Sunday, July 31, 2022

Trudeau’s fertiliser ‘ban’ threatens to create a food crisis

Typical Leftist destruction

Is the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, an idiot? Ordinarily I’d be more respectful of an elected leader, but this is the man who threatened Canadians over vaccine compliance, froze the bank accounts of peaceful protesters, and winked at China’s model of absolute power.

Having watched Sri Lanka’s government overthrown by starving citizens and the Netherlands grind to a halt behind furious tractors and peasants waving pitchforks – Trudeau has decided to push ahead with his fertiliser tariff and emissions reduction plan.

Provincial leaders complained bitterly about the decision at a meeting last week.

‘Western Canadian farmers already produce the most sustainable agri-food products in the world, and they’re continually being asked to do more with less. We cannot feed the growing world population with a reduction in fertiliser. Western Canadian producers base fertiliser inputs on realistic targets based on moisture availability. Producers are conservative in the use of fertiliser inputs and don’t add more than what is needed. They alone simply cannot shoulder the impact of this shortsighted policy.’

Canadians are furious with the Trudeau government, insisting that the proposed measures will cost the agricultural community billions, and that is if farmers are able to survive the drop in revenue when they are already struggling from rising fuel costs.

Soon, it will be too expensive for anyone except the largest corporations to grow food.

A report commissioned by the Western Canadian Wheat Growers put a price tag on Trudeau’s virtue, with the 30 per cent reduction on fertiliser costing Saskatchewan $4.61B, Alberta $2.95B, and Manitoba $1.58B – not in total – just for the spring crops of canola and wheat.

There are two problems facing farmers in Canada. One is Trudeau’s 30 per cent emissions target as part of the government’s climate goals, and the other is a tariff on imported fertiliser.

The latter has been dressed up as punishment for Russia’s invasion against Ukraine, where Canada’s Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, and their International Trade Minister, Mary Ng, introduced a 35 per cent tariff on all Russian goods.

This tariff includes nitrogen, which is a key component in fertiliser.

Instead of punishing Russia, the tariff has severely hurt Canadian farmers trying to grow food – and it has been done without the government making any serious attempt to replace the Russian market of nitrogen. Why not punish Russia by finding another supplier? Why are Canadian farmers being forced to wear the moral chains for Trudeau’s stand against Putin?

‘Why is it that Canada is the one that’s forcing our farmers to pay for the cost of the war in Ukraine?’ asked Ryan Koeslag, from Ontario Bean Growers.

Russia has established itself as a major exporter of fertiliser, providing over 80 per cent of the market in Eastern Canada, or US$365 million worth in 2021.

Knowing that conflict was a possibility – as former President Trump had warned for years – why was nothing done by the Canadian government to untangle its dependence from Russia in the vital agricultural region? Why leave food production tied to Putin’s whim? Even without the tariff, Russia could turn around and slap Canada with an export ban to which Trudeau has no Plan B.

Canadian farmers are understandably furious that they are being left with Trudeau’s bill while also being weighed down by Net Zero climate targets.

Brendan Byrne of Grain Farmers of Ontario insists that there should be some kind of government compensation for farmers forced to pay the tariff on fertiliser – which could only ever serve as a band-aid solution. It is one of many options to assist farmers. Rebates, an increase in domestic production, importing from a different country… As Koeslag says, Canada has sufficient resources in natural gas to make their own fertiliser.

G7 countries have been cautious to stay away from the topic of fertilisers when dealing with Russia. It was decided early on that tariffs, like the one introduced by Trudeau, have the habit of doing more harm to the country trying to extend the punishment. It is self-defeating – starving yourself to prove a moral point. India gave a similar defence when it refused to stop importing Russian oil and gas, asking why it should impoverish over a billion Indians while doing little to Russia in return.

‘The United States is not applying a tariff. The UK and France are not applying a tariff. Why is it that Canada is the one that’s forcing our farmers to pay for the cost of the war in Ukraine?’ asked Koeslag, who did not disagree with the need to punish Russia – just the way in which Trudeau is going about it.

Maybe the war in Russia is simply an excuse for Trudeau to wind back fertiliser?

The government’s decision to target fertiliser makes more sense if it is viewed in alignment with Canada’s fierce climate goals that follow a similar logic to those of Sri Lanka and the Netherlands where fertiliser is being attacked directly without the justification of war.

This motivation becomes more clear from a recent meeting involving provincial and federal ministers where the government explained that it is ‘looking to impose a requirement to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from fertilisers saying it is a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change’.

Trudeau’s government have admitted that their 30 per cent reduction in emissions for agriculture (which was meant to be voluntary) cannot be achieved without putting restrictions on fertiliser use. This way, Trudeau is able to pretend that the cut is a moral one, in the name of supporting Ukraine, instead of a deeply unpopular political one to meet United Nations and World Economic Forum climate goals.

According to Nate Horner, Alberta’s Agricultural Minister, the last crop was the most expensive to produce in Canada’s history.

The government were unresponsive to pleas by food growers to assess nitrogen emissions via food density, rather than absolute cuts. This is a similar problem for Australia, a nation that feeds and powers the world but keeps ending up the piñata of UN scorn where bureaucrats beat us until tax dollars fall out. Blind cuts are what caused Sri Lanka’s food growing capacity to collapse in a matter of months.

‘The world is looking for Canada to increase production and be a solution to global food shortages. The federal government needs to display that they understand this. We’re really concerned with this arbitrary goal,’ said David Marit, the Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture.

‘The Trudeau government has apparently moved on from their attack on the oil and gas industry and set their sights on Saskatchewan farmers.’


Well, it looks like solar panels aren’t going to be saving the planet any time soon

In fact, some aren’t even able to work efficiently when the sun is too hot, which defeats the purpose of solar energy.

We know this because reports indicate the record heatwave tormenting the United Kingdom has effectively rendered solar panels there useless.

In an article Tuesday headlined “Weather ‘too hot’ for solar panels,” The Telegraph of London reported Tuesday that temperatures of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit — “for the first time ever in Britain” — severely negatively impacted local solar panels’ ability to store energy.

As temperatures rise above 77 F, solar panels become 0.35 percentage points less efficient with each increasing degree Celsius, the report said.

“The efficiency of solar panels is impacted by temperature, with high temperatures above 25 degrees [Celsius] negatively impacting on performance,” Tim Dixon, an analyst at Cornwall Insight, told the outlet. “It is likely that the extreme temperatures have impacted total output levels.”

Luis Villazon of Science Focus offered an explanation in answering a question about whether solar panels work better on hot days.

“Surprisingly, they perform worse as the temperature rises!” he wrote. “Solar panels work by using incoming photons to excite electrons in a semiconductor to a higher energy level. But the hotter the panel is, the greater the number of electrons that are already in the excited state. This reduces the voltage that the panel can generate and lowers its efficiency.

“Higher temperatures also increase the electrical resistance of the circuits that convert the photovoltaic charge into AC electricity.”

Now, it should be noted the past few weeks have been far from a failure on the solar energy front.

According to Fortune, Germany hit record levels of solar energy output over the weekend, although “if temperatures remain elevated for long” that output will certainly regress.

Despite this, the question remains: If climate change is truly the existential threat leftists claim it to be, won’t “extreme temperatures” be the new normal?

At that point, won’t their precious solar energy sources become more and more useless?

When it comes to solar panels, wind turbines and other “green” sources of energy, some experts believe there are already many better alternatives we could be using today.

Author and journalist Michael Shellenberger used to be a climate change alarmist and green energy enthusiast, but then he looked at the numbers.

“People think solar panels protect the environment but they require 300+ times as much land as conventional energy sources and now the Los Angeles Times has discovered that they could ‘contaminate groundwater with toxic heavy metals such as lead, selenium and cadmium,'” Shellenberger tweeted on Sunday. ?


Green Energy Threatens Reliability of Texas, US Electric Grids

Texans might be forgiven for thinking they have it better than the Brits when it comes to keeping the lights on. After all, they live in the energy capital of the world. However, the destructive nature of renewable energy like that used in Great Britain knows no borders, especially when American politicians push subsidies and mandates to force us off fossil fuels, threatening not just Texas but the entire U.S. electric grid.

Just a few days after the British were warned they might have to lower their thermostats and delay their dinners this winter to avoid blackouts, Texans were advised last Monday and Wednesday to conserve energy as summer temperatures peaked.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid manager for most of Texas, issued a conservation appeal to Texans and Texas businesses as last week’s temperatures were expected to top 105 degrees.

Yet the high temperatures were not all that unusual for Texas this summer. So even though demand was pushing to near-record levels, the primary reason for the call for conservation was “wind generation [that] is currently generating significantly less than what it historically generated in this time period.” On Wednesday, some forced traditional outages and lower solar output (due to West Texas cloud cover) also contributed.

Renewables—wind and solar—have come to dominate Texas’s electricity market. For years, coal and natural gas had been the leading sources of electric generation. Over the last two years, though, renewables have topped both, with wind leading the way.

But not last week.

Since the push for renewables in Texas began in 1999, electric generators have spent about $66 billion building wind and solar farms that have a generation capacity today of 46,949 megawatts, with wind accounting for 35,162 of those megawatts.

Yet as temperatures and Texans’ need for electricity were soaring, wind turbines across the state were still; and last Monday, they were producing about only 8% of their installed capacity. Operating reserves—the backup generation needed to keep air conditioners blowing and factories working—were shrinking.

Something very similar happened last year during the unprecedented 2021 blackouts when 10 million Texans went without power and 12 million without water, many for several days, during freezing temperatures. Energy analyst Robert Bryce noted at the time, “Roughly 17% of [wind’s installed] capacity was available when the grid operator was shedding load to prevent the state’s grid from going dark.”

It should also be pointed out that solar’s contribution to the grid during those pre-dawn hours was zero.

Thankfully, last Monday and Wednesday, the Texas grid did not fail. The wind began to pick up in the afternoons, allowing the state to avoid any blackouts. Yet the lesson learned is clear: During periods of extreme cold and heat, Texans have become deeply dependent on the wind and the sun to keep the lights on.

Why did energy-savvy Texas build an electric grid dependent on such unreliable energy sources? The answer is simple: Since 2005, renewable energy subsidies and benefits from federal, state, and local governments have totaled about $23 billion in Texas. As a result, investors have thrown $66 billion at renewables, chasing $1 of guaranteed return for every $3 invested, regardless of the price they get for their electricity.

Additionally, the Biden administration is doing everything it can to make investments in fossil fuels unprofitable. From bans on pipelines and drilling to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rule on environmental, social, and governance investing that would force businesses to disclose uncertain risks due to climate change, it is becoming more difficult and expensive to run afoul of the green agenda.

Despite these costs, renewables are still far more expensive and less efficient in practice than fossil fuels and nuclear energy. For instance, with wind operating at only 8% of installed capacity last Monday, about $51 billion of the $56 billion invested in Texas wind turbines produced nothing just when Texans needed power most. While investors profited, Texas consumers and taxpayers were paying billions for a grid on the verge of blackouts.

On the other hand, imagine if the $56 billion spent on wind had been invested in reliable generation from coal, natural gas, or nuclear fuel. With those sources operating at 90% or more of capacity, no calls for conservation would have been issued last week, electricity prices would be lower in general, and Texans would be working and resting comfortably without a regular fear of grid failure.

Of course, Texans are not the only people experiencing these problems. The reliability of the entire U.S. electric grid is under pressure as it is being forced by irresponsible politicians and bureaucrats to shift away from fossil fuels to renewables. Energy trader Brynne Kelly recently said, “Problems with power grids across the U.S. and other countries are a potential catalyst for chaos in energy markets that are underappreciated.”

Bryce explains that the push for renewables is doomed to failure for the simple reason that they are ancient technologies that have long been eclipsed by more reliable alternatives:

By using hydrocarbons (at first coal, then later oil and natural gas) humans were able to harness ever increasing quantities of power and do so in ever-denser packages. In place of animal power, sun power, and wind power, factories began using advanced waterwheels and coal-fired steam engines.

The only reason wind and solar have made a comeback in the United States is because of government mandates and the more than $140 billion in government subsidies renewables have received in recent years.

There is still hope, however, that Americans won’t have to experience the energy poverty and forced lifestyle changes of our British neighbors. The solution for avoiding this is straightforward: End the subsidies and mandates, and renewables will go the way of the horse and buggy.


Trapped in a climate fantasy: We actually need coal and gas

Comment from Australia

Here are four fundamental, unacknowledged realities underlying our energy, climate change and economic situation.

One. Coal is not a stranded asset. It is booming worldwide. The amount of traded coal is increasing. The share of global electricity coal generates has barely moved in 30 years, despite intense Western efforts to end financing for coal.

Two. This is true of fossil fuels generally. The percentage of global electricity generated by gas is rising.

Three. Australia’s economy is totally dependent on exports of gas, coal, iron ore and other minerals. Nothing can replace this. Without it, our social spending, defence, aid would all be unaffordable.

Four. The push for renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is overwhelming in developed countries and strong in developing countries. However, if the world, or Australia, is to get anywhere near net zero, this will come at enormous financial cost and reduced living standards. This may be a sacrifice worth making to save the planet, but enormous costs are inevitable.

It is perhaps surprising that the political leader making the strongest effort to integrate these disparate realities into some kind of coherent policy is actually the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. It’s important if Australian policy is to have any coherence that Albanese holds sway within his own party. It’s a perplexing feature of the new government that Albanese seems to be alone in making the case that new coal and gas projects should be approved because Australian coal is cleaner – that is, generates fewer emissions per unit of energy – than any coal that might replace it. And gas is cleaner than coal. That Albanese seems alone in advocating this proposition, which is Labor policy, is dangerous for the ALP.

It may be that his long involvement with the infrastructure portfolio has endowed Albanese with a deeper familiarity and appreciation than most left-wing politicians have of wealth creation rather than just redistribution.

A great deal of our climate ­debate is based on falsehoods, ­ignores fundamental facts and avoids realistic international comparisons. It’s commonly claimed Australia has lost a decade due to the ­climate wars and most other nations are thus far ahead of us. This is complete baloney based on a failure to take note of the most ­elementary facts of international life. In most developed nations, ­including Australia, greenhouse gas emissions have been either steady or declining for more than a decade.

The great big growth in emissions is in developing and middle income nations like China, India and Indonesia. In case those who claim we are uniquely disadvantaged haven’t noticed, most of Western Europe, which has gone much further in de-industrialising and embracing renewables than we have, is suffering a crippling ­energy crisis.

Western Europe depends on Russian gas. Germany used Russian gas to enable it to close coal-fired power stations and, very foolishly, nuclear power stations. The most stable nation in energy is France, because it relies so heavily on nuclear energy. Germany, like other Europeans, has restarted coal-fired power stations.

Germany wants to sanction Russia, but then objects to Russia not selling it more gas. Germany demonises fossil fuels but is completely dependent on gas. There is a parallel in Australia. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews wants more Queensland gas. But Victoria would be producing its own gas if his government had not placed so many prohibitions, restrictions and moratoriums on gas.

Russia is making as much money as ever from its energy ­exports. It sells energy to non-Western nations which are not boycotting it, such as China and India. And the gas it still sells to Europe it sells at sky high prices. Far from the West crippling Russia through energy sanctions, Moscow has intentionally turned down the volume of gas it will send to Europe, both to put Europe under pressure and to prevent Europe from filling up its gas reserves heading into winter.

As a result, the European Union has made a deal among its members to voluntarily reduce gas consumption by 15 per cent. But if it’s a cold winter in Europe, watch out for big domestic political trouble. In Britain, Tory leadership front runner Liz Truss is promising to cut green energy levies because of soaring energy prices, and inflation generally.

And in the United States, far from the climate wars being over, Joe Biden cannot get his climate plans legislated. The Democrats won the White House and both the Senate and the House of Representatives and yet the US political system will not pass Biden’s climate measures. Republicans are overwhelmingly likely to win the House in November and more narrowly favoured to win the Senate. That puts Biden’s climate agenda into complete reverse.

Canada has less political division over the issue but its big adjustments are ahead.

More here:




Friday, July 29, 2022

Climate change is killing more elephants than poaching, Kenyan officials say

What nonsense! Africa has always been prone to punishing droughts. Why does this one have to be caused by climate change? Sadly, I have been seeing images of starving African children as far back as I can remember

Illegal ivory poaching once posed a significant threat to Kenya’s elephants. But now the giants of the animal kingdom are facing an even bigger risk: climate change.

As Kenya battles its worst drought in four decades, the crisis is killing 20 times more elephants than poaching, according to officials. They cite desiccated carcasses found in Tsavo National Park, where much wildlife has fled in recent years in search of water.

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To survive, elephants require vast landscapes for foraging. Adults can consume 300 pounds of food and more than 50 gallons of water a day. But rivers, soil and grassland are drying up, resulting in a barren and deadly environment.

In the last year, at least 179 elephants have died of thirst, whereas poaching has claimed the lives of fewer than 10, Kenyan Tourism and Wildlife Secretary Najib Balala told the BBC. “It is a red alarm,” he said of the crisis.

Balala suggested that so much time and effort has been spent tackling the issue of poaching that environmental issues have been neglected.

“We have forgotten to invest into biodiversity management and ecosystems,” he said. “We have invested only in illegal wildlife trade and poaching.”

In recent years, Kenyan officials have clamped down on poaching, which has targeted giraffes for their meat, bones and hair and elephants for their ivory tusks.

Heftier penalties for poachers, traders and financiers were introduced under an updated wildlife and conservation management act that took effect in 2014. It was hailed for deterring criminals as wildlife populations rebounded.

49 million people face famine as Ukraine war, climate disasters intensify

In September, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought sweeping parts of the country a national disaster, with millions facing food instability and malnutrition.

Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said it would provide almost $255 million in aid to Kenya, including emergency food and support for farmers. They say they have lost up to the 70 percent of their crops, along with their livestock.

The agency said it would assist communities in Kenya’s arid and semiarid counties, which are experiencing the worst effects of the drought.

More than 4 million people in Kenya are facing acute food shortages. In recent months, child malnutrition cases have surged by half, to 942,000, Reuters reported.

And it’s not just elephants that are dying as a result of human-caused climate change.

Seven million livestock in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have died since last fall, according to a recent report by USAID’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

The carcasses of giraffes, goats, camels and droves of cattle have also been found in villages after starving to death in northern Kenya. Such losses can be ruinous for families, which face food insecurity as a result, The Washington Post reported last year.

Rangers and hunters have tried to help the animals by supplying water and planting drought-resistant trees, but the dry spell has been relentless. Exacerbating the food crisis has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has driven up the prices of wheat and maize.

And while Kenya continues to face a punishing drought, the United States and Britain are also battling rising temperatures and scorched landscapes amid record heat.

In the United States, several states including California, which is enduring its third consecutive year of drought, have introduced water restrictions. In Britain, officials have warned of a drought and more wildfires in August following the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the country this month.


China orders 300 million more tonnes of coal to be mined a year

China is stepping up construction of coal-fired power stations and has ordered an extra 300 million tonnes of the fossil fuel to be mined every year as it apparently contradicts its own climate change commitments.

Beijing approved the construction of 8.63 gigawatts (GW) of coal power in the first quarter of this year, nearly half the amount seen in all last year, according to a report from Greenpeace East Asia.

President Xi last year committed to phase down coal use from 2026 to tackle China’s position as the world’s biggest emitter by volume of greenhouse gases. However, climate experts are concerned those targets are undermined with a government focused on economic challenges.

The approval for coal-fired power gathered momentum in the fourth quarter of last year after China began suffering nationwide power shortages, Greenpeace said. As a result, 11GW of capacity was approved in the last quarter, from a total of 18.55GW last year. That momentum has continued into this year, the group said.

China relies on coal for about 60 per cent of its electricity and has asked domestic miners to increase capacity by 300 million tonnes this year. Electricity consumption has surged this summer as China suffers an intense heatwave, with air conditioning cranked up at homes and businesses.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced 10 billion yuan (£1.2 billion) of investment in coal power generation in May, as coal producers were pressed to ramp up output.


Electric bus failure

Just one day after officials promoted the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act, CTtransit, the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s bus service, has pulled its entire fleet of electric buses due to one bursting into flames. The electric vehicles have been replaced with traditional diesel-powered buses.

The New Haven Register reports that one day after officials promoted the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act, one of the state-run electric buses burst into a massive inferno. The CTtransit bus caught on fire in a Hamden parking lot on Saturday morning and resulted in two workers and a firefighter being sent to the hospital.

Hamden fire officials said: “Lithium ion battery fires are difficult to extinguish due to the thermal chemical process that produces great heat and continually reignites.” Two transit workers were hospitalized as a precaution after being exposed to the smoke and a firefighter was taken to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

The bus was delivered in December and began service in January according to CTtransit spokesperson Josh Rickman. “The bus, last operated on July 20, on routes 243 and 265, and was not in service at the time of the incident,” Rickman said. “Bus fires are rare, but can occur similar to cars. This is CTtransit’s first fire incident with a battery electric bus. Bus operators, maintenance staff and others undergo extensive training and safety protocols are in place.”

Due to the fire, the entire electric bus fleet has been pulled from service as a precaution. “The importance of rider safety is demonstrated by taking these buses out of service and ensuring a thorough investigation is completed prior to any redeployment of the fleet,” Rickman said. “We have deployed diesel buses to make sure people get to where they need to be.”


Greenie lunacy in Australia

Power grids transitioning to renewable energy generates great debate, but no one is discussing the Australian government’s transition into madness, marked by bouts of delusion and dissociation from reality on any issue involving climate.

An obvious area of denial is the chaos in power grids, with wholesale electricity prices spiking and major users being paid to stay off the grid to balance supply. Yet in the midst of it all, as if nothing was happening, a minster or official will declare that the switch to renewables must be accelerated.

Another is the declaration by defence minister Richard Marles that climate change – specifically rising sea levels – is a greater threat to the Pacific than Chinese military aggression. Made during a visit to the US in mid-July the minister’s comments may have had more to do with maintaining harmony at the Pacific Island Forum then being held in Fiji and attended by Prime Minister Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong, or cosying up to Beijing, but it was a strange statement for a defence minister to make.

As part of the forum the federal government followed the fad of declaring climate emergencies signing a joint forum declaration including the phrase. Now all they have to do is to produce an emergency, although they will probably settle for another State of the Climate report declaring that eco-systems are on the point of collapse, as they have for more than 30 years.

For island nations the declaration makes complete sense. Tuvalu, for example, sits on the peak of a submerged mountain top with poor soils, half way between Australia and Hawaii, where it is regularly visited by cyclones. So climate has always been a problem. But if the developed countries can be persuaded that the nation’s troubles are somehow their fault, they may contribute billions to a climate fund long promised during the endless series of international summits. Some of that climate money would be funnelled to the Pacific nations.

From the point of view of the minister of defence however, his declaration is madness. Satellites have tracked sea level increases world-wide for decades with the results publicly available on a site run by Columbia university. Since the early 1990s, when satellite monitoring began, sea levels have been increasing at an average rate of 3.3 millimetres a year. Such an increase, if extended over a whole century, adds up to an undramatic one third of a metre.

In addition, in a paper in the journal Nature Communications in February 2018 three New Zealand academics point out that there is growing evidence that islands are geologically dynamic, with features that adjust to changing sea level and climatic conditions. As a result, Tuvalu’s overall area has been increasing, not decreasing, although the island’s government strongly disputes that any of the additional surface area is usable land. Storms are another, obvious problem in the Pacific, but a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change in June, authored by 12 mostly Australian academics, states that the frequency of tropical cyclones has been declining due to climate change. The paper was reported straight-faced by the mainstream media without acknowledging that it contradicted decades of green propaganda.

Then there is the ongoing power crisis which has affected most Western countries. In Australia, the lack of a power capacity market, which pays generators simply to be ready to produce power, combined with relentless green propaganda against coal-fired power plants means no new plants have been built for years, there are fewer coal-fired generators capable of delivering on-demand power, and those still operating are increasingly unreliable due to age and lack of maintenance.

Those problems, combined with massive increase in energy prices, have resulted in spikes in wholesale power prices, particularly in Queensland, with advisor Energy Edge noting that wholesale power prices in the state more than doubled to an unheard-of average of $323 a megawatt-hour in the June quarter. When coal-fired power stations ruled the old state grids 20 years ago, wholesale power cost about $40 a megawatt hour. A few years ago, it was $80 a megawatt hour.

The chaos, and revelations that the government may pay some $1.7 billion to major power users who agree to stay off the grid during the crisis, has not affected the worldview of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. In a recent conference in Sydney, as the crisis was unfolding, he talked of the shift to net zero and ‘the transformative role of clean energy technologies’.

Activists claim a big part of the problem is the increase in prices for gas and coal, but they bear the blame, having repeatedly attacked new coal mines and gas projects, and their financiers, using propaganda, protests and legal actions designed to deter or delay projects.

Thanks to their efforts, no one should be surprised that developed countries are dependent for energy supplies on the likes of Russia, where green activists trying to shut fossil fuel projects get into serious trouble. In 2013, for example, the Russian government charged Greenpeace activists who tried to interfere with an oil platform above the Arctic circle with piracy. The charges were dropped after two months but activists have stayed away from Russian oil platforms.

Threatening to throw activists in jail for up to 12 years is unlikely to happen in the West but any government serious about energy security must recognise that the grid will require base-load fossil fuel power for many years to come, and do more to stand up to climate trouble-makers. Along the way they could try to regain their sanity.




Thursday, July 28, 2022

Temperature extremes: it’s cold South of the Equator

The widespread proclamations that recent short episodes of very high temperatures in some parts of the Northern hemisphere are proof positive of global warming are so brain-dead that I have forborne to put up anything about them, but perhaps I should say something.

That you can't judge climate from isolated episodes of weather seems to be too profound for many. And actual global warming as told to us by climatologists is measured in tenths of a degree. How can a change of tenths of a degree give rise to hugely hot episodes? There is clearly some other influence or influences at work.

But the big factor being overlooked by those who should know better is the unusually COLD weather in the Southern hemisphere at roughly the same time. People around me have all been complaining about it and the Australian media have been vocal too. So the GLOBAL temperature has on average been unremarkable. And remember it is global warming we are supposed to be talking about.

Some more germane comments below

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While sizzling temperatures in Europe have captured the attention of the mainstream media, recent prolonged bouts of cold in the Southern Hemisphere have gone almost unnoticed. Can these simultaneous weather extremes be ascribed to climate change, or is natural variability playing a major role?

It’s difficult to answer the question because a single year is a short time in the climate record. Formally, climate is the average of weather, or short-term changes in atmospheric conditions, over a 30-year period. But it is possible to compare the current heat and cold in different parts of the globe with their historical trends.

The recent heat wave in western and southern Europe is only one of several that have afflicted the continent recently. The July scorcher this year, labeled unprecedented by the media, was in fact less severe than back-to-back European heat waves in the summer of 2019.

In the second 2019 wave, which also occurred in July, the mercury in Paris reached a new record high of 42.6 degrees Celsius (108.7 degrees Fahrenheit), besting the previous record of 40.4 degrees Celsius (104.7 degrees Fahrenheit) set back in July 1947. A month earlier, during the first heat wave, temperatures in southern France hit a blistering 46.0 degrees Celsius (114.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Both readings exceed the highest temperatures reported in France during the July 2022 heat wave.

Yet back in 1930, the temperature purportedly soared to a staggering 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Loire valley during an earlier French heat wave, according to Australian and New Zealand newspapers. The same newspapers reported that in 1870, the ther­mometer had reached an even higher, unspecified level in that region. Europe’s official all-time high-temperature record is 48.0 degrees Celsius (118.4 degrees Fahrenheit) set in 1977.

Although the UK, Portugal and Spain have also suffered from searing heat this year, Europe experienced an unseasonably chilly spring. On April 4, France experienced its coldest April night since records began in 1947, with no less than 80 new low-temperature records being established across the nation. Fruit growers all across western Europe resorted to drastic measures to save their crops, including the use of pellet stoves for heating and spraying the fruit with water to create an insulating layer of ice.

South of the Equator, Australia and South America have seen some of their coldest weather in a century. Australia’s misery began with frigid Antarctic air enveloping the continent in May, bringing with it the heaviest early-season mountain snow in more than 50 years. In June, Brisbane in normally temperate Queensland had its coldest start to winter since 1904. And Alice Springs, which usually enjoys a balmy winter in the center of the country, has just endured 12 consecutive mornings of sub-freezing temperatures, surpassing the previous longest streak set in 1976.

South America too is experiencing icy conditions this year, after an historically cold winter in 2021 which decimated crops. The same Antarctic cold front that froze Australia in May brought bone-numbing cold to northern Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil; Brazil’s capital Brasilia logged its lowest temperature in recorded history. Later in the month the cold expanded north into Bolivia and Peru.

Based on history alone then, there’s nothing particularly unusual about the 2022 heat wave in Europe or the shivery winter down under, which included the coldest temperatures on record at the South Pole. Although both events have been attributed to climate change by activists and some climate scientists, natural explanations have also been put forward.

A recent study links the recent uptick in European heat waves to changes in the northern polar and subtropical jet streams. The study authors state that an increasingly persistent double jet stream pattern and its associated heat dome can explain “almost all of the accelerated trend” in heat waves across western Europe. Existence of a stable double-jet pattern is related to the blocking phenomenon, an example of which is shown in the figure below.

Blocking refers to a jet stream buckling that produces alternating, stationary highs and lows in pressure. Normally, highs and lows move on quickly, but the locking in place of a jet stream for several days or weeks can produce a heat dome. The authors say double jets and blocking are closely connected, but further research is needed to ascertain whether the observed increase in European double jets is part of internal natural variability of the climate system, or a response to climate change.

Likewise, it has been suggested that the frigid Southern Hemisphere winter may have a purely natural explanation, namely cooling caused by the January eruption of an undersea volcano in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga. Although I previously showed how the massive submarine blast could not have contributed to global warming, it’s well known that such eruptions pour vast quantities of ash into the upper atmosphere, where it lingers and causes subsequent cooling by reflecting sunlight.


The End of the Gas Range and Fireplace? Local Governments Ban Natural Gas

Are you hoping for a shiny gas range in your new home? How about a fireplace as the main attraction of your new living room?

If so, don’t move to Los Angeles, because the city is phasing out natural gas hookups in all new residential and commercial buildings effective Jan. 1, 2023. But LA isn’t alone. It’s California’s 57th locality to introduce commitments to phase out natural gas, and many cities across the country are following suit.

In a misguided effort to reduce emissions, localities that pass ordinances like these totally ignore just how vital natural gas is not only for our broader energy landscape, but also for families and businesses.

Nationwide, natural gas accounts for roughly 38% of electricity generation, and around 177 million Americans use natural gas to heat their homes and cook their meals.

Beyond its prevalence, natural gas is also an affordable source of energy. Residential natural gas is estimated to cost almost one-quarter the price of electricity, which, according to the American Gas Association, adds up to an average annual savings of over $1,000 in household utilities.

And natural gas is a relatively clean source of energy. The U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that “burning natural gas for energy results in fewer emissions of nearly all types of air pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) than burning coal or petroleum products to produce an equal amount of energy.”

Yet, even with all of these benefits considered, environmental activists would rather push out-of-touch policies that drive up prices for families and businesses and wreak havoc on consumer choice.

For LA restaurant owners, the new ordinance inhibits their ability to expand their businesses, create more jobs, and offer competitive prices for restaurant patrons. Chefs around the city already rely heavily on gas stoves for food preparation. The city’s natural gas ban will discourage businesses from expanding—if new buildings won’t feature gas lines, it is unlikely some businesses will open new locations.

And for restaurant patrons, these restrictions could also mean higher costs, as energy hugely affects food prices. Forcing business owners to shift away from natural gas in favor of all electric appliances—especially in a city where electricity prices already surpass the national average—will only impact food and energy costs more. With prices rising at rates not seen in over 40 years, natural gas bans will only add fuel to the proverbial fire.

Unfortunately, 77 other municipalities across the country have introduced or adopted some form of a ban on natural gas hookups under the banner of climate change. Some cities are even going so far as to require electrification retrofits in existing buildings and new remodels.

Washington became the first state to introduce a statewide mandate that requires all newly constructed buildings to feature electric heating and hot water systems.

And on the East Coast, Maryland’s ambitious Climate Solutions Now Act included a provision that requires the development of all-electric building code recommendations in an effort to achieve the state’s lofty goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

Every jurisdiction is different, but these ordinances all share one thing in common: In eliminating the option for natural gas appliances, they ultimately force consumers to rely on more expensive, less reliable forms of energy.

With oppressive policies like these being considered across the country coupled with the Biden administration’s anti-fossil fuels agenda, it’s no wonder why energy prices have risen over 30% in the last year.

And still, activists would rather strip away a vital resource without regard to the severe economic implications of these policies that acutely impact Americans’ well-being and opportunities and affect our poorest and most vulnerable the most.

The last thing Americans need is fewer choices. Policymakers should be pursuing policies that unleash our energy potential, allow Americans to access affordable energy, help our economy grow, and respect consumer choice.


Green energy shift gives China ‘leverage’ over Britain, Lords warn

Britain risks becoming in thrall to Beijing due to its growing reliance on renewable energy, a new Lords report has warned.

A House of Lords committee warned that Britain is becoming too dependent on China for the supply of rare earth elements used to manufacture wind turbines and components for solar panels.

China’s control over the global industry creates “new risks” as it leaves Britain at the mercy of Beijing for supplies.

The Lords committee warned that Xi Jinping could use rare earth mineral supplies as “leverage” in negotiations over other issues. Jason Bordoff, of the Columbia Climate School, told the committee China's dominance in the critical minerals market was a "national security concern" and said the Government should work to reduce the nation's reliance on Chinese exports.

The Economic Affairs Committee issued the warning in a report on how the Government can secure the nation's energy supply while delivering on promises to combat climate change.

The committee recommended more investment in the North Sea to deliver domestic supplies of oil and gas and encouraged policy measures to boost private investment in renewables.

But it warned that the country faces "new dependencies" with the shift to renewables as Western nations push ahead with plans to end imports of Russian gas.

China provides around 98pc of the EU's requirement for rare earth metals used to build batteries, smartphones and offshore wind turbines. The minerals are mined in many countries but Beijing has invested in the infrastructure required to process and export them globally.


Volcanoes, oceans, and weather

Viv Forbes

Despite Green/ABC propaganda, recent Australian floods were not caused by coal, cattle, or cars. Weather is driven by winds; solar energy powers the winds and draws moisture for them from the oceans. These eternal natural rain-making processes have been aided recently by two extra factors.

Firstly, a big La Niña weather event in the Pacific Ocean has left warmer water closer to Australia.

Secondly, there is increased underwater volcanism in this region as evidenced by the volcanic eruptions near Vanuatu.

Earth’s climate history is written in the rocks. Anyone who cares to read that record will see that recurring Ice Ages, not global warming, pose the greatest threat to life on Earth. Even in today’s warm Holocene Era, the Little Ice Age was a time of war, famine, and distress whereas the Medieval Warm Period heralded a time of peace and plenty.

Earth’s weather is driven by winds powered by convection currents which get most of their energy from the Sun.

Eastern Australia is currently under the influence a large La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean. These periodic ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) weather cycles are Earth’s most significant short-term weather events and have been identified in Earth’s climate as far back as 1525, well before the Model T Ford and the Watt steam engine.

The great El Niño of 1877-78 heralded China’s Great Famine, brought droughts to Brazil, and caused failures of the Nile floods and the Indian monsoon. Even the Titanic was an El Niño casualty when it met an iceberg blown far south by El Niño winds.

Australia’s famous weather forecaster, Inigo Jones, was well aware of the natural cycles in climate as far back as 1923 – long before coal, cattle, and cars could be blamed for ‘Global Warming’.

ENSO oscillations are not driven by atmospheric conditions or human activities – they react to the beat of a geological drum. ENSO timing and strength is largely determined by volcanic activity and the movement of tectonic plates, particularly along the Pacific Ring of Fire and the mid-ocean ridges splitting both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

But largely hidden from view is another huge weather-maker – sub-sea volcanoes.

Right now, volcanic activity (mostly sub-oceanic) is melting parts of polar ice sheets as well as releasing volcanic dust and other natural gases into the oceans and atmosphere. The warmed sea water expands, raising sea levels and increasing the evaporation which produces clouds and rain. Right now, the Tonga volcanic eruption is evaporating sea water that is probably adding to the record La Niña rains of Eastern Australia.

Volcanic hot spots can also melt ice-bound methane from the sea floor thus releasing large unmeasured quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere.

Man’s coal, cars, and cattle are puny compared to what nature can do.

Hysterical children and political agitators keep bleating about ‘man-made global warming’. But climate history shows that the real danger to life on Earth is ‘global cooling’ – a return of the great continental ice sheets creating a frigid zone north of a line from London to Chicago. Russians and Alaskans know about frozen mammoth bodies in the ice, and understand this threat, but the western world continues to worship Saint Greta.

A bleak northern winter approaches. As blackouts beckon and the lights start to flicker, coal is suddenly okay again. But Europeans and Australians still plan a Net Zero ritual sacrifice of their farmers on the alarmist altar. None of these sacrifices will deter La Niña, or stop the volcanoes, or feed the people.

Someone should ask the new Green Government of Australia:

‘If emissions of CO2 are the problem, why have we banned emissions-free nuclear power?’




Wednesday, July 27, 2022

U.S. to plant more trees "as climate change kills off forests"

A rare display of good sense. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason

The Biden administration on Monday announced plans to replant trees on millions of acres of burned and dead woodlands as officials struggle to counter the increasing toll on the nation's forests from wildfires, insects and other manifestations of climate change.

Destructive fires in recent years that burned too hot for forests to quickly regrow have far outpaced the government's capacity to replant trees. That's created a backlog of 4.1 million acres (1.7 million hectares) in need of replanting, officials said.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said it will have to quadruple the number of tree seedlings produced by nurseries to get through the backlog and meet future needs. That comes after Congress last year passed bipartisan legislation directing the Forest Service to plant 1.2 billion trees over the next decade and after President Joe Biden in April ordered the agency to make the nation's forests more resilient as the globe gets hotter.

Much of the administration's broader agenda to tackle climate change remains stalled amid disagreement in Congress, where Democrats hold a razor-thin majority. That's left officials to pursue a more piecemeal approach with incremental measures such as Monday's announcement, while the administration considers whether to declare a climate emergency that could open the door to more aggressive executive branch actions.

To erase the backlog of decimated forest acreage, the Forest Service plans over the next couple years to scale up work from about 60,000 acres (24,000 hectares) replanted last year to about 400,000 acres (162,000 hectares) annually, officials said. Most of the work will be in western states where wildfires now occur year round.

“Our forests, rural communities, agriculture and economy are connected across a shared landscape and their existence is at stake,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the reforestation plan. “Only through bold, climate-smart actions ... can we ensure their future."

Almost 5.6 million acres have burned so far in the U.S. this year, putting 2022 on pace to match or exceed the record-setting 2015 fire season, when 10.1 million acres (4.1 million hectares) burned. Many forests regenerate naturally after fires, but if the blazes get too intense they can leave behind barren landscapes that linger for decades before the trees come back.

The Forest Service this year is spending more than $100 million on reforestation work. Spending is expected to further increase in coming years, to as much as $260 million annually, under the sweeping federal infrastructure bill approved last year, agency officials said.

Some timber industry supporters were critical of last year’s reforesting legislation as insufficient to turn the tide on the scale of the wildfire problem. They want more aggressive logging to thin stands that have become overgrown from years of suppressing fires.

To prevent replanted areas from becoming similarly overgrown, practices are changing so reforested stands are less dense with trees and therefore less fire prone, said Joe Fargione, science director for North America at the Nature Conservancy.

But challenges to the Forest Service's goal remain, from finding enough seeds to hiring enough workers to plant them, Fargione said.


How London paid a record price to dodge a blackout

Last week, unbeknown to many outside the power industry, parts of London came remarkably close to a blackout — even as it was recovering from the hottest day in British history. On July 20, surging electricity demand collided with a bottleneck in the grid, leaving the eastern part of the British capital briefly short of power. Only by paying a record high £9,724.54 (about $11,685) per megawatt hour — more than 5,000% higher than the typical price — did the UK avoid homes and businesses going dark. That was the nosebleed cost to persuade Belgium to crank up aging electricity plants to send energy across the English Channel.

The crisis, which quietly played out within the control room of the British electricity system, shows the growing vulnerability of energy transportation networks — power grids and gas and oil pipelines — across much of the industrialized world after years of low investment and not-in-my-backyard opposition.

On most days, the bottlenecks mean distorted costs. Sometimes, it results in sky-high prices where energy is in short supply when it is needed. At other occasions, prices can tumble to zero, or go negative, when producers cannot sell their power into a congested transmission system. Increasingly, it puts the whole system at risk. Talk to most industry executives and you quickly get the sense that we are sleepwalking into more blackouts. Discuss the problems with the engineers who manage the system day-in, day-out, and that danger appears even closer.

The £9,724.54 price, settled between noon and 1:00 p.m. on July 20 via the so-called NEMO interconnector that links the UK with Belgium, was the highest Britain has ever paid to import electricity, nearly five times higher than the previous record. The absurdity of that level is apparent when comparing it with the year-to-date average for UK spot electricity: £178 per megawatt hour.

“It was an absolute shock,” says Phil Hewitt, who has been monitoring electricity prices for over two decades and is now executive director of EnAppSys Ltd, a consultancy. “It was the price to keep the lights on. The security of supply was a stake.”

The actual amount of electricity bought at the record price was tiny: enough to supply just eight houses for a year. More power was bought at slightly lower prices. The payments, nonetheless, highlight desperation: buying across the channel was, for 60 minutes or so, the only option to balance the system. If Belgium had not helped, the grid would had been forced to “undertake demand control and disconnect homes from electricity,” says a grid spokesperson.

In a normal situation, without the traffic jams on the grid, the UK should have been able to send power to the southeast of England from elsewhere in the country — even from all the way in Scotland, where offshore wind farms are producing more than ever. The problem is that the UK, and the rest of industrialized nations, aren’t investing enough in their grids, leaving the system exposed.

The world is investing about $300 billion per year in power grids, an amount that has barely changed since 2015, according to the International Energy Agency. It isn’t enough, as the global economy electrifies and deals with a shifting generation map, with intermittent renewable energy like solar and wind replacing polluting — but dependable — coal- and gas-fired stations.

Now, grid bottlenecks create perverse situations. In Spain, for example, there are times when solar electricity producers in the south have to switch off their plants while, in the north, gas-fired power stations are turning on to meet demand. In some corners of the US, electricity prices often drop below zero, with power plants forced to sell their energy due to grid constraints. Meanwhile, in other corners of the US, consumers are facing calls to reduce power demand on peak days and face record prices.

Aging infrastructure, often 30 or 40 years old, needs to be replaced. But refurbishment and expansion come up against local opposition to more pylons and overhead cables. In the UK, authorities are bypassing popular resistance by moving some parts of the grid offshore, using undersea cables. “Fish don’t vote,” goes the industry’s joke. It is, however, an expensive undertaking.

High metal prices are making building new grids even more costly. Cables are made of copper or aluminum which, at today’s prices, account for nearly a third of what will be spent on a new grid, up 10 percentage points from investments made between 2010 and 2020.

Across the US and Europe, utilities and grid managers need to invest billions of dollars into digitalization of the network to allow demand-side load management that would reduce consumption at peak times, often via hourly prices. Managing peak demand is going to be even more important when millions of households shift to electric vehicles, creating a new source of electricity consumption.

Last year, the UK paid just under £1,600 per megawatt hour on one day to import electricity and avert a short squeeze. On July 18, it paid just over £2,000, which became the record. Two days later, the price went to nearly £10,000. The pattern is clear. At some point, even sky-high prices won’t be enough. Then, a blackout would belatedly lay bare the consequences of our under-investing ways.


ESG Funds Covertly Buying Oil Stocks as Green Agenda Creates Energy Shortage

ESG-aimed investment funds – which gauge companies based on their environmental, social and governance performances – are quietly investing in oil company stocks.

Why am I not surprised?

There’s a lot of neo-feudal claptrap floating around about saving the planet by leaving oil in the ground, switching to electrified mass transit, getting rid of air conditioning and killing all the cows.

In other words, let the peasants freeze/boil in the dark, squeeze together in mass-transit-driven cities and eat bugs, saving the planet’s resources for the elites to jet among their several homes.

And despite the impending demise of the planet (2030 or 2050, depending on the latest environmental prophecy), the green of the green movement is the color of money.

As ESG investment funds virtue-signal about the evils of fossil fuels like oil, in Europe they’re pouring money into energy companies like Shell, Repsol, Aker BP ASA and Neste Oyj, according to

They say oil stocks are hot and they’re buying them because oil companies are investing in transitioning to cleaner energy.

Yeah, right.

That’s a virtuous position, probably a cover story, and I’ll bet they’re investing in oil stocks because there’s a lot of money to be made in them right now with or without solar, wind or harnessing the power of fireflies. Or something.

As of Friday, there was a 28.4 percent increase in the S&P 500 Energy Index this year, and that’s a lot of incentive for pious ESG investors to lose their virtue.

And some of that more than 28 percent increase comes from oil shortages created by none other than the E in ESG itself.

Decrees of the priests of Gaia have long pointed out the evils of oil, the lifeblood of contemporary civilization.

So investment fell, but along came other factors making petroleum more valuable: Russia invading Ukraine and the inabilities of wind and solar to provide energy for Europe and elsewhere, according to

Try as they might, the greenies and their acolytes peddling ESG cannot suspend the iron laws of supply and demand.

So in the midst of post-pandemic economic problems and green-driven poor national policies in the U.S. and Europe, it turns out the lone S&P 500 economic sector showing gains year-to-date as of July 22 is energy.

Driving the 28.4 percent energy gain for 2022 is integrated oil and gas, up 37.1 percent.

That’s a big temptation for ESG funds.

And they’re buying it.

So, despite today’s hardships at the gas pump (and when the electric bill comes), our energy needs are ultimately wedded to the stuff that comes out of the ground.

Because like the elites and their private jets, the wobbly pronouncements of ESG fund managers are showing the hypocrisy of current climate alarmism.

Perhaps it’s overly optimistic to think we can wait them out and hope they return to their senses regarding the realities of energy.

Because when they figure out their green dreams are just that — dreams — they’ll no doubt find something else to oppress the masses.

As I have repeatedly been saying: Save the planet, starve the people.


Volcanoes, oceans, and weather

Viv Forbes

Despite Green/ABC propaganda, recent Australian floods were not caused by coal, cattle, or cars. Weather is driven by winds; solar energy powers the winds and draws moisture for them from the oceans. These eternal natural rain-making processes have been aided recently by two extra factors.

Firstly, a big La Niña weather event in the Pacific Ocean has left warmer water closer to Australia.

Secondly, there is increased underwater volcanism in this region as evidenced by the volcanic eruptions near Vanuatu.

Earth’s climate history is written in the rocks. Anyone who cares to read that record will see that recurring Ice Ages, not global warming, pose the greatest threat to life on Earth. Even in today’s warm Holocene Era, the Little Ice Age was a time of war, famine, and distress whereas the Medieval Warm Period heralded a time of peace and plenty.

Earth’s weather is driven by winds powered by convection currents which get most of their energy from the Sun.

Eastern Australia is currently under the influence a large La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean. These periodic ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) weather cycles are Earth’s most significant short-term weather events and have been identified in Earth’s climate as far back as 1525, well before the Model T Ford and the Watt steam engine.

The great El Niño of 1877-78 heralded China’s Great Famine, brought droughts to Brazil, and caused failures of the Nile floods and the Indian monsoon. Even the Titanic was an El Niño casualty when it met an iceberg blown far south by El Niño winds.

Australia’s famous weather forecaster, Inigo Jones, was well aware of the natural cycles in climate as far back as 1923 – long before coal, cattle, and cars could be blamed for ‘Global Warming’.

ENSO oscillations are not driven by atmospheric conditions or human activities – they react to the beat of a geological drum. ENSO timing and strength is largely determined by volcanic activity and the movement of tectonic plates, particularly along the Pacific Ring of Fire and the mid-ocean ridges splitting both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

But largely hidden from view is another huge weather-maker – sub-sea volcanoes.

Right now, volcanic activity (mostly sub-oceanic) is melting parts of polar ice sheets as well as releasing volcanic dust and other natural gases into the oceans and atmosphere. The warmed sea water expands, raising sea levels and increasing the evaporation which produces clouds and rain. Right now, the Tonga volcanic eruption is evaporating sea water that is probably adding to the record La Niña rains of Eastern Australia.

Volcanic hot spots can also melt ice-bound methane from the sea floor thus releasing large unmeasured quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere.

Man’s coal, cars, and cattle are puny compared to what nature can do.

Hysterical children and political agitators keep bleating about ‘man-made global warming’. But climate history shows that the real danger to life on Earth is ‘global cooling’ – a return of the great continental ice sheets creating a frigid zone north of a line from London to Chicago. Russians and Alaskans know about frozen mammoth bodies in the ice, and understand this threat, but the western world continues to worship Saint Greta.

A bleak northern winter approaches. As blackouts beckon and the lights start to flicker, coal is suddenly okay again. But Europeans and Australians still plan a Net Zero ritual sacrifice of their farmers on the alarmist altar. None of these sacrifices will deter La Niña, or stop the volcanoes, or feed the people.

Someone should ask the new Green Government of Australia:

‘If emissions of CO2 are the problem, why have we banned emissions-free nuclear power?’




Tuesday, July 26, 2022

From Sri Lanka to Holland, the road to hell is paved with emissions reductions

Matt Canavan

In Evelyn Waugh’s classic satire Black Mischief, the fictional African country of Azania welcomes an English delegation from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, at a gala dinner. In the after-dinner speech, given by the Azanian Minister for the Interior, it becomes clear that there is a slight misunderstanding about the Society’s objectives:

‘It is my privilege and delight this evening to welcome with open arms of brotherly love to our city Dame Mildred Porch and Miss Tin, two ladies renowned throughout the famous country of Europe for their great cruelty to animals. We Azanians are a proud and ancient nation, but we have much to learn from the white people of the West and North. We too, in our small way, are cruel to our animals…’At this point, Waugh explains that the Minister ‘digressed at some length to recount with hideous detail what he had himself once done with a woodman’s axe to a wild boar’.

I sometimes think that the mess that countries like Sri Lanka get themselves in is perhaps due to a similar ‘lost in translation’ phenomenon. Presumably, when our modern-day, do-gooding, busy-bodying westerners turn up in countries like Sri Lanka, with promises of infinitely cheap renewable energy, there is the mistaken belief that these envoys, from the rich industrial nations of the west, must know what they are talking about. Like when George Soros and Nobel prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz were the guests of honour at the 2016 Sri Lanka Economic Forum at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. As Professor Stiglitz told the assembled government officials and business leaders, ‘your major source of energy is the sun and not oil’. In a written article following his visit, Stiglitz explained that a carbon tax was the answer:

‘Sri Lanka has abundant sunshine and wind; a carbon tax would raise considerable revenue, increase aggregate demand, move the country toward a green economy, and improve the balance of payments… Sri Lanka may be able to move directly into more technologically advanced sectors, high-productivity organic farming, and higher-end tourism.’ Unfortunately, and tragically, Sri Lanka took his advice, stopped building a coal-fired power station, promised a 70 per cent renewable energy target, mandated organic farming and achieved an ‘ESG score’ of 98 out of 100. As a result, the production of Sri Lanka’s major cash crops fell by 20 per cent, they have a major balance of payments crisis (despite abundant sunshine they can’t afford to import oil) and their government has been ousted in a people’s revolt.

The one difference from Waugh’s time is that there is now a two-way trade in ignorant, wishful thinking between the developed and the developing worlds. At last year’s Glasgow climate change conference, Sri Lanka launched the #Nitrogen4NetZero initiative. As the then president of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, explained to his gullible mother country audience, ‘nitrogen generated by human activity and released into ecosystems worsens climate change’. Sri Lanka was the driver behind the Colombo Declaration, signed in 2019 with the goal of halving nitrogen waste by 2030.

European countries have backed the Sri Lankan push and guess why Dutch farmers are angry right now? They are protesting because a new law would force many of them off the land so that more houses and roads can be built while the Netherlands, as a whole, stays within strict nitrogen limits set by European laws. This started because a small environmental group, Mobilisation for the Environment, successfully sued the Dutch government in the European Court of Justice in 2017 for insufficient limits on nitrogen. Since then, the Dutch government has developed plans to reduce nitrogen use, which is a by-product of everything from transport to construction to agriculture. When asked whether the plans would require compulsory farm buyouts, the responsible minister said, ‘I really can’t rule it out’.

Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for plant growth because it helps plants form protein and that ultimately keeps humans fed. Nitrogen is the most abundant element in the atmosphere but until the German scientists, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, developed their eponymously named process, there was no way of directly using atmospheric nitrogen to stimulate plant growth. Before nitrogen-based fertilisers, famines were a common disaster. After Haber-Bosch, famines are only caused by political dysfunction not agricultural failure. The process was originally developed at the world’s largest chemicals hub, the BASF facility at Ludwigshafen, Germany. This month BASF executives reported that they are considering shutting down the entire facility if Russia restricts gas supplies further.

Food security and energy security are two sides of the same coin. As we enter the worst energy crisis in our nation’s history, the Dutch and European experience shatters the myth that something like Sri Lanka cannot happen here. On the Australian Greens website, they say that they want ‘to support farmers to reduce emissions, including through reducing usage of fossil fuels and nitrogen fertilisers’. Even more foreboding is a tweet from our new Prime Minister, after just two months in the job, ‘Thanks to @JosephEStiglitz for the discussion about the global economy this morning’. The obligatory selfie of inane grins provides no confidence that organic farming, or the power of sunshine, were not discussed.

The Labor party has been elected on a platform of grand promises to transform our food and energy production processes. They want more than 80 per cent of our electricity to come from renewable energy and they want to pay farmers to shut down food production so we can ‘offset’ other carbon-emitting activities. As the world suffers from food shortages does it seem a little strange to pay farmers to grow less food?

At least in Waugh’s Azania the leaders were trying, however unsuccessfully, to make their nation more advanced and prosperous. Our leaders now seem to be in a race to join the third world as quickly as possible. It would make for a funny satire if we were not all characters in the story.


What You Need to Know About Biden’s Climate ‘Emergency’

In a speech Wednesday in Massachusetts, President Joe Biden announced that he would use yet more executive action in a bid to push his radical climate agenda, despite recent checks on unilateral presidential action by Congress and the Supreme Court.

The administration is aiming to overhaul the energy sector and the American economy to achieve the costly and unrealistic objectives of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reaching economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050.

Biden stopped short of invoking national emergency powers to achieve his climate agenda as rumored, while promising more regulatory and executive actions to come. Instead, the president announced $385 million for weatherization projects and air-conditioning units and diverting $2.3 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds for infrastructure.

He also announced more heat-exposure regulations by the Department of Labor, in addition to touting programs in the infrastructure bill that passed last fall.

Whether to appease activists who want more or to lay the groundwork for future action, Biden also used the occasion to make the case why he’s entitled to act unilaterally without Congress.

Taking a look at some of those claims briefly. Biden said:

* “The U.N.’s leading international climate scientists called the latest climate report nothing less than, quote, ‘code red for humanity.’”

Headlines for “code red” situations came from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ press release about an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report last August. But for all its faults, this isn’t what the IPCC found. Rather, it reported that the most extreme projections for warming—the so-called code red—was downgraded to “low likelihood.”

That’s as much good news for humans as it is for improving scientific integrity.

As an aside, Biden continued: “It’s not a group of … elected officials [saying that]. These are the scientists.” Where else have Americans heard that before? Americans found out all too well with the total mishandling of discussions about COVID-19 as politicians, the media, and scientists made similar appeals to authority to deflect responsibility.

* “We lose it all” if we don’t suppress temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Not only is this irresponsible catastrophism that is not supported by the science Biden was quick to cite for authority, it also ignores some of the benefits of warming and displays a lack of faith in the ability of people to innovate and adapt.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates warming already of 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1850. During that time, extreme poverty plummeted 80%, global crop yields of grains increased more than 200%, and humanity has become more resilient to natural disasters, to name a few trends in the remarkable progress for human well-being and adaptation that give reason for optimism.

* Last year, “extreme weather events [cost] $145 billion” in property damage because of climate change. Damages from weather disasters have been decreasing since at least 1990 as a percent of gross domestic product, which is the proper way to account for losses.

More importantly, the death toll from climate-related disasters decreased 96% over the past century. To put this in perspective, Our World in Data (a project of Oxford University) recorded that 15,071 people died in natural disasters in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 93,331 deaths in the U.S. from drug overdoses that same year.

* Hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, flooding, and wildfires are becoming more destructive because of climate change. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported no discernible global trends for hurricanes, winter storms, floods, tornadoes, or thunderstorms, while it did report trends in heat waves, heavy precipitation, and some kinds of drought.

Policymakers should be very leery of using global warming as a scapegoat, only to misdiagnose problems and consequently ignore real solutions. The failure of the Oroville Dam in California and mismanaged federal forests fueling catastrophic fires are just two examples.

Finally, while not explicitly stated, Biden clearly intimated that the air we breath is choked with pollution. In fact, Americans have a lot to be proud of. Air pollution has decreased 73% since 1980.

The Real Emergency

But here’s the real problem. No matter what one thinks about the nature and pace of global warming, the president’s self-proclaimed reason for unilateral action should be appalling to all Americans: “Congress isn’t acting as it should.”

Americans’ elected representatives set policy, not a king in the White House (regardless of party) or bureaucrats keen on legislating via regulation.

With the latest failure in Congress of Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, a massive spending bill that included tax favors and spending on climate-related federal programs, the possibility of more radical climate policies passing Congress appear even more remote.

Congress has rejected these and other climate policies on numerous occasions over the past two decades because of the far-reaching costs and dubious environmental impact of those proposals.

Yet Congress’ role in establishing policy was reinforced by the Supreme Court’s June 30 decision in West Virginia v. EPA, severely limiting the ability of regulatory agencies to develop major policies, such as economy-wide climate regulations without clear direction from Congress.

Many on the left are pillorying Congress; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; the Supreme Court; or high energy prices for derailing Biden’s climate agenda, claiming that the urgency of global warming means the rules no longer apply.

However, the left’s anger at those developments exposes a disturbing impatience with representative government and a preference for control to be concentrated in the hands of an unelected, select few.

That Americans’ constitutional system of government and elected representatives are disdainfully, shrilly considered as obstacles to this (or any) president’s agenda is something that should concern every American, regardless of political party. Ends justified by means, regardless of the rule of law, is not a sustainable way to run a country.

In reality, Biden’s problem is that he and his administration have never bothered to make the case for, and earn the consensus of Americans or their elected representatives for, the extreme, unrealistic, and deeply flawed climate commitments the president unilaterally made to the U.N.’s Paris Agreement.

So, who was the president really speaking to on Wednesday?

According to The New York Times: “Just 1 percent of voters in a recent New York Times/Siena College poll named climate change as the most important issue facing the country, far behind worries about inflation and the economy. Even among voters under 30, the group thought to be most energized by the issue, that figure was 3 percent.”

Other than climate activists and a small handful of radical congressmen, it’s not at all clear.


UK: Net Zero policy already costing at least £2000 per household

A new analysis by Net Zero Watch reveals that Net Zero policies are already costing every household over £2000 per year.

Spending programmes and the Emissions Trading Scheme together cost around £300, while green levies – mostly subsidies to renewables – are adding another £350.

Renewable energy also imposes a range of indirect costs as businesses pass on their costs to consumers, which may add up to another £600. Finally, there is a significant cost due to the constraints put on fossil fuel extraction in the UK.

Together, these figures add up to more than £2000 per household, a figure that will rise sharply as Net Zero plans moves to more problematic sectors of the economy.

Andrew Montford, Net Zero Watch’s deputy director, warns:

"The government seems to have no grasp of the devastating energy crisis that is about to break. The personal finance expert Martin Lewis has warned of a cataclysmic energy emergency this autumn, but ministers are still pretending that the answer is to just go faster down the same road that has brought us to the brink of disaster. This is insane."

Net Zero Watch director Dr Benny Peiser said:

"Boris Johnson green dogmatism has shackled the government in a trap of their own making. This winter, the new Prime Minister will be faced with the worst energy cost crisis since WWII. Unless the new PM makes swift and radical policy changes ministers will be presiding over the biggest social and economic disaster in living memory – and will rightly be blamed for it."


China's cheap energy dominance will endure for decades

For those dismayed at the searing heat afflicting much of the planet, some sobering news from the world’s biggest coal industry: the dirtiest fossil fuel will remain China’s mainstay source of energy for a decade or more.

“Coal’s dominant role is unlikely to change in the next 10 to 15 years,” Zhang Hong, deputy general secretary of the China National Coal Association, told a briefing on Wednesday.

China, which produces more than half the world’s coal, has said consumption won’t peak until 2025. By that time, annual demand will have risen 4% to 4.3 billion tons, according to Zhang. In 2030, the nation will still be burning some 4 billion tons of the fuel, scarcely less than is being used now. And as the government opens up even more mines, capacity is likely to be kept well above projected demand at 5 billion tons, he said.

For all of China’s massive build-up of clean energy, climate action remains hostage to energy security, particularly after last year’s crippling power shortages and the spike in prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the same briefing, Wang Zhixuan, an official with the China Electricity Council, called the inherent intermittency of renewables a “gray rhino,” or an obvious but neglected risk, that could topple the grid if coal isn’t there as a backstop. “Safely switching energy is the basis to phasing out coal,” he said, and the country’s climate goals can’t be achieved by “one-time fixes.”

In the meantime, the fuel’s importance only grows. Capital spending on thermal power generation rose 72% in the first six months of the year, according to the CEC, dwarfing other energy sources. And more projects are on the way as the authorities speed up new approvals. The nation’s biggest coal producer said last week that net income could increase by as much as 60% in the first half.




Monday, July 25, 2022

The real-world consequences of green extremism

Glorious pictures from the edge of the universe have arrived on Earth just when events here force us to consider the possibility that governments are run by aliens. They are so out of touch with common sense that they must come from other planets.

The James Webb Space Telescope, a wonder of human ingenuity, resourcefulness, imagination, and creative curiosity, is revealing the birth of galaxies to a world in which, by contrast, overreaching oligarchs and bossy bureaucrats constrict the actions of ordinary people trying to make their own lives and the lives of others better.

Much of the world groans under immiserating rules handed down by a “theory class,” even though they obviously don’t work. The accolade for the most disastrous policy outcome is hotly contested, and Wednesday’s grim revelation of 9.1% inflation shows that President Joe Biden’s spending agenda is a strong contender. But even that might not take the cake.

Worse, perhaps, are the results of hyper-alarmism on climate change. Excessive environmental policies are proving disastrous worldwide. Suddenly, all the green chickens are coming home to roost.

Intolerant “liberals” keen to “save the planet” are ruining it — officiously preventing the poor from lifting themselves out of poverty, forcing wealthy nations to retreat from comfort and efficiency into backwardness, even killing people by the hundreds of thousands.

Humankind long ago acquired the technological ability to thrive in all climes, but citizens of the most advanced nations must now check the weather forecast to know if their fridges and household lights will work or be shut down in an electricity blackout.

In Britain, overdependence on wind turbines built to cut carbon emissions leaves inhabitants at the mercy of the weather . When the wind doesn’t blow, the economy doesn’t work.

Likewise, in Germany, the world’s fourth-biggest economy, calm summer air means turbines stand idle, incapable of producing electricity and jacking up energy prices irrespective of the nation’s equally asinine overdependence on gas supplies from a recalcitrant Russia.

Excessively tight emissions rules, which amount to “anti-farming policies,” have triggered protests across Europe. They started in the Netherlands, where 30% of farms might be put out of business. And they have spread to Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland, where farmers fear being subjected to the same privations.

If, as expected, bureaucratic meddling slashes Dutch output — the Netherlands is one of the biggest and most efficient farming nations in the world — production will shift to less efficient, more polluting producers elsewhere.

This is similar to the attack that green zealots in the Democratic Party launched against American energy production at the start of the Biden administration. By shutting down energy leases and discouraging investment in the United States because of exaggerated and parochial climate concerns, the green oligarchy transfers production and wealth to dirtier producers overseas, such as Russia.

As a result, gas prices across the country are higher than they’ve ever been and getting higher still. Basic energy costs, such as heat and air conditioning, are also more expensive. And yet California Democrats’ response to this crisis has been to pass local ordinances forcing citizens to phase out natural gas , one of the most affordable sources of energy, altogether over the next several years.

The results of shortsighted, self-defeating enviro-extremism are bad enough in rich nations. But they are even worse in the undeveloped world. In Sri Lanka, which banned chemical fertilizers in a fit of adherence to global green pressure, crops collapsed and food inflation spiked to 80% in June. The result has been a public revolt, including the overthrow of the president and an occupation of his palace by disgruntled citizens.

The specter of starvation is now being reported from Africa, and the latest analysis from the U.N. World Food Program suggests that 670 million people, 8% of the world’s population, will face hunger by the end of the decade.

The World Health Organization calculates that 439,000 Africans die every year from indoor air pollution because they are forced — for cooking, lighting, and heating — to burn charcoal and cattle dung, which one researcher compared to smoking 400 cigarettes per hour in the home. The reason Africans still use these primitive methods to generate energy is that green ideologues in rich nations won’t allow them to get financing to build coal-fired power stations.

Extreme environmentalism is an ideology that cares little for human life, even regards it as a blight on the Earth that should be reduced. Its instinctive sympathies are against our species. It wants less economic growth, less entrepreneurial spirit, less development, less energy, less safety, less food, less comfort.

Who suffers? Those in poor nations, of course, and we in the rich nations that impose our obsessions on ourselves and on others wherever we can.

But we can’t impose them everywhere. So, who doesn’t suffer? Our enemies, China in particular, that watch our self-harming foolishness with delight and perhaps a little astonishment. Beijing, which in recent years built more coal-fired power stations than the rest of the world combined, sits back and watches as the self-doubting, self-hating West cedes its prosperity and global leadership.

We’re now able, with our dazzling technology, to look billions of light years from the surface of our planet all the way to the rim of outer space and to peer back as far as the beginning of the universe. But here on Earth, we blind ourselves with ideology and cannot see what’s staring us in the face.


Colossal Failure: EV Charging Stations Face Mechanical Problems - Over Half Inoperable in 1 Area

If there is one consistent fact about electric vehicles, it’s that they are unreliable. Now their charging stations have come into question as well.

In Aspen and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, many companies have implemented charging stations in their parking lots. Not all of them are fully functional, however.

Chris Lane, a Basalt resident who owns two electric cars, highlighted a couple of issues with the local charging stations: Cables are ripped out, attachments are damaged and screens are cracked.

If there is a mechanical problem with any one of these stations, it automatically shuts down, Aspen Daily News reported.

“I charge in Glenwood, I see problems. I charge in Aspen, I see problems,” Lane said. He mentioned one exception: Tesla’s stations. “I will say this, the Tesla stations are way better, flawless,” he said.

Companies and stores that have EV stations in their parking lots are expected to take care of them, but this has not always been the case.

The Willits Town Center in Basalt, Colorado, is a prime example. With 11 total stations, five were out of order and two were inaccessible, leaving only four functioning chargers available. “I see mechanical failures up and down the valley,” Lane said.

Despite Tesla’s more consistent reliability, most charging stations in the area have been inoperable. This fact should be concerning for EV owners, especially if they are traveling long distances.

Furthermore, a gas-powered sedan was seen in one of the two parking spaces in front of an EV station on July 10. The second spot, as Aspen Daily News wrote, was a handicapped space, “creating confusion as to whether it could be used for charging for a driver who wasn’t handicapped.”

So even when the EV stations work, someone might park their gas car in front of it, preventing EV owners from charging. This is another indication that buying an electric car is inefficient and inconvenient in the long run.

Philip Jeffreys, SkiCo director of housing development, described the local charging station conditions as a sort of “Wild West.” SkiCo owns 12 charging stations, which roughly make up 26 percent of all spaces in the company’s private parking lot.

In addition to slow recharge times and long lines, this incident demonstrates yet another EV technology failure … and it’s not just in Colorado.

In San Francisco alone, 23 percent of EV stations were not functional of the 657 plugs studied. The study excluded Tesla’s charging stations.

It sure seems like electric vehicles will not become the future of driving, based on this ongoing trend.

Despite the left’s political efforts in advocating for widespread EV use, the future is not going green anytime soon.


A diesel alternative to electric cars?

The new-generation diesel engine, the multijet, has very low cO2 and therefore is an excellent compromise

It does not pollute because diesel unlike gasoline, contains much less carbon. When it is burned it produces less CO2.

Also, diesel engines are more efficient than petrol ones because:

- they consume less fuel (5l/100km versus 8l/100km)

- CO2 emissions are lower (109g/km versus 134g/km).

Finally, the new diesel engines have a particulate filtering system that reduces fine dust emissions.

This means that new diesel engines are less polluting than petrol ones and, in some cases, even less polluting than electric cars.


State Department official is drawing criticism after tweeting that he prefers high gas prices because it means less driving and less carbon emissions.

"I prefer high gas prices = less driving, less CO2," Senior State Department Foreign Service Officer Alan Eyre tweeted on Friday in response to a tweet from President Biden claiming American families are paying less per month on average than they were during "peak prices."

Eyre describes himself as a "gov’t bureaucrat" in his Twitter bio along with the phrase "kindness, always kindness."

Eyre’s tweet was widely criticized on social media including from former Republican California state senate candidate Ron Bassilian who called Eyre a "ghoul" and pointed out that gas demand is "inelastic."

"Perhaps, but I don’t think it is inelastic and I remember in the 1970s the oil embargo led to a massive increase in renewables," Eyre responded along with the hashtag #BeKind.

Basilian responded with criticism that was echoed by several other Twitter users pointing out that gas prices have caused significant struggles for Americans across the country.

"Be kind?" Basslian said. "Perhaps be kind to the billions of people left high and dry in this situation you praise. Saying a famine is a good way to start a diet is not kind."

Following the publication of this article, Eyre's Twitter account appears to have been deactivated or deleted.

Eyre’s comment comes shortly after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg faced criticism for suggesting that higher prices at the pump were actually beneficial for transitioning to electric vehicles.