Sunday, August 29, 2021

Global Coffee Supply Dealt Fresh Blow by Vietnam’s Virus Curbs

Every year or so we have a panic about coffee shortages, but coffee is very widely grown so there is never any overall shortage -- as with most commodities exposed to world markets

World coffee supplies are suffering a fresh setback from stringent travel curbs imposed in second-biggest grower Vietnam to control the worsening spread of the infectious delta variant of the coronavirus.

The government is keeping the city of Ho Chi Minh, the exporting hub, under lockdown because of a surge in virus infections, and has tight movement controls in place in some key producing areas of the Central Highlands.

Exporters are struggling to transport beans to the ports for shipment, according to traders and suppliers. That’s adding to a raft of other logistical problems such as a dire shortage of containers and soaring freight rates.

Trade groups, including the Vietnam Coffee-Cocoa Association, have petitioned the government to ease the curbs, which they say cause delays, raise costs and put shippers at risk of having to compensate buyers for late delivery.

In response, Transport Minister Nguyen Van The this week ordered authorities in the south of the country to do everything possible to facilitate the transport of farm products, such as coffee and rice. He told local governments they must avoid all unnecessary requirements and burdensome paperwork.

Global coffee prices have been on a tear amid mounting threats to supplies from South America to Asia. Drought and frost ravaged crops this year in top grower Brazil, which produces the premium arabica variety, adding to the widespread logistics issues in Vietnam and Indonesia.

While some roasters decided to switch to cheaper supplies of robusta beans from Vietnam after the frost destroyed production in Brazil, soaring prices and shipment woes now make that option far less appealing.


UK: Boris Johnson’s wind delusion poses national security risk

The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) today urged Boris Johnson to respond firmly to China’s increasingly threatening geopolitical power shift by accepting that the government’s prioritisation of wind and solar energy is now standing in the way of an effective and affordable energy system based on natural gas and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

Without moving towards a thermodynamically competent and thus affordable generation of both heat and electricity, the United Kingdom, and the West more generally, will rapidly concede global economic leadership and political dominance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This is no mere theoretical speculation. In the last few days, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has commenced construction of the first Small Modular Reactor (SMR), based on China’s own ACP100 (Linglong One) Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) design, and with a capacity 125 MW.

Reports predict a 95% load factor, and an annual output of 1,000,000 MWh of electrical energy.

China has some 19 other nuclear power stations under construction.

In spite of some encouragement in recent announcements (“Government progresses demonstration of next generation nuclear reactor”), there are concerning signs that Mr Johnson’s government does not fully appreciate either the potential or the urgency of ensuring that SMRs are deployed more rapidly to prevent China from dominating the global market for nuclear generation, as well as reaping the rewards of the cheap energy it will provide to industry.

Global electricity demand will more than double by 2050, with this growth almost entirely in developing and emerging markets. The global market for nuclear power could triple by 2050, but as Britain and the US go green they are fast losing the race for the nuclear power market to China and Russia. Source: Third Way – Mapping the global market for advanced nuclear

For example, the government’s Hydrogen Strategy published earlier this week acknowledges the potential for the use of nuclear power for high temperature electrolysis and the probably superior thermochemical routes to the production of hydrogen. However, it simultaneously proposes the creation of an elaborate subsidy mechanism, based on the Contracts for Difference scheme, to support high cost renewable methods producing so called “Green” Hydrogen.

This would in effect provide yet more non-market support for the wind industry, a sector that already costs UK consumers about £6.1 billion a year in subsidy (£1.7 billion to onshore wind; £4.4 billion a year to offshore).

Government has not yet decided on the details of the subsidy scheme, but it seems likely that it will be funded from a levy on natural gas consumption, presenting yet another regressive burden on British households.

The creation of further subsidies in the energy sector is not only undesirable, but also needless. Small Modular Reactor (SMR) designs actually available for construction today have the potential to deliver both warm electrolysis and the very high temperatures needed for the thermal decomposition of water.

Both routes would produce low cost and genuinely subsidy-free hydrogen for use in decarbonised transport and heat, not least industrial process heat where low-cost energy is critical to retaining and expanding industrial manufacturing in the United Kingdom in the face of intense and strategically motivated competition from Chinese firms.

In order for the UK economy to remain competitive and to head off China’s bid for nuclear energy dominance, radical reform of the UK Govt’s unsustainable and self-defeating green energy priority is urgently required.


Another Peak Demand Hour and Wind is Missing

As we have come to expect in Ontario, “peak demand” generally occurs on hot summer days and the hour ending at hour 17 on August 20th was the most recent occurrence coming in at # 8 of “peak demand hours” so far this year.

Demand at the above hour reached 21,569 MW and the bulk of that needed demand was supplied by Nuclear, Hydro and Natural Gas generators. At that hour gas plants supplied 25.9% (5,587 MW) of demand while wind generators managed to produce only 0.45% (98 MW) of demand and the bulk (53 MW) of that came from the Greenwich Renewable Energy Project a 99 MW station located Northeast of Thunder Bay so none of their generation was useful in the well populated areas of the province. The other 40 plus wind turbine generating stations scattered throughout the province produced only 45 MW which probably didn’t even cover their consumption during that hour.

The foregoing fact is something you will not hear from the OCAA (Ontario Clean Air Alliance) whose push is to close out gas plants. The OCAA’s push to close gas plants has reputedly been endorsed by 30 Ontario Municipalities representing over 50% of the province’s population.

In an effort to push the alarm button further the OCAA has called for all their followers to: “Please contact Ontario’s new Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, and ask him to direct the IESO to develop and implement a plan to achieve a complete phase-out of our gas-fired power plants by 2030.”

What Jack Gibbons the Chair and CEO of OCAA doesn’t seem to understand is that the events of hour 17 are frequent during the very hot days of summer and the very cold days during the winter. If Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, followed through with the OCAA’s recommendations Ontario’s ratepayers would be faced with numerous brownouts and even full blackouts during the dead of winter and the heat of summer.

I would suggest the ratepayers of Ontario should write a letter to the councils of the 30 municipalities informing them of the above facts and recommending they rescind their endorsement to shut down Ontario’s gas plants by 2030 as proposed by the OCAA.


The Left’s Long March Tramples Rotary

I guess it had to happen – the green/left has now captured Rotary International, headquarters for 1.2 million members of 35,000 clubs. Rotary leaders and activists have side-stepped Rotary’s constitutional ban on engaging in politics, and swung Rotary against fossil fuels and cheap coal and gas-fired electricity.

Rotary’s switch illustrates Quadrant’s John O’Sullivan’s First Law that “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.”[i]

From last month, and for the first time, Rotary Foundation’s $US1.1 billion fund began accepting applications from clubs for international climate projects. These are premised on “climate change and climate disruption” and can include renewables for villages, support for communities hurt by alleged global-warming-influenced droughts, storms and floods and promoting “community-based advocacy initiatives” for the environment.

Rotary’s creators were determined it should and must stay out of politics. The Standard Constitution , proving as effective as wet Kleenex, says clubs

* shall not “express an opinion on any pending controversial public measure” (Article 14/1)

* “shall neither adopt nor circulate resolutions or opinions and shall not take action dealing with world affairs or international policies of a political nature.” (Section 3,1a: “Non-Political”).

* “shall not direct appeals to clubs, peoples, or governments, or circulate letters, speeches, or proposed plans for the solution of specific international problems of a political nature.” (Section 3, 1b). (My emphases).

The paradox is that Rotary International would inflict added harm on close to a billion Third- and Fourth Worlders with higher costs for fossil fuels.[ii] These mainly-African unfortunates toil without electricity and mechanisation. The Rotary activists accuse their defeated conservative opponents of being “politicizers” for resisting green/Left illusions about climate “disruption”. It’s as if they themselves are non-partisans innocently seeking overthrow of centuries of capitalist progress. The activists are literally rejoicing at Rotary International’s “glorious announcement”. They cite Mexican Rotarian Salvador Rico:

I am in tears of joy, gratitude, and full of hope! I know that we are going to save the planet, all living beings, and all of humanity!

Things aren’t actually so rosy at the Rotary fund:

Foundation Funding Crisis: For the second time in two years the World Fund is likely to run out of money to provide matching dollars to Global Grant applications. Last year the funds ran out in May but this year the outlook is more dire … To compound the problem there will be a big waiting list of projects for the new area of focus supporting the environment.”

Meanwhile outdoors, there’s another temperature pause under way (no global warming for seven years). “Science” journal conceded last month that the climate models exaggerate actual and forecast warming, the UN’s 26th annual gab-fest in Glasgow is unravelling like all its 25 predecessors, and Chinese and Indian coal power is swamping everything the West does on renewables.

Climate aside, Rotary’s actual emergency is that membership has stalled at 1.2m for 20 years, diminishing its community presence. Fortunately the 35,000 Rotary clubs operate almost independently. A club can plug on with its art shows and sausage sizzles, and spend the money on whatever good works it prefers. The problem is that Rotary’s official tone has changed, and the activists will now widen their political breach.

The shift to “progressive” is already under way. Rotary’s big conference last June was “inspired” by speaker Ms Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, young, black, female and a climate-doom fanatic on the junket circuit.

In Uganda, however, there are priorities other than 1degC century’s warming. Only 10 per cent of peasants have mains electricity while girls are openly sold for the sex trade. Ms Nakate presumably opposes her desperate country’s $US16 billion development of its proven oil and gas reserves. She likes COVID lockdowns for a “complete turnaround” in climate lifestyles even as lockdowns worsen starvation in Kampala slums.

Ms Nakate is a revolutionary leftist on the governing council of Progressive International. Its manifesto includes:

We are workers, peasants, and peoples of the world rising up against the reactionary forces of authoritarian oligarchy … Our aim is to break with the patriarchy while disrupting the binary structure of gender on which it relies … Fossil fuel industries are driving us into climate catastrophe … Capitalism Is the Virus. We aspire to eradicate capitalism everywhere.

Likewise, Rotary is now striving to align its goals with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. UN bun-fights among 120 NGOs in 2015 whittled 1400 proposed goals down to 17 feel-goods plus 169 targets. Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg has eviscerated the SDG follies.

The Rotary Action Group, with its 1300 members in 70-80 countries,[iii] wants connections with the UN Environment Program (UNEP), a body founded by the UN’s Maurice Strong, who was caught red-handed in 2005 over an illicit South Korean cheque for $US998,885.

Australians helped push Rotary’s switch to woke. President (2017-18) Ian Riseley, who chaired the Environmental Issues task force, hails from Sandringham, Melbourne. Dr Chris Puttock, chair of the Action Group, is Maryland-based but worked for 35 years in Australia. Melbourne PhD candidate (RMIT) Patricia Armstrong is chair-elect.

Rotary leaders and activists alike have relied on long-debunked tales of starving polar bears, drowning coral islands, and millions of imaginary climate refugees.[iv] The Rotary Environmental Action Group founder/leader Karen Kendrick-Hands of Wisconsin is still pushing the melting-Himalayan-glacier errors from the IPCC 2007 report. Publishing that alarmist nonsense almost got IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri fired and forced a corrective audit of IPCC processes.

The 2018-19 president Barry Rassin’s oft-repeats claim that the Bahamas will be under water in 50 years from the two metres of rising seas by 2100. The IPCC models’ likely range is actually 0.26 to 0.82 m by 2081-2100.

Action Group’s leader Dr Chris Puttock led off a major presentation in June with someone’s pic of three fat polar bears on a beach. As a polar bear whisperer, he explained,

These three polar bears look as though they’re asking someone for ice, perhaps. The ice is disappearing for these polar bears and it is not there for them. This is something humans are doing to the world to endanger these species.

In the real world Polar bears are thriving and any ice loss is no bother to their hunting. The rest of his talk was equally misguided.




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