Thursday, May 23, 2024

Just Stop Oil eco-zealots may be forced to pay compensation to the people whose lives they make a misery

Just Stop Oil will be forced to pay compensation under new plans being drawn up by Dowing Street to combat its protest mayhem.

The group, along with other eco-clowns, will have to pay people whose lives their antics disrupt under the commissioned review into political violence and disruption.

Those who can prove they endured loss, distress or suffering from an illegal protest would be entitled by law to reimbursement.

The Telegraph reported that the plans are supported in principle by Downing Street and are due to be announced on Tuesday.

Led out by Lord Walney, the independent Government adviser, the plans are intended to bring sanctions upon protesters who hold up ambulances, stop or delay employees from getting to work, and losing businesses money.

It may also extend to students being prevented from getting to classes or getting their degrees, like with the recent pro-Palestinian protests at universities.

The review will set out more than 40 recommendations for dealing with disruption.

The Telegraph reported that the review will recommend the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to come up with a legal framework for compensation.

A Home Office source told the newspaper that if JSO organises a major roadblock and someone cannot get to work or miss a hospital appointment, there would be a framework where they could 'more easily sue the organisation'.


It’s About To Get COLDER And CO2 Levels May Drop To Dangerously Unproductive Levels

On a Tom Nelson Podcast, Professor David Dilley discussed his perspective on global warming and the importance of understanding Earth’s natural climate cycles.

He emphasised that the current global warming cycle is the first time instrument data has been available and that there have been multiple global warming and cooling cycles throughout Earth’s history.

“Global warming will be dead by 2030,” he said.

Prof. Dilley is a meteorologist, climatologist, palaeoclimatologist and a former NOAA National Weather Service Meteorologist. He is the founder and CEO of Global Weather Oscillations (“GWO”), a company heavily involved in researching and developing technology for predicting natural climate and weather cycles.

He has 54 years of experience ranging from the Air Force to NOAA National Weather Service and GWO. As the senior research scientist and forecaster for GWO, Prof. Dilley developed ClimatePulse Technology based on geomagnetic cycles of the earth, moon and sun, and how these cycles align with historical, present-day and future climate and weather cycles.


We Are Fast Approaching The ‘Green Energy Wall’

The “Wall” consists of some combination of real-world obstacles, part cost and part physics, that will inevitably end the quest for emissions-free “net zero” electricity generation well before the goal of zero emissions is reached

I first identified the approaching Wall in this post in December 2021 and remarked that it was “gradually coming into focus” in this follow-up post in November 2023.

Anyone paying attention and capable of doing basic arithmetic knows that we are approaching this Wall, with some jurisdictions much faster than others. (New York has voluntarily put itself in the front ranks.).

What we don’t know is how the hitting of the Wall will manifest itself:

Widespread and frequent blackouts? Regular, enforced load-shedding brownouts? Tripling or quadrupling of electricity prices? A political uprising as people realize that they have been duped by scammers claiming that an energy transition would be easy and cheap?

Or perhaps it will be all of the above.

Meanwhile, the years pass slowly. The impossibility of the situation we are digging into becomes more and more obvious, but so far there is no obvious crisis. Will it arrive in another year, or two? Or maybe five?

Consider New York. Multiple statutes and regulations commit us to energy transition mandates that simply will not be met.

Among the fantasies are two major statutes passed in 2019, one for New York State (Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act), and the other for the City (Local Law 97); and vehicle emissions standards adopted in 2022 by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Start with those vehicle emissions standards. In 2022 the DEC adopted for New York the standards and requirements outlined in the California Air Resources Board’s “Advanced Clean Cars II” regulation.

California’s regulations call for minimum percentages of vehicles sold to be “zero emissions” starting with the 2026 model year, and then rapidly scaling up to 100 percent “zero emissions” by the 2035 model year.

Here is a chart from CARB of the percentages of vehicles sold, by model year, that are supposed to be “zero emissions.”

EVs are not the only things that qualify as “zero emissions” (e.g., hydrogen vehicles qualify), but EVs are the only things that qualify and also exist in meaningful numbers. The 2026 model year begins around September 2025 — that is, about 16 months away.

What is the current percent of vehicles sold in New York that are “zero emissions”? A piece on March 6, 2024, in the New York Times puts the percentage of electric vehicles sold in the New York “metropolitan area” in 2023 at less than 10 percent.

The article does not give a figure for New York State as a whole, but undoubtedly the figure for the state — including rural upstate areas — is far less than the percentage in the City and suburbs.

Meanwhile, many sources report that EV sales have suddenly declined sharply in the first quarter of 2024. (I can’t find statistics on that broken down by state.).

But even if EV sales in New York State continued to increase in the first months of this year, are they really going to somehow get to 35 percent of all sales within a little more than a year? And then to 43 percent after just one more year, and then 51 percent after one more year, and so on to 100 percent by 2035?

This is completely ridiculous.

Equally ridiculous is the mandate in the CLCPA for 70% of electricity generation from “renewables” by 2030. The people in charge of implementing this mandate are completely incompetent and have no idea what they are doing.

After the passage of the Act in 2019, the first significant step [taken] in 2020 and 2021 was to close the two zero-emissions nuclear reactors at Indian Point that provided about 25 percent of New York City’s electricity, and replace them with two brand-new natural gas plants, thus substantially increasing emissions.

So to date, the progress toward the so-called 70 x 30 goal has been negative.


Green/Left surrenders: Eraring, Australia's largest coal-fired powerplant to remain open in order to prevent shortages and blackouts

That wonderful coal! Very hard to replace

The life of Australia's largest coal-fired power station will be extended for at least two years in order to prevent power shortages and blackouts in NSW.

Origin Energy has been in talks with the NSW government about extending the life of the Eraring power station after a review warned the scheduled August 2025 retirement could result in electricity shortfalls and price hikes, leaving a 25 per cent gap in NSW's power requirements.

In a statement on Thursday, the state government described the agreement as 'temporary and targeted' in order to guarantee a minimum supply of electricity until the new expected closure date.

'A temporary extension of Eraring will provide time to deliver the renewable energy, storage and network infrastructure projects required to replace the power station,' it said.

The NSW government and Origin have agreed to an underwriting arrangement under which the state will not make any up-front payments to the energy company to operate Eraring.

Instead, Origin will need to decide by March 31 in 2025 and 2026 whether it wishes to opt in to the underwriting arrangement for the following financial year and share up to $40million per year of any profits it earns from the facility.

If the power station operates at a loss, Origin will be able to claim no more than 80 per cent of the sum from the state government.

Those claims will be capped at $225million each year, if the company does opt in.

Environmental groups and progressive think-tanks have long railed against Eraring receiving any lifeline.

'To keep Eraring open beyond its closure date will make the national job of decarbonising our energy grid all that much harder,' Australian Conservation Foundation climate policy adviser Annika Reynolds said.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen in March said delaying Eraring's retirement would not imperil Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target.

Eraring was privatised under the former coalition government in a 2013 deal that resulted in Origin being paid $75 million to take over the ageing asset.

NSW Energy Minister Penny Sharpe emphasised today's decision was a 'temporary and targeted agreement' to ensure reliability, however she said the state was still prioritising a transition to green energy.

'NSW is stepping up the transition to cheap, clean, reliable renewable energy. But to keep the lights on and prices down, we need to make sure new renewable infrastructure and storage capacity is online before coal-fired generators reach the end of their life,' she said.

'This temporary and targeted agreement will provide financial support only if it's needed, and only for as long as needed, during an orderly exit of coal-fired power.

'This is a proactive and sensible step to ensure a plan is in place, if needed, to avoid electricity outages and rising power prices.'

The government has stressed Thursday's announcement would protect NSW taxpayers.

'This agreement gets the balance right. It means the clean energy transition can continue without exposing families and businesses to extreme bill shocks during a severe cost-of-living crisis,' said NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey.

'Taxpayers are well-protected. We won't be handing over a $3 billion cheque to Origin as some said we would. Instead, this agreement incentivises Origin to only use the underwrite if there is a sudden change in market conditions.

'Had Eraring remained in public ownership, an agreement like this would not have been necessary.'




Wednesday, May 22, 2024

EVERYTHING is caused by global warming

The article below says that increases in dangerous air turbulence encountered by aircraft are caused by global warming. It supports that claim by quoting a "study" on the subject. I have been unable to find the original study but below is a summary of it:

Research published last year by meteorologists from the University of Reading found that our skies are around 55 per cent more turbulent than they were 40 years ago. Scientists found that in a typical spot in the North Atlantic –one of the world's busiest routes – the total annual duration of clear-air turbulence rose from 17.7 hours in 1979 to 27.4 hours in 2020. Moderate turbulence in the same region is also up by a staggering 37 per cent.

Paul Williams, a co-author of the study, expects a 181 per cent increase in clear-air turbulence over the North Atlantic by 2050-2080, as rising global temperatures increase the velocity and unpredictability of windshears.
So how was turbulence measured? Since it is invisible, it was presumably measured simply by counting incidents reported by aircraft experiencing it. But there would be an increasing number of aircraft flights over the 40 year period between 1979 and 2020. So even if the frequency of turbulence was unchanged we would still see more reports of it. So the "expectation" of Prof Williams is unsupported. And even if his expectation were soundly based, he has no data to link it to global warming. Aren't "expectations" wonderful climate data?

A former pilot and aircraft accident investigator has suggested climate change may have been responsible for the horror plane plunge that left one passenger dead and injured dozens more.

Almost 60 Australians were on-board flight SQ321 from London to Singapore on Tuesday when the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft suddenly plunged more than 6,000 feet in just five minutes, hurling passengers and crew into the ceiling.

Geoffrey Kitchen, a 73-year-old musical theatre director from Gloucestershire, UK, died of a suspected heart attack, while eight Australians were later hospitalised from injuries sustained in the chaos.

The disaster, which was caused by a pocket of unexpected turbulence 11 hours into the journey, forced the plane to make an emergency landing at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Shocking pictures taken inside the plane captured a scene of utter carnage including air stewards with blood smeared across their faces, oxygen masks dangling from the damaged ceiling and rubbish strewn in every aisle.

Tim Atkinson, an aviation consultant and a former aircraft accident investigator, said the plane was one of the 'largest and I daresay the most solid airframes flying around the world'.

'It's regarded as an exceptionally well-built machine in the piloting and aviation fraternity and for turbulence to have had this effect on a triple-seven it must have been really quite severe,' he told Sky News.

Mr Atkinson said that the area the plane was flying over, which is known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone, is 'renowned among pilots, and I dare say passengers, for turbulence'.

'Despite abundant caution occasionally, there's turbulence ahead which can't be identified, and the unfortunate result of an encounter is injury and, very rarely, fatality,' he said.

Mr Atkinson urged all passengers to keep their seatbelt fastened whenever they are seated.

He also suggested a disturbing theory for the disaster.

'We are seeing as climate change is occurring that turbulence is becoming more common and more severe and that's something that the aviation industry is trying to address at the moment,' Mr Atkinson told the BBC.

A global study published last year by Reading University in the UK found that climate change is increasing turbulence during flights – and it predicted that the trend is set to worsen.

It found that in a typical spot in the North Atlantic - one of the world's busiest routes - the total annual duration of severe turbulence increased by 55 per cent from 17.7 hours in 1979 to 27.4 hours in 2020.

'My message from this is we need to do something otherwise flights will become more turbulent in future (as climate change drives more turbulence),' said Professor Paul Williams, an atmospheric scientist who co-authored the study.


Wind Subsidies Are Rising… but wind power production isn’t rising with them

Administration (EIA) shows a decrease in wind power production in 2023. Despite record highs in installed wind capacity and continually rising subsidies production is falling.

Thanks to these subsidies, including the longstanding Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the extensions that these credits received in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), subsidies for wind power have seen a dramatic increase over the last decade. The IRA extended these credits through 2025, and replaces them with the new, but similar, Clean Energy PTC and Clean Energy ITC through 2032. It also added provisions to provide even larger subsidies for projects that meet “Environmental Justice” requirements. All of this together will maintain, and increase, both the scope of subsidies for wind, and the impact that those subsidies have on the overall market for electricity.

Will this money do any good for the power grid? Will added investment in renewable sources, particularly wind, lead to any increase in the amount of wind power generated? And will that capacity increase or decrease the resiliency of the grid?

The answer to all of the preceding questions is an emphatic “no” and recent reality bears this out.

The highest installed wind capacity on record was last year, with nearly 150 gigawatts of installed wind capacity in the US.

Even with this record capacity last year, there was also a decline in power generated from wind for the first time. There was 2.1 percent less wind power generated in 2023 than in 2022. This was in part due to slower wind speeds that year, an inherent flaw of wind power. The intermittency of the source also means that sometimes wind power is unavailable when demand is high, but available when it is not, which can also result in less wind power being used.

These aren’t problems that subsidy dollars can solve, they’re inherent to the technology. Despite this, lawmakers have continually tried throwing money at the problem. From 2016 to 2022, the federal government spent approximately $18.7 billion on subsidies for wind power alone. This is a massive amount of money. It’s even more considerable given that wind’s intermittency heavily limits its benefit to reliability.

During that period, wind subsidies were much higher than the subsidies for any of the conventional power sources: natural gas, coal, and nuclear. Specifically, the wind subsidies were about 2.5 times greater than both coal subsidies and refined coal subsidies, and greater than both coal and refined coal subsidies combined. The wind subsidies were also about double the subsidies for natural gas and petroleum liquids and about 6.5 times greater than nuclear subsidies.

Renewables received 46 percent of overall power subsidies, despite constituting a very small portion of overall power generation.

This isn’t subsidies per kilowatt hour of generation. It’s total subsidies. If it were per kilowatt hour of generation, the disparity would be even more extreme given how much more output conventional sources have. To be clear, policymakers shouldn’t be increasing the subsidies for reliable sources to account for this disparity. The way to fix power markets is to subsidize everything less (ideally not at all). The solution to grid reliability problems is certainly not to subsidize the least reliable sources the most.

Decreasing wind generation makes wind’s power production limitations more obvious. It also emphasizes what many reliability advocates have been saying for years: government meddling in electricity markets in favor of unreliable sources will have consequences for reliability as money is funneled away from what works and toward what does not.

As a general matter, lawmakers should stop subsidizing energy sources. To protect reliability, lawmakers should look to repeal the IRA extensions of wind and solar tax credits as a first step toward repairing the damage that these subsidies have done to electricity markets.


Hydrogen madness in New Mexico

Over the past month, in public meetings stretching from the Navajo Nation to Albuquerque, public officials and company representatives unveiled a picture of a new hydrogen energy industry being built in the northwest corner of New Mexico. The presentations reveal hydrogen production, transportation, power generation and carbon sequestration projects arcing across the Navajo Nation to Farmington and down to the I-40 corridor between Gallup and Albuquerque. Most of the projects are underway, and it’s clear they’ll rely on fossil fuels.

Tallgrass Energy sits at the center of all this activity and has the backing of the state’s biggest political player, New Mexico’s governor. The Denver-based company operates more than 7,000 miles of natural gas pipelines stretching from Oregon to Ohio, and it’s going all-in on creating the necessary pieces of a new economic base in New Mexico’s second-largest fossil fuel producing region. The region’s natural gas holds the key to many of the projects

“Hydrogen is huge!” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham proclaimed while speaking at an event in Farmington in April. What came next is what many in the region fear.

“Hydrogen uses the natural gas resources here we don’t know what to do with,” she said.

Actually, plenty of people know what to do with natural gas. The issue is that fewer and fewer people want to use it, even as more and more of it is being produced. Historically, natural gas has been used most significantly for electrical grid power generation in the U.S., but its use in that arena is declining as renewable energy prices drop in the face of government climate policies and ever-cheaper solar technology.

It takes more energy to make hydrogen than it provides when converted to useful energy.

Meanwhile, natural gas prices have tanked due to a production glut caused by ever-increasing oil production using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in places like the Permian Basin, shared between New Mexico and Texas. Producers want the oil, which brings a market price well above the cost of its production. But, pulled from the well, that fracked oil comes commingled with the less desired natural gas. Over the past month, natural gas prices dipped below zero at a main pipeline transit hub in Texas due to the glut. Some companies are storing gas underground, awaiting better days and prices.

Enter hydrogen. The most plentiful element in the universe is a perfectly clean fuel when used to make electricity in a fuel cell. It’s generally cleaner than natural gas when burned to make heat, though the process produces nitrogen oxides that the EPA says damage the human respiratory system and contribute to acid rain.

The crux lies in how you make your hydrogen, which rarely exists on its own on earth. The cleanest, most energy-intensive way breaks water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable energy. The common way breaks off hydrogen atoms from the methane in natural gas. Either way, it takes more energy to make hydrogen than it provides when converted to useful energy. When made with natural gas, the process also produces a lot of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. That defeats hydrogen’s clean bonafides unless the carbon dioxide is captured and buried underground, a process that uses even more energy.

Furthermore, the natural gas production and transportation process often leaks, sometimes a lot. That gas is mostly methane, which is 80 times more capable of warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it’s released.

The federal government incentivized so-called low-carbon hydrogen production from natural gas with carbon sequestration in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Many worry that this will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions in light of New Mexico’s rocky track record of policing its oil and gas producers. All of this means a fuel promoted to fight climate change could actually exacerbate it, and cost a lot, too.

“How companies choose to produce that hydrogen will fundamentally be a business decision they must make,” said Michael Coleman, director of communications to Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Our greatest opportunity as a state is producing hydrogen from a range of feedstocks.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham has stumped for hydrogen for years, with little support from the state’s Legislature or environmental groups. She also sought a multibillion-dollar grant from the federal government to create a multi-state hydrogen ecosystem centered in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin, but the feds snubbed it last October. Hydrogen investments face a bumpy road in other states as well.

Nonetheless, Lujan Grisham forges on — she went to the Netherlands last week to drum up more hydrogen investments. Meanwhile, testing and planning chug along, with Tallgrass linking many of the far-flung pieces together. “The governor is looking to attract all kinds of hydrogen businesses to New Mexico,” Coleman said. “Tallgrass’ proposal draws all of the attention because of its scale but is hardly the only initiative under way.”

“One of the more notable misconceptions that we’ve struggled to overcome is the view that we are focused on a singular point-to-point hydrogen project,” said Steven Davidson, vice president of government and public affairs for Tallgrass Energy. He’s referring to a hydrogen pipeline being developed by GreenView, a Tallgrass subsidiary. “We are working to create a clean energy ecosystem in coordination with many other parties,” he said.

One of those parties is the Four Corners Clean Energy Alliance, an advocacy group promoting hydrogen development and associated technologies in the region on behalf of GreenView and Tallgrass. One of the group’s board members is an executive at Tallgrass. Both the group’s interim director and director of communications also work for the Consumer Energy Alliance, an industry trade group sponsored in part by a who’s-who of fossil fuel energy producers.

The Tallgrass ecosystem includes a carbon capture and sequestration project with New Mexico Tech. The university has been studying the geology of the San Juan Basin since 2020 with the goal of getting three sequestration wells operational in a few years. The project is in the middle of its federal permitting process and could be approved sometime next year.

It also includes the Escalante coal-fired power plant retrofitted to burn hydrogen, along I-40 between Albuquerque and Gallup and the hydrogen pipeline linking Farmington to central Arizona and crossing the Navajo Nation, a controversial project still in the planning stages.

It’s expected to include a hydrogen production facility or two in or near Farmington, with exact locations to be determined.

And there’s more. At a San Juan County Commission meeting in April, the lead researcher on the carbon sequestration project pointed out that if the Escalante power plant is to reach its carbon-free objective, Tallgrass has to build another pipeline, this one for carbon dioxide, running from the Escalante power plant to the future carbon sequestration wells, roughly 100 miles to the north and crossing the eastern reaches of the Navajo Nation.

Meanwhile, the hydrogen pipeline project has already drawn fire from Navajo opposed to further energy projects on the Nation. The tribe has a 100-year history of outside companies coming in, making fortunes from Native resources and leaving environmental messes behind.

“All the projects that have ever been on Navajo [Nation] made those companies a lot of money,” said Jessica Keetso, who is Diné and an organizer with Tó Nizhóní Ání or Sacred Water Speaks, a Navajo water rights and environmental protection group. Historically, she said, they don’t clean up after themselves. “They get away with not doing reclamation, for everything from oil and gas, uranium to coal,” she said.

“Will this really kickstart our economy, our Navajo Nation economy? I think that’s questionable. If 50 years of coal mining couldn’t do that, hydrogen is not going to do that.”
~ Jessica Keetso, organizer, Tó Nizhóní Ání
Many are also unhappy with how Tallgrass has gone about drumming up support from the tribe’s widely spaced, often-impoverished population.

At a meeting of the Navajo Nation Resources and Development Committee in Albuquerque in late April to discuss the hydrogen pipeline project, committee member Rickie Nez told Tallgrass representatives, “No more gift cards! No more gift cards! It makes you look like you’re bribing someone.”

GreenView representatives had been giving out gift cards to tribal members who attended chapter house meetings where the pipeline was discussed. (Chapter houses are the most local form of government on the Navajo Nation.) At some meetings, tribal members also voted on resolutions to allow the pipeline to cross their chapters. Davidson said the company came up with the idea “in consultation with respected cultural advisors from the Navajo Nation … to lessen the burden to the individual to encourage them to participate.” He said that the cards were for $25 to $50. He also heard that the cards “met with some concern about optics. We completely understand that point.”

In addition, at the Resources and Development Committee meeting, Adam Schiche, whose online profile says he is the vice president for international business development at Tallgrass, said that GreenView representatives met with and paid individual grazing permit holders $500 for the possibility of working on land where livestock grazes. Davidson later said, “We have no qualms” in offering upfront payments, treating Navajo permit holders “exactly like landowners off the Nation.” He said further money would be given if the project goes forward.

“Money talks. Money is persuading people, which is a very sad thing to see,” said Keetso. “The tactics are actually paying off for them because two months ago they didn’t have any resolutions.”

For roughly two years, representatives from both Tó Nizhóní Ání and GreenView have made their cases for or against the pipeline and asked chapters to consider resolutions supporting or opposing it all along the proposed pipeline route. At the April Resources and Development Committee hearing, Schiche said that Tallgrass representatives had gathered resolutions in favor of the pipeline from five chapters. Tó Nizhóní Ání has gathered 15 against.

Tallgrass’ main business is natural gas, and while the focus on hydrogen is touted as part of a climate change solution, it’s clearly connected to those fossil fuel operations. “We believe every practical option to decarbonize should be advanced — including the decarbonization of natural gas to make … hydrogen,” Davidson said. He sees hydrogen keeping the lights on, firing power plants when the sun goes down and the winds calm. “Hydrogen is a proven way to convert and store that clean electricity for when it’s needed,” he said. That’s the idea that ties natural gas to carbon sequestration, to the Escalante hydrogen-fired power plant 100 miles west of Albuquerque and to a 200-mile pipeline across the Navajo Nation to central Arizona.

Powering the electric grid with expensive hydrogen isn’t universally popular. The Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-based nonprofit that helps businesses and governments transition away from fossil fuels, promotes a common view for hydrogen’s best uses. “Fertilizer, oil refining and petrochemicals, steel manufacturing, and long-distance heavy-duty transport are no-regrets applications of hydrogen today,” they write. Hydrogen power plants aren’t what’s needed now.

In the end, New Mexico’s discussion about hydrogen is about money. At the Resource and Development Committee meeting, Schiche told the group that $400,000 a year would be split among chapter houses along the pipeline route. In addition, the Nation could choose either a percentage stake in the pipeline company or annual payment for gas moving through the line.

“Will this really kickstart our economy, our Navajo Nation economy?” Keetso said later. “I think that’s questionable. If 50 years of coal mining couldn’t do that, hydrogen is not going to do that.”

Long-term jobs are a perennial hope for any projects on the Nation, where unemployment runs high. Schiche said that there would be a lot of construction work while building the project, but “the pipeline itself doesn’t generate a lot of jobs.” He said those would be at two hydrogen production sites somewhere around Farmington — which is not on the reservation.

Keetso calls on bigger groups to fight alongside Tó Nizhóní Ání against the hydrogen projects. She said, “I just wish big greens would get off the fence and say, ‘Hey, this hydrogen may be the solution for some things. But the way that this company is doing it is wrong.’”


Comedy environmentalist Jim Dale and Dale Vince have both suggested that climate ‘denial’ should be a criminal offence

It gets them clicks and attention on cable and mainstream news, and it plays into a wider push by green billionaire-funded lawfare outfits using the courts to enforce Net Zero industrial shutdown. But it begs the question: what are the climate ‘deniers’ actually denying?

Dale is a climate campaigner who points to bad weather as evidence that the climate is collapsing before our very eyes. But the evidence suggests no such thing. Data since 2000 show that there has been no increase in extreme weather, no increase in loss of life and no increase in economic costs.

The Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) is a U.S. Government-supported tracker of mass disasters as well as health and economic impacts. It lists 26,000 disasters worldwide from 1900 to the present day. Dr. Matthew Wielicki, a former Geology Professor, has compiled data from this source and they provide no evidence to support the claim that ‘extreme’ weather is on the rise.

Dr. Wielicki suggests that the recent decrease in perceived climate urgency and importance among the American public, especially young adults, as shown by the recent Monmouth University poll “may be influenced by an observable lack of escalation in the direct impacts of climate change”. Such data can lead to scepticism or reduced concern, he adds.

It seems that the lack of evidence drives the alarmists further and further away from scientific reality in their desperation to promote Net Zero.

Last week’s absurd survey of 380 “top scientists” by the Guardian found climate modeller Ruth Cerezo-Mota wailing that it was almost impossible not to feel “hopeless and broken” after all the flooding, fires and droughts of the last three years. Biologist Camille Parmesan was so fearful she almost gave up what she called climate science 15 years ago to become a nightclub singer.

Now she says all the scientists she works with are at the end of their rope “asking what the fuck do we have to do to get through to people how bad this really is”. Engineering Professor Jonathan Cullen states the climate emergency is already here because just 1°C of heating has “supercharged the planet’s extreme weather”.

Millions of people have “very likely” died early as a result, he claimed. Lorraine Whitmarsh is an ‘environmental psychologist’ at the University of Bath, and worries about the future her children are inheriting since climate change is an “existential threat” to humanity.

The Guardian article was written by Damian Carrington, one of the green billionaire-funded lobby group Covering Climate Now’s three journalists of the year in 2023. This operation pumps out ready-to-publish climate catastrophe copy to media outlets worldwide.

Carrington polled over 800 lead authors or review editors of all reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2018. He received replies from 380 authors, but as with all IPCC (and Guardian) reports, the definition of ‘climate scientists’ is very broad. Carrington describes Professor Lisa Schipper as an “expert on climate vulnerability”.

Schipper notes that she is “particularly interested in socio-cultural dimensions of vulnerability including gender, culture and religion, as well as structural issues related to power, justice and equity”. Ralph Sims of Massey University says extreme weather events will escalate and there will be environmental refugees by the millions. Sims’s first job in academia was as a lecturer in agricultural machinery.

Meanwhile, back to the science, and the problem – the giant elephant in the room no less – is that the IPCC gives almost no credence to talk of a climate crisis based on observable bad weather patterns in the past and looking forward to the end of this century.

The above table published in the latest IPCC assessment report reveals this clearly. It shows there is little or no evidence that the following have been, or will be by 2100, affected by human-caused climate change: river floods, heavy rain and pluvial flooding, landslides, droughts (all types), fire ‘weather’, severe wind storms, tropical cyclones, sand and dust storms, heavy snowfall and ice storms, hail, snow avalanche, coastal flooding and erosion, and maritime heatwaves.

Far from living in a time of climate collapse, we appear to be enjoying a benign spell in an interglacial period. A little extra carbon dioxide, rescuing the Earth from possibly dangerous denudation, and a gentle rise of 1°C in temperature from the Little Ice Age, has boosted plant growth around the world. Evidence continues to be produced showing substantial CO2 greening of the planet including desert areas. A recent paper Chen et al. 2024 found that CO2 greening had actually accelerated over the last two decades.

The people spinning the tale of climate collapse – some of them advocating jail time for dissenters – are hysterical, but deadly serious. Ask Gianluca Alimonti, an Italian Physics Professor, whose paper stating a climate emergency was not supported by the available data, was recently retracted by Springer Nature after a year-long campaign by activist scientists and journalists, including Graham Readfearn of the Guardian.

The Alimonti paper, which also included the work of two other physics professors, found that rainfall intensity and frequency was stationary in many parts of the world, and the same was true of U.S. tornadoes. Other meteorological categories including natural disasters, floods, droughts and ecosystem productivity showed “no clear positive trend of extreme events”.

Only a fool would consider arguing that climate contrarian scientists should be sent to jail, as Dale did with Andrew Doyle last Sunday on GB News’s Free Speech Nation. Alas, the transcript of Dale’s comments does little to clarify his argument – it’s just word salad gibberish for the most part. But his intention is clear.

Time for ‘deniers’, whatever they are supposed to be denying, to be marched off to jail. The sad thing is that he is not alone – Dale says it is “common sense”, which, as Doyle observed, is the refrain of every tyrant in history who’s wanted to jail his opponents.


Beware of Climate Activists Cosplaying as ‘Conservatives’

As a general rule of thumb, if the only reason you would identify somebody as a conservative is because they repeatedly insist they are a conservative, they likely are not a conservative. Readers should keep this general rule in mind if they read self-proclaimed conservative climate activist Benji Backer’s new book: The Conservative Environmentalist: Common Sense Solutions for a Sustainable Future.

Backer has created a niche for himself claiming conservative politicians can and must embrace climate activism as a way to hold true to conservative principles and win over young voters. His message runs along the line of, Hey, conservatives, I am one of you. You can trust me that climate activism is truly a conservative issue.

Most conservatives, however, would not recognize Backer’s words and actions as those of a conservative. Prior to writing his book, Backer:

proudly described himself as “Never Trump” and preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election;

slammed Trump’s restrictions on immigrants from terrorist-tied nations as anti-Muslim;

approvingly re-tweeted a statement that supported banning Trump from social media;

called for the reinstatement of FDR New Deal policies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps;

advocated government taking control of 30 percent of America’s land for environmental purposes;

claimed conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) “encouraged” the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, even as Johnson took to social media encouraging people to disperse;

made vitriolic attacks on conservative leaders Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO);

called Donald Trump “despicable and indefensible;”

asserted policymakers who do not support mass COVID-19 vaccinations “has to be one of the lowest possible lows;”

criticized people who did not want to wear face masks as “stupid” and not protecting others “because they want to make a political statement.”

literally said “thank you” to Greta Thunberg for playing “a critical role in generating worldwide awareness around this issue of climate change.”

Are these the words and actions of a conservative? Are these the words and actions of a person conservatives should trust to guide them on policy issues?

While Backer goes out of his way to venomously slam conservatives Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, and Josh Hawley, he simultaneously elicits fawning praise from the political left. Van Jones, the far-left CNN pundit who served as Barack Obama’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs, praises Backer’s book as “a critical blueprint for the future of climate action.”

It’s not a coincidence that leftist political pundits praise Backer’s book. Backer wastes no time heaping praise on former President Richard Nixon for creating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and creating the framework for the nation’s most far-reaching and much abused “environmental protection” laws. He celebrates the mandatory and controversial Green Building Standards Code in California. He admits his American Conservation Coalition is not a conservative organization at all, but is a mix of liberals, independents, and conservatives. One suspects its membership is far more liberal and far less conservative than Backer advertises.

Backer derisively refers to people who disagree with him as “deniers.” He says Alex Epstein supports an “extreme” position for saying we should maximize the benefits of fossil fuels.

Backer praises the Clean Water Act for its brevity, which allows the EPA to interpret the Act any way it wants and become a runaway authoritarian entity.

Backer bemoans the “overconsumption of coffee” because coffee cultivation sometimes occurs on previously undeveloped land. He bemoans “fashion overproduction” and “surplus luxury.” These are not conservative action items, either.

Backer praises Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act for giving “green hydrogen” subsidies that are not available to conventional energy. How are these special-interest subsidies either conservative or desirable?

Backer repeatedly advocates government-created “incentives” (i.e., taxing-and-spending to undermine and redirect market conditions). However, heavy taxation and heavy government financial intervention are not conservative policy principles. Backer can arguably claim his plan for government intervention through taxing and spending favoritism is not as terrible as some more draconian alternatives, but his government-intervention plan is still neither conservative nor desirable.

Backer provides a perfect illustration of his flawed logic and overarching worldview when he writes, “Without incentives, none of the energy sources we use today would have become as inexpensive, accessible, or clean as they are. Oil and gas became as ubiquitous as they did because federal, state, and local governments continually used incentives to generate competition among power companies to encourage better efficiency.”

No, oil and gas became ubiquitous because they are much more concentrated, abundant, dependable, and affordable energy sources than the whale oil and windmills they replaced. Backer’s logic is pretty much the same as President Barack Obama’s when he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” Claiming that the benevolent influence of government is the source of any business’ success is not a conservative worldview or conservative principle.

In its barest form, Benji Backer believes climate change is the single most important issue facing humanity today. He advocates heavy government intervention through tax-and-spend subsidies to direct people’s behavior rather than outright restrictions or mandates. However, most conservatives realize that climate change is not a significant threat and heavy government intervention, in whatever form it takes, is not a conservative policy prescription. It is no wonder that Backer finds himself agreeing with leftist policies on a wide variety of topics and singling out conservatives for particularly venomous attacks. Backer may tell people he is a conservative in order to sell them his climate activism, but the vast majority of conservatives – fortunately – see through this.




Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cancer-causing microplastics are found in 100% of men's testicles in new study

The appropriate response to this finding is "so what"? The presence of the microparticles seems beyond argument. It is the added term "cancer causing" which is the problem. It is little more than journalistic licence. Evidence for the claim is very thin on the ground.

The main ill effect of the particles pointed to below is its alleged link to lowered sperm counts. Problem: It is doubtful that there has been any lowering of sperm counts
The sperm count furore was a beat-up. One of several problems with the claim is that sperm counts decline with aqe so you need to control for age in your samples and that was often not done. As a population ages, its average sperm counts will decline too. There is no known decline in young men.

I could go on in detail but a basic point is that plastics by the nature of their usage have to be very inert. They very rarely react with anything else. So if they are indeed found in human bodies they can be expected just to sit there, causing no effects of any kind. And that seems very clearly to be the case -- othwerwise we we would have many reports of them causing illess. But it is only when scientists go looking for illness that anything is found -- and even then any effects are very weak. And weak effects are notoriously not replicable so cannot be relied on for any policy response

Microplastics have been found at the top of Mount Everest, deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench and now in men's testicles.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico found 12 types of microplastics in all 23 human testes studied.

Data has shown that sperm counts have decreased by 59 percent in the past few decades, with other culprits ranging from cell phones in pants pockets to vape pens.

'We don't want to scare people,' the study's lead author said. 'We want to scientifically provide the data and make people aware.'

The team found that the most prevalent of the 12 microplastics was a polymer material, polyethylene, used in plastic bags and bottles.

The average human concentration was 329.44 micrograms per gram of tissue — vastly more than recent studies of human blood, which came to only tens of micrograms per gram.

Microplastics, smaller than five millimeters in length, enter our bodies through plastic packaging, certain food, tap water and even the air we breathe - and have been linked to cancer and fertility issues.

'There are a lot of microplastics,' the study's lead author Dr. Xiaozhong John Yu, noted. 'We can make our own choices to better avoid exposures, change our lifestyle and change our behavior.'

Dr. Yu was inspired to spearhead the project after a colleague, a professor in the university's pharmacy college named Matthew Campen, found alarming concentrations of microplastics in human placentas.

The presence of this invisible pollution in placentas, so close to unborn children during pregnancy, Dr. Yu noted, led them both to wonder how else microplastics might be impacting reproduction.

Campen, according to Dr. Yu, asked him, 'Have you considered why there is this decline in reproductive potential more recently? There must be something new.'

Dr. Yu and his team found that the concentration of microplastics in the human male testicular tissue was significantly higher than the average Campen found in placental tissue.

For ethical reasons, anonymized human male testicular tissue had been obtained from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator for the new study.

The state's coroners collect these tissue materials during autopsies and then store the material frozen for up to seven years for potential forensic purposes, before being permitted to legally dispose of it.

Preservation methods used to store the human tissue prevented the team from calculating the men's sperm counts.

To fill this gap, the study also looked at tissue from dogs, which showed that the volume of microplastics scaled directly to lower sperm counts in dogs.

'At the beginning, I doubted whether microplastics could penetrate the reproductive system,' Dr. Yu said of his research, published in the journal Toxicological Sciences,

'When I first received the results for dogs I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I received the results for humans.'

Health professionals have been worrying about declining sperm counts in men for years, although the causes appear to be related to multiple environmental factors.

One November 2022 study in the journal Human Reproduction Update, a review that tabulated data from men in 53 countries, found that mean sperm count had plummeted by 51.6 percent between 1973 and 2018 globally.

To analyze their samples, Dr. Yu and his team first chemically dissolved both the human and canine tissue of organic material, fats and proteins, leaving them only with contaminants, like the microplastics, to study.

Spinning the samples in an ultracentrifuge, yielded separated pellets of plastic that could then be identified using traditional lab methods, like mass spectrometry.

Dr. Yu explained that the presence of PVC plastic in particular was quite alarming: 'PVC can release a lot of chemicals that interfere with spermatogenesis [the creation of sperm in the testes] and it contains chemicals that cause endocrine disruption.'

Disruptions to the endocrine system have been known to cause issues with sex and reproductive hormones in humans, fish, and other species.

The health consequence of microplastics in people have gained more attention in recent years, as studies have shown the particles appearing to contribute to inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.

Amid the growing concerns about microplastics in our bodies and in the environment, 175 UN member countries have agreed to come up with a plan this year to end plastic pollution - a global plastics treaty.

Nevertheless, Dr. Yu expressed caution about jumping to worst case scenario conclusions and said he hopes more scientists will study the connections between microplastics and reproductive health.

'We have a lot of unknowns,' he said.

'We need to really look at what the potential long-term effect [could be]. Are microplastics one of the factors contributing to this decline?'


$7.5 Billion Buys Just Seven EV Charging Stations

You’re driving your electric car on a cross-country road trip but no matter where your battery begins to run low, there is a convenient charging station that would work with any make or model

How much would you pay for that kind of convenience? $19.99?

These miracle charging stations usually have a little store attached, so you’ll have something to do while you wait for your car to charge.

How much would you pay for such a deal? $29.99? $49.99? $100?

Someday — maybe not any time soon but in theory it just might happen! — these charging stations will dot our nation’s highways, providing recharges to fleets of electric vehicles people aren’t really buying any longer.

When the chargers are working, that is, which won’t be all the time.

Now how much would you pay?

One BILLION dollars.

Presidentish Joe Biden’s trillion-dollar “infrastructure” law (that spent just nine cents on the dollar for actual infrastructure — and even that is questionable, as you’re about to see) included $7.5 billion in subsidies for a network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030, less than six years from now.

Way back in December, I reported that exactly none had been built.

But these things move at the speed of government, so it was just eleven days later that I had to issue a semi-correction because one — count ’em, one — charging station was finally in operation. Located near a freeway in London, Ohio, it appears to be little used.

Well, here we are, just five months later, and I’m here to report that Biden’s EV charging station program has become a smashing success. According to an article in Monday’s Oil Price, we’re now up to seven spread across four states.

That comes out to an average of about one billion dollars per station. Not that they really cost that much, of course, but my ridiculous averaging is still a lot less ridiculous than Biden’s so-called Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

My back-of-the-envelope math also indicates that building seven stations every two years will get us to Biden’s goal of 500,000 no later than the year 144,881 AD.

Assuming we’re still using AD by then. 2030 doesn’t seem that far away now, does it?

“Missed it by THAT much,” as they say.


‘Nowhere Near Ready For Prime Time’: Biden Wants Companies To Disclose Climate Risks — A Trial Run Did Not Go Well

Six major American financial institutions struggled to accurately assess the extent of their exposure to climate change and related risks, according to the Federal Reserve.

The Fed ran a pilot program for six leading American banks to assess how ready they are to keep track of the risks that climate change poses to their businesses, a practice that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is attempting to mandate for large corporations across the country. The banks — JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup — generally struggled to assess their exposure to climate change because they lacked key data and because climate risk modeling is so new that even the country’s biggest banks could not identify reliable techniques, according to the Fed’s May report on the pilot program.

“Participants reported significant data and modeling challenges in estimating climate-related financial risks,” the report states. “For example, participants noted a lack of comprehensive and consistent data related to building characteristics, insurance coverage, and counterparties’ plans to manage climate-related risks. In many cases, participants relied on external vendors to fill data and modeling gaps"

All of the banks that participated in the exercise said that some key details of insurance markets also posed problems for their efforts to determine their exposure to climate change-related risks, according to the Fed’s report. The banks’ uncertainty on insurance deductibles and the costs of replacing destroyed property forced them to lean on assumptions about how much of the costs would fall on insurers and how much would be the burden of the banks.

Additionally, the report states that the banks outsourced certain aspects of their climate risk modeling to third party organizations because the banks do not have the right personnel or systems of their own to build their own models.

“In the end you’re not sure what the reliability of that estimate really is,” Clifford Rossi, formerly a risk officer for Citigroup’s consumer lending business and now a professor at the University of Maryland’s business school, told E&E News. “The models are nowhere near ready for prime time in making hard money decisions.”

The difficulties that America’s largest banks encountered when trying to assess their own exposure to climate change could be a troubling development in light of the SEC’s major climate risk disclosure mandate, which the agency finalized in March before pausing the regulation in April as legal challenges go through the courts.

The SEC’s rule will require certain medium-sized and large corporations to disclose material climate risks and climate-related goals and targets, as well as some types of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, in their official filings, according to White and Case, a global law firm. While the rule’s proponents have hailed it as a major step toward providing investors and markets with much-needed data about climate change’s possible impacts on markets, critics have charged the SEC with overstepping its mandate and saddling companies with onerous new reporting requirements that are difficult to calculate.

Additionally, California has a corporate climate disclosure mandate for companies doing business in the state, which Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law in October 2023. California’s rules are more aggressive than the federal mandate, as they will require corporations with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion to report emissions, climate-related risks to their businesses and their progress on climate goals, among other things, according to the law firm McDermott Will and Emery.


Net Zero Watch calls for UK to follow Dutch example

Net Zero Watch is calling on UK ministers to follow the example of the Dutch government, which has announced the scrapping of cornerstone climate policies such as mandatory heat pump targets and the compulsory purchase of farmland.

The reversal is part of a populist backlash against environmentalist policies that has so far been more pronounced in parts of continental Europe than in the UK.

The desire of Britain’s politicians to ‘lead the world’ in the fight against climate change has led it to be early adopters of ‘ambitious’ climate targets, without thinking through their implications. Theresa May’s decision to introduce a legally-binding Net Zero target was debated for just 90 minutes in the House of Commons, but it was a decision that was followed by many other countries.

The Dutch experience shows that voters do not appreciate being on the receiving end of inflexible, compulsive policies that hit the poorest hardest. The delaying of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2035 and the delay by a year of the Clean Heat Market Mechanism, show that the Government has at least woken up to the risk it faces. But it will need to go much further to protect consumers.

Harry Wilkinson, head of policy at Net Zero Watch, said:

What has happened in the Netherlands is likely to be replicated across Europe. We have heard some encouraging language from Claire Coutinho, but she needs to go further to avoid a backlash.’

’I’ve never been against heat pumps, but it is absurd to mandate their use when they will be inappropriate in many homes. Green technologies must stand on their own merits, or the public will be left poorer.’




Monday, May 20, 2024

Recycled beer yeast can remove lead from water: breakthrough discovery

This is very good news. Lead is a very harmful pollutant and there was a notorious episode of it contaminating the water supply at Flint, Michigan in 2014

Today, according to the National Resources Defense Council, high levels of lead have been found in Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, Newark, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported that almost 70 percent of children under six in Chicago are exposed to lead in their home tap water

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech have found a way to use recycled beer yeast to make water cleaner by removing lead, the schools announced.

The breakthrough builds on their 2021 research that a year’s worth of discarded beer from a sole brewery could treat Boston’s entire water supply.

A process called biosorption, where yeast can quickly suck in traces of lead along with other heavy metals from the water, was key to the project. Researchers packaged yeast inside special hydrogel capsules that created a de facto lead filter for water.

They’re easy to remove from water once it is drink-ready, scientists said.

“We have the hydrogel surrounding the free yeast that exists in the center, and this is porous enough to let water come in, interact with yeast as if they were freely moving in water, and then come out clean,” researcher Patricia Stathatou said of the study, now published in the journal “RSC Sustainability.”

“The fact that the yeast themselves are bio-based, benign and biodegradable is a significant advantage over traditional technologies.”

Next, the team is brewing up a concept to modify the faucet water in homes or for mass quantities at treatment plants.

“We think that there’s an interesting environmental justice aspect to this, especially when you start with something as low-cost and sustainable as yeast, which is essentially available anywhere,” researcher Devashish Gokhale said.


Another Glorious Climate Triumph

For years Canada’s Liberal administration under Justin Trudeau have been touting their carbon tax as the best thing since sliced bread or possibly bread itself: efficient, effective, and popular.

The last has become clearly untenable and the former was never a sensible claim since those economists who favour carbon taxes want them to be a substitute for a hoorah’s nest of regulations not an addition to it.

But now comes the sad news that it and its red-tape buddies didn’t even work. Even with economically devastating and sanctimonious COVID lockdowns, Canadian GHG emissions rose from an estimated 686 million tonnes in 2020 to 698 million in 2021 and then 708 million in 2022, the latest year for which the feds have numbers.

Like many politicians, Canada’s prime minister has a sublime confidence in his own capacity to achieve wonderful things that is not, how shall we put it, evidence-based. Long in the fang after eight years in office, he resists all suggestions that he step down, instead crowning himself the only man who can save Canada from the forces of evil who want to oppress women and gays while burning up the planet:

“Are we a country that will choose to move backwards in the fight against climate change? To move backwards in the rights of women and LGBT communities? Are we going to be a country that invests less in green growth? […] Because that’s all that the conservatives are proposing.”

Sunny ways indeed. But what if you are going backward in the fight against climate change anyway because your carbon tax, for all the hardships it imposes on citizens when heating their homes and filling their vehicles, isn’t cutting emissions even in company with all the regulations, subsidies and other heavy-handed interventions? Then what?

As the Toronto Sun noted tartly in an editorial, the latest tally:

“means Canada is moving further away from Trudeau’s target of reducing emissions to at least 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.”

It also means he was completely wrong about what his policies would do, are doing and, presumably, will do.

He’s not alone. In her ongoing retreat from reality, Trudeau’s deputy and also his finance minister, once a public intellectual world-famous in Canada, now makes fantasy claims like:

“the investments that Canada is attracting today are coming to Canada in large part because foreign investors recognize that we have a price on pollution and we have a strong climate plan and that means they want to be here and make stuff here in Canada and create good jobs here in Canada”.

In large part? Where did that one come from? Who ever called her up and said wow, your energy is artificially expensive, where do we sign? Yet on she goes, also insisting that:

“The only way for us as an open trade-exposed economy, to have an economic plan actually work, to actually be able to attract foreign investment, to actually be able to sell what we produce, is to have a strong and credible climate plan.”

Um and do you? She thinks so, approvingly quoting her colleague Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources (formerly of Environment and Climate Change and evidently nostalgic for it), that:

“Climate change is altering our environment in a myriad of harmful ways that disrupts our daily lives and the Canadian economy. In this context, the federal government has developed an ambitious climate plan that is driving real results.”

Yes. Falling productivity, stagnant real wages outside the public sector and… what’s this? Rising emissions. Those results are real, all right. Just not the ones you were looking for.

As we’ve said before, the “backlash” against climate policy is driven partly by the real pain it is delivering. But also by the conspicuous lack of gain. It’s meant to improve the weather but none of them think the weather is improving or is about to.


Biden’s Green-Energy Price Shock

Do White House officials pay electric bills? They strangely keep saying the President’s climate agenda is reducing electric-power rates even as the cost of running your dishwasher is sky-rocketing, as illuminated by the Labor Department’s consumer-price index.

The nearby chart shows the average change in electricity prices over the last decade. Electric rates remained relatively flat in the seven years before President Biden took office, rising 5%. Thank cheap natural gas. Yet since January 2021 electricity prices have soared 29.4%—about 50% more than overall inflation.

By our calculation, electricity prices have increased 13 times faster under Mr. Biden than across the previous seven years. His policies aren’t entirely to blame. But most of it is a result of the left’s climate agenda, and the price increases will get worse.

Federal regulations, renewable subsidies and state green-energy mandates are forcing fossil-fuel and nuclear plants to retire prematurely. Solar and wind need backup from so-called peaker gas plants, usually at a hefty premium. During power shortages, spot prices can hit $10,000 per megawatt hour compared to $30 to $60 on a normal basis.

State net-metering programs also subsidize people with solar panels for excess power they remit to the grid. People without solar then pay more for the grid’s fixed costs, which are also growing as more renewables are added. In California an average customer without solar pays 10% to 20% more to subsidize solar.

The costs of hardening the grid to support the government’s green energy transition are also increasing, including new high-voltage transmission lines, power transformers and battery storage. The Biden Administration’s electric-truck mandate alone will cost utilities $370 billion to upgrade their networks. Utilities will pass on their increasing costs to customers over time.

Higher interest rates are also increasing the cost of new green-energy projects. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits can offset up to 50% of a project’s cost, but offshore wind developers say this isn’t enough and are demanding to be paid higher rates—often four times more than natural gas plants.

By driving more baseload power plants out of business, IRA subsidies will increase electric bills even more. Businesses pass on their higher energy costs to customers. U.S. manufacturers will become less competitive, which is why some Members of Congress of both parties are pushing for a carbon tariff. Watch as the prices for cars and appliances rise.

The Inflation Reduction Act may be the biggest legislative misnomer of all time. Our friends on the left wonder why Americans are in a sour mood about the economy. Perhaps they all have solar panels.


Australian court upholds coal mine approvals. Defies Global warming argument

The Federal Court has upheld Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek's refusal to assess the climate impacts of coal mine expansions at Narrabri and Mount Pleasant near Muswellbrook.

The Environment Council of Central Queensland took Ms Plibersek and Narrabri Coal Operations (a subsidiary of Whitehaven Coal) and MACH Energy to court for failing to protect the environment from climate harm resulting from new coal and gas projects.

It had argued the minister's refusal to act on the climate risks of the mining expansions was irrational, illogical and unlawful.

The mining companies joined Ms Plibersek in court to defend the case.

The court found on Thursday that, under existing environment laws, the minister was not legally required to assess risk to the environment from the climate harm of the coal mine expansions.

"We are devastated and heartbroken by today's decision," Ashleigh Wyles from the Environment Council of Central Queensland said.

"We're afraid this decision will open the floodgates for the Minister to approve dozens of new goal and gas projects currently on her desk.

"Instead of standing up to fossil fuel companies, our Environment Minister is standing with them in court, defending her refusal to act on the climate harm of new coal and gas mines."

The minister employed the "market substitution" argument or "drug-dealers defence" to defend her decisions.

But the ECoCeQ argued this was dangerous logic because it was out of step with the law, with science and with public expectations.

"Our client is dismayed that under law as it currently stands, it is somehow not the role of the Environment Minister to protect our environment from the climate harm of new coal and gas mines," Environment Justice Australia co-chief executive Elizabeth McKinnon said.

"This judgement today does not change the science. What it does show is that Australia's environment laws are utterly broken.

"Our laws are failing to keep up with the climate crisis. They are failing to protect the iconic places, plants and animals of this country from the devastation of climate change."




Sunday, May 19, 2024

Researchers warn climate change is likely to aggravate brain conditions

The source article:
Cripes! I was born and bred in the tropics as were all 4 of my grandparents. I must have been walking around amid a herd of morons!

More seriously, the writers had NO data on global warming and no global data of any kind. All they showed was that some illnesses are heat sensitive to an unspecified degree within an unspecified range on some occasions in some localities.

Their work was in fact a classic example of a Gish gallop. They also showed no awareness of the need for an experiment-wise error-rate approach to significance testing. Under something like a Bonferroni correction, ALL of their findings would be reduced to a nullity

Researchers warn climate change is likely to aggravate brain conditions

Climate change, and its effects on weather patterns and adverse weather events, is likely to negatively affect the health of people with brain conditions, researchers have warned.

The scientists argue that in order to preserve the health of people with neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s and stroke, there is an urgent need to understand how climate change affects them.

As an example, they say that higher temperatures through the night can disrupt sleep, which could have a negative effect on some brain conditions.

There is clear evidence for an impact of the climate on some brain conditions, especially stroke and infections of the nervous system

Following a review of 332 papers published across the world between 1968 and 2023, the team, led by Professor Sanjay Sisodiya of UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said they expect the scale of the potential effects of climate change on neurological diseases to be substantial.

Professor Sisodiya, who is also director of genomics at the Epilepsy Society and a founding member of Epilepsy Climate Change, said: “There is clear evidence for an impact of the climate on some brain conditions, especially stroke and infections of the nervous system.

“The climatic variation that was shown to have an effect on brain diseases included extremes of temperature (both low and high), and greater temperature variation throughout the course of day – especially when these measures were seasonally unusual.

“Nighttime temperatures may be particularly important, as higher temperatures through the night can disrupt sleep.

“Poor sleep is known to aggravate a number of brain conditions.”

The researchers considered 19 different nervous system conditions, chosen on the basis of the Global Burden of Disease 2016 study, including stroke, migraine, Alzheimer’s, meningitis, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

They also analysed the impact of climate change on several serious but common psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

According to the findings, there was an increase in hospital admissions, disability or death as a result of a stroke in higher ambient temperatures or heatwaves.

The researchers also suggest that people with dementia are susceptible to harm from extremes of temperature and weather events such as flooding or wildfires, as their condition can impact their ability to adapt behaviour to environmental changes.

Writing in The Lancet Neurology, the researchers say: “Reduced awareness of risk is combined with a diminished capacity to seek help or to mitigate potential harm, such as by drinking more in hot weather or by adjusting clothing.

“This susceptibility is compounded by frailty, multimorbidity and psychotropic medications.

“Accordingly, greater temperature variation, hotter days and heatwaves lead to increased dementia-associated hospital admissions and mortality.”

The researchers say it is important to ensure that research is up to date and considers not only the present state of climate change but also the future.

Professor Sisodiya added: “The whole concept of climate anxiety is an added, potentially weighty, influence: many brain conditions are associated with higher risk of psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, and such multimorbidities can further complicate impacts of climate change and the adaptations necessary to preserve health.

“But there are actions we can and should take now.”

Funded by the Epilepsy Society and the National Brain Appeal Innovation Fund, the research is being published ahead of The Hot Brain 2: climate change and brain health event, which is led by Professor Sisodiya and jointly organised by UCL and The Lancet Neurology


Northern parts of Australia to suffer from ‘lethal heat’ in coming decades

This is just opinion. They have no data on temperatures in Northern Australia

Australia’s north will be “unliveable” in the coming decades because the heat and humidity will be so intense that it will be deadly for humans, experts have warned.

They say the lethal heat will start emerging at certain times of the year, making it impossible for humans to be outdoors for more than six hours.

Climate scientist Bill Hare said areas such as Broome and Katherine, as well as parts of Asia and Africa, would soon be unliveable if the temperature increased by just 1.5 degrees.

“We are already seeing small periods of lethal heat in South Asia, West Asia and South East Asia where there have already been reports of mortality occurring.

“It is already getting toward the limit of human liveability.”

Mr Hare is chief executive and senior scientist with Climate Analytics – a global climate science and policy institute supporting climate action aligned to the 1.5C warming limit.

In 2003, a study published in the scientific journal Comptes Rendus Biologies found more than 70,000 people died in Europe from lethal heat.

It was the hottest summer recorded in Europe since 1540, which lead to drought, food shortages and tens of thousands of people dying.

Mr Hare said for cities like Perth, which is currently experiencing its longest period of dry heat and no rain, scientists did not expect to see a lethal combination of humidity and heat in the next 25 years, but northern parts of Australia would.

He said some areas in the Kimberley region had already felt small bursts of lethal heat, killing cattle and native animals.

“It will happen slowly and gradually, the weather will become really extreme and it will get worse and worse,” Mr Hare said.

“There is only one way to limit this damage, but you won’t eliminate it, people will need to adapt to it.”

Mr Hare said carbon emissions needed to reduce by 50 per cent in the next decade and Australia needed to reach net zero by 2050.

“In the last 10 years, the largest increase in carbon dioxide and global warming came from fossil fuel emissions,” he said.

“Coal is being phased out, and the same thing needs to apply to gas, it should already be reducing.

“The federal government needs to step off supporting gas and go full throttle on supporting renewables.


EPA's lead pipe fix sent about $3 billion to states based on unverified data

The Environmental Protection Agency distributed about $3 billion to states last year to replace harmful lead pipes based on unverified data, according to an agency inspector general's memo, likely meaning some states got too much money and others got too little.

Investigators found two states had submitted inaccurate data, the memo released Wednesday said. It didn't name the states. The EPA has since made changes, but the inspector general said the agency could do more.

“Insufficient internal controls for verifying data led to allotments that did not represent the needs of each state, and if left unaddressed, the Agency runs the risk of using unreliable data for future” infrastructure spending, said EPA Inspector General Sean W. O’Donnell.

The agency has said it will release new information on lead service lines projections later this summer. The EPA did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $15 billion to find and replace lead pipes over five years. These pipes are especially common in the Midwest and Northeast and are typically found in older homes. Lead can reduce IQ scores in children and stunt their development. It is also linked to higher blood pressure in adults.

To distribute funds based on how many lead pipes states had, the EPA asked for estimates from states and utilities. Then, in April 2023, the agency announced the results — there are about 9.2 million lead pipes nationwide — and adjusted its funding formula.

Tom Neltner, national director with Unleaded Kids, said two states — Texas and Florida — had much higher totals than expected in those estimates. Florida ultimately received the most funding of any state in 2023: $254.8 million after an initial estimate of nearly 1.2 million lead pipes.

“By submitting inflated information, it takes money away from states that really need it,” he said.

Texas and Florida didn't immediately respond to messages left with their governor's offices and Florida's Department of Environmental Quality.

The Biden administration has prioritized delivering safe drinking water to everyone. Earlier this year, the EPA proposed a rule that would require most cities and towns to replace all their lead pipes within a decade. It has also put limits on so-called “forever chemicals” in drinking water.

Republicans have repeatedly attacked the Biden administration’s spending on climate and environmental priorities as a handout to left-wing causes without enough accountability.

The EPA’s office of inspector general is in the middle of evaluating federal funding for lead pipe replacement, and had been in contact with agency officials earlier about some of their concerns. The inspector general expects to release a final report in the fall when it will identify each states' inaccuracies.

The inspector general found a water provider in one state sent bad information to the agency and “adjustments made by another state” were also submitted.

Even before the inspector general’s memo was released, some states had already complained to the EPA that its funding decisions weren’t fair.

“We have serious concerns about the quality of the data upon which EPA relied,” a February letter to the EPA from Massachusetts officials said.

In early May, the EPA adjusted its allocation of funds for 2024, which is based on some new information it received from utilities. Funding for Texas dropped the most; its $146.2 million was cut by about $117.6 million. Florida had the second-biggest reduction, cut by $26.1 million. Eight other states or territories saw smaller reductions.

Nineteen states got more money, led by Minnesota with $48.7 million more and New Jersey's $40.1 million more.

Neltner said EPA deserves credit for collecting additional information to improve the accuracy of the funding granted.

The $15 billion is only a fraction of the total amount needed to replace all of the country’s lead pipes. Erik Olson, a health and food expert at the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, said inflated estimates by some states can direct a lot of money to the wrong place.

“I’ll just say it is suspicious,” he said.

Olson said it's the obligation of water utilities and states to submit accurate information. But EPA deserves some blame, too, “for not verifying some of these numbers," he said.

When the agency started distributing money, some states like Michigan had a long list of projects they wanted to fund. Others aren't so far along and must first spend the money on inventories to find their lead pipes. A small number of states even declined funding in the first year it was offered.

If states don’t spend all of their money, it gets reallocated to states that need it more.

Neltner worries that if states receive more money than they need, they'll spend it on expensive lead pipe inventories, not replacement efforts.

John Rumpler, clean water director with environmental group Environment America, said the important question is how well states are using the money they are given to replace lead pipes.

“Even if all of this money was perfectly allocated,” he said. “It would not remove all the lead pipes.”


Australia: Huge complexities and costs behind the CO2 allergy

The global warming hoax has much to answer for

This week’s news that energy networks plan to charge households to export excess solar energy to the grid in the middle of the day will affect the two men in very different ways.

In a dynamic mirrored by the nation at large, Horsley is likely to benefit from the new order, while Seton is likely to lose out. Meanwhile, the distributors and the likes of St Vincent de Paul Society say the move protects renters and low-income households without solar.

Sydneysider Nic Seton has solar panels on his roof and is worried about Ausgrid’s new network charge.
Sydneysider Nic Seton has solar panels on his roof and is worried about Ausgrid’s new network charge.CREDIT:LOUIE DOUVIS

It was enabled by a national rule change in August 2021. Australian Energy Market Commission chair Anna Collyer, whose organisation made the decision, says it allows distributors to recoup the cost of paying for upgrades to the grid to remove bottlenecks and allow more solar to be exported.

“A ‘do nothing’ approach would have led to a worse outcome for all,” Collyer says. “There would have been increasing instances where customers are limited in their level of exports or not allowed to export at all.”

Australia leads the world in rooftop solar: the Clean Energy Council estimates it represents 11.2 per cent of the national energy supply.

It’s a great success story that opens up myriad opportunities for the transition to a decarbonised economy, but experts say it also brings challenges with managing grid stability and who should pay for that.

At the heart of the problem is a demand curve that looks like a duck, even if it doesn’t walk and quack like one. Figures from the Australian Energy Market Operator show energy demand starts off neutral in the early morning, plummets during the middle of the day when consumers are either not at home or using their own solar, and then peaks in the evening when people get home and turn on their devices and lights.

Grattan’s director of the energy program, Tony Wood, says: “The dramatic growth in solar PV is breaking the electricity duck’s back. Flattening the load is likely to restore it to good health.”

This is at the heart of the changes announced this week by the three NSW energy distributors – Ausgrid, Essential Energy and Endeavour Energy. The NSW pricing structure was approved by the Australian Energy Regulator last month, and all three companies said it was done after extensive consultation with customers.

Rob Amphlett Lewis, group executive distributed services at Sydney’s main distributor Ausgrid, says: “We want to move as much of our energy [usage] into the middle of the day when we’ve got all of this generation happening, and that effectively squashes the duck.”

The solar duck is a national problem, and NSW is merely at the vanguard of a shift that is likely to come to other states as well. SA Power Networks was one of the proponents of the national rule change in 2021 necessary to bring in the charges and will be able to introduce them in the next AER pricing review in 2025, along with Queensland. Victoria’s next AER cycle is in 2026.

The effect is that the distribution networks, which own the poles and wires but are separate entities from the electricity retailers, will allow a threshold of free exports during the day and charge a penalty beyond that while also providing a reward for energy exports in the evening. The distributors, which have geographic monopolies, have different pricing structures, and the retailers can choose how to package it to customers.

Solar households will still enjoy reduced bills from using their own energy and will still be paid feed-in tariffs from retailers based on wholesale electricity prices. The overall cost is expected to be low for the average customer.

Seton has a modest 4.5-kilowatt battery on the roof of his townhouse in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Newtown, where he lives with his partner and two children. About six years ago, the family paid about $6000 after rebates and has enjoyed large savings on their electricity bills.

He has no control over the fact that the solar panels only work when the sun is shining, cannot justify the cost of a home battery at upwards of $9000, and has already tried to shift his energy usage to the middle of the day as much as possible.

Meanwhile, at the seven-person Horsley household in leafy Wahroonga on the north shore, there is a possibility the family can make money from the situation.

Peter Horsley has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 17 kilowatts of solar panels and three batteries, not including the cost of two electric cars.

He can charge his batteries during the day from the solar panels and then sell electricity back at higher prices in the evening. With his set-up (Tesla battery and an app from his retailer Amber Electric), Horsley has set this up as a default and can also manually override it when needed, for example, if there is a blackout.

He can even charge his batteries from the grid rather than his solar panels. “The prices can go negative during the day as well, so there have even been cases where we’ve been paid to fill up our batteries and take energy off the grid,” Horsley says.

He has already participated in an Ausgrid trial for two-way pricing, which offered generous evening feed-in tariffs but is not sure what the net effect will be in the future. Despite this, he is confident he won’t be worse off and adds that he does not support the changes, mainly because he believes in solar as a climate change solution and is worried it will slow uptake.

Energy distributors, backed by advocates such as the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Australian Council of Social Service and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, say that it is about equity: the networks need to find the money to upgrade the grid to absorb the new solar energy being generated, and they don’t want the poorer non-solar households to bear the entire cost.

Seton, who runs Parents for Climate, says it’s pitting homes without solar and their interests against homes with solar. The better way to address equity is to help low-income households and renters get solar and to help solar households buy batteries.

He is frustrated there is a mandatory levy, however small, on solar households who have tried to contribute to the renewable energy transition.

“At the end of the day for some people, it’s still one more brick in the wall in that cost-of-living crisis,” Seton says.

Campaign groups such as Solar Citizens have described the new charge as a “sun tax” and warned it could put people off buying solar panels, while Rewiring Australia says it’s about the large-scale incumbents “defending their turf” against households getting in on the game.

There are also market analysts, such as Tristan Edis, a green energy and carbon markets economist with Green Energy Markets, who say it is the wrong approach.

Edis says bluntly that “the rule change was bullshit” and the regulators were “snowed” by the energy distributors. “They’ve just given them the keys to a new revenue stream through this rule change, even though there’s not proper evidence here.”

He points to UNSW research from 2020 that suggests so-called solar traffic jams are largely the result of distributors failing to manage voltage, a problem that occurs during the evening peak as well as by day.

Distributors do not effectively measure voltage spikes from solar households anywhere except Victoria, Edis says, so they had not proven the case that solar households were causing the problem.

In Victoria, the government had regulated the distributors to lower voltage, and this had occurred despite high solar penetration. As a result, he predicts that Victorian distributors will not need to introduce two-way pricing in their next AER round in 2026.

But Amphlett Lewis says the UNSW research shows the various ways to manage voltage, and the extensive consultation that Ausgrid and the other distributors carried out, determined that two-way pricing was the best model.

Rewiring Australia chief executive Saul Griffith says there is a bigger picture being lost. “A lot of people are not at home during the day when their house is generating the most electricity,” Griffith says. “In the best of all worlds, the excess electricity they’re making will charge the electric vehicles that are going to be prolific in this country … and the biggest battery in Australia will be our cars.”

The networks are keen on the vehicle-to-grid charging that Griffith is advocating. Essential Energy chief operating officer Luke Jenner says the network “is optimistic about the opportunities electric vehicle charging and vehicle-to-grid charging can offer consumers” and, while it already offers two-way charging for electric vehicles, it is currently testing and developing infrastructure to develop it further.

Home batteries cost from $9000 to $15,000 and the federal budget did not provide any funding to help households buy batteries. Some schemes exist in Victoria and Queensland, while the NSW government will have more to say on this in its consumer energy strategy due in the coming months.

Community batteries are another solution, often touted by the networks themselves, as they can build and own them, often with government subsidies. Ausgrid has five across Sydney and the Central Coast, Endeavour Energy has partnered with Origin Energy for community batteries in western Sydney and Shell Cove in the Illawarra, and Essential Energy says it owns and is developing several energy storage solutions.

Ausgrid’s Amphlett Lewis says both household and community batteries have their place, but “shared batteries will have a big role to play because they’re more cost-effective than behind-the-meter batteries”.

Tristan Edis disputes this, though, saying it’s better to support individual households in getting their own batteries because distributors have a profit motive and a monopoly business structure. That means they are wasteful and do not act in the best interests of consumers, while the locations of community batteries are often chosen “based on where politicians want to cut a ribbon.”

St Vincent de Paul Society’s executive manager of policy and research, Gavin Dufty, says batteries are expensive, but he advocates helping households to shift their usage of appliances, such as increased use of timers so loads of dishes and laundry can be done during the day even if no one is home.

He supports the policy: “It’s putting in the right foundations if we’re going to electrify everything and get to net zero, which we want.“