Friday, December 10, 2021

Hydrocarbon based fuels are here to stay

Alberta’s future is threatened by a national campaign to dramatically reduce the production of hydrocarbons.

The political and media elite repeatedly assure everyone that such fuels can be replaced by new “green” energy sources such as wind and solar power. People currently employed in the oil and gas industry will supposedly transition into green energy production and life will continue on as before, except with fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Indeed, Justin Trudeau’s federal government has committed to transitioning Canada’s economy to producing net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Trudeau’s scheme is a fairy tale. Hydrocarbons are going to be required for a very long time because current green energy technology is nowhere near where it needs to be to replace them. Currently, there are no realistic alternatives to oil and gas, so reducing their production will only lead to energy shortages.

As Dr. Henry Geraedts put it recently in the Financial Post, “The ultimate goal of net-zero politics is to impose a radical energy transition that demands a top-to-bottom physical and social-economic restructuring of society, with no credible road map in sight. Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”

Geraedts’ Financial Post column is a brief description of a policy report he produced in June 2021, and how it was ignored because its conclusions contradict the ideological perspective that university professors are expected to support. He didn’t toe the party line, in other words, and therefore got the cold shoulder.

Geraedts’ report, Net Zero 2050: Rhetoric and Realities, is available online at the website of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy which is affiliated with both the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. It’s a very credible piece of work.

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons and Geraedts points out “hydrocarbons are nature’s most efficient embodiment of primary energy: the combination of high energy density, abundance, stability, safety, portability and affordability is unmatched by any other source of energy.”

Currently, hydrocarbons comprise about 80% of global primary energy. This is essentially the same percentage as 30 years ago, when the global warming craze began. Despite years of favourable government policies and billions of dollars in government subsidies, green technology such as wind and solar energy remain relatively small contributors to the world’s energy supply.

Geraedts also describes the negative environmental impacts caused by so-called green energy technology. Among the most interesting details he mentions is: “Neither turbine blades nor solar panels nor lithium-ion batteries are physically or economically recyclable. They are instead, at an alarming rate, ending up in landfills leaching toxic chemicals — an estimated 10 million tons/year of batteries by 2030 alone.” So much for protecting the environment.

Geraedts is not a so-called “denier.” He points to data from reliable sources indicating global temperatures have increased by one degree Celsius since 1900. But he also explains “the projections used to justify net zero policies and the Paris Accord, are based on fundamentally flawed computer climate models that overstate warming by some 200%.”

Not only that, but “observational, empirical evidence remains agnostic as to what, with requisite confidence levels, is attributable to anthropogenic influences vs. natural variability.” In other words, it cannot be determined with certainty to what degree the gradual temperature increase is the result of human activities.

But climate change worries aside, there is still a fatal lack of realistic alternatives to hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency forecasts that even if all countries fulfill their Paris Accord commitments — an unlikely prospect — hydrocarbons will still account for 60% of primary energy in 2040. With accelerating energy demand in Africa and Asia, Geraedts expects hydrocarbons will remain the dominant energy source for decades to come.

This is what it all means: If we put progressive ideology aside and take a hard, honest look at the energy situation, hydrocarbons are here to stay for quite a while. Knowing the ingenuity of human beings in a free society, the discovery of new energy sources is likely at some point in the future. For now, though, we need oil and gas, and Alberta has lots of both.

With strong international demand for hydrocarbons forecast to last for decades, there is no reason why these resources cannot continue to provide the foundation of economic prosperity for the province. The biggest obstacle to such prosperity, of course, is the federal government. Due to its determination to prevent the development of hydrocarbons, independence may be the only way to maintain and increase the resource-based wealth that is Alberta’s birthright.

An independent Alberta could implement policies maximizing economic growth and avoid the suffocating policies of Canada’s central government. A free Alberta would be a prosperous Alberta.


Suzuki is a superspreader of alarmism

By actively denigrating people who hold rational, dissenting views on climate change, Suzuki and his fellow travelers have created a very dangerous situation today

In 2015, Reader’s Digest counted David Suzuki as the number one most trusted influencer in Canada. He had already lost his shine with the oil patch working people of the West thanks to his performance in the appalling 2011 CBC co-production shlockumentary, “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands.” Others recoiled at the equally dreadful, “Where Will Santa Live?” fundraiser which suggested to kids Santa will drown unless your parents send cash. Yet for many, he still resonates as a kind of wise elder.

People of influence should be very careful about what they say.

For decades, Suzuki has been calling scientists and scholars who challenge his climate catastrophe narrative ‘deniers.’ He’s called for them to be silenced and censored, despite the fact when interviewed in Australia on television, the self-styled king of climate change was unable to understand a question from the audience that referred to the commonly known temperature data sets used in climate science. It seems he’d never heard of them.

By actively denigrating people who hold rational, dissenting views on climate change, Suzuki and his fellow travelers created a very dangerous situation today. There are many people who are genuinely frightened there might be only “10 years left” as Suzuki claims and they are like a tinderbox looking for a flame. Suzuki lit a spark for them a couple of weeks ago with his irresponsible musing about pipelines being blown up. His tepid apology will not put that genie back in the bottle.

Imagine if we had had open, civil debate on climate change in the media for the past 20 years. Imagine if, when Suzuki claimed there was a climate crisis, an atmospheric scientist like Dr. Richard Lindzen could show him why this is imaginary and how claims of a climate emergency are just a means for renewables promoters to push their wares.

Imagine if when Suzuki claimed Santa would drown and take the polar bears with him, an expert like geoscientist Dr. Ian Clark, who actually hikes the Arctic for his research, could show him that during the Holocene Hypsithermal of about 8,000 years ago, the Arctic was ice-free, rather balmy, and the polar bears were all fine.

Imagine if when Suzuki invokes “consensus,” (which forms the basis of the Toronto Star’s refusal to run any report that conflicts with the alleged 97% consensus), if someone like astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv could have been invited to explain that science is not a democracy, it’s about evidence. While all scientists agree climate does change, they disagree on what ratio is human-caused versus natural influences like the sun and oceans. Scientists don’t all agree that taxing people will stop climate change, and most scientists are not convinced anymore that carbon dioxide is the control knob on climate.

This kind of open, civil debate, based on facts and evidence rather than emotional hyperbole would take society a long way toward more rational responses on climate and energy policies.

Unfortunately, it looks like things will get much worse as “The Climate Coverage in Canada Report” has run a consensus survey of its own, and Canadian journalists concluded that “large majorities … somewhat or strongly agree there is a climate crisis and the news media should report on it that way.”

In the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (AR6), the word “crisis” is only used once, and only in reference to media coverage on climate. Otherwise, there’s no crisis stated in that 4,000-page science report.

The mainstream media in Canada has been parroting Suzuki’s hyperbolic words, republishing his op-eds posted by the David Suzuki Foundation and obligingly blocking any dissenting views for decades.

Canadian media have made his incendiary words go viral — making him a super spreader of a contagious social disease called anarchy. Suzuki began this soft incitement years ago asking people if they were “radically Canadian” or not.

It’s time the media and Suzuki stopped the spread of alarmism and incitement and asked people to be rational instead.


The Cost of Net Zero is sure to shock investors (and voters)

Like any major economic event, getting to net-zero emissions will bring investment opportunities. But as is often the case, initial enthusiasm may soon give way to disappointment.

The goal of net-zero carbon by 2050 is almost certain to be drastically curtailed by its costs and lack of feasibility.
The International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body, estimates that the world needs to invest $115 trillion in clean technologies such as solar and wind power and electric vehicles to limit global warming since 1900 to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement that was signed by 195 countries.

Much of the reduction would have to come in India and China, which would need to invest $21 trillion to overhaul transportation and construction while building nuclear, wind and solar facilities to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2060, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But 57% of China’s energy consumption in 2020 was supplied by coal, and its consumption of that commodity is forecast to rise 6% from 2020 to 2025. With coal-mining a big employer in China, coal power plants heavily indebted and electric power needed for economic growth, the nation is reluctant to phase out coal before the 2040s. Coal supplies half of India’s energy needs and its share of world coal consumption is expected to rise from 11% to 14% in 2030.

With tightening restrictions on coal mining in China, the politically-inspired ban on coal imports from Australia and worldwide economic recovery, the Newcastle thermal coal price, a global benchmark, has tripled since the end of 2019. Low coal inventories at power plants portend even higher prices this winter. This encourages the resulting switch from coal to fossil fuels, and U.S. gasoline prices are up 92% since the spring, causing consumers much pain when they fill up their vehicles.

Also, natural gas costs have leaped 273%, further distressing consumers since half of American houses are heated by gas. The Energy Information Administration forecasts 30% higher fuel bills this winter compared with last year and 50% more if the weather is 10% colder than normal.

A harbinger of U.S. consumer reaction to higher energy costs was the French nationwide “gilets jaunes,” or yellow shirts, protests in 2018 in response to a proposed fuel tax hike. President Emmanuel Macron was humiliated and forced to rescind the plan.

The total cost of fulfilling the Paris climate agreement alone would be $50 trillion in 2030, or $140 per American. Yet a recent Washington Post survey found that the majority would vote against even a $24 annual climate tax added to their energy bills. Still, the $140 per American per year investment, if sustained through 2100, would only reduce global temperatures by a minuscule 0.03 degrees Celsius. Everyone’s for emissions reductions unless they have to pay for it.

President Joe Biden’s goal of 100% net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 would cost $11,279 per American annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That would equal 11.9% of gross domestic product, more than the 11.6% costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined. The annual cost of the plan would rise to $4.4 trillion in 2030.

At the Glasgow COP26 climate summit, poorer countries demanded that wealthy nations channel at least $1.3 trillion in climate financing to them annually, starting in 2030. But developed countries fell $20 billion short of their $100 billion aid target for 2020 and aren’t likely to meet it until 2023, climate negotiators wrote in a report in October, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Big polluters such as China, India and Russia have pledged emissions cuts, but not to the levels that Western nations have insisted are necessary to limit global warming. Saudi Arabia plans to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050, although that doesn’t include carbon from the oil it exports. The kingdom produces about 10 million barrels of crude oil per day and has been installing solar panels in the sun-drenched desert to save hydrocarbon for sale abroad. Meanwhile, a recent survey of big companies by Boston Consulting Group found that only 11% had met their emissions-reduction goals over the past five years.

The surging costs of carbon reduction raises the important question of the bang-per-buck. Damage due to climate change as a percentage of global GDP has dropped from 0.25% in 1990 to 0.18% in 2020, according to the CFDA/CRED International Disaster Database. And the trend has been down in rich and poor countries alike.

Also, more disasters are made known today due to better reporting and higher minimum levels of damage that’s recorded. Climate-related deaths worldwide have plunged from almost 500,000 in 1920 to 14,000 in 2020 and 5,500 in 2021, and will probably reach 6,600 by year’s end. That’s a 99% lower death toll than a century ago, even though global population has quadrupled.

Economist William Nordhaus, who won the Nobel Prize in 2018 for his work on effective climate solutions, developed models calculating the cost of global warming but also the cost of climate-control policies and the reductions in economic growth they cause. Nordhaus’s models indicate that without any regulations to slow climate change, the average temperature in 2200 would be 4.1 degrees Celsius higher than in 1900 and cost $140 trillion in today’s dollars.

Stringent climate policies would reduce the temperature rise to 2.2 degrees Celsius but cost $177 trillion to reduce climate change-related damage from $140 trillion to $38 trillion. That would raise the total cost to $215 trillion. His optimal solution, with a temperature rise of 3.5 degrees Celsius, would cost $21 trillion and reduce the climate-related damage cost by $53 trillion for a total cost of $108 trillion.

Even though a cleaner atmosphere promotes better health, malnutrition death rates in 2050 would be barely lower without climate change. With better nutrition, they’ve dropped from seven per million per year in 1990 to 2.78 per million in 2020 and are forecast by the World Health Organization to drop to 0.64 per million in 2050 with continuing climate change. If huge costs keep the global temperature flat, the 2020 number is the same, 2.78, and 0.56 per million in 2050, a tiny 0.08 percentage point lower.

The United Nations estimates that even if no country does anything to slow global warming, the annual damage in 2100 would be the equivalent of a 2.6% cut in global GDP. Since the UN expects the average person to be 450% richer in 2100 than today, the average falls only to 434% if the temperature continues to rise unimpeded. Relative to better health and economic growth, the effects of climate change are minimal.

Like any major economic event, the pursuit of carbon-cutting opens investment opportunities. But as is often the case, initial enthusiasm will probably soon give way to disappointment as soaring costs are revealed and hopes for net-zero carbon emissions fade. The prudent investor will probably be better off waiting for the retreat from current exuberance over climate investments and then buying cheaper.


Cars running on e-fuels emit as much poisonous nitrogen oxides (NOx) as vehicles using conventional fossil fuels

E-fuels have been touted as a potential solution to keep internal combustion engine cars on sale beyond the Government's 2030 ban with claims they can cut carbon emissions by as much as 85 per cent.

However, tests conducted on behalf of think tank Transport & Environment found that motors running on this 'greener' type of petrol emit equally high levels of toxic NOx fumes as standard E10 unleaded sold at filling stations today - and much more carbon monoxide and ammonia - despite having a lower CO2 impact.

It concludes that e-fuels 'will do little to alleviate the air quality problems in our cities' that have been linked to thousands of premature deaths each year.

Porsche is one of the headline-grabbing car firms known to be pumping huge funding into the development of e-fuels.

The German manufacturer has invested around $24million into a project in a bid to keep models like its iconic 911 on sale after petrol and diesel cars are banned from showrooms across Europe around the end of the decade.

Bosch is also known to be investigating the possibility of creating synthetic fuels while Mazda earlier this year became the first automotive manufacturer to join the 'eFuel Alliance'.

However, assessments carried out by French research organisation IFP Energies Nouvelles and Transport & Environment has found they have little benefits in terms of emissions that could be harmful for our health.

Measurements taken in a lab from a Mercedes-Benz A-Class running on three different e-fuel mixes.

With no e-fuels currently on sale, the French lab produced 100 litres of e-petrol itself with different blends.

The same test cycles were repeated using the Mercedes running on conventional E10 petrol and found that NOx levels were almost identical.

And while particle emissions are considerably reduced, more than two billion particles are still emitted for every kilometre driven in an e-petrol powered vehicle.

When burned, synthetic petrol causes almost three times more carbon monoxide – which deprives the heart and brain of oxygen – compared to petrol.




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