Friday, March 25, 2022

You can't save the world with Net Zero

Global warming is the "big lie" of the 21st century. Endless repetition of it by Leftists has made it widely believed

Ever since socialism’s credibility collapsed in 1990, environmentalism has increasingly dominated the political agenda. Central to this was the global warming scare and its implications for energy supply and economic activities in general.

Environmentalists’ pressures ensured that this agenda was widely embraced. Every Western country agreed to pursue ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions, replacing hydrocarbons with wind, solar, and prospectively hydrogen as power sources. In most countries, this was combined with rejecting another environmentalist bogeyman – nuclear power.

China, India, and other burgeoning economies rejected denying themselves these power sources.

By reducing their cheap energy supplies, affluent world nations have seen deindustrialisation and a relative economic weakening. Australian governments, like those of most other affluent countries have tried to hide this, promoted unlikely technology advances in alternative energy and taken comfort in occasional blips in the upward march of prices their policies have caused.

Writing in The Australian in February, renewables lobbyist Kane Thornton triumphantly argued, ‘The climate wars of the past 15 years appear to be cooling. Politicians have finally realised the voting public don’t care for their petty arguments and denial; communities just want action. These same politicians have also come to realise that the clean energy revolution is in full swing.’

And even on March 21, an article in The Australian by advertising agency chief James Walker-Smith offered advice to firms presaged on, ‘With the science won and the tragic proof of the climate emergency all too real…’

But the new reality is that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has transformed the debate.

The march to an inevitable hydrocarbon-free world, so loudly trumpeted at the Glasgow climate conference in November of last year, has gone into reverse.

In the US, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, previously a vigorous advocate for renewable energy, is now urging the gas and oil suppliers to increase their pumping.

European statesmen claim to be still pushing ahead with banning petrol and diesel cars by 2035, but the clarion call has changed from ‘save the world from global warming’ to ‘save us from dependence on Russian gas’. Government policies to replace hydrocarbon and nuclear power with wind/solar has not only increased costs, but left Europe politically vulnerable.

The UK is inching its way to re-opening oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, and is in a softening up process to permit fracking of its vast on-shore gas reserves.

France has reversed course on nuclear power closures.

In August of last year, the Dutch categorically ruled out extending beyond mid-2022 the life of their massive Groningen gas field; but Prime Minister Mark Rutte on February 25 added, ‘You can never completely completely completely exclude something 100 per cent’; in mid-March Groningen’s continued operation is described as ‘a last option’.

Even Germany, governed by a left-dominated rainbow coalition, is having doubts; a new survey shows that while 80 per cent of people want an acceleration to renewables, half the respondents also see a larger role for nuclear and coal.

Whatever the outcome of hostilities in Ukraine, a move to low emission energy technologies will be henceforth subsidiary to ensuring access to technologies that work and are cheap. And that means coal, oil, gas, and nuclear. Europe has abundant coal resources. It has the same fracking potential as the US, but has banned the technology because it creates tremors, which academic scientists, estimate are smaller than ‘a small pumpkin dropping to the floor’. The forces preventing the use of these resources are now in retreat.

Ironically, the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) anti-hydrocarbon campaigns reached an apogee the day after Biden banned Russian oil, when eleven major European fund managers announced plans to force Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, to cut its lending to oil and gas companies.

Such calls are looking increasingly like vanity projects that, however unwittingly, undermine western security.

ESG and gas fracking hysteria has also gripped Australia as part of the green crusade against fossil fuels (and nuclear and new large hydro). Opposition to coal and gas developments comes from state and federal politicians, the law officers they have appointed, and the gaggle of rainbow warriors in pressure groups and in the business community.

These have prevented, delayed, and added costs to major new proposals making us unable to respond to the strategic need and economic opportunities presented.

Politicians like NSW’s Matt Kean and Victoria’s Lily D’Ambrosio continue to promote the fiction that renewables are the cheapest electricity sources, alongside policies that impose costs of electricity from coal and gas. But even they are confronted by the enormous expenses involved in ‘firming’ the intermittent supply of wind and solar and arranging for their transmission.

Aluminium smelting, industrial chemicals, steel production, and cement are the basic industries on which economic prosperity is built. All four are reliant on the cheap energy, which government policies are fast eliminating. Those woke media and business leaders who were once enchanted by Sanjeev Gupta’s fanciful plans for carbon-neutral steel are now silent. Australia’s three major aluminium smelters in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland all face the scrapyard, as a result of forced closures of coal generators – Victoria’s Portland smelter is already reliant on state subsidies which, ironically, compensate for the government imposts that have increased its power costs.

Added to the wealth generation Australia is sacrificing by regulations forcing the displacement of low-cost coal and gas by high-cost wind and solar energy, these policies also detract from our defence capabilities at a time when these are assuming a higher priority.

Do we have the political awareness to change course?


Is a global famine on the way?

Warmists are aleways warning us about upcoming food shortages but it looks like war will do what global warming never has. Big grain exporting countries like Australian and Canada will ensure that first world countries will have bread but poorer countries may well be priced out of the market

The threat to wheat supplies from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been exacerbated by a shift in global stocks away from major exporters such as the United States and European Union, undermining their effectiveness as a cushion in times of crisis, Reuters reported.

Now, the devastating effects cause major concerns across the Middle East and North Africa that the war in Ukraine will send prices of staple foods soaring as wheat supplies are hit, potentially fuelling unrest.

Russia and Ukraine supply a quarter of the world’s wheat exports, while Egypt is the world’s biggest importer of wheat. 33% of all wheat exports among the top ten exporters came from Russia and Ukraine combined.

That’s the grim assessment of many experts on global food security, who point to how heavily the rest of the world relies on Ukraine and Russia for wheat and a slew of other essential commodities.

As that supply is cut off, it will drive up food prices that are already at record levels – and at a time when the economic fallout from the pandemic has already pinched household budgets, most devastatingly in low-income countries.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is highly likely to disrupt Ukraine’s ability to fully plant and harvest wheat in 2022. And Russia will be blocked, in theory at least, from being able to accept U.S. dollars for its wheat export.

On March 9 President Putin signed an order banning the exports of some goods and raw materials:

The order includes a ban or restrictions on “exports outside of the Russian Federation’s territory and (or) imports to the Russian Federation’s territory of products and (or) raw materials,” according to an Interfax news agency translation of the order released on Tuesday.

The Gateway Pundit noted:

While wheat is not mentioned specifically in this order, those who have bought wheat from Russia in the past will need to consider very seriously whether they will be able to buy Russian grain this year. There are two possible terrible scenarios. First, because of the war Ukraine will not be able to plant its crop. No crop, no exports.

Second, Russia will keep all of its wheat at home to ensure its citizens have enough to eat. That means those parts of the world that depended on Russia as its grocer will have to find an alternative supply and will have to pay substantially higher prices if they can find another country able to fill the demand.

But that is only the beginning of the looming agricultural disaster for the anti-Russian world. One word–POTASH. Potash is a key ingredient in producing fertilizer.

The potash component corrects the deficiency of potassium in the soil. As a natural mineral, potash is an important nutrient that enhances water retention, disease resistance and general crop productivity.

For the record, 37% of the top ten producers of potash in the world came from Russia and Belarus. Now that Biden sanctioned Belarus, its potash supply will not be available to the world.

Not just that, the price of fertilizer already has doubled compared to a year ago, with Russia’s sanctions, the world is now at a major deficit in having fertilizer to put on crops.

Meaning farmers in the Midwest who are planning to plant corn and soy beans will be paying twice as much for fertilizer. And that is not all. The price of diesel fuel–i.e., the juice that makes tractors, planters and harvesters run–also has doubled.

The Gateway Pundit concluded:

When it comes to oil, wheat and potash Russia is holding some powerful trump cards that can be used to hurt the West and its erstwhile allies.

I would suggest the time has come for those Americans blinded by their hatred of Russia based on a false narrative peddled recklessly by a pliant media, to take off the blinders and take a serious look at the implications of a fast approaching future where key Russian and Ukrainian exports will not be available. There is one guarantee for the world–rampant, high inflation.


Dust shows us that there are cycles of climate unrelated to human activity

Every now and then, our planet passes through a cometary cloud (e.g. 730-740 AD) which produces cold times because dust reflects light and heat and hundreds of years of cold times follow if this coincides with a weak sun and explosive volcanism (735-737 AD). This happened in the Dark Ages (400-900 AD).

Most desertification occurs during periods of glaciation when winds are stronger, rainfall is lower and vegetation is sparse. There is a good geological record of sand dunes, salt lakes and dust storms during long periods of aridity.

Red bed copper deposits formed in mid-latitude glacial wind-blown sand dune sediments because of changes in groundwater chemistry, sea level and sedimentation. The major deposits formed in snowball earth times 650 million years ago (e.g. Copperbelt of Central Africa), when Gondwana drifted over the South Pole (e.g. Kupferschiefer of Europe) and the modern ice age (e.g. salt pans in Texas and Saudi). If we want electric cars, then ironically an understanding of ancient climate is one of the tools used to find the copper needed for the cars.

Explosive volcanic eruptions add huge amounts of dust to the atmosphere. Most of these volcanoes are in the circum-Pacific and Mediterranean-trans Asiatic belts. The dust, incorrectly called ash, comprises minute sharp needles of glass from lava supercooled by the instantaneous release of expanding gas when supercritical water flashes to steam. Breathing volcanic dust near an explosive eruption cuts lung tissue, reduces lung capacity and lungs can be lithified. Humans drown in their own blood which fills the cut lungs.

Volcanic dust rises 25 to 60 km into the atmosphere, does a few laps high in the atmosphere as it falls to earth and creates lightning storms, spectacular sunsets and heavy rain by nucleating droplets. Combined with La NiƱa, this was the reason for heavy rains in eastern Australia after the Hunga Tonga eruption of 15th January 2022. Notwithstanding, the normal suspects brayed that the heavy rain and flooding were due to climate change and how it was all the Prime Minister’s fault.

Hunga Tonga was a small submarine eruption. Previous past large terrestrial eruptions such as Tambora in 1815 led to years of cooling and 1816 was a year without a summer. The 1783-1784 eruption of Iceland’s Laki covered Europe with dust and choking toxic sulphurous fumes – thousands died from respiratory problems, torrential rainfall and cooling destroyed crops and famine followed. Empire-changing eruptions such as the Minoan eruption of Santorini about 1600 BC are recorded in ice drill cores. The Indonesian supervolcano Toba erupted some 72,000 years ago covering much of the planet with thick volcanic dust which is still preserved in India and Alaska. The tropics were devegetated and soils were removed by torrential rainfall, the surviving population migrated north and south, the orbital-driven cooling cycle of the planet accelerated and sea level rapidly dropped.

Airborne dust is precipitated in restricted lakes where there is neither turbulence nor a massive input of sediments, in deep ocean sediments where there are no strong currents and in polar ice. Dust shows us that there are cycles of climate unrelated to human activity. At times the atmosphere has a higher dust content due to impacting, dusty comet tails, desertification, drought, overgrazing, industry and volcanism. Pollen, spores and charred fragments in dust layers show the history of forest fires and evolution of plants. The chemistry of dust and acid layers in polar ice can be used to show when and where an explosive volcano occurred. Iron-rich dust from deserts stimulates carbon dioxide-consuming algal blooms in oceans.

Closed-minded climate activists claim that every natural event is due to climate change and that human emissions of carbon dioxide are to blame. The joy of integrated interdisciplinary science with all of its exciting uncertainties and detective work should be used to stimulate young people rather than trying to fill their minds with guilt, fear, hopelessness, depression and ignorance. ?


Australian wind Farm ordered to stop emitting night-time noise, pay neighbours damages in landmark ruling

A Victorian court has ordered a wind farm in the state's south east to stop emitting noise at night in a momentous court decision.

The Victorian Supreme Court today found the noise from the Bald Hills Wind Farm at Tarwin Lower created a nuisance to its neighbours ordering damages and an injunction.

John Zakula and Noel Uren took civil action against the wind farm last year, telling the court that "roaring" intermittent noise from the wind turbines caused health problems and loss of sleep.

In a precedent-setting decision, Justice Melinda Richards said the company had not complied with its noise permit conditions and ordered a permanent injunction over the wind farm, with an initial three-month period to fix the issue.

The injunction will require the Bald Hills operators to "take necessary measures to abate" emitting loud noise at night.

"Bald Hills has not established that the sound received at either Mr Uren's house or Mr Zakula's house complied with the noise conditions in the permit at any time," Justice Richards said.

"Noise from the turbines on the wind farm has caused a substantial interference with both plaintiffs' enjoyment of their land. "Specifically, their ability to sleep undisturbed at night in their own beds in their own homes."

Damages for 'distress' and 'annoyance'

The court ordered the operators of Bald Hills Wind Farm to pay the men a total of $260,000.

The court said Mr Zakula, who lives about a kilometre from one of the company's wind turbines, is entitled to damages of $84,000 for "distress, inconvenience and annoyance".

Mr Uren sold his property next to the wind farm in 2018, but the court said he should be paid $46,000 in damages.

Justice Richards also ordered the wind farm operator to pay aggravated damages of an additional $84,000 for Mr Zakula and $46,000 to Mr Uren.

"Bald Hills' conduct towards both Mr Uren and Mr Zakula was high-handed and warrants an award of aggravated damages," Justice Richards said.

In her judgement, the Supreme Court judge also made a pointed comment about the renewable energy push and the rights of neighbouring landholders.

"The generation of renewable energy by the wind farm is a socially valuable activity, and it is in the public interest for it to continue."

She said it should not be a "binary choice between the generation of clean energy by the wind farm and a good night's sleep for its neighbours". "It should be possible to achieve both."




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