Thursday, September 23, 2021


‘This is very serious’: UK warns of challenging few days as energy crisis deepens

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warned the next few days will be challenging as the energy crisis deepens, and meat producers struggle with a crunch in carbon dioxide supplies.

“The next few days are going to be quite challenging,” Kwarteng told Sky News. “This is very serious.”

Gas prices are surging, unhedged electricity suppliers are at risk of failing and the usual mechanisms for protecting customers from the chaos aren’t working - meaning some kind of government support will be needed. Meat producers are warning they have just days of carbon dioxide supply left, threatening additional kinks in food supply chains that are already strained by labor shortages.

Adding to pressure on energy prices, a cable that was knocked out last week after a fire at a converter station won’t be coming back online for another month. National Grid said late on Monday that half the capacity of the IFA-1 UK-France line will resume operations on October 23, a month later than previously thought. Full capacity of 2,000 megawatts is not expected until late March next year.

With higher prices continuing to squeeze suppliers, the government needs to ensure there isn’t a cascade of bankruptcies unsettling markets and consumers. The usual mechanism of handing a failed company’s customers to another firm is being tested this year as market prices mean it’s not profitable for larger companies to come to the rescue.

Gas prices on the rise again in ‘extraordinarily tight’ market
Based on current commodity costs and the government-imposed price cap on bills, each additional customer would bring losses of about £300 to £400 ($565-$750), according to RBC Europe Ltd. That’s why companies are seeking government support.

Kwarteng also said he hopes for a solution to the carbon dioxide crisis this week. He doesn’t want to use taxpayer funds to bail them out. As he seeks new suppliers to take on those companies’ customers, and considers government support to ease the process, he said any help would be in the form of loans that have to be paid back. The price cap for consumers will remain in place; companies want it lifted.

Europe is facing a shortage of gas, following a longer and colder winter than usual, and Russia keeping a lid on supplies to the continent. Asia has also attracted more liquefied cargoes of the fuel, keeping the market tight. In the UK, surging energy prices have caused five suppliers to go under in the past few weeks, according to the regulator.

******************************************

New Year deadline for businesses to clean up greenwashing act

With next month’s COP26 meeting on the horizon, the competition regulator has warned that it will use 2022 to come down hard on businesses trying to mislead consumers over their environmental credentials.

As part of a wider campaign launched this week ahead of the UN’s Climate Change Conference, and in light of a murky, complex issue that has exploded as consumers become increasingly influenced by the impact their purchasing decisions have on the environment, the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has fired a warning shot at those who inaccurately spin their products and services to appear more sustainable than they really are.

Research carried out in 2020 by the CMA and other global authorities found that 40 per cent of claims made online could be misleading, which includes the things businesses fail to mention about their products and services as well as the claims they do make and which, crucially, must also take “the full life cycle of the product” into account.

Failure to comply with trading requirements in the UK – as enshrined in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 – could mean businesses find themselves subject to immediate action even before formal review and legal proceedings have begun.

Acting both on and offline, including rifling through in-store marketing and labelling, the regulator is likely to focus on industries where consumers are most concerned about being misled, including fashion and textiles, travel and transport, and “fast-moving consumer goods” such as food and drink, beauty and cleaning products, though it has stated, “any sector where the CMA finds significant concerns could become a priority.”

“Millions of UK households are rightly choosing to switch to green products as they look to reduce their carbon footprint. But it’s only right that this commitment is backed up by transparent claims from businesses,” UK energy minister, Greg Hands, said.

“The competition regulator’s new code will help to ensure this [and give] advice on how best to communicate and understand environmental claims.”

Elsewhere, the government is also reviewing green energy tariffs. Around nine million people are currently on green energy tariffs that claim to be 100 per cent renewable or simply “green”.

However, energy companies are currently able to market tariffs as “green” even if some of the energy they supply to customers comes from fossil fuels, as long as this is offset by purchasing enough certificates called Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin to cover their customer base.

But few sectors have witnessed the challenges and complexities surrounding eco claims and greenwashing quite like financial services.

“There has been a material market response over the last 18 months across the banking, insurance and asset management sectors, with products and services continually being expanded to meet demand and help clients play their part in tackling the climate crisis,” said Gill Lofts, global sustainable finance leader at EY, speaking ahead of this week’s Zero Emissions Day.

“However, amid much good progress is rising scepticism – and scrutiny – about whether all ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ products do what they say on the tin. Providers of financial products must ensure they practice what they preach, not least because the credibility and growth of their business and the health of our environment depends on it.

****************************************

How green is your food? Eco-labels can change the way we eat, study shows

It’s lunchtime at a workplace cafeteria in Birmingham, and employees returning to work after months away during the coronavirus pandemic are noticing something has changed. Next to the sandwiches and hot and cold dishes is a small globe symbol, coloured green, orange or red with a letter in the centre from A to E. “Meet our new eco-labels”, a sign reads.

Researchers at Oxford University have analysed the ingredients in every food item on the menu and given the dishes an environmental impact score, vegetable soup (an A) to the lemon, spring onion, cheese and tuna bagel (an E).

“It probably does help you to start making some choices,” said Natasha King, while eating a plant-based hot meal. She is an employee in the Birmingham headquarters of the UK division of the food services business Compass Group. The company has teamed up with the university for a trial at more than a dozen of its cafeterias across the UK to see if a label can change the way people eat.

Getting people to switch to environmentally sustainable food options through labels is not new: hundreds of food labels exist, from ones that certify organic, to those that promise sustainable fishing. But a new type is gaining steam, one that summarises multiple environmental indicators from greenhouse gas emissions to water use into a single letter indicating the product’s impact.

Some businesses in France began using one this year and the NGO Foundation Earth announced its own trial to begin in UK and EU supermarkets this autumn.

The first challenge for the scientists designing the trial is the image the diners see on the signs. How much information do you include in a label? How do you strike a balance between effective and practical?

During the pandemic, researchers ran studies on an online supermarket where people were given fake money to complete their fake shopping list. The trial gave a sense of what labels were more likely to sway people to buy eco-friendly. They found the most effective way to get people to not buy an item was to use a dark red globe symbol with the word “worse” printed on it. But while effective, it had real world limitations.

“You’re not going to be able to get anyone to use that unless you threaten them with legislation, because they don’t want to say ‘don’t buy this’,” said Brian Cook, the senior researcher leading the project.

And what works for this cafeteria setting, with lots of room for information on walls and beside the food, may not work on food packaging in a supermarket that’s already full of information, much of it government mandated. “The real estate there is highly competitive,” Cook said.

The next challenge in supermarkets is the scale. The sandwiches, soups, and hot dishes laid out in this cafeteria only scratch the surface of the Compass food options. It was the Oxford researcher Michael Clark’s job to go through the hundreds of meals made up of roughly 10 ingredients each, determining the environmental impact. Doing the same for the tens of thousands of products and myriad ingredients in a supermarket would be a Herculean task.

Then the scientists had to create a formula to determine environmental impact – a process full of tough decisions using imperfect data. “There’s neverending ways you can do it and how you weight the different indicators … how you want to nudge people,” Cook said.

This research team decided on four indicators for this trial’s formula: greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, water pollution, and water use (calculated differently based on water scarcity in each region). They weighted each indicator equally in their equation for overall impact.

Other research has looked at land use instead of biodiversity, or using a total of 16 indicators. Whatever the choice, it can change the eco-score that comes out.

“Almonds, you know: great for your health and low in a lot of environment indicators, but then you get to the water, and they are off the charts,” Cook said.

But in most cases, the researchers say the biggest environmental impact will be to get people off meat. “Given that the premise is to get people to shift behaviour, that most correct and scientifically robust approach may actually not be the best approach,” Clark said.

He has considered that a national rollout of labels might need to be based on indicators already prioritised by businesses or mandated by governments, to make the integration as easy as possible for businesses.

In a corner table at the Compass cafeteria, five employees eat together, four of them have chosen a vegetarian meal. They say many of them would usually have opted for meat.

At another table sits Jenny Haines, eating a vegetable stew (rated a C). She does not often think about the environmental impact of the food she eats, but she says it looked appetising, healthy, and was placed right at the front of the hot meals counter.

This was part of an intentional strategy by Compass to find ways to get customers to buy food with a better environmental impact score. Plant-based dishes are placed at the top of menus and at the front of cafe counters, with meat dishes at the back. They do not use the words “vegan” or “plant-based” so people do not feel dictated to, and they gave their dishes a rebrand. “Vegan sweet potato mac n cheese” became “Ultimate New York ‘cheezy’ sweet potato mac”, for example.

At the centre of everything is taste. “Ticking the box isn’t good enough,” said Ryan Holmes, the culinary director of Compass. “We need to put plant-based dishes that can stand next to the meat dishes.”

Some politicians are also interested in this issue. MPs in the UK and Canada have introduced private member’s bills this year aiming to mandate environmental impact labels on food.

Cook gives presentations to business groups and some policymakers in the UK, and says people have a lot of interest in labels. He thinks we will see these labels in some form on products sooner or later.

“It’s definitely part of the toolkit of what you need,” he said. “And in terms of the things that are risky to all stakeholders, this is relatively low risk.”

****************************************

Running Out of Green for Energy

Europe’s wind woes are a lesson for the United States about where to put our energy priorities.

Perhaps the Europeans are victims of circumstance as much as anything else, but those living across the pond may be in line to freeze to death (or starve themselves trying to keep the heat on) because there’s a growing shortage of natural gas and the wind’s not blowing. Then again, starvation may be on the table anyway for millions of Britons whose natural gas crisis is now leading to a shortage of fertilizer that also affects the supply of carbon dioxide. Their bad luck has continued as a major electricity interconnect with French suppliers is offline until next March due to a recent fire. Ironically, Great Britain has reasonable supplies of oil in the adjacent parts of the North Sea but is trying to wean itself off fossil fuels.

The same shortages are occurring in other parts of Europe as well. The continent has been hit by a perfect storm of weather that’s too calm to make wind power reliable, local mandates to close coal and/or nuclear plants over the next few years, and a shortage of natural gas that’s been caused by Russian pressure on Germany to finalize approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. All these factors have contributed to the present energy crisis, but it’s made worse (and pricier) by a regulatory scheme called the European Trading System, where carbon allowances are bought and sold. The price of European Union Allowances, or EUAs, has surged nearly 50% this year after the chilly winter of 2020-21 and slow economic thaw from the pandemic.

Bear in mind, of course, that Europe is blessed with several more traditional sources of energy, such as the aforementioned North Sea oil and natural gas, deposits of coal, and (in some locations like France) abundant nuclear power — all of which the climate-enlightened nations are turning their back on to harness an unreliable caprice. (Solar power is also present in Europe, but provides less than 1/10 of the continent’s overall electricity, a far smaller share than wind.) Even hydroelectric power is suffering thanks to a dry spell in some regions.

That shortsightedness isn’t lost on some experts. As environmentalist and author Michael Shellenberger tweeted: “When I was in the in UK 2 years ago the country’s leading experts assured me that Britain didn’t need another 2 GW nuclear plant because wind energy was cheap and, in a pinch, they could just import power from France. Now, the wind’s barely blowing & the interconnect has failed.” Oops. But the EUA speculators, which include hedge funds, are living fat and happy.

Fortunately, Shellenberger also points out that there’s pressure in some quarters to maintain and even expand nuclear power, which environmentalists hate despite the fact that it doesn’t contribute to the carbon load.

Because it’s Europe that’s under the gun, all this bad news may not resonate in our day-to-day life here in America quite yet. But it’s worth pointing out that our federal and state policy isn’t unlike Europe’s; we’ve just had the buffer of huge natural gas supplies and a pre-virus booming economy to cushion the blow. Many of our readers (including this writer) live in states that have renewable energy portfolio mandates and a similar cap-and-trade scheme to Europe’s, meaning utility companies are forced to invest in unreliable energy sources and participate in a wealth transfer scheme with states as the beneficiary.

With Joe Biden’s bullheaded resumption of the Paris Agreement, one might think we’re trying to place ourselves in the same boat as Europe — and one would be right. But as The Wall Street Journal cautions: “Europe is showing the folly of trying to purge CO2 from the economy. No matter how heavily subsidized, renewables can’t replace fossil fuels in a modern economy. Households and businesses get stuck with higher energy bills even as CO2 emissions increase. Europe’s problems are a warning to the U.S., if only Democrats would heed it.”

We’re not counting on them doing so, but help may only be an election away.

***************************************

My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

*****************************************

Wednesday, September 22, 2021



Lomborg criticizes medical journals for alarm about climate change

He exposes a huge but stupid fraud

Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg has reacted sharply on the claim of over 200 medical journals, earlier this month, that there are significant health risks to any temperature rise. He concludes that there are very basic mistakes underlying the alarmist claims and send the following letter to the editor of The Lancet, one of the journals involved. Lomborg posted his letter on twitter. Below the full letter.

Dear Dr. Horton,

I read with interest your co-authored editorial “Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health” published in BMJ (2021;374:n1734) and many other international journals. As a core argument you write that there are significant health risks to any temperature rise and document it with “In the past 20 years, heat related mortality among people aged over 65 has increased by more than 50%.”

However, this mortality increase [i] is a simple count, not a rate. The overwhelming part of the increase is due to the fact that the global population of people aged over 65 increased more than 40% in the same time period. Indeed, the increase in heat mortality rate is a much lower 9.4%. I am sure you agree that making a causal claim without adjusting for a dramatically changed population is fundamentally unsound.

In fact, I am positive that you and your journal would demand a rewrite of any paper making such an argument. It is analogously flawed to claiming that Brexit led to better health for the European Union because total deaths overnight dropped 600,000 per year when the UK left. Given the enormous attention that your paper received, I therefore reach out to you to hear what action you will take to ensure that this unsound argument is rectified.

Below, the left box illustrates your editorial’s claim that temperature rises have increased the number of heat deaths of people aged 65+ by 53.7% while disregarding a 40% increase in the relevant population. The middle box shows the rate of heat deaths for the same population group, which takes into account the rapid increase in the population. I hope you will also find the right box interesting: it compares the heat deaths (which are slowly rising) with the much greater risk from cold deaths (declining much faster) from the Global Burden of Disease study. It highlights the problem with only looking at more heat death but neglecting the much greater fall in cold deaths.

This result is comparable with a new Lancet study that shows global warming increased heat deaths of all deaths by 0.21% (from 0.83% in 2000-03 to 1.04% in 2016-19) and decreased cold deaths by 0.51% (from 8.70% to 8.19%).[ii]

*********************************************

CLINTEL goes to court

Earlier this week, CLINTEL submitted a petition to the European Court of Human Rights to be allowed to participate in a climate law suit initiated by climate activists against 33 countries. The case is known as the DUARTE case.

We previously filed a similar request, which the court denied without providing any reason. Important new information has become available, however, so we have gone back with a new request.

CLINTEL believes that the European Court of Human Rights should make decisions based on the best available science and the best policy analysis. The record currently before the court is incorrect and misleading. We intend to submit scientific information to the court to correct the record. For instance, the court believes that the so-called “climate emergency” is a scientific concept, which it is not.

In short, our submission will help the court to prevent the same kinds of errors that the Dutch Supreme Court made in the Urgenda case, on which the DUARTE case relies.

Our request to court can be found here.

Urgenda v. The Netherlands

In 2014, on behalf of all Dutch citizens, a climate action group called Urgenda started a lawsuit against the Dutch government to force it to adopt stricter emission-reduction (mitigation) policy. This lawsuit finally came to an end in December 2019. The Supreme Court in The Hague ruled that the Dutch government must indeed comply with Urgenda’s demands. The state was ordered to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020. According to the court, climate change threatens the right to life laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The court order has resulted in the government taking many of the additional mitigation measures required by Urgenda. These measures have imposed substantial additional expenses on Dutch citizens and produced a negligible effect on the global climate.

DUARTE et al. v 33 countries

Inspired by the Urgenda judgment, another climate case (the Duarte case) has now found its way to the European Court of Human Rights. Six young Portuguese, aged eight to 21, have petitioned the European Court in Strasbourg to protect their human rights against the dangers of climate change. The Court has the authority to hear complaints about violations of the ECHR. This treaty grants European residents fundamental freedoms and human rights, such as freedom of speech and the prohibition of torture. It also grants the right to life invoked in the Urgenda climate case.

The Portuguese plaintiffs are now demanding that no fewer than 33 countries, including the 27 member states of the European Union, Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine, take all necessary steps to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 °C. This would be necessary, they claim, to guarantee their right to life, which would require a safe climate. In particular, they complain about the heatwaves, drought, and forest fires in Portugal in recent years, and suggest that these phenomena are causally linked to the “inadequate climate policies” of the 33 states concerned.

An extensive article about this case was published by Lucas Bergkamp and Katinka Brouwer earlier this year on the CLINTEL website. Bergkamp and Brouwer also worked on a very detailed report (summary already online) about this case that will soon be published by the ECR Group in the European Parliament. An interview with Lucas Bergkamp is available here.

Prior CLINTEL to the European Court

Earlier this year CLINTEL filed a request for leave to intervene in this case. The request was rejected without any reason being provided. We later learned that eight environmental NGO’s and human rights organisations were allowed to intervene. These organisations are all sympathetic to the complainants in this case.

This week, following the publication of a very important paper by Ross McKitrick, indicating that IPCC’s attribution methodology is fundamentally flawed, CLINTEL sent a new request to be allowed to intervene. This time, the court will have to take into account the urgency and importance of our intervention, given the misleading case record and incorrect statements made by the court’s President and Vice-President about the perceived “climate emergency.” We hope to receive an answer soon.

Enormous consequences for the economy and democracy
In the DUARTE case, the climate activists have made four demands: (1) a further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, (2) drastic restrictions on the export of fossil fuels, (3) drastic measures to compensate for emissions associated with the import of products and (4) measures to force internationally operating companies to limit the emissions of their entire production chain.

In all these areas, emissions must be reduced to zero within a short period of time to meet the “climate emergency”. On the basis of a favourable judgement from the ECtHR, the climate movement will be able to litigate further at national level against countries that do not try hard enough to achieve these goals. The countries complained against will have no choice but to comply with the Court’s ruling, as no appeal is possible.

So the earning capacity of the entire economic system is at stake, as the costs for companies and countries to meet the requirements will be sky-high. Such a ruling would bring the economy in many countries to its knees, with all the consequences that that entails.

In addition to the economic impact, which is difficult to overestimate, the implications for democracy and the rule of law are also enormous. By ruling in favour of the plaintiffs, climate policy will be permanently removed from the regular process of political decision-making, where elected representatives and administrators can weigh up the various interests against each other, assess policy and make the relevant corrections and adjustments as needed.

From CLINTEL’s perspective, the most troubling aspect of this prospect is that judicial climate policy making tends to be based on a misunderstanding of climate science and the effects of climate policy making. That is why we want to intervene in the DUARTE case and correct such misunderstandings.

Human rights as a pretext

The DUARTE case illustrates how climate activists have found an ally in partisan judges with whom they share an ideological affinity. Under the guise of human rights, climate policy is being reduced to an irreversible judicial dictate based on flawed pseudo-science, over which no democratic control is possible. Judicial authorities that dictate policy to democratically elected governments are not applying laws but, rather, making them themselves. The judges concerned do not even bother to hide their bias; they distort the science and enact ineffective policies.

CLINTEL goes to court

For CLINTEL enough is enough. If activists use our judicial system to make climate policy, that leaves us no other choice then to also use all possible judicial means to repair this unfortunate development in society.

Accordingly, CLINTEL will be actively looking for opportunities to initiate or participate in climate change litigation. As always, we will promote the best available science and policy analysis in such law suits.

***************************************

Climate Policy Should Pay More Attention to Climate Economics

Climate policy is ultimately an economic question. How much does climate change hurt? How much do various policy ideas actually help, and what do they cost? You don’t have to argue with one line of the IPCC scientific reports to disagree with climate policy that doesn’t make economic sense.

Climate policy is usually framed in terms of economic costs and benefits. We should spend some money now, or accept reduced incomes by holding back on carbon emissions, in order to mitigate climate change and provide a better future economy.

But the best guesses of the economic impact of climate change are surprisingly small. The U.N.’s IPCC finds that a (large) temperature rise of 3.66°C by 2100 means a loss of 2.6 percent of global GDP. Even extreme assumptions about climate and lack of mitigation or adaptation strain to find a cost greater than 5 percent of GDP by the year 2100.

Now, 5 percent of GDP is a lot of money — $1 trillion of our $20 trillion GDP today. But 5 percent of GDP in 80 years is couch change in the annals of economics. Even our sclerotic post-2000 real GDP grows at a 2 percent annual rate. At that rate, in 2100, the U.S. will have real GDP 400 percent greater than now, as even the IPCC readily admits. At 3 percent compound growth, the U.S. will produce, and people will earn, 1,000 percent more GDP than now. Yes, that can happen. From 1940 to 2000, U.S. GDP grew from $1,331 billion to $13,138 billion in 2012 dollars, a factor of ten in just 60 years, and a 3.8 percent compound annual growth rate.

Five percent of GDP is only two to three years of lost growth. Climate change means that in 2100, absent climate policy or much adaptation, we will live at what 2097 levels would be if climate change were to magically disappear. We will be only 380 percent better off. Or maybe only 950 percent better off.

Northern Europe has per capita GDP about 40 percent lower than that of the U.S., eight times or more the potential damage of climate change. Europe is a nice place to live. Many Europeans argue that their more extensive welfare states and greater economic regulation are worth the cost. But it is a cost, which makes climate change look rather less apocalyptic.

India’s $2,000 per-capita GDP is one-thirtieth of the U.S.’s $60,000. The cost of climate change to India is trivial compared with the benefits India could obtain by adopting economic institutions more like those of the U.S. — which themselves are far from perfect.

Growth is not an inexorable force. Each step of growth is hard won and fragile. Growth could be 3 percent or more. Growth could be 0 percent or less. We have seen countries move backwards for decades. Growth risk is an order of magnitude larger than climate risk.

If the question is, “What steps can we take, perhaps costly today, to improve GDP in the year 2100?” hurried decarbonization is not the answer. If the question is, “What steps can we take to improve the well-being of the world’s poor?” climate policy is not the answer, with many zeros before you get to the decimal point. Sturdy pro-growth policies, however unpopular to so many in today’s political class and incumbent businesses and labor organizations, are the answer.

Even 2–5 percent of GDP in economic cost estimates are wildly uncertain — more uncertain even than the meteorological parts of climate models. Imagine yourself in 1921, asked to estimate the impact of carbon emissions on GDP in the year 2000. Well, you would have taken out your slide rule, and looked at how much gas a Ford Model T consumes, how many people will want to travel on coal-fired steam railways, and so on. You would have looked at the statistical association between heat and output. The estimates might have looked pretty bad in an economy dependent on low-tech agriculture and without air conditioning.

And you would have been drastically wrong. Our economy looks nothing like anyone could have guessed in 1921. Your guess of how much our economy would be hurt by (or benefited from?) 20th-century carbon emissions would have been less likely to be even vaguely correct.

Most of all, you would have missed the main story: The 20th century produced the greatest gain in human well-being of all time, by orders of magnitude, despite warming, and despite its upheavals. You would have had no clue of the move to a service economy, far less dependent on weather, or adaptations including air conditioning, transport, high-tech agriculture, and how much cleaner and healthier the 2000 economy would be. If you had ordered a return to horses and buggies, you would have doomed billions to short lives of squalid poverty.

That is the unenviable task of today’s economists who measure the effects of climate change on the economy 80 or more years from now.

Looking under the hood of big models, it is not even obvious that climate change hurts the economy at all. People and companies are moving in droves from the cold Rust Belt and cool, coastal California to Texas, even though Texas is a lot hotter than anything climate change will bring to the former.

In technical terms, estimates of the economic cost of climate change rely in large part on the statistical association between weather and productivity in today’s economy. But all statistical associations offer questions. Yes, on average hotter countries are not as productive as colder ones. But sometimes they are productive — Singapore, for example. So you have to somehow take out the immense effects of government, culture, past investments, and so on. Then you have somehow to deal with the fact that the economy 100 years from now will be nothing like today’s. People will invent new technologies that will help them to adapt. Yes, recent heat waves in Oregon have been damaging. But similar heat in Texas is considered a cool day. How many people will buy air conditioners in Oregon in the next 80 years?

The central uncomfortable fact is that the output of an advanced industrial economy like the U.S., moving headlong into services, is just not that sensitive to climate or weather. The worst heat waves, floods, and storms just do not move national GDP.

GDP is not everything, of course. GDP measures income, how much people earn and how much they produce. It leaves out a lot — the tremendous value of free or nearly free goods, the value of clean air and water, good health, long life, a free and egalitarian society, and so forth. But all of these things are better when GDP is better, and far worse where GDP is worse. Only a productive people can afford them. The U.S. today is immeasurably better off than in 1940, or 1840 on all these measures too. Our air and water are cleaner than just about everywhere else in the world. Our welfare state is much more generous than those of poor countries or what it was in 1940. GDP is imperfect, but if anything it understates the benefits of economic progress.

What about floods and droughts, wildfires, heat waves, all the events you see on the news along with another scolding about climate change? Whether carbon emissions are leading to more weather extremes is actually scientifically contentious. Fortunately, once again, we do not need to get into this debate. Even if these claims are correct, they do not justify draconian climate policy.

I live among wildfires in California, which are very unpleasant. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the increase in wildfires is entirely due to carbon-caused climate change. But even if the U.S. adopts all the recommendations of the IPCC, or the Green New Deal itself, we will only contain the further rise of temperature. The pre-industrial climate will still not return in our great-great-great-grandchildren’s lifetime.

Even if rising greenhouse-gas emissions are the ultimate cause of more frequent and severe wildfires, the only path to actually doing something about wildfires is to spend money on fire prevention and forest management — clearing out the accumulated brush. (Reforming zoning and planning laws so it’s easier to build in cities will help, too.) It will cost money, perhaps a lot of money compared with historical budgets, but a tiny amount of money compared with GDP or government stimulus programs, or, say, high-speed trains. CalFire’s budget is $2.9 billion, 1 percent of the state of California’s budget, and 0.1 percent of California’s GDP. The supposedly carbon-saving high-speed train is budgeted at $80 billion.

This example illustrates a larger point. If the question is how to blunt the economic impact of climate change, adaptation has to be a major part of the answer. There seems to be a great disdain for adaptation, clearing the brush, building dikes and dams, moving to higher land, installing air conditioners, moving or engineering crops and so forth. Spread over a hundred years, the costs of adaptation are not large. Perhaps climate-policy advocates dismiss talk of adaptation because, by reducing the damage that might be caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, it makes emissions less scary. Climate models are also short on adaptation and innovation, perhaps for the same reason.

Miami might be six feet underwater in 2100, but Amsterdam has been six feet underwater for centuries. They built dikes. By hand. Amsterdam is a very nice place, not a poster for dystopian end of civilization. Buildings decay and need to be rebuilt every 50 years or so. Just start building in drier places. At a minimum, the U.S. government could stop subsidizing construction and reconstruction in flood and fire zones!

What of “tipping points,” stories of unforeseen disasters that the IPCC charitably labels “low-probability low-confidence”? Isn’t it worth taking out insurance? The trouble is that if anvils might fall from the sky, pianos might fall from the sky, too. If this is not just an excuse to spend money on carbon, but instead an open-minded effort to identify all out-of-the-box dangers, we end up spending all of GDP on insurance. Insurance arguments must include some attention to the probability of events and the cost of those events.

Given how small and uncertain the economic costs are, climate-policy advocates really ought to give up the economic argument. Admit that economic losses are just not the issue. Make the standard environmental case, as they successfully did for clean water and clean air: This will cost money. It will reduce GDP, now and in the future. But, argue that it is a cost we must bear to save the environment.

But that argument too needs to be much clearer and better quantified. The media and too much of the scientific literature, such as IPCC reports, offer only hypotheticals and scare stories. For a small donation, pictures of cuddly animals might do. For trillion-dollar costs and regulations, they do not. To justify such costs, we need some dollar value on specific environmental damage of climate change. Yes, the numbers are uncertain. But those numbers are the only sensible framework to discuss spending trillions of dollars on climate now.

Naming costs and benefits is particularly useful to analyze whether some of those trillions are not better spent on other environmental issues. For example, species extinction is a real problem. We are in the middle of a mass extinction. But the elephants will die from lack of land and poaching long before they get too hot or dry. For a trillion dollars, how much land could we buy and turn over to complete wilderness? How many more species would we save that way, rather than spending similar amounts of money on high-speed trains and hurrying the adoption of electric cars? The oceans are in trouble. For a trillion dollars, how much over-fishing, chemical pollution, plastic garbage, or noise could we fix? Economics is about choice, and about budget constraints.

As much as media bleat that climate change is a current emergency with “disparate impact,” the world’s poor face much worse environmental problems: smoky air, chemicals, fetid water, easily preventable diseases. For a trillion dollars a year, we could radically improve their human environment.

************************************

World’s Largest Carbon Capturing Plant Launches in Iceland

A Swiss company that developed technology to capture carbon dioxide from the air says it has launched the world’s largest plant to do so in Iceland.

The company is called Climeworks AG. It said the plant began operations on Wednesday. The plant is not far from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.

The system captures carbon dioxide, CO2, directly from the air and then deposits the gas underground. The company partnered with Icelandic carbon storage provider Carbfix on the project.

Climeworks says the plant is designed to capture up to 3,600 metric tons of CO2 per year. That is the same amount of CO2 produced by about 790 automobiles during a year, Reuters news agency reported.

The International Energy Agency, IEA, estimates that this year, CO2 emissions worldwide will rise 1.5 billion metric tons to a total of 33 billion metric tons.

Direct air capture is one of the few technologies that can remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. Many scientists see the process as critical to limiting harmful pollutant emissions.

Such emissions are caused mainly by human activities. They can trap heat in the atmosphere and create higher temperatures. Many scientists blame this warming for increased heatwaves, wildfires, floods and rising sea levels across the world.

The new plant is called Orca. Its name is based on the Icelandic word for energy, Orka. It uses eight large containers that look like those used in the shipping industry. A series of high-tech filters and blowers attached to the containers capture CO2.

The captured carbon is then mixed with water and pumped deep underground, where it slowly turns into rock. Both technologies are powered by renewable energy from a nearby geothermal plant.

Direct air capture is still a new and costly technology. But developers hope to bring down the price by increasing operations as more companies and individuals seek the technology.

Currently, there are 15 direct air capture plants operating worldwide. The IEA estimates the plants capture more than 9,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

The American oil company Occidental is currently developing the largest direct-air-capture center. It aims to pull 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air around some of its Texas oilfields.

***************************************

My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

*****************************************

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


Why Ethanol In Gasoline Doesn’t Reduce CO2 Emissions

Many governments have mandated 10% ethanol blended into gasoline to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the tailpipe, and some are contemplating increasing the blend to 15% to reduce emissions even more. Science doesn’t support this claim.

The same amount of carbon dioxide is emitted at the tailpipe for the same distance driven in the same vehicle regardless if the gasoline contains ethanol or not.

We should remind ourselves why we started putting ethanol into gasoline in the first place. Let’s go back to the 1970’s era of muscle cars, smoking inside airplanes, and using DDT to get rid of nuisance insects.

Refiners used to add tetraethyl lead to gasoline as an octane booster to stop engine knock, and car manufacturers liked it because the lead deposits on the valve seats allowed for higher engine compression ratios.

When leaded gasoline was banned due to elevated cancer risks, it was discovered that most substitutes for tetraethyl lead were even more carcinogenic, except ethanol.

Three percent ethanol in regular gasoline stopped engine knocks and manufacturers dropped their engine compression ratios (bye-bye muscle cars).

A second step in adding ethanol to gasoline was in 2007 when the US Energy Independence and Security Act mandated an increase to 10% ethanol in gasoline to reduce foreign oil dependency.

Ten percent ethanol-blended gasoline was not introduced to reduce CO2 emissions; it was a measure to both replace tetraethyl lead and increase the American domestic automotive fuel supply.

The concept that ethanol reduces CO2 emissions is from a carbon-dioxide offset theory that is accepted by the 2015 Paris Agreement, even though it is widely known that tailpipe CO2 emissions are unchanged.

The offset theory is that physical CO2 emissions from the burning of ethanol are not counted as increased human emissions because they are offset by the atmospheric CO2 consumption during photosynthesis by the plants grown by humans as feedstock for ethanol.

That implies that the ethanol source plant -—in North America that is corn—- has increased the amount of photosynthesis that would have otherwise occurred.

The physical CO2 released by the ethanol in the blended gasoline is simply not counted in the total emissions because it is offset by increased photosynthesis.

If this theory were correct, then carbon dioxide emissions in 10% ethanol-blended gasoline would drop by 10%.

By applying this offset theory, governments want refiners to increase the ethanol content by as much as 15% in regular gasoline (the limit your current automobile can likely handle).

The premise that ethanol offsets CO2 emissions is false. Either the corn would have been grown anyway for human or cattle consumption, or some other plant (crop or forest) would have grown.

There is no idle farmland on a planet with nearly eight billion mouths to feed. Diverting farmland from food to ethanol does not increase photosynthesis; it increases the demand and prices for farm yields as now they can be sold as either food or fuel.

Let’s take ethanol out of the political arena and put it in a lab. Ethanol releases only about two-thirds of the energy on combustion than gasoline does, so the more ethanol that is blended into gasoline, the more volume of the blend is required to drive the same distance.

Reports available from the US Energy Information Administration show that the same amount of CO2 is physically released from 10% ethanol-blended gasoline as regular gasoline for the same distance driven.

But now there is another CO2 stream to track: in the process of converting corn to ethanol, more CO2 is produced.

The assumption to date has been that this food-grade CO2 has been conserved by using it in carbonated beverages, commercial greenhouses, or other industrial applications.

I don’t think anyone really knows if that is true or an aspiration, but at some point, the market for CO2 will become (or already is) saturated and the corn-to-ethanol production facilities may vent their CO2.

In that case, the atmospheric CO2 emissions (tailpipe plus ethanol manufacturing facility) of corn-derived 10% ethanol-blended gasoline increases by 3% over regular gasoline for the same distance driven in the same vehicle.

If the ethanol content of gasoline is increased to 15% in this scenario, the tailpipe CO2 combined with ethanol manufacturing vented CO2 increases by about 5% over normal unblended gasoline.

That’s not all the downside to producing ethanol:

Corn makes up 20% of all the calories consumed by humans. One result of the USA 2007 mandate for 10% ethanol in gasoline was that by 2012, 40% of all corn grown in the USA was converted to ethanol. This is more corn than is consumed by humans on the entire continent of Africa. It caused world corn prices to increase by 30%, a significant economic blow for families in developing countries who spend up to half their household income on food.

Consider the freshwater used to grow that 40% of the US corn crop. Irrigation in the U.S. uses 38% of all the freshwater withdrawn from lakes, rivers, and aquifers; and corn makes up 25% of the irrigated acreage. It is not a stretch to make a rough estimate that 4% of U.S. freshwater usage is for corn-derived ethanol.

Even your mechanic has a negative opinion; increased ethanol can cause engine stalling, accelerated breakdown of aluminum and rubber components, and clogging of fuel lines. (If your gasoline-fueled lawn mower does not start next spring, and the carburetor is full of a green-tinged gel, that’s the result of 10% ethanol-blended gasoline left stagnant in the fuel system.)

The real paradox is that this all helps to meet Paris Agreement goals simply because of the bureaucratic assumption that more photosynthesis has taken place than otherwise would have. That’s not true.

Ethanol in gasoline does not physically achieve the claimed carbon dioxide emissions reduction; it does not achieve any carbon dioxide emissions reduction at all. It’s a cheap accounting trick.

*********************************************

Climate emergency: Only six in 10 chance of success at Glasgow summit, admits Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has admitted he has no more than a six in 10 chance of getting the breakthrough agreement needed at the Glasgow Cop26 climate emergency summit to avoid catastrophic rises in global temperatures.

The prime minister gave the gloomy assessment as he arrived in New York for a last-ditch effort to get the process back on track with just six weeks to go to the UK-hosted gathering, when he hopes to agree action to keep warming within 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

He warned bluntly that some major economies “need to do much more” if Glasgow is to succeed in moving forward the ambitious programme of emission reduction agreed in Paris in 2015.

At a meeting co-hosted by United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres on the fringe of the UN general assembly, Mr Johnson will be joined either virtually or in-person by political leaders from China and Brazil – viewed as two of the biggest obstacles to effective action – as well as some of the nations most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

He will repeat his “coal, cars, cash” mantra as he urges fellow leaders to phase out carbon-emitting coal power generation, make the switch to electric vehicles and make good on a 2009 pledge to provide $100bn a year to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to a warmer planet.

But asked to assess his chances of success, he told reporters travelling on his official Voyager plane to the US: “Getting it all this week is going to be a stretch. But I think getting it all done by Cop? Six out of 10.

“It’s going to be tough, but people need to understand that this is crucial for the world.”

Just 42 days ahead of the November summit, many major countries are yet to fulfil commitments to improve on nationally determined contributions (NDCs) towards global emission reductions agreed in Paris.

China’s promise to bring its emissions to a peak before 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2060 is regarded by many analysts as insufficient at a time when the world’s biggest carbon emitter is planning to build 43 new coal-fired power plants and 18 new blast furnaces.

And Brazil’s president Jair Bolsanaro stands accused of accelerating warming by allowing vast areas of the Amazon rainforest to be burnt and logged.

Asked if he will tell Mr Bolsanaro when they meet that the clearance of rainforests must stop, Mr Johnson said: “Yes. We want to stop and reverse the global loss of biodiversity, including in the rainforest.

“I think it is in the long-term interests of Brazil and the people of Brazil to recognise the spectacular natural endowment that they have and to conserve it and I am sure that president Bolsanaro agrees with that.”

By the time they arrive in Glasgow, all countries need to have committed to larger NDC pledges and demonstrated that they are ready to make “very considerable progress” on cutting emissions by 2030, said Mr Johnson.

“Some countries are really stepping up to the plate, others – including some G20 countries – need to do much more. We’ll be making that argument and setting that out strongly in the next few days

********************************************

Police Protect Eco-Activists From Angry Drivers As They Block Highway

Police have been filmed protecting “Insulate Britain” climate activists from angry motorists as they blocked the M25 motorway once again.

The footage shows a van driver upset at being held up, being forcibly led away from the so-called protesters sprawled across an access road as a large number of officers stand around doing nothing about it, at least at the time of the recording.

“You’re causing more pollution with all these cars sitting here just doing f*** all,” one driver railed at the activists, according to LBC. “You’re making people hate you. Go and protest London, go down to Downing Street,” he implored.

Senior officers have defended their supposedly “robust” response to the illegal actions, stressing the number of arrests carried out — eventually — but reports now indicate that some activists have been arrested multiple times, having been only briefly detained and then freed to return to future actions.

Police have also been filmed actually going out onto the road and stopping traffic themselves to allow protesters to go out and block it, with a woman officer recorded telling them: “[I]f any of you are in any discomfort or need anything, just let me know, and we’ll try and sort you out in a nice way.”

Even the equally ineffectual Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has been moved to anger by the lackadaisical attitude of the police, demanding “decisive action”.

The latest motorway “protest” comes after one man claimed his mother has been left paralyzed after a previous demonstration let him “caught for about six hours in traffic” while en route to the hospital with his mother, who had suffered a stroke.

“I was there with my mother for six hours watching her slip away, and I could do nothing,” he lamented in a call to LBC.

“When we got her to the hospital, the doctors said if we were to have gotten to them within 90 minutes, her symptoms, her recovery would have been minimal.

********************************************

Are Low Wind Speeds Behind Britain’s Energy Crisis?

Why has Britain suddenly been plunged into an energy crisis, with spot prices for electricity rising to over £400 per MWh, ten times what they were this time last year?

The spike in global gas prices caused by economic recovery from Covid has been commented on often enough, as has the failure of Britain to maintain sufficient gas storage reserves – we have closed a large gas storage facility as other countries have been building up theirs’.

So, too, we have learned of the failure of many smaller energy companies to hedge the prices of their energy, thus putting them at risk of spikes in wholesale prices.

But there is one aspect to this crisis that has received rather too little comment: low wind speeds, which have reduced output from wind farms.

While the current lull is chiefly a vagary of the weather, global wind speeds have been trending downwards for several decades, threatening to undermine an energy strategy that is over-dependent on wind power.

According to the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global mean land wind speed (excluding Australia) showed a fall of 0.063 meters per second per decade between 1979 and 2018.

Global wind speeds have been trending downwards for several decades

We hear little about this observed trend. Is this because it runs contrary to the alarmist claim that we face a future of ever-stronger storms?

In fact, the observational data shows not only a slight fall in mean wind speeds but also a reduction in the strength of storms right up to 60 degrees north – the latitude on which lie the Shetlands.

Given there are relatively few human settlements north of this latitude it suggests that most places are facing a lower risk from damaging winds.

But low wind speeds are certainly a threat to the wind power industry. Danish wind energy specialist Orsted recently issued a profit warning partly as a result of lower-than-expected wind speeds.

That wind energy has the problem of being intermittent has of course been known about since the beginning of the wind industry; it is obvious.

But a generalized fall in yield from wind farms threatens to disrupt any energy policy that is over-dependent on wind.

No one seems to be sure why global wind speeds over land are falling – whether as a result of changing atmospheric circulation, increasing urban development, or whatever – but research at Germany’s Max Planck Institute has concluded that existing wind turbines themselves could play a serious role in lessening the wind power available to be extracted by future wind farms.

The theoretical study found that a turbine in an area covered with wind farms could be expected to generate only 20 percent of the energy that an isolated turbine would produce.

That is a seriously large reduction which raises the question: just how many wind farms can a country like Britain absorb before the turbines are all stealing power from each other, and are we doomed to suffer repeated energy crises thanks to our overreliance on the wind?

***************************************

My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

*****************************************

Monday, September 20, 2021




World will fall short of 2050 net zero emissions: DNV

A new forecast of the energy transition from Norway’s DNV has warned that even if all electricity was ‘green’ from this day forward, the world will still fall a long way short of achieving the 2050 net zero emissions ambitions of the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Electrification might be on course to double in size within a generation and renewables are already the most competitive source of new power. However, DNV’s forecast shows global emissions will reduce only 9% by 2030, with the 1.5 degrees Celsius carbon budget agreed by global economies being exhausted by then.

As rapid as that transition is, DNV’s forecast is that - despite every effort being made - it remains definitively not fast enough for the world to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and warns the planet will most likely reach global warming of 2.3˚C by end of the century.

DNV said that energy efficiency remains the biggest opportunity to tackling climate change as the world drifts further away from achieving Paris. Securing significant improvement in this vital area is viewed as the most significant lever for the transition – achieving greater efficiency is the reason why global energy demand will level off, even as the global population and economy grows, said DNV.

Reductions in utilising fossil fuels have been “remarkably” fast, however these sources, especially gas, will still constitute 50% of the global energy mix by 2050 – making the need to -invest in - and scale up - hydrogen and carbon capture and storage all the more important.

Oil demand looks set to halve, with coal use reduced to a third by mid-century.

The ETO 2021 will also reveal that while 69% of grid-connected power will be generated by wind and solar in 2050, and indirect electrification (hydrogen and e-fuels) and biofuels remain critical, none of these sources is scaling rapidly enough.

Hydrogen is the energy carrier that holds the highest potential to tackle hard to abate emissions however, DNV’s forecast indicates hydrogen only starting to scale from the mid-2030s and, even then, only building to 5% of the energy mix by 2050.

*****************************************

ANTARCTIC SEA ICE ‘REBOUND’ SURPRISES SCIENTISTS — MSM SILENT

Just two years ago, many mainstream media outlets declared that sea ice at the South Pole was melting at an “astonishing” rate.

As recently pointed out by notrickszone.com, German national daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported in June 2019 that Antarctic sea ice had “shrunk 1.8 million square kilometers”, writing: “the massive disappearance of ice is astonishing”.

And while the reporting was technically factual, it has proven to be yet more AGW-driving obfuscation and cherry-picking rather than well-founded indications of a concerning climatic trend.

And now, in 2021, as the ice sharply rebounds, these same MSM outlets have fallen silent–which is speaking volumes…

Sea ice at the South Pole has rebounded in 2020 and 2021, to the levels of some 3-decades ago.

Moreover, the trend of the past 40+ years (the satellite era) remains one of significant growth (of approx 1% per decade).

In 2021, Antarctic sea ice is actually tracking well-above the multidecadal average

It is the doomsday scenario that has disappeared, not the ice:

The Antarctic rebound of the past two years shows that there are still a host of natural drivers that remain unknown, writes Die kalte Sonne — it appears that oceanic cycles, such ENSO, SAM or the Indian Ocean play major roles on Antarctic sea ice variability, not linearly increasing CO2.

“Researchers are in agreement that the decline in Antarctic sea ice from 2016 to 2019 is due to natural causes,” writes Die kalte Sonne. “Obviously this is not a good topic for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, who prefer not to report on the ice recovery.”

Not informing the public about the most recent developments, but instead leaving them with a false impression based on carefully cherry-picked data from two years prior, is a classic disinformation technique that has long been perfected by the activist media.

*****************************************

$464 million in grants to kickstart Australian hydrogen industry

This is pretty silly. It is true that burning hydrogen produces no pollution but obtaining the hydrogen does. Whether it is extracted from natural gas or produced by electrolysis, it is an industrial process that uses a lot of energy.

And once you have the hydrogen you need a heavy and expensive pressure vessel to transport it -- and that uses up energy too. And the vessels do explode sometimes, dangerously


The state’s first test-run Hydrogen refuelling station opened in Redlands today with one of the state’s first hydrogen cars getting a tank of fuel made from Queensland sunshine.

Queensland’s burgeoning hydrogen industry will get a cash injection in a bid to get manufacturing plants running and create a global export hub.

Gladstone has been singled out as one of seven regions to be prioritised for $464 million in grants to help build pilot projects, set up joint ventures, secure supply chains and get production up and running.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today announce the cash, saying it will help establish new export industries and set up Australia to supply energy to the growing market in southeast Asia.

The scheme is in addition to the announcement last week for a large-scale renewable hydrogen plant to be built near Gladstone by electricity generator Stanwell, as well as federal, state and other corporate backers.

It’s location near a port, water and high-capacity electricity generation has put the central Queensland city in prime position to take part in a hydrogen boom.

The Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs grants will open next Tuesday, September 28, and will include grants of up to $3 million for research and development projects, and a second stream of up to $70 million to rollout hydrogen hubs.

Industry applicants will have to stump up at least half the cash for the proposal, with the grants only to cover 50 per cent of the cost.

Mr Morrison said the funding was about fast-tracking the development of the emerging technology.

“Our plan to invest and develop low emissions industries will mean more jobs for Australian workers, particularly in our regions, cheaper energy for businesses and lower emissions,” he said.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the hydrogen industry was expected to create 8000 jobs and generate $11 billion a year by 2050.

“A thriving hydrogen sector will help Australia to achieve its emission-reduction goals while continuing to grow our economy and support existing industries,” Mr Taylor said.

There are a range of hydrogen projects already starting in Queensland, including the Stanwell project, Dyno Nobel’s study producing renewable hydrogen at Moranbah and QUT research into renewable energy hybrid systems to generate hydrogen.

****************************************

Greenie lawfare rife in Australia

After the United States, Australia has the highest number of climate change litigation cases in the world.

In May 2020, in an Australian legal first, a youth environment group called Youth Verdict challenged a proposed mega-coal mine in Queensland on the grounds that it infringed on their human rights because of its contribution to climate change. Youth Verdict argues the mine will contribute to catastrophic climate change and increase the risk of bushfires, drought, floods, heatwaves and cyclones.

They are basing their argument on new protections provided under the state’s Human Rights Act, which came into effect in January 2020, the first time a human rights argument has been used in a climate change case in Australia. A hearing date for the case has been set for February 2022.

In a world-first legal case filed in July 2020, a university student in Melbourne accused the Australian government of misleading investors in sovereign bonds by failing to disclose the financial risk caused by the climate crisis. If successful, the claim could compel the government to disclose how climate change might affect the nation’s economic growth or the value of the Australian dollar. The case is awaiting judgment.

In a landmark decision in May, the Federal Court of Australia found that Environment Minister Sussan Ley had a “duty of care” to protect children living in Australia from personal injury or death resulting from climate change. If not overturned, legal experts say the judgment could “constrain the ability of both government and private entities to undertake projects that contribute to net carbon emissions”.

The Environment Minister is appealing the decision, with the appeal to be heard on October 18.

In another major ruling in August, a NSW court ordered the state’s Environmental Protection Authority take steps to safeguard against climate change, requiring the authority to “develop environmental quality objectives, guidelines and policies to ensure environment protection from climate change”.

The case was brought by the Environmental Defenders Office, a non-governmental legal service organisation, on behalf of survivors of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires. The state’s environment minister says he won’t appeal the ruling.

In late August, the Environmental Defenders Office lodged a new lawsuit against the oil and gas giant Santos, on behalf of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), alleging that Santos breached consumer and corporate laws by claiming to produce clean energy and have a pathway to net zero emissions.

The ACCR says the oil and gas company engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by telling shareholders in its 2020 annual report that it produced “clean fuel” and provided “clean energy”.

On September 2, news emerged that a Commonwealth Bank investor was suing the lender, demanding to see internal documents on its decisions to finance fossil fuel projects to ensure it has complied with its own environmental framework.

And just this past week, there were two more significant climate litigation developments. In NSW, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision to refuse a coal mine in the Bylong valley, north-west of Sydney. The state’s Independent Planning Commission had dismissed the plan for the 6.5 million tonne-a-year mine two years ago, and a previous court appeal was also rejected in part because of the climate change impacts of digging up the fossil fuel.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, a High Court legal challenge was launched against the state of Victoria, arguing it lacks the constitutional power to tax electric car drivers with a road user charge.

Federal and state governments, regulatory bodies and corporate actors have been put on notice. If they don’t take steps to mitigate climate change, they too could end up in Australia’s courts.

***************************************

My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

*****************************************

Sunday, September 19, 2021


Fears for UK recovery as record energy prices shut fertiliser plants

All those closed coal plants are coming back to bite them. It's simple supply and demand. Reduce the supply of elecricity and the price will shoot up

Gas has been widely used to replace coal but that just puts a strain on the gas supply


Record energy prices have forced two fertiliser plants in the north of England to shut down and brought steel plants to a halt, in some of the clearest signs that the energy crunch engulfing Europe could deal a blow to the UK’s economic recovery.

The US fertiliser maker CF Industries has halted production at its plants in Billingham in Teesside and Ince in Cheshire, which employ about 600 workers, because of rocketing gas prices, which have reached successive record highs across Europe in recent weeks.

Goldman Sachs, a major commodity trader, warned rocketing prices would mean heavy industries across Europe running the risk of blackouts this winter, particularly if freezing temperatures drag into 2022 across Europe and in Asia.

The warning came as UK Steel, the industry’s trade body, said steelmakers were already forced to pause work during peak electricity demand hours due to market prices for power.

The energy price shock has triggered calls for UK ministers to take urgent action to protect households and companies, while governments across Europe move ahead with rescue deals to help energy consumers to weather the coming winter.

The boss of the energy supplier E.ON UK, Michael Lewis, used an interview with the Financial Times to call on the government to help hard-pressed households by moving the cost of supporting renewable energy subsidies from energy bills to general taxation.

In Spain the government plans to claw back €3bn (£2.6bn) from energy generator profits, and put in place tax breaks for consumers, in order to stem the economic contagion of runaway energy prices. Meanwhile, the French government is considering plans for direct subsidies for energy payments and Greece has amassed a €150m rescue fund to cut all consumer bills.

The UK government has been slow to respond to the brewing energy crisis, despite Britain shouldering the highest energy market prices in Europe, according to market experts at S&P Global Platts.

CBI, the UK’s biggest business group, said the jump in energy prices was “a concern for businesses looking to accelerate their recovery from the pandemic”, and called for companies and policymakers to work together to safeguard the UK’s international competitiveness.

Energy prices have rocketed across Europe owing to a global boom in gas demand following a cold winter that depleted gas storage facilities. There has also been trouble importing gas from Norway and Russia which has cut its exports to Europe in recent months, for reasons some in the industry suspect may have a political motivation.

The gas price hike has proven particularly difficult for the UK because it continues to rely heavily on gas-fired power plants. There are also rising fears over the UK’s electricity supplies after a string of unplanned power plant outages and some of the lowest summertime wind speeds since 1961.

The UK’s electricity woes were compounded this week by news that one of its biggest power cables responsible for importing electricity from France would be forced to shut until late March after a fire at a converter station in Kent. The cable shutdown means the UK will rely more heavily on electricity generated domestically by gas-fired power plants, which could increase the pressure on gas supplies, and coal plants that have raked in record payments to help keep the lights on.

CF Industries said the company did not have an estimate for when production would resume at its UK facilities, and experts fear that other heavy energy users will also face shutdowns or rocketing business costs this winter.

UK Steel said at current electricity prices it was already impossible for steel producers to be profitable at certain times of day or night and urged the government and the regulator to intervene.

“The government and Ofgem must be prepared to take action as this situation continues,” said Gareth Stace, the group’s director general. “Electricity prices increase in the winter months, therefore the situation gets more urgent each and every day.”

A spokesperson for the government said it was “determined to secure a competitive future for the UK steel industry” and had provided “extensive support”, including more than £600m to help with the costs of energy and to protect jobs.

“Our exposure to volatile global gas prices underscores the importance of our plan to build a strong, home-grown renewable energy sector to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” the spokesperson added.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, said it understood that “the current situation with gas prices is putting pressure on customers” and remained “committed to continuing to work closely with industry through the period ahead”.

*******************************************

UK carbon dioxide shortage could force farmers to cull pigs

A CO2 shortage! A great irony, surely

Britain’s pig farmers are the latest casualty of the worsening energy crisis which threatens to trigger a shortage of carbon dioxide used across the food and drinks industry.

Rocketing gas prices have caused a Europe-wide slowdown for some chemical factories that produce fertiliser, a byproduct of which is carbon dioxide which is used in fizzy drinks and beer as well as in the meat industry to stun animals before slaughter.

Meat industry representatives have warned that farmers may imminently be required to begin “humane” pig culls due to a looming shortage of carbon dioxide to slaughter the backlog of animals destined for abattoirs that are already understaffed amid labour shortages.

It would be the first time that farmers would be required to destroy their animals en masse since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease two decades ago forced the government to send the army to British farms to cull livestock.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said: “We urgently need the secretary of state for business to convene the big CO2 manufacturers to demand that they coordinate to minimise disruption, and provide information to Britain’s businesses so contingency plans can be made.”

The government has held emergency talks with representatives from the food and drink industries, as well as the UK meat sect0r, over concerns that trouble in the chemicals industry could impact CO2 supplies for the food sector.

Norway-based chemicals company Yara International on Friday set out plans to curtail its ammonia production at six facilities across Europe by 40%, including a plant in Hull, which will also impact the CO2 supply chain. It blamed record gas prices across Europe for affecting its profit margins.

The decision follows the shutdown of two fertiliser plants in the North of England by US company CF Industries earlier this week, also due to record high gas prices. The company shut its plants in Billingham in Teesside and Ince in Cheshire, which employ about 600 workers.

Fertiliser plants use gas to produce ammonium nitrate which is used in agriculture to support crop yields, but also produce food-grade carbon dioxide. A CO2 shortage three years ago triggered panic among meat producers as well as pubs and breweries.

Allen said the latest carbon supply chain squeeze would be worse than the 2018 disruption because there has been “zero warning of the planned closure” which has “plunged the industry into chaos”.

Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, told the Guardian that pig farms were “at bursting point already” and the carbon dioxide shortage would compound the disruption in UK abattoirs caused by a lack of labour.

“Government has got to intervene,” she said. “I was talking to a farmer earlier who was almost in tears at the thought of having to kill animals that they had lovingly raised. The last thing they want to see is animals being killed on farms.”

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation has also been in talks with government officials about the looming issues in the UK’s carbon dioxide supply chain, and said it would closely monitor the situation to further understand its consequences.

A government spokesperson said it was “monitoring this situation closely” and officials were in regular contact with the food and farming organisations and industry, “to help them manage the current situation”.

******************************************

Greenland prepares legislation to halt large rare-earth mine

Greenland's new government is preparing legislation that will ban uranium mining and cease development of the Kvanefjeld mine, one of the biggest rare earth deposits in the world, the country's mineral resources minister said.

Kvanefjeld, owned by Australian mining firm Greenland Minerals and located near the southern town of Narsaq, contains a large deposit of rare earth metals but also radioactive uranium which locals fear could harm the country's fragile environment if extracted.

Greenland's left-leaning government, which came to power in April after campaigning against the development of Kvanefjeld, says it will ban the exploration of deposits with a uranium concentration higher than 100 parts per minute (ppm), which is considered very low-grade by the World Nuclear Association.

"What we know is that the background radiation in and around Narsaq is quite high, which means that the project will collide with the upcoming zero tolerance policy on uranium mining," minister for mineral resources Naaja Nathanielsen told Reuters in an interview in the capital Nuuk.

Kvanefjeld was granted preliminary approval last year and was on track to gain final approval under the previous government.

Mining companies have been pushing for rights to exploit rare earth deposits in Greenland, which the U.S. Geological Survey says has the world's biggest undeveloped deposits of the metals used in everything from electric vehicle batteries to missiles.

A public hearing on the project ended this week. Greenland Minerals, in which Chinese partner Shenghe Resources has about a 10% stake, participated in community meetings in February, but did not attend meetings in August and September citing the political nature of the meetings.

Chief executive John Mair, whose company has spent more than $100 million preparing the project, told Reuters on Friday he believes his company still holds the "valid right to pursue an exploitation licence for the project in compliance with Greenland laws."

Locals worry that a potential lawsuit against Greenland will hurt its ability to attract investments in a nascent mining sector which they think is key to growing their economy.

Mair said it was too early to look at legal action, "but as a public company, we must protect shareholder interests in the event a practical solution is not found."

Nathanielsen said the government in 2013 put a clause in its contract with the company that states it "has no claim to an exploration license and that a refusal can be given for political reasons."

"We cannot issue guarantees against a lawsuit, but we believe that we stand quite well in a potential court case," she said.

The new bill, which will also include the option of banning the exploration of other radioactive minerals such as thorium, will be passed in the autumn with backing of the Naleraq party, a coalition partner, Nathanielsen said.

**************************************

Biden makes hilarious 10 year prophecy. Has he learned nothing from the failure of the many such prophecies in the past?

After decades of failed climate predictions, one would think the president of the United States would steer clear of making one. But this week, President Biden did just that when discussing what he claims is a global climate crisis.

While out West touring wildfire-ravaged areas, Biden tried to sell some of the climate change measures tucked into spending packages but which “appear increasingly at risk,” according to The New York Times.

“A drought or a fire doesn’t see a property line,” he said during at a stop at a federal renewable energy laboratory. “It doesn’t give a damn for which party you belong to. Disasters aren’t going to stop. That’s the nature of the climate threat. But we know what we have to do. We just need to summon the courage and the creativity to do it.”

He spoke of goals like investing in a modernized electric grid, electric busses, charging stations, and more.

“When I rejoined the Paris Climate Accord after we had been pulled out of it, the goal set when our last administration, the Obama-Biden administration, when that was set, they were set that we had more time. We don’t have the time now. The goals are different because the necessity is there. We don’t have a lot of time. We don’t have much more than 10 years for real,” he said.

No matter how urgent Biden believes the “climate crisis” is, that doesn’t change the fact that such predictions and warnings have been notoriously wrong over the years.

In a 2019 column, the late Walter Williams recalled just some of them.

As reported in The New York Times (Aug. 1969) Stanford University biologist Dr. Paul Erhlich warned: "The trouble with almost all environmental problems is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you're dead. We must realize that unless we're extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years."

In 2000, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at University of East Anglia's climate research unit, predicted that in a few years winter snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is."

In 2004, the U.S. Pentagon warned President George W. Bush that major European cities would be beneath rising seas. Britain will be plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020.

In 2008, Al Gore predicted that the polar ice cap would be gone in a mere 10 years. A U.S. Department of Energy study led by the U.S. Navy predicted the Arctic Ocean would experience an ice-free summer by 2016.

In May 2014, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared during a joint appearance with Secretary of State John Kerry that "we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos."

Peter Gunter, professor at North Texas State University, predicted in the spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness: "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable [...] By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. ... By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."

Ecologist Kenneth Watt's 1970 prediction was, "If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000." He added, "This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age." (Townhall)

The major difference between predictions made in the past and those of today is how much more gullible Americans are now, Williams argued, meaning we'll spend into oblivion to combat climate change. "The only result is that we'll be much poorer and less free," he said.

***************************************

My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

*****************************************

Friday, September 17, 2021



Australian farmers get nod to clear land for bushfire protection. Greenies howl

Environmental groups say a new code allowing land clearing 25 metres out from fences will do little to aid protection against bushfires in NSW but could have devastating impacts on wildlife.

The state government over the weekend released its long-awaited code for landholders "to reduce the potential for the spread" of fires from or into properties. "This should be undertaken with consideration of environmental impacts," the code states.

The 25-metre distance on either side of the fence, though, was not among the 76 specific recommendations of the state's bushfire inquiry after the 2019-20 fires.

Instead, the review called for a simplification of the vegetation clearing policies to ensure they were "clear and easy to navigate for the community, and that they enable appropriate bush fire risk management by individual landowners without undue cost or complexity".

Independent upper house MP Justin Field said the 25-metre measure "was totally plucked from the air" without scientific basis.

"These rules will be a disaster for regional communities," Mr Field said. "We're going to see vegetation bulldozed, chopped down, piled up and likely burnt across the state as a result of this decision with almost no regard to the environmental impact.

"This is going to pit neighbour against neighbour and will create massive fragmentation of bushland, leading to a further drying out of the landscape that may increase bushfire risks."

Proponents for the clearing had sought even wider clearing and for them to be applied to national parks before the cabinet compromised on the 25-metre zone that avoided the national park estate, according to one official who asked for anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly.

An uproar from some local councils, though, led to the Sydney metropolitan region being excluded from the clearing code. Areas close to rivers and other sensitive regions including core koala habitat are also excluded.

"There was quite a lot of thought that went into that [25-metre] distance," Kyle Stewart, an RFS Deputy Commissioner, said, adding it provided "an operational distance" that balanced firefighting effectiveness and other factors such as conservation.

The RFS would work with partner state agencies to help enforce the code's provisions, he said.

Martin Tebbutt, a resident near the Blue Mountains town of Bilpin, said Mr Elliott had "done a snow job" because nothing had changed for his land as it was within the Greater Sydney region.

"We won't be able to protect ourselves along our boundary," Mr Tebbutt said, adding that even 10 metres from the fence line would have been sufficient. Getting approval through the Hawkesbury Council for any clearing would continue to be "quite onerous", he said.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said councils within the Sydney Metropolitan areas "would be given the opportunity to opt-in to ensure the Code is applicable to any pockets of rural zoned land within their Local Government Area".

"The onus is on the landowner to ensure that they comply with the applicable regulations," he said.

The Herald also sought comment from Environment Minister Matt Kean and Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

Chris Gambian, head of the Nature Conservation Council, said thousands of hectares of wildlife habitat would be destroyed without requiring an independent assessment of the environmental impacts.

"Neither the NSW Bushfire Inquiry nor the royal commission recommend land clearing on property boundaries as a valid response to the Black Summer fires, but politicians in the government think they know better," Mr Gambian said.

"If these codes stand, it will be a black mark on the record of Matt Kean, who in many respects has been a good minister for the environment."

According to the self-assessed clearing, "it is the responsibility of the owner of the land to maintain a copy of the Rural Boundary Clearing online tool search results from the day that the clearing is undertaken. Landowners are required to provide evidence of the online search tool results in the circumstance that a relevant regulatory authority seeks such evidence".

*****************************************

Australia plugs for a land carbon sink

Endorsed by the Australian government in a widely unnoticed dot-point in May’s federal Budget and even given faint praise in modest mentions by the IPCC itself, a campaign to enhance the significant capacity of the soil to act as a carbon sink has a particular relevance to Australia.

Although there may be scope for some reservations about the entirety of claims by Mulloon Institute chair (and my former political colleague and friend) Gary Nairn that ‘it is possible to absorb the world’s annual anthropogenic emissions in our soils’, there is no doubt about the science that soil plays a role (understated in the latest catastrophe-oriented IPCC report) in reducing the impact of climate change through the natural cycle of soil carbon sequestration – and in particular by the land rehydration techniques employed by Mulloon in the NSW Southern Tablelands in conjunction with the government’s National Landcare Program and as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Critical of IPCC’s reliance on cutting emissions as the only recommended way to deal with climate change, Nairn points to other, simpler solutions: ‘soil contains two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere…. The long-term removal, capture or sequestration in soil of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helps slow or reverses atmospheric CO2 pollution’. With the IPCC forecasting a future of less rain overall but more intensive events, risking flooding and erosion, Nairn’s view that ‘the least expensive and most practical action that will quickly get results, including a return on investment, is fixing and rehydrating our degraded landscapes’, has the backing of Prime Minister Morrison.

When Energy Minister Angus Taylor announced the May budget’s $37 million funding of National Soil Innovation (included in the budget’s $233 million towards improving farming productivity, profitability and participation in the Emissions Reduction Fund), Taylor said the fund would support the development of technologies to reduce the measurement costs involved in ‘unlocking the untapped potential of our soils in line with our approach to reducing emissions by innovation not elimination’.

This cause was taken up earlier this year by the Menzies Research Centre’s James Mathias in the Daily Telegraph with the claim that ‘Increasing soil organic carbon is the single most useful step we can take to remove excessive carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By improving the way we farm, agriculture can become a net consumer of atmospheric carbon. Since Australian farming soils in aggregate are low by world standards, the potential to absorb carbon and turn it into productive use is huge. The benefits of soil carbon, however, go further than sequestration. Even without the imperative to restore the carbon balance, richer soils are more productive and require fewer inputs.

Australia is not alone in looking to better ways of dealing with CO2. In the US, the ultra-green Union of Concerned Scientists last month described the management of soil carbon as ‘an important tool in battling the climate crisis. By adopting healthy soil practices that keep carbon in soil and sequester carbon for the long term, farmers can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Such practices can boost resilience to increasingly extreme droughts and floods, reduce air and water pollution, and help farmers and their communities to thrive’.

While still focussing overwhelmingly on the negative impact on the land (floods, fire and famine) of its forecast human-emissions-caused global warming than on the positive prospects of land-use changes to assist the removal of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, the IPCC has nevertheless become more aware of the potential of land carbon sinks – and acknowledges that biological methods of increasing land carbon storage also enhance primary productivity.

But in the IPCC’s current ‘Advice to Policymakers’ there are no policy proposals, no urgent campaign to turn land sinks into a positive weapon, even though it accepts that there is a potential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and durably store it in reservoirs. It projects that higher CO2 emissions will result in natural land carbon sinks taking up, in absolute terms, progressively larger amounts of CO2. However, the share of emissions absorbed by land is projected to decline with increasing cumulative CO2 emissions, resulting in a higher proportion of emitted CO2 remaining in the atmosphere.

The IPCC reckons that two-thirds of the estimated carbon lost from the soil as a result of human agriculture over 12,000 years is recoverable with best management practices. ‘These may be applied to the restoration of marginal or degraded land but may also be used in traditional agricultural lands’. But while restoration of degraded forests and non-forest ecosystems can play a large role in carbon sequestration, the IPCC warns against afforestation of native grasslands, savannas, and open-canopy woodlands that lead to the undesirable loss of unique natural ecosystems with rich biodiversity, carbon storage and other ecosystem benefits.

All this endorses much of the Mulloon approach, with its rehydration focus being reinforced by the IPCC’s satellite observation that links lower global-scale terrestrial water storage with a lower global net land CO2 sink.

But there remains a gap between many of the IPCC’s conclusions and hard evidence to support them. As the American Enterprise Institute conservative think-tank opined last month, ‘it is important to recognise that the assumption of many politicians, environmental groups, and no small number of scientist-activists — that humans are the single most significant cause of climate change — is simply unsupported by the available science….

Public discussion of the climate crisis consistently ignores the very real possibility that the small amount of warming that will likely occur might yield noteworthy benefits….[such as] a substantial (CO2-induced) greening of the earth over the past 35 years. Though there will likely be some negative consequences of a warming planet, there will likely be positive effects as well’.

So why no public IPCC campaign for world leaders to prioritise land carbon sinks, with their immediate and diverse benefits, as a less economically-destructive alternative? The suspicion is that the catastrophists at the IPCC won’t abide anything that reduces the alleged urgency of their emissions reduction mantra. As the AEI says, ‘Instead of merely dismissing the faux science that lends support to climate alarmism as a “hoax,” conservatives must do more to engage with and reclaim the growing body of scientific evidence that supports their climate-change realism’.

******************************************

UK: Green protesters bring highway traffic to a halt for second time this week

Dozens of environmental protesters have blocked traffic on Britain’s busiest motorway for the second time in three days.

Activists from Insulate Britain staged the demonstration at several sections of the M25 in London during the morning rush-hour on Wednesday, causing long delays.

The group, which is calling on the government to insulate the country’s social housing by 2025, said 89 of its members had blocked traffic for the second time this week.

Surrey police said there had been 25 arrests as of 10am, about two hours after the protests began.

The air ambulance and firefighters were called to the scene of a multi-vehicle collision at junction nine of the M25, near one of the demonstration sites.

The action came two days after 92 protesters were arrested for obstructing vehicles on some of the busiest routes in south-east England on Monday.

Motorists could be seen pleading with the activists to clear the road near junction 23, where two vital road networks meet.

In a statement, Insulate Britain said drivers were right to be angry but they would continue the direct action until the government pledged greater action on the climate emergency.

It said: “We will keep going until the government responds. Until it overcomes its complacency and cowardice and fulfils its first and most sacred duty: to protect the people of this country from harm.

“All we ask is that it makes a public statement that we can trust – that commits to the first step, to start the insulation of our homes. As soon as this happens we will leave the roads.”

The group previously said its demands were delivered by hand to 10 Downing Street on 21 August 2021 but so far the government had not responded.

Some of the activists involved in Wednesday’s protest were the same people arrested after Monday’s action, LBC reported.

Footage showed protesters in hi-vis jackets sat on the motorway with signs saying “sorry for the disruption” and “please turn off your engines”, while some motorists shouted abuse at them.

One driver told reporters she was on the way to collect her grandchild because her daughter was in labour, while another shouted that the protesters “should be shot”.

In a demonstration by the same group on Monday, five junctions of the M25 were blocked, leading to tens of thousands of drivers being stuck in huge queues of traffic.

***************************************

PepsiCo to slash plastic use in sustainability push

Soda giant PepsiCo will cut back on the use of virgin plastic and expand its SodaStream sparkling-water business to more markets amid growing calls from consumers, clients and climate change advocates to combat plastic waste.

As part of a new initiative called "pep+", the Lays chips and Pepsi maker said on Wednesday it aims to reduce virgin plastic use per serving by half across all brands by 2030, and use 50% recycled content in all its plastic packaging.

Its standard of measurement will be the amount of plastic used to serve 12 oz (ounces) of beverages and 1 oz of food, helping the company easily gauge its plastic footprint across a diverse portfolio that includes chips and snacks to sodas and oatmeal.

Rival Coca-Cola also plans to sell bottles made from fully recycled plastic in the United States, as the company and PepsiCo emerge as new targets for global activism because of the amount of single-use plastic waste they generate.

According to a Greenpeace report, Coca-Cola generates over 100 billion bottles of single-use plastic annually, while PepsiCo uses 2.3 million metric tonnes of plastic over the same period.

PepsiCo's ambitious plan to scale its SodaStream sparkling-water business globally could, if successful, help reduce the usage of more than 200 billion plastic bottles by 2030, Chief Executive Ramon Laguarta told Reuters in an interview.

SodaStream, acquired by PepsiCo in 2018, makes machines and refillable cylinders that let users make their own soda or carbonated water drinks at home.

The brand, currently in 40 countries, will bring new flavors into 23 more markets, and will also introduce its new SodaStream Professional platform aimed at businesses in 10 additional markets by 2022, the company said in a statement

"While recycled plastic is part of the solution, we are creating a whole new model with SodaStream, which is essential to our growth strategy in beverages," Laguarta said.

***************************************

My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

*****************************************