Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Why The Biden Admin Wants Censorship Of Renewable Energy Critics

The evil witch of climate politics

Biden Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy last week demanded that Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies crack down on those who are “seeding doubt about the costs associated with [green energy] and whether they work or not” in the name of public health.

In the face of widespread public outrage, the Biden Administration last month backed away from a proposal to create a disinformation board at the Department of Homeland Security.

But now it’s back with new demands to censor its critics, this time using a tactic that has worked in the recent past: by framing them as a threat to public health.

In a talk with Axios, Biden Administration Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy said, “The tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation.”

After an Axios reporter asked, “Isn't misinformation and disinfo around climate a threat to public health itself?” McCarthy responded, “Oh, absolutely… We are talking, really, about risks that no longer need to be tolerated to our communities.”

McCarthy pointed specifically to those who criticized the failure of weather-dependent renewables during the blackouts in Texas in February 2021. But many of those criticisms were factual. Over the last decade in Texas, investors sunk over $53 billion on weather-dependent energy sources, mostly wind turbines, which alongside frozen fossil fuel plants were largely unavailable during the cold snap in February. That was only partly because of the cold and mostly because of low wind speeds.

McCarthy claimed that the critics of renewables are funded by “dark money” fossil fuel companies, which she compared to Big Tobacco. She claimed the critics are being paid to “fool” the public about “the benefits of clean energy.” “We need the tech companies to really jump in,” she said, because criticizing renewables is “equally dangerous to denial because we have to move fast.”

But the main critics of renewables, including those used in Texas, do not receive funding from the fossil fuel industry. Those critics including Bjorn Lomborg, author of False Alarm, Steve Kooning, author of Unsettled, and me.

Moreover, McCarthy’s own interview with Axios was sponsored by 3M, a major supplier to the solar industry that has lobbied directly for climate and energy legislation that would benefit 3M.

There is no question that social media companies including Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Twitter, and Alphabet (Google and YouTube) are well within their legal right to censor inaccurate and harmful information. But over the last two years, Big Tech has repeatedly censored individuals for communicating accurate information, including on covid and climate change.

Start with covid. In 2020, Facebook and Youtube censored information accurately suggesting that covid may have been created in a lab. Twitter removed a tweet by a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force who questioned the efficacy of masks. And Facebook censored a claim in October by President Donald Trump that a covid vaccine was imminent, which it was.

Censorship continued in 2021 with the encouragement of the White House. In mid-2021, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration was identifying “problematic” covid posts for Facebook to censor. YouTube removed a video in which scientists from Harvard and Stanford expressed their opinion to Florida’s governor that children should not be required to wear masks. And Facebook censored former New York Times journalist John Tierney for accurately reporting on evidence of the harms to children from wearing masks.

There has been a similar pattern on climate change. In 2020, Facebook censored me for correctly pointing out that humans are not causing a sixth mass extinction and that weather-related disasters have become less deadly and less costly over time. Shortly after, Facebook censored John Stossel after he made a video that accurately pointed out that California’s high-intensity fires were mostly caused by poor government management, not climate change. And last year, Facebook censored Bjorn Lomborg for accurately reporting that the British medical journal Lancet found that warmer temperatures save lives.

Facebook and other social media companies give the people they have censored little in the way of an appeal process. After Stossel sued Facebook, its parent company, Meta, said in response to the lawsuit that Facebook’s “fact-checks” are just “opinion” and thus immune from defamation charges.

As such, notes The Wall Street Journal, “Merely pointing out technical limitations of lithium-ion batteries could be ‘disinformation,’” under the expansive censorship framework being proposed by McCarthy, Center for American Progress, and social media companies.

What, exactly, is going on? Given the widespread backlash to its proposed disinformation board, and the unfair censorship of accurate information, why is the Biden Administration once again seeking to censor its critics?


If your power goes out this summer, blame President Joe Biden's energy policies

The president is beholden to climate extremists, and his administration is using every tool available to block American energy production. His administration is forcing American families through an energy transition that has no credible economic or technological path forward. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

President Joe Biden speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in the Oval Office on June 16, 2022.
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Struggling with the price of fuel

We are living with the painful results. Consumers are struggling with sky-high energy costs feeding 40-year high inflation. Americans are confronted with a new record-high gasoline price almost daily.

At these prices, the average family could pay about $4,800 this year for gasoline, a 70% increase over a year ago. That pain at the pump is about to get even worse. JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts gasoline prices will hit an average of $6.20 a gallon by summer’s end. That’s up from the Memorial Day average of about $4.60.

It is not just gasoline prices pummeling family budgets. The price of electricity is climbing rapidly. In March alone, the average residential price for electricity jumped 4.6% over February’s rate. This was much more than expected and suggests an unusually large annual increase.

Welcome to reality, Mr. President: Inflation has Americans worried

Although consumers pay more for electricity, the service they are getting is growing less reliable. A recent assessment by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) reveals that more than half of the country is at an elevated risk or high risk of energy shortfalls this summer – shortfalls that could lead to blackouts and brownouts.

There are a number of reasons for NERC’s findings. Generator retirements, coal supply constraints, the intermittent nature of wind and solar energy, insufficient electric transmission, demand growth, cyber threats and weather events are all factors.

President Biden’s ill-conceived “incredible transition” is making the first four of these factors worse. The NERC official who led the assessment said at a news briefing that the “pace of our grid transformation is a bit out of sync” with the realities of the current grid.

The head of the California Public Utilities Commission made a similar observation, stating, “We know that reliability is going to be difficult in this time of transition.”

Indeed, it has gotten so bad in California that the officials are warning the state could lack adequate electricity generation to keep the lights on this summer. That has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to reconsider closing California’s last operating nuclear power plant.

Seeing the writing on the wall

As usual, the American people are a step ahead of the politicians. Power outages are much more than an inconvenience. They impose real costs that can add up to tens of billions of dollars each year. While the administration is calling on Americans to buy high-priced electric cars, they are buying backup generators instead. Consumers see the writing on the wall, and they are acting to keep their lights on.

At the same time as the president’s misguided transition is creating grid instability, his administration is pushing policies that put even greater strain on the electric grid. Take electric vehicles. One estimate suggests, for example, that the United States would have to generate an additional 25% more electricity if all U.S. cars were electric. The “electrification of everything” is not a solution to an unreliable grid. It’s a road to even higher electricity prices and more blackouts.


Germans to fire up old coal plants

Germany will restart coal-fired power plants and offer incentives for companies to curb natural gas consumption, marking a new step in the economic war ­between Europe and Russia.

Berlin unveiled the measures on Sunday after Russia cut gas supplies to Europe last week as it punched back against European sanctions and military support for Ukraine.

The steps, part of a broader strategy initiated after the invasion of Ukraine, aim to reduce gas consumption and divert gas deliveries to storage facilities to ensure that the country has enough reserves to get through the winter.

Russia’s gradual cutting of gas supplies has raised the spectre of a potential fuel shortage if ­Europe goes into winter with less-than-full stowages. It has also raised prices, putting additional pressure on economies that are already struggling with high inflation and rising borrowing costs and face the prospect of a recession.

Nord Stream, the main channel for Russian fuel to Europe, has reported a sharp drop in gas supplies.

Gazprom has blamed the shortfall on missing turbine parts that were stuck in Canada due to sanctions. European officials and analysts dismissed the explanation.

Germany imports about 35 per cent of its natural gas from Russia, down from 55 per cent before the war, and uses most of it for heating and manufacturing, according to German government estimates.

Last year, power generation using natural gas accounted for about 15 per cent of total public electricity in Germany, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said.

To accelerate the decline of gas in the power mix, Mr Habeck outlined a number of steps the government was taking to reduce reliance on gas and build up stores for the coming winter.

In a U-turn for a leader of the environmentalist Green Party, which has campaigned to reduce fossil-fuel use, Mr Habeck said the government would empower utility companies to extend the use of coal-fired power plants.

This would ensure that Germany has an alternative source of energy but would further delay the country’s efforts to slash carbon emissions.

“This is bitter,” Mr Habeck said of the need to rely on coal. “But in this situation, it is necessary to reduce gas consumption. Gas stores must be full by winter. That has the highest priority.”

Mr Habeck said the measure expires on March 31, 2024, by which time the government hoped to have created a sustainable alternative to Russian gas.


Renewable or reliable? Energy cannot be both

Australia’s new ALP government has gigantic green energy plans to be funded by electricity consumers and taxpayers.

They promise (with a straight face) that Australia’s electricity will be 82 per cent renewable by 2030.

They predict a 43 per cent reduction in emissions and being ‘on track for Net Zero by 2050’.

They threaten to litter the landscape with 400 community batteries, 85 solar banks, and a $20B expansion of the electricity grid.

This gigantic ‘green’ electricity plan will need at least 150 million Chinese solar panels covering outback kingdoms of land, plus thousands of bird-slicing metal-hungry wind turbines, plus never-ending roads and powerlines – not friendly to grass or trees and with no room for native birds, bees, bats or marsupials – not green at all.

The ALP has also revived the hoary plan to run an extension cord to Tasmania.

Naturally, some greedy green Tasmanians want to keep all that wind, solar, and hydro energy for themselves. Others dream of sending Northern Territory sunshine up a long cable from Darwin to Singapore.

With enthusiastic support from the new Parliament full of Climatists, Net Zeros, Teals, and Greens (but very few engineers) we can expect a disorderly rush to plaster a mess of electrical machinery and appliances all over the face of Australia.

They will also promote more demand for electricity for electric cars, many seeking overnight charging (despite having zero solar power and intermittent wind power at night). So we will need giant fire-prone batteries to recharge small fire-prone batteries.

When there is no sun on a single solar panel for 12 hours, no one notices; when all wind turbines sit idle for days under a slow-moving winter high, no one cares; but when one aging under-maintained coal plant falters, we notice; when three coal generators fail, we have a power crisis.

Yet we have green millionaires urging quicker closure of our few remaining 24/7 coal-powered generators.

The ALP/Green/Teal plan will clutter the countryside with solar panels, wind turbines, transmission lines, access roads (some bitumen), giant batteries, and fire-prone National Parks.

Eastern Australia recently had several very windy days, which caused many blackouts as trees and powerlines were blown down. Imagine the outages and repair costs after a cyclone slices thru this continent-wide spider-web of fragile power lines connecting millions of wind/solar generators, fire-prone batteries, and diverse markets. Picture the green energy network after the next big flood or bushfire.

Europeans can pretend to run a modern society with intermittent energy from windmills and sunbeams because they can call on reliable energy from French nuclear, Scandinavian hydro, Polish and German coal, Iceland geothermal, North Sea natural gas, and (sometimes) Russian gas, oil, and coal.

Australia has no extension cord to neighbours with reliable energy – we are on our own.

We can have Renewable Energy, or Reliable Energy, but not both.


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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