Friday, December 09, 2022

Why you cannot trust your weather forecaster

Even if you did know the address of Ed Maibach’s office, you could walk right past it without a second thought. It’s in an anonymous-­looking building in a perfectly ordinary stretch of the Virginia suburbs. The indistinct setting suits Maibach, who—due to the nature of his work—doesn’t list its physical location on his website. “Simply because,” he says, “there are a lot of crazy people out there who have a lot of anger and feel entitled to express their anger in really inappropriate ways, and sometimes really dangerous ways.”

Maibach’s professional endeavors are similarly discreet. Though he labors each day to alert Americans to the dangers of climate change, you won’t find him waving a NO FOSSIL FUELS banner from atop a tall building or protesting outside a congressional lawmaker’s home. Instead, this George Mason University professor deploys a behind-the-scenes strategy that would impress the savviest operators on K Street. Except rather than shilling for tech giants or Big Pharma, he works on behalf of the Earth.

About 13 years ago, Maibach identified a TV meteorologist in Columbia, South Carolina, who was willing to use his airtime not just to provide tomorrow’s forecast but to show viewers how climate change was impacting their local community. Over the next decade, Maibach would expand this experiment into what you might call a weather underground—a coast-to-coast network of TV weathercasters who believe that educating their audiences about global warming is as crucial as telling them when to bring an umbrella. The initiative, known as Climate Matters, has forced Maibach to confront a series of entrenched problems inside the broadcast-­meteorology community, including alarming levels of climate denial and skepticism, fears about alienating audiences, and the occasional harassment of participating weathercasters. Yet by the end of 2021, the Climate Matters network of meteorologists had penetrated into nearly every media market in the country, and Maibach had pioneered a promising new approach to a complex crisis.

Truth is, if you’ve recently watched the weather report on the local news in the Washington area, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen Maibach’s handiwork—the Climate Matters network now includes weathercasters at NBC4, WUSA9, WJLA7, and Fox 5. But like local-news consumers across the country, you wouldn’t have known that behind that telegenic meteorologist are a social scientist in his sixties and a team of academic researchers, data crunchers, and ex-weathercasters. “To a lot of our viewers, it’s lost on them how much work Climate [Matters] really is doing,” says Kaitlyn McGrath, a meteorologist at WUSA9. “But it is so far from lost on us.”


New coal mine for Britain

The government has been condemned for approving a new coal mine in Cumbria – Britain’s first in generations.

The Woodhouse Colliery project, near Whitehaven, has sparked fierce opposition from locals and environmentalists.

Levelling-up secretary Michael Gove has granted permission, saying the coal will be used for the production of steel and not for power generation.

But the government’s own independent adviser on climate change has condemned the decision, which will allow extraction of the fossil fuel until 2049 – a year ahead of the UK’s legally binding target to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

The Conservative former minister Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee, said it would undermine UK efforts to reach net zero and “diminish” the country’s global influence on carbon.

Under development by West Cumbria Mining since 2014, the undersea mine will be the first deep pit to open in England since 1986. It is projected to increase UK greenhouse gas emissions by 0.4 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of around 200,000 cars.

The approval was branded “shameful” by countryside charity CPRE, while Friends of the Earth said it was “a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence” on climate change.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said Rishi Sunak had been exposed as a “fossil fuel PM in a renewable age”, who had “given up on all pretence of climate leadership”.

And Lord Deben said: “This decision grows global emissions and undermines UK efforts to achieve net zero.

“It runs counter to the UK’s stated aims as Cop26 president and sends entirely the wrong signal to other countries about the UK’s climate priorities. The UK’s hard-fought global influence on climate is diminished by today’s decision.”

The developers say it will create 500 jobs providing coking coal for the steel-making industry, which has previously been heavily dependent on Russia.

But a wave of objections following its approval by the county council in 2020 resulted in the plan being “called in” last year for a final decision by the communities secretary.

Today’s decision by Mr Gove brings an end to the planning wrangle but will spark renewed protest in the area

Green groups warn that the new pit will damage the UK’s reputation internationally and undermine its ability to persuade others to make sacrifices to tackle global warming.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said the decision was a “significant” setback for the UK’s efforts to meet legally binding targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

“This is an appalling decision,” said Mr Bosworth. “Approving this mine is a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence. The mine isn’t needed, will add to global climate emissions, and won’t replace Russian coal.

“The market for this coal is rapidly disappearing as UK and European steelmakers recognise that green steel is the future, and this mine risks becoming an expensive stranded asset.”

Greenpeace UK policy director Doug Parr said the decision came just weeks after Mr Sunak stated his aim to make Britain a “clean energy superpower”.

“The UK government risks becoming a superpower in climate hypocrisy rather than climate leadership,” said Dr Parr.

Lord Deben warned there may be no domestic use for Woodhouse coal after 2035, while International Energy Agency projections predict an 88 per cent decline in demand for the product globally by 2050 if emission reduction plans succeed.

But Woodhouse’s annual contributions to UK emissions will exceed the total projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050, he said.

Locking in the use of coking coal sends a strong signal to the market that low-carbon steel production via direct hydrogen reduction of iron is “not favoured by government”, narrowing the UK’s options for climate action, said Lord Deben.

The former chief executive of British Steel Ron Deelan agreed: “This is a completely unnecessary step for the British steel industry, which is not waiting for more coal as there is enough on the free market available.

“The British steel industry needs green investment in electric arc furnaces and hydrogen, to protect jobs and make the UK competitive.”

The CPRE’s interim CEO Tom Fyans said the decision was “out of touch” with the needs of Cumbria, the country and the planet.

“This absurdly retrograde decision will shackle us to the past at the precise moment the steel industry is transitioning to an environmentally sustainable future,” he said.

“Instead of grasping the opportunity to lead the world in a clean and green industrial revolution, here we are clinging onto the dirty coal that powered and poisoned the Victorian era. This shameful decision beggars belief. It will degrade the countryside, pollute the atmosphere and makes a mockery of the government’s legally binding climate commitments.”

The decision risks a fresh Conservative split, with Tory MPs including senior former ministers Kwasi Kwarteng, Robert Buckland and Tobias Ellwood having already voiced their opposition.

But at least 31 MPs from the party’s Northern Research Group signed a letter last year demanding the mine go ahead, including local MPs Trudy Harrison, Mark Jenkinson, Simon Fell and John Stevenson.

NRG chair Jake Berry hailed the green light for Woodhouse as “good news for the North and for common sense”.

“We must decide policy on the facts and it’s clear here we have made the correct decision,” said Mr Berry, the MP for Rossendale and Darwen.


Chicken Little Propaganda Dressed As Science Permeates New Climate Report

The Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO have delivered their ­biennial dose of depression about the climate in their latest State of the Climate report.

The climate has warmed by 1.5C and there is barely a single benefit – it is all ­disaster.

It is often said, “if it is too good to be true, it probably is” and you are being conned. What about too bad to be true? Can a gently warming climate have no significant benefits at all?

The only marginally encouraging part of the report is about northern Australia. There might have been a slight reduction in cyclone numbers, and there has been a bit more rain in recent decades.

Apart from that, the report reads like the Book of Exodus – one disaster after another. Only the frogs and boils are missing.

But it is significant that the period when Egyptians were building pyramids, which was hotter than today’s climate, is often called the Holocene Climatic Optimum.

The word “optimum” was an indication that scientists working in the era before climate alarmism could see some advantage of a warmer climate.

A sure sign that the report tries too hard to find disaster is when it discusses coral bleaching and the Great Barrier Reef.

It stresses that there have been four bleaching events in the past six years, which it implies were devastating. But for some reason, the report fails to mention that this year the reef recorded its highest amount of coral since records began in 1985.

This proves that all the hype about coral loss from bleaching was greatly exaggerated. But the report writers were obviously ­untroubled by the contradictory evidence.

They ignored it.

And they also ignore the fact that corals grow about 15 percent faster for every degree temperature rise, and that almost all the corals on the reef also live in much warmer water near the equator.

We should expect better coral, and it should extend further south. That is not too bad, is it?

Why doesn’t the report mention that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere improves the water utilization efficiency of dryland plants, which occupy most of Australia, and that this has caused plants to thrive?

According to NASA satellites, there is a “greening” of Australia of at least 10 percent. Overall, the world has seen the area of green leaves expand by the equivalent of twice the area of the United States in just 35 years.

In a changing climate, there will be winners and losers, and it might be that the net effect is a major problem. But if the report writers will not even mention the good bits, how can we have any confidence in its findings?

The latest report should ring alarm bells – but not just about climate. Is this an excellent tool of propaganda, or is it a scientific statement?

We should all worry about whether groupthink has taken hold of the BOM and CSIRO.

We should worry when the BOM says it has recently adjusted all the temperature records, reducing the temperatures a century ago by up to a degree. Can we have any confidence they did this with good scientific reason?

And we should worry about the BOM’s claims that the fire seasons are now much worse than in 1950. Why is all the information on huge bushfires before 1950 ignored – like the devastating 1851 Victorian bushfire and the 1939 fires?

It is not like there is no data before 1950.

Did they ignore that data for a good reason? Is this similar to the US fire statistics, which are often reported by authorities as having a major increase in fire acreage burnt since the early 60s, but fail to mention that there was almost 10 times more acreage burnt in the “dust-bowl” period in the 1930s?

In the next decades, Australian governments plan to spend hundreds of billions attempting to prevent climate change. Before we do that, maybe we could spend a few million doing an audit of BOM and CSIRO reports.

Maybe we would find that adapting to a changing climate is by far the best way to proceed. We might even find that some of what we have been told is wrong.

Why will the conservative parties not commit to an audit? Who would argue against a bit of checking of the science, when the Great Barrier Reef statistics prove scientists got something badly wrong?

And the latest report is a sure sign that the BOM and CSIRO are drifting into political advocacy rather than science, observation, and objective prediction.


ESG superannuation funds are bad investments

This year Australian ESG superannuation funds lost over 10 per cent of their members’ wealth.

Business, where the profit motive is explicitly dominant and where the hundreds of millions of direct and indirect owners want to see it remain the crowned ruler, might be expected to reject spending that syphons off profits to political causes… And yet, nearly every firm funnels funding to politically acceptable causes, in the main involving those of a social and environmental nature.

Sometimes, pressured by governmental regulatory stances, like the soon-to-be mandatory reductions on the top Australian emitters, a growing number of firms also engage in expenditure that replace fossil fuel derived energy with more expensive wind and solar. Also important is the avoidance by superannuation fund managers of investments in firms deemed to be involved in globally harmful activities within the ‘Environment, Social and Governance’ (ESG) framework. Once targeted at avoiding gambling, tobacco, and alcohol, the hallmark of these causes is now environmentalism, particularly avoiding fossil fuel producers.

Stocks favoured by sentiment will see their values rise in relation to their underlying earnings. But can this persist indefinitely without it being matched by increased profits?

Canstar and Chant West are among the organisations that monitor superfunds’ performances. About half of the funds scrutinised adopt the contemporary ESG doctrine that involves seeking to exclude firms producing fossil fuels from within their portfolios.

For many years, firms following this approach could offer credible claims that they were also performing well in terms of their overall returns. This is no longer the case. The following table draws from the superannuation fund monitors to show the ten worst fund performers in 2022, alongside the funds’ average performances over the past five years and their ESG status.

The six funds having performed worst are all ESG oriented, avoiding investments in firms mining coal and other hydrocarbons. This year they lost over 10 per cent of their members’ wealth. Those ESG funds that previously had strong performances were heavily invested in tech and property stocks, which had experienced above average gains. Tech stocks have now seen falling prices; this may also be true of property but most property funds have extensive holdings of un-listed investments (Virgin Money is one property fund that exclusively invests in listed property and showed an 11 per cent fall in value this year). Added to this is another factor: the recent buoyancy of the coal, gas, and oil stocks that the boycotting of which leaves ESG funds disadvantaged compared to funds that are more purely focused on returns.

Most funds’ marketing material includes words that warn that past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance, while extolling their past success. Thus Unisuper, which has divested from coal stocks, still has on its site that it led the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) pack in terms of returns as at August 2021. But during 2022, Unisuper has lost 4.4 per cent of its members’ wealth. Similarly, with remarkable chutzpah, having this year lost 15 per cent of its members’ funds, Australian Ethical is running a TV promotional campaign featuring outlandish characters extolling the fund’s virtues, ‘Because I want my environment like I want my stocks – THRIVING!’

As a consumer protector, APRA has the power to force chronic under-performing funds to merge with a better-performing fund; four were forced to do so this year. However, now that the ESG funds have become demonstrably vulnerable to this sanction, industry bodies are calling for its dilution – even to prevent the under-performers being named, ‘If linked to deliberate strategies for climate change or other ESG issues.’ To buttress this protection of ESG under-performers, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors is seeking to intensify ESG reporting requirements, the objective of which is to ensure few stand-outs. ESG reporting is already mandatory in the UK, EU, New Zealand, and Canada.

The share of wind and solar in global electricity supply has risen from zero at the turn of the 21st century to 10 per cent today (22 per cent in Australia with policies aiming at over 80 per cent). These are intrinsically high cost and low reliability energy sources. But private sector subsidy-seekers and institutional support on the back of the confected climate scare together with government subsidies have underpinned their growth. How will this be affected by newly evident financial realities in a competitive market for superannuants’ savings, where the savers’ prime concern is the returns they receive?




Thursday, December 08, 2022

What poor nations need is wealth, not climate reparations

by Jeff Jacoby

THERE IS a lot to dislike about the climate reparations deal hammered out last month at the United Nation's climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Under presidents of both parties, the United States had for years firmly opposed the idea. Heading into the conference, US climate envoy John Kerry insisted that any deal "tied to compensation or liability [is] just not happening." But in the end, succumbing to pressure, delegates from the wealthy countries agreed to compensate developing nations for the costs of coping with storms, heat waves, and droughts worsened by climate change. The plan to create what the conference called a "loss and damage fund" was greeted by supporters as a "new dawn for climate justice." Cynics called it a "Sharm el-Shakedown."

Scientists say carbon dioxide emissions from the advanced industrial world may contribute to an increase in extreme weather events like the recent terrible flooding in Pakistan. But the notion that wealthy countries, by using fossil fuels, have made life worse or more dangerous for residents of poorer countries doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Through the burning of petroleum, coal, and natural gas to generate energy, the industrialized nations have improved the quality of human existence — not just within their own borders but everywhere — to a degree that would have been inconceivable in the 19th century. Of course the spread of carbon-based industry has generated costs, some quite serious — air pollution and mining accidents, for example. So did the gift of fire that Prometheus, in the ancient Greek legend, turned over to human beings. But just as the benefits of fire enormously outweigh its drawbacks, so do the benefits of fossil fuels.

Since the rise of the industrial revolution made possible by oil, coal, and gas, billions of people have been liberated from destitution. The energy derived from fossil fuels has been a feedstock for fertilizers that massively increased the world's food supply. It has facilitated the building of modern infrastructure — paved highways, modern hospitals, well-built homes and schools. In countless ways, it has made the lives of human beings today safer, healthier, and longer than ever before.

The gains from fossil fuels have been especially dramatic when it comes to protecting societies from natural disasters. Writing in Foreign Policy about the UN climate summit, Ted Nordhaus, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Patrick Brown of the Breakthrough Institute observe that people now are more than 90 percent less likely to die from floods, droughts, storms, or other extreme weather events than in the 1920s.

"Well into the 20th century, annual death tolls from climate-related natural disasters numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions were routine," the authors note. The death toll in the 1931 Yangtze-Huai River floods in China, to cite one horrific example, may have been as high as 4 million. Tropical cyclones in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh frequently left tens of thousands dead. Millions died in famines. Today, however, deaths in China from flooding number fewer than 500 each year, cyclone fatalities across the subcontinent are numbered in the hundreds, and China has not suffered a famine in decades.

What made those tremendous global gains possible was modern industrialization in the wealthy nations. That economic growth would have been impossible without extensive use of affordable fossil fuels. And it is the energy from those fuels, not reparations, that offer the best chance for the developing world to catch up to the wealthier nations.

Rising CO2 levels are not the greatest handicap faced by the world's most vulnerable countries. Poverty is. Poverty makes every problem worse, including those caused by climate change. The premise of the UN's new reparations fund is that it is up to the West to compensate poorer nations for damages due to climate change. At the same time, those nations are encouraged to shift away from using fossil fuels.

But that is exactly the wrong approach. What poor countries need above all is to climb out of poverty. They require more growth, more technology, more infrastructure — all of which require more access to the fossil fuels that remain, overwhelmingly, the source of the world's energy. The surest way to expand resilience to climate change is to first expand economic development. The United States today leads the world in reducing carbon emissions in large part because it earlier led the world in building an industrialized economy.

That is the pattern for the developing economies to emulate. First let them work on getting rich. Then they can work on getting to zero emissions.


Jane Fonda: climate change and the UN’s ‘racial sacrifice zones’

Actress Jane Fonda is trending on social media for the hilarious anti-science belief that racism and misogyny are causing climate change.

Today’s trend was sparked by a video on MSNBC in which Jane Fonda said: ‘If there was no racism, there’d be no climate crisis. If there was no misogyny, there’d be no climate crisis. It’s part of a mindset.’

At which point she holds her fingers against her head, pointing at her mind. ‘It’s the mindset that looks at a woman and says, “Nice tits!”’

As Tucker Carlson says on Fox News following the video: ‘In other words… “My ex-husbands caused climate change!” In addition to everything else, it’s all about her.’

We shouldn’t be surprised.

These are not original scripts penned by Fonda, they are lines recited from the United Nations who have put out headlines like: The global climate crisis is a racial justice crisis: UN expert in which the article says:

There can be no meaningful solution to the global climate and ecological crisis without addressing systemic racism, and particularly the historic and contemporary racial legacies of colonialism and slavery, a UN human rights expert warned.

“Climate justice seeks historical accountability from nations and entities responsible for climate change and calls for a radical transformation of the contemporary systems that shape the relationship between humans and the rest of the planet. The status quo is that global and national systems distribute the suffering associated with the global ecological crisis on a racially discriminatory basis,” said Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in her report to the General Assembly.

Which is obvious nonsense. Where’s the justice for victims of third-world perpetrated slavery and human rights violations going back before the dawn of the West? Where’s the global justice for Asian, African, and South American nations which rank as the world’s worst climate polluters? Their actions aren’t a result of ‘colonialism’ – they were made by governments in full control of their actions looking for a moral escape for their ‘climate crimes’ that doesn’t involve personal responsibility.

It’s worth reading just how depraved the thinking at the United Nations is, because this is what our Prime Ministers and Presidents are nodding along to on their five-star private jet climate conferences.

The UN expert said that “global ‘sacrifice zones’ – regions rendered dangerous and even uninhabitable due to environmental degradation – are in effect, ‘racial and ethnic sacrifice zones’.” It is the peoples and territories who have been subject to the worst forms of historical and contemporary racial and ethnic subordination that are the primary inhabitants of these sacrifice zones. These are the same peoples most affected by climate-induced migration, and who are confronting, in the case of Small Island Developing States, impending disappearance of their entire territories.

‘Global sacrifice zones’ – tell me again this isn’t a death cult. The UN expert describes sacrifice zones in the report more formally as:

“Sacrifice zones,” as illustrated in this report, are more accurately described as “racial sacrifice zones.” Racial sacrifice zones include the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples, territories of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), racially segregated neighborhoods in the Global North, and occupied territories facing drought and environmental devastation. The primary beneficiaries of these racial sacrifice zones are transnational corporations that funnel wealth, towards the Global North, and privileged national and local elites globally.

Can you imagine Anthony Albanese or Peter Dutton standing up before the people and admitting that they follow the UN science and now believe in sacrifice zones? Who knows, maybe that is on the agenda for 2023. We might see supporters of the Voice (aka those who want to enshrine racial supremacy into Parliament) classifying Australia as a racial sacrifice zone in order to extract reparations, as the UN report recommends.

The Tendayi Achiume UN report lists the ‘racist colonial foundations of the ecological crisis, transnational environmental racism, and climate injustice’. If Achiume had looked further, far from ‘race’ being the cause of poverty and poor land management, what these governments have in common is collectivism – be they socialist, Marxist, or communist. And if they’re not collectivist governments destroying the prosperity of the third world – the remainder are made up of hyper-religious Islamic military despotic tyrannies. There is definitely a common link to poverty and pollution, but it’s not race – it’s despotism.

Celebrities in the West are affluent and vacuous enough to buy into this UN emotional blackmail, which forms the perfect marriage between the two great religions of the West: Woke and Climate Catastrophe.

One is revamping of last century’s ‘feel good’ racial supremacy which the media and celebrity class embraced (only this time, instead of white supremacy we have black supremacy duct-taped to a modern ‘white saviour complex’). The other is a death cult that uses fear of an existential crisis (although the ‘experts’ can’t decided if the world is going to end in a flood, ice age, or with a Biblical fire and brimstone affair) and then offers salvation to the guilty so long as they advocate for policies that make life miserable for the poor.

Given the saturation of the West with these twin idiocies, it was only a matter of time before they were short-handed by celebrities looking to resurrect their careers with a bit of cheap social virtue.

On December 6, Fonda shared a video of herself ‘rocking the climate boat’ by standing in front of various Greenpeace paraphernalia in an outfit that’s probably worth more than the average third-world mother makes in their lifetime. It’s part of Jane Fonda’s three years of Fire Drill Fridays in which she demands Joe Biden lean heavily into the rhetoric of climate emergency.

‘Organising does not stop after an election, does it? We must hold the folks we got into office accountable to us, not to oil companies, because the fossil fuel industry does not stop, so we can never stop.

‘Time is running out. Scientists are telling us we are in our last decade of action. What we do or fail to do in the next 8-10 years to cut our fossil fuel emissions in half will determine how much of a livable future we have.’

Obviously, no one has told Jane Fonda that over 95 per cent of the medical and pharmaceutical industry is directly reliant on fossil fuels via petroleum products and if she gets her wish to ‘end oil and gas’ she’ll effectively ‘end modern medicine’.

Or perhaps she missed the memo that the renewable energy industry is built on the bones of coal, where hundreds of tonnes of coal is used to build wind farms, in addition to the largest mining boom in modern history – which includes tearing the ocean floor apart in pursuit of rare earths for batteries and solar panels.

This sort of celebrity lop-sided science is rotten to its core, fashioned out of a few activist hashtags and propped up by people who have money to burn in exchange for the last fleeting look at the camera before irrelevancy sinks in. Meanwhile, third-world regimes are cashing in on climate money, pretending to wallow on the edge of ‘apocalypse’ while quietly lining their Swiss bank accounts with gold.

Jane Fonda is right about one thing, time is running out for the third-world – but only because of the United Nations Sustainability Goals which demand an end to modern agriculture, forcing nations to massacre their farming sectors, swiftly creating an artificial global famine.

No doubt, the United Nation will blame this in-house famine on ‘climate change’ and demand more money to fix it.

‘They chose pollution of their children. They chose profits over our future,’ screeched Fonda, whose politics will ensure that tomorrow’s children are fed a steady diet of cockroaches and lab-printed meat.

But if you were hoping for citizens to judge Fonda’s words on merit, rather than celebrity nostalgia – you’d be wrong. Veterans are prepared to go along with Fonda, regardless of the obvious failings in her logic, because they enjoyed her political views in the 70s.

Fonda, who keeps getting arrested and warned over disruptive climate protests, appears to relish the attention. And that is the problem. Climate activism has become a performance, frequented by actors and social media influencers who’d rather stick themselves to things or throw soup over artwork than go out and spend a few months planting trees on a farm.


Texas Takes Action to Expose ESG-Pushing Asset Managers

Republican legislators in Texas are taking action to get to the bottom of the world's largest asset management firms' work to advance ESG — environmental, social and governance — policies to the detriment of their customers and the larger economy.

The latest development in the right's fight against woke policies being forced via firms like BlackRock and Vangaurd comes from Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes, who is now issuing subpoenas for information the firms have withheld in previous disclosures and announced a hearing to require an explanation from representatives from the firms trying to enact their will by circumventing the will of Americans.

"In August, the Senate Committee on State Affairs asked four financial firms, BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, The Vanguard Group and Institutional Shareholder Services, to produce specific documents related to their ESG practices," Hughes explained this week. "The Committee needs these documents to uncover the extent to which these firms have been playing politics using Texans’ hard earned money," he added.

"Next week we will hold a hearing where each firm will appear and give account to the people of Texas," Hughes continued. "While each firm has produced documents, some have provided more than others. BlackRock in particular has refused to provide documents it considers internal or confidential," he noted. "Accordingly, we have issued a subpoena to BlackRock for the production of additional documents the committee needs to complete its work. We will not allow these firms to continue to use Texans’ money to force a narrow political agenda," Hughes pledged. "They have a legal duty to put their investors’ interests first, and we intend to make sure they do."

The push for accountability from Texas legislators comes as BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, and other ESG-advancing asset managers come under increased scrutiny and face divestments ordered by state financial officers in Missouri, Louisiana, Florida, and other places.

"We are witnessing a reckoning for these asset management firms that have until recently thought they could take hardworking Americans’ money and use it to drive their progressive agenda, and in some cases send those dollars to the Chinese Communist Party, with no consequence for their malfeasance," observed Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers' Research. "Now you can’t turn on the TV or read the news without BlackRock claiming to be a good steward of the assets they’re mismanaging via their ESG charade," he noted. Indeed, BlackRock especially has been running aggressive TV advertisements across cable news channels including Fox News.

"It is clear they’re on the ropes, and it’s leaders like Sen. Hughes that are going to make all the difference by doing what’s right for the American people and standing up to megalomaniacs like Larry Fink," Hild added. "This action from Texas will uncover much of what these firms have tried to hide – their agenda is driven by politics, not profits."


Solar panels are eating up huge Expanses of Farm Land

Wedged in the southern flank of Virginia, Charlotte County is home to some 11,500 people who live amidst rolling hills and family farms, pastures and sawmills, a historic Civil War battlefield, and four townlets tinier than many suburban subdivisions.

But this pastoral tableau will be swept up in the green revolution when construction begins here on the nation’s largest solar power facility east of the Mississippi River. The planned 800-megawatt Randolph Solar Project in Charlotte County will replace a commercial lumber farm of loblolly pines with 1.6 million photovoltaic panels covering an area equivalent to seven square miles.

State and federal officials see in solar energy the potential to counteract global warming with an infinite natural resource. With the 2020 passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the Old Dominion is among a growing number of states committed to “decarbonizing” its power grid by replacing natural-gas and coal-fired power plants with solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage.

Federal policy is about to inject a massive funding to incentivize similar transitions nationwide. The New York Times characterized this year’s omnibus Inflation Reduction Act as the “the largest package of subsidies ever granted to the industry” – a $220 billion package of tax breaks, subsidies, and other incentives for the electric utility sector to invest in solar power, battery storage systems, and other carbon-free technologies.

The momentum behind solar energy could make sunshine the nation’s dominant source of electricity, supplying up to 45% of the nation’s electricity by mid-century, from a meager 2.8% of U.S. electricity generation now, according to a Department of Energy forecast.

But converting to solar has ancillary costs that will become more apparent as time passes. Solar energy facilities require vast stretches of land, converting farms and fields into geometric rows of indigo panels. The South Atlantic region has led the country in newly installed solar generating capacity for the past three years, according to a study from Virginia Commonwealth University, but little information is available on how these facilities are altering the landscape.

And the rapid buildout exposes a moral paradox for the climate change movement: Although done in the name of fighting global warming, some amount of deforestation will be the inevitable result of clearing land for ground-mounted solar panels. Environmental groups say they hope to steer solar farms to disturbed land and rooftops, but those options are often expensive and impractical.

“We’re going to change the character and characteristic of rural Virginia if this goes unchecked,” warned Martha Moore, senior vice president of governmental relations at the Virginia Farm Bureau. “My main concern is the long-term viability of the agriculture and forestry industry in the state of Virginia.”

Moore pointedly avoids using the euphemism solar “farm” when referring to a solar energy facility. She is concerned that replacing agriculture with sprawling solar projects will not only take out valuable land from production but also undercut local farming by reducing business for local sawmills, livestock markets, and farmers’ cooperatives.

This year the American Farmland Trust said that expanding solar power could gobble up as much as 3,900 square miles nationwide, and predicted that many Eastern states could lose between 1.5% and 6% of their undeveloped land to solar facilities – mostly on farmland that’s flat, cleared, and near to existing transmission infrastructure. A Princeton University study this year forecast that achieving a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050 could directly impact a cumulative land area the size of Virginia, with forested lands the most directly impacted by solar deployment in Eastern states.

The environmental groups that have launched waves of lawsuits and press releases to fight oil and gas pipelines, natural gas fracking activity, and power plant ozone violations have largely been absent on this issue.

Instead, solar land conversions have triggered local resistance and lawsuits in Charlotte County and other communities in an attempt to stall or block the projects. Local governments in nearly every state have enacted restrictions, moratoriums, or bans on renewable energy facilities, according to a 2021 study by Columbia University Law School. A study this year on opposition to renewable energy said the most common concern is environmental impacts, including harm to wildlife. As an example, the researchers cited the denial of a state permit to a proposed solar farm in Maryland that would have required clearing trees in an area over 200 acres, or 1/3 square mile.

Virginia will likely require 200 to 250 square miles of land for solar development, based on projections by the state’s two utilities, to add more than 16,000 megawatts of solar power. While that’s not a huge amount of real estate for a state of nearly 43,000 square miles, solar development is often clustered in areas where land is available and farmers are eager to trade up from harvesting soybeans to sunbeams.

Sunny Money
John “J.A.” Devin, whose family holdings and relatives will lease land for the Randolph Solar Project, said he could lease for $35 to $40 per acre to a farmer growing soybeans, or as much as $100 per acre to a farmer growing corn. Instead, the Devins are opting to go with solar developers who pay landowners between $800 and $1,000 per acre, with a 2% annual escalator.

“You can’t argue with economics – it’s just so much more money,” Devin said. “I told my brother: We’ll put solar panels on this land, and we’ll take that money and turn around and buy some more land. We’ll take advantage of this solar while we can.”




Wednesday, December 07, 2022

‘Reparations’: The Latest Ploy in the Climate Change Hustle
This is all about money. Hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of government handouts


I’ve made the case in previous columns that the climate change movement is mostly a climate change hustle. Let’s be real. None of this is about changing the temperature of the Earth. Even the most naive environmental activist can’t really believe that building windmills and driving Teslas is going to cool the planet. This is all about money. Hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of government handouts.

That was never more blatantly transparent than at this year’s sham COP 27 climate conference in Egypt, which was attended by more than 20,000 delegates and activists from more than 100 countries. The only agreement that the delegates could reach was a hollow “commitment” from the rich Western nations — by that they mean the United States — to give “reparation” money to the poor nations of the world.

If you’ve never heard of this loony concept before, the theory is that America owes the rest of the world money for burning fossil fuels over the last hundred or so years.

Huh? These were the fossil fuels that provided America with the energy to save humanity from fascism and communism during World War I, World War II and the Cold War.

These energy sources are what have powered the industrial age, bringing light, heat and air conditioning. And they have powered our infrastructure, factories, an abundant food supply and a technology revolution. Add to that our drugs and vaccines, which have saved many hundreds of millions of lives globally.

It was the fossil fuel energy revolution of the last century that supplied America with the wealth and financial resources to provide some half a trillion dollars of disaster and foreign aid to seemingly every area of the rest of the world. And now, President Biden’s dunces are agreeing with foreigners that we owe them money? America should be getting reparation payments. Not the other way around.

Oh, and did I mention that China and India skipped out on the conference this year? These are by far the two largest polluting nations, and they want no part of this global handshake “agreement.” This would be like celebrating that we have reached a peace agreement during World War II, except the bad news is that Germany and Japan aren’t on board.

The sliver of good news here is that Republicans are about to run the House of Representatives, and one of their first policy declarations will be to declare we are not sending a penny of climate foreign aid to other nations when we have mammoth problems here to solve at home.

It’s almost sinister that at a time when many third-world countries lack basic health care, adequate food production, clean water, affordable/reliable electric power and basic schooling for the young (especially girls), the European and American delegation is giving sermons on the dangers of climate change.

With a fraction of the money the climate fanatics want to spend on green energy, the world could save millions of lives simply by ensuring the poor have access to clean drinking water and save millions of lives over the decades to come.

What all of this means is that America is under no moral or legal obligation to pay reparations to any nation. The United States is running a $1.2 trillion budget deficit, so there is no extra money in the bank vaults to spend right now on foreign aid. Perhaps when we’ve balanced the budget and we have surpluses. That would be around the third Wednesday of never.


Green Energy Cabal Blind To Africa’s Medical Horror Show

Those discouraging the use of ‘fossil fuels’ in Africa in favor of wind and solar have played a direct role in high morbidity and mortality rates on the continent.

Homes without electricity for lights and refrigerators, businesses without sufficient power to improve productivity, and millions languishing in abject poverty — all due to a lack of energy that otherwise would be available from the much-demonized fuels of coal, oil and natural gas.

Approximately half of Africans cannot get electricity when they want it. Only 14.3 percent of people in the Central African Republic have access to electricity.

The combined production of power of 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa equals the production of a single western economy like Spain.

The most devastating effect of this energy poverty is felt in health care centers, 60 percent of which in sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity. According to the United States Agency for International Development, 100,000 public health facilities in the region have no access to reliable electricity.

“In 2012, 150 babies on oxygen concentrators at a hospital in Jinja died after utility company UMEME Uganda Limited turned off the electricity with no prior notice. In 2015, Kiboga District Hospital was without power for over a month,” reports an article from the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development in Uganda.

“Doctors said they were unable to provide even basic first aid such as sutures because they could not sterilize tools,” the article continues. “Vaccines and blood went bad because of the lack of refrigeration. Laboratories could not perform diagnostic services without power. The maternity wing was in complete darkness, and Cesarean sections could not be performed. Mothers died on their way to the capital Kampala or private clinics to access emergency obstetric care.”

This situation is not unique to the sub-Sahara. Even the advanced economy of South Africa has faced regular power blackouts and load shedding due to mismanagement by the state utility ESKOM, whose policies are now influenced by the climate movement’s hostility to ‘fossil fuels’.

In South Africa, most of the 420 hospitals and 3,000 clinics – all state-run – do not have reliable backup generators.

The chairman of the South African Medical Association said, “(T)here is a huge possibility that vulnerable people going into (an operating room), having a child at a hospital or in ICU could face serious complications because of load shedding.”

One hospital in July put all surgeries on hold because of an unstable supply of electricity.

Doctors are using lights from their phones to perform surgeries and procedures in case of emergencies.

“In cases where there is a power outage, they will do their level best if they are in the middle of a procedure so that a patient can survive, especially when it is obvious that the patient’s life can be compromised if they don’t intervene and electricity won’t come back,” says Sibongiseni Delihlazo, spokesperson for the Democratic Nursing Organization of SA.

But why rely on backup when the state electricity utility ESKOM can utilize coal? Because ESKOM has committed to abandon coal in the name of ‘climate change’.

Africa’s crisis cannot be addressed without affordable and reliable energy. “Nearly $20 billion are required for universal electrification across Sub-Saharan Africa, with about $10 billion annually needed for West and Central Africa,” says Riccardo Puliti, World Bank vice president for infrastructure.

The problem is that new investments are being directed to expensive and unreliable wind and solar projects when coal is the obvious solution to Africa’s energy poverty.

The African Development Bank has stopped new fundings for coal projects. So have dozens of other aid agencies based in Europe and North America.

Africans need electricity now. Not someday in the future, after their chance to survive a hospital surgery is denied by a policy maker enamored with fanciful visions of a ‘carbon-free’ world.


U.N. Can’t Quit The Climate Apocalypse

Michael Shellenberger

Last summer, scientists announced that they had discovered more coral on the Great Barrier Reef than at any other point in the 36 years since they started measuring it.

It was an awkward moment for those who had been prematurely proclaiming the Reef’s death for over three decades.

Well, the apocalyptic powers-that-be weren’t having it.

Yesterday, a United Nations report announced that science schmience, the Reef was “in danger” and had to be protected from… the Australians.

“The mission team concludes that the property is faced with major threats that could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics, and therefore meets the criteria for inscription on the list of World Heritage in danger,” said the U.N. report authors.

Declaring the Reef a “World Heritage in danger” is viewed by many Australians as a pretext for the U.N. to demand control over it.

Naturally, they objected to the U.N. designation.
“Yes, climate change is a risk to ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef,” said its environment minister, “but that means it’s a risk to every reef globally. There is no need to single the Great Barrier Reef out in this way.”

The U.N. is quickly turning into a Bond movie villain. It spreads misinformation about climate change.

It is trying to get rich nations to pay poor nations not to develop.

And it is trying to rapidly slash the use of nitrogen fertilizer around the world.

It’s enough to make one wonder what beneficial purpose the organization, beyond the Security Council, actually serves.


Australia: National cabinet walking a tightrope on energy policy

This week’s national cabinet meeting is one of the most dangerous gatherings of national leaders in recent times. Inexperienced in energy complexities, politicians and public servants could easily plunge the east coast of the nation into chaos, especially as the industrial relations legislation has destroyed business trust in the Albanese government. The first energy plan that was proposed, a price cap, may be rejected on the grounds of state opposition. But those state objections were almost irrelevant: the “cap” was a recipe for chaos.

Now a tax is being proposed on energy producers, where the ­revenue will somehow be diverted to help industrial and domestic consumers. That proposal has less risk and some advantages but again has the potential to create chaos. To help readers understand the dangers facing the nation I will first detail what is likely to happen if there is a price cap and then look at some of the potential repercussions of a tax.

I strongly urge all the ministers and public servants in the national cabinet to study the research work of Commonwealth Bank energy economist Vivek Dhar, which I have found invaluable.

Each east coast state is different. We start with NSW. Purely on the basis of cash production costs, and ignoring their enormous capital costs, renewables are the cheapest form of energy. Accordingly, in a price cap regime, as the lowest cash cost source of electricity, renewables will take the first slab of demand – assuming the wind is blowing and the sun is shining.

On the basis of a proposed cap of between $11 and $13 a gigajoule, the next lowest cost level is gas-fired power stations. Unless there is some form of complex quota, gas power stations will therefore run flat out as a baseload operation, creating gas shortages.

Then comes black coal generators which, because of the gas price cap, suddenly become the highest cost power provider. But black coal power generation needs constant output and is extremely expensive and dangerous if it is forced to be the swing producer. It is a recipe for chaos in the generation of power in NSW. Queensland will be affected in a similar way but not as severely. Then comes poor old Victoria and its infamous energy policy, partly based on preserving ALP inner city lower house seats.

Victoria is more dependent on gas than any other east coast state, and the energy regulator says that Bass Strait will go into steep decline in about three years. Woodside and Exxon are prepared to spend large sums trying to extend the output for a few more years.

The WA-based Woodside has been blunt: if there is a low price cap that money will not be spent. Victoria can swing.

Victorian government politicians scoff and demand that gas should be piped down from Queensland and NSW at the low cap price. It’s nonsense, of course. Even if such a supply is legislated, the pipe network was designed to send gas north, not south and although changes can be made to improve the “south delivery”, there will be a massive shortfall for Victoria – especially as NSW and Queensland power stations will be absorbing as much gas as possible.

Daniel Andrews’ decision not to develop Victoria’s large onshore gas fields which don’t require fracking has worked: there was no green decimation of ALP inner-city seats in the recent election.

Without the Woodside/Exxon “rescue” expenditure, Victoria has the choice of developing its onshore gas or suffering huge shortfalls in about three years’ time, when the next election is due. The inner-city green seat issue remains. Victorians voted against gas development, so can’t complain if they are hit hard by the repercussions of any price cap.

The alternative of a profits tax creates even greater complexity.

Any extra profits-tax calculation somehow or other must adjust for different cost structures in different areas. It is highly likely to put out of business the wrong energy producers. And again, almost certainly, Woodside will tell the government to jump into Bass Strait if taxes are boosted.

And then comes the issue of who in the community receives the “subsidy” benefit funded by the tax. Small business is probably the most likely to benefit, but the industrial legislation has an employment definition that is problematic and will not stop carnage. It is possible the distribution of the tax will be based on a green agenda. There may be a delay between revenue collection and money distribution, which will hit both enterprises and consumers.

There is no way anyone will be happy. To try and sort out this mess we must start with the basics.

If the politicians and public servants in Canberra are prepared to do their homework between now and the cabinet meeting, they will discover that the ideal way to operate a non-nuclear power system like Australia is to have renewables and coal providing the base power loads. Gas and hydro cater for demand swings. Over time the coal runs down, replaced by extra renewables, including hydro.

And in time gas will be reduced by batteries, extra hydro and other means. Carbon-based power generators can be encouraged to engage in regeneration agriculture and growing saltbush and other plants whose root systems store carbon in the soil.

Of course, even better, maybe we boost power supplies via smaller nuclear power units — but that is hard for politicians to endorse. Nevertheless, their back is to the wall and nuclear technology is improving. The old waste problems are rapidly diminishing.

But again, there is no trust because of industrial relations. So where there is lack of trust combined with inexperience there is grave danger of a total mess.




Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Can the Green/Leftists recognize the difference between fact and falsehood?

I was inspired to write the question above by a recent edition of the once-scientific "Scientific American". It long ago became a Leftist organ, with an interest only in the bits of science that Leftists like. Behold below the cover of the October "Special" edition:

image from

It amused me that a Leftist organ had set itself up as an artbiter of truth. Leftists often seem to have no regard for the truth at all. Elon Musk has recently shown that the old Twitter management were energetic suppressors of the truth about Biden Jr's laptop, for instance.

And when cornered in an argument, Leftists often try to get out of jail free by saying "There is no such thing as right and wrong". And I think they do believe that. Calling somthing true has propaganda value for them but they don't really care if it is truth or not. There are certainly some philosophical difficulties with truth claims but denying the possibility of truth is denying the possibility of discourse, which is a dead-end if ever there was one.

Anyway, I decided to have a look at what the lavishly produced and illustrated "Special" edition had to say. I have a hard copy of it. Leftists avoid hearing conservative arguments like the plague but some of us have no fear of what both sides of an argument may have to reveal.

So I turned to the section about climate, a Left/Right touchstone if ever there was one. Getting the story right there would be very central to establishing the truth in current politics.

One reason why I turned to that section is that the statistics about climate are widely available and well agreed on among those who talk about the "science" of climate change. The statistics are there. It is only the construction you put on them that varies

In the hard copy of the magazine, the relevant section is headed: "Climate Miseducation". On reading such a heading, one would have thought that the first step would be to look at the climate statistics. Surely the debate cannot proceed until we do that.

But there is nothing like that in the article. The article is just a typical Leftist rave about evil oil compnies and such bugaboos. Oil companies are often very profitable so there is no way they can be anything but evil in Leftist eyes. So, far from looking for the truth, the article was just a whine

No mention that for 30 years between 1945 and 1975 atmospheric CO2 levels shot up but there was NO corresponding rise in global average temperature -- a 30 year period when the global temperature did not do what it should have. The industrial buildup of the immediate WWII postwar period was what was supposed to usher in global warming. Except that it didn't. A huge and very adverse truth about global warming was not even considered.

I read no more in the magazine. I binned it. I am too interested in truth to waste time reading drivel.


The nitrogen craze

The fact that we swim at the bottom of a sea of nitrogen seems to be overlooked somehow

The Dutch Minister for Nitrogen, Christianne van der Wal, announced that 3,000 farms will be forced to sell their properties to the government for immediate closure after ‘voluntary’ measures failed.

Christianne van der Wal, who incidentally is a member of the Freedom and Democracy party, does not understand that if a person is offered two choices that both end with the government snatching their farm – there’s nothing ‘voluntary’ about the outcome.

Chairman Mao did a similar thing in China during his ‘Great Leap Forward’ and it ended with citizens eating their children. His regime forced collectivised farming across China, promising that it was ‘fairer’ and more ‘community-minded’ than all that self-interested private agriculture.

Learning nothing from the deaths of 45 million Chinese, the Dutch Minister for Nitrogen moved closer to the limelight and allure of giddy, climate-worshipping reporters.

‘For agricultural entrepreneurs, there will be a stopping scheme that will be as attractive as possible.’

This is the villainous conclusion to the Dutch Net Zero scandal that forms part of an approaching global food shortage manufactured entirely by the United Nations and its unsustainable ‘sustainability goals’. Other victims include Net Zero poster child Sri Lanka which collapsed earlier this year and was all-but erased from the Climate Cult hive mind.

In addition to the Dutch government demanding 30 per cent of livestock in the Netherlands to be (literally – not figuratively) burned at the stake of Net Zero, Christianne van der Wal went on to offer ‘peak polluters’ a future involving a torture chamber of tailor-made permits and taxes.

These ‘peak polluters’ are better known as essential manufacturers and suppliers. They include Tata Steel, which announced that it would ‘become a world leader in decarbonization for the third time’ and intends to switch to hydrogen steel production, even though the industry is not expected to become competitive until 2035-50 (maybe) and requires huge amounts of power (which Europe no longer has).

Let’s be fair, ‘green hydrogen’ production, storage, and use is an energy black hole. Fellow battered company Ford has agreed to buy ‘green steel’ from Tata – assuming it manages to make any – for its cars that no one will be able to afford because of ‘15-20 minute cities’ like Oxford which want to trap people in tiny car-free bubbles.

None of these green-agreements with the government saved Tata Steel from a criminal investigation held by Dutch prosecutors into alleged pollution from two of their plants. According to AP News, ‘Prosecutors said that their investigation was into alleged “intentional and unlawful introduction of hazardous substances into the soil, air, or surface water”.’

The problem is not nitrogen or carbon dioxide – but an actual pollutant, lead. Creating steel causes vast quantities of emissions. There’s no irony in steel plants working overtime to create ‘Net Zero’ technology, polluting small villages so that rich celebrities can fly over North Sea wind farms and marvel at the ‘clean’ technology.

Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant in Wales, for example, created hundreds of tonnes of steel to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the Dogger Bank Wind Farm. ‘Huge amounts of steel will be needed to help the UK achieve its Net Zero goals – to build everything from renewable energy and low-CO2 transportation to hydrogen production and distribution.’ Virtuous climate warrior Tata owns coal mines in Jharia and West Bokaro but also managed to buy 75,000 tonnes of Russian coal during the Ukraine-Russia conflict and has large holdings in North America and Australia.

Over a decade ago, Tata purchased a 5 per cent interest in the Queensland Carborough Downs Coal Project for a 14-year initiative involving 58 million tonnes of coal with options to delve into the 100 million tonnes of unexplored coal sitting in deeper seams. Tata now says it is ‘willing to underwrite coal developments in Queensland to spark a resurgence in investment and development it needs for its booming steel industry’.

Tata is frustrated by the Labor government in Queensland demonising coal which has led to a severe lack of investment. Tata managing director TV Narendran said that this soft environment of investment stems from the conflation of thermal coal and coking coal. This is not surprising given the rhetoric of the Left dumbing it down to ‘coal’. Coking coal remains the only industrially viable way to make steel for pesky things like wind turbines, but you won’t hear a Labor premier say they ‘heart’ coal.

‘One thing I hear from industry is that there is a bit of concern about the increase in royalties, which obviously has come up and that it will eat into profits and hence investments. The second concern is the questioning of the future of coal and not distinguishing between thermal coal and coking coal. Given coal is such an important part of the economy in Queensland I think there is an opportunity for industry and government to work together.’

Narendran’s comments don’t bode well for Queensland.

‘We are not looking at investments in Australia, but we are happy to underwrite capacity.’ He added, ‘The company [Tata] bought about $4 billion a year in coal from Australia and there was an expectation that it would double over the next decade. I think it’s not about anything specific that the government has said … if Australia was not seen as a stable reliable supplier, then Indian suppliers would be forced to go to places like Russia.’

Mate, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Didn’t you see the Labor, Greens, and Teals’ election messages? Queensland is completely abandoning coal and instead spending billions on wind farms which require – oh… Coal.

Today’s politicians are some of the most ‘pro-coal’ in decades, the difference is that they hide their love of coal beneath words like ‘wind turbines’ and ‘renewable’ while presiding over the largest mining boom in a century. They’d also rather the coal come from the third-world where no one can see it being mined. Guilt-free ‘out of sight, out of mind’ bird mincing machines delivered in time for the next election…

While there is a lot of money running around in the ‘green’ industry, somehow these places are still crying poor with their paws out for public money. For example, despite the Netherlands Tata site being instrumental in providing steel to high-demand ‘renewables’ projects, Tata steel ‘threatened to shut down the operation unless it received a 1.5 billion pound subsidy to build two electric arc furnaces’.

‘Green steel’ is many things – economically ‘sustainable’ is not one of them.

It is not only the world’s energy sectors that are stuck in an idiocy feedback loop. The same government order in the Netherlands Parliament that threatened to kill steel production has also made thousands of private farms ‘illegal’ overnight.

The Dutch people are living through a nightmare pseudo ‘nitrogen futures trading scheme’ where farms are killed to allow the government to build ‘900,000 desperately needed homes with wind farms’ without exceeding EU-mandated nitrogen emissions.

Who is going to feed all these people?

That’s a problem for tomorrow. As for closing farms to improve ‘biodiversity’ – how’s that biodiversity look in the middle of the 900,000 new homes? Or is that mostly concrete and steel…? Imagine being a farmer, dragged from green fields and told that the grey, lifeless city is the climate virtuoso.

Our children have been taught by publicly-funded teachers that the farms that feed them are ‘evil’ and the city is ‘sustainable’ – that giving up meat in exchange for bugs and lab-printed food is ‘healthy’ – and that cows are a bigger threat than billionaires counting their money on private islands that (somehow) haven’t been inundated by the same water that Pacific Islands use to blackmail Australian taxpayers.

Ralph Schoellhammer, Webster University assistant professor, spoke to Spectator Australia editor Rowan Dean on Outsiders about the convulsions of madness running through Western governments.

‘The Dutch are doing to their agricultural sector what the Germans did to their energy sector – and we all saw the consequences there. We get the promises that ‘Oh, this is not going to be a problem… we can move to alternative modes of production!’ and in the end they never work,’ he said.

‘In Germany, it is even more insane. They want 30 per cent of their agriculture to go organic, which means that they would turn from a net exporter of agriculture to a net importer of agriculture. During times of global food insecurity, it is complete insanity.

‘The Dutch are doing the same thing. These 3,000 farms are just the beginning – and the Dutch government is saying this.
‘It has to be stressed for your viewers that Nitrogen is a crucial ingredient for synthetic fertiliser and without synthetic fertiliser we could not feed the world. About four billion people simply would have no access to food.

‘This is a war, in many ways I would argue, against humanism – against humanity.

‘The dominant ideology – I am tempted to call it the cult-ish ideology – tells us that if you don’t change now, the world is going to end in ten years. Which, of course, it’s not.
‘This is part of a larger story.

‘Remember Sri Lanka… If you go back two years, everybody was cheering them on. “Ah, Sri Lanka! They show the way forward! Sri Lanka knows how to do it! They proved to the world that in fact, you don’t need fertiliser. You don’t need any kind of synthetic materials to feed your population!” And then it all broke down in a very short order. Because you cannot feed your people. Modern agriculture is an absolute necessity given the population numbers that we have.

‘I think this is overall a larger part of a kind of auto-immune disease that the West is afflicted by where we turn against everything that made our civilisation powerful.’

This is not the first time that socialism, in one form or another, has been described as a disease that attacks weak minds – and our civilisation has certainly grown physically and intellectually lazy after generations of easy-living.

When asked if Climate Change and Net Zero are a breed of Marxism – a common accusation – he replies:

‘For me, it’s less Marxism then it is a kind of secular coming of a new form of reformation. If you listen to how they talk. It’s about, you know, “society needs to be cleansed”. We need to change our ways of life. This sounds more like the Puritans would argue than the Marxists

‘It’s about “we need to eat less meat” and “we need to take fewer showers”. It’s all about society needing a baptism of fire to cleanse ourselves from the sins of the past. It’s a quasi-religious movement.’

Rowan Dean adds, ‘It’s also fascism if you ask me. Fascism is the marriage of authoritarian governments and big business.’

It could be both… Eco-fascism with a state religion.

A generation lacking morality and told to feel guilty about everything – including the colour of their skin – has found salvation in Climate Puritanism. It is the misguided belief that they are saving the world by turning celebrities, politicians, and bureaucrats into a pantheon of gods to which they offer grand sacrifices – such as liberty and prosperity – to appease ‘the greater good’. They want to pass through the needle of social media approval and enter the Utopia of #ClimateJustice where everything is free.

They fail to realise that Climate Change is a death cult, ruled by demons and attended by corruption – of the Earth, of our wallets, and of our civilisation’s future. After all, what ideology could be more evil than a one that denies the basic human rights of the individual and seeks power through ruin?


European grid operators are sounding the alarm over coal supplies in Germany and Poland

Poland faces greater risks toward the end of the season, European grid group Entsoe said in its winter outlook published on Thursday, suggesting that coal stocks there should be carefully assessed throughout the winter and not overused.

Germany has also been burning more coal for electricity lately -- due to low wind generation -- and the country will need to depend on coal even more after April, when it will completely turn off its nuclear plants. Even before that point, nuclear capacity will decline as fuel elements become exhausted during extended operation, Entsoe said.

Europe’s fragile energy systems are seeing their first winter test as colder weather kicks in. Leaders have been urging consumers to conserve energy in an effort to get through the season, and for now gas stockpiles are still close to full, despite a few weeks of net outflows. Entsoe hadn’t identified the risk to coal in a preliminary report in October.

In one of its scenarios, Entsoe expects an increasing share of electricity supply to be provided by gas-fired plants. It also said that net power exports from Poland may be limited during the winter due to the limited supply of coal.

The main system test, however, remains in Ireland, France, Southern Sweden, Finland, Malta and Cyprus, according to the European grid group. The European network will face the most stress in January and February, but France and Ireland could see issues before that, Entsoe said.

The slow revamp of nuclear capacity, mainly in France, but also a loss of nuclear capacity in Sweden and Finland, is challenges those countries’ power supply. However, France has lately been able to gradually bring back some of its reactors. ?


Australia: The wave of investment into renewables could bring forward the closure of coal plant by up to a decade

image from

Mark Collette above

This guy is a loon. He proposes to replace dispatchable coal power by new dispatchable gas-fired generation. What a waste of capital investment! It won't please the Greenies as gas is a "fossil fuel" and it will create a huge cost burden on already high gas prices. New demand must push gas prices higher. Maybe they are banking on Russian gas becoming available again. We can hope.

Power giant EnergyAustralia has revealed plans to spend $10bn over the next decade building new electricity generation as part of a broader industry push on green spending, a move that may hasten the departure of NSW’s last coal plant by up to a decade.

Ahead of a planned intervention into Australia’s domestic energy market, the nation’s third-largest electricity retailer and generator set out the new investment target to be split across renewables, storage and solar and battery systems in households.

The wave of investment required to hit Labor’s aim of tripling renewables capacity to 82 per cent by 2030 could also bring forward the closure of EnergyAustralia’s Mt Piper coal plant by up to a decade.

The Mt Piper facility was expected to be the final NSW coal plant to shut in 2040, but that timeline may jump forward by as much as 10 years depending on how quickly replacement generation is installed in its place.

“I‘m worried more about closures happening faster than new entry at the moment,” EnergyAustralia managing director Mark Collette told The Australian. “There’s a lot of modelling out there that shows a lot of closures coming. Historically, Australia’s had maybe three big coal closures in the past 10 years, with Australia facing something like 15 in the next 15 years.”

Asked if an expected wave of green investment would accelerate the exit of Mt Piper, Mr Collette said: “All of the coal-fired power stations in the country, I’d expect all of them to be gone as soon as there’s replacement technology available.

“So for Australia, the challenge is long duration storage. At the moment, coal and gas form that insurance for the system, so we can get through all weather conditions. The date at which coal closes is purely about how quickly we can have replacement from those sorts of services.”

The September quarter produced “a massive acceleration” in the timetable for closure of coal-fired generation on the east coast, according to consultancy EnergyQuest.

EnergyAustralia’s $10bn spending plan over the next decade mirrors a plan by Canada’s Brookfield to invest an extra $20bn in Origin Energy through to 2030 to build new renewable and back-up energy capacity should it prevail with a live takeover bid under way.

The nation’s other big player, AGL Energy, has also said it would need to find up to $20bn to accelerate its exit from coal generation, after announcing plans to bring forward the closure date of its Loy Lang A power station in Victoria.

EnergyAustralia has been in talks with investors to help fund its multibillion-dollar pipeline of projects, with the company’s parent, Hong Kong-listed CLP, previously pointing to a deal with pension giant CDPQ for its Indian business as a potential model it would consider for Australia.

“Our primary areas to invest in are behind the meter to bring the best of small-scale energy technology with grid technologies for customers. And then in flexible capacity, which is the reliable capacity that underpins a very high concentration of renewables and brings it to life,” Mr Collette said.

The company plans to install a giant battery at Wooreen in Victoria’s Gippsland region, a gas-fired power station near Goulburn in NSW, Lake Lyell pumped hydro in NSW along with the Tallawarra B gas plant.

“We can quite clearly see that for our market share it’s quite easy to get to investments of $10bn over the next 10 years. The energy transition is quite expensive and like all players, we’re working on the best ways to fund that transition,” Mr Collette said.

The energy industry is bracing for an expected intervention, with the Albanese government prepared to intervene in South Australia and Victoria on a gas price cap at $11-$13 a gigajoule amid a stoush with states on imposing coal price caps to lower bills.

EnergyQuest said targeting temporary financial support for consumers who are most vulnerable to energy price shocks would be a far better solution.

“Moves to cap gas prices would not only increase east coast gas demand and reduce supply, but it would also amount to a whopping and inefficient fossil fuel subsidy of over $20 a gigajoule,” EnergyQuest chief executive Graeme Bethune said.

“The Treasurer is getting $50bn of windfall gains to his budget through the increases in company tax and Petroleum Resource Rent Tax from the spike in fossil fuel prices. The states already have a mish-mash of energy grants for energy cost relief that could be much better targeted through the Commonwealth welfare payment system.”

Large manufacturers are being offered gas contracts for 2023 at rates up to five times the level being offered last year, with the government warning factories will shut down unless it makes an urgent market intervention to cut prices.

Oil and gas industry sources, who are concerned about Jim Chalmers expanding the petroleum resource rent tax to subsidise retailers and households, have said the government would face constitutional issues if it imposes price caps on east coast gas producers and not WA producers.




Monday, December 05, 2022

The Tories’ wind power delusion

A very strange parliamentary rebellion has been taking place with Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and dozens of other Tory MPs demanding an end to the ban on onshore wind farms. Wind power is cheap and getting cheaper, they argue. And surely, if we’re engaged in an energy war with Russia, we need all the power we can get?

It’s an argument that is wrong several times over. There is no ban on wind farms – it is actually a bog-standard planning requirement that they be confined to areas designated for that purpose and with community support. Nor do they offer a cheap solution: the costs are high and rising. In fact, relying on the wind for power would guarantee that electricity is expensive for ever, because wind’s unreliability poisons the market, driving up the price of gas-fired power too.

This week the prices offered to anybody – anybody! – who could guarantee to supply power on the chilly, windless evening of 29 November shot up briefly to about £1,100 per megawatt-hour (MWh), more than ten times the normal rate. Demand was forecast to peak at 41.2 gigawatts, supply at 40.7. In the words of Mr Micawber: result, misery. At such a price, enough supply did indeed come out of the woodwork, but not from the wind industry, which can’t just turn on the wind when it wants. Growing reliance on unreliable wind has left Britain paying sky-high prices on still, cold days. Remember when the secretary of state for business used to pose for the cameras while blowing up old coal power stations? They would be handy this winter.

The Ukraine war has driven gas prices higher, but, says Andrew Montford of Net Zero Watch, it would be daft to assume that this is a permanent state of affairs and design a policy on the assumption that wind will be cheaper than gas in the future.

Claims that onshore wind is cheap come thick and fast from politicians in thrall to the most well oiled of crony-capitalist industries, the wind merchants. The claims are not supported by the accounts of onshore wind farms, which indicate a breakeven cost of around £80/MWh for the very cheapest farms. And this, note, is for the efficient wind farms with 200-metre turbines (twice the typical height), located in the windiest sites and spaced at least 1,200 metres apart so they don’t they steal each other’s wind. The cost estimate doesn’t even count the need to carefully manage backup power generation for those times and places where the wind is not blowing hard enough, or blowing too hard. Nor does it count the cost of building and running transmission lines from remote wind farms to places where people actually live.

Wind farm accounts also show that this cost is rising, not falling, presumably due to such grid constraints, the fact that the best sites have gone, and the rising costs of steel, concrete, copper and neodymium making new machines pricier. Yet even £80/MWh is nearly double the cost of gas-fired power at the long-term average price of gas.

But that is if gas is allowed to supply electricity continuously without much interruption. If you keep telling gas power stations to switch off because the wind is blowing, as we do, then they will have to (and do) charge more to cover the inefficiency of heating up and cooling down the gas turbines. The more wind we add, the higher the price of gas-fired power. In this way, wind locks in high electricity prices, hastening the deindustrialisation of Britain, or what’s left of it.

And hey presto, wind farms can charge these same high prices as gas, delaying the start of the ‘contract for difference’ they signed to supply at lower prices. Why? Because this document is a thing of beauty for the wind farm operators: it’s not a contract to supply power at all, but an option to do so whenever the zephyrs of the gods play ball. The government, in its infinite stupidity when Lib Dems were in charge of energy, gave wind farms the right to supply power (with bonus payments if the grid cannot cope on a very windy day) but did not hold them to the price they quoted. At least not without a trivial penalty. Incredible? If only.

The ‘contracts for difference’ that were put in place not only transfer the costs and risks of all the uncertainty to the rest of the system, but are ditched at the first sign of a better deal. Hornsea 2, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, began operation this year. Orsted, the developer, signed a contract for difference in 2017 to sell its power at £57.50/MWh. In the event, it delayed the contract until next year and sold power at between four and ten times that, costing the consumer hundreds of millions of pounds a year. See what I mean about business plans based on spot prices?

The best thing about wind farms, as far as city spivs are concerned, is that they transfer money from poor to rich. The costs are borne by electricity bill payers – and power absorbs twice as much of the monthly budget of a poor person than a rich person. The rewards are trousered by the wealthy: landowners, private equity investors, lobbyists, Chinese mine owners.

Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University told me how the market could and should be reformed. If anyone wants to be serious about onshore wind, he says, let them sign guaranteed supply contracts to provide power on demand for at least 20 years – with serious penalties if they cannot deliver. So the wind farm would be combined with enough battery or other backup capacity to be as reliable as a gas power plant.

This would force the industry to build, say, a 100-megawatt wind farm, but only guarantee to deliver, say, 40 megawatts to the grid, storing the surplus in batteries for when the wind farm is producing less than 40. The true cost of wind would probably be more than £200 per megawatt hour.

Talking of batteries, wind energy’s fans (no pun intended) were excited on 21 November when Harmony Energy opened Europe’s largest battery farm near Hull. ‘But what happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine blah blah bl – oh right, we now have industrial-scale batteries,’ enthused David Shukman, former science editor of the BBC.

Consisting of about 50 container-lorry-sized Tesla megapacks parked on a site the size of a football field, the plant will be capable of storing enough electricity to keep just 1 per cent of Britain’s grid going for, er, four minutes. Electricity just isn’t like carrots or coal – storing it is immensely expensive.

But think how lucrative it will be to do so. When the wind drops on a cold November evening just as Harry Kane and co are kicking off, the grid (on your behalf) will pay well over the odds for stored electricity. This is why the high costs of wind are a bug, not a feature, as far as the industry is concerned. High prices are passed straight on to the consumer. The more problems wind farms cause, the more rewarding wind farms become. The bigger the projects are, the more attractive they are for ministers to cut their ribbons.

Notice these are purely economic arguments. I have not even started on the environmental drawbacks of wind farms. They need huge quantities of concrete and steel, both made with coal; they kill rare birds of prey, especially eagles; they slaughter bats; they obtrude on scenic landscapes; their magnets require rare earth minerals mined in China in hugely polluting ways.

Wind is a very low-density form of energy, so you need a very large number of wind farms to make any significant contribution to UK generation capacity: hundreds of square miles per gigawatt of capacity. A gigawatt of fossil fuel or nuclear power takes up a tiny fraction of the space and even less of the sky. In Scotland, where most onshore wind farms are proposed, this means turning almost all upland areas into what is called by planners a ‘wind farm landscape’. Enjoy the view.

Then there’s the question of how much carbon dioxide is really saved by wind farms. True, when spinning they don’t generate emissions, but in their construction they generate a lot: the mining, manufacture and transport of their concrete bases, steel towers, carbon fibre blades and metal-rich turbines. That means for the first few years of ‘green energy’ a wind farm is merely paying back what it has emitted. Meanwhile its sporadic power is destabilising the grid, destroying the economics of near zero-emission nuclear and requiring backup from less efficient sources such as open-cycle gas turbines, so add in some more years before you break even on carbon dioxide.

These are fiendishly difficult calculations to make, but it’s not impossible that some wind farms, sited in less windy areas, take ten years to save any carbon dioxide at all. How long do they last? Repairs start to get uneconomic at some point, maybe as little as 20 years into the lifetime of the wind farm. The thing has to be dismantled and disposed of. Now do the arithmetic: wind generated about 4 per cent of our total energy in 2020 (people find this number hard to believe, but it’s true: not electricity, note, energy). But only in the second half of its life is a wind farm saving emissions. So all the UK’s wind farms are reducing the nation’s emissions by just 2 per cent, or 0.02 per cent of global emissions.

If you think net zero matters – and even if you don’t – all this is crucial. Why don’t Tory MPs know this kind of stuff? The one thing the wind industry is really, really good at is selling itself. It never mentions intermittency and hides the scale of its contribution to decarbonisation by talking about ‘powering a thousand homes’, a meaningless metric. Somehow the wind farm has become the symbol of environmental virtue as potent as the crucifix. And we are all paying the price.


France refires coal plant amid energy woes

The end of France’s coal era seemed so certain last year that the operator of one of the country’s last coal-burning plants posted an upbeat educational video on YouTube titled “Let’s visit a coal plant that's going to be destroyed!”

The plant in the northeastern town of Saint-Avold indeed halted coal production as scheduled earlier this year — but not for long. This week, its workers were back at the controls, transporting coal from storage heaps and refiring furnaces, as part of emergency efforts to keep the heat and electricity on this winter.

The energy crisis across Europe unleashed by Russia’s war in Ukraine has paved the way for coal’s comeback in some regions, to the dismay of politicians and activists who warn this endangers climate goals, the climate itself and public health.

“Working here we know the negative impact of the coal plant, but nonetheless we see it as a necessary evil," said shift supervisor Thomas About at the Emile-Huchet Power Plant in Saint-Avold.

“Given the current state of the electrical network, I nonetheless fear greatly that this production tool is necessary in the medium term," he told The Associated Press.

Nearby, wheel loaders scooped mounds of coal and dumped it onto conveyor belts, and gray fumes rose from the plant's smokestacks.

In France the return to coal is surprising because the country started phasing it out decades ago and relies heavily on nuclear power instead. But this year, on top of Russia largely cutting off natural gas to Europe, nearly half of France’s nuclear reactors shut down for maintenance or corrosion and other problems.

Facing a worst-case scenario of rolling power cuts to households, the government issued a decree in September to allow Saint-Avold to start again and continued activity at another coal plant in western France, citing the “exceptional” and “unforeseeable” context of energy supply challenges.

President Emmanuel Macron had initially vowed to close all coal-burning plants in the country by the end of this year due to climate-related concerns.

The impact of the backtrack will largely be felt locally, since coal plays only a minor role in France's energy mix nationwide. The two coal plants produced a maximum of 3% of France's electricity Tuesday, according to the national grid operator, compared to some 60% from nuclear plants.

The government has called on the French for a 10% reduction in energy use in the coming months, including by limiting heating, to avoid the risk of rationing and cuts this winter. Government spokesperson Olivier Veran said Wednesday that people reduced on average their electricity consumption by 5% in October.

The government insists the return to coal will be temporary.

The company that operates the Saint-Avold plant, GazelEnergie, is continuing its work to transition the site to the “post-coal” future, with projects for biomass and hydrogen-based energy.

Workers like About hope that future comes soon.

“This page will be turned one day," he said. “Let’s hope it will be turned quickly, so that this unit produces as little as possible.” ?


Renewables have become the West's new blood diamonds

Wealth, with no ethical or moral standards for those of lesser means, can be dangerous and fatal to the cheap labor of disposable workforces.

We have seen the effects on the disposable workforce when Qatar “needed” to build seven stadiums in a decade to be ready for the 2022 World Cup. The World Cup in Qatar kicked off on Nov. 20 at Al Bayt Stadium, but the “acceptable” toll of more than 6,500 migrant laborers who died between 2011 and 2020, helping to build World Cup infrastructure with a cheap, disposable workforce, will provide viewers and participants with many lingering questions about our ethical and moral beliefs resulting from the grim toll.

Decades ago, it was sweatshops in the textile industry that grabbed the world’s humanitarian attention. Today it is the green movement, which is dominated by poorer developing countries mining the exotic minerals and metals that support the wealthy countries that are going green at a great cost to humanity.

The wealthy countries understand that developing countries have virtually no environmental laws or labor laws, which allows those locations unlimited opportunities to exploit people with yellow, brown and black skin and inflict environmental degradation on their landscapes.

Showing no moral or ethical concerns for the disposable workforce, wealthy countries continue to encourage subsidies to procure electric vehicles and build more wind and solar energy infrastructure. Those subsidies are providing financial incentives to the developing countries mining for those green materials to continue their exploitation of poor people and environmental degradation of their landscapes.

The 2021 Pulitzer Prize-nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations” reveals the lack of transparency regarding the green movement’s impact on humanity. Exploitation is occurring in developing countries that are mining the exotic minerals and metals required to create the batteries needed to store “green energy.” In these developing countries, mining operations exploit child labor and are responsible for egregious human rights violations of vulnerable minority populations. These operations are also directly destroying the planet through environmental degradation.

Last month, President Biden provided validation to the book’s message when his administration declared that batteries from China may be tainted by child labor, a move that could upend the electric vehicle industry while giving fresh ammunition to critics of the White House’s bizarre climate policies.

The Department of Labor said it would add lithium-ion batteries to a list of goods made with materials known to be produced with child or forced labor under a 2006 human trafficking law. The decision was based on many batteries using cobalt, a mineral largely mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where children have been found to work at some mining sites. The department released the list in the form of a report that excoriated “clean energy” supply chains for using forced labor. It grouped Chinese batteries together with polysilicon — a key material used in solar panel cells — made in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

Whatever the plan to satisfy our sports entertainment values and “green” environmental policies, our political leaders best not forget that they have ethical and moral responsibilities to continue to address the quality-of-life needs of those 8 billion on this planet now.


Australia: The Energy Minister's timetable for solar panel and giant wind turbine installation has collided with the roadblock of cold, hard reality

The good news is that the green jobs revolution we were promised in Labor’s Powering Australia plan has begun. The bad news is that most of the new jobs are in China, where a third of a million workers are employed manufacturing panels alone.

China controls 95 per cent of global photovoltaic panel production and its grip on the market is increasing. Manufacturing clean-energy units is a dirty business requiring a lot of energy, 60 per cent of which comes from coal. The International Energy Authority estimates that global production of solar panels is responsible for 51 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, some 60 per cent more than Australia’s entire industrial manufacturing sector.

Four out of 10 solar panels are manufactured in Xinjiang, the home of the Uighur ethnic minority, an estimated million of whom live in concentration camps. The US Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which came into force this year, creates a presumption that anything made in Xinjiang uses modern slave labour and cannot be imported into the US without clear and compelling evidence to the contrary.

That ugly debate has barely surfaced in Australia where the virtue of Labor’s legislated targets is simply assumed. Energy Minister Chris Bowen has faced next to no scrutiny from the gallery about his failure to deliver cheaper electricity or the wisdom of relying on brutish communist China for our future energy security.

Buried in the fine print of last week’s first annual progress report to parliament by the Climate Change Authority is a warning that our dependence on China for renewable energy infrastructure leaves us vulnerable to a geopolitical shock not unlike that European nations now face because of reliance on Russian gas and coal.

High commodity prices and supply chain challenges have increased the price of solar panels by 20 per cent in a year. There are similar rises in the price of batteries and, while Australia might benefit in the short term as one of the world’s largest sources of lithium, most of it is processed in China.

Bowen said last week that the Climate Change Authority’s warning will “need to be an ongoing focus”, which is some way short of saying he is taking it particularly seriously.

The authority’s statement to parliament exposes the modelling Labor relied upon for its Powering the Nation plan as worthless. A year ago, Anthony Albanese claimed the Reputex modelling was “the most comprehensive modelling ever done for any policy by any opposition in Australia’s history since Federation”. Now we learn its key objective, a 43 per cent emissions cut by 2030, won’t be achieved with the current settings.

The forecast of a $275 decrease in household energy bills in Labor’s first term went out the window long ago. Treasury forecasts energy bills will rise by 56 per cent in the next two years.

The promise of green jobs will be partly fulfilled, but it seems highly unlikely there will be anywhere near the 600,000 Labor promised or that many of them will continue beyond the construction phase.

Our reliance on the Saudi Arabia of solar panels is only one of the risks that makes the fulfilment of Labor’s grand plan highly improbable. The authority notes community acceptance, or social licence, cannot be taken for granted.

Australians may be in favour of clean energy in theory but they don’t want a wind or solar mega-plant in their backyard. Nor do they welcome the new transmission lines that connect them. Opposition is growing in regional and rural communities from Tasmania to Townsville.

In summary, Bowen’s timetable of installing 670,000 solar panels and 40 giant wind turbines every month from now until the end of the decade has collided with the roadblock of cold, hard reality. The only way to make the grid accommodate 82 per cent of greenish energy in the mix will be to hasten the exit of coal and gas and shut down heavy industry.

Rather than admit its pre-election modelling was wrong or bow to the economic reality that the huge capital investment in wind, solar, storage and transmission will push up the cost of energy, the government is resorting to coercion. If the markets won’t conform to the government’s perfect plan, they must be forced to do so.

Placing a ceiling on the price of coal and gas is one of the crudest forms of economic interventions known to humankind. Rather than address the shortage of supply, the government plans to add another disincentive to new investment.

Milton Friedman said the surest way to turn tomatoes into scarce commodities was to pass a law to prevent them being sold for more than two cents per pound. “Instantly you’ll have a tomato shortage,” he said in 1978. “It’s the same with oil or gas.”

Rising coal and gas prices are not the fault of Vladimir Putin, greedy energy company boards or a shortage of investment in wind, solar and batteries. They are the predictable consequence of placing unreasonable financial and regulatory burdens on the investment of capital in new and expanded resource extraction.

The distortions are already apparent. Woodside Energy is threatening to withhold new gas investment on Australia’s east coast, where the shortage of gas is most keenly felt. Who can blame it if the size of the return on its capital will be determined by political decisions made in Canberra.

Bowen, sadly, is not the kind of person to reach for a plan B, even if he had one. Those who have dealt with the minister say he does not welcome contrary advice. Just ask Paul Broad, the former chief executive of Snowy Hydro, who resigned after falling out with Bowen over the technological readiness of so-called green hydrogen.

Friedrich Hayek could have been thinking of Bowen when he described the mindset of the central planner: “The man of system … so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it.”

The Prime Minister would do well to use his Christmas break to consider an early cabinet reshuffle.