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.

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