Friday, December 31, 2021

Shale oil is unprofitable

It's expensive to produce so production can flourish only while producers of conventional oil keep crude oil prices up. Recent drops in crude prices have driven many shale producers out of business so a revival of crude prices may not lead to a revival of shale production any time soon. So its once again producers of conventional oil who are dictating prices at the pump

Donald Trump had to be the most fossil-fuel friendly U.S. president of recent times. When he became president, Trump quickly reversed Obama’s energy policies; the Keystone Pipeline was approved, imports from the Middle East were cut, and the price at the pump came down. It was claimed that America had become “energy independent” and was again a “net exporter” of oil. In 2018, the U.S. oil business even surpassed the record petroleum production peak set in 1970.

Inasmuch as American petroleum production had been sliding downward since 1970, how did this come about? It came about because of “unconventional oil,” e.g. shale oil. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the installation of a new president hostile to fossil fuel, shale oil had hit a snag: financiers were losing patience with shale’s profit performance.

In November of 2019, two months before the outbreak of the pandemic in America, NPR ran “As Oil Prices Drop And Money Dries Up, Is The U.S. Shale Boom Going Bust?

Today, shale accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. oil production and nearly all of the industry's growth, but many of the companies that made that growth possible are now struggling to stay afloat. […]

Without access to new cash, many producers are pulling back on exploration. The number of rigs drilling for new oil is at its lowest point in two years.

That's bad news for people like Ron Fountain, who works on a drilling rig in the Bakken shale of North Dakota. He thinks back to a few years ago, when the price of oil was more than $100 a barrel and companies were drilling with abandon.

In March of 2020, just after the coronavirus began feasting on elderly Americans, “Why This Oil Crash Is Different” ran at both the Center on Global Energy Policy and at Foreign Policy:

With the economic slowdown from the coronavirus outbreak projected to cause the first annual drop in oil demand since the global financial crisis in 2009, oil prices had already plunged 20 percent in the lead up to last week’s meeting of the so-called OPEC+ group, which includes both OPEC members and several other oil-producing countries, most notably Russia.

Russia had made clear its ambivalence about cutting supply, given concerns about whether cuts would be effective in supporting prices, and Russia’s reluctance to throw a lifeline to U.S. shale oil producers struggling under low prices and high debt. […]

Even before this weekend, shale oil production growth was already projected to slow sharply due to lower oil prices and much tighter capital constraints as investors grew skeptical of the sector due to its poor profitability.

In April of 2020, with bodies piling up in makeshift morgues, The Guardian ran “US shale industry expected to shrink sharply as oil price falls”:

US shale was expected to grow by 650,000 barrels a day this year before the coronavirus outbreak wiped out forecasts for global oil demand, triggering one of the steepest oil price declines on record. It is now forecast to shrink by 1.5m barrels a day compared to last year and that may accelerate even further.

Also in April of 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ran “How the Saudi Decision to Launch a Price War Is Reshaping the Global Oil Market”:

Saudi Arabia’s decision [to expand oil production] was a response to the dislocation in the global oil market caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) against the backdrop of an already weak global economy. […]

The resulting drop in the oil price from about $35 to near $20 has further exacerbated the financial stress experienced by U.S. oil producers in Texas, Oklahoma and other oil-producing regions, which were already reeling from sharp reductions in fuel demand caused by the coronavirus.

In July of 2020, as the pandemic was raging throughout America, the Washington Post re-ran Bloomberg’s “Shale’s Bust Shows Basis of Boom: Debt, Debt and Debt”:

What was very visible this spring was the steep drop in the fall of oil, driven first by OPEC actions to increase supply and then by pandemic lockdowns that decimated demand. But a crackdown by creditors alarmed at the industry’s debt levels had begun last year. […]

The pandemic and OPEC’s moves, which were driven by Russia and Saudi Arabia’s market-share war, pushed prices down steeply in March, with some oil futures prices falling into negative territory for the first time. Even when oil is at $35 a barrel, almost a third of U.S. shale producers are technically insolvent, according to a recent study by Deloitte LLP.

In August of 2020, energy investor Kirk Coburn ran “The US Shale Industry: From Boom to Bust”:

For years, the US shale industry was on a boom fueled by junk bonds from Wall Street. The industry was waning in 2019. In 2020, shale oil giants faced the perfect storm -- COVID-19, failed OPEC+ talks, and relentless oil price wars came to a head. Then the US shale industry went from just barely hanging on […] to a definitive bust.

The bust has been a long time coming; COVID-19 just pushed the industry over the edge.

In October of 2020, Forbes ran “As Oil Bankruptcies Surge, Vulture Investors Start Their Long Feast”:

More Chapter 11s are coming, […] it will mean that management teams are finally accepting of the new reality of oil prices stuck at $40/bbl amid a continuing supply glut and pandemic-weakened demand. The world has changed, the debt-fueled fracking binge has come to an end. Many zombie oil companies cannot survive in their current form.

Alarming stuff, I’d say. But pandemic or no, shale oil is a more costly proposition than regular old conventional oil. Because of the complexity of its extraction (fracking), shale oil has a higher break-even price than does conventional oil. It’s been alleged that the Saudis and others have recently been able to pump (conventional) oil out of the ground for $10 a barrel.

In April of 2021, at, we read that “Oil at $60 is undoubtedly a comfortable price level for U.S. shale.” And since oil has been trading above that price recently, maybe the U.S. oil business can round up new investors and creditors willing to take a chance that shale oil can turn a profit.

But for U.S. oil to be profitable, the federal government needs to get a whole helluva lot smarter. Biden should start by replacing his Energy Secretary with someone who knows something about energy. Jennifer Granholm is unfit for that job. America needs an Energy Secretary with a deep understanding of both fossil fuel and its alternatives. Biden should consider someone like chemical engineer Robert Rapier (a recent article of his).


Killing Keystone XL: How Biden Destroyed American Energy Independence

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the Keystone XL pipeline permit via Executive Order 13990.

With the stroke of a pen, Biden canceled a project that would have boosted U.S. gross domestic product by more than $3 billion, carried 830,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada to the United States, and directly and indirectly provided up to 26,000 jobs—11,000 of which were instantly lost.

Climate czar John Kerry lent a sympathetic voice to the plight of the newly laid-off workers: “Go to work to make the solar panels.”

Then-President Donald Trump had greenlit the project in 2017, after years of delay from the Obama administration.

Though the Keystone XL pipeline project received a favorable environmental review from the U.S. State Department, and construction had already started (crossing the Canadian-U.S border), the Biden administration bowed to radical environmentalists and the “religion” of climate change, leaving hardworking Americans in the cold.

Oil is the lifeblood of our economy and critical to our energy security, but the personal toll may be the highest cost of all: livelihoods, hopes, and dreams dashed in an instant.

Philip, South Dakota, is one of the many towns that the Keystone XL pipeline construction passed through. With the construction came construction crews, and entrepreneurs who provided both the workers and the pipeline project the services they needed—from pipe storage to places to live, eat, and work out. All of it is now extinguished.

“When they came in with a stroke of the pen, everybody was upset. That’s an understatement,” says Jeff Birkeland, chief executive of West Central Electric, which would have served pump stations across the Keystone XL route. He added:

I think the true characteristic of how people felt—they were p—ed off. Everybody had spent money, the project was underway, people were here. They were building. We could see progress, and just like that, it’s gone.

Tricia Burns, co-owner of Ignite Wellness Studio, which lost half its memberships in one day, added:

Every job matters; not just one, not just 11,000. A family has been impacted negatively, and we don’t know why.

There was no breach of contract. There were no broken rules. It was just that President Biden signed an executive order that said, ‘No more.’

We recently traveled to hard-hit towns in South Dakota and Montana to interview residents and business owners like Birkeland and Burns to learn firsthand how Biden’s callous decision to shut down the pipeline has negatively impacted these communities.

The corrupt corporate media will not report the devastating effects on local communities of the Keystone XL pipeline cancellation, so we’re taking the reins to bring the truth to the American people with our documentary “Killing Keystone XL: How Biden and the Far Left Destroyed American Energy Independence.”


‘Sustainable aviation fuel’ is here, but still has miles to go

United Airlines deployed what it called a “game-changing flight” last week. In a global first, a United Boeing 737 carrying more than 100 passengers flew from Chicago to Washington, D.C. on a tank of pure “sustainable aviation fuel,” or SAF. But while the stunt demonstrated that flying on pure SAF can be done, it’s unlikely to change the carbon footprint of your next airplane trip.

SAF resembles conventional jet fuel and emits carbon dioxide when it’s burned in a plane’s engine. It’s considered sustainable because it’s refined from material that already exists in the environment, like used cooking fats and plant oils, rather than from fossil fuels that have stored carbon in the earth’s crust for millions of years. That means SAF can potentially have a smaller carbon footprint than crude oil–based fuel when the entire life-cycle emissions of producing it are taken into account.

Neither United nor World Energy, the company that produced the SAF for the flight, has revealed any details about the life-cycle emissions of the fuel used for Wednesday’s flight, but the companies advertise that SAF has the potential to reduce emissions by up to 80 percent compared to conventional jet fuel. The flight also wasn’t fueled entirely by SAF. One of the two engines on the plane ran on conventional jet fuel “to further prove there are no operational differences between the two,” according to United.

The point was less to demonstrate a flight with a lower carbon footprint than to show that SAF technology is now just as good as the fossil-based stuff. Some airlines are already blending SAF into the fuel they use, but the American Society for Testing and Materials, which develops standards for jet fuel, limits blending to 50 percent. Lauren Riley, United’s managing director of global environmental affairs, told Politico that was because of technical problems with earlier generations of SAF. “It’s matured since then, and we are proving that those concerns are no longer relevant,” she said.

SAF isn’t the only early-stage proposal for cutting emissions from flying. Major manufacturers like Airbus are also looking at fueling planes with clean hydrogen, which doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases when it’s burned. Battery technology has not advanced enough to power big planes over long distances yet, but using battery-powered planes for short distances is starting to take off. The shipping company DHL recently announced it was ordering a fleet of 12 battery-powered planes that are expected to be able to carry about 2,600 pounds of cargo over roughly 500 miles on one charge.

In the near term, SAF is one of the few available tools to lower emissions from commercial aviation — but it’s got some serious hurdles to overcome. There are doubts the world could sustainably produce enough SAF to power the entire industry, due to limited supply of the raw materials needed to make it. At the moment, it’s three to four times more expensive than conventional fuel, and there’s hardly any of it on the market. According to the International Air Transport Association, a trade association, about 26 million gallons of SAF will be produced this year. Riley of United said SAF accounts for “far less than 0.1 percent of our total fuel supply in any given year.” United chief executive officer Scott Kirby told Bloomberg Green that converting just 10 percent of the global aviation fuel supply to SAF will require $250 billion in capital. Kirby said the industry couldn’t afford it, and that a “government foundation” was needed.

Experts say another way to cut aviation emissions in the near term, without spending hundreds of billions of dollars, is to issue stronger regulations that require airlines to buy the most efficient planes on the market. The Biden administration recently opted not to develop more effective emissions regulations for aircraft.

But Biden is taking steps to help scale up SAF. In September, the White House announced loan guarantees, research and development funding, and an interagency “Grand Challenge” to increase production of SAF to 3 billion gallons per year by 2030.

The Build Back Better Act, the social spending and climate bill that passed the House last month, also includes $300 million for SAF research, as well as a new tax credit of at least $1.25 per gallon for aviation fuels that achieve at least a 50 percent emission reduction.

The aviation industry supports the measure. Carter Yang, a spokesperson for the lobbying organization Airlines for America, told E&E News, “A tax credit would help build the nascent market for SAF, providing a financial incentive for companies to integrate more SAF into the fuel supply and enabling them to offer it at a price that would allow airlines to use more of it.”


Australia: Greenie hate on display

Old Parliament House has suffered 'incalculable damage' after a fire ripped through the entrance to the historic landmark, with Scott Morrison branding the destruction 'disgusting' and 'appalling'.

Within hours of the building going up in flames on Thursday, Greens senator Lidia Thorpe posted a tweet - which was hastily deleted - remarking 'the colonial system is burning down'.

image from

She was quickly slammed for the post, in which she appeared to celebrate the destruction and told followers 'Happy New Year everyone'.

The entrance to the building was engulfed in flames after a smoking ceremony demanding Aboriginal Sovereignty in Canberra grew out of control - with some claiming it was spread intentionally.

Emergency crews arrived to douse the flames, but not before the fire had caused extensive damage to its heritage doors, the portico and the building's exterior.

Demonstrators were heard shouting 'let it burn', amid a tense stand-off with police who used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

The smoking ceremony, which was approved by authorities as part of a protest, was to blame for the blaze while police begin to investigate how the chaos escalated.




Thursday, December 30, 2021

Hilarious false prophecies

The eco-extremists at the liberal Guardian should realize by now that the internet is forever. The outlet freaked out over 17 years ago about a frosty future thanks to a ridiculously inaccurate Pentagon prediction.

The Guardian published a report in 2004 sounding the alarm bells over a “secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs” and obtained by sister newspaper The Observer. Here was the harrowing message, according to The Guardian: “[M]ajor European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020.”

It’s now 2021, and major European cities are still intact and a Reuters report this year flushes The Guardian’s frets about a little ice age in Britain down the toilet. Reuters trumpeted: “Britain's climate getting warmer, sunnier and wetter - Met Office.” Travel website Touropia has an updated report headlined, “25 Best Cities to Visit in Europe.” Even the waterway-dominated Venice, Italy is No. 17 on the list. Ouch.

The liberal Guardian had even gone so far as to propagandize how the world was supposedly going to end up experiencing “nuclear conflict” because of climate change. The report flailed in its lede paragraph: “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.”

The propaganda spiraled down the whirlpool of insanity:

The [Pentagon] document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

The hilarious bit about The Guardian’s prophecy about total eco-Armageddon was that it said the report’s “findings” would prove “humiliating to [President George W. Bush’s] administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists.” But the only thing “humiliating” about this report was the fact some of the major predictions never panned out, eh Guardian?

The Guardian isn’t the only publication to see major climate scare-porn it peddled go up in flames.

In 1995, The New York Times tried to frighten readers into believing that “most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years,” which would be the year 2020. Newsflash: The East Coast beaches are also still intact. U.S. News & World Report even ran a report in May 2020 headlined: “16 Top East Coast Beaches to Visit.


UK: Energy crisis talks fail to reach deal as household bills could double

Emergency talks aimed at fixing Britain’s mounting energy crisis are set to continue as the government and suppliers grapple with how to tackle soaring gas prices.

A meeting held on Monday failed to find a solution to what one industry leader has described as an “enormous crisis” as an industry riven by bankruptcies – around two dozen energy suppliers driven out of the market since August – has warned of an “enormous crisis” in 2022.

Still, despite dire statements from industry leaders, no agreement was reached on Monday. The failure to secure a way forward will pile pressure on the government amid fears that another major supplier could topple as wintry weather and limited supplies in the UK and Europe could force gas prices even higher.

A government spokesperson said that the meeting between large energy suppliers and Ofgem concluded with an agreement to keep talking to ensure “UK consumers are protected” against a backdrop of rising gas costs.

Suppliers claim that even with well-hedged portfolios , aimed at insulating themselves from price hikes, they are still partially exposed to the sharp rise in wholesale gas prices.


How bad is cryptocurrency for the environment?

Cryptocurrency, often just called crypto, is any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions.

Cryptocurrencies are popular because they don’t have a central issuing or regulating authority, instead using a decentralised system to record transactions and issue new units.

They have soared in popularity – and volatility – over the past few years, but the environmental consequences of the phenomenon has come under scrutiny.

What is cryptocurrency mining and why does it have such a large carbon footprint?
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of generating new units of cryptocurrency by solving complex puzzles.

Critics say the process is environmentally unsound because the process of mining uses a lot of computer equipment and is highly energy-intensive.

According to the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, this mining consumes about 110 Terawatt Hours of power per year, or 0.55 per cent of the world’s energy production.

The centre estimates a single cryptocurrency transaction uses the same amount of energy that an average American household uses in one month, with an estimated level of global energy usage equivalent to that of the country of Sweden.

The majority of Bitcoin is mined in China and is largely fuelled by cheap coal power in the Xinjiang region, according to reports.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have said almost two-thirds of Bitcoin generation as of April 2020 took place in China, with one-third of that being done in Xinjiang.

Even crypto enthusiast Elon Musk has sounded the alarm bell. In May he tweeted: “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.

“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment,” he added.

Are regulators cracking down?

In May, New York state put forward a bill seeking to shut crypto mining down until its impact on the environment has been assessed – which it says will take three years.

The New York State Senate bill, introduced by Senator Kevin Parker, would require a study on the greenhouse gas emissions caused by cryptocurrency mining, as well as its effects on air, water, and wildlife. In the meantime, no mining would be allowed.

“Cryptocurrency mining threatens not only New York’s climate goals, under the CLCPA, but also global energy policy, such as the Paris Agreement,” Senate Bill S6486 says.

Accordingly, “there shall be a three-year moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers in the state, including, but not limited to cryptocurrency mining centers located in converted fossil fuel power plants.”

Can crypto be mined ethically?
High energy use does not necessarily mean high greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Harvard Business Review, the carbon footprint of Bitcoin mining really depends on which energy sources are used.

Bitcoin miners have embraced renewable energy, often because it is cost-effective.

Iceland, for example, is a cryptocurrency mining hub thanks to its cheap geothermal energy and cold climate, which helps cool the machines.

Meanwhile, hydropower resources in Quebec and British Columbia in Canada and windpower in Texas have also attracted miners.

Miners have even resurrected defunct hydroelectric plants in the US to generate energy to mine cryptocurrency.


Is solar energy really green?

As the world continues to push towards net zero emissions, more large-scale solar farms will be built in Australia.

But why are they being built on productive agricultural land and are how credible are claims about toxic contamination?

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is forecasting a massive increase in the number of solar panels in the short term.

The amount of solar power installed in Australia has doubled in the past three to four years, and the CEC is forecasting it will double again in the next couple of years.

Concern is global

Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said solar panels were adding significantly to the world's non-recycled waste mountain.

"But it also poses a growing threat to human health and the environment due to the hazardous elements it contains," Mr Steiner said.

Australia is adding to that mountain by sending 40,000 old panels a year in containers to markets in developing countries.

While that trade provides cheap panels for poorer nations, the UN is concerned that many of them will end up in landfill overseas.

The vast majority of solar panels are made of thin silicon wafers using refined silicon dioxide.

It is the same chemical compound as sand, which is used in making glass, so it is harmless.

The solar cells are connected by thin strips of tin and copper which is sealed and protected under glass.

Almost all of the materials can be recycled and there are several new plants in development that will be able to turn old panels into reusable materials.

There are, however, a small number of panels that were made in the past using cadmium, which is highly toxic and associated with serious health problems.

Some panels are also made with nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a gas that is associated with global warming.

A South Korean study from 2020 raised concerns about contamination from solar panels that are "released into the environment during their disposal or following damage, such as that from natural disasters."

The United States wants to address the problem as well, with a report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory from March 2021 pointing to a lack of incentives for recycling companies and confusing and conflicting state regulations.

Are solar farms taking over productive farm land?

The NSW government has set up five renewable energy zones in regional areas where it is promoting the development of solar farms close to large populations and the existing electricity grid.

That means productive farming land is sometimes used to build large-scale solar plants, and farmer Bianca Schultz right is in the firing line.

She owns a property next door to the proposed Walla Walla site in the Riverina in south-west NSW, while the Culcairn project borders her other boundary.

"There's been talk of heat island effects and heavy metal leachate, [while] the visual impact is a large concern for us being directly across the road," she said.

Ms Schultz said the property was used in the past for grazing livestock, making hay, and cropping. She thinks that turning it into an industrial-scale solar plant with just a few employees for maintenance will negatively affect the local economy.

"The on-flow effect on the transport companies, the grain merchants, the rural merchants; it's taking away a lot from our community," she said.




China fires up giant coal power plant in face of calls for cuts

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China, under fire for approving new coal power stations as other countries try to curb greenhouse gases, has completed the first 1,000-megawatt unit of the Shanghaimiao plant, the biggest of its kind under construction in the country.

Its operator, the Guodian Power Shanghaimiao Corporation, a subsidiary of the central government-run China Energy Investment Corporation, said on Tuesday that the plant's technology was the world's most efficient, with the lowest rates of coal and water consumption.

Located in Ordos in the coal-rich northwestern region of Inner Mongolia, the plant will eventually have four generating units, and is designed to deliver power to the eastern coastal Shandong province via a long-distance ultra-high voltage grid.

China is responsible for more than half of global coal-fired power generation and is expected to see a 9% year-on-year increase in 2021, an International Energy Agency report published this month said.

Beijing has pledged to start reducing coal consumption, but will do so only after 2025, giving developers considerable leeway to raise capacity further in the coming four years.

A report published this month by researchers at China's State Grid Corporation said energy security concerns mean the country is likely to build as much as 150 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity over the 2021-2025 period, bringing the total to 1,230 GW.


Capitalism at work: Cargo ships divert gas from China to Britain

Huge cargo ships carrying liquid gas that were destined for China have changed course and are now heading towards the UK as Europe remains trapped in a major supply crunch.

While the Continent’s energy crisis and high prices have attracted ships away from other parts of the world, the new arrivals are now bringing prices down. Benchmark Dutch front-month gas fell for a fifth day yesterday, dropping as much as 9.2pc in Amsterdam.

The UK gas price rocketed to a record 470p per therm last week, up from just 50p in April, but has since fallen to under 270p.

James Huckstepp, managing analyst at S&P Global Platts, said tankers are flocking towards British shores in a move that is “critical to ­tempering even more extreme prices and demand destruction in Europe”.

He said: “We are seeing cargoes previously destined for Asia now diverting to the UK. This is particularly the case for those cargoes originating in the US, given the journey between the US and Europe is much shorter than that to Asia.”

The number of US tankers heading for European ports jumped by one third last weekend, according to Bloomberg, with 20 vessels bearing American gas heading for Europe and another 14 heading in the general direction of Europe while awaiting final orders.

The number of cargoes travelling to the UK and elsewhere in Europe will raise hopes that new supplies can ease the energy crisis and help lower gas prices, which have declined after soaring to record highs last week. That will bring some relief to UK energy bosses, who met Downing Street officials this week for crunch crisis talks.

Ahead of the meeting, Stephen Fitzpatrick, the boss of Britain’s second-largest supplier Ovo Energy, warned that bills were “almost certain” to ­double to £2,000 per household.

It is understood that the Government could facilitate a deal that would see the industry given access to a £20bn fund, which they could repay at a rate of £2bn a year over 10 years.

Nathan Piper, head of oil and gas research at Investec, said European and UK prices have surged above Asian ­liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices, attracting volumes away from China.

The additional supplies will provide some much-needed respite ahead of looming winter shortages. However, one Singapore-based trader told S&P Global Platts earlier this month that they are not sure “how sustainable these diversions to the Atlantic will be”.

The cost of energy in Europe has been soaring this year due to low levels of gas storage, tight supplies from Russia and lower output from clean energy sources, in part because of weak wind speeds. Some 26 retail energy companies have gone bust since August.

The country gets most of its gas via pipes connected to the North Sea, ­Norway and continental Europe, but in ­normal times it also gets about 20pc via ships in the global market.

Russia has been accused of withholding extra pipeline gas supplies to mainland Europe in recent months, in an attempt to pressure Germany into starting up its new pipeline, Nord Stream 2.

It comes as new data show that shipments of gas from Russia to the UK increased this year.

As of last week, Russia had sent 29 shipments of LNG to the UK during 2021 – compared to 22 a year earlier – according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics. It marks the second highest annual figure since the first Russian shipments to the UK in 2017.

Proponents of the North Sea industry argue that the Government could boost Britain’s energy security by granting permission for more domestic oil and gas drilling. About 10 licenced North Sea projects are expected to be up for development approval and final investment decisions in next year, but are likely to draw opposition from climate change activists.


CO2’S Role In The Great ‘Climate Change’ Deception

World history is replete with imaginary gods and demons that man has blamed for conditions and events beyond human control.

From 1300 AD to 1880, the Northern Hemisphere experienced a cooling period called the “Little Ice Age.”

During that period, many people irrationally believed that the cold temperatures were caused by witches. During the preceeding Medieval Warm Period, witches had been blamed for ‘cooking the weather’. As a result, many witches were identified, tried, and executed.

One hundred years later, people began to complain that the weather was becoming “too warm.” Man’s imagination then again created a new demon to blame for the warmer weather: anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2).

Demon adherents proclaim that if atmospheric CO2 is not immediately reduced to pre-industrial levels, the glaciers will melt, and our coastal cities will be submerged by rising seas.

Unfortunately, the irrational belief that anthropogenic CO2 will lead to future catastrophe, has become a “mass movement” with all the hallmarks of a religion. See, “The True Believer,” by Eric Hoffer (1951).

Computer “climate models” now blame CO2 for the warmer weather and issue dire predictions of impending doom if CO2 levels are not reduced.

Al Gore, the CO2 oracle, and Greta Thunberg, the child prophet, tell their “true believer” followers that burning fossil fuels is sinful and, if not stopped, will result in future catastrophe.

Those “true believers” have closed their minds to opposing views and refuse to acknowledge any information that does not fit the imaginary climate disaster scenario.

They also ignore the harsh reality that modern world economies are based upon massive infrastructures, completely dependent upon fossil fuels that can never be replaced by windmills and solar panels. (Anyone for a battery-powered aircraft?)

Finally, they treat the thousands of scientists, who inform us that the CO2 molecules now being added to the atmosphere have not had, and will not have, any adverse effect whatsoever on the climate, as though they did not exist.

As a matter of scientific fact, only natural forces beyond human control can increase the average temperature of the Earth.

Modern science teaches us that increases and decreases in global temperatures over decades, centuries, and millennia have been, and still are, solely the result of a combination of natural heating and cooling forces that are all beyond human control:

Changes in the radiation intensity of the Sun (sunspots, mass coronal ejections, etc.).

Changes in the Earth’s orbit and its tilt to the sun.

Changes in the radiation and heating of the oceans and land by the Earth’s molten core.

The aerosol effects of volcanos blocking sunlight.

The albedo effects of constantly changing clouds, ice, and snow (including the volume of cosmic rays that may affect cloudiness).

All of the many heating and cooling periods the Earth has experienced for millions of years – before the industrial revolution – were solely the result of those natural and uncontrollable heating and cooling forces.

The climate models, however, are programmed on the assumption that additional atmospheric CO2 causes global temperatures to increase.

In reality, however, ancient ice-core data demonstrates that rising global temperatures always precede increases in atmospheric CO2 by several hundred years – not vice versa, as the climate models falsely predict.

Consequently, claims that the recent minuscule increase of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere is the sole “cause” of the current warming trend are scientific fraud.

Modern-day climatologists can roughly approximate changes in average global temperatures and have concluded that since 1960, the average temperature of the Earth has increased by about 1-degree Celsius.

During that same period, they have also found that the CO2 content of the atmosphere, as measured at Mona Loa, has increased from 0.031 percent to 0.041 percent.

Or, in terms of additional molecules, the number of CO2 molecules in a cubic meter of air has risen by 100 parts per million (ppm), from 310 in 1960 to 410 ppm today. [The atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 20 percent oxygen, one percent argon, and 0-4 percent water vapor. The remaining one percent of the atmosphere is comprised of “trace gases:” 0.04 percent carbon dioxide, 0.00182 percent neon, and 0.000175 percent methane.]

The correlation of the tiny 0.01 percent increase in CO2 with the modest one-degree increase in temperature over the last 60 years would normally be dismissed as a mere coincidence. Indeed, the scientific method demands that all other possible causes be evaluated and dismissed before designating a simple correlation as a “cause.”

“True believers,” however, including the climate modelers themselves, simply disregard any other more likely natural causes. That total disregard for all other possibilities, probabilities, and contrary views constitutes scientific fraud.

The trace gas CO2 does NOT act as a “blanket” to increase the Earth’s temperature. Many proponents of a CO2 catastrophe liken the effect of the additional 100 ppm CO2 molecules to an insulating blanket that increases the Earth’s temperature.

Those trace CO2 molecules, however, neither form a “blanket,” “trap heat,” nor send heat back to the surface. Only water vapor can “trap latent heat” for a short time until the vapor condenses, and the heat is radiated to space. [“Heat” is defined as the kinetic movement of molecules. “Radiation” is defined as the energy force that causes kinetic movement].

All of the gases comprising the atmosphere are constantly moving the radiant energy emitted by the Earth’s warm surface, per the Second Law of Thermodynamics, up and out to the vacuum space by conduction, convection, and radiation.

In that massive continuous process, the additional 100 ppm of anthropogenic CO2 molecules are only along for the ride like a few new feathers on a bird. While those CO2 molecules do absorb “fingerprint” IR radiation at the narrow IR 15-micron band, that absorption is an integral part of the basic natural cooling process.

It raises the CO2 molecule’s kinetic motion, which is instantaneously transferred to all surrounding molecules by conduction and radiation. Accordingly, the additional 100 ppm CO2 molecules create NO additional “heat” in the atmosphere.

Nor do they “delay” the emission of radiation to space. They merely participate in the constant transfer of kinetic and radiative energy, by atmospheric molecules, from the surface through the atmosphere to outer space.

More here:


New Australian coal-mne now producing -- to the fury of Greenies

The first coal shipment from central Queensland Carmichael Mine is about to leave Australian shores after years of controversy, international media coverage and environmental campaigning against the facility.

Bravus Mining and Resources, the Australian arm of Adani, today confirmed the shipment had been assembled at the North Queensland Export Terminal in Bowen.

Bravus CEO David Boshoff celebrated the milestone, calling it a "big moment".

"From day one, the objectives of the Carmichael Project were to supply high-quality Queensland coal to nations determined to lift millions of their citizens out of energy poverty and to create local jobs and economic prosperity in Queensland communities in the process" Mr Boshoff said.

"With the support of the people of regional Queensland we have delivered on that promise."

The shipment comes amid continuing protests against the mine and follows years of fierce campaigning from environmental activists.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the mine made "a mockery" of Australia's emissions targets.

And, locally, scuba diving guide and Whitsunday Conservation Council spokesperson Tony Fontes said he felt "despair and anger".

"Both state and federal governments supported Adani in opening the mine,and ensuring that the Great Barrier Reef is not going to survive this century" Mr Fontes said.

"[But] one would hope that in the very near future, there will not be a market for thermal coal.

"And it's unfortunate that people that are working in the industry have been misled by the government suggesting that there's a long-term future in working in thermal coal."

However, Bravus insisted Australian coal would have a role alongside renewables for decades "as part of an energy mix that delivers reliable and affordable power with reduced emissions intensity".

In 2016, the Wangan and Jagalingou people voted 294 to one in favour of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Adani. Subsequent challenges against the ILUA were dismissed in court.

Mine opponents now represent a small portion of traditional owners who, since signing the agreement, have been working with Bravus.

Bravus said the first shipment of coal would be loaded and dispatched, subject to the port's shipping schedule. It did not say when the shipment would leave or where it was going.

"The first export shipment is of a commercial scale and is going to a customer, with further details remaining commercial in confidence" it said.

The company plans to produce 10 million tonnes of coal a year from the mine, to be sold to customers in the Asia-Pacific region at 'index adjusted pricing'.




Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Doughnut economics

The ideas of Doughnut economics are pretty woolly but it seems to be catching on in Greenie circles so I want to note a few things about it. I reproduce below some excerpts from a very sesquipedalian article about it to give us the idea of it.

Although its proponents are very vague about it, Doughnut economics can in fact be summarized very simply: prioritize the environment over money. In other words, do things in a way that is better for the environment rather than in ways that are most economically efficient.

Despite its promotion as a "radical new economic theory" it is in fact a very old feel-good idea, and what it has led to -- as set out below -- shows the lack of understanding of the world that it embodies: When we do things in the most economically efficient way, it is not money we are prioritizing, it is human work and effort. Money is just a marker. It tells us how much effort is required to produce a good or service. The are imperfections in the system but that is basically it. Study economics if you want the detail.

So we see the stupidity of some of the actions that are praised below. Instead of buying new computers, they employ people to fix up old ones -- which is very labour-intensive. And in the end you still have an old and limited computer. In terms of human effort the refurbished computer is in fact very expensive. A lot of valuable human effort has been used to produce an inferior product. If we did everything that way, we would have a much reduced availability of goods and services.

The doughnut economy adds up to a waste of human labour and effort. How is that humane or wise? If the environment really needs saving, there are surely better ways about it

In April 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19, Amsterdam’s city government announced it would recover from the crisis, and avoid future ones, by embracing the theory of “doughnut economics.” Laid out by British economist Kate Raworth in a 2017 book, the theory argues that 20th century economic thinking is not equipped to deal with the 21st century reality of a planet teetering on the edge of climate breakdown. Instead of equating a growing GDP with a successful society, our goal should be to fit all of human life into what Raworth calls the “sweet spot” between the “social foundation,” where everyone has what they need to live a good life, and the “environmental ceiling.” By and large, people in rich countries are living above the environmental ceiling. Those in poorer countries often fall below the social foundation. The space in between: that’s the doughnut.

In 1990, Raworth, now 50, arrived at Oxford University to study economics. She quickly became frustrated by the content of the lectures, she recalls over Zoom from her home office in Oxford, where she now teaches. She was learning about ideas from decades and sometimes centuries ago: supply and demand, efficiency, rationality and economic growth as the ultimate goal. “The concepts of the 20th century emerged from an era in which humanity saw itself as separated from the web of life,” Raworth says. In this worldview, she adds, environmental issues are relegated to what economists call “externalities.” “It’s just an ultimate absurdity that in the 21st century, when we know we are witnessing the death of the living world unless we utterly transform the way we live, that death of the living world is called ‘an environmental externality.’” Almost two decades after she left university, as the world was reeling from the 2008 financial crash, Raworth struck upon an alternative to the economics she had been taught. She had gone to work in the charity sector and in 2010, sitting in the openplan office of the anti poverty nonprofit Oxfam in Oxford, she came across a diagram. A group of scientists studying the conditions that make life on earth possible had identified nine “planetary boundaries” that would threaten humans’ ability to survive if crossed, like the acidification of the oceans. Inside these boundaries, a circle colored in green showed the safe place for humans.

But if there’s an ecological overshoot for the planet, she thought, there’s also the opposite: shortfalls creating deprivation for humanity. “Kids not in school, not getting decent health care, people facing famine in the Sahel,” she says. “And so I drew a circle within their circle, and it looked like a doughnut.”

Raworth published her theory of the doughnut as a paper in 2012 and later as a 2017 book, which has since been translated into 20 languages. The theory doesn’t lay out specific policies or goals for countries. It requires stakeholders to decide what benchmarks would bring them inside the doughnut— emission limits, for example, or an end to homelessness. The process of setting those benchmarks is the first step to becoming a doughnut economy, she says.

Raworth argues that the goal of getting “into the doughnut” should replace governments’ and economists’ pursuit of never- ending GDP growth. Not only is the primacy of GDP overinflated when we now have many other data sets to measure economic and social well- being, she says, but also, endless growth powered by natural resources and fossil fuels will inevitably push the earth beyond its limits. “When we think in terms of health, and we think of something that tries to grow endlessly within our bodies, we recognize that immediately: that would be a cancer.”

The doughnut can seem abstract, and it has attracted criticism. Some conservatives say the doughnut model can’t compete with capitalism’s proven ability to lift millions out of poverty. Some critics on the left say the doughnut’s apolitical nature means it will fail to tackle ideology and political structures that prevent climate action.

Cities offer a good opportunity to prove that the doughnut can actually work in practice. In 2019, C40, a network of 97 cities focused on climate action, asked Raworth to create reports on three of its members— Amsterdam, Philadelphia and Portland— showing how far they were from living inside the doughnut. Inspired by the process, Amsterdam decided to run with it. The city drew up a “circular strategy” combining the doughnut’s goals with the principles of a “circular economy,” which reduces, reuses and recycles materials across consumer goods, building materials and food. Policies aim to protect the environment and natural resources, reduce social exclusion and guarantee good living standards for all.

The new, doughnut-shaped world Amsterdam wants to build is coming into view on the southeastern side of the city. Rising almost 15 ft. out of placid waters of Lake IJssel lies the city’s latest flagship construction project, Strandeiland (Beach Island). Part of IJburg, an archipelago of six new islands built by city contractors, Beach Island was reclaimed from the waters with sand carried by boats run on low­ emission fuel. The foundations were laid using processes that don’t hurt local wildlife or expose future residents to sea­level rise. Its future neighborhood is designed to produce zero emissions and to prioritize social housing and access to nature. Beach Island embodies Amsterdam’s new priority: balance, says project manager Alfons Oude Ophuis. “Twenty years ago, everything in the city was focused on production of houses as quickly as possible. It’s still important, but now we take more time to do the right thing.”

The city has introduced standards for sustainability and circular use of materials for contractors in all city­owned buildings. Anyone wanting to build on Beach Island, for example, will need to provide a “materials passport” for their buildings, so whenever they are taken down, the city can reuse the parts.

On the mainland, the pandemic has inspired projects guided by the doughnut’s ethos. When the Netherlands went into lockdown in March, the city realized that thousands of residents didn’t have access to computers that would become increasingly necessary to socialize and take part in society. Rather than buy new devices—which would have been expensive and eventually contribute to the rising problem of e­waste—the city arranged collections of old and broken laptops from residents who could spare them, hired a frm to refurbish them and distributed 3,500 of them to those in need. “It’s a small thing, but to me it’s pure doughnut,” says van Doorninck.

The local government is also pushing the private sector to do its part, starting with the thriving but ecologically harmful fashion industry. Amsterdam claims to have the highest concentration of denim brands in the world, and that the average resident owns fve pairs of jeans. But denim is one of the most resource­ intensive fabrics in the world, with each pair of jeans requiring thousands of gallons of water and the use of polluting chemicals.

In October, textile suppliers, jeans brands and other links in the denim supply chain signed the “Denim Deal,” agreeing to work together to produce 3 billion garments that include 20% recycled materials by 2023—no small feat given the treatments the fabric undergoes and the mix of materials incorporated into a pair of jeans. The city will organize collections of old denim from Amsterdam residents and eventually create a shared repair shop for the brands, where people can get their jeans fxed rather than throwing them away. “Without that government support and the pressure on the industry, it will not change. Most companies need a push,” says Hans Bon of denim supplier Wieland Textiles.

Doughnut economics may be on the rise in Amsterdam, a relatively wealthy city with a famously liberal outlook, in a democratic country with a robust state. But advocates of the theory face a tough road to effectively replace capitalism. In Nanaimo, Canada, a city councillor who opposed the adoption of the model in December called it “a very left-wing philosophy which basically says that business is bad, growth is bad, development’s bad.”

In fact, the doughnut model doesn’t proscribe all economic growth or development. In her book, Raworth acknowledges that for low- and middleincome countries to climb above the doughnut’s social foundation, “significant GDP growth is very much needed.” But that economic growth needs to be viewed as a means to reach social goals within ecological limits, she says, and not as an indicator of success in itself, or a goal for rich countries. In a doughnut world, the economy would sometimes be growing and sometimes shrinking.

Still, some economists are skeptical of the idealism. In his 2018 review of Raworth’s book, Branko Milanovic, a scholar at CUNY’s Stone Center on Socio -Economic Inequality, says for the doughnut to take off, humans would need to “magically” become “indifferent to how well we do compared to others, and not really care about wealth and income.”


The green year

The last number below is the most striking: Only a 1.09 degree temperature rise in over a century. It's the average you have to look at if you want to make any general statement and it is tiny. No one knows if the warming will continue but anything that gradual will be adapted to just as easily as we have done so far. Weather events come and go but it is the overall stance of human civilization that counts in the end and that has never been better

49.6°C: the record temperature in Lytton, in British Columbia, Canada, on June 29th—hotter than the average for a summer’s day in Dubai. A wildfire promptly burned the village to the ground, making Lytton the tragic poster child of an unprecedented heatwave that affected the entire Pacific Northwest and sent a region better versed in fog scrambling to open cooling centres. Climate modellers declared the heatwave so unusual that it challenged their understanding of the physics of heatwaves, and concluded that it would not have taken place without human greenhouse-gas emissions. The heatwave was by no means the only extreme weather event of the year. Among others, devastating floods in northern Europe also showed that rich countries are not immune to the blunt end of climate impacts.

90%: the proportion of global GDP now covered by a net-zero emissions target, corresponding to 88% of emissions and 85% of global population. Net-zero targets have become all the rage. They should be both celebrated and taken with a fistful of salt. The “net” is key: countries, cities, regions and companies promise to eliminate the bulk of their emissions while leaving themselves room to offset what they can not disappear. Strictly speaking, by the middle of the century these offsets will need to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and tuck them away somewhere for all of eternity, or near enough. There are broadly two ways of doing this: through photosynthesis (in which case the plants must be jealously protected) or technology, which leads neatly on to:

1,200: the estimated tonnes of carbon dioxide that have been extracted from the atmosphere by Orca, the world’s largest carbon-sucking machine, since it was switched on in early September. Orca was built to remove 4,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. The gas is fizzed into water and pumped into Iceland’s volcanic bedrock where it crystallises. Climate models suggest billions of tonnes of CO2-removal will be necessary in the second half of the century to meet the Paris targets. What is less clear is who will pay.

4.9% (+/-0.8): the projected growth in emissions from burning fossil fuels in 2021, relative to 2020. After a 5.4% drop in 2019, caused by global lockdowns, emissions rebounded.

45%: the emissions cut required of Shell by a Dutch court. In a landmark ruling, a judge said the oil giant’s activities violated its “unwritten standard of care” under Dutch law and asked that it reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to 2019 levels. This was the first time the duty-of-care argument was applied to a private company. It is also notable that the judge’s ruling made Shell responsible for both its own emissions and those of its suppliers. Shell has appealed the decision.

3: the number of “green” members elected to Exxon’s board at a shareholder meeting in late May. For the higher-ups at the oil company, the bête noire of climate activists, this was apparently a bitter pill to swallow.

€88.88: the price of putting a tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere in Europe on December 8th. This marked the first time that the elusive $100-a-tonne mark, which many believe is needed to incentivise net-zero pledges, was reached. It was a fleeting landmark. As December rolled on, prices dropped slightly.

611%: roughly the increase in European gas prices in 2021. The end of the year was marked by a staggering global energy crunch, with Europe (including Britain) particularly badly hit. The leap in prices revealed that the world remains poorly prepared for a transition to an energy system that is primarily powered by renewable sources.

17bn-20bn: the gap, in tonnes of CO2, between the emissions reductions that are built into COP26 climate pledges for the next decade (relative to 2010 levels) and the reductions needed to give the world a good chance of avoiding more than 1.5°C of global warming. This discrepancy highlights the shortcomings of global climate negotiations. Put bluntly: the primary goal of governments headed to COP26 was to find ways of slashing emissions enough by 2030, to put the Paris goals within reach, and on that front they (mostly) failed. The Glasgow Climate Pact requires them to try again, harder, by COP27 in November 2022.

2.4°C: the amount of warming above pre-industrial temperatures that is projected for 2021 if governments deliver on all the promises they made at COP26.

1.09°C: the global mean temperature for 2021, relative to the 1850-1900 average, based on data from January to September.

Email from "The Economist" of December 27TH 2021.


Tesla owner blows up Model S instead of footing $22,600 repair bill

Warranty periods are usually pretty cleverly chosen. They are just short of the expected life of the item. I once bought an air-conditioner with a warranty of 5 years. I thought that was pretty good. It died after 5 years and six months

When faced with a repair bill that costs half of what you paid for your car, do you go through with the expensive repair, bring it to the junkyard, or sell it for parts? Finnish Tesla owner Tuomas Katainen decided to do something a little more extreme — but arguably a lot more satisfying — when faced with such a situation: he watched his car go up in flames, as noted in a report from Gizmodo.

Katainen handed his 2013 Tesla Model S over to Pommijätkät, a group of explosion experts on YouTube who loves to make things go “boom,” after he was quoted $22,600 for a battery replacement. “Well when I bought that Tesla, the first 1,500km [932 miles] were nice,” Katainen recounted. “Then, error codes hit.” After Katainen brought his Tesla to a mechanic, he found out that the only way to fix the car would be to replace the entire battery pack, which would cost him at least 20,000€, or around $22,600.

The group behind Pommijätkät strapped 66 pounds of dynamite to the car and parked it in an old quarry
I think anyone would be pretty frustrated at that point, considering that the base price for a new 2013 Tesla Model S started at $57,400, later increasing to $59,900 when the car first came out. Even a standard used model currently goes for around $30,000 at the lowest. That’s probably why Katainen picked up the Tesla from the shop and told the mechanic that he’s going to “explode the whole car away.”

For context, these cars come with an eight-year (or up to 150,000 miles) battery and drive unit warranty, but the warranties on older models are starting to expire, revealing the potential cost behind a full battery replacement. In September, Electrek reported on a Tesla owner in need of a battery replacement on a Model S that was no longer under warranty. As noted in the report, he was quoted $22,500 from Tesla, but ended up getting a repair for $5,000 from a third-party shop. Katainen’s quote was also from Tesla, and it’s unclear whether he had access to an alternative repair service.

Either way, the group behind Pommijätkät strapped 30kg (66 pounds) of dynamite to the car and parked it in an old quarry in Jaala, Finland. Even Elon Musk was there — well, at least in spirit. A crash test dummy outfitted with a helmet, thick winter jacket, and a picture of Musk’s face was dropped in by helicopter and then stuffed in the driver’s seat.

Katainen triggers the explosion from inside a nearby bunker, and Tesla erupts in a ball of fire, with what seems like thousands of pieces scattering throughout the snowy landscape. The group picks up whatever was left of the car, which amounts to just a pile of scraps. When asked whether he’s ever had this much fun behind the wheel of a Tesla, Katainen replies, “No, never enjoyed this much with Tesla!”


Plans in England for car chargers in all commercial car parks quietly rolled back

The government has quietly backtracked on proposals to require every shop, office or factory in England to install at least one electric car charger if they have a large car park, prompting criticism by environmental campaigners.

The original plan required every new and existing non-residential building with parking for 20 cars or more to install a charger. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has now revealed it will only require chargers be installed in new or refurbished commercial premises amid fears over the cost for businesses, according to a response to a consultation.

The move has prompted concern in the car industry and among experts that public charger access will lag behind demand, as sales of electric vehicles accelerate ahead of the 2035 ban on sales of new fossil-fuelled internal combustion engines. A quarter of new cars bought in the UK in November can be plugged in to recharge, according to industry data.

Greg Archer, the UK director of Transport & Environment, a campaign group, said: “Car parks are an ideal place for drivers of electric cars without driveways to charge. By failing to require commercial buildings with car parks to install a small number of charge points, the government has missed a simple opportunity to level up the charging available for less affluent drivers who park overnight on the road.

“It is inexplicable that a government committed to phasing out conventional cars has failed to follow through and implement its own proposals from more than two years ago, and instead say it needs longer to consider the options.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans last month for a charging point to be required for every new or refurbished residential building from next year amid great fanfare, saying the regulations were “world-leading”.

However, the decision to drop the requirement for existing non-residential buildings means the UK could fall behind the EU, which is introducing a rule for existing buildings to install cable routes for chargers after 2025.

The government could still introduce more ambitious requirements for existing car parks – such as mandating a minimum number of chargers per parking space. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles is considering comments on a separate consultation that closed last month on the future of transport regulations.

The DfT’s consultation response said it wanted to find “a more tailored approach” for existing non-residential buildings. Despite worries over the financial costs, the cost of about £1,500 for installing a charger point can be recouped within a few years by charging users for electricity.

The DfT declined to share the identities of those who objected to the policy on cost grounds. The consultation responses showed the most common objection was a lack of ambition for the number of charging points for larger premises. Only a “small number of respondents raised concerns about who would pay”. The DfT said it would draft an alternative policy.

All the large UK supermarket chains, led by Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, have already started installing electric car chargers to try to lure shoppers – who can top up on energy while they shop.




Monday, December 27, 2021

'Green' Industries The Biggest Corporate Welfare Recipients Ever

How much do solar, wind and electric vehicle companies get in federal handouts and tax loopholes in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill? Well over $100 billion in taxpayer largesse. If all the tax credits are included, that number could reach half a trillion dollars. No other industry in American history has ever received this lucrative a paycheck.

The folks at the Institute for Energy Research calculated that this is on top of the more than $150 billion in subsidies these industries received from Uncle Sam in the last 30 years.

The umbilical cord to taxpayer wallets never gets cut. Yet, laughably, the left says all these subsidies to “green energy” are necessary for an “infant industry.” Really? Does Big Wind or Big Solar ever grow up?

Incidentally, our ancestors were using windmills and solar panels during the Middle Ages.

So why do these renewable energies get so much money from Congress, and why do Democrats want to give them the biggest payday in the history of

the Washington favor factory? Not because renewable has great promise. Thirty years after the handouts started, wind and solar accounted for less than 8% of our total energy production. It’s inconsequential.

If we taxpayers are “investors” in green energy, we’d be wondering where our return is at this point. Wind and solar costs are going down, but not nearly as fast as the cost reductions in natural gas, thanks to the shale revolution.

But now the left is trying to save its latest round of gargantuan welfare checks by arguing that the higher costs of oil and gas at the pump show that these energy sources prove that we can’t rely on fossil fuels.

It is reminiscent of the story of the boy who kills his parents and throws himself at the mercy of the court for being an orphan. Oil and gas prices are rising because Biden and the left have declared war on American fossil fuels. They aren’t allowing drilling. They instead are passing new “methane” taxes and not building pipelines.

Now liberals shake their fingers at the producers and accuse them of gouging consumers as they assault the added American oil and gas supply that would lower the prices to fill up your tank and heat your home. They are now starting a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in Washington, paid for by taxpayers, telling us that the high gas prices the Biden administration wants mean we have to stop using gas.

The irony of all of this is that the reliance on green energy subsidies is one good reason for so little technological progress in renewable energy. We’d perhaps see more innovation if the industry had to fight on a level playing field.

Democrats in Congress keep doling out the dollars because the green energy industry gives 90% of its contributions to Democrats. It is nothing more than a pay-to-play gambit.

If wind and solar are the low-cost energy sources of the future, why do they need so much government aid? Will they ever take the training wheels off?

After three decades, maybe it is time to admit the obvious: Wind and solar are niche energy sources that will not anytime soon, and probably never, provide anywhere near the energy we need for our $22 trillion industrial economy.


EPA Focused on Gender, Ethnic Diversity to Fill ‘Purged’ Advisory Posts

After the Environmental Protection Agency dumped advisers from regulated industries, the federal agency appears to have prioritized gender and ethnic diversity to replace them, EPA documents show.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments Wednesday in the case of Young vs. EPA. The lead plaintiff in the case, Stanley Young, was ousted in March from the EPA’s Science Advisory Board weeks after President Joe Biden took office.

Young’s lawsuit identifies the EPA panels in question as the Science Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee.

Lawyers argued Wednesday before District Judge Timothy Kelly.

According to an EPA memo from June that emerged through the discovery process in the lawsuit, the clean air committee was to be made up of “three minorities, four non-minorities, five women and four men.”

The EPA memo goes on to say that two of the women “would bring gender diversity” and two would “bring gender and ethnic diversity as well as fresh perspectives.”

After the Biden administration “purged” members from EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, the complaint says, it moved to replace them with members who represent entities that get EPA grants.

The plaintiffs say the action violates the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires that each board or committee must be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the advisory committee.”

Moreover, the Biden administration reversed the Trump administration’s conflict-of-interest ban on employees of grant recipients serving on advisory boards.

Gender and racial composition of advisory panels was not part of the law, noted Steve Milloy, senior policy fellow at the Energy & Environment Legal Institute and author of the book “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.”

“Gender and race wasn’t part of the complaint originally, but the information became clear during discovery that the EPA was less concerned with diversity of opinion than with diversity [of race and gender],” Milloy told The Daily Signal.

More importantly, Milloy said, advisory committees for federal agencies are not supposed to be made up only of like-minded individuals—particularly those receiving grants from the agency they advise.

“When Congress mandated the EPA take independent advice, they didn’t anticipate the EPA stacking the membership with one point of view,” Milloy said after watching the court hearing. “The depths of the stacking are incredible. So many are grantees.”

EPA Administrator Michael Regan ousted Young and other members of the advisory committees in March.

Young previously worked for pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co., consumer health care company GlaxoSmithKline, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences.

Regan also booted Tony Cox, who had been chairman of the clean air committee. Cox joined Young as a plaintiff in the suit in late October.

A June memo from Thomas Brennan, director of the Science Advisory Board’s staff office, said: “As part of Administrator Regan’s reset of CASAC [Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee] membership, all seven CASAC members were dismissed on March 31, 2021. A public solicitation of nominations and public comments on prospective candidates have been completed.”

According to EPA’s website, the clean air committee is managed by the Science Advisory Board’s staff.

Brennan’s memo goes on to say: “In this membership package, CASAC has three minorities, four non-minorities, five women and four men. CASAC also has members from six of the agency’s 10 regions.”

Brennan then writes that appointing Elizabeth A. Sheppard, as chair of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee would “bring gender diversity.”

Sheppard is a professor in two departments–environmental and occupational health sciences and biostatistics–at the University of Washington. Brennan also notes her “significant experience” chairing such panels before.

In a declaration to the court, Sheppard wrote: “I do not currently have any grant funding from the EPA,” but added that “EPA grants have paid a portion of my salary through awards made to the University of Washington.”

The EPA panel chair adds: “I cannot imagine any circumstance where receipt of a grant would influence or has influenced in any way my activities on CASAC or any other EPA panels.”

The memo said that Michelle Bell, a professor of environmental health at the Yale University School of the Environment, “Would bring gender diversity.” It also said she has expertise in biostatistics and environmental engineering.

Brennan’s memo also says Judith Chow, a research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada, has expertise in air quality, is a former committee member, and would “bring gender and ethnic diversity.”

Christine H. Fuller, an associate professor of environmental health at Georgia State University, has expertise in epidemiology and the health effects of air pollution, according to the memo.

Brennan says that Fuller would “bring gender and ethnic diversity as well as fresh perspectives,” because she hasn’t served on the clean air panel before.

The EPA staff director’s memo says that Alexandra Ponette-González, an associate professor of geography and the environment at the University of North Texas, has expertise in ecology. She would “bring gender and ethnic diversity as well as fresh perspectives,” he says.

The clean air committee has only seven members and cannot possibly include a representative for every stakeholder that would be affected by any potential regulation, argued John Robinson, a Justice Department trial attorney representing the EPA in court.

“The plaintiffs have not shown the agency abused its discretion to select the committee,” Robinson said, adding: “The plaintiffs would have the court rewrite the statute for a requirement that there be an industry representative when Congress specifically declined to do so. … The plaintiff emphasized a race and sex discrimination claim here. There is no basis in the administrative record for such a claim.”

Biden issued an executive order directing the EPA to take immediate action to address climate change, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Brett Shumate, said in his opening argument Wednesday.

“Rather than follow the science, the EPA purged any dissenting industry voices from an important advisory committee on air pollution,” Shumate said, adding:

What’s worse is that in reconstituting the committee, EPA engaged in discrimination on the basis of race and sex. … The EPA purged from the committee any industry representatives and packed the committee with professors who receive millions of dollars in EPA grants and share EPA’s predetermined goal of strengthening air quality standards.

The plaintiffs asked the judge for a preliminary injunction to stop the clean air committee from moving forward. Shumate stressed that balanced opinions was the only factor EPA was required to consider in appointing members to the advisory committee.

“The EPA ignored this factor and instead reconstituted the committee on the basis of irrelevant and improper fact—the race and sex of the nominee,” he said.


Tory MPs urge Boris Johnson to rethink green taxes after poll blow

TORY MPs are urging Boris Johnson to rethink green taxes after a poll showed three out of five people don't want to pay higher fuel bills to hit the Government's carbon-cutting targets.

Fifty-eight per cent of voters did not want increased levies on their fuel bills to support the push for Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of Labour and Green Party voters were among those opposed to the tax rise.

And 65 per cent of respondents to the ComRes survey felt they had not been given an adequate say.

Senior backbencher Craig Mackinlay, chair of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Tory MPs, said: "As I've been saying for some time, I didn't become a Conservative to make my constituents colder and poorer.

"It's clear, looking at these figures, that the British public are not signed up to the Government's plans.

"The majority don't feel that grants for air pumps or electric cars are either relevant to them, or more fundamentally needed to nudge them towards unreliable technologies they don't want, and there is real worry about the ever-increasing costs of energy bills.

"We need to be very careful about just whose shoulders are going to be carrying the very considerable costs of Net Zero."

Tory MP Steve Baker, who heads the steering committee of the scrutiny group, said: "I've warned that the cost of Net Zero could deliver a political crisis greater than the Poll Tax, and these figures show that the Government is heading straight for such an eventuality.

"Grants for air pumps and electric cars are all very well, but how many people can actually afford to pay all the additional costs?"

The poll was commissioned by Net Zero Watch, a pressure group that scrutinises carboncutting policies. It claimed yesterday that the response showed green levies were threatening to become the most unpopular form of taxation since the Poll Tax under Margaret Thatcher's government in the 1980s.

Board members of the group include the formerTory chancellor Lord Lawson, who has been sceptical about many climate change claims.

Benny Peiser, director of Net Zero Watch, said:

"Whilst these are not shocking figures to us, they should ring alarm bells in Number 10. Millions of families will be struggling to keep their homes warm and their cars running this winter.

"Fuel prices continue to soar and the burden of these energy costs will fall on the elderly and the low paid."

Other findings showed 30 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds felt their voices had been heard on the issue of Net Zero while only 10 per cent of over- 45s felt they'd had sufficient input.

More than 60 per cent of voters quizzed did not believe they would benefit from green subsidies, including grants to replace gas boilers or buy electric vehicles.

Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,176 adults on December 11.


British politicians should be ashamed of their opposition to fracking. While gas prices are soaring in Europe, in the US they have barely moved thanks to its shale sector

Factories may have to close. Power may need to be rationed. And we may well have to make painful concessions to the Russian president Vladimir Putin on Ukraine simply to keep the lights on. Meanwhile, industrial conglomerates such as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos, among the biggest manufacturing businesses the UK has left, are facing a huge financial hit. The whole of Europe, and Britain just as much as anywhere, is gripped by a worsening gas crisis with prices soaring by the day.

But hold on. If only there was a plentiful supply of energy close to home, and we didn’t have to rely on a foreign autocrat, or a volatile global market, for supplies. Except, of course, there was. Rewind just a decade and Europe was on the cusp of a fracking boom.

There are vast quantities of shale oil and gas in the North of England, and even more in France and Poland. The trouble is, our political leaders shamefully caved into a handful of environmental extremists, and let it be effectively stopped. We are paying a high price for that now – and the very least we can do is learn the right lessons from that.

It looks set to be a tough winter for the European energy market. In the last week alone, gas prices have jumped by more than 20pc, hitting fresh all-time highs. Power-intensive industries such as chemicals are already feeling the strain. So are domestic consumers, with more suppliers going broke by the week, and with those that remain set to increase prices sharply very soon. We all know the reasons for that.

Supplies of natural gas from Russia have fallen, the market for LNG arriving on tankers from countries such as Qatar has become very tight, and storage facilities have been allowed to run down. The result? A classic bear market squeeze, with prices spiralling. A few hedge funds that called it right will be reporting vast profits very soon. Everyone else will suffer, and there are already calls for yet another expensive government bailout to cover the cost.

Here is something odd, however. While gas prices are soaring in Europe, in the US they have barely moved. Measured by oil barrel equivalent, US gas is at slightly over $70, compared with more than $220 on this side of the Atlantic. The difference? The Americans turn their thermostats down? They put on an extra couple of jumpers? Not exactly. In fact, they use more power than we do. But the US has a huge shale industry, with industrial scale fracking. And we don’t.

That is not because there is any shortage of shale oil and gas. In truth, there is tons of the stuff. The Bowland Shale Reserve that stretches across the North of England is estimated to hold 37 trillion cubic metres of oil and gas. There is plenty more in the Weald Basin in the South, stretching from Tunbridge Wells to Winchester, and even more in Scotland and Northern Ireland. France has vast reserves (an estimated 137 trillion cubic feet) and Poland has even more. In short, there is plenty.

The problem is no one is allowed to extract it. France decided on a total ban in 2017, a decision upheld by President Emmanuel Macron, while in this country it has been put on hold more or less indefinitely, as it has across most of the rest of Europe.

And yet, what was the real harm? The only genuine problem with fracking in the US is that for most of the last few years, prices haven’t been high enough to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, it has been completely successful. The country hasn’t been ravaged by earthquakes, nor has it damaged unborn babies, to take just a couple of the scare stories put out by its opponents. It has been just fine.

In reality, the anti-frackers that dominated the debate make the anti-vaxxers look like pillars of scientific rationality by comparison. They peddled a toxic mixture of alarmism and conspiracy theories that were completely untroubled by evidence or reason. It is even relatively clean.

There is some evidence fracking emits a higher level of methane, which would put it on a par with coal (still mainly used in Germany and Poland) but the mainstream consensus is that it is roughly the same as natural gas. If we had developed it, the only difference would be that it would have created jobs and wealth in this country, instead of Russia, prices would have been stable, and we wouldn’t have to make any concessions to Mr Putin. Would that have been a terrible outcome?

Instead, our political leaders caved in to a handful of extreme environmental activists, dead set against any form of industrial development, and stopped its development right across Europe.

In reality, we have created this whole crisis in a fit of virtue signalling. We need to learn the lessons of what is fast turning into one of the most catastrophic policy mistakes of recent times. Sure, medium-term we want to switch to clean, renewable energy.

Wind and solar power should be providing the bulk of our energy, and the technology is coming on stream to make that both achievable and affordable by the 2030s. And yet, that will take some time. Until then we could have been fracking our way to energy security. The harsh truth is that again and again, a timid policy establishment meekly gives in to extreme views, and sacrifices the medium-term interests of industry and households for a few short-term headlines.

The UK is guilty of that, and so is the whole of Europe. If we do end up sitting in the dark this winter, and the factories do get closed, it will be entirely our own fault.