Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The Green War on Clean Energy

In 2018, a radical new environmental group emerged in the United Kingdom. The loose-knit organization called itself Extinction Rebellion, or “XR,” and aimed to raise awareness of climate change through disruptive protests. XR activists staged dramatic “die-ins” and shut down London bridges and metro stations. The group’s leaders warned that climate change could “kill six billion people this century” and called for Britain to halt the use of fossil fuels virtually overnight. Like the Occupy Wall Street movement that inspired it, XR disdains detailed policy prescriptions. But its members generally scorn our modern, energy-intensive lifestyles, while also rejecting nuclear power and other high-tech approaches to reducing emissions. To save the planet, many believe, capitalism itself needs to be overthrown.

One of the group’s most charismatic spokespeople was Zion Lights. The daughter of Indian immigrants and a mother of two, Lights was a longtime environmental advocate. (The Telegraph once dubbed her “Britain’s greenest mum.”) But she found herself hard-pressed to defend XR’s more extreme claims. Hoping to understand the issues better, Lights returned to college, where she studied the debates surrounding nuclear power and related themes. “I started to realize that almost everything I had believed was wrong,” she told me, when I interviewed her recently for a podcast. When Lights tried to discuss her new perspective with her XR colleagues, she said, “I found there was this immense, immense resistance.”

Ultimately, Lights had to ask herself a painful question: “What if you’d dedicated most of your life to trying to save the planet,” she wrote in Quillette last year, “but then you realized that you may have actually—potentially—made things worse?” It’s a question that more environmentalists should grapple with today. Over the past half-century, their movement has scored world-changing victories in reducing air and water pollution, preserving wilderness, and protecting wildlife. But when it comes to fighting global warming, the issue that most environmentalists now see as the planet’s paramount threat, the green-policy elite has arguably done more harm than good.

That claim certainly sounds counterintuitive, but evidence shows that some of the activists’ favored policies—especially the single-minded focus on wind and solar facilities for making electricity—have been marginally effective, at best. Other policies, such as replacing gasoline and diesel fuel with biofuels made from plants, actually increase emissions. One of the environmental movement’s biggest self-described victories has been its long-running war against nuclear power, the only technology that demonstrates the capability to reduce dramatically a nation’s carbon footprint. Today, some green activists are fighting against the next generation of climate-friendly technologies, including advanced nuclear reactors and systems to capture and store the carbon in fossil fuels, or even scrub it from the atmosphere. Call it the green war on clean energy.

Extremists like Extinction Rebellion aren’t the only ones with misguided ideas about how best to reduce emissions. Last November, heads of state and representatives from global NGOs, financial firms, and energy companies gathered in Glasgow for COP26, the United Nations climate summit. Speakers unleashed their most impassioned language. “We are digging our own graves,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. British prime minister Boris Johnson compared the planet to James Bond, “strapped to a doomsday device” that threatens to “end human life as we know it.” Despite the catastrophism, conference attendees mostly stuck to a well-worn playbook. Governments promised to boost spending on renewable energy and restrict use of oil and gas. Financial organizations agreed to international guidelines that penalize fossil-fuel investments and favor green-energy projects.

While some countries promised to set even stricter targets for future emissions, China, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitter, resisted demands to curtail its heavy coal consumption and pledged only to start reducing emissions sometime in the indefinite future. As the Associated Press noted, “the high aspirations and apocalyptic imagery at the start of the summit were soon met with a cold dose of reality.”

Nonetheless, global emissions do appear to be peaking. The more apocalyptic scenarios that some activists forecasted are unlikely to happen. In fact, most developed nations are slowly reducing their carbon footprints, though not at the aggressive rates they’ve promised. Ironically, these reductions in emissions often occur not because of the policies advocated at climate conferences but despite them.

Ted Nordhaus, founder of the eco-modernist Breakthrough Institute, is skeptical of the “global climate-industrial complex” on display at COP26. “A climate movement less in thrall to fever dreams of apocalypse would focus more on balancing long-term emissions reductions with growth, development, and adaptation in the here and now,” he writes. The extremists of Extinction Rebellion and similar groups demand “system change,” by which they mean dismantling free markets, creating alternatives to existing democratic institutions, and deliberately reducing living standards through a process they call “degrowth.” The COP26 technocrats don’t advocate anything that radical, but they, too, envision a more centralized, less growth-oriented model for society. Under the COP26 paradigm, entire sectors of the economy—energy, transportation, manufacturing, housing—would undergo wrenching transformations.

According to this vision, markets are not adequate to manage the necessary transitions. Instead, change must be driven through government regulation, supranational agreements between industry and NGOs, financial controls, and other top-down measures. Certain technologies—electric vehicles, say, or rooftop solar panels—must be heavily subsidized, while others—internal combustion engines, gas stoves—should be penalized or even banned. The use of fossil fuels should be curtailed by any means necessary, including pushing up prices by restricting drilling and pipeline construction. All policies must be geared to achieve “net-zero emissions” by 2050.

“Some greens are fighting against the next generation of clean technologies, including carbon capture.”

This is a staggeringly difficult goal, which would touch every aspect of modern life. Yet net-zero advocates too often reject or neglect the very policies most likely to help the world achieve it. As Nordhaus recently wrote in The Economist, the activist community “insists upon re-engineering the global economy without many of the technologies that most technical analyses conclude would be necessary, including nuclear energy, carbon capture and carbon removal.” In other words, green elites want to upend the lives of billions but show surprisingly little interest in whether their programs work. In some parts of the world, the climate lobby has already managed to enact policies that raise prices, hinder growth, and promote political instability—all while achieving only marginal reductions in emissions.

The problem starts with the movement’s blanket opposition to fossil fuels. For example, most environmentalists viscerally oppose fracking and natural-gas pipelines. The Biden administration moved to curtail U.S. gas drilling within days of taking office (one reason U.S. gas prices have roughly tripled since Biden became president). But in fact, since natural gas emits nearly 50 percent less carbon dioxide than coal, it is one of our best tools to bring down emissions in the short term, while also benefiting the economy. Alex Trembath, deputy director of the Breakthrough Institute, writes: “The U.S. fracking boom of 2008 onward tempered inflation, created hundreds of thousands of jobs during the worst recession in a century, and, yes, reduced carbon emissions by displacing much dirtier coal-fired power.”

Eco-pragmatists like Trembath see natural gas as a “bridge fuel” that can ease the transition to lower-carbon energy sources. (Soon, carbon capture and storage [CCS] technology could make it feasible to harness the energy in gas while putting much less carbon into the atmosphere.) But most environmental activists argue that we must phase out natural gas as rapidly as possible, replacing it almost exclusively with wind and solar power. Wind and solar power can help reduce carbon emissions, as long as they are part of a mix of energy sources. But renewable-energy champions tend to gloss over the huge challenges of trying to power the grid primarily with such on-again, off-again energy sources.

People understand, of course, that wind and solar facilities make power only when the wind blows or the sun shines. But even experts sometimes underestimate what a complex challenge this “intermittency” presents to grid operators. Since most wind and solar facilities sit idle most of the time, renewable-power producers have to overbuild production capacity massively. Renewable power also requires a whole new network of transmission lines in order to shuttle power from, say, sunny areas to cloudy ones. Renewable backers promise that imminent breakthroughs in battery technology will make intermittency a minor problem. In reality, while batteries can help grid operators manage short peaks in demand, they remain far too expensive to serve as a long-term backup. All these challenges mean that, while the “all-renewable” power-grid activists’ demand isn’t technically impossible, it would cost far more—and take far longer to build—than more balanced approaches.

Much more here: ?


Hawaii Electricity Prices To Skyrocket As Final Shipment Of Coal Arrives

Hawaii is receiving its final shipment of coal this week, which Gov. David Ige called a huge step forward in the state’s transition to clean energy. What he meant was that local are about to pay a lot more for basic essentials.

A law put in place a couple of years ago will finally shut down the island’s last coal burning power plant. And since coal is the dirtiest * but cheapest - source of power for Oahu, it means that all else equal, power prices are about to skyrocket.

“In its time, coal was an important resource for Hawai‘i and I’d like to thank the workers who have run our last remaining coal plant,” Ige said in a statement. “Renewable energy projects to replace coal are coming online with more on the way.”

“Even as we face challenges in making this transition, it’s the right move for our communities and planet. Most importantly, it will leave Hawaiʻi a better place for our children and grandchildren.”

So noble, Scandinavian teenagers would approve: there is just one problem: as KHON2’s Always Investigating reports, replacement power projects are behind schedule due to unexpected global events with supply chain issues, so Oahu residents should prepare to pay even more for electricity this fall. In other words, Europe's catastrophic experience with the "Green transition" where an entire continent moved to "energy alternatives" some 30 years before it was ready to replace fossil fuels, is coming to at least one American state.

In the meantime, consumers can either cut back on power, try solar and batteries, or pay more for oil-generated power — which costs as much as five times more than coal.

The Kapolei plant has been Oahu’s largest single generator for three decades, meeting about 16% of the island’s peak electricity demand. Its closure on Sept. 1 means eliminating 180 megawatts of power, or about one-tenth of what Oahu needs. There is no ready replacement for this source of energy which is about to go offline.

But wait, it gets funnier: one year ago, Hawaii was stunned to learn that the "green facility" which is replacing the Kapolei coal plant, the 185-MW Kapolei Energy Storage Facility, will be charging its "enormous battery" … with oil! In other words, Hawaiians will be trading one fossil fuel (coal) for another, albeit one far more expensive. Or as the chair of PUC, Jay Griffin, complained, Hawaiians are “going from cigarettes to crack."

“If there is not enough solar, wind, or battery storage energy to replace the AES plant, HECO would have to use oil instead to charge things like the upcoming 185-megawatt Kapolei Energy Storage Facility,” Pacific Business News reported.

It’s not a matter of “if,” however. The reality is there’s not enough wind, solar, or battery storage to replace the AES plant. Hawaiian Electric has made this quite clear in recent documents, noting that it would not be able to meet its year-two renewable target (75 percent) for “more than a decade.” - Source FEE Stories

Confused? Here is the simplified schematic:

* Oahu is permanently shutting down its final coal plant which provides 10-20% of the island's energy

* Its replacement is an energy storage facility which however will need oil to charge its battery

* Hawaii is effectively replacing dirty coal power with just as dirty oil power, which however is far more expensive.

Translation:another brilliantly executed "green" revolution, or as FEE put it:

The project is a wonderful demonstration of why we should be wary of giving central planners more power over energy security. It’s an example of a phenomenon explained by Ludwig von Mises: that government policies often have exactly the opposite effect of what was intended.

In an address delivered before the University Club in New York in 1950, the economist explained how government policies often backfire in ways that are predictable. Here is an example he offered:

“The government believes that the price of a definite commodity, e.g., milk, is too high. It wants to make it possible for the poor to give their children more milk. Thus it resorts to a price ceiling and fixes the price of milk at a lower rate than that prevailing on the free market. The result is that the marginal producers of milk, those producing at the highest cost, now incur losses. As no individual farmer or businessman can go on producing at a loss, these marginal producers stop producing and selling milk on the market. They will use their cows and their skill for other more profitable purposes. They will, for example, produce butter, cheese or meat. There will be less milk available for the consumers, not more.”

These outcomes are of course contrary to the intentions of lawmakers, Mises pointed out. They wanted to make it easier for people to purchase milk, not reduce the supply of milk. But the result is the same, he observed, and that is the lesson.

So what can we do about it at home besides getting ready to write bigger checks to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)?

HECO vice president Jim Kelly suggests to “really be embracing the idea of conservation,” especially during peak hours. Between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., don’t be cranking on the air conditioner, taking long showers, running the oven, or whatever else that requires electricity and water. And while blaming Putin might provide a few minutes of gratification, it won't do anything for the accelerated depletion of your bank account.


Biden’s Civil War on Energy Is Leaving Endless Collateral Damage in Its Wake

President Joe Biden has declared he will “end fossil fuel.” Presidents have declared war on everything from poverty to drugs, but his declaration is much more sinister. His is really a civil war.

The combatants are heavy-handed bureaucrats harassing fellow countrymen who want to do nothing more than fuel their car, cool their home, or use their skills to supply energy or other energy-based products for their neighbors.

Unlike threats such as drugs or poverty, there is no widespread consensus on the “evil” of so-called fossil fuels. Biden’s espoused targets might be coal and oil corporations, but the collateral damage is you and me.

In deciding to “end” fossil fuels, the president—fueled by the left—has two avenues. He could attack the demand for affordable and efficient carbon-based fuels like coal, gas, and oil (try to encourage people to use less of them). Or he could attack the supply, making it harder to produce them in the first place. He has pursued both simultaneously—and as fast as Congress and the courts will let him.

Changing demand takes time—power plants are expensive and are in use for decades, and the average age of an automobile is more than 12 years. Change at that pace is not fast enough if you view gas and oil as an existential threat.

That’s why they’ve also done their best to limit supply. Unfortunately, when commodities are involved, price increases can be sharp and painful when supply and demand are imbalanced. The president’s civil war on gas, oil, and coal has victimized you—unless, perhaps, you are a Silicon Valley or Wall Street plutocrat who drives an electric car powered by your home solar panels.

What’s causing the high prices? Historically high crude oil prices (derived from tight supply) are a big part of the problem. So is refining capacity, which has dropped by a million barrels a day in the last few years. The president seems to recognize that high prices from reduced supply has backfired among the population. There was just too much collateral damage.

He’s now saying he’ll use “all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term[.]” Biden is also asking dictators around the world to increase their production of crude oil.

Meanwhile, the president and his allies continue attacking the supply of crude and refining here at home. They are slow-walking permits, stopping pipelines, and throwing shade at investors who want to provide the capital to increase production.

Investors are not eager to make big bets on these investments with the prospect of the industry’s elimination looming. The result is more expensive renewable power generation that is not always reliable. Look at the grids of California and Texas, two of the most wind and solar centric grids.

It’s hardly a coincidence that they experience legendary brownouts and even, sadly, system-wide failures. Meanwhile our geopolitical enemy, China, is expanding its coal production in one year, nearly equivalent to all the EU’s annual production, according to Gabriel Collins at the James A. Baker III Institute at Rice University.

The economic damage from the civil war is not limited to the gas, oil, and coal Industries. Energy-intensive industries that would like to operate in the U.S.—the kind of good manufacturing jobs Biden says he likes: steel, automobiles, fertilizer—are all under threat as well. And so are those who have skills and knowledge about the internal combustion engine.

Biden is fighting this civil war in the name of “trusting the science”—which, after the last two years, should give everyone pause. But even if you do “trust the science” of climate change, all this pain would be for very little, if any, gain. One expert looked at what would happen under temperature models if the United States followed through on its Paris commitments.

He ran two scenarios and found a temperate reduction of between 0.008 and 0.03 degrees centigrade by 2100.

Mr. President, it is time to end this civil war on fossil fuels that is restricting supply, and thus killing jobs while raising prices. Your war will only boost China—and inflict pain on those who cannot afford it.


NJ to Give $60M to Residents for Electric Vehicles

A handout to the Leftist elite

New Jersey will spend $60 million of taxpayer funds to give $4,000 to each person who buys an electric vehicle and $250 to install electric charger stations at their homes.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced the funding, which includes $4 million set aside to incentivize apartment buildings and condominiums to install charging stations for their residents to use, The Star-Ledger reported.

The approximately $60 million will come from this year’s Clean Energy Fund, Murphy said, to combat climate change.

The funding comes in the third year of Murphy’s Charge Up New Jersey program, which the governor said resulted in more than 13,000 electric vehicles being purchased during the first two years thanks to taxpayer-funded incentives.

The state will spend another $4 million to give incentives to local governments to buy electric vehicles.

“By the close of last year, roughly 5 percent of all new vehicle sales nationwide were EVs,” Murphy said. “We want to help grow that share by getting more New Jerseyans into their first electric vehicles.”

Most EVs are more expensive than gas powered vehicles, with the average price recently hitting $66,000, whereas gasoline-powered cars average $48,043.

The people buying electric vehicles are already coming from a more financially stable place than lower-income people — a $4,000 subsidy isn’t going to make or break their decision to buy the vehicle.

Why should all of New Jersey’s taxpayers, including those who can’t afford cars and must rely on mass transit, subsidize the cost of a pricey automobile for people well off enough to afford them?




Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Greens' hatred of nuclear power has played into Vladimir Putin's hands - and is based on a pack of lies about radiation deaths

Prepare for nuclear Armageddon. That is, if you believe what the likes of Greenpeace are saying about the consequences of fighting now taking place in Ukraine in the immediate vicinity of Europe's largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia.

Last week, the plant — which Russian troops seized in the first month of their invasion but is still being operated by Ukrainian civilians — was repeatedly hit in shelling attacks.

Back in March, Greenpeace, the world's most well-funded environmentalist lobbying group, declared that a war in a country which contained such a plant 'poses a risk of potentially catastrophic damage that could render vast areas of the European continent, including Russia, uninhabitable for decades'.

It's not just anti-nuclear campaigners who are warning of mass extermination. The U.S. TV network NBC last week broadcast that the 'intensifying fighting around a nuclear power plant, Europe's largest, could put swathes of the continent at risk of a radiation catastrophe'.

The Washington Post, in its editorial comment, concurred: 'At Zaporizhzhia, it is five minutes to midnight.'


The idea of shelling directed at a nuclear power station does seem like a TV drama designed to scare the living daylights out of us. But the vast majority of what passes for factual commentary on nuclear risks is actually fiction.

The reactors of the Zaporizhzhia plant (a much more advanced unit, in every way, than the Chernobyl reactor which caused the world's biggest nuclear incident in 1986) are protected by up to ten metres of concrete. They were built to withstand even a jumbo jet crashing into them.

There are no shells that could penetrate its carapace. Indeed, these colossal casings prevented any breach during the full-scale attack, involving shelling, by Russian troops when they seized the plant in March.

We must go back to the Chernobyl incident — and also what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in March 2011 — to appreciate how wilfully exaggerated are the scare stories now being unleashed by so-called 'Green' groups ideologically opposed to what happens to be the only non-intermittent form of mass energy production which is genuinely 'zero carbon'.

After the Fukushima meltdown, the New York Times published a piece that declared: 'By now close to one million people have died of causes linked to the Chernobyl disaster' — and argued that the consequences of Fukushima could 'far exceed Chernobyl in terms of the effects on public health'.

The 2019 TV mini series Chernobyl only added to the store of public terror: it portrayed the effects of radiation as contagious, as if it were a virus.

Now let's return to the much-neglected real world, in the form of a paper by Dr Robert Gale, a professor of haematology at London's Imperial College and an authority on nuclear and radiation accidents, who participated in rescue efforts at both Chernobyl and Fukushima. Last year, Dr Gale published 'Chernobyl at 35 years: An Oncologist's Perspective'.

He noted that 'sources without scientific credentials or with a political agenda predict hundreds of thousands, or even millions of cancers and cancer deaths' as a result of the radiation exposure following the Chernobyl incident.

His research, backed by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), concludes that there were 'about 7,000 excess thyroid cancers in children and adolescents living in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia proximal to the accident site. Most were not fatal'.

This is not surprising as thyroid cancer has a mortality rate of two per cent.

And what of leukaemia, the cancer chiefly associated with radiation-related deaths in Japan in the wake of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Dr Gale's paper declares: 'We and others looked carefully for an increase in leukemias in the ten years after the Chernobyl accident but found no convincing evidence of one.'

His conclusion: 'There are few data to suggest that radiation released from Chernobyl increased cancer globally. There are also no convincing data that birth defects or genetic abnormalities were increased by radiation, despite what you might read elsewhere.'


CBS pushes study blaming climate change for rising childhood obesity rates

EVERYTHING iscaused by global warming

“CBS Mornings” pushed a recent study connecting climate change and hotter temperatures with childhood obesity rates in a ridiculed segment on Thursday.

Co-host Nate Burleson introduced the study published in the journal “Temperature” that argued “climate change, specifically warmer temperatures is making our children more inactive and more obese.”

Burleson said the study found that children were 30% less “aerobically fit” than their parents and claimed hotter temperatures were preventing kids from exercising outside.

Although the segment focused primarily on climate change, Burleson acknowledged that technology was likely a factor in rising childhood obesity cases.

“Now listen, it has been a lot hotter, and the weather has been crazy, but I think it also has to do with technology, you know. It’s one thing not to go outside, but these kids don’t go outside because they can stay inside and be on their phones, play video games, and be social without having to go outside and be social,” Burleson said.

Several Twitter users, however, attacked the segment for emphasizing “climate change” as a factor in childhood obesity without also recognizing coronavirus lockdowns.

“Do you think it could be… nah, couldn’t be. Must be the climate change,” Deseret News contributing writer Bethany Mandel joked.

Hans Mahncke, co-host of “Truth Over News” on EpochTV, tweeted, “They made kids fat by shutting schools, playgrounds, parks and beaches. Predictably, they’re now blaming ‘climate change.’ If there aren’t severe penalties for the fraudsters who pushed lockdowns, it’ll happen again.”

“Climate change? Ffs,” National Review journalist Claude Thompson wrote.

Former congresswoman Nan Hayworth tweeted, “NO. NO. NO. Many factors contribute to children’s lack of fitness, but climate change is NOT one of them. This is propaganda that CBS, as with all ‘mainstream’ media, pushes to scare Americans into accepting Government intervention–at any cost!!–against climate *apocalypse*”

Washington Free Beacon reporter Joe Gabriel Simonson attacked “CBS Mornings” directly for misrepresenting the study to push a climate agenda.

“[T]his seemed too insane even for left-wing climate scientists so I read the study summary. the authors don’t blame climate change for children getting fatter, but that fat children may have a harder time dealing with climate change because fat people don’t do as well in the heat,” Simonson tweeted.

A study posted in the National Library of Medicine in July found that a “significant weight increase was reported in the majority of subjects,” especially those with pre-existing weight issues, during coronavirus lockdowns.

It concluded, “Data analysis clearly demonstrated the detrimental impact of COVID-19 lockdown on children and adolescents’ body weight and BMI, children with pre-existing overweight/obesity being more at risk of gaining weight.”


Eat beef, save the planet

Ian Plimer

Yet again, farmers are under attack. This time, it is the beef industry because, apparently, cattle burp and fart out methane and we’ll all fry-and-die because of the accelerated global warming produced by this methane. Is this fact or fiction? In my field of science, we often do mass balance calculations because material is added, exchanged, and lost during natural processes. Let’s do the same with the beef industry.

Grass grows by using carbon dioxide from the air as plant food. Why do climate activists want to reduce the amount of plant food in the atmosphere? Cattle eat grass, some grass remains as roots and stubble, and hence not all carbon atoms in grass end up in cattle. The carbon from grass is stored in meat, milk, intestines, bones, and skin and the amount of stored carbon increases with growth. Semi-solid waste materials from cattle fertilise grass for further recycling of carbon.

Humans are omnivores with teeth for cutting plants and animal flesh and then masticating to create a large surface area to assist digestion. We have the gut enzyme trypsin specifically for breaking down meat. Not all plant material can be broken down into nutrients which is why there is little nutritional value in us eating grass, stems, wood, or bark. Unlike cattle, humans cannot digest cellulose in grass. Bacterial and enzyme reactions in ruminant’s stomachs release the gas methane as burps and farts during digestion. This methane, a carbon-hydrogen compound, very quickly oxidises in the atmosphere to carbon dioxide and the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, water vapour.

For me, there is nothing like medium rare beef with a matching red-coloured fluid derived from releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by grape fermentation. The beef is digested in my body because of trypsin which breaks down meat into amino acids for circulation in my bloodstream. Meat fat ends up as brain food. Vegetarians and vegans ignore the benefits of human evolution and waste trypsin by not eating meat. In evolutionary terms, meat-eating has allowed the human brain to grow over time. In a past life when I took university student geological field trips, I noticed that the meat eaters were the first to the tops of mountains, vegetarians were struggling way behind and vegans were still trying to work out how to get out of the vehicle!

Some of the carbon in beef I eat is used and stored by my body, the rest is oxidised and exhaled. I breathe in air with 0.04 per cent carbon dioxide and exhale air with more than 4 per cent carbon dioxide. The gaseous waste product from cattle digestion is methane, and the gaseous waste product from human digestion is carbon dioxide. Some of the milk or cream I use in coffee and on morning porridge is stored in my flesh and bones as is the butter used in cooking.

When I’ve snapped my hobbles and decompose in a grave, most of my body carbon, including that from eating beef, will be released as methane and the rest will end up sequestered in soils. Blood and bone from cattle is used as a fertiliser and is sequestered in soil. Cattle skins are used to make leather which is sequestered into footwear and other leather goods. The whole process of going from grass to grave involves a carbon cycle and short-term sequestration of carbon atoms.

The number of carbon atoms returned to the atmosphere from beef farming is less than that removed by grass growth. Therefore, cattle farming and eating beef is a carbon sequestration process. If the popular mantra is used, we are saving the planet by eating beef.

If we do not eat meat, then grass decomposes anyway and releases methane into the atmosphere for oxidation to carbon dioxide and water vapour. If the grass is burned, carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere. The cycle of atmospheric carbon dioxide via meat production and digestion removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then later releases this carbon dioxide back to its source. What’s the problem? Whether grass is used to grow meat, decomposed, or burned, no new carbon atoms are created in this carbon cycle and, by growing beef, some carbon atoms are removed from the cycle for short-term sequestration.

It is absolute nonsense to claim that beef farming accelerates hypothetical global warming. Carbon atoms are just being recycled. We are being conned with a scare campaign by unelected climate activists who want to control every aspect of our lives, including the source of our animal protein.

If beef is replaced on the menu by insects, then I’ll pass. I will get all my nutrients from 47 pints of Guinness, 2 glasses of milk, and one of orange juice each day.


Oxfordshire County Council’s climate crusade

Something funny is in the water in Oxfordshire. In recent months councillors there have embarked on a spree of unorthodox eco-measures, no doubt encouraged by the Green party’s gains in local elections. Back in March, TV star Jeremy Clarkson led a protest of farmers, enraged by the County Council’s decision to only provide ‘plant-based’ food at council meetings, even though it cost taxpayers more.

And now, Mr S has discovered the latest taxpayer-funded wheeze: a new website called ‘Climate Action Oxfordshire’ with some intriguing advice for the local subjects who funded it. Among its advice includes telling local residents to ‘adopt a plant-based diet’, ‘choose waste-free menstrual products’ and ‘choose ethical banking and investments.’ In a snub to Oxfordshire’s rural farming communities, the website directs users to the Vegan Society, claiming ‘With 58 per cent of our food emissions coming from animal products, consider taking the steps to go vegan.’ It also asks ‘Why not try going veggie for a month and see how it goes?’ This is despite the fact that red meat produced in Britain is among the most sustainable in the world, with cattle and sheep accounting for just 3.7 per cent of UK carbon emissions when the carbon stored in grassland is included.

Climate Action Oxfordshire also calls for divestment from fossil fuel companies and financial institutions investing in such products. It writes ‘Banks are companies that are required to make a profit. Right now, funding fossil fuels is profitable – but losing customers is not profitable. By pledging to move your money to a sustainable financial institution, you will send a message to your bank that it must defund fossil fuels.’ It also urges ‘do not be silent’ and urges ‘writing to your MP… whether that’s supporting MPs who are already supporting an environmental agenda or questioning those who could do more.’ Bet those in Westminster look forward to receiving those…

Billing itself as ‘one stop shop for tackling climate change in Oxfordshire,’ the site is endorsed by all the local authorities (including Tory-controlled Cherwell) and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Launched in early July, a Freedom of Information request shows that the website attracted an average number of just 55 unique users a day in its first three weeks – a somewhat low figure for the 700,000 strong population of Oxfordshire. The Countryside Alliance is now writing to all district leaders asking them to remove their endorsements. A spokesman told Mr S that:

No council, especially one that allegedly supports our farmers should have anything to do with a website that seeks to undermine their hard work. Challenging assumptions about the benefits of some plant-based products and the casual denigration of livestock farming matters because, if they are allowed to go unchallenged they threaten the sustainability of both the planet and the countryside.

Sounds like the right-on commissars of Oxfordshire haven’t herd the last of this…




Monday, August 15, 2022

Biden Administration, Wall Street Impede New Oil and Gas Investments

The oil and gas industry is looking to the future with caution, and plans for expanding production of fossil fuels appear to be limited.

At the Enercom Energy Investment conference in Denver this week, the oft-repeated mantra among CEOs was that they will use the bulk of their profits to pay down debt and return money to investors through stock buybacks and dividend payments, with significantly less emphasis on major new capital investments. In addition, executives highlighted their commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles for producing cleaner energy and addressing social justice issues.

As Democrats in Congress prepare to allocate $369 billion via the Inflation Reduction Act to subsidize electric cars and wind and solar energy, America’s oil and gas producers face an uphill battle. A shrinking supply of capital, a hostile regulatory environment, and shortages of materials and labor are creating significant hurdles against new drilling.

“I don’t want subsidies for our industry; we don’t need subsidies in our industry,” Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Energy, told The Epoch Times. “We just don’t want barriers standing in the way of us providing the energy that people in the world want and need.”

Wall Street Steps Back from Fossil Fuel Financing
Among those barriers are banks and investors cutting back financing for new fossil fuel projects, due to both economic and political factors. In line with the ESG movement, 114 banks, collectively representing 38 percent of global banking assets, signed the Commitment Statement of the UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance, in which they pledged to “transition” their lending portfolios to reduce greenhouse-gas (GNG) emissions and reach net-zero GNG emissions by 2050 or sooner. American banks that signed this pledge include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

Another global money club, Climate Action 100+, is “an investor-led initiative to ensure the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.” It has 700 investment companies as members, representing $68 trillion in assets, and includes asset managers such as BlackRock, State Street, Fidelity, Invesco, Fisher, and PIMCO; insurers such as Aegon, Allianz, and AXA; state pension funds like CalPERS, CalSTRS, New York State Common Retirement Fund, New York City Pension Funds, and Maryland State Retirement and Pension System; and university endowment funds from Harvard, MIT, and University of Rochester, among others.

In response, West Virginia and Texas recently barred banks that discriminate against fossil fuel companies from getting municipal banking contracts in their respective states. On July 28, for example, West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore announced that JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo would be placed on a Restricted Financial Institution List because they “are engaged in boycotts of fossil fuel companies, according to new state law, and are no longer eligible to enter into state banking contracts.”

“Each financial institution placed on the Restricted Financial Institution List today has published written environmental or social policies categorically limiting commercial relations with energy companies engaged in certain coal mining, extraction or utilization activities, rather than considering the financial or risk profile for each company,” Moore said in an official statement. “While the ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ or ‘ESG’ movement might be politically popular in California or New York, financial institutions need to understand their practices are hurting people across West Virginia.”

Last week, 19 state attorneys general sent letters to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink declaring that his efforts to impose the ESG agenda on companies whose shares it owns run counter to its fiduciary obligations to pensioners, intentionally harm America’s energy companies, and, to the extent that financial companies collude in this effort, raise anti-trust concerns. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with approximately $10 trillion in assets under management.

In a letter to Fink, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote, “BlackRock appears to use the hard-earned money of our states’ citizens to circumvent the best possible return on investment, as well as their vote. BlackRock’s past public commitments indicate that it has used citizens’ assets to pressure companies to comply with international agreements such as the Paris Agreement that force the phase-out of fossil fuels, increase energy prices, drive inflation, and weaken the national security of the United States.”

Global ESG Clubs Leave Oil and Gas Industry ‘Starved for Capital’

Oil and gas executives say the push to divest from fossil fuels by global organizations like Climate Action 100+, the UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero is having its intended effect.

“Our industry is being starved for capital,” Anthony Gallegos, CEO of Independence Contract Drilling, told The Epoch Times, noting that banks are increasingly unwilling to provide revolving lines of credit or asset-based lending facilities [ABLFs] to the oil and gas industry. “There’s probably a third as many banks today that are willing to provide revolvers and ABLFs to [oil and gas] service companies compared to what there would have been six years ago,” he said. “There are investors, there are endowments, there are limited partnerships, some of which have historically invested in energy, that today have a mandate that they cannot make investments in fossil fuel industries.”


Climate Change, Is t Impacting Key European crops

A search of Google news for the phrase “climate change,” today turns up a story in Trade Finance Global (TFG) which claims climate change is harming key European crops, exacerbating a food crisis created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This claim is wrong. In the story, TFG made the all too common, yet scientifically unjustifiable, mistake of conflating a single season’s suboptimal weather with long-term climate change. Data shows over the past 30 years, the period over which climate change is measured, each of the crops discussed in the TFG article have increased dramatically.

In the article titled, “‘Heatflation’ warning as 2022 EU crop harvests affected by climate change,” TFG reporter Lisa Mendes writes:

As much of Europe bakes in the latest heatwave, fears are growing about what’s being dubbed ‘heatflation’ – climate change-driven staple crop losses that could see already inflated food prices reach new highs this autumn, deepening the cost-of-living crisis.

A lack of spring rainfall, combined with drought and freak storms, have spoiled crops in Italy, France, and Spain, with many farmers and agricultural associations warning that this year’s continental crop yields will be significantly smaller than usual.

Already, continental yields of crops such as soybean, sunflower, and maize were 9 percent below average, according to an EU bulletin published last month.

Attributing a single year’s weather events and crop declines to climate change is illegitimate. As explained in numerous previous Climate Realism posts, here and here, for example, weather is not climate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration clearly defines weather as “[R]eflect[ing] short-term conditions of the atmosphere while climate is the average daily weather for an extended period of time at a certain location. … Weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season.”

The standard period for recognizing a change in climate is an average change or trend in conditions for a location or region of 30 years or more, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization.

There has been no consistent trend or change in Europe’s climate over the past 30 years. Also, although farmers may be reporting below average production for the crops discussed in the TFG article this year, as history shows, and as any long-time farmer or farm family could tell Mendes if she had asked, it is common for crop production to wax and wane along with variable weather conditions from year to year. A single down year for crop production is not evidence of climate change.

Data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization undermine any claim that climate change has negatively impacted the production of corn (maize), soybeans, or sunflowers across Europe amid modest warming since 1990. FAO’s crop tracker finds for Europe, between 1990 and 2020:

Maize production increased by more than 127 percent;
Soybean production grew by more than 218 percent;
Sunflower production expanded by more than 184 percent.

Europe crop production

Europe is suffering under a heatwave and associated drought. However, such events have been common throughout the continent’s history. A single year of hot, dry weather conditions does not constitute proof of climate change, nor does a single year’s crop decline. Weather and crop production are both notoriously fickle, as Mendes and TFG should know. Real world data indicate long term weather conditions have not significantly changed across Europe, and crop production has, in fact, increased. The idea that climate change is causing “staple crop losses” is just false.


Weather, Not Climate Change, Caused Yellowstone Flooding

An article in the Billings Gazette claims that severe flooding in Yellowstone National Park will become more common and frequent due to climate change. This claim is false. Data does not show any increase in flood events amid modest warming. The atmospheric river event this spring was not unprecedented, and weather events themselves cannot be proof of climate change.

The article, “The Yellowstone flood was a historic disaster. Climate change means it won’t be the last,” written by Casper-Star Tribune reporter Nicole Pollack, propagates unsubstantiated claims from climate alarmists. She neglects to mention any of the conflicting data.

Pollack says the odds of having an extreme flooding event are higher today than they ever have been. She quotes several scientists who repeat the same idea, that climate change makes “bigger, faster” floods more likely than before. Besides this being an unfalsifiable and untestable claim, it also conflicts with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says about flooding.

Climate at a Glance: Floods points out that the IPCC says there is only “low confidence” that there is even a “sign” of change to the frequency or severity of flooding. It has “low confidence” that climate change impacts flooding at all. Some regions of the world have seen more flooding, others less, it cannot be attributed to global climate trends.

A study looking at flooding in the U.S. and Europe in the Journal of Hydrology says that “The number of significant [flooding] trends was about the number expected due to chance alone.”

Despite population growth in areas near water sources like rivers and lakes, the cost of flooding the U.S. as a proportion of GDP has gone down over time. (See Figure 1 below)

Two events coincided to create this June’s Yellowstone flooding: the heavy rain due to an atmospheric river event, and preexisting late-season snowpack. Since global warming is supposed to reduce springtime snow extent, it can’t be blamed for the latter.

As for the former; atmospheric river events, as explained by meteorologist Anthony Watts in a Climate Realism post, “Science Demonstrates Media Claims the Washington and British Columbia Floods Were Caused by ‘Climate Change’ Is False,” are not always caused by warming, either. Such was the case with flooding in British Columbia during the fall of 2021, where weather was cool to normal along the path of the atmospheric river. The same can be said for Yellowstone—a cool spring was present when the river formed. These are localized weather events, not climate, which is an average of weather over a 30-year period.

Also notable is that most of the flooding caused by this most recent atmospheric river was in Montana, where the precipitation trend has been relatively stable since 1900, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The same dataset shows that the state record for highest annual precipitation is still held by the year 1927.

Every time an interesting or record-breaking weather event happens, the media and alarmists flock to attribute it to climate change, regardless of what the long-term data show. As opposed to educating the public, all this kind of coverage does is confuse and frighten people. The goal is likely to scare people so badly, they will end up supporting government policies that are supposed to somehow stop bad weather from happening. Climate alarmism can only exist where real data is ignored or hidden. In this case, data on flooding simply does not back up the story.


96% of U.S. climate data is corrupted

A new study, Corrupted Climate Stations: The Official U.S. Surface Temperature Record Remains Fatally Flawed, finds approximately 96 percent of U.S. temperature stations used to measure climate change fail to meet what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) considers to be “acceptable” and uncorrupted placement by its own published standards.

The report, published by The Heartland Institute, was compiled via satellite and in-person survey visits to NOAA weather stations that contribute to the “official” land temperature data in the United States. The research shows that 96% of these stations are corrupted by localized effects of urbanization – producing heat-bias because of their close proximity to asphalt, machinery, and other heat-producing, heat-trapping, or heat-accentuating objects. Placing temperature stations in such locations violates NOAA’s own published standards (see section 3.1 at this link), and strongly undermines the legitimacy and the magnitude of the official consensus on long-term climate warming trends in the United States.

“With a 96 percent warm-bias in U.S. temperature measurements, it is impossible to use any statistical methods to derive an accurate climate trend for the U.S.” said Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Anthony Watts, the director of the study. “Data from the stations that have not been corrupted by faulty placement show a rate of warming in the United States reduced by almost half compared to all stations.”

NOAA’s “Requirements and Standards for [National Weather Service] Climate Observations” instructs that temperature data instruments must be “over level terrain (earth or sod) typical of the area around the station and at least 100 feet from any extensive concrete or paved surface.” And that “all attempts will be made to avoid areas where rough terrain or air drainage are proven to result in non-representative temperature data.” This new report shows that instruction is regularly violated.




Sunday, August 14, 2022

Europe’s heatwaves, droughts put focus on climate change risks

This is really brain-dead stuff. Have we forgotten that global warming is supposed to be global? And how many halves does the globe's atmosphere have? TWO. So if the Northern hemisphere droughts are caused by global warming, there must be similar droughts in the Southern hemisphere too.

Except that there aren't. I live in Australia in the Southern hemisphere. And Australia is being plagued by record and very damaging FLOODS. So globally, the weather is on average normal. Air and ocean currents move weather about so what seems to be happening is that they have moved Northern precipitation Southward, with no overall change involved

Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are enduring severe droughts this summer.

Italy’s worst drought in decades has reduced Lake Garda, the country’s largest, to near its lowest level ever recorded and warming the water to temperatures that approach the average in the Caribbean Sea.

Northern Italy has not seen significant rainfall for months, and snowfall this year was down 70 percent, drying up vital waterways such as the Po River, which flows across Italy’s agricultural and industrial heartland.

Successive heatwaves have also renewed the focus on climate change risks for Europe.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre warned this week that drought conditions will get worse and potentially affect 47 percent of the continent.

Andrea Toreti, a senior researcher at the European Drought Observatory, said a drought in 2018 was so extreme that there were no similar events in the last 500 years, “but this year, I think, it is really worse”.

For the next three months, “we see still a very high risk of dry conditions over Western and Central Europe, as well as the UK”, Toreti said.

Current conditions result from long periods of dry weather caused by changes in world weather systems, said meteorologist Peter Hoffmann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin.

“It’s just that in summer we feel it the most,” he said. “But actually the drought builds up across the year.”

Climate change has lessened temperature differences between regions, sapping the forces that drive the jet stream, which normally brings wet Atlantic weather to Europe, he said.

A weaker or unstable jet stream can bring unusually hot air to Europe from North Africa, leading to prolonged periods of heat. The reverse is also true when a polar vortex of cold air from the Arctic can cause freezing conditions far south of where it would normally reach.

Hoffmann said observations in recent years have all been at the upper end of what existing climate models predicted.,47%20percent%20of%20the%20continent .


Climate warrior Dems silent on Manchin bill's oil and gas leasing provisions

Democrats who have loudly opposed Big Oil and fossil fuel development on public lands were silent Friday when asked about the Inflation Reduction Act's energy provisions.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced in late July, includes a series of provisions requiring the federal government to hold oil and gas lease sales spanning millions of acres on federal lands and waters. The legislation, which is backed by President Biden, was passed along party lines Sunday in the Senate.

"This is a climate suicide pact," Brett Hartl, the government affairs director at environmental group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), said after Manchin unveiled the bill. "It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction."

"The new leasing required in this bill will fan the flames of the climate disasters torching our country, and it’s a slap in the face to the communities fighting to protect themselves from filthy fossil fuels," he continued.

The bill would require the federal government to reinstate Lease Sale 257, an offshore lease sale stretching across 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, and to hold three other offshore lease sales that the Biden administration abruptly canceled in May. The sales include one in the Cook Inlet of Alaska across 1.09 million acres.

Another provision of the bill tethers new renewable energy leases to additional fossil fuel leases. Under the bill, the Interior Department is prohibited from issuing wind or solar permits unless it issued an onshore oil and gas permit during the previous 120-day period and at least two million acres of land was leased for oil and gas development during the previous year.

Several environmental and conservation groups, in addition to the CBD, have also expressed their concern with the bill over the last two weeks. EarthJustice, the Climate Justice Alliance and Friends of the Earth ripped the provisions benefiting oil companies.

"Friends of the Earth stands in solidarity with the climate justice and environmental justice organizations and communities that are expressing deep concern or opposition to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022," Erich Pica, the president of the environmental protection group, said last week. "Their voices must be honored and heard. The process of drafting this legislation was anti-democratic and non-transparent."

Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Department of the Interior's plans to move forward with Lease Sale 257. In January, a federal court sided with Friends of the Earth and the Biden administration opted against appealing the ruling.

However, prominent Democratic lawmakers who have been critics of the oil industry have chosen to stay silent on the provisions.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks to extend life of state's last operating nuclear power plant

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing to extend the life of the state’s last operating nuclear power plant by at least five to 10 years to maintain reliable power supplies in the climate change era.

A draft bill obtained Friday by The Associated Press said the plan would allow the plant to continue operating beyond a scheduled closing by 2025.

The draft proposal also includes a possible loan for operator Pacific Gas & Electric for up to $1.4 billion.

The proposal was confirmed by Newsom spokesman Anthony York. The bill says impacts of climate change are occurring sooner than anticipated and are simultaneously driving up electrical demand while reducing power supplies.

The draft was obtained ahead of a California Energy Commission meeting on the state’s energy needs and the role the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant could play.


Green Energy Credits are Currently a Tax Shelter for Wall Street Banks

Tax credits have been a go-to move for the U.S. government to incentivize renewable energy project developers for years. Yet substantial profits are ending up in the pockets of the corporate banking industry.

As of last year, the renewable tax equity market represents a $20 billion industry for big banks.

The timing is auspicious for financial lenders since President Joe Biden’s retooled Build Back Better Act includes an additional $550 billion in clean energy incentives.

Historically, credits for renewable projects have been used to entice new investors to jump on the green energy bandwagon.

Yet because of the lack of practical use on the front end, many entrepreneurs seek tax equity investment partners in exchange for working capital to get the project rolling.

“Similar situation as the movie industry; you need the banks to fund the projects, so they get the tax breaks,” certified public accountant (CPA) Paul Miller told The Epoch Times.

Miller is the managing partner of Miller & Co, and explained energy projects can cost billions of dollars and it’s challenging to develop them without having a financial institution on board.

“If you were an investor, you’d benefit from these tax savings, which again why a lot of billionaires are [involved] in these investments.”

When it comes to tax breaks, new companies looking to get into green energy usually don’t owe money when they start building. So many solar and wind farm companies enter with a clean slate.

That means if the developers want to get any mileage out of the credits the government is offering, a third party financial partner—generally known as a tax equity partner—is needed.

And the majority of these are key players in the corporate banking industry.

Between 2020 and 2021, more than 50 percent of the tax equity market was controlled by two banks: JP Morgan and Bank of America.

Other legacy financial institutions with sizeable investments in the tax equity market include Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and Credit Suisse.

“All tax credits in the United States are geared towards the largest taxpayers … This is because the tax code contains significant hurdles,” Warren Kirshenbaum told The Epoch Times.

Kirshenbaum is the CEO of Cherry Tree Group, which specializes in helping people sell their tax credits while getting individuals, trusts, and closely-held corporations the same benefits enjoyed by more prominent financial players.

He explained larger taxpayers have routinely used the vast majority of available tax credits, making it harder for companies who pay fewer taxes to qualify and secure the incentive credits.

“This has led to smaller developers not being able to secure tax equity financing, which can affect the marketplace,” Kirshenbaum said.

Some industry experts think the current structure for tax credits is a hindrance for small developers and community-scale projects.

“With the current set-up, most developers don’t have the option to keep the credits,” tax specialist Kari Brummond told The Epoch Times.

Brummond says developers usually need cash upfront for their projects, but if they were able to keep the credits, they would end up with more money in the long run.

“They end up losing a lot in fees when they sell the credits to investors,” she said.

Bank investors usually snap up low-income housing and historic tax credits first. However, Kirshenbaum notes that renewable energy credits have become a more popular investment in recent years because it’s claimable in one tax year. Low-income housing and historic tax credits are 10-year and five-year credits, respectively.

“Additionally, the accelerated and bonus depreciation rules for solar assets allow the claiming of an enormous amount of depreciation in the first year or two which is quite advantageous to taxpayers,” Kirshenbaum said.

And while many experts assert big banks have been offered an unintentional tax shelter in the form of green energy incentives, some disagree.

Director of renewable energy and sustainable technologies for the tax equity investment firm Foss & Company, Bryen Alperin, told The Epoch Times the government is still incentivizing renewable energy projects, which was the ultimate goal a the end of the day.

“They [the government] have determined that rather than collecting the tax revenue, then writing cash grants to renewable energy projects, it’s more efficient to incentivize taxpayers to directly invest in the renewable energy projects.

“The taxpayer is still paying into the ‘social good’ with their money, they just have more control over how it is used,” Alperin said.




Friday, August 12, 2022

The ridiculous predictions of the reef dementors

Peter Ridd

Harry Potter fans know what a Dementor is. To quote Remus Lupin it is a creature that:

"glories in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you."

I am reminded of Dementors when I hear the usual scaremongers claim the reef is still doomed despite the wonderful news last week that the Great Barrier Reef recorded the highest amount of coral since records began in 1986. The reef has never had more coral despite supposedly having suffered four devastating, unprecedented bleaching events since 2016 – all due to climate change.

Corals take five to ten years to recover so it is clear that reef-science institutions have been misleading the world about the bleaching events. How could there have been up to 93 per cent coral loss in 2016 alone, and much more in 2017, 2020 and 2022 if we now have record high coral cover?

We should look at the predictions of the reef-Dementors in 2012 when it had relatively low coral cover after a couple of huge cyclones passed across the reef. The waves from the cyclones killed corals in an area bigger than Belgium and Holland – not huge by Australian standards, but still a fair bit of coral. Eminent Dementors stated:

"coral cover in the central and southern regions of the GBR is likely to decline to 5–10% by 2022. The future of the GBR therefore depends on decisive action."

This has been proven to be a ridiculous prediction. It’s not just a bit wrong – it’s as wrong as it possibly could be. The reef’s coral cover in 2022 is roughly four times higher than predicted, and now at record levels. The only decisive action taken was by the coral – it grew back, like it always does.

But the reef Dementors can still find ways to scare children even with this great news. Apparently, the species composition of the reef is changing. It is becoming dominated by plate and staghorn corals that are the most susceptible to bleaching and cyclones. So, all this growth has made the reef very susceptible to future damage from climate change. It is doubtless at a ‘tipping point’ – only one major event away from oblivion. I already feel hope draining from my soul. Here was I thinking more coral was a good thing.

Let us ignore the fact that these delicate staghorn and plate/tabular corals are the most spectacular of the reef and provide safe harbour for the iridescent fish that give the reef its colour – and we have more of them than ever. Ignore even that this type of coral is the first to be damaged by cyclones – the biggest cause of temporary coral loss – and the first to recover, by definition changing the species mix on a reef.

Better to remember the Patronus Charm – the spell to counter a Dementor – which is to recall what the Dementors said after the ‘devastating’ 2016 climate bleaching event:

"Fast-growing staghorn and tabular corals suffered a catastrophic die-off, transforming the three dimensionality and ecological functioning… (of the reef and)… changing (the reef) forever, as the intensity of global warming continues to escalate."

So, in 2016 the loss of staghorn coral was a disaster but in 2022 its regrowth is a disaster. And the change that was supposed to last ‘forever’ lasted until 2022. There is only one word for this. Ridiculous.

To deal with Dementors, Harry Potter practiced his magic on another creature called a Boggart. Boggarts have no definite physical form but appear as the thing you most fear – for Harry, this was a Dementor. To destroy a Boggart, you must make it appear laughable. The magic spell, with correct spelling, is Riddikulus. Thanks J.K.!

Reef scaremongers are not fearsome Dementors, they are common-or-garden Boggarts and it is time to laugh at them. They are nothing to fear as their credibility has been destroyed by the wonderful condition of the reef.

They have been crying wolf since the 1960s when they said the reef was doomed from crown-of-thorns starfish plagues. Their desperate attempts to find bad news in the latest fabulous statistics make them look even more pathetic. Boggart sycophants in mainstream media who practise the dark arts of deceiving the public, withholding vital information, and scaring children must also be ridiculed.

Be in no doubt that Boggarts fear derision. In 2018, I was fired from James Cook University after breaking the rules of the Ministry of Magic by casting a Riddikulus spell which demonstrated major quality assurance problems in reef-science.

It showed that a reef that was supposed to have no coral was flourishing, and a warming climate is almost certainly good for reefs because corals grow faster in warmer water. One of the many things the university Boggarts formally charged me with was ‘satire’ for making fun of them.

The biggest hurdle stopping people accepting the latest statistics showing the reef is fine, is the corollary of the proposition. If the reef is fine, the scientific institutions have deceived us for decades. To most people this is worse than the thought that the reef is doomed. We have been told since childhood that scientists must always be believed. The idea that some are untrustworthy is too horrible to contemplate. For most people, their Boggart is that the institutions they trusted are corrupt. I understand that but we must help them laugh.


Delaware: What a coral reef misconduct claim says about climate science

On Monday, I wrote here about how the Great Barrier Reef is defying predictions of its own demise, bouncing back from a mass bleaching event last year to show the greatest vegetation cover in 37 years of observations. Now comes news that a prominent scientist involved in some of the doom-mongering work over coral reefs has been found guilty by her own university of misconduct in her research.

According to the draft report of an investigative committee convened by the University of Delaware – and seen by Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – Danielle Dixson fabricated and falsified data relating to fish behaviour and the health of coral reefs. The report states: ‘The Committee was repeatedly struck by a serial pattern of sloppiness, poor recordkeeping, copying and pasting within spreadsheets, errors within many papers under investigation, and deviation from established animal ethics protocols.’ Dixson has stated she ‘vigorously denies all and any allegations of wrongdoing’ and will appeal.

The Delaware University committee has asked for three of her papers, published in prominent journals, to be withdrawn. One of them, for example, found that fish attracted to healthy reefs were repelled by the kinds of seaweeds which grow on reefs which have previously been degraded. Other papers have claimed that rising acidification of the oceans, linked to rising global temperatures, can disorientate fish, causing them to swim towards their predators. Whistleblowers say their suspicions were aroused when they calculated that Dixson would not have had enough time to collect the data recorded in some of her papers. Dixson’s lawyer claims that a group of scientists had ‘targeted’ Dixson by sharing the accusations and prevented her from having a fair hearing.

The University of Delaware’s findings are, of course, no reflection on the work of many other scientists who have warned that rising ocean temperatures threaten the future of coral reefs. However, they are a reminder that science does not become settled just because a paper appears in a peer-reviewed journal. With passions running so high in the climate debate, and with so much at stake over climate policy, the need to enforce rigour in scientific research has never been greater.


Green Rare-Earths Push Destroys Myanmar Forest

The birds no longer sing, and the herbs no longer grow. The fish no longer swim in rivers that have turned a murky brown. The animals do not roam, and the cows are sometimes found dead.

The people in this northern Myanmar forest have lost a way of life that goes back generations. But if they complain, they, too, face the threat of death.

This forest is the source of several key metallic elements known as rare earths, often called the vitamins of the modern world. Rare earths now reach into the lives of almost everyone on the planet, turning up in everything from hard drives and cellphones to elevators and trains. They are especially vital to the fast-growing field of green energy, feeding wind turbines and electric car engines. And they end up in the supply chains of some of the most prominent companies in the world, including General Motors, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Tesla and Apple.

But an AP investigation has found that their universal use hides a dirty open secret in the industry: Their cost is environmental destruction, the theft of land from villagers and the funneling of money to brutal militias, including at least one linked to Myanmar’s secretive military government. As demand soars for rare earths along with green energy, the abuses are likely to grow.

“This rapid push to build out mining capacity is being justified in the name of climate change,” said Julie Michelle Klinger, author of the book “Rare Earths Frontiers,” who is leading a federal project to trace illicit energy minerals. “There’s still this push to find the right place to mine them, which is a place that is out of sight and out of mind.”

The AP investigation drew on dozens of interviews, customs data, corporate records and Chinese academic papers, along with satellite imagery and geological analysis gathered by the environmental non-profit Global Witness, to tie rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies.

About a third of the companies responded. Of those, about two-thirds didn’t or wouldn’t comment on their sourcing, including Volkswagen, which said it was conducting due diligence for rare earths. Nearly all said they took environmental protection and human rights seriously.

Some companies said they audited their rare earth supply chains; others didn’t or required only supplier self-assessments. GM said it understood “the risks of heavy rare earths metals” and would source from an American supplier soon.

Tesla did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and Mercedes said they contacted suppliers to learn more in response to this story. Apple said “a majority” of their rare earths were recycled and they found “no evidence” of any from Myanmar, but experts say in general there is usually no way to make sure.

Just as dirty rare earths trickle down the supply chains of companies, they also slip through the cracks of regulation.

In 2010, in response to war in the Congo, Congress required companies to disclose the origin of so-called conflict minerals — tantalum, tin, gold and tungsten — and promise their sourcing does not benefit armed groups. But the law does not cover rare earths. Audits are left up to individual companies, and no single agency is held accountable.

The State Department, which leads work on securing the U.S. rare earths supply, did not respond to repeated requests for comment. But experts say the government weighs the regulation of rare earths against other green goals, such as the sales and use of electric vehicles. With ongoing negotiations in Congress, the issue has become increasingly touchy, they say.

Rare earths are also omitted from the European Union’s 2021 regulation on conflict minerals. A European Commission statement noted gaps in oversight of the supply chain stretching to Europe, and said “it is yet unclear how” a Chinese push to regulate rare earths will work.

With no regulation or alternatives, companies have quietly continued shipping rare earths without environmental, social and governance audits, known as ESG.

“What would be the result if now the world would say, ‘We want to do ESG audits on all rare earths production’?” said Thomas Kruemmer, director of Ginger International Trade & Investment, which does mineral and metal supply chain management. “The result would be that 70% of production would need to be closed down.”


Australia: The Greens are the biggest threat to black/white reconciliation

What do senators Pauline Hanson and Lidia Thorpe have in common? Not a lot it would seem although both routinely engage in haughty displays, dog-and-pony shows in the Senate chamber. But there is one issue that unites them. They are both opposed to the constitutional recognition of First Australians.

In May 2017, 250 delegates from the 100-plus indigenous nations gathered at Uluru for the National Constitution Convention. It was the largest assembly of First Nations leaders in recorded Australian history and at the end of it came the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru Statement is a 440-word invitation from First Australians for us all to join them on a journey of reconciliation. It was presented to the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and then Opposition leader, Bill Shorten in traditional artistic form.

The statement, in part, reads:

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The Makarrata Commission is sometimes loosely associated with a treaty, but it is more than that. Makarrata is a word from the Yolngu language in northeast Arnhem Land that has many layered meanings, but in the context of the Uluru Statement, it is a meeting or meetings where a negotiated settlement is reached through truth telling.

Voice. Treaty. Truth.

As the delegates met at Uluru to prepare a united message, seven of them walked out in a huff. They appeared before the media later that day. They were all from New South Wales and Victoria. One of them, Lidia Thorpe, then a Greens candidate for the Victorian Legislative Assembly in the seat of Northcote said, “We as sovereign First Nations people reject constitutional recognition. We do not recognise occupying power or their sovereignty, because it serves to disempower, and takes away our voice.

“We need to protect and preserve our sovereignty. “We demand a sovereign treaty with an independent sovereign treaty commission, and appropriate funds allocated.”

The Referendum Council in Uluru acknowledged the process was a difficult one but continued on. Anangu delegate and Uluru resident, Alison Hunt reminded the assembly that the conference was being held on sacred land, “where you are talking and standing on, and visitors need to understand that.

“We have to be united,” she said.

The Australian Greens were the first political party to endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart. But in 2020 when Lidia Thorpe filled the casual vacancy left by former party leader, Richard di Natale, that changed.

In election mode at the National Press Club in April, Greens leader Adam Bandt, a white Australian lawyer turned politician, determined the sequence must be altered. Not voice, treaty and truth but truth, treaty and voice.

“If we really want success to happen,” Bandt said at the NPC. “It’s a mistake to do it in any other order. We need to do it in that order where we tell the truth, then strike a treaty, and that will put us in the best position for reforms like the Voice to succeed.”

That remark is the very definition of paternalism, up-ending an agreement made by the overwhelming majority of Australia’s indigenous leaders, seeking to impose the narrow view of an absolute minority.

With Thorpe as the deputy leader of the party in the Senate, there has been another element to the party’s factional colour chart of red greens and blue greens. Now there is the group led by Thorpe known colloquially as “Blak Greens.”

The Greens’ shift came amid allegations of bullying and harassment of a number of its indigenous members who wanted to stay true to the Uluru Statement. In an op-ed for Nine Media published in the wake of Bandt’s NPC address, James Blackwell, a Wiradjuri man and researcher at Australian National University, wrote that followers of the Uluru Statement were no longer welcome in the Greens.

Blackwell claimed he had suffered bullying and harassment from senior party members including preselected federal candidates and this led him to resign his membership of the party.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Jill Gallagher, AO, a Gunditjmara woman also resigned from the party believing, “the Greens had no right to reorder the sequence of the Uluru Statement.”

As Indigenous Minister Linda Burney has said repeatedly, a great deal of community consultation is required before a referendum question goes before the parliament but the greatest threat to a successful referendum leading to an Indigenous voice comes from the Left.

The question is, when the parliament considers and votes on the wording of the referendum question, will Lidia Thorpe and Pauline Hanson be voting as one in an attempt to reject it in the Senate? Adam Bandt has said he won’t block the legislation but the party’s position on the Uluru Statement has swung wildly in the space of five years.




Thursday, August 11, 2022

Germany debates lifting fracking ban as it confronts energy supply crisis

Germany’s energy supply crisis has sparked a national political debate about whether the country should lift its ban on fracking to allow development of untapped natural-gas reserves.

As a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, there is growing concern in Germany that Moscow will completely cut off its gas supplies. Russia has already reduced gas to 20 per cent through its Nord Stream 1 pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

German energy minister Robert Habeck has been travelling the planet looking for alternative energy supplies, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be vising Canada this month to strengthen energy ties.

The fracking debate is splitting along political lines, with left-leaning parties, including the Greens and the ruling Social Democrats, opposed. Parties representing liberals and conservatives say the move is necessary as shortages are expected to hit Germany this winter and over the next few years. They say the country should allow testing and exploration to see if fracking is viable.

“The significant expansion of domestic natural-gas production will make us independent and restore our energy sovereignty,” Michael Kruse, energy policy spokesman of the libertarian Free Democratic Party (FDP) told The Globe and Mail. “It makes more ecological sense to extract this urgently needed gas here on land in safe environments and thus reduce overseas transports,” Mr. Kruse said.

Elsewhere in Europe, fracking is also up for reconsideration. In Britain, there have been calls to lift a moratorium. In the Netherlands, there is a debate over extending fracking production in Europe’s biggest gas field, which is scheduled to end this year.

Germany is also considering extending the lifespan of nuclear plants. The European Parliament recently declared nuclear and natural gas as green energy sources under its climate plan.

Germany has extensive gas reserves, but they are not under development because of the fear of earthquakes and pollution from fracking, which injects high-pressure fluids deep underground to fracture rocks and release shale gas.

Fracking of shale gas has been banned In Germany since 2017; only four test borings for scientific purposes are allowed. But these test drillings haven’t been carried out so far.

“Test drilling in shale-gas fields has not been considered by the extraction companies because of existing political opposition,” said the German Federal Association of Natural Gas, Petroleum and Geoenergy (BVEG).

Some German states, which would have to agree to such test boring, have rejected the idea. The Lower Saxony state, which has the country’s largest shale-gas reserves, is instead pushing for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, some of which is currently under construction on the north coast. The LNG terminals could then import fracking gas from the U.S. or natural gas from Canada.

According to a report by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, the reserves of shale gas in Germany are at more than two trillion cubic metres. Extraction would only be possible through fracking. However, it is unclear whether this volume can be extracted in its entirety.

This amount corresponds to 20 times the annual gas consumption in Germany, which is 100 billion cubic metres, according to BVEG.

The potential production of shale gas would be up to 10 billion cubic metres per year. That could cover 10 per cent of German gas needs and could limit additional LNG imports, said Ludwig Moehring, BVEG’s chief executive. Reducing dependence on LNG imports would in turn put pressure on wholesale prices.

The German government’s expert commission on fracking concluded last year that the technology should be manageable and estimates the environmental risks of shale-gas extraction to be relatively low.

Technological methods for development have advanced in recent years, the commission’s report says. Drillings are closely monitored by sensors, and development prospects are now accurately predicted.

Even if the fracking ban were lifted, German fracked gas would still not be available for at least two winters.

Mr. Moehring pointed out that the approval procedures probably would need a “lead time of several years.” Also, the knowledge about the technology must be restored, he said, because German exploration companies had already abandoned fracking years ago.

Companies operating in Germany, such as Exxon Mobil, would have to draw on the expertise of their U.S. parent companies. The technology has been tried and tested many times around the world.

Fracked gas from the U.S. arrives already on the European market and reaches Germany via ports such as Rotterdam in the Netherlands.


Ex-Cabinet minister Lord Frost says there is no evidence world is facing ‘a climate emergency’ and Britain should end focus on ‘medieval’ wind power and go all in for nuclear and fracking

Ex-Cabinet minister Lord Frost has insisted there is no climate 'emergency' and urged the next prime minister to move away from 'medieval technology' such as wind power.

The former Brexit negotiator, who is backing Liz Truss for the Tory leadership, hit out at a 'totally unrealistic approach to climate and energy policy' over the past two decades.

He demanded Britain change tack from 'managing demand' for energy and instead put greater emphasis on fracking and nuclear power, as well as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Calling for a 'pragmatic' response to climate change - which the Conservative peer said was just 'one of the many' problems facing the UK - Lord Frost blasted an approach that asked the public to 'up-end the whole way our societies work'.

Lord Frost's support for Ms Truss during the Tory leadership contest has prompted speculation he could return to the Cabinet - or become the new PM's chief of staff - should the Foreign Secretary win the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

He was Mr Johnson's chief Brexit negotiator before being given a Cabinet role in March last year. But Lord Frost quit the Government last December with a swipe at the 'direction of travel' of Mr Johnson's administration on Covid restrictions, net-zero ambitions and tax rises.

During the Tory leadership contest, both Ms Truss and her challenger Rishi Sunak have said they would support fracking in Britain if local communities supported it.

This has left open the possibility of a change of direction in UK energy policy under a new PM, with Mr Johnson having used his premiership to call for Britain to become the 'Saudi Arabia of wind power'.

Mr Johnson also banned fracking in England within months of taking office, although he has paved the way for a reconsideration of the moratorium on shale gas extraction amid the current energy crisis.

The outgoing PM also pledged to build a nuclear power plant a year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has forced Western countries to end their reliance on oil and gas from Moscow.

In a new essay for the Policy Exchange thinktank, Lord Frost outlined how a new PM could alter the Government's approach as he hit out at the 'insidious effects of 20 years of a totally unrealistic approach to climate and energy policy'.

'The current evidence does not support the assertion that we are in a climate “emergency”,' the Tory peer wrote, as he delivered a fresh swipe at Mr Johnson's climate policies.

'Rather, the effects of climate change are a problem, one of the many we face, and should be tackled in that pragmatic way rather than by asking us to up-end the whole way our societies work.

'Western society, and indeed world civilisation, depends on copious supplies of energy.

'Yet the prevailing mood is one in which individuals are asked to restrict their use of energy and in which unsatisfactory renewables technology is touted as the best solution to our problems.

'Instead of focusing on technological solutions that enable us to master our environment and get more energy in a more carbon-efficient way — nuclear, CCS, fracking, one day fusion – we have focused on managing demand so we can use medieval technology like wind power.'

Lord Frost despaired at how Britons are told by climate activists to 'stop travelling, live local, eat less, stop eating meat, turn our lights out, and generally to stop being a burden'.

'As most of us are generally reluctant to do this as individuals, the state has had to step in, with smart meters, heat pumps, LTZs (limited traffic zones), unsatisfactory electric cars, tailored taxation measures, and “nudges”,' he added.

'We have all gradually got used to this, and indeed internalised it, so that it seems normal to be lectured about the moral aspects of virtually every choice in our everyday lives.'

The peer said this had led to a 'further loss of trust in free market economics' but argued there was 'overwhelming evidence that socialist systems have worse environmental outcomes'.

Ben Goldsmith, the chair of the Conservative Environment Network, hit back at Lord Frost's claims.

'Electricity generated from the wind is four times cheaper than electricity generated from gas,' he said. 'I wonder if David Frost has looked at these figures. This article looks about two decades out of date. 'Being four times more expensive than wind, expensive gas should be used to generate power only as a back-up when needed.'


‘Outrageous’: EPA Agents Are Flying Helicopters Over Texas Oil Fields To Crack Down On Methane Emissions From Drilling

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 6 department is conducting helicopter flyovers over the Permian Basin to identify “super-emitters” of methane gas among oil and gas operations, according to an Aug. 1 news release.

The flyovers will use infrared cameras to inspect hundreds of oil and gas activities in the Permian Basin region of West Texas and southeast New Mexico until Aug. 15, according to the press release. The agency hopes to use aerial surveillance to identify large emitters of methane and excessive volatile organic compound (VOC), emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids which may cause adverse health effects, as well as address any noncompliance indicated by the flyovers through EPA administrative enforcement actions and referrals to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It’s just a way to intimidate the oil and gas industry,” Steve Milloy, member of former President Donald Trump’s EPA transition team, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The EPA’s conduct is outrageous.”

A technician on board the helicopter will record the time, GPS location and other details regarding the source of emissions after detecting hydrocarbon emissions. The federal agency will use this data to locate the source of the emissions and then question facility managers about the violations.

The EPA can impose severe fines on offenders and continue to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re taking the necessary steps to address excessive emissions.

“Biden’s EPA is doing everything to make gas prices higher,” Milloy said.

The area creates large amounts of methane and VOC emissions that are contributing to climate change and poor air quality, according to the press release. VOCs can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, nausea, migraines, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system, according to the EPA.

“There’s no place in the United States where air quality threatens anybody’s health, even the worst air quality may technically violate EPA standards, but none of that is a health risk,” Milloy stated.

“The flyovers are vital to identifying which facilities are responsible for the bulk of these emissions and therefore where reductions are most urgently needed,” said Region 6 administrator Dr. Earthea Nance in a press release.

The EPA proposed new regulations on the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions in November 2021. The agency is mulling whether to declare areas of West Texas and eastern New Mexico in violation of federal limits on ozone pollution.

Helicopter Surveillance of the Permian Basin, which accounts for roughly 40% of the nation’s oil supply, began in 2019.


The reef strikes back

Figures released last week show record coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. It is hardly a surprise that its demise has been greatly exaggerated.

When Greens leader Adam Bandt recently declared that ‘the Great Barrier Reef will die,’ one could confidently predict that the opposite was true. When US president Barack Obama said in 2015 that ‘the incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened,’ it was as likely to be correct as his modest prediction that his nomination as Democratic presidential candidate was, ‘the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal’. When Tim Flannery said, ‘we’re heading for a future where the Great Barrier Reef is a coral graveyard,’ who could forget his advice in 2007 that because Australia’s soil is warmer and its plants are under more stress, ‘even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems’. If only.

The only person to be vindicated by the news of the reef’s rude good health is Peter Ridd, who was head of James Cook University’s physics department and Marine Geophysical Laboratory but was pilloried by climate alarmists and hounded from his job for criticising his colleagues’ alarmism.

Now, the University of Delaware has reported that one of its star scientists is guilty of research misconduct and it has accepted an investigative panel’s conclusion that she committed ‘fabrication and falsification’ in work on fish behaviour and coral reefs. The university is seeking the retraction of three papers including a study about coral reef recovery. And where does the star scientist with the fishy behaviour hail from? That’s right, James Cook University. A group of whistle-blowers say its research culture deserves more scrutiny. The investigative panel found their accounts were convincing and singled out a young scholar out for praise, noting that it is very difficult to challenge an advisor on ethical grounds and took great bravery to come forward. Sadly, few academics had the courage to speak up to defend Ridd.

The reef’s coral rebound comes even though Adani has finally started its operations and Australia is shipping more coal and gas through the reef than ever. No doubt, the good news won’t persuade Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to reverse her decision to put a stop to a central Queensland coal project, which she blocked because it was, ‘likely to have unacceptable impacts’ on the reef.

Unfortunately, there will be no showdown over the okay coral, as Simon Collins put it in his brilliant cartoon in these pages this week. Labor will simply expect the nation to forgo $8 billion in annual export revenue and up to 500 jobs. It demonstrates that Ridd is far from the only person who is losing out because of absurd climate catastrophism. The Reef is thriving. If only we could say the same for the economy, or for our universities and their commitment to academic freedom.