Thursday, March 24, 2022

On this date 51 years ago, climate scientists predicted a new ice age was coming

Climate change hysteria has been a staple of Democratic propaganda for decades now. It’s also an integral part of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Climate change advocacy has evolved into a cult, with supporters proclaiming that science shows we are all doomed unless we change our carbon emission habits.

We are told to “trust the science,” but what if that science is wrong? After all, science predicted a new ice age on March 21, 1971, in an article in Parade magazine.

In 1971, global cooling was the climate threat du jour. Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that the planet’s temperature had decreased by “one-half a degree Fahrenheit” since World War II in the 1971 article, titled “New Ice Age?” Claims of longer and harsher winters in Europe since 1940 were also cited. German meteorologist Dr. Martin Rodewald predicted that if this weather pattern continued, Europe “would be covered with the glaciers of a new ice age by the turn of the century.” In 1971, this was the science.

“American and Danish weather researchers in North Greenland, drilling down through 1400 meters of ice to read the weather record of 800 years, found that cold and warm cycles run for an average of 78 to 180 years,” the article stated. “On this basis, Dr. Rodewald does not foresee another warming trend before the year 2015.”

It is worth noting that this method of using ice to study past weather to make predictions about future weather is still used today, albeit with more modern technology.

I would argue it seems preposterous that even a decrease of half a degree Fahrenheit in 26 years between the end of World War II and 1971 would be setting up the planet for an ice age, even if that trend continued until the turn of the century. Such claims are on par with the hysteria we experience in 2022, except they predict cooling instead of warming.

Scientists have a horrible record when it comes to making climate change predictions. Whether it was global cooling in the 1970s or the current cultlike behavior warning of global warming, the only consistency about climate science is its inconsistency. It’s time to stop treating it like it is an absolute truth. If they were wrong before, there’s nothing to suggest they will not be wrong again.


Net zero push suffers growing pains: Senex Energy

Queensland gas producer Senex Energy said all major countries that have set net zero emissions targets are struggling with the volatile energy transition and how to manage the complexities of limiting climate change.

Senex said while more than 90 per cent of world GDP is now covered by net zero commitments to reach climate change goals, all major markets appear to be struggling with how to manage the thorny shift at a time of soaring raw material prices.

“The uncomfortable fact is that net zero policies are costly and are, therefore, putting pressure on energy prices and, therefore, inflation,” Senex chief executive Ian Davies told the Australian Domestic Gas Outlook conference on Tuesday.

“The broader social and political context to decarbonisation is complex. People in rich countries show little inclination to give up their cars and the comforts of urban and suburban life. And those in the populous and fast-growing developing world want this same lifestyle that we’ve come to enjoy.”

The Senex boss, also the chairman of industry body Appea, said a transition that pushes up energy prices or threatens reliability could threaten the social mandate for shifting to renewables.

The gas industry has made the case for several years the fossil fuel is the best transition fuel for the world to decarbonise by offering a source of secure supply, and producing less emissions than coal. However, the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis think-tank said the argument did not stack up.

“The benefits of coal to gas switching are marginal at best. And that’s why I’m saying that if we’re going to decarbonise, we actually need to look at largely jumping that step and moving straight to renewables, which are affordable and are much cheaper particularly before rising global gas prices,” the IEEFA’s gas analyst Bruce Robertson told the conference.

Brent oil jumped to $US139 ($190) a barrel, a 14-year high, earlier in March while spot LNG prices jumped to the equivalent of $US500 a barrel — described as “off the charts” by Woodside Petroleum — as Russian volumes face being sidelined.

Tight supply and skyrocketing commodity prices has more broadly reignited a debate over how quickly economies can pivot away from fossil fuels for their energy needs.

The International Energy Agency said gas use faces tough competition in many advanced economies although demand is expected to remain high within emerging nations.

“Natural gas use could increase in countries with rising electricity demand or declining coal and nuclear capacity — or indeed both — but it faces stiff competition from renewables,” the IEA’s chief economist Tom Gould told the conference.

“You also have a shift across geographies. So in all of our scenarios over the next 10 years, natural gas use increases in emerging and developing economies. But you are looking at declines in advanced economies.”

Global demand for coal is forecast to reach record levels in 2022, driven by huge growth in China and India, defying global efforts to tackle climate change.

The International Energy Agency predicted at least three years of surging demand for coal, just weeks after world leaders failed to agree on a phase out of the fossil fuel source at climate change talks in Glasgow.

The boom in coal use comes despite the billions of dollars being spent on renewable sources of power including wind and solar.


If fossil fuels are so dangerous to us why don't we go out on a fossil fuel bender

Covid rates are abating just in time for surging gas prices to eclipse the pandemic as our crisis du jour, and people from both sides of the political aisle are crying out in unison: something must be done!

The current energy crisis debate consists of a few camps: one group professes that they can’t abide fossil fuels being used at all, while another can’t imagine living without them. The third group makes up the middle of the Venn diagram, and though a paradoxical state of mind, it contains the most members.

Choosing a winner from among the prevailing arguments is no simple task. Increasing domestic fuel production seems at first like a no-brainer, but it turns out foregoing thousands of homegrown jobs and energy independence in favor of mussing up a rival nation’s backyard is some sort of foreign policy power move.

Then there is the group of green energy advocates who have buried their heads in the ground, and not to look for oil. These types seem not to realize that the clean electricity they so esteem comes from “dirty” sources: natural gas, coal and nuclear-powered plants. They are also evidently unaware that harvesting the rare earth elements required for electric motors, wind turbines and the like is “an energy-intensive and heavily polluting process.” Not to mention the environmental nightmare involved in trying to dispose of old batteries, solar panels and humongous windmills teeming with hazardous materials and nasty toxins.

There’s also the fact that the sun and wind kinda suck at producing energy: in addition to the massive amounts of space (forests, fields, etc.) these eyesores destroy, renewable energy sources are unreliable — it’s only sunny or windy part of the time — inefficient and expensive (the industry is massively subsidized). But never mind all that. “We don’t need to worry about the energy crisis now, because by 2030 we’ll all be driving Teslas,” quixotic ecowarriors say. Such a stance makes about as much sense as a man in the midst of a massive heart attack gesturing with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other and declaring, “I don’t need to go to the doctor, because eight years from now, I’ll be eating right and exercising.”

It does occur to me, however, that we may actually all be carbon-neutral by 2030 if we aren’t allowed to extract anything from the earth now. Secret members of the Amish mafia, intent on carrying out justice for Mother Earth and determined once and for all to deprive everyone of electricity, “green” or otherwise, are having a moment. In England, for instance, would-be renewable energy producers are complaining that the permitting process takes too long. Turns out red tape does not discriminate between green energy and traditional fuels. I must admit the rabid environmentalists do have a point: abandoning energy use altogether would, indeed, end our energy crisis.

Meanwhile, in the United States, President Biden is “demanding” that gas prices fall, and lawmakers want oil companies to pay consumers back for the profits they’re making. Though surely a noble notion, let me save our elected do-gooders some trouble: I’ve been there, done that, at my local Sheetz gas station. It never works.

The Atlantic, for its part, has noted how devastating a nuclear skirmish would be…for the environment. So let us consider: is saving the earth worth it? Let’s face it: living without electricity and all its modern conveniences would be the pits. The left would have us believe we can’t continue living the way we are without destroying the earth, and if they subscribe to the same attitude as the Atlantic, caring more about the earth than about the people living on it, I can’t help but wonder what or whom we are saving the earth for? With religion on the decline and carbon neutrality decades away, it appears we’ll stop caring about one another completely long before we can preserve the earth for future humans.

In which case, best to quit while life is still fun. As a nation of hedonists, we should go out with neon sign’s a’ blazin’ — on a fossil fuel bender, if you will. After all, Mother Nature spent millions of years working hard to create those nonrenewable resources, and much like a bottle of 30-year-old single malt Macallan, not enjoying it is not an option.


Children of the Corn and the Fraud of Renewable Energy

Corn (a.k.a. maize) is used not just as food for people and cattle, it’s also used to produce ethanol, and not just for boozers, but to mix in with our gasoline.

Since 2005, Congress has required oil refineries to add ethanol, mostly from corn, to their gasoline. It’s called the “Renewable Fuel Standard” (RFS). The EPA runs the program. In January, Reuters reported: “EPA will have to decide on the next phase of the program in coordination with the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture. The EPA plans to propose requirements… in May this year.”

Members of Congress should not leave the changing of RFS to some pointy-headed bureaucrat in the administrative state (i.e. the EPA) but should adjust the program themselves. And they should seriously consider ending the program. Or, they might consider an idea floated in “How To Fix The Ethanol Industry” by Robert Rapier at Forbes in 2019.

To understand just how wacky the RFS is, read “Stop the Ethanol Madness” by Mario Loyola, which ran at the Atlantic in November of 2019. Loyola explains how RFS is not only uneconomic but is also destroying the environment. Loyola asserts that “today’s corn-ethanol program is a glaring failure, and it is unconscionable that politicians of both parties are conspiring to keep it alive despite knowing full well what its problems are.”

Ethanol has about one-third less energy than does gasoline. So cars using ethanol get fewer miles per gallon. Flex-fuel vehicles that use E85 get up to 27 percent fewer miles per gallon.

A huge problem with corn ethanol as a fuel for ICE (internal combustion engines) is its EROI, i.e. its energy return on investment. EROI is the amount of energy produced against the amount of energy used to produce it. The formula for EROI is the energy output divided by the energy input. An EROI of 1.0 would mean that you’re expending as much energy to produce energy as the energy being produced, so it’s would be a wash, a draw, and utter folly to produce energy with such a low EROI. Corn ethanol has an EROI of 1.5 as compared to gasoline’s 11. Because of corn ethanol’s low EROI, you’re basically swapping one type of energy for another. How smart is that?

So, the amount of energy that one gets from corn ethanol for mixing into gasoline is just slightly more than the energy it takes to cultivate corn, harvest it, haul it to the distillers, keep the distillers from sampling too much of their product, haul the finished product to refiners, etc.

That gets us to the fraud of renewables -- they depend on fossil fuels. The heavy machinery used to produce corn ethanol, the tractors, corn-pickers, and such, all use fossil fuels; there are no electric versions as yet. (Rapier touches on this in the above link.) So, a farmer must use fossil fuels to produce a non-fossil fuel. Biofuels can’t exist without fossil fuels, at least not yet. (Actually, petroleum is a biofuel; the “bio” is ancient plankton. Geologists don’t think that abiogenic oil can account for what’s in the world’s vast oil fields.)

Although there are questions about how economic corn ethanol is, its lobby keeps it going. But now that the price at the pump is at all-time highs, it’s time to ask how much of that price is due to compliance with the RFS mandate on refiners to mix ethanol into gasoline. If it adds to the price at the pump, then the RFS program should end immediately.

In June of 2021, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) reported:

The total cost of RFS compliance is surging and could be as high as $30.5 billion for 2021 -- more than twice the record-high annual program costs set in 2016, and 8.5 times higher than in 2019, the year the United States reached record ethanol blending. By comparison, the refining sector spends $16.4 billion on workforce pay and benefits. The situation is so dire that labor groups and Democratic Governors have requested relief from the Environmental Protection Agency.

In August of 2021, The Hill ran “Why the Renewable Fuel Standard is a threat to our nation's supply chain security” by former Secretary of the Navy Sean O’Keefe and General Anthony Zinni:

For America’s independent refiners, the cost to comply with the RFS is on track this year to exceed all other costs of running their refineries […] a well-meaning policy to increase biofuels has become a self-inflicted wound that poses an ever-growing threat to our national security and global standing as more domestic refineries succumb to the unsustainable costs of the RFS.

In November of 2021, Bloomberg ran “Biden Could Revisit Renewable Fuel Mandate to Give Drivers Relief at Pumps”:

A reduction in ethanol use could be more effective now, with gasoline from refineries even cheaper than ethanol prices. Wholesale prices for 87-octane conventional gasoline are about 15 cents a gallon cheaper in New York than a blend of 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol.

Note that these three block quotes are from 2021, before the added price spikes due to war in Ukraine. The historic high prices for fuel are filtering throughout the economy. Congress needs to act, not leave tweaking RFS to the EPA. There may be some movement on that front, as last July a bill was introduced to that end: S.2385 -- Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2021. However, all that’s happened with the bill is its introduction. It needs further action.

The corn ethanol lobby immediately rose up, and six days after the bill’s introduction, FarmProgress ran “Senate bill repeals corn ethanol mandate.” The article is worth reading as it reveals the entrenched interests at play in RFS. But the article is dated, as the world’s food supply has been damaged by the war in Ukraine, which is a breadbasket to much of the world.

This spring, Ukrainian farmers might have a little trouble between missile strikes getting their crops planted. However, if Ukrainian agriculture is taken offline by war, American farmers can make up some of the difference by raising food rather than fuel additives. That is, if Congress lets them.




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