic view of the research, its climate travelogue approach, and its obsession with bashing “sceptics.” It was the reason why the full range of scientific research into climate change is largely not represented.

There is a chapter in the book about Climategate that I suspect readers of pages such as this will not recognise. All the time the SMC was aiming “To promote the views of the science community.” Curious then that it should so frequently feature that master of client journalism, Bob Ward of the LSE, as a regular source of the quotes they distribute. The book is tame with the critics of the SMC choosing only the weakest arguments laid against its influence and practices.

Science journalism is always changing adapting to new outlets, platforms, subjects and styles. There is a school of thought that holds that science journalism is all about relaying the scientific consensus on a subject. I don’t agree. In a world where good science information, indeed very good science information, is easily obtainable online, the legacy media looks dispensable and inessential.

In terms of news the BBC’s science coverage looks indistinguishable from everyone else’s – except its sparser, slower and even more boring. Overall, Iegacy media is declining and once again, like they did twenty years ago, the scientific community will have to adapt to the new world of Covid, Tik Tok and fake news. Once again, as was said in the 1999 House of Lords report, “the culture of UK-science needs a sea-change.”

This is the story of how those behind the SMC wanted to get better science into the media but instead weakened it in the process. The SMC is on the side of scientists. The SMC is a tool and only part of the armoury a science journalist needs, but if you reduce science journalism to science communication and want spoon-fed quotes and only establishment views, then the SMC – aka Big Science’s PR Agency – is all you need.


"Renewables" struggling

America’s clean-energy industry is stuck. Blame in part its climate-friendly president

America’s clean-energy bosses thought they would by now have more to celebrate. In the presidential campaign of 2020 Democrats tried to outbid one another on climate plans—Joe Biden offered $2trn, Bernie Sanders’s Green New Deal was $16trn—as if the nomination would go to the highest bidder. In the three months after Mr Biden defeated Donald Trump, an index of clean-energy firms jumped by about 60%. Goldman Sachs, a bank, forecast “a new era for green infrastructure” in America and beyond.

Though Mr Biden’s infrastructure bill offered some help for clean energy, a giant climate bill now seems fantastical. Worse, green power is not just failing to boom. It is going bust. An array of American solar projects have been delayed or cancelled amid a federal probe into tariff evasion by manufacturers of solar panels and modules. The countries in question—Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam—together produce about 80% of America’s solar­-panel imports. Politics is stymying makers of wind turbines, builders of wind farms and the utilities that buy power from them.

The results are stark. So far this year the clean­-energy sector has lost about 25% of its market value, compared with an 18% drop for the benchmark s&p 500 index of big American firms. Rystad Energy, a research firm, estimates that two­-thirds of its forecast solar installations for this year are in doubt. According to Bloombergnef, a data provider, the capacity of new renewables projects in 2022 looks set to be a tenth lower than in 2020, under the wind­mill-hating Mr Trump.

Two years ago clean-­energy enthusiasts were right to feel bullish. In the decade to 2020 the levelised cost of electricity—which takes into account investment in equipment, construction, financing and maintenance—had fallen by 69% for onshore wind and 85% for solar projects, according to Lazard, an advisory firm. With renewables technologically mature and economically competitive, utilities and developers planned to pour money into solar and wind. Next-era Energy, a giant utility that in 2020 briefly overtook Exxonmobil to become America’s most valuable energy firm, said it would spend up to $14bn a year on capital projects in 2021 and 2022, calling it “the best renewables development environment in our history”. In the arduous effort to decarbonise America’s economy, building clean power would be the easy part.

Turns out it isn’t. Some problems stem from the pandemic and gummed-­up global supply chains. Pricey commodities helped push up the levelised cost of wind and solar in the second half of 2021 (though more slowly than for coal and gas). But many of the current woes are political in nature. Take restrictions on products from Xinjiang. Last year Mr Biden, seeking to limit imports made with forced labour, announced a ban on polysilicon coming from big companies producing in the Chinese region. American importers scrambled to present proof that they weren’t violating the ban. As customs officials pored over suppliers’ lengthy attestations, in Chinese, solar modules languished in ports. A lack of equipment forced developers to delay construction.

That problem has now been dwarfed by a bigger one. In March the Commerce Department humoured a request by Auxin Solar, an American manufacturer, to check if Chinese companies were circumventing anti­dumping tariffs. Duties had originally been imposed by Barack Obama, then extended by Mr Trump; Auxin claims that firms are dodging tariffs by making parts in China but assembling modules in their South-­East Asian factories.

The effect is that a small American firm is obstructing more than 300 projects, according to a tally by the Solar Energy Industries Association, a lobby group. Some developers cannot get their hands on kit. Others find that costlier gear has put their construction deals in the red. Next-era told investors in April that up to 2.8 giga­watts of solar and battery projects planned for this year, equivalent to around a tenth of its intended renewables investments in 2021­24, would be delayed. American assemblers of solar panels, it said, were sold out for the next three years. America’s largest solar project, spanning 13,000 acres of Indiana, has been postponed. Nisource, the utility behind it, will instead delay the retirement of two coal-­fired power stations to 2025.

The challenges facing the wind industry look less severe only in comparison. Like many capital­-intensive industries, the wind sector is grappling with rising costs of steel, copper, resin and other materials needed to craft turbines. Global manufacturers such as Vestas and Siemens Gamesa have seen their margins shrink. In America, rising input costs have unfortunately coincided with declining tax credits. It is possible that Congress could extend those for wind—but improbable given partisan deadlock. In the meantime developers and utilities are delaying new contracts, unwilling to make commitments before knowing the true costs.

Politicians may create problems where things have been going well, as with auctions for seabed leases for offshore wind farms. These have attracted ample bids from oil firms and utilities. The House passed a bill in March with bipartisan support that would require the giant boats used to install turbines off America’s coast to replace some foreign crews with Americans. Wind executives note the country lacks enough people with the requisite skills.

A high-voltage situation

Republicans, who look poised to control Congress after the midterm elections in November, remain more hostile to greenery than Democrats. But the renewables industry’s current troubles highlight the contradictions within Mr Biden’s coalition. It wants to build green projects quickly. At the same time, it wants Americans to build them with American inputs. The trouble is that you cannot have both. In a letter to Mr Biden on May 17th, 85 members of Congress argued that the tariff inquiry could cost America’s solar sector more than 100,000 jobs. That is bad for workers, bad for the renewables industry—and terrible for the climate.


Electric Vehicles Have a Water Problem. It isn’t going away anytime soon

I recently drove from Virginia to Colorado in my Nissan LEAF and in the process gained a real understanding of the current state of America’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. For a long time, I have thought that the biggest challenge associated with the transition to mass electric vehicle adoption would be the build out of a robust charging infrastructure. However, after successfully traversing the American Heartland in an electric vehicle that only has a 150-mile range, I am confident that our electric vehicle charging network is on its way to ubiquity. It will take a few more years, but we will get there.

The bigger challenge I see now relates to the massive amount of water that it takes to mine Lithium and other minerals that are necessary for the production of electric vehicle batteries. Right now, Lithium mining and production is dominated by four countries, namely Argentina, Australia, Chile, and China, which make up over 90% of global Lithium mining operations. This presents unique challenges as demand for Lithium skyrockets. Wendover Productions produced a video with helpful data and visuals to understand many of the unique challenges associated with the skyrocketing demand for Lithium.

The United States does have a significant mostly untapped Lithium resource in Nevada, but there is very little water available to mine and refine the minerals. As you might imagine, the water rights in a place like Nevada are very precious and valuable, since Nevada is an arid region with little water availability. The extraction and processing of Lithium requires massive amounts of water. And, because of the extreme scarcity of water in the region, using water for extracting Lithium inherently means not using it for something else like ranching or farming.

There is also a non-trivial possibility that the mining and processing of Lithium in Nevada could leak unsafe levels of Arsenic into the regions groundwater table, which would have significant negative impacts on the water supply for communities in the region. There are also a number of biodiversity hotspots in Nevada, which means that a massive mining operation is likely to have a significant negative impact on wildlife in the region by destroying or deteriorating habitats and obstructing migratory paths.

And, if all of the above is not enough to make your head and heart hurt, then also know that resource extraction operations generally have a bad track record associated with labor rights and the treatment of indigenous populations. So, even if we solved the environmental challenges, we would still have challenges associated with human rights, safety, and cultural devastation.

So, how do we address all of these challenges? We need Lithium and other minerals to produce electric vehicle batteries. We need water to mine and refine the Lithium and other minerals. And, on top of all of that, we need to address environmental, safety, and cultural issues associated with the mining and production of Lithium and other minerals.




Friday, May 20, 2022

Diesel Prices Hit All-Time High, Meaning Soon So Will The Costs Of Everything You Buy

Diesel prices reached a nationwide average of $5.54 per gallon on Monday, setting a new all-time record, according to AAA travel agency’s gas tracker. In March, the cost of regular unleaded fuel remained less than half a cent from its record high of $4.33 per gallon, at $4.328 on Monday.

These high fuel costs are just the first devastating drop, the negative effects of which will ripple throughout the entire economy, with increased transportation prices adding stress to inflationary pressures already shooting up the cost of goods and services. In March, the year-over-year inflation was marked at 8.5 percent, the highest rate since 1981. Bloomberg Economics predicts that U.S. households will spend another $5,200 this year, or $433 a month, for the same basket of goods as last year.

While diesel prices might not immediately alarm many consumers who rely on regular unleaded gasoline for routine transportation, tankers, trains, trucks, farming machinery and other industrial equipment rely on diesel.

“Diesel is the fuel that powers the economy,” Patrick De Haan, the chief petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, told CNBC. These increased costs are “certainly going to translate into more expensive goods.”

Despite the price increases, the Biden administration has continued to antagonize the oil and gas industry with a cascade of new taxes and regulations that hamper production.

In April, President Joe Biden’s Department of the Interior released plans to resume oil and gas leases on federal lands in compliance with a court order following a 15-month suspension. The agency’s compulsory sales offered only 20 percent of the lands that were initially nominated and approved for leasing, complemented by a 50 percent spike in royalties from minerals extracted.

Despite moving forward, the administration has been clear about its desire to shut down the federal lease sales. These sales were only scheduled after a federal judge in Louisiana deemed the administration’s pause on them illegitimate last summer.

“We don’t feel they are needed,” explained White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, even as Psaki and the president repeatedly blame Russia’s war in Ukraine as the reason for rising prices with the motto “Putin’s price hike.”

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy has been even more explicit.

“President Biden remains absolutely committed to not moving forward with additional drilling on public lands,” McCarthy said on MSNBC.

The left’s animosity to oil and gas exploration has chilled investment in the labor- and capital-intensive industry, cooling production in the process even as prices skyrocket. To suppress gas prices ahead of the November midterms, President Biden ordered the self-proclaimed “unprecedented” release of stored crude from the nation’s emergency stockpile, with 1 million barrels put on the market daily for the next six months beginning next week.

The president has offered no plans to restock the emergency reserves.


Why Elon Musk’s war on ESG matters—and how Republicans can win it by defunding ESG

By Robert Romano

Hours before Elon Musk announced that he is joining the Republican Party on Twitter, writing the Democratic Party had “become the party of division & hate,” he had just strongly reacted to S&P’s decision to remove Tesla from its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index.

“Exxon is rated top ten best in world for environment, social & governance (ESG) by S&P 500, while Tesla didn’t make the list! ESG is a scam. It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors,” Musk wrote.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk posted a Dwayne Johnson meme asking, “What’s an ESG score?” to which his companion replies, “It determines how compliant your business is with the leftist agenda,” leaving Johnson’s character pictured shocked and agitated.

It is one of the great ironies that Musk, whose company pioneered the modern electric car industry and has perhaps benefited more from ESG investment than any other, seeing Tesla’s stock rise to as high as $1,200 a share last year before the current bear market, now suddenly poses the single greatest threat to the ESG leviathan.

It seems to have at least in part catalyzed his departure from the Democratic Party.

In March, shortly after it was clear that war in Ukraine, and resulting Western sanctions on Russian oil and gas production, would create higher inflation and energy shortages, Musk called for an increase in oil and gas production in a bid to offset Russia, writing on Twitter: “Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures.”

Here, Musk was taking on the E of ESG: Environmental. That is, with a world at war, domestic energy production should take priority over far-off goals to address carbon emissions globally. It was heresy.

In April, when Musk made his bid to buy Twitter, he took on the S of ESG: Social, by addressing Twitter’s terms of service. Over the years, Twitter has pursued aggressive Diversity & Inclusion goals that internally impact racial and gender hiring quotas — which afoul of federal civil rights law and diversity sensitivity training in companies — and which outwardly enforces corporate censorship policies on the public under the guise of terms of service, especially to anyone who dissents against these goals.

In 2020, Twitter’s ESG report declared that it would not “amplify” the speech of some on their platform: “Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right — but freedom to have that speech amplified by Twitter is not. Our rules exist to promote healthy conversations.” Also, “We aim to strike an appropriate balance between empowering freedom of expression and creating a safe service for participatory, public conversation.”

In other words, some users on Orwellian Twitter are more equal than others.

Instead, Musk proposes to buy Twitter and make it a free speech platform because he says it is essential to functioning democracies to have open platforms.

Already, Musk is proving that individuals against this ESG corporate state are not supposed to challenge the agenda, or it will try to destroy you. In the process he has smashed their temple into a thousand pieces for all to see. But a sedated public could soon forget who its masters really are without frequent reminders. Musk will have to follow up on this if he wants to make it stick.

In the meantime, Musk has a point about the oil companies garnering high ESG scores. Is it greenwashing? Or is something else afoot?

In 2021, ExxonMobil, the largest producer in the U.S., announced that it would produce about 3.7 million barrels of oil a day — about 18 percent of all U.S. consumption — from its facilities throughout the world, a level which would remain relatively unchanged through 2025.

This year, even with the war in Ukraine unfolding, the estimate for 2022 was up slightly to 3.8 million barrels a day, expected to rise to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2027.

Chevron, the second largest U.S.-based producer, currently produces about 3 million barrels a day, expected to rise by just 500,000 barrels per day by 2025 to 3.5 million barrels per day.

In other words, the largest oil producers in America, even with inflation running sky high and pressing security and strategic need to offset the loss of Russian oil and gas production, are sitting on production. They just don’t care.

Long term, ExxonMobil in its 2020 corporate annual report stated that it is “Positioning for a Lower-Carbon Energy Future” by “working to develop breakthrough solutions in areas such as carbon capture, biofuels, hydrogen, and energy-efficiency process technology that can help achieve the Paris Agreement objectives. In early 2021 ExxonMobil announced the creation of a new business, ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions, to commercialize low-carbon technologies.”

According to ExxonMobil President Neil Chapman, speaking on March 2 to investors, “we will reduce the emissions in our existing operations. We’re aiming for net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions at our operated facilities by 2050.” And in the U.S., Exxon’s net zero plans will be attained on the Permian basin by 2030.

This is no surprise at all. BlackRock, a hedge fund with more than $9 trillion of assets under management, has placed green activists onto the board of Exxon to make it a “not-oil” company, thanks to ESG.

More here:


Massive changes to plastic shopping bags in Australia with NSW set to BAN lightweight bags in days, while Woolworths has stopped selling its 15c reusable bags

And what good will this do? The claim is that it will keep plastic out of the oceans. It won't -- for the excellent reason that plastic bags used in Australia don't go there anyway. Most plastic in the oceans comes from Asia. Such waste in Australia is normally disposed of properly. All those garbage trucks running around our suburbs are actually doing something

Australian consumers face a plastic bag revolution in just days with major changes coming into effect in NSW and Western Australia in the coming weeks.

NSW will ban lightweight plastic bags from June 1, while Woolworths supermarket will stop selling its 15c reusable plastic bags across all stores in WA from July.

The supermarket giant will only be offering its paper, green fabric and Bag for Good alternatives when a statewide ban on plastic bags comes into effect from July.

'Over the next month, we'll be gradually phasing out plastic shopping bags from our stores and online orders across WA, as we move to support the WA Government's upcoming plastic bag ban,' Woolworths state general manager Karl Weber said.

'This change will see more than 30 million plastic bags removed from circulation in WA every year — which is a big win for the health of our oceans and waterways.

'While our paper bags will continue to be available, the most sustainable bag you can use is the reusable one you bring from home.'

More than 80 per cent of shoppers are bringing their own bags into the supermarkets - meaning the latest change will have an impact on a small number of customers.

'The vast majority of our customers already bring their own reusable bags to shop, which is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage customers to keep up the great work,' Mr Weber said.

'We know the change brought about by this new WA legislation may be an adjustment for some customers and we thank them in advance for their support as we all work together to grow greener.'

Customers will be reminded of the looming change by in-store advertisements.

Environment minister Reece Whitby said the state was leading the way on banning single-use plastics across Australia.

'Western Australia has a strong track record on reducing single-use plastics in the environment, and was named the top jurisdiction in the country two years in a row by WWF Australia, for the work that is being done,' he said.

'The WA community has shown overwhelming support for this — and I would like to thank everyone, including Woolworths, who have embraced these important changes.'

The paper bag will cost 20c and will be able to carry up to 6kgs of groceries.

Woolworths was the first supermarket to ditch single-use plastic bags in 2018. The reusable plastic bag was introduced for 15 cents and was sold as a cheaper alternative to its 99c fabric bags.

Plastic items will be banned in two stages across Western Australia.

The first stage includes banning thick plastic bags, plates, bowls, cups, cutlery, stirrers, straws, takeaway polystyrene food containers and helium balloon releases.

The second stage will ban thin plastic produce bags, cotton buds with plastic shafts, polystyrene packaging, microbeads, oxo‑degradable plastics, takeaway coffee cups and lids, and polystyrene cups.

This change will come into effect by the end of 2022.

Businesses disregarding the ban risk heavy fines of up to $5,000.

Meanwhile, the NSW Environment Protection Authority outlined more detail on other products facing the state's upcoming ban.

Items in the firing line include single-use plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, plates, bowls, chopsticks and sporks.

Other products being phased out are cotton buds and expanded polystyrene (EPS) food service items.

Plastic microbeads found in rinse-off personal care products - used for exfoliating and scrubbing - will also face a ban.

The supply of all these materials will be phased out by November 1 2022.

The NSW parliament passed the 'ground-breaking' legislation in November last year which will gradually halt the supply of problematic single-use plastic items.




Thursday, May 19, 2022

CT Port Authority Wrongly Began $220M Wind Turbine Project

In February 2020, the Connecticut Port Authority, along with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, announced a partnership with electric services company Eversource and Denmark-based partner, ├śrsted North America to begin work on a new $220 million wind turbine project in New London, Conn.

The wind turbines would support an offshore wind-to-energy project ultimately capable of generating 4,000 megawatt hours of electricity, the CT Mirror reported.

Half a million dollars later, it’s doubtful the CPA even had the authority to begin the project. According to the CT Mirror, a host of procedural regulations were ignored to fast track the unauthorized project.

The public-private partnership needed state approval for the $220 million project but Connecticut Port Authority never even asked for it, the CT Mirror reported.

When projects like this receive permission from the state legislature, public hearings must be held by the state’s budget writing committees. That also didn’t happen for this project. “There is no record that the [Connecticut Port Authority] had the statutory authority to execute a public-private partnership after January 1, 2020,” the CT Mirror reported.

But they went through with the project, even paying consultants Seabury Capital Group, with ties to a former member of the Port Authority Board, $523,000 as a “success fee.” The fee sounds similar to banned finder’s fees. Then-State Treasurer Paul Silvester went to prison in the late 1990s after collecting such fees.

Government agencies have a fiduciary responsibility to their citizens to follow the laws and spend their money wisely and carefully.


Green Delusions Bring Chaos And Death

It’s one thing when affluent Granola Americans try to green their own lives via expensive organic food, solar panels and electric cars, but quite another when they write their delusional green policy choices into law. Just as reliance on trendy renewable energy helped trigger Texas ice storm blackouts, so too have other government regulations led to serious, pressing problems.

Take Sri Lanka as the first example:

In less than a year since Sri Lanka became the first country in the world to fully ban conventional agriculture, an economic crisis of epic proportions has gripped the island nation, launched waves of protests, and on Monday prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka’s pivot to organic farming — with a ban on synthetic fertilizers — triggered a drastic decline in the production of critical crops like tea and rice, something that many agricultural experts had foreshadowed for months.

“Predicted” is the word you want to use there. Or “foretold” if you want to be a little grandiloquent and Biblical for dramatic effect.

And lo, just as the prophecy foretold, it came to pass:

Most accounts show that production dropped between 20 percent to 50 percent of what it was prior to the switch, leaving many of the country’s 22 million people in dire straits. These happenings paint the picture of the clear connection between synthetic crop protection products and food security. And not only had Sri Lanka’s ban on fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, and fungicides resulted in massive food shortages, it also led to the doubling in price of rice, vegetables, and other market staples.

Just as with Lysenkoism or Mao’s war on birds, reliance on delusional theory rather than actual science led to famine and death.

By the time Sri Lanka opted to reverse most of its mandate over the winter, the situation had gone too far.

The turmoil spurred shortages of electricity and other goods and services in Sri Lanka. Many people have died — and scores injured — in economic- and hunger-related protests, and Rajapaksa required a military rescue this week as chaos closed in around him.

Last summer, prior to the changeover to full organic, 30 national experts wrote to Rajapaksa’s brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa…

“Would like a side order of Nepotism with your Green Delusion Special?”

…outlining their concern over this seismic policy shift. While they recognize the goals of the president’s program, they proposed a phased, consultative approach — with actual experts — rather than cold turkey, emotive mandates.

“Prior to this policy, the government had unsuccessfully tried to commercialize farm land, which is the biggest commercial asset the country has. So many of us think this was another way to try and get farmers to leave their land, or to weaken the farmers’ position and enable a land grab,” Vimukthi de Silva, an organic farmer in Rajanganaya, told The Guardian.

So just like here, the sheep’s clothing of pious environmentalism hides the ravenous rent-seeking wolf of public subsidy cash grabs.

Closer to home, anti-fossil fuel regulations to fight “Global Warming” have left America dangerously short of refining capacity.

We are now reaching the point where the cost of diesel fuel is making some goods too expensive to transport. One trucker told the Orlando Fox affiliate yesterday that, “The cost of diesel is single-handedly taking us out of the game one by one no matter how big you are. . . . If you’re getting paid $2 per mile you’re not taking that load no matter if it is baby formula or orange juice because the cost of diesel is $5 plus. You just can’t take that load.”

Tractor-trailer trucks loaded up with goods are heavy, meaning that they average “only 6.5 miles per gallon. Their efficiency ranges wildly between 3 miles per gallon going up hills to more than 23 miles per gallon going downhill.” Because of their low fuel economy, trucks have massive gas tanks — tanks with a capacity between 120 and 150 gallons — and some trucks may have two tanks for longer hauls. In other words, on one full tank of diesel, a truck can travel 780 to 975 miles. But as of this morning, filling up the tank for that trip will cost $668 to $836 — a cost of 85 cents per mile.

Keep in mind, “A majority of trucking companies pay [drivers] between $0.28 and $0.40 cents per mile according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. A few companies do pay up to $0.45 cents per mile.”

The default setting of President Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a lot of other Democrats is that if something is expensive, it is because some company is being greedy, and that the way to “bring down inflation” to “make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.”

But the cost of a gallon of unleaded gasoline or diesel fuel is not just a matter of how greedy an oil company feels on any given day and has very little to do with how much that company is paying in taxes. The cost of crude oil makes up 59 percent of the cost of gallon of regular gasoline, and just 49 percent of the cost of diesel. Refining is a slightly bigger share of the cost of a gallon of diesel fuel than of the cost of a gallon of regular gas — 23 percent for diesel to 18 percent for regular, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Distribution and marketing costs make up 18 percent of diesel costs.

And keep in mind, federal taxes on diesel are slightly higher than those on regular gasoline — 24 cents per gallon on diesel compared to 18 cents per gallon on regular.


Those Pushing ESG Lack an Understanding of the Many Uses of Crude Oil

People don’t generally understand the reality today that the primary usage of crude oil is not to generate electricity, but to manufacture derivatives and fuels which are the ingredients of everything needed by economies and lifestyles to exist and prosper.

Energy realism requires that the legislators, policymakers, media and the investment community begin to understand the staggering scale of what decarbonization would truly mean.

ESG Versus Oil

Advocates for divesting from companies involved in the production of oil as part of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals are seemingly unaware that crude oil not used to generate electricity.

In fact, until crude oil is refined it is virtually useless. But once refined, it is a miracle product, with oil derivatives serving as the basis of more than 6,000 products in our daily lives that did not exist before the 1900s, and as the fuels to move the heavy-weight and long-range needs of aircraft, cruise and merchant ships.

Products from crude oil are the foundation of modern society and few consumers are willing to give up those benefits. Access to inexpensive, abundant, and dependable crude oil has been the cornerstone of the Industrial Revolution and humanity’s achievements.

‘Pervasive Ignorance’

Pervasive ignorance about crude oil usage and the desirability of divest from the oil and gas industry could do irreparable harm to it, as well as inflict supply shortages and soaring prices upon consumers for the numerous much in demand products manufactured from crude oil.

Neither solar and wind generated electricity can produce any of the products derived from crude oil, they can only generate intermittent electricity. In fact, renewables cannot exist without crude oil as all the parts of wind turbines and solar panels are made with oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil.

Banks and investment giants that are driving today’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) movement to divest from fossil fuels are all the rage on Wall Street as a way of reducing to non-toxic greenhouse gas emissions. It is appalling that both President Biden and the United Nations support the investment community collusion in efforts to reshape economies and our energy infrastructure.

Before divesting in all three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil, where is the replacement or clone for crude oil, to keep today’s societies and economies running?

Looking back a little more than 100 years, it’s easy to see how civilization has benefited from more than 250 leading-edge, hydrocarbon processing licensed refining technologies used by the more than 700 refineries worldwide that service the demands of the eight billion people living on earth with more than 6,000 products made from the oil derivatives manufactured out of raw crude oil at refineries. None of these products were available to society before 1900.

Ending crude oil production and use would reverse much of the progress made over the last few centuries. Indeed the use of petroleum in the early 1900s led us into the power America’s industrial revolution and and victories in World Wars I and II.

The products from fossil fuels have reduced infant mortality, extended average lifespans from approximately from 40 years to more than 80, allowed us to move to anywhere in the world via planes, trains, ships and vehicles, and virtually eliminated weather related fatalities.

‘Banks … Short Memories’

As ESG progresses, banks and investment giants are demonstrating they have short memories concerning the vital nature of petroleum based products to modern socieity.

Efforts to cease the use of crude oil could be the greatest threat to civilization, not climate change, and lead the world to an era of guaranteed extreme shortages of fossil fuel products, like we had in the decarbonized world in the 1800s. This would likely result in billions of fatalities from diseases, malnutrition and weather-related deaths trying to live without the more than 6,000 products currently created from oil derivatives.

Abandoning fossil fuels now would also deprive and/or delay providing nine percent of humanity, or more than 689 million people, in this world living below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day, from enjoying the same products and standards of living wealthy and healthy countries take for granted.

Allowing banks to collude with investment community to reshape economies and lifestyles, in line with the progressive politics of their woke leadership, is an extremely dangerous precedent. Consumers never voted to give banks this sort of control over our world.

For these reasons and more, depriving citizens of oil is immoral and evil.

It is time for the people to demand anti-ESG bills from their legislatures to stop the collusion between big banks and large investment firms, which will inflict even greater shortages and inflation on people in developing countries, and subject people in developing countries to continued, preventable abject penury.

In short, it’s time to ban ESG, not oil.


Energy security fears spark oil and gas supply pledge

Australia’s biggest energy companies say they will ignore calls not to open up new oil and gas fields, describing a “frightening” scarcity of new developments as Russia’s Ukraine invasion sparks the worst global energy security crisis since the 1970s oil embargo.

While the International Energy Agency warned last year that no new oil or gas fields or coal mines should be opened up if the world is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, Australia’s largest producers say it is vital to develop new sources of supply, with Santos concerned it has already missed opportunities.

“We are watching an energy crisis play out in Europe right now, but we have on our doorstop a prime example of what happens if the energy transition is focused only on stopping new oil and gas projects,” Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher will tell the APPEA industry conference on Wednesday.

“We’ve had a decade of moratoriums, shutdowns and lockouts in resource-rich states and territories. And, as I have said for a number of years, the resulting scarcity of new developments today is frightening, with forecasts of tight supply over coming years.”

LNG has shot to all-time highs this year, while oil has surged 40 per cent after supplies were effectively shut off from Russia, sparking a battle across Europe and Asia to secure replacement ­volumes.

Woodside Petroleum said a crunch on supplies around the world had elevated energy security into a major issue for both the industry and consumers.

READ MORE:Ditch the ideology on energy policy: Santos chief|Open up new oil and gas fields: APPEA
“I think Russia’s invasion of Ukraine really has catalysed the energy security conversation in a way that it’s not been done since the 1970s with the Arab oil embargo,” Woodside chief executive Meg O’Neill said.

“Nations and political leaders first and foremost think about their home patch before thinking about their role in the global world. And the short-term implication is that there are challenges on reliability and challenges on affordability.”

The scramble for supplies has reignited a debate over energy security and emboldened producers to agitate for opening up new oil and gas fields, despite rising pressure from investors to set more ambitious climate change goals.

A push by activists to exclude fossil fuels was misguided and would simply push supply to rival nations with less stringent pollution goals, said the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, the industry body that counts Woodside, Shell, Santos, BP and BHP among its members.

“The focus of our opponents on stopping fossil fuel projects has had no effect on consumer demand, and no effect on emissions reduction. What it has done is to push fossil fuel developments to places such as the Middle East and Russia,” APPEA chairman Ian Davies said.

“This has created a supply crunch and has raised prices, hurting people and economies around the globe.”

Chevron, which operates the giant Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects in Western Australia, tipped ongoing price and supply volatility.

“There are going to be ­disruptive forces that move the markets around and energy supply around. Given these types of challenges, we can help to solve the types of problems that we‘re seeing, but there will still be some bumpiness as we make the twists and turns,” Chevron Australia director of operations Kory Judd said.

ExxonMobil Australia said the industry was used to geopolitical ructions and the best way for it to respond was by ensuring sufficient supply in the market.

“We’re putting a lot of focus now on Russia but in the past it could have been Venezuela, it could have been Iran, it could have been Libya. So there are always geopolitical events affecting overall supply and demand dynamics. In many instances we see those reflected in price and supply issues,” ExxonMobil Australia chairman Dylan Pugh said. “It goes back to some of those fundamental principles about continuing to bring on investments and making sure that you have a market that’s not so fragile.”

Chevron also took a swipe at iron ore producer Fortescue Metals after its chairman Andrew Forrest attacked the oil and gas industry for relying on carbon capture schemes to cut emissions.

Dr Forrest slammed carbon capture as unreliable and questioned whether a mass rollout of the technology was going to solve the industry’s pollution problems.

Chevron said its $2.5bn Gorgon carbon capture and storage project under WA’s Barrow Island, which is still only operating at half capacity, was storing the equivalent of Fortescue’s annual pollution each year.

“We’ve injected 6 million ­tonnes of carbon dioxide since 2019 and 2.1 million tonnes last year, and that’s about equivalent to the emissions a company like FMG emits in a year,” Mr Judd told the conference.

“I read all of the negativity around it but I see it happening reliably every day.”

Santos, which is developing several major carbon capture projects, was also set to criticise negativity around the technology.

“The new focus on stopping oil and gas projects in environmentally responsible jurisdictions such as Australia is centred around discrediting a proven technology for low-cost, large-scale emissions reduction – carbon capture and storage,” Mr Gallagher is expected to tell the conference on Wednesday.

“Yet CCS has been done before. We are doing it now in 27 commercial projects around the world. And it works.”




Wednesday, May 18, 2022

UK weather has become, if anything, less extreme, annual review shows

Press Release, London, 17 May - UK weather trends have changed very little in recent decades and have become, if anything, less extreme, according to a new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

That's according to an annual review of official weather data by climate researcher Paul Homewood. The paper shows that while very cold winters are now very rare, heatwaves have not been increasing.

Similarly, there have been fewer droughts in recent decades, but we are not seeing more wet years, wet months, or wet days.

Paul Homewood says:

“The UK's weather is becoming, if anything, less extreme. We are still waiting for evidence of a 'climate crisis' that politicians and environmentalists claim is upon us. But observational data shows that in the UK there is no evidence for any worsening weather trends."

Homewood also notes that storms are not an increasing problem either, with extreme winds having been on the decline for 30 years.

Homewood's paper is entitled "The UK's Weather in 2020-21" and can be downloaded from GWPF

The GWPF invited the Royal Society and the Met Office to review and submit a response to this paper, to be published as an addendum to it. The invitation was not taken up.

Contact Paul Homewood


BBC insiders say their climate editor is more 'campaigner' than reporter

Anyone who watched the BBC's Panorama programme on November 3 last year without previously having taken an interest in climate change probably found themselves terrified.

Footage of terrible floods, storms, droughts and fires rolled on — with the clear implication that this had all been caused by man-made climate change.

'It has been a year of extreme weather,' Rowlatt went on. 'We have been able to see the impact of climate change all around us.'

Now jump forward to last week, when it was reported that the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) had upheld complaints about two claims made in the programme.

First, it wasn't true that the death toll from natural disasters is rising. In fact, the opposite is true.

According to, the number of deaths globally from natural disasters has tumbled each decade for the past century, apart from a small blip in the 2000s, from an average of 524,000 a year in the 1920s to just 45,000 in the 2010s — despite a booming global population.

The ECU also ruled that Rowlatt's claim that southern Madagascar was 'on the brink of the world's first climate-induced famine' was incorrect, as other factors were involved.

Although the ECU didn't spell out these other factors, the UN has previously blamed last year's famine partly on Covid restrictions, which prevented seasonal agricultural labourers from working as usual.

But this is not the first time BBC viewers have been misled by the Corporation's climate editor.

Last December, the ECU had to clarify a claim made by Rowlatt that Britain's offshore wind is 'now virtually subsidy-free'.

As was clarified, such a claim may be true of recently installed turbines, but many older models were built under contracts which guarantee them subsidies for many years to come.

Some at the BBC, it seems, are losing patience with their climate editor. 'The Justin Rowlatt stuff is grim,' an unnamed BBC source told one newspaper this week. 'These are not 'mistakes'; he's a campaigner.'

Climate campaigning certainly runs in his family. His wife, Bee, herself a former producer for the BBC World Service, has boasted on Twitter of joining Extinction Rebellion protests.

'Best thing about #BlackFriday,' she tweeted in 2018, 'is Extinction Rebellion bringing Oxford [Street] to a halt.' She has also supported a 'justice' fund which gives protesters access to legal advice.

Rowlatt's sister Cordelia was fined for taking part in one of Insulate Britain's dangerous protests on the M25 last year.

But what about Rowlatt himself? As a BBC journalist, he is supposed to maintain scrupulous impartiality at all times. Look through his output, however, and it is hard to argue that he is even trying.

Two days before his Panorama programme in November, Rowlatt shocked viewers with a hysterical interview with Boris Johnson at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. He accused the Prime Minister of looking 'a little bit weaselly'.

'[You are] not ruling out opening a coal mine in Britain, a new coal mine in Britain!?' he breathlessly exclaimed. 'We started the Industrial Revolution — we should close the mines!'

At no point did he seek to explore the complexities of the issue. Nor, by constantly interrupting, did he give the PM a chance to respond.

In fact, the proposed mine in Cumbria to which he was referring would not produce coal for burning in power stations, but mainly coking coal for the steel industry, which as yet cannot produce steel commercially without it.


UN Disaster Report Is A Reporting Disaster

by Bjorn Lomborg

A new UN report reveals the disturbing news that the number of global disasters has quintupled since 1970 and will increase by another 40 per cent in coming decades.

It finds that more people are affected by disasters than ever before, which has prompted the UN Deputy Secretary General to warn that humanity is “on a spiral of self-destruction.”

Astonishingly, the UN is misusing data, and its approach has been repeatedly shown to be wrong.

Its finding makes for great headlines but just isn’t grounded in evidence.

When the UN analyzed the number of disaster events, it made a basic error — one I’ve called it out for making before: It basically counted all the catastrophes recorded by the most respected international disaster database, showed that they were increasing, and then suggested the planet must be doomed.

The problem is that the documentation of all types of disasters was far patchier in previous decades than it is today, when anyone with a cellphone can immediately share news of a storm or flood from halfway around the world.

That’s why the disaster database’s own experts explicitly warn amateurs NOT to conclude that an increase in registered disasters means there are more disasters in reality.

Reaching such a conclusion “would be incorrect” because of the improvements in recording.

You would think the UN would know better, especially when its top bureaucrats are using language that sounds like Armageddon is here.

Not surprisingly, climate change is central to the UN agency’s narrative. Its report warns there is a risk of more extreme weather disasters because of global warming, so the acceleration of “climate action” is urgently needed.

Somehow, this huge international organization has succumbed to the same basic fallacy many of us are prey to when we see more and more weather disasters aired on the TV news.

Just because the world is much more connected than it used to be and we do see more catastrophic events in our media DOES NOT mean climate change is making them more damaging.

So how do we robustly measure whether weather disasters have become worse? The best approach is not to count the catastrophes, but to look instead at deaths. Major losses of life have been registered pretty consistently over the past century. This data shows that climate-related events — floods, droughts, storms, fires, and temperature extremes — are NOT killing more people.

Deaths have actually DROPPED by a huge amount since 1920. In the 1920s, almost half a million people were killed by climate-related disasters. In 2021, fewer than 7,000.

That’s right: climate-related disasters kill 99 per cent fewer people than 100 years ago.

The UN report does include a count of “global disaster-related mortality” — and manages to find that, contrary to the international disaster database, deaths are higher than ever before.

But it reaches this conclusion by — bizarrely — including deaths from COVID in the catastrophes.

COVID killed more people just in 2020 than all the world’s other catastrophes did in the past half century.

Lumping COVID deaths in with deaths from hurricanes and floods was bound to create more headlines than understanding.

The truth is that deaths from climate disasters have fallen dramatically because wealthier countries are much better at protecting citizens. Research shows this phenomenon consistently across almost all catastrophes, including storms, floods, cold and heat waves.

But we will obviously adapt, especially because the cost is so low. That means that in fact fewer people than ever will be flooded by 2100. Even the combined cost of adaptation and climate damages will fall — to just 0.008 per cent of GDP.

These facts show why it’s important that organizations like the UN deliver us the real picture on disasters.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has shown bad form in making unfounded claims. Instead of headline-chasing with dodgy math and frightening language, the UN should do better — and it should be focused on championing innovation and adaptation in order to save more lives.


Is It Time To Ditch Those Shoddy ‘Climate Models’?

Just about every projected environmental catastrophe going back to the population bomb of the late 1960s, the “Club of Rome” and “Global 2000” resource-exhaustion panics of the 1970s, the ozone depletion crisis of the 1980s, and beyond has depended on computer models, all of which turned out to be wrong, sometimes by an order of magnitude.

No putative environmental crisis has depended more on computer models than “climate change.”

But in the age of high confidence in supercomputing and rapidly advancing “big data” analytics, computer climate models have arguably gone in reverse, generating a crisis in the climate-change community.

The defects of the computer climate models—more than 60 are used at the present time—that the whole climate crusade depends on have become openly acknowledged over the past few years, and a fresh study in the mainstream scientific literature recently highlights the problem afresh: too many of the climate models are “running hot,” which calls into question the accuracy of future temperature projections.

Nature magazine, one of the premier “mainstream” science journals, last week published “Climate simulations: recognize the ‘hot model’ problem,” by four scientists all firmly established within the “consensus” climate science community.

It is a carefully worded article, aiming to avoid giving ammunition to climate-change skeptics, while honestly acknowledging that the computer models have major problems that can lead to predictions of doom that lack sufficient evidence.

“Users beware: a subset of the newest generation of models are ‘too hot’ and project climate warming in response to carbon dioxide emissions that might be larger than that supported by other evidence,” the authors write.

While affirming the general message that human-caused climate change is a serious problem, the clear subtext is that climate scientists need to do better lest the climate science community surrenders its credibility.

One major anomaly of the climate modeling scene is that, as the authors write, “As models become more realistic, they are expected to converge.” But the opposite has happened—there is more divergence among the models.

Almost a quarter of recent computer climate models show much higher potential future temperatures than past model suites, and don’t match up with known climate history:

“Numerous studies have found that these high-sensitivity models do a poor job of reproducing historical temperatures over time and in simulating the climates of the distant past.”

What this means is that our uncertainty about the future climate is increasing. To paraphrase James Q. Wilson’s famous admonition to social scientists, never mind predicting the future; many climate models can’t even predict the past.

A quick primer: in general, the average of computer climate models predict that a doubling of the level of greenhouse gases (GHGs), principally carbon dioxide (CO2), by the end of this century would increase the global average temperature by a range of 1.5 degrees C to 4.5 degrees C.

At present rates of GHG emissions, we’re on course to double the GHG level in the atmosphere about 80-100 years from now.

Why is the range so wide, and why does it matter? First, the direct thermal effect of doubling GHGs is only about 1.1 degrees.

So how do so many models predict 4.5 degrees or more? Two words: feedback effects.

That is, changes in atmospheric water vapor (clouds, which both trap and reflect heat), wind patterns, ocean temperatures, shrinkage of ice caps at the poles, and other dynamic changes in ecosystems on a large scale.

Yet it is precisely these feedback effects where the computer models are the weakest and perform most poorly.

The huge uncertainties in the models (especially for the most important factor—clouds) are always candidly acknowledged in the voluminous technical reports the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues every few years, but few people—and no one in the media—bother to read the technical sections carefully.

Why are climate models so bad? And can we expect them to improve any time soon?

Steven Koonin, a former senior appointee in the Department of Energy in the Obama administration, explains the problem concisely in his recent book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t and Why It Matters.

The most fundamental problem with all climate models is their limited “resolution.” Climate models are surprisingly crude, as they divide up the atmosphere into 100 km x 100 km grids, which are then stacked like pancakes from the ground to the upper atmosphere.

Most climate models have one million atmospheric grid squares and as many as 100 million smaller (10 sq. km) grid squares for the ocean.

The models then attempt to simulate what happens within each grid square and sum the results. It can take up to two months for the fastest supercomputers to complete a model “run” based on the data assumptions input into the model.

The problem is that “many important [climate] phenomena occur on scales smaller than the 100 sq. km. (60 sq. miles) grid size, (such as mountains, clouds, and thunderstorms).”

In other words, the accuracy of the models is highly limited. Why can’t we scale down the model resolution? Koonin, who taught computational physics at Cal Tech, explains:

“A simulation that takes two months to run with 100 km grid squares would take more than a century if it instead used 10 km grid squares. The run time would remain at two months if we had a supercomputer one thousand times faster than today’s—a capability probably two or three decades in the future.”

But even if the models get better at the dynamics of what happens in the atmosphere on a more granular scale, the models still depend on future GHG emissions forecasts, and there is a wide range of emissions scenarios the modelers use.




Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The British government's heat pump insanity

Heat pump costs soar because Britain's radiators are 'too small'. Radiators take up a fair bit of room as it is. Changing them for ones twice the size has to be quite a nuisance

Homeowners trying to install eco-friendly heat pumps have been left with surprise £30,000 bills after it emerged millions of radiators are too small to work with the new technology.

The Government wants 600,000 heat pumps installed every year by 2028, in line with its “net zero” aims, but the majority of homes may need thousands of pounds worth of upgrades to accommodate them.

Heat pumps need larger radiators to achieve the same heat output as gas boilers, which heat water to much higher temperatures.

Some 99pc of British homes do not have radiators large enough to heat a room on the coldest winter's day, using a low-temperature heat pump, the most common model, according to a Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy study. "High temperature" heat pumps can help fix this but 90pc of homes would still need better radiators.

To heat a home on an average winter's day, 94pc of British households would need to upgrade their radiators if using a standard heat pump.

Gas boilers achieve temperatures of around 70°C, but most air source heat pumps operate at around 35°C to 45°C for the radiator system and around 55°C for hot water.

The Department said the typical costs for buying compatible radiators would be £1,700 for a one to two-bedroom house, £2,200 for a three-bedroom house, and approximately £2,900 for a five-bedroom house. However, this does not include the labour cost of fitting a new heating system.

Some customers have been hit with much higher bills. Michael York, 83, was quoted nearly £30,000 to install a heat pump and replace all his radiators.

Mr York said: "Last year my 19-year-old boiler was making a funny noise and I decided it was time for an upgrade. I looked into a heat pump, because of the Government's interest in them.

"I consulted a heat pump specialist who said the installation cost for a suitable heat pump and changing all the radiators was nearly £30,000. My house was built in 1976, it’s detached, it has cavity wall insulation, and double glazing. It's very well insulated."

Mr York said the specialist told him there were several rooms in his home that would not be able to accommodate radiators large enough to achieve the same heat output as his gas boiler. "The prices have come down and it would now cost around £20,000, but I didn't want to spend that when I could just pay £2,400 for a new gas boiler."


Industry Disputes Biden’s Rationale For Canceling Alaska, Gulf Lease Sales

Industry groups and some Republicans are disputing the Biden administration’s justification for pulling the plug on the offshore lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, which it said was canceled “due to lack of industry interest.”

Both have argued energy companies and other parties did want the sale to move forward and that the only way to gauge interest in the sale properly would have been to hold it and allow energy companies to offer bids.

The Interior Department confirmed late Wednesday it would not move forward with work on three offshore lease sales, one for acreage in Cook Inlet and two off the Gulf Coast, the last outstanding sales outlined in the current five-year offshore leasing program.

Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said the administration’s reasoning on Cook Inlet was “disingenuous” and pointed to comments she filed with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in December in which she expressed her organization’s support for the sale.

“We certainly said, ‘Hey, we support having a lease sale move forward,’ and as a trade association, we don’t put out any comments unless, obviously, the majority of our members support that,” she told the Washington Examiner.

Moriarty also echoed the response of Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), who criticized the cancellation and said “only holding a lease sale” would ultimately illustrate companies’ level of interest.

“If you really want to know if a company is interested in picking up leases, hold the lease sale. There’s nothing that says you can’t hold it and then nobody show,” she said.

Moriarty also likened competition over acreage to a game of poker in which energy companies are often not prepared to “show their hand” and reveal publicly whether they intend to bid or not beforehand.

The Interior Department did not disclose how it determined the level of industry interest was lacking, but it wasn’t a novel justification, something the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management noted in an update to the lease sale’s webpage published Friday.

The Interior Department canceled a lease sale for Cook Inlet in 2011 for the same reason. Then, in 2017, the department went on to award 14 tracts covering 76,615 acres in the inlet.

As for the two Gulf lease sales canceled Wednesday, the administration said it will not move forward because of “delays due to factors including conflicting court rulings that impacted work on these proposed lease sales.”

The administration is currently engaged in several active lawsuits affecting the leasing program. It is appealing a ruling delivered last June that enjoined the government from implementing a blanket pause on both onshore and offshore leasing.

Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump appointee, ruled in that case that federal law requires the government to hold lease sales, and administration officials have cited that ruling as a justification for moving forward with lease sales since.

In another case, the American Petroleum Institute is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that threw out the lone offshore sale carried out last year.

The National Offshore Industries Association argued that the sum of litigation should not have disrupted the sales. BOEM cut the process off before completing draft environmental reviews for either sale.

“They absolutely could have done the environmental work for those lease sales,” said Erik Milito, NOIA’s president. “There was absolutely nothing that held them back when it comes to the court decisions, or the underlying statutes when it came to getting this work done.”

The Biden administration has been under competing pressures in recent months regarding how to move forward on the leasing program with oil and gas prices high and rising to record levels.

Environmental groups have been lobbying the administration to keep President Joe Biden’s campaign promise of ending drilling on federal lands and waters as a way to mitigate climate change, arguing the government has the discretion to hold no sales at all.

Some are also making the case that the Interior Department’s next, and currently delayed, five-year plan for the offshore program, which the department must finalize in order to hold lease sales, should simply be published without any lease sales in it.

Meanwhile, Republicans and some Democrats want Biden to make more lands and waters available to curb prices and reduce price shocks.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the three cancellations are “just awful.”


India: Greenpeace’s Dream Of A Solar-Powered Village Fell Apart In Just A Few Years

A Greenpeace-funded solar energy project in India has become completely defunct just years after it was built, according to local media reports.

Eco-activist group Greenpeace brought solar power to Dharnai, India, in 2014, constructing a green micro-grid it said would make the tiny village “energy independent” and a model for the rest of the country to follow.

Eight years later, reports indicate the solar micro-grid is not only defunct, but being used as a cattle shed. The Dharnai venture is only one of many failed attempts by environmental groups, like Greenpeace, to “green” the developing world, according to one of its co-founders.

“It’s the same thing that’s happened a lot across Africa: goody two-shoes comes in and builds them a small solar facility,” CO2 Coalition Director Patrick Moore, who co-founded Greenpeace in the 1970s, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Then, pretty soon the battery wears out and it just doesn’t get repaired and they don’t know what to do because they don’t have any expertise,” said Moore, who departed Greenpeace in the 1980s after he said the group lost touch with its original purpose. “There’s plenty of those stories.”

In July 2014, Greenpeace celebrated the project, claiming that it made Dharnai the first village in the state of Bihar to run entirely on solar energy. The project quickly collapsed, though, as batteries became overused, causing the entire grid to fall into disrepair, environment-focused news outlet Mongabay-India reported in December.

Today, paddy straw is piled up around the project, which is now being used to shelter cattle, according to Mongabay-India. In addition, solar panels are covered in dust and rods supporting the green tech are heavily-rusted.

“When this solar farm went defunct, it was primarily because of two reasons,” Vijay Jayaraj, an India-based researcher at the environmental group Cornwall Alliance, told TheDCNF. “One is the cost of the power, and the second is reliability.”

“In 2016 and 2017, when the village was finally connected to the grid — and the grid was powered by coal power plants — they understood that coal power is much more reliable,” he continued

Jayaraj added that non-governmental organizations like Greenpeace often market renewable energy alternatives to remote villagers with little or no electricity in developing countries. Such groups are able to avoid heavy scrutiny since the areas they approach are in dire need for power.

“These programs and solutions don’t talk about the sustainable nature of the programs, the longevity of the programs, what happens when the technologies age or how much of the current demand it could meet,” he said. “So, by pushing these questions under the carpet, these programs have started to take root in a lot of developing countries. India is no exception.”

While some villagers expressed optimism about Dharnai, India, solar facility in 2014, others protested it saying they didn’t want “fake” electricity, according to Mongabay-India. At the time, Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, applauded the project and told locals that coal power would diminish over time while solar power would always be around.

“In the first three years, it worked well and people were using it. But after three years the batteries were exhausted and it was never repaired,” Ravi Kumar, a local shopkeeper, told Mongabay-India. “So now, while the solar rooftops, CCTV cameras and other infrastructure are intact, the whole system has become a showpiece for us.”

“No one uses solar power anymore here,” he continued. “The glory of Dharnai has ended.”


‘Green New Deal’ plan will cost NYers ‘hundreds of billions’ in energy bills: official

New Yorkers will have to pay “hundreds of billions of dollars” in higher utility bills due to the state’s “Green New Deal”-inspired plan, according to a top energy regulatory official — who accused lawmakers of hiding the true cost of the bill.

John Howard, former chairman and current member of the state Public Service Commission, claimed former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic-run legislature never leveled with the public on the costs associated with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act approved in 2019.

Howard, during a PSC session Thursday, said local pols “totally obfuscated” the costs of the plan because the sticker shock would have made the initiative unpopular.

The law, which Cuomo signed in a ceremony with Al Gore at his side, requires New York to slash greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050 by transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind. The state Climate Action Council, meanwhile, is charged with developing a plan to put the state on a path toward zero carbon emissions.

Lawmakers, Howard said, refused to directly vote to raise taxes to pay for the capital investments required to develop cleaner energy alternatives to fossil fuels — and left the PSC to be the fall guy.

The commission — which regulates power utilities — was tasked with approving rate increases to pay for the capital investments required to comply with the new green-deal inspired law.

Con Edison and other utilities will pass on those costs to customers.

“I hope my colleagues on this commission understand that responsibility falls to us exclusively — to the tune of hundreds, not a couple — but hundreds of billions of dollars,” Howard said during last week’s PSC meeting.

“The legislature, either through its silence or total lack of actions, has given this commission nearly the exclusive responsibility to reach into New Yorkers’ pockets to pay for the CLCPA mandates,” he said.

Howard also warned that the unfunded mandate comes at a time when “our entire state economy is shaky … the upstate economy is shakier.”

Other PSC members — former state Sens. David Valesky and John Maggiore — also warned about relying solely on utility rate hikes to pay for New York’s green new deal.

“The cost of the state’s conversion to green energy far exceeds the ability to finance [solely] through electric bills,” Maggiore said.

Aides to Gov. Kathy Hochul and a key lawmaker who helped craft the green energy law slammed Howard as an alarmist.

“It is incorrect and irresponsible to suggest New York ratepayers will be on the hook for the entire cost of our state’s transition to clean energy,” said a spokesperson for the co-chairs of the Climate Action Council, state Department of Environmental Commissioner Basil Seggos and NYS Energy Research and Development Authority CEO Doreen Harris.

“What is indisputable is that the cost of inaction is more than $100 billion higher than the cost of investing in a clean energy future,” the spokesperson added.

“This is why the efforts by the Climate Action Council are critical now to not only keeping energy costs low but also to increase job opportunities estimated at 200,000 jobs by 2030 and improving the health of New Yorkers.”

Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-Suffolk), a co-author of the CLCPA, said Howard is a scaremonger.

“It sounds like he’s a bit of an alarmist. He’s got a point of view that is biased toward the status quo. The status quo is costing us billions of dollars,” said Englebright, the state Assembly environmental conservation chairman.

He noted more frequent violent storms fueled by climate change, for example, are causing massive damages to inland as well as coastal areas of the state.

Hochul recently sided with green new deal booster Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) by killing two carbon-burning natural gas projects in Queens and upstate Newburgh. But the governor is getting flak from union allies for pushing to ban the use of gas for new building construction.