Sunday, October 31, 2021

Is the European energy crisis pushing Germany towards nukes?

Is nuclear energy a sustainable fuel or not? This is the question which rests on the European Union’s shoulders. The decision has caused a deep rift across Europe about climate-friendly energy solutions for the future with nations disagreeing about which sources should be classed as green or not. Nuclear-reliant France has been leading the charge for the inclusion of nuclear power as a green source, but Germany is critical of the move. However, despite moving away from nuclear power, the nation has been remarkably quiet on the subject.

Soaring gas prices and household energy bills have been a key topic for EU member states in recent weeks as the continent faces an energy crisis.

The EU has been discussing how to best achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

One of the most important and divisive issues is the issue of nuclear power.

On October 11, 10 EU member states led by France expressed their joint support for including nuclear power in the EU’s “taxonomy on sustainable financing,” which would essentially allow the EU to support nuclear projects under its green financing initiative.


Biden's heating oil fiasco

Almost all countries are increasing energy consumption compared to last year. Yet it reflects a return to normal, not a historic increase.

As the world climbs out of government-inflicted COVID-19 shutdowns, energy demand is certain to climb. In fact, all energy sources and fuels are in high demand. Such is why the price of oil and natural gas continues to rise.

European utilities are even switching from natural gas back to coal power this winter, just to keep the lights on and the heat running. According to a report from Bloomberg Quint, American utility executives are warning that we may well do the same, and even then, we may still see blackouts in some areas.

The latest Energy Outlook report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) explains that "[e]lectricity generation from coal-fired power plants has not increased as much in response to rising natural gas prices as it has in the past, or by as much as our models forecasted in recent STEOs. The lower price responsiveness of coal for electricity generation, which is likely the result of constraints on coal supply and low coal stocks, is contributing to upward pressure on natural gas prices."

EIA continues, explaining its predictions for the coming winter: "We forecast that average U.S. household expenditures for all major home heating fuels will increase significantly this winter primarily because of higher expected fuel costs as well as more consumption of energy due to a colder winter."

Even if it's not a particularly cold winter, EIA says your bill will still be higher: "Altering our assumptions for a 10% colder-than-expected winter significantly increases forecast expenditures, while a 10% warmer-than-expected winter still results in increased expenditures, because of price increases."

Although White House press secretary Jen Psaki makes snide jokes about "the tragedy of the treadmill that's delayed" (demonstrating a lack of awareness and tact that is becoming characteristic of the Biden administration), the reality is that there are essential materials and equipment that aren't reaching vital energy industries. Supplies used in offshore drilling and production, for example, that normally take only a few days to deliver now take weeks.

The Biden administration can make light of the supply chain situation all they want, often implying that it primarily affects the wealthy, who can afford to buy treadmills and other nonessential luxury goods. However, the downstream impact of supply shortages and delays will disproportionately harm America's poorest.

South Carolina residents are already being warned that their heating bills could rise by at least $11 per month this year and into next. That may not seem like much, but it matters for people who survive on tight or fixed budgets, especially when everything else they need is more expensive due to historic inflation. Gasoline, food, winter clothing, and practically every product in between is more expensive due to ever-increasing inflation.

As if our domestic problems were not enough, remember when Russia was our worst enemy ever? According to the left, Russia singlehandedly interfered with the 2016 election, helping Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

So why did President Biden allow completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that Trump blocked, which will supply Germany with natural gas from Russia? This comes as we import a record amount of natural gas from Russia. Even worse, why did Biden kill the Keystone XL pipeline? And why does the administration impose increasingly strict regulations on our oil and gas industries?

In other words, Biden is suppressing U.S. energy production while buying energy from our rivals. When you also consider the Biden administration's unwavering devotion to moving away from coal and other fossil fuels, it's not hard to see why production is struggling to keep up with increased demand. In less than ten months, Biden has terminated U.S. energy independence.

Sadly, the supply chain crisis and fuel shortages that will harm Americans this winter and beyond have been created by dumb, but deliberate, government decisions, not natural market fluctuations, and not a world war.


Don't let climate activist banks restrict capital access

On Sunday, government officials, business leaders, activists, and Hollywood celebrities will gather in Glasgow, Scotland. They'll be there for COP26, a conference that aims to secure new commitments from governments to reduce carbon emissions.

Although there are many figures and groups that are sure to play a pivotal role at the conference, including President Joe Biden, perhaps the most important are the members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance. This group of banks has committed to using its economic weight to push societies toward adopting "green" energy sources, such as wind and solar.

Members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which includes 84 large banks from 36 countries, have pledged to "transition all operational and attributable [greenhouse gas] emissions from our lending and investment portfolios to align with pathways to net-zero by mid-century, or sooner, including CO2 emissions reaching net-zero at the latest by 2050." Member banks have also promised to "set 2030 targets (or sooner) and a 2050 target, with intermediary targets to be set every 5 years from 2030 onwards."

The decision to "transition all operational and attributable [greenhouse gas] emissions" from "lending and investment portfolios" is an incredibly important development. It means that some banks are planning to pressure businesses, investors, and perhaps even everyday citizens to adopt policies in line with their climate change agenda. Regardless, that is, of whether customers want to abide by this action or can afford it.

Under the terms set by the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which could be expanded at COP26 or in the months that follow, banks could deny business loans to a delivery company that refuses to switch to an all-electric vehicle fleet. Similarly, banks could deny access to financial services to investment firms that hold stock in fossil fuel companies. Seven of the largest and most influential banks in the United States have joined the alliance, including three in October alone: Amalgamated Bank, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo.

Together, these banks control trillions of dollars in assets and dominate most of the consumer banking industry. Of the five largest U.S. banks , four are now members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, and it’s highly likely more will follow. Banks should not be permitted to discriminate against customers or potential customers because they participate in lawful business practices.

Even if you believe man-induced climate change is a crisis, you shouldn’t support giving to banks this tremendous control over our society and economy. It is undemocratic, and it is dangerous. Decisions about climate change and other important issues should be made at the state and federal levels by elected politicians who can be held accountable.

We never voted to give banks this prospective control over our country. Under previous administrations, discriminatory policies such as these would not have been permitted. Our elected officials must stand up now to stop this outrage.


Australian PM to resist global coal ban pressure at G20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would resist pressure at the G20 summit to phase out fossil fuels like coal.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has landed in Rome ahead of the G20 summit, saying it is a “pivotal time” for the world’s largest economies to be focussing on the road ahead.

Decarbonising the world is a similar challenge to creating vaccines to end the Covid pandemic, Scott Morrison says, and he wants to prioritise working with other countries to develop new low emissions technologies to find solutions.

Speaking after touching down in Rome, the Prime Minister said Australia’s net zero plan was “crystal clear”, and that he would resist pressure at this weekend’s G20 talks and the Glasgow climate summit to phase out fossil fuels including coal. “Our policy is very clear - we’re not engaged in those sorts of mandates and bans,“ he said.

Mr Morrison also spoke about his call with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying his counterpart expressed “obvious disappointment which we respect and understand” about Australia’s cancellation of its $90bn submarine contract. “We’ve started the way back and I think that’s a positive thing,” he said.

Mr Morrison landed in Rome on Friday night ahead of the G20, during which he will also hold one-on-one talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to settle any concerns about Australia’s new plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

Key issues on the G20 agenda include locking in a new global minimum corporate tax rate, as well as emissions reduction ahead of next week’s Glasgow climate change summit.

The leaders will also discuss the economic and health recovery from Covid, with Mr Morrison pushing for enhanced disease surveillance and greater transparency to prevent a repeat of the Covid pandemic.

“When there are common accountabilities and obligations that run across multiple jurisdictions, we will see digital platform companies truly invest in making the online world safer,” Mr Morrison said.

The G20 talks, held amid tight security in the Italian capital, mark the first in-person meeting between the leaders since the pandemic began, although Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend.

Mr Morrison will continue to advocate for open trade and reforms to the World Trade Organisation, as Australia tackles China’s ongoing campaign of economic coercion.

US President Joe Biden also landed in Rome on Friday and was expected to hold his first face-to-face meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron since the AUKUS defence pact was unveiled and Australia ripped up its $90bn French submarines contract.

Mr Macron and Mr Morrison broke the ice on Thursday, with the French President saying Australia’s decision “broke the relationship of trust between our two countries”.

Italy wants a specific commitment to reduce methane emissions, but Mr Morrison has already rejected that to protect Australian farmers.




Saturday, October 30, 2021

Climate leader or hypocrite? Germany’s green record under the microscope as Cop26 approaches

Germany likes to fancy itself as a global leader in the fight against climate change, and seldom hesitates to wag a finger at other leading industrial countries – such as China and the United States – for being laggards when it comes to making meaningful cuts in CO2 emissions.

But the reality is that Germany’s own efforts to stop the climate crisis fail to match the soaring rhetoric, and, more importantly, fall short of what scientists say is needed to avert the worst – even though some relatively easy changes, such as introducing a speed limit on its high-speed motorways, could have an immediate impact on reducing the country’s emissions.

Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, is also the world’s sixth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

That disconnect between the lofty talk about climate leadership and the reality in Germany is in many ways a microcosm of the dissonance around the world ahead of the United Nations Cop26 summit in Glasgow next week, where global leaders will attempt to thrash out more meaningful action to try to slow a perilous rise in global temperatures.

“There’s an enormous gap between who we are and who we think we are,” says Luisa Neubauer, 25, a leading climate activist in Germany.

We’re talking about climate change, yet at the same time expanding our national infrastructure for importing more natural gas. Germany is everything but a role model when it comes to fighting climate change. We need to face up to that reality.”

An export-driven economy that is by far the largest in Europe, Germany is behind only China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan when it comes to CO2 emissions. One of the first countries to industrialise, Germany is the fourth-largest CO2 emitter in history – having produced more than 92 billion metric tonnes of CO2 emissions since 1750.

“We are well aware of what needs to be done, we know about the problem, we discuss it but it doesn’t make a difference,” says Neubauer, who works closely with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

“We’re one of the world’s biggest polluters and are betraying the younger generations. We carry a huge responsibility in Germany. Who are we to point a finger at other countries? We are far away from fulfilling our own promises. The reality is glorified here because we think we’re so green. If we can’t get what’s needed done, how can we expect other countries to get things done?”

Germany has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent since 1990, helped considerably by the unintentional implosion of industry as the heavily polluting factories in Communist East Germany closed in the wake of reunification. Germany just barely managed to meet its 2020 emission targets, rather surprisingly and at the last minute, thanks to the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic throttled its powerhouse economy and cut emissions sharply in 2020.

But Germany is already projected to miss its 2021 targets due to the economic rebound and a 6 per cent rise in emissions this year, according to an estimate by the Agora Energiewende think tank in Berlin.

The absence of any speed limit on the country’s Autobahn is just one telling illustration of the disconnect between Germany’s lofty image of itself as a leader in fighting climate change and the reality. Powerful cars built by companies such as Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen regularly zip around at speeds of up to 130 mph or more.

The mighty car-industry lobby has prevented successive governments from seriously considering changing the law on speed limits, because it is understood that the image of high-speed German cars is vital to helping carmakers sell their vehicles in foreign markets – and to protecting millions of jobs at home in Germany.

An estimated five per cent of Germany’s transportation emissions could be reduced overnight if there were a speed limit of 80 mph. But the unlimited upper speed on the motorways is a sacred cow in Germany, where the country’s Conservative Party once even compared speed limits to communism with a campaign slogan: “Freie Fahrt für frei Bürger” (free travel speeds for free citizens).

“The speed limit is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Neubauer. “We need to be talking about a complete transformation of entire industrial sectors, but people are caught up with opposing a speed limit because they think it would limit their freedom. Too many people in Germany mix up habits with freedom. I realise people want to keep their habits. But our habits are creating terror for the rights of other people. Our habits are destroying the world and will be taking away a lot of people’s freedoms.”


The Extreme Scenario that IPCC Saw as Most Likely in 2013 is Now Judged Low Likelihood

Jim O’Brien, Clintel’s Irish ambassador and active in the Irish Climate Science Forum regularly organizes very interesting lectures given by prominent climate scientists. Last night the well-known US climate/policy scientist Roger Pielke Jr had the virtual floor. The full talk can be viewed above or on youtube.

In his lecture, Roger will give valuable insights on the recently‐released IPCC WG1 AR6 Report. Describing it as a “code red for humanity” (as UN Secretary-General Guterres did) was not only wrong, it was irresponsible. Instead of apocalyptic warnings about “immediate risk” a top line message of this report should be: The Extreme Scenario that IPCC Saw as Most Likely in 2013 is Now Judged Low Likelihood, an incredible change in such a short time since the AR5 Report, which has not been highlighted by the media.

Roger will also show that the IPCC has systematically and very helpfully gone through a large list of extreme‐weather phenomena in the detailed AR6 Report. Their results are quite surprising: floods, hurricanes, tropical cyclones, meteorological and hydrological droughts are not more frequent. Nor are tornadoes, hail, lightning or strong winds more frequent. However heatwaves are more frequent, as is extreme precipitation, and there are two other types of drought, namely agricultural and ecological drought, which have increased. It is very appealing, even seductive, for activists and the media to latch on to extreme events (as inaccurately summarized in the SPM), but at some point we have to say that objective science and its communication matters on this issue. This is a lecture and discussion of wide interest and is highly relevant in the lead‐up to COP26.


Big changes needed for widespread use of electric cars

Electric vehicles probably won’t end the weekend but will they turn out the lights?

EVs will be able to pull a trailer, but they will also pull a significant amount of electricity into their large batteries.

The most convenient way to charge an electric car is in your garage or driveway, if you have one. So the most obvious thing to do is plug in when you get home from work, walk inside and start doing all the things that create the evening peak load on the grid.

If the 13 million cars on the road today were made electric tomorrow – and half decided to recharge during the evening peak, the grid simply couldn’t cope. Currently the peak evening period demands 35 gigawatts. If half our cars plugged in, it would need to support a peak load of about 80 gigawatts.

Even if we assumed most of these drivers would use a standard 10 amp power point to charge their car at 2kW that would still potentially create a 50 per cent increase in peak demand.

So to avoid a blackout every evening, we would need some serious upgrades to the network. The value of the country’s electricity networks is worth north of $100 billion. Duplicating this network would impose a cost of this magnitude across all electricity consumers in the country, spread over a couple of decades.

You can imagine EV critics using this line of attack at the next election, especially with Australia to come under increasing pressure to commit to something akin to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to ban the sale of petrol cars by 2030.

Happily, however, their concerns are unfounded. The 35 gigawatt capacity of the existing networks can do just fine with a fleet of 13 million electric cars. The trick will be spreading the load out through the day and through the night.

If we try to charge all the EVs at the same time we’re running our air conditioners, flatscreens and dishwashers, the impact on the energy grid will be like a traffic snarl in rush hour. But there is a wide range of technical solutions to allow consumers to adjust their charging behaviour.

For those with solar panels, we know the price they get for feeding their power back into the grid has been falling. If this trend continues they could decide to feed their excess power into their cars instead, especially if that car had the ability to feed power back into the home.

Consumers with smart meters are also able to access what’s known as “time of use” pricing – a contract with the electricity retailer that makes energy cheap when the electricity network isn’t usually busy. An EV driver, knowing energy is cheaper at midnight, simply sets their car to charge at that time. This solves the problem for the networks while saving the typical driver hundreds of dollars per year.

Controlled load tariffs and ripple control methods are crude, but effective. This approach is where the electricity network uses a simple signal receiver at the home to turn things on and off, or up and down. It’s been used in Australia for electric hot water heaters since the 1950s and for airconditioners in Queensland for the past ten years. It could work for EVs, but there are better ways to give consumers more choice and flexibility.

More sophisticated approaches keep the consumer in the loop, using data from smart meters and communicating via smartphone. These techniques have been rolling out in Australia since 2015. In this system the network does some forecasting based on previous energy usage and the expected weather to work out where the problems in their network are going to be the next day. They then send a text message to participants in relevant areas, along the lines of” “If you can reduce your home energy use tomorrow between 3pm and 5pm, we’ll pay you $20”. Participation by any consumer in a particular event is voluntary – so if they’ve got plans that involve using lots of electricity at that time, there’s no problem. But experience so far shows that those who receive these messages switch things off up to 70 per cent of the time. All the network needs to do is get enough people on board.

Finally, there’s the 2020s version of controlled load tariffs – cloud based orchestration. With this approach, the network talks directly to the cars or the chargers over the internet and tells them what to do. Under this system everyone plugs in and forgets about it while a software system takes over and schedules everyone’s charging to smooth out the load and make sure everyone has enough juice to get around the next day.

If we get this right, far from being a problem EVs will enable the electricity networks to make better use of their assets. This should create downward pressure on the network component of energy bills for all consumers. Everyone wins in this scenario, not just the EV drivers.


Australia: Sequestration is a win for farmers

As COP26 in Glasgow fast approaches we see an increased media focus on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and what can be achieved by 2030.

While net-zero by 2050 might be a legitimate goal much of the debate has tended to use it as a slogan in what is really a political campaign.

The debate is also focused on only one side of the net-zero equation, reducing emissions. Yet in Australia we have a huge opportunity to drive outcomes on the other side of the equation, capturing carbon which is why the Govt’s recent decision to include soil carbon sequestration as a key element in its net zero 2050 plan is a very positive move.

The solution is right under our feet – soil and soil carbon sequestration – Australia has an abundance of soil and soil that has been depleted of carbon over the past two centuries. At the Mulloon Institute we have a strategy to not only address this issue but in doing so help deliver potentially substantial financial returns for Australian agriculture and Australian farmers.

Since 2018 significant parts of Australia have experienced what Dorothea Mackellar described in her poem “My Country” as a land of “droughts and flooding rains” and “flood and fire and famine”.

When “My Country” was first published in 1908 Mackellar wasn’t focused on CO2 emissions and its ramifications on climate. She was simply recording what she experienced. We now have similar experiences albeit arguably more intensive. But Mackellar also wrote “green tangle of the brushes, where lithe lianas coil, and orchids deck the treetops and ferns the warm dark soil”.

With those words she was experiencing soils rich in carbon and that is certainly something we now have much less of. Scientists estimate we have lost between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of our soil carbon over the past 200 years. Herein lies the opportunity with a net-zero goal. Unfortunately, much of our farming sector has been spooked into thinking that working toward net-zero will be detrimental to their livelihood. The opposite is the case.

With so much soil carbon lost over the past couple of hundred years, the opportunity is now there to transfer it from the atmosphere and put it back where it belongs, in the soil. Carbon sequestration means healthier soils and more nutrient dense food. Increasing soil carbon is one of the substantial strategies required to reach net zero. Globally, soils contain more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined. By regenerating our soils, we can sequester more carbon underground and slow climate warming. And our farmers can earn income by doing that through the selling of carbon credits.

Key to carbon sequestration is water. A hydrated landscape will speed up carbon sequestration. The recent IPCC Report particularly highlighted a future with less rain overall but more intensive events risking flooding and erosion. Therefore, the better utilisation of what rain does is crucial. Currently in Australia 50% of all rain that falls is lost through rapid run-off or evaporation due to poor ground coverage. Rectifying this can be straightforward and not necessarily expensive.

The Mulloon Institute (TMI) is demonstrating the potential in this approach in the Mulloon Creek catchment comprising 23,000ha with the support of more than 20 landholders. It is also one of just five global projects selected by the UN to assist in the development of guidelines for sustainable, profitable and productive farming.

TMI’s work has expanded to catchments in many parts of NSW, in North Queensland, WA, NT and soon Victoria. Demonstrating this work on the ground in partnership with communities helps farmers to understand the opportunity that landscape rehydration in conjunction with regenerative farming practices provides. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) soils, if managed sustainably, can sequester up to 0.56 petagrams of carbon (or 2.05 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent) per year, having the potential to offset yearly as much as 34% of agricultural global greenhouse gas emissions.

In Australia agriculture comprises 13% of our total emissions, so with our landmass, our farmers can contribute significantly to its reduction and at the current price of carbon of around $20 per tonne, but rising very quickly, that is not just a goal or a slogan, it is a great opportunity for our agricultural sector to get on board for net-zero.




Friday, October 29, 2021

The planet could descend into 'conflict and chaos' if Cop26 fails, UN chief warns

Hysterical nonsense. The planet warmed one degree in the last 100 years amid a huge overall surge in prosperity and wellbeing. Another degree in the next 100 years will at least do no harm

The sheer dishonesty of the cry below is shown by its prophecy of food shortages. Global warming would open up vast areas in Canada and Siberia to food production. Warming would produce a food GLUT, not a shortage

The planet could descend into 'conflict and chaos' if world leaders fail to tackle climate change following the Cop26 summit in Glasgow next week, the UN's top climate official has warned.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, insisted global security and stability could break down if countries fail to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview with The Observer, she described a bleak future of general anarchy caused by climate catastrophe, warning of migration crises, food shortages and an increase in terrorism and violent crime.

'We're really talking about preserving the stability of countries, preserving the institutions that we have built over so many years, preserving the best goals that our countries have put together. The catastrophic scenario would indicate that we would have massive flows of displaced people,' she warned.

'It would mean less food, so probably a crisis in food security. It would leave a lot more people vulnerable to terrible situations, terrorist groups and violent groups. It would mean a lot of sources of instability.

'We know what migration crises have provoked in the past. If we were to see that in even higher numbers - not only international migration, but also internal migration - [it would] provoke very serious problems.'

It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to welcome global leaders to Scotland for the Cop26 climate summit next week, where he wants countries to commit to slashing carbon emissions.


UK: Budget backlash as Chancellor of the Exchequer cuts cost of flying and driving days before pivotal climate summit

Rishi Sunak has been accused of undermining the UK’s response to the climate emergency, after his Budget included measures to make it cheaper to take internal flights and drive polluting cars.

The moves – branded “astonishing” and “retrograde” by Friends of the Earth – were unveiled just days ahead of the crucial Cop26 global warming summit in Glasgow, at which Boris Johnson will plead with the international community to cut carbon emissions.

And they came just a day after the government’s own Climate Change Committee told the prime minister that his administration’s net zero strategy had “nothing to say” on aviation and must take further action to discourage people from flying.


The Queen has sent her apologies to the farcical Cop26 conference, wouldn't it better for the planet if everyone else did as well?

As usual, Her Majesty's instincts are correct. When in doubt, pull out. The Queen has sent 'her regrets' and won't be attending Cop26 in Glasgow this weekend as she adheres to doctors' advice and sticks to 'light duties' no further away than the drawing room.

I'm sure there's nothing a 95-year-old would have enjoyed more than a round of cocktail parties with pompous heads-of-state fresh off their carbon-spewing private jets mouthing glib promises about how to save the planet.

Especially as Her Majesty has been a recycler all her life; still using those sad little Tupperware containers at breakfast time and steadfastly rotating her unique collection of couture hats and coats from half a century ago, much to the admiration of fashionistas now trying to embrace a new mantra of climate concern.

With only a few days to go before the giant kick-off, Cop26 is starting to look like a B-list event.

Delegates from over a hundred and thirty countries are going to turn up in their thousands (mainly young and committed), but - without the Queen, will the A-listers and the power brokers be taking it seriously?

The citizens of Glasgow are in two minds about the whole shebang. With 30,000 visitors expected, if you own a sofa, or anything that resembles a bed, you'll be making a fortune renting it.

All hotels are fully booked, as are two cruise liners moored nearby and AirBnb rates are off the scale.

Currently, over two thousand attendees have nowhere to stay. Let's just hope they don't try napping on the street since Glasgow's legendary rats were in the news this week for biting refuse workers.

The SNP council leader acknowledged there had been 'one or two incidents of very minor contact' with rodents, claiming this was 'normal' in most cities.

Adding to this toxic mix, 1,500 council workers including refuse collectors, catering workers and janitors are going on strike for better pay for the duration of Cop, as are RMT train staff.

Scores of roads are closed along with five schools. Major museums and galleries have shut. Instead of using public transport to get to the city centre, delegates will be ferried by car, in specially designated traffic lanes, forcing ordinary commuters to cram into a single lane - producing more fumes, no doubt.

Cop, with it's green devotees will be good news for vegan restaurants, bars and clubs. But is it going to benefit the environment?

In terms of PR, the lesser Royals will be flying the flag for Britain's world-beating eco credentials. William and Kate and Charles and Camilla will be doing the rounds, but they got the E message years ago.

Once, we laughed when Charles said he talked to his plants, now he's revered for his concern about the environment. (Always easier when you have an army of servants to wash up, recycle, do your pressing, peel all those home grown vegetables, and book the Royal train).

We applauded Kate for recycling that beautiful one-off dress to the James Bond premiere - but don't dwell on what it cost in the first place . . . and it wasn't exactly made of recycled washing up bottles.

On balance, the Royals will make a good show of sending messages of concern about the imminent danger to planet Earth. It's a message that's harder to sign up for if you're an ordinary person who bought a diesel car when politicians told us to, who now faces a whopping surcharge of £12.50 a day to drive from your own doorstep in inner London.

And what about the Cop 26 guest list? The politicians and industrialists who carry the real power to change the rules or - to quote our leading climate change balladeer, Boris - stop everyone 'swaddling our entire planet in a tea cosy of toxic stuff'.

Will Cop26 succeed where 25 other Cops seem to have failed? Levels of greenhouse gases have reached an all-time high, in spite of endless treaties, protocols, and targets all aimed at preventing exactly that happening.

In spite of decades of high profile get-togethers in luxury hotels over sumptuous banquets and endless toasts in Paris, Kyoto, Mexico, Copenhagen, Dubai and South Africa, we are still on course to fail to stop global warming in the very near future.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, even if current pledges to cut emissions drastically from the UK and 50 other countries are honoured, we still face a 2.7% temperature rise by 2100.

Some countries, like Saudi Arabia and China claim they can only achieve zero emissions by 2060.


Australian PM promises to protect coal mining jobs

Coal miners will not be legislated “out of a job” under the Coalition’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 through “ultra low cost” solar and the rapid commercialisation of new technologies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison formally commited Australia to the climate target on Tuesday, drawing a line under the intense debate and bitter disagreement within the federal government on net-zero.

“(The plan) will not shut down our coal and gas production or exports,” Mr Morrison said. “It will not increase electricity bills. It’s not a revolution, it’s a careful evolution.”

Mr Morrison said new modelling showed Australia was on track to reduce emissions by 30 to 35 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 – far above the government’s 26 to 28 per cent interim target.

The commitment also came with a guarantee every Australian would be $2000 better off in 2050 than they would have been if no climate action was taken, and the regions would gain an extra 62,000 jobs in the heavy industry and mining sectors.

Mr Morrison did not present the modelling behind the plan, instead saying it was to be released at a later date.

The $20bn technology roadmap to get to net zero emissions by 2050 relied on emerging technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture and storage becoming viable.

Regional NSW was central to the net-zero plan, with areas like the Hunter Valley identified as a site for “further indirect job opportunities” including manufacturing of wind turbines and hydrogen electrolysers.

The Hunter could also benefit from “value-adding manufacturing” like the production and export of green ammonia and hot briquette iron.

“The construction boom associated with new renewable energy generation to support hydrogen production could support up to 13,000 new, permanent jobs by 2050 across Australia, especially in regional NSW and Queensland,” the government’s report said.

The PM said investing in technology would also enable Australia to help other major polluters reduce emissions, which was critical to limiting global temperature increase.

“If you really want to deal with this problem, it’s not good enough to tax people in developed countries and think that fixes the problem,” Mr Morrison said. “China’s emissions will keep going up. If we want to solve the problem, then you need scale, afforable, low emissions technologies.”

Under the plan a “significant proportion of gas” would still be needed by 2050, while all energy technology options remained on the table, including small-scale nuclear reactors.

It is expected electric cars would reach cost-parity with petrol vehicles by 2025, with the gradual take up potentially delivering a 15 per cent emissions cut.

Exports of critical minerals could be worth $85bn in 2050, up from $12bn, helping offset a 35 per cent decline in fossil fuel production.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told parliament regional jobs would not be destroyed by government laws. “I am making absolutely certain that we don’t legislate the coal miners out of a job,” he said.




Thursday, October 28, 2021

8 Ridiculous ‘Green New Deal’ Programs in Democrats’ Bloated Spending Bill

Both chambers of Congress are focused on a raging debate over whether to pass a 2,465-page, $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill. With the legislation almost guaranteed to have no Republican support, different factions of Democrats are locking horns over the bill’s fate.

Progressives want to spend recklessly, which is much easier to do when you’re using other people’s money. In contrast, moderates are alarmed about what effect yet another federal spending blowout would have on already-high inflation and the dangerously huge national debt.

It is vitally important to have a discussion about overall spending levels. It is equally important to understand what those taxpayer dollars would be used on.

A key component of the bill is enacting a “Green New Deal” agenda, which is a top priority for left-wing activists.

The energy and environmental sections would spend hundreds of billions on a massive scheme that would only affect global temperatures by about 0.04 degrees Celsius in 2100.

Rather than delivering tangible environmental benefits, the bill would do far more to centralize power and control over the daily lives of Americans in Washington and provide handouts to political pet causes and special interest groups.

These nine items are just a sampling of the “green” insanity in the bill.

1. $10 Billion for ‘Environmental Justice’ College Programs
Colleges and universities across the country are already awash in “ethnic studies” programs that primarily serve as a factory for producing left-wing activists.

Section 136601 of the spending bill would spend $10 billion on creating something similar for the environmentalist movement, calling for funding “environmental justice” programs in higher education.

There are many ways to describe efforts to address things like pollution. Using the word “justice” is explicitly designed to dovetail with left-wing social movements rather than having a focus on hard science or public health.

This $10 billion would be taxpayer-funded seed money for a new army of political activists.

2. $8.1 Billion for Environmentalist ‘Climate Corps’
Upon graduation, recipients of environmental justice degrees would need to find jobs. That’s where the multiple “civilian climate corps” programs scattered across the bill come in.

Pages 7, 19, 925, and 965 would dedicate $8.1 billion toward paying environmentally minded people to work at federal parks and forests, along with Native American areas, on a broadly defined set of projects.

This would, of course, be layered on top of billions of dollars of programs for federal lands and forests elsewhere in the bill, and on top of tens of billions in regular spending every year.

As with the environmental justice subsidy, it would be easy to use neutral terms such as “conservation” that have appeal across the political spectrum. Naming the program “climate corps” is a purely ideological decision, showing that the program is primarily designed to benefit the left.

3. Huge Handouts for the Rich to Buy Fancy Electric Vehicles
The “Green Energy” subtitle, starting on page 1695, would throw $279 billion in tax subsidies at a range of predictable things: unreliable wind and solar energy projects, cost-ineffective biofuels like ethanol, and an “environmental justice” bonus depending on where things are built.

The most galling aspect of this massive exercise in corporate welfare and economic micromanagement is Section 136401, which provides tax credits toward the purchase of electric vehicles.

While much of the rhetoric surrounding the bill revolves around socialist notions of “economic justice,” the details in this section show that Democrats have no problem cutting checks to the wealthy. Existing tax credits for these vehicles go overwhelmingly to households making over $100,000 per year.

Working-class families are unlikely to purchase a $55,000 sedan or a $74,000 truck. Yet vehicles costing that much are eligible for the tax credit. Similarly, households earning up to $800,000 qualify for the credit.

Putting those elements together, someone earning $400,000 per year would receive a $12,500 tax credit for buying a $74,000 truck.

It’s hard to square this upper-class welfare with “economic justice.”

4. $4 Billion for ‘Tree Equity’ and ‘Charging Equity’
When it’s not lavishing billions in tax subsidies on the top 5%, the bill does make some awkward attempts at applying the nebulous concept of “equity” to new environmental programs.

Section 11003 would use $3 billion to “increase community tree canopy,” which is a legalistic way of saying they want rural and suburban areas to pay for planting trees in cities.

Section 30443 would dedicate $1 billion for “electric vehicle charging equity,” which is a way of acknowledging the concentration of electric vehicle use among high-income households.

This is yet another example of using left-wing buzzwords to dress up the Democrats’ agenda.

5. $85 Million on Climate and Pregnant ‘Individuals’
Yet another example of the spending bill bowing to radical activists comes in Section 31046.

At first glance it is one of many provisions promoting the Green New Deal agenda, in this case throwing $85 million at research seeking to identify whether climate affects pregnancy. Note that this is not an attempt to remedy problems that are known to exist, but rather an attempt to find problems that would then generate more support for the agenda.

The section proceeds to go off the deep end with its choice of words: “pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals.” Erasing women from the context of pregnancy and motherhood is a promotion of the most extreme elements of the transgender movement and has no business becoming part of federal law.

6. $50 Million for Bees and Desert Fish
The spending package includes a subtitle on wildlife conservation. It provides special attention to a select handful of creatures, meaning that some animals are more equal than others.

Section 70607 would spend $25 million to conserve species of “desert fish.”

Section 70605 would similarly dedicate $25 million for “pollinators,” or bees. Incredibly, this is the second earmark for bees this year, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill drizzling $10 million their way in a package that’s supposedly focused on roads and bridges.

7. $20 Million for Energy ‘Diversity’
Page 1060 sends $20 million to the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, which currently receives $10 million per year. Tipping the cap to the bill’s core audience, the legislation labels this as “diversity support.”

8. $5 Billion ‘Environmental and Climate Justice’ Slush Fund
Section 30204 would create a $5 billion slush fund for the Environmental Protection Agency to pursue left-wing goals. On top of the $5 billion, the agency would receive $500 million to pay bureaucrats to run the program. The goals, which repeatedly reference “disadvantaged communities,” are nebulous enough that the bureaucrats will have nearly free rein to use the billions as they see fit.

The $3.5 trillion legislative package is so massive that these eight items are just the beginning. There are many more examples of wasteful and problematic provisions in the bill, which is why Congress should scrap it altogether rather than trying to force it through.


Climate Realism Wins the Debate in Las Vegas

Oklahoma City – An international conference on climate change continues in Las Vegas, with a range of speakers from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Attendees at the event have traveled to Nevada from all over the world. After a Friday evening dinner and awards presentation, a critical assessment of “the Great Reset” (as it is deemed in many news accounts and commentaries) was scheduled, including a look at emerging policies aiming to limit and, in many cases, ultimately eliminate fossil fuels businesses.

Today and tomorrow, the event features a wide range of panels (some concurrent) on the full gamut of issues, as viewed through a lens sympathetic to continuance of natural gas and oil extraction, even in the age of increasing government subsidies for wind, solar and other means of energy/electric power production.

A highlight of the Saturday (October 16) presentations will be a four-person panel — “Examining Biden’s Energy and Climate Agenda” – set for late afternoon.

Presenters will include Bette Grande of the Heartland Institute (the group sponsoring what is designated “14th Annual International Conference on Climate Change”) and Steve Milloy of Junk

They intend to tackle “how the Biden energy and environment agenda — from canceling the Keystone XL pipeline deal with Canada, to restricting the once-burgeoning fracking industry in the United States — is affecting America’s energy economy.”

Grande was a North Dakota state representative for eight years, serving as chairman of the Employee Benefits Program and Committee, and as member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Education and Environment Division.

She has an education degree from the University of North Dakota and is from Williston. Her family’s business is located, her biography notes, “in the heart of the Bakken formation.”

A dedicated contrarian, Milloy has spent the last two decades pushing back against what he calls “junk science” – terminology he helped popularize in mainstream culture and analysis. He wrote a book for the libertarian Cato Institute with the notable title, “Junk Science Judo: Self-Defense against Health Scares and Scams.”

Perhaps the best-known participant in the Biden Agenda panel is Amy Oliver Cooke, one of the conference series of keynote speakers. She is chief executive officer at the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina, where she guides the work of around two dozen researchers.

Cooke might be characterized as a happy warrior. She has drawn worldwide attention (and, in some quarters, disdain) for his messaging skills, describe in conference media materials as “provocative.” Cooke has said she is in the category of “Mothers in Love with Fracking.” She once wrote, “I’m an energy feminist because I’m pro-choice in energy sources.” Critics on what some analysts call “the eco-left” have assailed her rhetorical flairs for “hands down the worst kind of feminism.”

Many speakers and participants at the Heartland event have Wikipedia biographical entries that categorize – often in the first sentence – them as a “climate denier.” Cooke and her allies affirm the importance of proactive commentary and reporting, refusing to cede environmental sensitivity to their critics.

In a statement about the current state of debate on climate issues, economic growth and the future of human energy use, Heartland said:

“The climate alarmism industry and its media allies present a daily barrage of false, misleading, and one-sided information designed to convince people that a climate crisis is at hand. As the years pass, the ‘climate crisis’ keeps being pushed into the future. Why? Because the forces of collectivism and big, controlling government are using it as a means to gain more control over us.

“The global climate agenda, as promoted by the United Nations, is to overhaul the entire global economy, usher in socialism, and forever transform society as one in which individual liberty and economic freedom are crushed.”

The conference closes Sunday (October 17) with a day of additional keynote addresses, several panels, and a special screening of the film “Climate Hustle 2,” and a discussion about the film’s themes. Many of the conference’s top speakers are featured in the motion picture.


The Climate Issue: What to expect from COP26

In June 1992, world leaders and representatives of 179 countries gathered in Rio de Janeiro. They produced a striking number of declarations and agreements. One of them was the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), with the “ultimate achieve...stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Parties to the UNFCCC promised to meet again, routinely, in order to check in and push forward towards their lofty goals. Eventually, the “conference of the parties”, or COP, settled into an annual rhythm.

At the third COP, in 1997, governments adopted the Kyoto Protocol: a landmark but ultimately weak and flawed attempt to control emissions of greenhouse gases. Rich countries, which had emitted the bulk of the greenhouse gases piled up in the atmosphere, were tasked with doing the heavy lifting of decarbonisation while developing ones were given a pass so they might boost their economic development.

It wasn’t until COP21, held in December 2015 in a northern suburb of Paris, that a binding agreement was made that required all countries, rich and poor, to decarbonise their economies. This time next week, COP26 will be under way, marking the agreement’s sixth anniversary. To find out what the Glasgow summit’s multi-layered agenda looks like, head to this piece from our current issue.

A lot of the work has already been done in the run-up to the summit, but there are still big holes. Two of them are particularly gaping, namely formal decarbonisation pledges (or “nationally determined contributions”) from China and India. China is responsible for 28% of the carbon dioxide emitted each year, India accounts for 7%. Both countries are largely powered by coal: together they consume roughly two-thirds of the global total.

On Sunday, China published a long-awaited plan for how it intends to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. It touches on three big questions about China’s decarbonisation, namely when its emissions will peak, at what level and how fast they will fall after that. “The document gives a bit more indication of the emissions peaking level,” writes Lauri Myllyvirta, a China analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Coal use is due to start declining from 2026 at the same time as oil use reaches a plateau, suggesting an emissions peak could be close to 2025 levels.

However, with no indication of how fast these fossil fuels will tumble, the pathway to net-zero before 2060 remains obscure bar a mention that by then more than 80% of energy will not come from fossil fuels. Emissions from much of the remaining 20%, presumably, will have to be removed by natural and technological means—no mean feat.

A 2025 peak would be in-line with expectations, so the document does not offer substantial new climate ambition from the world’s largest emitter. There is still one week, and a G20 summit, for more to be put on the table.

Email from


Australian PM rejects criticism of his new climate policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected criticism from famed environmentalist David Attenborough, CNN and Atlassian over Australia’s climate change policy.

Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Morrison was asked if he was “embarrassed” by Attenborough’s comments that accused the Federal Government of being more worried about saving money than saving the planet.

“I’m not embarrassed at all when it comes to doing what is right by Australia,” Mr Morrison said on Sunrise. “Everyone else who doesn’t understand Australia, alchemy and the challenges we have. “We are getting results,” Morrison said. “We are getting it done. Our emissions are down.

Michael Cannon-Brookes, the Australian tech billionaire and co-founder of software giant Atlassian, also weighed in, describing it as “inaction” and “misdirection”.

But Morrison said he “rejects” the criticism. “We have already achieved more than 20 per cent emissions reductions and grown alchemy by 45 per cent”. “So we’re getting this done. They might like how we’re doing it but we are getting results,” Mr Morrison said.

“Australia’s actions and results speak more than the words of others and we are getting it done, Australians wanted done but they don’t want to throw their livelihoods away.”

The British prime minister tweeted that he looked forward to welcoming Mr Morrison to Glasgow next week.

“Great to see Australia commit to reach net zero by 2050. They join a growing club – over 80 per cent of the global economy is now committed to net zero,” Mr Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the EU Commissioner’s Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis called Australia’s net zero commitment a “positive signal”.




Tuesday, October 26, 2021

UK: New trade deals ‘are unfair on farmers and won’t help emissions’ says John Gummer

Impugning the health standards of New Zealand produce is really rich. NZ produce is famous for being clean and green.

And it is particularly rich from a man who encouraged the consumption of meat potentially infected with mad cow disease

The chairman of the government’s climate change advisory board has condemned trade deals with Australia and New Zealand as “totally offensive” as he warned they would undermine attempts to tackle emissions.

Lord Deben [John Gummer], the former Tory cabinet minister who chairs the Climate Change Committee, said that the agreements were “entirely unacceptable for climate change purposes”. He warned they would damage efforts to ask UK farmers to help consumers shift to eating less meat, but of higher quality.

“I do see that you can do all sorts of things to encourage people to buy better meat, and I think we ought to be,” he told the Observer. “That’s why I’m so deeply opposed – and find totally offensive – the agreements with both Australia and New Zealand, which are entirely unacceptable for climate change purposes.

Lord Deben, says Britain will be importing meat from countries that do not meet the same climate standards as UK farmers.© Photograph: Dorset Media Service/Alamy Lord Deben, says Britain will be importing meat from countries that do not meet the same climate standards as UK farmers.

“You cannot ask farmers to do in this country what we are going to ask them to do and import goods from people who are not [meeting the same standards]. The government promised it wouldn’t do that – and it is doing it. It is entirely against its promise.

“I shall go on fighting until we stop it. There has to be, internationally, standards that enable you to carry through climate change rules.”

Labour has already suggested that the trade deals will allow Australian and New Zealand farmers to undercut their British counterparts with lower animal welfare standards. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has warned that the deal agreed in principle with New Zealand “offers nothing in return” to British farmers.


Biden Rolls Out New Plan: Take Millions of Vehicles Off Roads by Forcing People onto Trains

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden visited his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania and rolled out his newest cringeworthy plan: make people start riding trains again to get rid of vehicles on the road.

“We will take literally millions of automobiles off the road,” Biden argued, claiming that the plan will save millions of barrels of oil and reduce pollution. “This is not hyperbole; this is a fact,” he said. “These are facts.”

“I got more money for passenger rail than the entire Amtrak system cost to begin with,” Biden continued. “We’re going to change the nation in a big way.”

Breitbart reports:

Amtrak continues to enjoy heavy subsidies from Congress even though it has famously lost money for 50 years. Since 1971, Amtrak has cost taxpayers more than $100 billion.

But Biden’s proposed plan sparked Amtrak to share a dream list of even more connected cities across the country by 2035.

In Scranton, Biden spoke at length about his long history of riding Amtrak, boasting he rode the train more than two million miles while he was senator and vice president. “You should name half the line after me,” Biden joked. “I am the most railroad guy you’re ever going to meet.”


'People Got Jobs!': NYC Drivers Confront Climate Change Protesters Who Brought Traffic to a Standstill

Drivers in New York City were not happy one bit when rush hour traffic was brought to a halt because environmental protesters blocked FDR Drive to put pressure on President Joe Biden to act on climate change.

The protesters, who were with Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement, said they were not trying to annoy the drivers, "but to force the public to confront the true dangers of unchecked climate change. If we do not act today, if @potus does not act today, NYC will be underwater by 2100. It's a matter of life and death."

A few drivers got out of their cars to confront the protesters standing in the road and holding banners.

"People got jobs!" one woman said to the protesters, adding she could be fired from her job and her kids could be late to school.

New York City police officers did arrest the protesters after they refused to move. The NYPD's 7th Precinct announced just before 11:00 AM traffic had returned to normal.


Net zero by 2050 plan ‘uniquely Australian’: Morrison

Very vague

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has launched the federal government’s plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by lauding the country’s achievements so far, saying Australia is on track to achieve a cut of up to 35 per cent by 2030.

“Australia has already met and beaten our ... 2020 targets and indeed Australia will beat and meet our 2030 targets as well,” Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

The government’s policy is a cut of 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

“We believe we will be able to achieve a 35 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030: that is something we actually think we are going to achieve,” he said.

The government’s plan to achieve net zero by 2050 stresses industries, regions and jobs will not be put at risk. The target of net zero by 2050 will not be legislated.

Mr Morrison was accompanied by Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, but Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was not present.

Nationals MPs backed the goal in a tense meeting on Sunday that cleared the way for Tuesday’s launch of the plan to tackle climate change, which includes $19 billion in investments for low emissions technologies including solar and clean hydrogen by 2030.

Mr Morrison said it was “uniquely Australian”.

“Australians want action on climate change. They’re taking action on climate change but they also want to protect their jobs and their livelihoods. They also want to keep the costs of living down,” he said. “And I also want to protect the Australian way of life, especially in rural and regional areas. The Australian way of life is unique.”

Mr Morrison will fly to Rome on Thursday to attend the G20 summit before spending two days in Glasgow for the United Nations climate talks.

The Prime Minister said the plan to cut emissions was not a plan “at any cost”. “There’s no blank cheques here,” he said.

The PM has revealed details of his government's climate plan that'll cut emissions in Australia to net zero by 2050, trying to allay fears it'll cut jobs and increase the cost of living.

He promised the target would not spell the end of coal or gas production or exports and would not increase energy bills.

“It will not impact households businesses or the broader economy with new costs or taxes imposed by the initiatives that we are undertaking,” he said. “It will not cost jobs, not in farming, mining or gas. Because what we’re doing in these plans is positive things, enabling things.

It also would not be a “set and forget” program, with five-yearly reviews from the Productivity Commission. The first review is set for 2023 and will look at the socio-economic impact of the plan.

Mr Taylor said the plan to achieve net zero by the middle of the century was achievable, thanks in part to the country’s performance to date on reducing emissions.

“Australia versus even developed countries has performed extremely well, with a reduction of almost 21 per cent since 2005,” he said.

Mr Taylor said carbon offset would be an important part of the plan, noting that Australia had 90 million hectares of productive agricultural land. Another focus would be reducing the costs of low emissions technologies.

“We’re looking at the customer and technology trends, shaping those trends to our advantage; and on the back of that, ensuring we have a portfolio of technologies that can deliver the outcome we want to deliver which is head zero by 2050,” he said.

‘Actions speak louder than words’

Mr Morrison predicted Australia’s plan to cut emissions would be strongly welcomed at the UN climate summit. He had been under increasing international pressure to increase the nation’s climate targets ahead of the conference, which starts on November 1.

“The actions of Australia, speak louder than the words of others. There’ll be lots of words in Glasgow, but I’ll be able to point to the actions of Australia and the achievements of Australia, and I think that’s very important,” he said.

The plan has already been welcomed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who overnight hailed the pledge to cut emissions as “heroic”.

Mr Morrison said the modelling that backed the plan would be released in due course.

When asked what the entire cost was, excluding funding previously announced, he said the plan drew together many earlier budget announcements including $464 million for green hydrogen and $1.4 billion in the Building Better Regions Fund.

“The budget is about achieving this plan and particularly on this plan there is $20 billion – pretty much all of which gets spent in rural and regional areas to achieve the lower emissions energy targets.”




Monday, October 25, 2021

Weather disaster-related deaths are down — but warming could undo that trend

What a laugh! Greenies are always pretending that warming is bad for you. Now they admit that the warming so far has not been. But it still COULD be, they say. Aerial pigs could happen too

Vastly better response times to natural disasters have reduced deaths, but ever-worse weather events might undermine that progress.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published a report in August containing some rare good news about extreme weather: Despite a sharp increase in the number of weather- and climate-related disasters reported worldwide over the past 50 years, the number of deaths tied to those disasters has dropped nearly threefold.

To disaster researchers, that’s no surprise. While natural hazards like extreme rainfall and heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe as the planet heats up, our scientific understanding of those hazards, and the early warning systems that safeguard communities, have improved significantly over recent decades. As a result, disasters related to weather and climate have become less deadly over time.

There’s no guarantee, however, that this positive trend will continue forever. While we are better equipped than ever before to save lives during disasters, it will be a challenge to deploy existing solutions at the pace and scale needed to protect growing populations in a warming climate.

“If we are not continually investing in warning systems, if we are not building differently at the same time that we have intensification or changes to these hazards, that could very easily lead to increased deaths,” says disaster researcher Samantha Montano, the author of the recent book Disasterology: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis, who was not involved in the WMO study.

Caveats notwithstanding, when researchers take a bird’s- eye view of the human toll of mass disasters, they see some positive trends.

The recent WMO report drew on EM-DAT to assess the impact of storms, droughts, floods, heat and cold waves, wildfires, and landslides from 1970 to 2019. It found that mortality from these types of disasters has fallen decade after decade, from over 50,000 deaths per year in the 1970s to fewer than 20,000 in the 2010s. At the same time, the number of reported disaster events rose sharply, a trend the WMO believes is partly due to climate change but also due to better reporting, says Cyrille Honoré, director of the WMO’s disaster risk reduction department.

Less reporting in the early part of the record—where several large droughts and storms in South Asia and Africa dominate the death toll—suggests that the actual drop in deaths over time from weather- and climate-related disasters might be even steeper.

A key reason for this trend, Honoré says, is the immense progress societies have made in developing early warning systems. Our ability to accurately forecast weather and climate hazards has “improved drastically,” he says, thanks to the proliferation of sophisticated satellite sensors and rapid advances in computer models.

Disaster researchers emphasize that this positive trend is no reason to be complacent about the grave toll disasters take today, or the risks civilization faces going forward due to climate change. According to the recent WMO report, 91 percent of deaths from weather- and climate-related disasters over the past 50 years occurred in developing nations . As climate change tips the scales toward more extreme weather, those regions of the world are likely to bear the brunt of the toll in terms of lives lost.


The crafty language of climate alarmism

I am constantly entertained by the artful ways alarmists bend language to their will. This often happens as science stories percolate through the media. Each step is a bit of a stretch, maybe not an obvious lie. But the sequence of stretches takes us so very far from the truth that we wind up in alarmville.

We just had a beauty kicked off by the great green Washington Post. What makes this especially funny is they are reporting their very own research, so there is no question of misunderstanding it. Just stretching it bit by bit, here and there.

The study itself is simple enough. When really bad, damaging weather hits it is normal to declare a federal disaster. This which allows Federal agencies to take certain actions, including loans and tax relief. This is done at the county scale. So WashPo looked at all of the disaster declarations in the last three months and determined the cumulative fraction of the US population that lived in those counties.

Since some disasters, especially from hurricanes, cover more than one entire state, it is no surprise that this added up to about a third of the national population. So far so good. This is science of a crude sort, basically adding stuff up.

The stretching begins when they report their study. First we get the headline, which is all that most people will read. Here is the main headline:

“Nearly 1 in 3 Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer“

This assumes that somehow every person living in every county “experienced” the local disaster. The number of people that physically experienced these disasters is actually quite small.

In some cases, like flash floods, most of the county never knew it had happened until they heard the news. In the hurricane cases a lot of people were not there, while others simply watched it rain really hard. Losing electricity, while unpleasant, is hardly experiencing a disaster. Where I live it happens several times a year.

I am not minimizing the tragic horrors that those who actually experienced these disasters went through. Just pointing out that they are nothing like 1 in 3 Americans.

Then we get the sub-headline blaming climate change:

“Climate change has turbocharged severe storms, fires, hurricanes, coastal storms and floods — threatening millions“

“Turbocharged”? This is not science, just a meaningless metaphor. As such it is not quite a lie, just almost. There have been computer based attribution studies saying climate change might have had something to do with these disasters. But turbocharged sounds very impressive.

Mind you “threatening millions” seems a bit odd, given we are talking about over 100 million people supposedly experiencing this stuff. Perhaps whoever wrote this never read the article. It happens.

And wildfires are now weather. That is really stretching the word.

For those who actually read the article we then get these linguistic gems (among others):

“The expanding reach of climate-fueled disasters, a trend that has been increasing at least since 2018, shows the extent to which a warming planet has already transformed Americans’ lives.”

So now the disasters were “climate-fueled”, another meaningless metaphor that sounds bad. Plus the “reach” of these disasters is expanding. Are there places that have never had bad weather disasters that are now getting them for the first time? Of course not; this is ridiculous scary sounding rhetoric.

Note “a warming planet has already transformed American’s lives”. “Transformed”? What the heck does that mean? All of these disaster types are common in our history. If it means those unfortunate enough to get hit by disaster have had their lives affected, then sure, but this is not news.

And there is no established connection to a warming planet, especially since America has barely warmed, if at all. If you take away the artfully alarming adjustments the nineteen thirties were a lot warmer than now.

The bit about “at least since 2018” is scientifically hilarious. This is what, a three year trend! They actually show a (meaningless) 6 year graph of the number of declarations. It drops down to a low in 2018 and then rises again until now. So there is no trend at all, just fluctuation.

Nor do they mention that we went through a miraculous 17 years without a land falling hurricane, which is certainly one reason our disasters are now up, as the hurricanes are finally back like they used to be. I guess that wonderful weather was not part of climate change. Only bad stuff counts, right?

Of course they end with a pitch for the Democrat’s $3.5 trillion recon bill, like that was going to stop bad weather.

The entertaining WashPo article is here:

Things then quickly get even further from the truth as the story spreads. Here is a typical headline reporting on the WashPo study:

“1 in 3 Americans have experienced effects of the climate crisis this year as experts warn communities to brace for unprecedented weather events“

No metaphors here. These disasters are the effects of the crisis (which however is still a meaningless statement). Bracing for unprecedented events is an interesting concept. Run in circles, scream and shout? Hard to brace for things that have never happened.

Of course terms like climate crisis, emergency, etc., are ridiculous hyperbole. My personal favorite is “climate chaos” because weather is in fact chaotic. So climate chaos is just what we have always had, but it sounds so scary to say it. I have no idea what the alarmists mean by climate chaos, and neither do they.

Moving on, Friends of the Earth (foe for short?) puts the WashPo findings incorrectly this way in a fundraiser:

“This year alone, one in three Americans experienced a climate change-induced disaster....”

“Induced” is right up there with “fueled” and “turbocharged”. Keep in mind that climate and climate change are statistics and statistics do not cause events, they just measure them. Maybe this is why we get meaningless metaphors instead of facts. The facts do not support the metaphorical hyperbole.

Nor are disaster declarations measures of weather events. They are political actions. This study is political science, not climate science.

My point is not that this press coverage is junk, even though it is. The point is that this goofy language is a common practice that you can learn to spot and enjoy. Watch them craftily work the language, to seem to say what is really not there. What is in fact meaningless.

When well done these language tricks can be quite entertaining, especially pointing them out. Just don’t take them seriously.


Caring for Our Environment: Too Important to Entrust to Environmenalists

Any rational human being understands that poisoning our environment is short-sighted, stupid, and potentially suicidal.

(Note: I try to avoid using the solecism “the environment.” There’s not, in any practical sense, a single environment on Earth. The environments in which various species of fish thrive are different from the environments of penguins which, in turn, are different from the environments of elephants, and so on. Indeed, there isn’t a single environment for human beings either. Residents of Phoenix live in a different environment than residents of Brasilia, Beijing, or even Prescott, not to mention the vastly different rural areas around the globe.)

It may be difficult for some of us to imagine today, but for millennia humans were ignorant and unthinking in their disposal of waste—both human and industrial. As wealth production exploded in the 19th and 20th centuries, so did pollution. Humans’ bad environmental habits—spewing and dumping pollutants into or onto air, water, and land—befouled our environment, and brought us to the brink of environmental catastrophe.

Faced with an existential threat, there was an awakening. Millions of Americans realized that environmentally destructive habits had to be curbed. For generations, there had been visionary Americans who realized the importance of conserving natural resources and protecting our environment from ruination, but most conservationist efforts were concentrated in remote, largely unpopulated areas (think national parks, game preserves, and the like). However, by the 1960s, the pollution in heavily populated areas had become dangerous and impossible to ignore, so Americans demanded and procured sweeping reforms.

A multitude of laws and regulations were implemented. Some mandated the remediation of existing pollution; others, reductions in new pollution. Many of the improvements have been remarkable. There could have been even more progress, but then an unfortunate complication gummed up the process: the rise of environmentalism. This -ism—this political ideology and movement—often promotes practices and policies that are harmful both to human beings and our natural environment.

Many leading environmentalists have cynically co-opted the natural concern that Americans have for a healthy environment to advance a political agenda that has damaged both human and environmental welfare. As I learned in my own “environmentalist” days in the ’70s, a significant portion of donations to green groups have supported various political causes—e.g., pro-abortion, anti-U.S. defense, pro-unions—that had nothing to do with improving our environment. (Nothing against unions, unless they are forced on workers.)

Today, leading environmentalist ideologues exploit the climate change issue, not out of concern for our environment, but for their primary goal of imposing socialism. Socialism is environmentally problematical in two ways: (1) the most lethal environment for human beings is poverty, and socialism impoverishes human societies (see Venezuela); (2) socialism has a horrible environmental track record that has been known for decades, making environmentalists’ advocacy of socialism obscenely perverse.

Another defect of environmentalism is that many environmentalists shun economic rationality by disregarding costs. This, too, has been going on for decades. I can recall in the ’90s an environmentalist being asked the perfectly sensible question, “Can we afford to restore wetlands?” The reply: “We can’t afford not to.” You may regard the response as clever or cute, but it was an evasive cop-out. Even in a country as wealthy as ours, we can’t afford to do everything that we might like to do, and so we have to economize—that is, to set priorities.

Here’s an economic truth that it makes no sense to ignore: We can’t prevent or remediate pollution for free; if we could, all pollution would have been eliminated by now, because nobody really likes pollution. But in the real world, combatting pollution costs something—often a lot. The only rational, responsible approach, then, is to assess those costs and decide how much we can afford.

This collective decision-making process is complicated by the fact that those who are expected to bear the costs of anti-pollution measures (e.g., private companies and their customers) face different incentives than those (usually government bureaucrats) who oversee those measures and don’t have to bear the costs. Bureaucrats can afford to be absolutist in their approach. For them, since pollution is bad, the more we eliminate, the better. But if the costs are too high, they can shut down important industries.

Here’s a specific example from the late ’70s: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commissioned consulting engineers to estimate the steel industry’s costs of complying with air-pollution regulations. The engineers estimated that removing 90 percent of the pollutants in producing carbon steel would cost $0.26 per kilogram; removing 97 percent would cost $4.98, and eliminating 99 percent would cost $32.20. The EPA—tasked with reducing pollution, but not having to pay for it—was inclined to impose the most stringent anti-pollution standard, and so they tried to keep the study secret. However, Pennsylvania’s two senators succeeded in making that information public. A compromise was reached, setting a standard that led to a massive improvement in air quality without killing the crucial domestic steel industry. Check out this photo of the air in Pittsburgh during the 1960 World Series compared to this photo of the Steel City taken several decades later.

Another way in which some combination of economic ignorance and ideological zealotry has rendered environmentalism perverse and destructive, both to humans and our environment, is the ideology’s blatant hostility to affluence and the economic system that produces it, i.e., capitalism. Once again, this is perverse, because capitalist countries are both richer and less polluted than socialist countries. (This is depicted graphically by the Mises Institute.) This phenomenon is largely explained by the Kuznets curve, which describes how societies, upon reaching a certain level of affluence, can afford to spend money on environmental cleanup and preservation, and, in fact, they do so. In other words, wealth is the cure for, not the cause of, unhealthy levels of pollution.

Perhaps most appalling and destructive of all the environmentalist errors is the branch of the green movement that’s overtly hostile to human life, characterizing human beings as vermin, viruses, a cancer, etc. I call these anti-life environmentalists “green pagans” for their willingness to sacrifice millions of human lives to achieve their green goals.

What’s doubly perverse about these fanatics is that many of the environmental regulations and policies they favor come with heavy environmental costs—sort of a “with friends like these, our environment doesn’t need enemies.” A few examples:

* Many of the greens who wail about CO2 emissions are adamantly opposed to nuclear energy, which emits no CO2.
Corn-based ethanol, a profitable boondoggle for those who produce it, requires the tilling of millions of acres of land, increases atmospheric ozone, and has a host of other negative environmental impacts.

* The desire to preserve the spotted owl 30 years ago (which largely failed, not because of anything humans did, but because a larger species of owl moved in and wiped out their spotted cousins) not only caused many loggers to lose their livelihood, but also led to preventing sound forest management—a short-sighted policy that has come back to haunt the Pacific Northwest today with unnecessarily large conflagrations.

* The “paper instead of plastic” initiative (and I’ll be the first to acknowledge that we have to do a better job of disposing of plastics properly) requires, at the production stage, greater energy consumption while causing significantly more air and water pollution.

* And then there’s the environmentalist obsession with “renewable energy”—things like windmills that kill far more birds and bats than fossil fuel producers, that require elements the mining of which causes horrible pollution, and that are nightmares to dispose of when their all-too-short usable life is over (see Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” video).

* Environmentalists also bear responsibility for the vast psychological harm unnecessarily and cruelly imposed on America’s school children. Yet, their exaggerations about looming doom shouldn’t surprise us. They’ve been twisting the truth for decades. Just look at their misleading fund-raising hysterics, howling that Earth is teetering on the precipice of doom because pollution allegedly is getting worse and worse, when, in the United States in particular, pollution has been lessening. (Greens would counter with the argument that atmospheric CO2 has been increasing, which it has, but the classification of that life-giving gas as a pollutant is a matter of political shenanigans, not sound science. Toxic pollution of air and water has decreased.)

We can all agree that the battle against pollution is necessary and must continue. While we should be grateful for progress already achieved and that pollution trends in the United States are moving in the right direction, the only responsible course is to maintain our commitment to a cleaner environment. This is a hugely important task—one far too important to trust to environmentalists. As long as environmentalists cling to their anti-human, anti-economic ideology, they will impede caring for our environment in a helpful, rational way.


Covid modelling proves why climate science should also be questioned

Peta Credlin, writing from Australia

Why is it that Melbourne’s liberation last Friday came on a day with almost 2200 Covid cases; yet its initial incarceration eleven weeks earlier had been prompted by just eight cases?

Ok, vaccination rates had risen from 20 to 70 per cent in the interim.

It’s still worth posing the question: how could eight cases be a catastrophe, yet 2200 cases be a cause for celebration; other than in a topsy-turvy world where “following the science” just means following the leader? Never has adhering to expert advice meant so many contradictory anomalies, and so much hardship for so many people.

Even on “Freedom Day” (thank you government for giving back what was never yours to take away) people from NSW could enter Victoria and go anywhere while Melbournians were still banned from regional areas; and people were once again allowed inside each other’s homes but not inside a “non-essential” retail shop?

It’s been clear for many months now, that while Covid posed a grave risk to people who were very old or very sick, once the vulnerable had been vaccinated, we could start to treat Covid like most other diseases because vaccinations cut the risk of hospitalisation and death by about 90 per cent.

But this settled science on Covid hasn’t stopped different approaches in different states as well as clearly absurd applications of the “science”: such as the Queensland rule that briefly required mask wearing while driving a car alone; the Victorian rules that allowed coffee drinking in parks but not beer or wine, with kids’ playgrounds deemed dangerous and shut down but not the heroin injecting room; and those absurd curfew rules, with no scientific basis at all!

In other words, not only did the same science produce very different policy responses, but supposedly “following the science” included numerous measures that were, frankly, grandstanding by premiers who’ve used and abused “health science” to score political points. But if the settled science of Covid can be exploited like this, what about the science of climate change?

Let’s accept that the climate is changing, and that mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions are the cause. Why does it automatically follow that the fossil fuel industry must be closed down in the next couple of decades, regardless of the cost; and more importantly, regardless of the fact that most of the world’s biggest emitters won’t follow suit, so that countries like ours end up massively disadvantaged with the planet hardly better off?

If it’s finally become acceptable to count the costs of endless lockdowns to prevent Covid; why can’t we also question the costs of measures to prevent climate change and ask ourselves: can it be done differently and better?

If there’s one thing the pandemic should have taught us, it’s that modelling is only as good as the modellers’ assumptions.

Initially, the expert modellers said that 150,000 plus Australians would die of Covid. To date, only Victoria has breached the 1000 deaths threshold. Even during the current outbreak, predictions of thousands of hospital admissions with intensive care units overwhelmed have been massively overblown. Either modelling exists to make astrology look good or the modellers have a catastrophe bias.

As our government prepares to commit us to net zero emissions by 2050 on the basis of modelling that the planet otherwise faces environmental disaster; yet that net zero can be achieved without any significant economic pain, it’s worth asking why the climate modelling can be trusted when the epidemiological modelling clearly couldn’t; and why the climate “experts” are both unanimous and infallible while the health experts clearly weren’t.

Before the last election, the Prime Minister used Liberal Party modelling showing that a 45 per cent cut to emissions by 2030 would cumulatively cost 336,000 jobs, cut wages by $9000 and slash nearly half a trillion dollars from GDP in order to label Labor’s policy as “reckless”.

Now, he says that an even bigger cut will actually make us richer, but hasn’t released the modelling nor adequately dealt with the fact, as confirmed by the International Energy Agency, that much of the so-called technology to get to net zero is either unproven or hasn’t even been invented yet.

Right now, fossil fuels provide 83 per cent of the world’s total primary energy. That’s just four percentage points down over the past 30 years, despite all the billions in subsidies for renewables. Yet if the PM is to be believed, Australia can keep increasing our coal and gas exports at the same time as the world reduces its fossil fuel dependence to just 20 per cent; and it will all be done by “technology not taxes” even though the British Treasury has estimated that achieving net zero will require a carbon price of $295 a tonne by 2050 (compared to Julia Gillard’s carbon tax of just $23 a tonne). And that’s even with Britain using zero-emissions nuclear power which we still ban here (even though it’s our exported uranium that drives it).

On current technology, net zero means no cement, no steel, no aluminium, no air travel, no petrol or diesel vehicles and no eating beef or dairy. Yet this is supposed to be a painless transition that will make us richer, not poorer.

Perhaps the experts could next model the likelihood that pigs might fly.