Monday, July 18, 2022

Tesla Owners Share Alarming Message Received on Screen About Charging Car Amid Heat Wave

As the summer heat envelopes Texas, putting stress on the Lone Star State’s electric grid, we’ve learned that Tesla has sent messages to owners asking them to avoid charging their cars during peak hours to help ease the load.

It’s just another example of how electric vehicles are not quite as convenient as those selling them want us to imagine.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said twice this week that the state’s power grid would be sorely tested during a heatwave. Because of that, ERCOT asked Texans and Texas businesses to voluntarily conserve electricity on Monday and Wednesday from 2 to 8 p.m.

“The heat wave that has settled on Texas and much of the central United States is driving increased electric use,” it said in its news releases. “Other grid operators are operating under similar conservative operations programs as ERCOT due to the heatwave.”

Temperatures have exceeded 100 degrees in much of the state this week, with Somerville seeing a high of 113 on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

In addition to high demand, the Texas power grid has faced a lack of wind to power up its turbines. “Current projections show wind generation coming in less than 10 percent of its capacity,” ERCOT said.

All this adds up to a deficiency.

Starting with Texas’ first heatwave of the year in May, Tesla sent updates to vehicle screens asking owners not to charge their cars during peak periods, The Drive reported.

Tesla owners have shared images of the alerts they were sent — with the title “Help Relieve Heat Wave Stress on the Grid” — in posts on Reddit and Twitter.

“A heat wave is expected to impact the grid in Texas over the next few days,” the message said. “The grid operator recommends to avoid charging during peak hours between 3pm and 8pm, if possible, to help statewide efforts to manage demand.”


California Environmentalists Shut Down Desalination Plant as American West Faces Historic Water Crisis

The State of California rejected plans for a major desalination plant in May, spiking a source of water for hundreds of thousands of people as the American West faces a historic drought.

Desalination refers to the treatment and purification of ocean water for drinking and agricultural use.

The state shot down Poseidon Water’s plan for a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, thirty miles south of Los Angeles.

The plant was designed to produce 50 million gallons of drinkable water from Pacific Ocean saltwater every single day, according to Reuters.

Environmental concerns played a key role in convincing the California Coastal Commission to spike the Poseidon water plant.

State regulators ultimately voted unanimously against giving the plant to go-ahead. Commissioners cited a proposed risk to marine life that the plant posed.

Environmental activists present at the commission’s hearing on the plant celebrated as they tanked the project.

Poseidon questioned how the state could shut down the plant in a statement after the hearing. “California continues to face a punishing drought, with no end in sight,” said the company. “We firmly believe that this desalination project would have created a sustainable, drought-tolerant source of water.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom openly supported the idea, according to the Orange County Register.

California is one of seven signatories to the 1922 Colorado River Compact, an interstate agreement that divides the use of the river’s water.

The state is allocated 4.4 million acre-feet of water yearly under the compact. It’s the only state in the agreement that borders the ocean, thus making it an ideal candidate for investment in desalination.

California also has the highest-priority rights to Colorado River water under the agreement.

Lake Mead, the biggest water reservoir in the western United States, has declined significantly in volume amid excessive Colorado River water usage.

The water shortage has spurred states to look creatively at water preservation and new potential water sources. But this hasn’t extended to desalination in California, with its abundant Pacific Ocean coastline.

It’s one thing to slash tires, blame other people and order the public to eat bugs as a response to climate change.

It’s another to actually implement lasting, serious solutions to the problems.


In The UK, Some Political Movement On The Climate Scare

It has long been my view that the whole climate scare thing will fade away and disappear once the costs and risks of the insane zero carbon agenda become clear to the voting public. As much as I’ve been deeply involved in efforts to expose the fake “science” behind the scare, the science arguments so far have had very little success in convincing anyone, particularly anyone (and this is most people) who is subject to appeals to fear. But now, over in the UK, the costs and risks of pursuing an aggressive “climate” agenda are starting to hit home. And with the selection of a new Prime Minister now getting started, we can see the first glimmerings of political impact.

You might think that, since I am on the board of an organization that is an affiliate of a group based in the UK, I might have some special insights on where the PM race is going. In fact, what my UK contacts tell me is that the PM race is wide open, and anything could happen. But there is one remarkable thing, which is that suddenly it is no longer disqualifying to express skepticism about green orthodoxy. As of this writing, an actual overt skeptic — at least, a skeptic as to fossil fuel suppression — might even win; and whoever wins is likely at the minimum to start a quiet retreat from the existing Net Zero program.

Here in the U.S., we have had climate skepticism in the Republican Party for a good while, although only in the last several years — really, since the election of Trump in 2016 — has opposition to fossil fuel suppression become near universal among Republicans. (Recall that the Republican presidential candidates in both 2008, McCain, and 2012, Romney, were on board with fossil fuel suppression to “save the planet.”).

But in Europe, including the UK, it has been different. Even today, there is no major political party anywhere in Europe taking an avowedly skeptical position on anything relating to the climate alarm movement. This is true not just as to questioning the underlying “science,” such as it is, but also as to questioning the demanded mitigation measures of suppressing fossil fuels and building wind turbines and solar panels everywhere. There has been something as close to political unanimity on the issue as one ever sees.

In the UK, the push for Net Zero has been backed by all political parties. The first targets for greenhouse gas reductions were set by the Climate Change Act of 2008, when a Labor government was in power; but significantly more ambitious targets, including a legally-binding net zero commitment by 2050, were then adopted by amendments to that Act in June 2019, during a Conservative government led by Theresa May. According to the BBC here, the amendments passed in Parliament on June 24, 2019 “without a single objection”:

It was a rare display of parliamentary unity that the government said would set a benchmark for the world to follow.

Boris Johnson then became Prime Minister the next month, July 2019, and, along with his cabinet, he has enthusiastically and aggressively pushed forward with the Net Zero agenda ever since, without significant opposition.

The ground really only began to shift in the latter part of 2021, as prices for fossil fuels including oil and natural gas began an increase that has continued since. The UN COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow in October was the catalyst for the first steps to form a Parliamentary group to question the aggressive Net Zero program. Then on January 1, 2022 five members of Parliament came into the open with a letter to the Telegraph newspaper (behind paywall) calling for action in light of impending massive increases in household energy bills. In a piece on March 3, 2022, the BBC interviewed Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay on the subject of how the group came to be formed:

Mr Mackinlay and the net zero rebels were alarmed by "some of the more outlandish and unachievable proposals" being put forward. "There were so many daft policies being proposed that would make Britain colder and poorer," he said. "We thought it was time to have a proper debate about these things."

As of March, the BBC said that there were approximately 19 MPs in the group, which had taken the name Net Zero Scrutiny Group. At that time, the war in Ukraine had just begun, accompanied by an additional large spike in energy prices, to which the UK had been left completely vulnerable by, among other things, a total ban drilling for oil or natural gas by means of fracking. Energy prices to consumers, which had been suppressed by price controls for several months, then were allowed to approximately double in April, and further large increases are expected later in the year, which will take energy prices to consumers to triple or more where they were at the start of 2022. There are currently approximately 50 or more members of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group in Parliament.

And now on to the race for Prime Minister. Since the Conservatives hold a majority of seats in the Parliament, the race is held within the Conservative party on rules that it sets internally. The rules call for multiple preliminary rounds, where the voters are the Conservative MPs. In each round, a higher number of votes is required to make it to the next round, until finally the number of candidates is reduced to two. The final two will then go to a vote of the full “membership” of the Conservative party, something of which we do not have an analog here in the U.S. I understand that there are around 180,000 “members” of the Party.

As of today, after two rounds of voting have been completed, and several candidates eliminated, here are the remaining contenders:

Rishi Sunak, until a week ago Chancellor of the Exchequer. (He resigned just before Johnson resigned.)

Liz Truss, current Foreign Secretary.

Penny Mordaunt, former Defense Secretary under Theresa May who has since held lower-level cabinet positions.

Kemi Badenoch, former “Equalities Minister” (yes, they have such a thing).

Tom Tugendhat, a back-bench member considered a “moderate.”

Of the five, Badenoch has given strong signals that she is not on board with the Net Zero program, primarily because of its cost. Launching her campaign, she gave an interview with the Telegraph, quoted here in Business Green,:

Badenoch insisted she was "not someone who doesn't believe in climate change", but she argued it was "wrong of us to set a target without having a clear plan of the cost and knowing what it would entail. . . . "Setting an arbitrary target like that is the wrong way to go… There is a better way of going about these things," she added.

Badenoch is also running as the “anti-woke” candidate. She was born in London of Nigerian parents, and grew up mostly in Nigeria. She was initially considered an outsider and total long-shot, but has survived two rounds of balloting so far. Here is a picture:

Meanwhile, the other candidates have been much quieter on their positions as to Net Zero. But Mordaunt and Truss have been talking up tax cut proposals, which one might say are inconsistent with massive government spending to promote Net Zero. And according to the BBC March 3 piece, Sunak has “pushed for six new North Sea oil and gas fields to be given licences this year.”

Reality takes hold ever so slowly. I would suggest to my Conservative friends in the UK that the abandonment of Net Zero is inevitable, and they need a leader who can take them through that process without being embarrassed about it, and who can proudly stand up and accuse the other side of seeking to impoverish the middle class.

Meanwhile, Badenoch is my candidate.


Academics discrediting Australia’s carbon credit system are ‘serious people’, says former chief scientist

The former Australian chief scientist charged with investigating the country’s divisive carbon credit system says academics who have described it as a fraud and a sham are “serious people”.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, Prof Ian Chubb said there were also credible voices defending the scheme and he would need to carefully weigh the evidence.

Chubb, a neuroscientist who was an inaugural board member of the Climate Change Authority and vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, has been given six months to unpick a growing controversy over the integrity of the scheme, which is central to government and business plans to cut emissions and reach net zero by 2050.

The climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, will announce on Monday three panellists who will work with Chubb on the review. They are Ariadne Gorring, the co-chief executive of the climate investment and advisory firm Pollination Foundation, retired federal court judge Dr Annabelle Bennett and economist Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds.

Carbon credits are bought by governments and businesses as an alternative to making emissions cuts. Each carbon credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide that has either been stopped from going in the atmosphere, or sucked out of it.

Concern about the validity of the scheme has been heightened since March, when Australian National University’s Prof Andrew Macintosh – who, as chair of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee, used to be responsible for the integrity of the scheme – released several academic papers with colleagues arguing that most credits do not actually represent real or new emissions cuts.

Macintosh, an environmental law and policy scholar, said the system run by the government and Clean Energy Regulator was “largely a sham” and a fraud on taxpayers and the environment.

The Clean Energy Regulator and Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee have rejected this, saying they had asked independent experts to test Macintosh’s assertions and found no evidence to support them. They have been supported by industry body the Carbon Market Institute and some companies that run carbon credit projects.

On Friday, Macintosh and colleagues released two new papers that argue the “vast majority” of carbon credits awarded for what are known as “human-induced regeneration” projects – which involve regenerating native forests by preventing grazing by livestock and feral animals (and not be tree-planting) – had not drawn more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than would have happened anyway.

Human-induced regeneration is the most popular method to create carbon credits. The academics said the method had “numerous flaws”, including that landholders were issued carbon credits for growing trees in arid and semi-arid rangeland country though the vegetation was already there before the work started.

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