Friday, April 29, 2022

Biden Going Green by Killing Jobs, Strangling Growth with Red Tape

Despite the application of dubious new environmental standards that will cut across numerous executive agencies, the Bidens are with a straight face arguing that this will actually reduce regulations.

There they go again.

The “they” is Team Biden and the “again” is another round of massive regulatory increases that will cost millions of blue-collar jobs and prevent any new energy pipelines and probably new utilities from being built, and virtually stop the construction of new or extended bridges, highways, and tunnels.

The move will significantly raise environmental reviews of all these infrastructure-type projects, completely reversing one of President Trump’s best policies, which streamlined National Environmental Policy Act permits and timetables.

This issue is dear to my heart because Mr. Trump’s infrastructure reforms were developed in the national economic council, where I worked closely with Andrew Olmem and Francis Brooke.

It used to take seven, 10, or even 15 years to get a new building permit through the executive branch. Mr. Trump brought that down to one to two years and took out the excessive, unscientific, radical enviro approval layers.

One of the wonderful things about this new Biden review is that despite the application of dubious new environmental standards that will cut across numerous executive agencies, and therefore cause a huge stall in project decisions, the Bidens are with a straight face arguing that this will actually reduce regulations.

“Restoring these basic community safeguards will provide regulatory certainty, reduce conflict, and help ensure projects get built right the first time,” according to the White House council on environmental quality chairwoman, Brenda Mallory.

Notice, she didn’t say projects would get built on time: She said projects would get built right the first time—which could mean taking forever, or maybe even never happening.

By the way, this executive order makes a mockery of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed with Republican votes last fall. Only about 10 percent of the $1.2 trillion would've gone to bridges, roads, and tunnels anyway, but the Biden executive overreach could shrink those projects to nothing.

Here are a few of the add-ons that are supposed to result in less red tape. First of all, their new enviro impact statement will include a so-called cumulative impact on existing or new projects. Cumulative: That could go back a century or even forward a century. And there's no way to measure it.

This is the reappearance of the radical-left climate activist idea of the social cost of carbon: back a century, forward a century, upstream producers and/or downstream users.

You think anybody could figure that out? They’re just ginning up a high social carbon cost that will lead them to reject any new infrastructure projects. Incidentally, beside the word cumulative, these new regs that are supposed to cut red tape—more regs = less red tape, got it?—will also cover direct and indirect impacts on the environment. These new enviro reviews include the endangered species act, the clean water act, and the clean air act, along with the enviro impact.

This makes a mockery of the infrastructure legislation that came up with the “one federal decision” policy, because all these impacts from carbon, birds—remember the lesser male prairie chicken endangered species flap that endangered the entire Permian Basin oil and gas reservoir?—you add all this up (and for heaven’s sakes we mustn’t forget the EPA, which is chock full of Biden radicals) and you’ll need sign-offs for water and air. The federal highway administration inside the transportation department, which is supposed to make these decisions, will never be able to make them because all these project reviews cover so many agencies that it will take forever.

Let us add, however, that the new rules specify that any new projects—and that includes, let’s say, a widening of a clogged highway somewhere in a high-growth red state, or any construction expansion that was so-called unplanned, whatever that means—will be put at the bottom of the administrators’ pile.

I’m not making this up: It is specified in the fine print.

This being the Bidens, there also will be special attention to so-called disadvantaged communities and under-represented groups. Their new rule supposedly reconnects these communities and groups, but if you can’t build a new highway or bridge or road, or a utility for that matter, how can you connect them? Especially with any new construction being put at the bottom of the pile in the administrator’s inbox.

Going to the top of the pile of this infamous inbox are projects that would help electric vehicles, charging stations, and renewable energy generation. Someone has to help me here, because my free-speech hero, Elon Musk, and his new electric vehicles would presumably ride on new highways.

Yet the federal highway administration won’t build a new highway because it would be new and would have too many environmental problems, cumulatively.

At some point, somebody’s going to take this new Biden executive order to the federal courts and quite possibly the Supremes, because the new rules are a rewrite of the infrastructure law just passed in Congress—and that’s not the role of regulators.

Finally, because all the Biden lefty greenies are once again driving policy, it makes a mockery not only of the just-passed infrastructure bill—that wasn’t very good anyway—and it tells you that the Biden war against fossil fuels is alive and well.

Pipelines will not pass the new review process. Infrastructure for drilling or mining projects—to, let’s say, extract minerals like nickel, copper, and lithium to go into batteries—will be stopped.

The net-net of all this is that millions of hard-hat, blue-collar and related service jobs will be lost. The middle class and those right below it will suffer enormously as a result of the radical enviros in the Biden administration.

Trust me: When it comes to a new project, more review areas covering more federal agencies will not reduce regulation, but will increase it enormously. Mr. Biden’s falsehoods can’t change that. Here’s the good news: The cavalry is coming.


Media are terrorizing public over climate fears

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) monthly “Healthy Minds” poll recently found that a large percentage of Americans believe their physical and mental health are being negatively impacted by climate change. APA President Vivian Pender, M.D., believes this is a real impact of climate change itself on the population. In reality, what the poll is measuring is the psychological damage generated by the mainstream media’s nearly continuous stream of false, alarming claims that the world faces an “existential” climate crisis.

According to the poll, “58% of adults believe climate change is already impacting the health of Americans and nearly half (48%) agree that it's impacting the mental health of Americans.”

In 2019, a group of more than 170 news organizations and journalists, led by the Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, and The Guardian, teamed up to push “a week’s worth of climate coverage in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Sept. 23.” Kip Hansen did a nice analysis of the coordinated propaganda event at WattsUpWithThat.

Everyone paying attention knew we were in for much more than just a week’s worth of propaganda. Most likely, we were getting a glimpse behind the curtain.

Climate alarmism has been rampant for decades. However, with the lightning-fast reach of social media and coordinated efforts from businesses eager to get in on the “green gimmies” from government, it has only become worse. When was the last time you heard about a weather event that was not tied to climate change?

Even more worrisome, the poll shows that today’s youth are especially frightened.

Per the APA poll, “Young people were more anxious about climate change. Of those aged 18-34, 66% were anxious about its effect on the planet, 51% were worried about its impact on their mental health, and 59% worried about its impact on future generations. They were also more likely to believe it was already having an effect on the health (64%) and mental health (57%) of Americans.”

I know the power that the education system holds over a young mind. From my earliest encounters with the sciences in school, the idea that we humans were destroying the planet in one way or another was ubiquitous. In middle school, it was very common in science class to calculate your home’s “carbon footprint” for homework assignments. I also had a teacher who berated students for using too much water at home.

To impressionable kids, this is a horribly heavy burden to carry.

Starting in elementary school and going all the way through high school, the lessons are repetitive in a way that makes them feel almost liturgical. In many high school curriculums, including AP (Advanced Placement) sciences, the theory that carbon dioxide is the control knob for Earth’s temperature is not questioned or challenged. A student who does so is in for an uphill battle unless he or she has a very open-minded teacher.

Unfortunately, most kids don’t really question what they’re being taught, to look skeptically at things and wonder if it’s true. It is not that they’re dumb or careless, but they do, by and large, believe that their teachers are trustworthy, that at least what they are being taught is not false.

Nor do I blame most teachers. The textbooks and the curricula include these lessons, why dig too deep? There are, of course, fanatics and radicals among teachers (more and more, it seems). But, who or what created them?

Answer: The media, which greatly amplifies alarmism. If it weren’t for the fevered pitch of anxiety and dire warning laced into every media report of every weather event; every time it is hot (or cold), dry (or wet), climate change would be a scientific area of interest like any other, and countless attribution scientists would be out of work.

The scientific journals play to the media; they boast more and more extreme headline-grabbing studies, and soon enough you get decades of “last chances” to save the planet. Social media has a role in all of this too, almost anyone who defies the climate alarm narrative is censored.

Fortunately the fears of those polled are unwarranted: data show that not only are climate-related deaths way down, most severe weather events are trending downwards too.

Of course, there is always the chance that these poll numbers are total garbage anyway, achieved with leading questions and selection bias. In that case, numbers like these are meant to make those not in these groups feel like they are “outside” the norm, elevating their concerns.

Don’t let the alarmists fool you or your kids. Engage in critical thinking, question the status quo, and always dig into the data.

And for sanity’s sake – turn off the Weather Channel!


"The Conversation" Misleads on Coral Reefs and Solutions to Climate Change

A Google News search for the term “Climate Change” brings up an article by The Conversation, in which two authors associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report make a series of claims, including that climate change is decimating coral reefs, and that renewable energy sources are cheaper than traditional energy. These claims are false.

Most egregiously, the authors make the unsubstantiated claim that half of the world’s coral reefs are dead.

In the article, “Climate change will transform how we live, but these tech and policy experts see reason for optimism,” the authors wrote that, “[A]bout half the world’s coral reef ecosystems have died because of increasing heat and acidity in the oceans.” This is not only false, but also a misleading framing.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and there is simply no evidence that half of the world’s corals are dead. It is possible that half of the world’s corals have experienced some degree of bleaching over the past few decades, but bleaching is not the same as death and most bleached corals have recovered, with coral on the whole expanding their range. The authors provide no verifiable data or specific studies to back up their assertions. The studies that do exist refute them.

Corals are hardy and resilient, having first evolved more than 500 million years ago when the Earth’s temperature was much higher than today. They have survived and expanded through periods of higher and lower temperatures than at present. As discussed at Climate Realism, here, here, and here for example, coral have expanded their range recently and new coral reefs are discovered all the time.

Coral bleaching is a process where corals expel the symbiotic algae that colonize their surface. If another kind of algae does not return, over time the coral might die. Most corals quickly recover. Spectacular cases of corals rebounding occur constantly around the world, such as the case with Coral Castles reef, which was bleached by a 1998 El Niño event. By 2015, much of the reportedly dead coral reef was discovered to be thriving once again. This stunned the experts who devoted their careers to studying it, who at the time predicted the reef would take 100 years to recover. Afterwards the researchers stated in a press release that “Our projections were completely wrong.”

The same has happened to other reefs that suffered during the 1998 El Niño, like a dozen reefs on the Seychelles, which have since mostly recovered.

The Great Barrier reef’s demise has also been greatly exaggerated by alarmists, as shown in these Climate Realism articles here, here, and here.

Nor, as explored in Climate at a Glance: Ocean Acidification, are Earth’s oceans becoming acidic. Since ocean water remains alkaline, corals aren’t being harmed by any change in water chemistry.

The solution to the non-threat to coral reefs and other non-issues, the authors say, is transitioning to “green” energy sources.

“For example, renewable energy is now generally less expensive than fossil fuels, so a shift to clean energy can often save money,” The authors state.

This claim is demonstrably false as well, relying on a poorly organized report on Levelized Costs of Energy (LCOE) produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the report, the EIA neglects to realistically account for the low-capacity factor, or percentage of the claimed maximum electricity generation, of wind and solar power. The EIA assumes higher efficiency than the real-world data on solar and wind power generation show. Additionally, they do not account for the costs of the backup power supplies needed for when wind and solar don’t work. A thorough analysis of these issues can be found here, written by Willis Eschenbach.

On the real world costs of wind and solar, Eschenbach concludes, “At a bare minimum, it will be the capital cost of the dispatchable backup generator plus some portion of the other fixed, variable, and transmission costs … and that means that because of the costs of the needed backup generators, there is very little chance that solar and wind will ever be competitive with other methods.”

When these factors are added, so-called renewables are far from cheap compared to traditional energy sources. Indeed research consistently shows as states and countries add wind and solar power to their electrical power grid, the costs of electric power rise sharply. Simultaneously, and not coincidentally, the reliability of the power supply declines.

For individuals who make a living studying climate change, the authors of this article in The Conversation apparently know very little about the facts on the ground. They make a multitude of false claims, with those concerning the demise of coral reefs and electricity production being arguably the most egregiously ignorant and misleading. The aim of IPCC researchers should be to accurately inform the public concerning the true state of the climate. For this article, that would require the presentation of more facts and less hyperbolic claims.


Now it's cheeses aandwiches that will kill the planet

In 1979, when the first series of The Food Programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, the show’s presenter asked whether more episodes of it were going to be commissioned. The station’s controller asked in surprise: ‘But won’t you have said everything there is to say about food?’

Apparently not. Today we watch endless TV cookery shows, we fret about food miles, trans fats and calorie counts, and we grow ever fatter, too — 63 per cent of UK adults are now overweight or obese.

For proof of the complexities of the food industry, look no further than 13 Foods That Shape Our World, billed as ‘the first official book’ from The Food Programme, which has now been on air for 43 years. The cover suggests it’s a jolly romp through the history of our most important foods, but it’s actually a long howl of anguish about modern food practices.

Take the sun-kissed Italian tomato: what could be healthier and more cheerful? In fact, many of Italy’s tomatoes are picked by migrants who work in dismal conditions. What’s more, your favourite pasta sauce may not even come from Italy. China is now the world’s major grower and processor of tomatoes and, as long as the paste is repackaged in Italy, it can be labelled as Produce Of Italy. ‘As a tomato lover ... there’s quite a lot to worry about,’ Alex Renton writes mournfully.

Farming cows, sheep and goats for their milk may be ‘as ancient as civilisation’, but Renton tells us disapprovingly that modern dairy farming results in nearly as many ‘climate-damaging emissions’ as global aviation and shipping combined. The ingredients for a cheese sandwich produce more than five times as many harmful emissions as a peanut butter and jam sandwich — but isn’t that stuffed full of sugar?

Renton is rightly scornful of the poor quality of much low-cost massproduced bread, but for anyone planning to bake their own wholemeal additivefree loaf instead, he points out that heating your oven to the right temperature for bread ‘is ten times as costly in terms of emissions of climate - affecting gases as buying one from a shop’.

So what is the eco-conscious foodie to do? The author’s answer to almost all ethical food dilemmas is that we should simply be prepared to pay more for what we consume (and in the case of bread, that means patronising your local artisan bakery).




Thursday, April 28, 2022

Boris Johnson accused of misleading the public on the rising cost of green energy levies

Net Zero Watch has accused the Prime Minister of being economical with the truth about the cost of renewable energy levies.

Speaking during his visit to India, Mr Johnson rejected growing calls for scrapping green levies on energy bills, claiming that renewable energy “has helped to reduce bills”.

Mr Johnson said:

"Overall, if you look at what we have done with renewables it has helped to reduce bills over the last few years and will continue to do so. That’s why one of the things I want to do is use this moment to really drive towards more offshore wind turbines."

In fact, the opposite is true: the costs of renewable levies on energy bills have risen significantly in the last few years.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) the cost of green levies on energy bills has risen from £7.5 billion in 2018/19 to 9.5 billion in 2021/22, rising to £12.4 billion in 2026/27 (the OBR has excluded the costs of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for small-scale renewable generation).

Boris Johnson’s intervention comes just days after government officials briefed the media that ministers were “examining whether green levies – used to fund renewable energy subsidy schemes – could be phased out gradually or dropped altogether by the autumn when bills are expected to soar.”

Green levies currently cost the UK economy about £11 billion a year in total, putting £150 a year on the average household electricity bill, and a further £250 per household on the annual cost of living, a total of £400 per household per year. The levies also depress wages and rates of employment.

Net Zero Watch and a long list of MPs have repeatedly called on ministers to remove these subsidies from energy bills to help reduce the mounting cost of living crisis.

Pollsters have warned the Tories that the cost of living is becoming a defining issue for voters.

Craig Mackinlay MP, chair of the parliamentary Net Zero Scrutiny Group, said:

"If renewables were providing cheap energy they wouldn’t need a subsidy, surcharged on consumers’ bills. We hear too much of the low-cost argument about renewables which is simply untrue. The environmental levies are a lever the government could reach for as entirely under their control to provide immediate relief on domestic energy bills. It is becoming incomprehensible why they don’t use it."

Dr Benny Peiser, Net Zero Watch director said:

"Boris Johnson is prioritising the Net Zero agenda over all other economic and social issues. He even seems prepared to commit political suicide over the cost of Net Zero and cost of living crisis. His self-defeating dogmatism is politically unsustainable."

Net Zero Watch.


We Can Adapt to Climate Change Without Destroying Our Way of Life

Our understanding of climate and how it changes is advanced enough to make reasonable decisions, using computer models, about activities such as future energy use and food production. However, for the last four decades, some have been using these models to project catastrophes in the event that governments fail to act. Although many of these projections have been wrong, the doomsayers continue to warn that humanity has 12, 10, or even fewer years left to save society.

These models represent our best current understanding of how the climate works. They have been positively evaluated by the World Climate Research Programme. Yet they are not necessarily correct. For example, a group of scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville found that the forecast temperature trends were twice those observed for the tropical upper atmosphere. Other published studies have shown that these same models overestimate global mean surface temperatures, such that observed global temperature trends are often in the lower part of the range of the models’ predictions.

As early as the late 1980s, the New York Times published projections that global temperatures would rise 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit while sea levels would rise 1 to 4 feet by the second quarter of the 21st century. Concern was raised that climate change would cause more droughts and more flooding. The reality has been far from these dire scenarios. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report shows more modest warming (less than 1 degree Fahrenheit) and much less sea-level rise (8 inches since 1900, according to NASA). And where heavy precipitation or drought has increased, the confidence in the models is low, according to the same report.

Other dire predictions also have been demonstrably falsified—for example, that parts of the globe, including Great Britain, would be relatively snowless by 2020, that the North Pole would be ice-free by the mid-2010s, and even that Mount Kilimanjaro’s glaciers would disappear by the mid-2010s. In the late 1980s, widespread famines were predicted, followed by the collapse of global agriculture, all by the start of the 21st century. Since that prediction, agricultural output has increased in the Midwest by about 20%.

Finally, a recent study showed that predictions that ocean acidification would decimate fish populations are also proving to be false.

Does all this good news mean that we can ignore the models or that researching them is a wasted effort? Of course not. They may be among the best tools we have. We just need to interpret their results with an awareness of their limitations. When people sensationalize the findings by highlighting only the most unfounded alarmist projections in the upper part of the forecast range, we should resist their alarmism absent compelling evidence.

Given the relatively poor record of model predictions, we should not be frightened into adopting draconian policies that threaten our entire way of life and well-being—especially those that would harm the world's poor. Rather, we should adapt to changes in climate, which can be done most effectively through the entrepreneurial innovations made possible through free markets.


Biden's Energy Chief Wants to Destroy American Energy

President Biden's Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm — known for laughing when asked what the Biden administration would do to lower gas prices — is now talking about how the whole country should look to California as an example for its plan to eradicate fossil fuels and go fully electric, something that hasn't gone well in Golden State and few Americans elsewhere want.

Asked about Los Angeles' plan to have zero emissions by 2028 and Governor Newsom's plan for California to only sell electric vehicles by 2035, Secretary Granholm said the state's goals are "real" and declared "California is on the leading edge of this, clearly."

"The whole country looks to what California is doing," Granholm continued, though observers across the nation are more likely looking in the same way people can't look away from a car wreck, rather than in admiration. Granholm noted that "some people don't like what California is doing" (no kidding), "but California is really thinking ahead into the future," she said.

The unaffordable cost of electric vehicles for many Americans aside for now, a cursory review of how California's energy "transition" has been going turns up only dystopian examples from what the left calls a "greener" future that's not too dissimilar from the past that existed before electricity was readily available.

Rolling blackouts have plagued California, especially in the hottest summer months as the state's energy grid fails to produce enough supply from its alternative sources to meet the demand of its residents. As a result of California's going-for-broke embrace of alternative energy, residents are routinely issued "flex alerts" by state energy officials who beg residents to use less power in order to avoid massive grid failures. In an example from last summer, California asked its 39 million residents to "set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher," "avoid using major appliances, like dish washers and clothes washers and dryers," and "turn off all unnecessary lights." How...quaint?

Alternative energy sources have dragged California back to a time where air conditioning wasn't readily available, oil lamps provided light, and laundry had to be done by beating clothes against boulders in a river. Ironically, despite Granholm's bragging about California's "leading edge" status, California asks its residents — even before conservation alerts are issued — to only use major appliances "earlier in the day, when solar energy is abundant" and to charge electric vehicles in the morning "so there's no need to do it later, when solar is not available."

The dependence on alternative power sources, clearly, isn't working or viable. People getting home from work just... aren't supposed to charge their electric vehicles until the sun is up the following morning? And if California continues on its plan to have only new electric vehicles in the state, the drain on the state's grid will only get worse. As rolling blackouts continue, Californians will find their mandated "green" cars are less mobile than Fred Flintstone's Cavemobile.

And if, as Granholm claims, the nation is looking to California to lead when it comes the the energy "transition" that Granholm and President Biden want to pursue in their goal of ending fossil fuels, why exactly are so many residents fleeing to other freer states where fossil fuels aren't demonized? More Californians left their state than any other in the country in the year that ended last July 1 — some 350K+ residents sought better conditions elsewhere. Most went to Texas, Florida, and Arizona — red states where people are freer and the government isn't trying to drag residents back to frontier living in the name of "environmental protection."


Net Zero is dead

Comment from Australia

As this magazine argued early last year, the simplest way for the Coalition to win the 2022 election would have been to replicate John Howard’s and Peter Costello’s ‘tough decision’ GST strategy and in the interest of national prosperity and cleaner energy go to the polls with a commitment to revoke the Australian ban on nuclear energy in order to give us the cheap, reliable energy we will require for decades to come and with which we are abundantly blessed via natural resources. Such a policy would not only have given the Coalition something to fight for, it would have been the ultimate ‘wedge policy’ to skewer Labor on and – not that this seems to matter anymore – would actually have been the right thing to do.

Instead, Scott Morrison and his team of quislings, sorry advisers, asked the wrong questions in a motley grab-bag of inner-city focus groups and came up with the worthless and pointless policy of pledging to get Australia to Net Zero without nuclear power. Or indeed without any credible clean base-load energy source. (And please, spare us the Twiggy Forrest/ Mike Cannon-Brookes drivel about green hydrogen. Only the most cynical, corrupt or foolish politician would gamble an entire nation’s future on such an unproven and illogical technology spruiked by billionaire investors.)

All of which is now fairly academic because, as is always the way, events (dear boy) have overtaken political hypotheticals.

Vladimir Putin’s vile invasion of Ukraine has not only killed a tragic number of Ukrainians as well as Russian soldiers, it has also stabbed a bayonet through the heart of Net Zero with all the murderous efficiency of a Zaporozhian Cossack.

European governments like Germany’s, which for the last few decades have pursued the climate cult’s insane goal of obliterating carbon emissions, are now frantically re-opening coal mines and seeking reliable base load energy sources wherever they can find them, whether from fossil fuels or nuclear power. Countries in Scandinavia are suddenly desperate to start exploration and drilling in the North Sea again.

According to Benny Peiser, head of the Global Warming Policy Foundation who is currently visiting Australia and who along with Professor Ian Plimer (another regular and popular contributor to these pages) spoke at length to the Roseville branch of the Liberal party, average household electricity prices in the UK have jumped from a thousand pounds a year to two thousand and are headed for three thousand pounds per annum by this coming British winter. Mr Peiser forecasts many individuals and families will simply not be able to heat their homes.

Among British conservative backbenchers there is now a serious push to abandon Net Zero altogether. In the coming months, as war in Ukraine drags on and the energy crisis worsens, the delusional Greens-fuelled commitment to Net Zero may well cost not only Boris Johnson his job, but risks bringing down governments of all hues across Europe.

The task for a re-elected Morrison government, or a minority Coalition government relying on the support of any One Nation, Liberal Democrat or UAP representatives who scrape into the lower house, will be to abandon Net Zero and to rapidly set about promoting a nuclear energy industry in Australia.

The alternative, a Labor/Greens government, does not bear thinking about, but think about it we must. The simple reality is that, much like Joe Biden’s hopeless administration, an Albanese-Marles-Wong-Keneally government (just putting it down in black and white is risible enough) will quickly collapse in popularity as cold hard reality smashes to smithereens their utopian climate fantasies.




Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Outrage as government poised to green-light UK’s first new coal mine for decades

The UK government is said to be “on the cusp” of giving the go-ahead to a controversial new coal mine in Cumbria, sparking a furious response from concerned environmental groups and campaigners.

Under the proposals the Woodhouse colliery, near Whitehaven in Cumbria, will be the first new deep coal mine since the 1980s and will extract coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea, 85 per cent of which will be exported.

According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, Michael Gove, the levelling-up, housing and communities secretary, could approve the contentious new mine as soon as next month.

The coking coal will be used by the steel industry, but critics have said it is unnecessary now that hydrogen and electricity-based technologies can be used to make steel.

The mine has already attracted international condemnation with Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry criticising the plans ahead of the Cop26 summit hosted by the UK last year, calling coal “the dirtiest fuel in the world”.

“Senior Conservative Party sources” told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Gove is believed to be supportive of the plan to open the mine, and his decision will largely hinge on the recommendations set out by the Planning Inspectorate.

The mine was controversially given the green light by local councillors in October 2020, causing anger that the government had declined to “call in” such a major development with considerable emissions potential.

After furious opposition, the government pulled a hard U-turn and launched an inquiry to review plans for the £165m mine.

The government’s independent advisers, the Climate Change Committee, said the Woodhouse colliery “will increase global emissions and have an appreciable impact on legally binding carbon budgets”.

Though the government has until July to reach a verdict on the project, it appears a decision could now be imminent.

The move towards expanding UK coal production comes as the government has also committed to new drilling in the North Sea for oil and gas.

Campaigners have said the government is undermining Britain’s position as a world leader on addressing the global climate crisis.


Cancel Mom’s Grocery Bag Misinformation

The CDC’s Mask Mandate Is Dead and Won’t Be Back; Here’s Why
I don’t deliberately avoid organic foods or markets, but I don’t seek them out either. Claims that organic food tastes better or is more nutritious are not supported by evidence and certainly don’t justify the far higher prices. Mostly, I’m put off by assertions that organic food is pesticide-free, safer and more planet-friendly. Those assertions are simply false advertising; deliberate misinformation.

Mom’s Organic Market shopping bags provide an excellent example. They’re emblazoned with six “Bee Informed” messages that help customers Bee the Change, Give Bees a Chance, and Save the Bees from a looming Armageddon attributed to synthetic pesticides. The Bee Misinformed messages merit correction.

1. The #1 irrigated crop in the US is lawn grass, using over 10 trillion gallons of water per year. Mom’s didn’t say where its number came from; and if this basic information is fishy, what about the other messages? The Natural Resources Defense Council says US lawns consume three trillion gallons per year – not ten. Still, too many people overwater, use fine sprays that let too much water evaporate, and/or water lawns during the hottest hours or days of the week. The better message is, water smarter.

2. Suburban lawns and gardens receive more pesticide applications per acre than agriculture. This may be true, but is it? Can’t Mom’s be more transparent about its sources? Homeowners should use lawn and garden chemicals carefully, responsibly and sparingly – and assume that any chemical (synthetic or organic) may be toxic and dangerous: to bees, other insects, fish, wildlife, pets, children and themselves.

3. A single bee colony can pollinate over 300 million flowers a day. Busy as a bee – sure. But really? A typical hive (colony) has 10,000 to 80,000 worker bees. Assuming 50,000 on average, this means each bee would have to visit 6,000 flowers per day. Perhaps in a sprawling canola field; but otherwise pretty unlikely. Again, what’s Mom’s source?

4. Scientists found bee-killing neonicotinoids in 75% of honey sampled from around the world. Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of ongoing organic food and environmentalist campaigns to frighten people (especially moms) into going full-organic and avoiding conventionally grown food.

The scientists are finding parts per billion. 1 ppb is equivalent to 1 second in 33 years – or 50 drops of water in a 50-by-25-by-2-meter Olympic-sized swimming pool: 2 teaspoons in 660,000 gallons.

Used primarily to coat seeds, neonics become part of the plant tissue and target only pests that actually feed on the crops, particularly during early growth stages. They greatly reduce the need for aerial or ground-level spraying with other chemicals that are much more of a threat to bees and other pollinators. They are a far lower risk to honeybees or wild bees than some organic pesticides – or Varroa destructor mites that attach to bees, suppress their immune systems, carry deadly diseases, create pathways for other diseases to enter bee bodies, and can cause well-publicized “colony collapse disorder.”

Neonics may be detected in honey because so much comes from vast canola fields in western Canada, where canola is grown with neonic-coated seeds, and beekeepers place their hives in the fields because bees thrive there and produce delicious honey. Don’t equate detection with danger.

5. There are traces of 20 different pesticides in the average American’s body. Mom’s could at least post the source for this assertion on its website. More important, these parts per billion are detectable only because modern lab equipment is so sophisticated. The traces are not at levels that should cause concern.

And what about organic pesticides? Organic farmers also use many different pesticides to protect their crops. But Mom’s, Greenpeace, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the organic food industry don’t look for or talk about traces of organic farming pesticides: in honey, on produce or in human bodies. Perhaps they don’t want people (especially mothers) to know or think about that.

The Risk Monger’s Dirty Dozen List of Toxic Organic Pesticides provides an informative overview of “natural” fungicides and insecticides used on organic farms – including chemicals that are toxic to bees, other insect and wildlife species, and humans.

Among those organic farm chemicals, copper sulfate is highly toxic to bees, deadly to fish, and bio-accumulative in soil and water. Pyrethrin neurotoxin pesticides are also very toxic to bees – and are possible human carcinogens; originally derived from flowers (which is why they can still be classified as organic), they are now manufactured synthetically. Like neonicotinoids, nicotine sulfate is derived from nicotine; it can paralyze bee wings and legs, and is poisonous to humans.

Other “natural,” “organic” chemicals that are highly toxic to bees include rotenone, spinosad, hydrogen peroxide, azidirachtin (neem oil), citronella oil, and even garlic extract and acetic acid.

If Greenpeace, the EWG or the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) ever spent the time and money to test for these chemicals, they’d undoubtedly find “traces” of “organic” chemicals on “organic” produce.

6. Roughly 0.1% of pesticides reach their targeted pests, leaving 99.9% to impact the environment. That sounds farfetched because it is, especially for crops grown using neonic-treated seeds so that the pesticide becomes a systemic part of the plant and targets pests that try to eat the crops.

Today’s farmers are far more careful and judicious in how, where and how much they use chemicals to control the insects, viruses, molds and other pests that want to beat you to the foods you enjoy. They also employ a variety of “integrated pest management” techniques – including corn, cotton and other crops that splice Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) genes into the plant structure, to control pests that feed on those crops, thereby reducing the need for hand, tractor or aerial spraying with chemicals.

(Organic farmers often spray live Bt bacteria on crops. But that carries risks that the spray could drift onto nearby plants and beneficial insects. It’s a mystery that EWG doesn’t wax apoplectic about that.)

Those who still harbor concerns might be comforted knowing that the USDA conducts a Pesticide Data Program that’s been ongoing now for three decades. The PDP tests different (conventionally grown) produce every year – and issues a “report card” on how well US and international farmers comply with Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to protect moms and families from (conventional) pesticide-related health issues.

While the annual EWG “Dirty Dozen List” is designed to instill unfounded fears about eating non-organic fruits and vegetables, because of alleged pesticide poisoning – the PDP analyses are scientific and data-driven. The PDP goal is to ensure that all pesticide residues have fallen to levels that pose no risks to humans by the time they reach supermarkets.

The latest 200-page report provides comforting news for consumers. It’s available here – or you can read plant pathologist Steve Savage’s summary and commentary here and here.

One further issue deserves mention. Not surprisingly, Mom’s bags are made of kraft paper. Plastic bags (we’re told) are petroleum-based and clog landfills. Of course, it’s more complex than that.

I operated bag-making machines during college. Paper and paper-bag-making processes are tree, energy and chemicals-intensive; and heavier, bulkier paper bags take years to break down in landfills. The volume of either is trifling, however, compared to pollution and waste from solar panels and wind turbines.

The bottom line is simple. As the USDA and Risk Monger emphasize, pesticide residues on both conventional and organic fruits and vegetables almost never pose risks to moms, dads, kids, or other planetary creatures. Bee not afraid. Enjoy eating them, because they’re good for you.

And correct or cancel Mom’s misinformation


Jacob Rees-Mogg warns over 'huge cost' of net zero drive

The "huge regulatory cost" of Boris Johnson's drive for net zero will hold back plans for a post-Brexit bonfire of red tape, Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned.

The Brexit Opportunities Minister said the Government needs to “face up to” the challenge of burdensome climate red tape and added that efforts to cut emissions must not rely on “endless regulation”.

The Government wants to axe £1bn of red tape left over from the EU, with Mr Rees-Mogg spearheading an effort to ditch 1,500 individual Brussels rules.

However, he warned that the rise of the net zero agenda means it will not be possible to introduce initiatives such as a "one in, one out" approach, where a piece of regulation has to be scrapped for every new one added.

A raft of new rules are being introduced to help Britain go carbon neutral by 2050, with ministers expected to push for more heat pumps and solar panels as well as limiting how much carbon can be produced by heavy industry.

Speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Policy Studies, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "Net zero is going to be a huge regulatory cost and that is an issue for the country to face and to face up to.

“If we were to have a ‘one in, one out’ or ‘one in, two out’ rule, you would end up excluding net zero, as we previously excluded EU regulation, and then you're tinkering at the edges because you're ignoring the biggest piece of regulation.”

The comments are the latest sign of nervousness about the economic impact of the net zero drive from some within the Cabinet and sections of the Tory Party.

He added that keeping the costs of the net zero push as low as possible is “fundamental”, saying it should be driven by technological innovation rather than “endless regulation”.

Mr Rees-Mogg said he wants the £1bn “Brexit freedoms” red tape target to be a “minimum” and will soon release a list of 1,500 rules left over from the EU that could be cut.

Net Zero policies such as banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and ending the sale of new gas boilers from 2035 will likely need new rules and regulations.

Last October the Government published a 368-page strategy detailing the full scale of changes that will be needed to hit the net zero target by 2050. The Treasury warned it would face a £37 billion a year black hole from the eventual loss of tax revenue generated from the driving of polluting vehicles, such as fuel duty.

Yet supporters of the net zero drive warn that the financial and humanitarian consequences of failing to tackle climate change far outway the impact of action in the years ahead.

David Cameron brought in a “one in, two out” policy on new rules and regulations in a bid to cut down on red tape - a long-held push for Conservatives to unburden the free market.

But current Government sources believe the drive fundamentally failed to secure the changes it should have because EU laws were effectively exempt from the policy.

Lord Frost, who held the Brexit brief in Cabinet before Mr Rees-Mogg, was said to have tried to re institute the “one in, two out” policy last year but was blocked by Cabinet colleagues.


Australia: Greenies as prohibitionists

Matt Canavan

As I was driving home on Saturday after a busy day, I realised that everything I had done that day, the Greens want to ban. I had not had this much fun campaigning since Bob Brown came to town.

I had started the day at RockyNats. A worthy successor to SummerNats, the annual car festival of burnouts, drag races and drifting that comes to Canberra once a year. The SummerNats organisers have squeezed in a second event in Rockhampton to be held over Easter. They’re perhaps getting in more festivals before the Greens want to ban the sale of petrol cars by 2030.

I then headed over to Paradise Lagoons just west of Rockhampton, where a massive horse ring and grandstand emerges from the Fitzroy river floodplain. Built by the visionary cattle king Graham Acton, the Paradise Lagoons campdraft this year celebrated its 20th anniversary and people come from all over the country to compete.

I am not sure whether the Greens know what campdrafting is but when they find out I am pretty sure they will want to ban it, too.

I finished the day at the Professional Bull Riders rodeo at the Great Western Hotel, the only pub in Australia with a rodeo ring inside the pub. After sadly shutting due to Covid, the Great Western is back and it was pumping on Saturday night. It takes a special kind of guts, or perhaps insanity, to jump on the back of a 800 kg raging bull for eight seconds.

The Greens have introduced legislation to ban rodeos.

The Greens wrap their self-appointed roles as the fun police in concern over the environment and animal welfare. The truth is more prosaic, however; the Greens just want to have power to tell people what to do.

The Greens are a modern form of the Temperance movement that succeeded in disastrously outlawing alcohol in early 20th-century United States. Their aims were well intentioned. Our society remains afflicted by too much consumption of liquor and drugs but you cannot remove human sin through the law book.

All prohibition did was create a thriving underground industry run by criminal organisations that led to more violence than ever committed by drunks.

Notwithstanding this sobering tale, the modern day Temperance movement in the Greens wants to outlaw much more. The Greens want to ban or restrict cars, red meat, coal, gas, oil, zoos, factory farming, horse and greyhound racing, dams, forestry, fishing, plastics, live exports, bawdy jokes, smoking and guns. And that is just a selection from five minutes or so on their website.

It would probably be simpler to write a list of the things that you will be allowed to do under a Green dictatorship. Whatever is permitted, there will not be much fun.

In the Greens world you will be able to watch all sorts of violence online but you had better not go hunting to provide food and clothing. In the Greens world you will be able to consume all sorts of exotic illicit drugs but dare not have a smoke at the end of a hard day’s work. In the Greens world you can invest whatever money you like in carbon credits but putting a bit on the dogs at the pub is the work of the devil.

When you make this comparison you realise that the Greens are afraid of the real world. Their obsession with drugs, virtual experiences and the latest climate fad all allow them to escape from the harsh realities of the need to provide food and energy.

That is how their policies are so often disconnected from reality. They do not know how things actually work because they rarely do any hard yakka – aka ‘work’ – in the real world. They are not – or do not know any – people who drill for oil and gas. They are not – or do not know any – people who raise and slaughter cattle for food.

The Labor party used to have people who grew food, made things with their hands or mined coal. That always helped to keep the more crazy parts of their left wing in check. However, the modern Labor party is full of people who have gone straight from university to union activist to parliamentarian. They have lost touch with the real world.

As a politician in a country area, I visit mines, factories and farms regularly. I hear from people on the frontline how hard it is to deal with uncaring bureaucrats, unethical banks and unprincipled unions.

The same people that want to take away our fun want to take away our work. The Greens and their friends in the Labor party are on the ultimate power trip thinking that can control everything, including the temperature of the globe.

Carbon traders are the successors of the Temperance activists. Just look at how the authoritarian left are salivating at the prospect of Central Bank Digital Currencies, which could be weaponised to give us all carbon budgets of 14 grams of red meat a day, as recommended by the United Nations.

In the meantime, Labor has consoled itself by promising a new carbon trading scheme for over 200 businesses Australia-wide. These include almost all our iron ore mines, coal mines, gas facilities, major factories and our last two oil refineries.

Just like Prohibition, if we tax these industries to oblivion they will just move to other countries. It is like the old Hale & Pace joke, ‘no, I don’t think we should ban mining because it would just go underground then, wouldn’t it?’ By sending our mining industries offshore, more Australian jobs would be lost to overseas.

And we would be poorer for it and would not be able to afford to buy cars to do burnouts, buy bulls to use in rodeos or have the money to travel to a campdraft. Maybe this is the Greens plan then. The Greens will never get popular support to ban fun, but if they scare us so much about the climate, they just may make us too poor to have any.




Tuesday, April 26, 2022

John Deere electric tractors

The radical lefties are now going after diesel-powered farm equipment and want all farmers to use electric tractors and combines.

A farmer has over 10,000 acres of corn in the Midwest. The property is spread out over 3 counties. His operation is a "partnership farm" with John Deere. They use the larger farm operations as demonstration projects for the promotion and development of new equipment. He recently received a phone call from his John Deere representative, and they want the farm to go to electric tractors and combines in 2023.

He currently has 5 diesel combines that cost $900,000 each that are traded in every 3 years. He also owns over 10 really BIG tractors. John Deere wants him to go all-electric to satisfy the "Go Green" liberals. He said: "Ok, I have some questions.

1. How do I charge these combines when they are 3 counties away from the shop in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of nowhere?

2. How do I run them 24 hours a day for 10 or 12 days straight when the harvest is ready, and the weather is coming in?

3.How do I get a 50,000+ lb a combine that takes up the width of an entire road back to the shop 20 miles away when the battery goes dead?

There was dead silence on the other end of the phone. When the corn is ready to harvest, it has to have the proper sugar and moisture content. If it is too wet, it has to be put in giant dryers that burn natural or propane gas, and lots of it.

Harvest time is critical because if it degrades in sugar content or quality, it can drop the value of his crop by half a million dollars or more. It is analyzed at time of sale.

It is standard procedure to run these machines 10 to 12 days straight, 24 hours a day at peak harvest time. When they need fuel, a tanker truck delivers it, and the machines keep going. John Deere's only answer is "we're working on it.”

They are being pushed by the radical Dems in the government to force these electric machines on the American farmer. These politicians are out of control. They are messing with the production of food crops that feed people and livestock... all in the name of their "green dream" with no thought about how to achieve their objective.

Via email


Climate nut dies after lighting himself on fire outside Supreme Court

A climate activist who lit himself on fire on Earth Day outside the United States Supreme Court Building has died, according to reports.

Wynn Bruce, 50, of Boulder, Colorado, died Saturday, a day after he set himself ablaze in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Police Department told Fox News.

The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. on the plaza in front of the court building.

He was airlifted to a local hospital, where he died.

A Facebook page belonging to a person named Wynn Bruce said he was a Buddhist and a climate activist.

In 2020, Bruce left a cryptic Facebook comment that included a fire emoji and the date of his death, 4/22/2022.

A Buddhist priest from Boulder said she knew Bruce and called his death “an act of compassion.”

“This guy was my friend. He meditated with our sangha [Buddhist community],” Dr. K. Kritee wrote. “This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis. We are piecing together info but he had been planning it for at least one year.”

Supreme Court Police said that they were still investigating the man’s motive for self-immolation. No one else was injured in the incident.


NY Gov. Kathy Hochul’s insane, impossible carbon-free plan

Gov. Kathy Hochul has fully embraced one of the very worst obsessions of her disgraced predecessor: a war on carbon emissions.

The centerpiece is the Climate Leadership and Climate Protection Act that then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo got passed in 2019 in a blatant bid to boost his chances of winning some future Democratic presidential nomination. This travesty required New York to cut economy-wide greenhouse-gas emissions (from 1990 levels) by 40% by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

Worse, it gives unelected state bureaucrats massive power to cripple fossil-fuel companies and ram through pricy alternative-energy projects over any and all opposition — which allows massive amounts of pay-to-play favoritism.

Worst, the green advocates who favor the CLCP plan estimate the taxpayer cost of implementing it to be north of $300 billion, which guarantees that it will cost even more — or would, if it weren’t inevitably going to eventually fall victim to reality.

Consider: The plan centers on a mandate on ConEd and other utilities that 70% of all power come from renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2040. The 2030 goal alone is impossible, since it requires roughly tripling the amount of electricity generated by renewables — which means vast increases in wind and solar power, since 80% of the state’s current renewable power is hydropower, which reached its maximum decades ago.

That is, the plan pretends that sources that now account for less than 6% of the state’s electricity will somehow produce much more than half of it within eight years.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

But New York is going to try, forcing local communities to accept vast wind and solar farms and sending electric bills soaring to pay for it all, including billions for new transmission lines to carry power into the city.

Hochul, of course, prefers to talk about fuzzy-sounding stuff like her new plan to make high-rises in New York carbon-neutral within the next 15 years. The claim is that more than 70% of the city’s carbon emissions now comes from buildings, though that’s mainly because 1) the city has no manufacturing left, and 2) most of its power is generated outside the five boroughs.

And forcing expensive retrofitting to turn old buildings “green” is all too likely to just force them to close, especially since commercial real-estate faces a dire shortage of demand thanks to the rise of work-from-home in the wake of the pandemic.

Other parts of Hochul’s CLCP agenda will add more trouble in coming years:

No natural gas connections in newly constructed buildings after next year.

No new gas service to existing buildings, also starting 2024.

No sales of gasoline-powered landscaping equipment (lawnmowers, chain saws, wood chippers etc.) by 2027.

No new natural gas appliances for home heating, cooking, water heating or clothes drying after 2029.

Banning gasoline-automobile sales by 2035.

Meanwhile, Hochul (like Cuomo before her) has already vetoed carbon-energy projects and pipelines on the theory that giving New York other options would imperil the great green dream.

All this, when the state accounts for roughly 0.4% of global carbon emissions, while the countries that spew the most (China and India) won’t even pretend to do more than start reducing their own emissions sometime after 2030. This is vast pain for trivial gain.


Cancel Earth Day, celebrate Earth

As a fourteen-year-old student in south-central Pennsylvania at the time of the first Earth Day in April 1970, I recognized the need for a real cleanup of what was a horribly abused environment. When I went off to study geology at college, I embraced the environmentalist movement as my own. In my early years at university, I subscribed to Mother Jones and the Militant. For a short time, I was even a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party.

Along with millions of other young and not-so-young people, I recognized the urgent need to improve our industrial processes and behaviors in a way that was more mindful of our air, water, and land. It may be difficult for a present-day adolescent to realize just how badly we were treating Mother Earth back then. It was common practice for people to throw trash and empty cans out of the windows of their Chevys and Fords. Industrial waste in the Cuyahoga River caught fire, a giant oil rig blowout offshore of Santa Barbara despoiled much of the western coast, Lake Erie was declared “dead,” and air pollution was so bad in Los Angeles that “smog” was coined.

Accompanying that first Earth Day were dozens of apocalyptic predictions of doom not too dissimilar to those of today. Among the most alarming were from Paul Ehrlich that “100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years” and that some “65 million Americans would perish in the Great Die-Off between 1980 and 1989.” Kenneth Watt claimed that “we have about five more years at the outside to do something.” Even the New York Times warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

Well, here we are 52 years later, with nearly all of the objectives of the inaugural Earth Day in the rearview mirror. The quality of our air and water has improved tremendously and likely has not been this clean since the advent of the Industrial Revolution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there has been approximately a 50% decline in emissions of key air pollutants just since 1990 — sulfur dioxide by a whopping 90% (Figure 1). This improvement in air quality occurred during a period of increasing prosperity and growth of the U.S. economy. People drove more miles, and population and energy use increased.

Commensurate improvements have occurred to our nation’s water resources as well. Cleveland’s waterway, aflame in 1969, was named “River of the Year” in 2019. The once “dead” Lake Erie is now a mecca for sport fishing, and the formerly polluted waters of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers are now known as the site of a major bass fishing tournament. In the coalfields of the northeast, thousands of miles of streams once left lifeless by mine-acid drainage now support fish and bald eagles. Industries often return water to streams cleaner than it was at the plant intake.

Despite unsupported allegations of increasing doom and disaster due to dangerous human-made warming, just the opposite is occurring. A dispassionate review of Earth’s ecosystems and the human condition reveals that both are prospering — and not by a little but by a lot.

NASA reports a significant increase in worldwide vegetation over the last 35 years is “largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.” This CO2-driven plant enhancement is also fueling crop growth from the hottest to the coolest climates that are turbocharged by a modest rise in temperature that is extending growing seasons.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States has seen a 50% increase in forested acres and an astounding increase in Pennsylvania alone of more than 500%. The area burned by forest fires globally is in significant decline. The number of acres burned in the United States is 20% of that burned 80 and 90 years ago.

By nearly every metric, Earth’s ecosystems and the human condition are thriving. Much of the improvement is the result of a modest one degree of warming since the middle of the 19th century and an increase in CO2, likely the result of the burning of fossil fuels that have provided prosperity unknown to any previous generation.

We have done a very good job in protecting our ecosystems, cleaning our air and water, and protecting endangered species. That should be celebrated. But Earth Day is no celebration. The observance has been hijacked by extremists who have made a bogeyman of the harmless gas carbon dioxide, ignoring its benefits as plant food.

With no purpose other than to serve as a fundraiser for climate cultists, Earth Day should be canceled.




Friday, April 22, 2022

Biden administration restores stricter environmental reviews removed by Trump

The Biden administration is restoring stricter environmental standards for approving new pipelines, highways, power plants and other construction projects, including requiring consideration of how such projects might affect climate change.

The changes announced Tuesday reinstate National Environmental Policy Act measures that had been removed by former President Donald Trump, who said that federal regulations were needlessly hindering much-needed infrastructure projects.

Under the stricter reviews, federal agencies must take into account the cumulative impacts that a project or a new proposed federal regulation would have in areas such as air and water quality, wildlife habitat and climate change, according to a White House statement. The new guidelines widen the scope of environmental reviews beyond direct and indirect effects.

The Trump administration had deleted from the regulations the definition of cumulative effects, which called on regulators to take into account long-term impacts such as frequent exposure to toxic air. Environmental groups said the absence of that definition confused regulators on whether to analyse those effects.

“Restoring these basic community safeguards will provide regulatory certainty, reduce conflict and help ensure that projects get built right the first time,” said Brenda Mallory, chairwoman of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, which helps federal agencies abide by the 1970s law that governs the review process.

The revisions will take effect next month.

Environmental groups have cited violations to the law’s provisions in their legal challenges to projects that build out US infrastructure supporting the oil and gas industry. Prior to its abandonment, the Keystone XL oil pipeline had gotten tied up in court over an environmental review.

Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., one of the largest natural-gas pipeline operators in the US with more than 23,335km of transmission pipelines, argued to keep some of the Trump era changes.

Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said the company is reviewing Tuesday’s changes, and referred to the company’s previous statement that “reverting to less efficient and predictable NEPA regulations will not just affect oil and gas pipelines but will delay and complicate the development of new energy facilities and infrastructure.” Last year, the company’s plans to replace a deteriorating crude oil pipeline across Minnesota were challenged in court by environmental and tribal groups who cited issues with the environmental review.

No change was made to rules adopted under Mr Trump that require full environmental-impact statements to be completed within two years and less comprehensive reviews to be finished within one year.

The US Chamber of Commerce and other business trade groups opposed restoring the measures when first proposed last year. Among other objections, the Chamber said the stricter environmental reviews could stall needed improvements funded by the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Biden last year.

The groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the American Chemistry Council, pointed out that the regulations could impede construction of new transmission lines needed to connect clean-energy projects like wind-turbine farms to the power grid.

“With rapidly rising inflation, major supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages, the last thing our country needs is unnecessarily extensive and duplicative bureaucratic red tape and delayed project approvals,” Marty Durbin, the Chamber’s senior vice president for policy, said Tuesday.

The American Petroleum Institute and several other oil and gas groups had objected to requiring cumulative effects as a measure, saying that the new rules could impede projects needed to build pipelines to natural-gas export terminals and satisfy global energy demands.

“With energy costs high for American consumers and European allies looking to the US for access to an affordable and stable energy supply, we need policies in place that provide certainty and ensure American producers can meet rising demand at home and abroad,” said Frank Macchiarola, the group’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs.

Ted Boling, a former Council on Environmental Quality official during the Obama and Trump administrations, who helped develop the 2020 revisions, said he doesn’t think the revisions will slow down infrastructure projects. That is because CEQ officials left most of the Trump change intact, he said, and the revisions they did make will provide clearer guidelines to regulators.

Matthew Davis, senior director of government affairs of the League of Conservation Voters disagreed, saying government approvals are often faulted for holding up projects when other factors such as funding delays are the real cause.

“It’s convenient to blame permitting, but that’s not usually the case,” he said.

Environmental groups said that restoring regulations marked a step in the right direction for legally required reviews, but that more needs to be done.

“The Biden administration still has work to do to ensure federal decision makers prioritise the input of frontline and historically marginalised communities and fully restore” the law’s previous provisions, said Mustafa Santiago Ali, vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalisation for the National Wildlife Federation.

White House officials said they are considering additional guidance on greenhouse-gas emissions and plan to propose another round of review-process changes in the next few months.

Leslie Fields, the Sierra Club’s national director of policy, advocacy and legal, said the next round of rule making is expected to undo more Trump changes to the review process “and restore the principles of informed and science-based decision making, transparency and public engagement.” “Donald Trump’s attempts to weaken NEPA were clearly nothing more than a handout to corporate polluters,” she said.


UK: Climate change school subject launched to teach students how to save the planet

A new natural history GCSE focusing on how to protect the planet is set to be announced by the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, on Thursday.

The new qualification – set to be available from September 2025 – will focus on topics such as climate change and biodiversity.

Environmentalists have welcomed it as a means of helping teenagers with mental health issues.

Mary Colwell, who led the campaign for the subject, said it will be “very nurturing and life-enhancing” by connecting secondary school students with the natural world.

She also said understanding nature will help students recognise impacts of climate change as they happen.

“But it’s not just about problem solving and tackling climate change,” she said. “I think that the natural world provides people with a lot of solace and inspiration and we are in challenging times, being surrounded by things that nurture us. The study of natural history is very nurturing and life-enhancing.”

The lack of engagement with nature among the youth population is a growing concern for policymakers. Spending time in nature is known to have a positive effect on mental health but research has found that three-quarters of children spend less time outdoors each day than prisoners.

Ms Colwell said the new GCSE “could help young people with mental health issues and I think that was one of the reasons why [former environment secretary] Michael Gove was very keen – he was very supportive of the idea when we went to see him back in 2018 and he kept raising the idea that I can see the connections between this and a mental health crisis in young people.

“There is a connection between connecting with nature and better mental health.”

The new GCSE, designed by exam board OCR, would aim to teach students the skills for careers in conservation.

A consultation on the subject found the most popular prospective topics were flora and fauna and the human impact on the world. Respondents also said outdoor study should be an important part of the GCSE.

Jill Duffy, OCR chief executive, said: “This GCSE is a wonderful opportunity for young people everywhere – from urban to rural environments – to study and connect with wildlife and the natural world.

“Deeper engagement with biodiversity and sustainability will equip generations of young people to understand their environment and grapple with critical challenges.

Teen conservationist and wildlife writer Kabir Kaul, 15, said the new subject “will give my generation the knowledge and practical skills they need to value and protect the environment around them”.

Environmental issues are already on the curriculum in geography and science but the government said the new course would “go further” in studying the history and evolution of species and the impact of life on natural environments, as well as how they are changing and evolving.


Biden allowing increased ethanol in fuel this summer is nearly useless and may violate the Administrative Procedures Act—again

President Joe Biden’s plan to extend the availability of higher biofuel blends of gasoline during the summer months is a tiny bandage on a massive wound. Biden intends to allow the sale of E15, or gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, to continue through the summer.

The move, announced during a trip to an ethanol plant in Iowa, is the latest attempt by the Biden administration to slow inflation, which hit a new 40-year high last week. The last time inflation reached 8.5 percent was December of 1981.

The Biden administration asserts that this move will save Americans 10 cents per gallon at the pump. But E15 consumption only accounts 814 million gallons, or 0.6 percent, of all gasoline sales in America, of which the U.S. consumed 134 billion gallons in 2021.

Additionally, out of roughly 145,000 gas stations across America, the White House admits that only 2,300 of those stations sell E15. E15 accounts for less than 1 percent of fuel of all fuel sales in America and is only available at 1.6 percent of gas stations nationwide. Average Americans are unlikely to drive additional miles to visit one of these rare stations.

With the national gas price average at $4.087 today and ethanol 30 percent less energy dense than gasoline, it is difficult to overstate how inconsequential the impact of this decision will be on lowering fuel prices. It will do almost nothing.

Under the 2005 federal Renewable Fuel Standard, and later expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, renewable fuels such as ethanol are required to be increasingly blended into transportation fuels in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases. E10 fuel, or a gasoline 90 percent gasoline, 10 percent ethanol mix, is sold all year long.

Contradictory to the environmental claims of ethanol, the sale of is E15 is typically banned from June 1 to September 15 due to environmental concerns. Under the 1990 Clean Air Act, the E15 blend fails to meet the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements and creates smog that is harmful to the ozone layer during the summer.

Furthermore, Biden’s move raises significant Administrative Procedures Act concerns. In fact, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a prior bid by President Donald Trump to extend E15 waiver allowing sales throughout the summer. Considering that have been no major legislative changes, it appears unlikely that Biden will experience a different outcome from the court’s 2021 ruling.

The primary cause of high gasoline prices is failure of supply to keep up with demand. Virtue signaling with feed corn (the type of corn used in ethanol production) may sound good to environmentalists and Iowa farmers, but it does little to help the 50 percent of Americans who say gas price increases have created a financial hardship. 10 cent savings per gallon does not help the average American when there is just a 3 out of 200 chance the cheaper alternative will be available at their local station.

Green energy is not an inherently evil concept. However, forcing expensive green energy policies prematurely before they’re at sufficient scale, and telling Americans to suck it up and buy a $50,000 electric car, when their average annual household income is only roughly $67,000, is either evil or astoundingly ignorant.

The real answer is to drill more American oil. Allow for new leases on federal lands and do not reduce the number of acres available by 80 percent. Remove ESG goals from national oil companies. These goals are inherently contradictory to the existential purpose of an oil company. Allowing E15 this summer won’t even make a scratch in addressing these problems.


Welcome to post-apocalyptic climate policy

Roger Pielke Jr.

Climate policy is quickly moving into a new phase, and that is good news

In the past weeks I’ve noticed some important events that characterize a common underlying trend:

The chief executive of BMW announced that the company would not cut a single job as it transitions to producing only electric vehicles;

The government of India announced that it would build 10 new nuclear power plants in “fleet mode,” with a goal of 5 years from start to finish;

In the U.S., some states and public utilities are making the case for siting modular nuclear reactors at former coal power plants;

Also in the United States, President Biden announced that he was going back on his 2020 campaign pledge to ban oil and gas drilling on federal lands and will now open additional lands for fossil fuel drilling.

What do these seemingly disparate events around the world have in common? Two things, both important. First, they are individual data points reflecting that a global energy transition is well underway, and that it is set to continue. And second, carbon-free energy technologies of production and consumption are increasing their role in the global economy, but when they are not deploying fast enough — leading to geopolitical or economic consequences — then fossil fuels will quickly fill that gap. It’s like an iron law.

If these are but a few data points, a full pointillist painting can be envisioned in the form of various approaches to modelling the evolution of the global energy system. In the Tweet below, Zeke Hausfather — a climate scientist who works for Stripe, a company seeking to capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — has usefully summarized a large and growing recent literature on climate projections to 2100.

These recent projections are based on updated estimates of where the global energy system is currently and appears to be headed based on current and pledged policies. In the figure, which presents the recent studies by date of publication, you can easily see a downward trend with a central tendency projection of global temperatures in 2100 decreasing from almost 3C in 2100 to less than 2C. It wasn’t so long ago that this central tendency was though to be >3 C, and many, not least the IPCC, believed that such “business as usual” trajectories had us heading for even 4C or 5C. For readers of this newsletter, it won’t be a surprise to learn of the good news that perceptions have changed of the likelihood of the chances of such extreme futures. Even the IPCC has come around to this view.

Zeke Hausfather:

"In our @Nature News and Views piece, we put this new paper in the context of an explosion of literature on current policy, 2030 NDC, and net-zero commitment outcomes that has been published over the past few years"

While not everyone is ready to accept the recent good news on climate, the fact is that the world has now moved into what might be called a “post-apocalyptic climate policy” — that is, a climate policy that is predicated not on millenarian expectations for the end of times, but one that is grounded more realistically and pragmatically in first how to maintain, and second how to accelerate the positive energy system trends now underway.

Of course, a change in perspective can be difficult to accept. We have already seen a range of reactionary reactions be to our newly understood need for a post-apocalyptic climate policy. I’ve observed a few:

Apocalypse maintenance. Letting go of the end of times as the focus of climate advocacy will be difficult for those who have built careers, politics and personalities upon it. Some some hold on to the possibility of apocalypse by emphasizing the uncertainty of the future (merchants of doubt?), such as with respect to future rates emissions. Watch out for those who claim that apocalyptic futures cannot be “ruled out” without first telling you what it even means to “rule out” certain futures. While few now believe that apocalyptic futures are where we are headed, keeping apocalyptic futures as seemingly plausible and in play is a common rhetorical tactic that distracts from more meaningful policy discussions focused on far more likely futures.

Moving the goal posts. Another strategy for keeping the apocalypse alive is simply to redefine when the apocalypse is expected to occur. When a warming 4C or 5C was being promoted as a “business as usual” future, futures with 2 to 3C warming were highlighted as examples of policy success. We can see a clear example of this exact framing in the most recent U.S. National Climate Assessment, which presented an extreme climate scenario (called RCP8.5) as policy failure, with as much as 5.5C warming by 2100. The NCA identified a so-called “mitigation scenario” (called RCP4.5) and presented it as policy success, even though this scenario was projected to “more likely than not” exceed 2C.

Today, with current polices and pledges pointing towards the lower end of 2C to 3C future (or even less), the threshold for apocalypse has in parallel been defined down. For some, a catastrophic future now occurs at 3Cand some are even promoting 2C or even 1.5C as the threshold of catastrophe. For instance, just last month after the release of the latest IPCC report UN Secretary General António Guterres defined the threshold of catastrophe as 2C: “If we continue with more of the same, we can kiss 1.5 goodbye. Even 2 degrees may be out of reach. And that would be catastrophe.” Catastrophe is not what it used to be.

Rooting for policy failure. A third approach to keeping the idea of a future apocalypse alive involves rooting for (or at least promoting) the idea of future policy failure. Of course projections of hopeful climate futures conditioned on future policy implementation are based on an assumption that those future policies will need to be implemented. That is the very nature of scenarios — they help us to understand what we might do to achieve policy goals. But of course, such conditionality has always been the case with scenarios. For instance, the most extreme climate scenarios used to support the notion of a climate apocalypse (such as RCP8.5) were also conditioned on policy implementation — in that case, the assumption that policy makers will intentionally seek to convert all of the world energy to coal. That was never going to happen, and continued decarbonization of he global economy looks far more likely.

So instead of dwelling on the apocalypse, what should we be doing instead? I have three suggestions.

First, we have to move beyond the rhetoric of climate catastrophe. Whatever use it may have served in the past, such rhetoric is now a liability. As time goes by and the threshold of catastrophe is defined down, catastrophists are setting the stage for their own delegitimization. The world is currently at about 1.2C. If 1.5C is the threshold for catastrophe, then we are presently not far away in time when such futures will collide with the real world. Because the IPCC does not actually project apocalyptic futures at 1.5C (or even 2C), when people wake up one day and learn that the scheduled apocalypse did not come to pass, they may start asking some questions. Future climate change poses serious risks, of course, and society manages all manner of risks in global issues — pandemics, geopolitics, agriculture, population, etc. — without turning them into unhelpful millenarian caricatures. Climate change is far too important to be treated unseriously.

Second, we need to double down on what I and colleagues have called oblique climate policy, recognizing that accelerated decarbonization of the global energy systems makes sense for many more reasons than just climate. For instance:

Europe has recently learned that its reliance on fossil fuels from Russia pose significant economic and geopolitical risks. Relying less on fossil fuels and more on carbon-free energy from domestic or partners would dramatically reduce those risks.

We see around the world that price volatility (and overall higher-priced energy) can lead to economic and political disruption. Whether it is the destabilizing effects of higher food prices or the knock-on political effects of higher-priced fuel, it is clear that reliable, cheap energy fosters greater political stability.

Don’t forget, vast populations around the world still lack access to the energy services that you and I enjoy every day. The demand for greater supply of energy will be a continuing feature of global geopolitics and national political agendas. Expanding access to energy services without creating new geopolitical risks, economic volatility or domestic political conflict requires expanding access to reliable and affordable supply. That supply will be fossil fuels unless viable alternatives are readily available at acceptable costs.

Of course, if each of these reasons underpinning a more pragmatic approach to energy policies also has the knock-on effect of accelerating decarbonization of the global economy, then so much the better. A post-apocalyptic climate policy is also one that is more robust. Because it is supported by multiple justifications for action, scary climate futures do not have to carry all the weight. But with more policy complexity that accompanies obliquity, so too comes a need for more diversity in the relevant expertise needed to understand and develop policy alternatives. Maintaining the vision of a climate apocalypse thus isn’t just about how we see the future, it is also about who sits in positions of power providing knowledge in support of shaping that future.

Overall, moving to a post-apocalyptic orientation towards climate policy will be a good thing. It will turn decarbonization from a single-issue focus to a many-issue focus. We have precedent for such a reframing in how a perceived global “population crisis” of the 1960s and 1970s transformed from an issue focused on “overpopulation” to one more focused on seemingly oblique issues, like women’s rights, education, agricultural productivity, democracy and more. Issues related to population remain crucially important in 2022 even thought the apocalyptic framing was left behind. Climate change appears to be following a similar path.




Thursday, April 21, 2022

Biden administration launches $6 billion giveaway to nuclear power plant operators

The Biden administration on Tuesday opened applications for a $6 billion program to help nuclear power plants struggling with rising costs as it seeks to stop the generators from shutting down under its goal of transitioning to clean energy.

The U.S. nuclear power industry's 93 reactors generate more than half of the country's carbon-free electricity, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). But 12 reactors have closed since 2013 in the face of competition from renewable energy and plants that burn plentiful natural gas.

In addition, safety costs have soared after the 2011 tsunami at Japan's Fukushima plant and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The industry produces toxic waste, currently stored on site at plants across 28 states.

The DOE said it will take applications from owners of nuclear plants for the first round of funding in its Civil Nuclear Credit Program until May 19. It will prioritize reactors that have already announced their intention to close. The program, intended for plants in states with competitive electricity markets, was funded by the infrastructure bill that passed last year.


Greenies want to regulate the seabed

The startup’s pitch was simple and cinematic:

The mining company would send large robots to explore the bottom of the ocean and harvest minerals millions of years old that could be used to make electric car batteries.

A promotional video showed a machine gliding over the seabed and DeepGreen Metals company executives in deep contemplation along a dramatic shoreline. A big selling point at a time the company was courting investors, though, was the man shown walking on a massive ship and speaking of the need to mine the ocean floor: the secretary-general of the International Seabed Authority, the United Nations-affiliated organization responsible for regulating ocean mining companies and preserving the deep sea.

Michael Lodge's appearance in the video struck now-former members of Lodge’s own staff — and scientists who warn of potentially catastrophic environmental fallout from the mining venture — as problematic. It raised concerns, they said, of a conflict of interest between industry, the authority and its secretariat, the 47-person administrative arm Lodge leads, at a crucial moment for the world’s oceans.

“Land-based resources are becoming increasingly difficult to access. We have taken the best resources already,” Lodge said in the 2018 video, as he peered at the computer screens on the DeepGreen vessel. He went on to let viewers know that his agency was on board with the company's quest, having greenlighted a 15-year “exploration” contract.

As Lodge’s organization works to draft regulations that will allow robots to mine the seabed on an industrial scale, internal documents reviewed by The Times point to a closeness with mining companies that stands out as unorthodox in environmental regulation.

“The ISA is not fit to regulate any activity in international waters,” said Sandor Mulsow, a marine geologist who served as the authority’s top environmental official for more than five years until 2019. “It is like to ask the wolf to take care of the sheep.”

The authority, which was established by a United Nations treaty but operates autonomously, is pushing to set up rules that could allow seabed mining in as soon as two years, despite calls from scientists and even some car companies for more research into the little-known ecosystems and the scale of damage that excavating the ocean floor could cause. A vast stretch of the Pacific between Hawaii and Mexico is set to be mined first, and Southern California ports would probably be a major base for some mining operations. 

This new frontier of the electric car supply chain operates by its own rules. Much of the International Seabed Authority’s key work is conducted out of sight from its members — 167 nations and the European Union. Australia, Mexico, Chile, Britain and at least five other member states have expressed growing concern that the authority isn’t requiring mining contractors to do enough environmental assessment. The organization is accused by some nongovernmental organizations and some of its own former employees of being too accommodating to the companies it regulates.

Its budget is small, at less than $10 million, but auditors and key ISA staff have raised concerns over the authority's financial controls. The staff is dispirited to the point that a management consultant in 2018 summarized the ISA in an internal email as “an unpleasant (and often toxic) place to be.” The consultant returned in 2019 to report morale had dropped further.

The International Seabed Authority, through a lawyer, disputed the findings of The Times’ investigation. It said the authority “consists of motivated, highly committed experts from more than 20 countries, working hard to fulfill the important mandate with which it has been entrusted.” Asked about the promotional video in which Lodge is shown, the ISA said he regularly interacts with stakeholders including member states and contractors and visits sites including research vessels, adding that “interactions reflect the proper and professional continuance” of the authority’s mission. “The ISA had little control over the use of the images captured by third parties.”

Lodge has publicly accused critics of the authority of misconstruing its work and overstating the potential impacts of mining. At a conference in June, he talked of “a growing environmental absolutism and dogmatism bordering on fanaticism.”

Earlier, he had pointedly dismissed concerns raised by scientists and nonprofits, telling the publication Economist Impact that the consequences of mining are “predictable and manageable.” “If you said that no industry can start until we know what is going to happen from that industry, then that’s an entirely circular argument that would prevent any industry in the history of humanity from starting,” Lodge said in the late 2019 interview.


British government plans to scrap green energy levies welcomed

Net Zero Watch has welcomed the government's intention to consider scrapping green energy levies on energy bills.

According to the Daily Telegraph, "government officials are examining whether the controversial levies – used to fund renewable energy subsidy schemes – could be phased out gradually or dropped altogether by the autumn when bills are expected to soar."

Green levies cost the UK economy about £11 billion a year in total, putting £150 a year on the average household electricity bill, and a further £250 per household on the annual cost of living, a total of £400 per household per year. The levies also depress wages and rates of employment.

Net Zero Watch and a long list of MPs have repeatedly called on ministers to remove these subsidies from energy bills to help reduce the mounting cost of living crisis.

Dr John Constable, Net Zero Watch director of energy, said:

"Given the high prices now available in the electricity markets it is evident that wind turbines, solar panels and biomass power stations no longer need any subsidies and should now be able to compete as pure merchant generators."

Putting renewables on a market basis would also help to reduce system operating costs, and prevent green generators subsidised under the Renewables Obligation from, as is increasingly suspected, taking both the very high market prices and the subsidies, thus generating hyper-profits.

Steve Baker MP said:

"In light of the deepening energy cost and cost of living crisis the government seems to be making gradual progress towards a more realistic energy policy. Making the public poorer and colder never seemed likely to survive contact with electors. We can only hope ministers now accelerate reforms to a policy which is socially, economically and politically viable."

Dr Benny Peiser, Net Zero Watch director said:

"It would appear that ministers are realising that billions in subsidies for renewable energy is no longer compatible with the cost of living crisis, threatening the welfare of tens of millions of households and undermining economic and political stability. The longer the Government delays terminating handouts for renewable energy investors the higher the economic and political cost for consumers, businesses and the government.

Press Release from Net Zero Watch.


Australian PM promises no mining and carbon taxes

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attempt to wedge Labor on taxes and support for the mining industry in Western Australia as he tries to win over voters in the resource-rich state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morrison suffered his first major gaffe of the election campaign while on the hustings in Perth on Monday, incorrectly stating the rate of JobSeeker.

But he will shift the conversation to taxes in a speech to the WA Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, saying the government knows how to keep a lid on them.

“That’s why if the Coalition is returned at the forthcoming election, I can assure you there will be no mining tax,” Morrison is expected to say. “There will be no carbon tax. And there will be no adverse changes to fuel tax credit arrangements.”

The Coalition is at risk of losing up to three seats in the state, with Western Australians overwhelmingly backing their Labor premier Mark McGowan’s border closures during the pandemic which effectively cut them off from the rest of the country for two years.

The Coalition is expected to use previous comments from Anthony Albanese from as early as 2018 supporting a price on carbon and an emissions trading scheme to argue Labor cannot be trusted to make the same pledge.

Morrison will say that his government never takes the resources sector in WA for granted and that Australia needs to back its traditional strengths “from iron ore and gold to gas and coal”.

He will also promise to continue investing in critical minerals, mining regions and cutting-edge research and technologies.

“The resources sector has been and remains central to our economic plan that has led us through this crisis and setting our opportunities for the future,” Morrison is expected to say.

Geo-politically and economically, Australia have entered a period of renewed tension and turbulence in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Morrison will warn.

“On top of the economic fallout from the global pandemic, we now face the biggest energy and commodity price shock since the oil shock of the early 1970s,” he will say.

Morrison will say that critical shortages in energy have led to widespread increases in prices in recent months.

“While the economic consequences of Russia’s war of aggression are still playing out, sanctions applied to Russia are affecting commodity supply chains, and further sanctions are in prospect,” he will say.

“Commodity market dislocation and supply chain stresses have pushed up inflation around the world. Australia is not immune from these pressures.”

Morrison will pledge to “keep investing in mining regions”.

“Australians in our capital cities have long been the beneficiaries of visionary investments to develop the Pilbara, going back more than 50 years,” he will say.