Tuesday, October 18, 2022

British Labour Party pledges to ban fracking 'once and for all'

Labour has pledged to ban fracking “once and for all”, calling it “an unjust charter for earthquakes”.

The party is working to bring forward an opposition day motion to maintain the ban on the controversial gas extraction method, after Liz Truss said she would lift it as part of her energy security plan.

The moratorium on fracking was imposed by the Conservatives in 2019 after a series of tremors, and their manifesto that year said they would not support it "unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely".

Fracking involves injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and boreholes to force open existing cracks and extract oil or gas.

A government-commissioned report by the British Geological Survey at the time said more data was needed, but despite the lack of scientific progress, Ms Truss's administration has torn up the manifesto commitment.

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, will visit Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, on Friday to meet the party's candidate Jo White and residents to listen to concerns about the possibility of fracking in their area.

"Labour will stand with communities in opposing the Conservatives' dodgy plans to impose expensive, dirty, and dangerous fracking on the British people," he said.


New trend has teens dumping out milk in grocery stores

All across the United Kingdom, teenagers concerned about the environment are doing "milk pours." The new trend involves going into grocery stores, picking up cartons of cow-produced milk, and pouring out their contents, according to the animal rights group Animal Rebellion.

Videos that have popped up on social media show teens pouring milk onto the floor, over sales counters, and elsewhere in the store.

"The dairy industry is incredibly environmentally destructive. The world’s top 5 meat and dairy corporations are now responsible for more GHG emissions than Exxon, Shell or BP," the organization said in a tweet Saturday. "We NEED a plant based future now," it added.

The account also shared a report from Grain, an international non-profit organization, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which calls for the planet to "dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions" by eliminating meat and dairy consumption.

According to Animal Rebellion, the "milk pours" took place at eight different locations Saturday, including London, Manchester, Norwich, and Edinburgh.

"Animal farming is THE leading cause of the loss of our wildlife and natural ecosystems," the group said in another tweet, which also called for the government to "support farmers in an urgent transition to a plant based food system and allow the freed up land to be rewilded in order to restore wildlife populations."

Several countries around the world have imposed regulations on the agriculture industry, such as limits on nitrogen emissions caused by dairy production. Environmentalists have encouraged the use of dairy alternatives, such as almond, soy, coconut and oat milk, though these too have been criticized.

The Biden administration has indicated that it intends to push changes on the US farming industry to tackle climate change.

In 2020, the EPA estimated that 11% of the U.S.'s total greenhouse gas emissions came from the agriculture sector, compared to 27% from transportation, 25% from energy, and 24% from industry.


If Biden was actually concerned about high oil prices, he would prioritize more oil drilling

By Robert Romano

President Joe Biden is still reeling from the decision earlier this month by OPEC to curtail global oil production as the world prepares for another recession after Covid, induced by inflation levels not seen since the 1970s and 1980s as the post-Covid supply crunch and the war in Ukraine continue.

With less than a month to go before the Congressional midterm elections — every seat in the House and one-third of the seats in the Senate are up for election on Nov. 8 — the Biden administration had been lobbying Saudi Arabia to boost production even as prices have already fallen from their highs of $120 in June after the war began. Light Sweet Crude stands at about $85 as of this writing.

The trouble is, with inflation still north of 8 percent in the U.S., Biden needed the perception that something is being done, somewhere, to increase production. Just not here. That is because he is obeying two masters, the American people and the environmentalist interests that have similarly locked up future U.S. energy production in favor of green alternatives including electric vehicles.

And yet, even there, production is worse than that of fossil fuels, with months-long waiting lists for battery-powered cars and trucks.

That is because, during Covid when much of the global economy was locked down, production was forestalled across the board, resulting in months-long delays for basic orders in supply chains when demand picked up sooner than expected. So, even though petroleum was made more scarce — U.S. oil production is still 9 percent below its peak Dec. 2019 levels of 402 million barrels a month — so was everything else, with the result being higher prices across the board.

The limits on U.S. oil production are largely self-imposed — producible leases on federal lands were down 2.4 percent in 2021 compared to 2019 — as advanced economies have been attempting to transition to net-zero carbon footprints.

Another major factor are Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing incentives that have successfully pushed U.S. oil companies to restrict future production. ESG investing has increased dramatically the past decade via private retirement funds regulated under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) thanks to a regulation by the Obama Labor Department in 2015.

Additionally, the $762 billion federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal employee retirees began investing in ESG funds in 2022, following state government employee retirement funds in California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland and Oregon.

A group of 19 Republican Attorneys General led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson have threatened the $10 trillion hedge fund BlackRock with antitrust legal action in an Aug. 4 letter to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink accusing the company of “intentionally restrain[ing] and harm[ing] the competitiveness of the energy markets” with its market dominance of retirement investments.

Brnovich and Peterson added, “coordinated conduct with other financial institutions to impose net-zero [carbon emissions by 2050] … raises antitrust concerns. Group boycotts, restraining trade, or concerted refusals to deal, ‘clearly run afoul of’ Section 1 of the Sherman Act [according to the Supreme Court]. Section 1 prohibits ‘[e]very … combination … , or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce.’ Regarding the definition of a ‘combination,’ the Supreme Court has held that this language prohibits ‘concerted action.’”

A follow-up letter has also been sent by the group of 19 Attorneys General to the Securities and Exchange Commission, declaring “BlackRock’s past public commitments indicate that it has used citizens’ assets to pressure companies to comply with international agreements such as the Paris Agreement that force the phase-out of fossil fuels, increase energy prices, drive inflation, and weaken the national security of the United States.”

These are two things that Biden had a lot of control over: Leases on federal lands are down and ESG retirement investment regulations have only been increased in his time in office, with both the Labor Department and the SEC institutionalizing ESG incentives rather than reducing them.

The idea is to reduce America’s carbon output. Biden has been telling the world we want less oil for years now. Now, with the global economy circling the drain into another recession he’s surprised that the global oil producers like Saudi Arabia are listening.


Australian government betting nation's economic future on renewable energy delusion

You don’t have to be a climate sceptic to conclude that the government’s energy policy is bonkers. You just have to listen to the Energy Minister’s words. Last week, Chris Bowen outlined the challenge of meeting Labor’s 2030 emissions reduction target to a conference in Sydney. Reducing emissions by 43 per cent will require the installation of 40 seven-megawatt wind turbines every month from now until 2030, each one as tall as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It will require more than 22,000 500-watt solar panels to be installed every day for the next eight years, 2.4 for every man, woman and child in total. New solar farms would cover an area dozens of times larger than the Melbourne CBD.

All this supposes we can buy the things in the first place. Polysilicon wafers are in short supply and 95 per cent come from China.

Let’s not even get started on the pink batts question. The rooftop solar installation business is plagued with the same shonky operators that turn up like wasps to a barbecue when subsidised, government mega-projects are announced.

Last month, the Clean Energy Regulator started investigations against a Perth company accused of fraudulently claiming $1.5m in solar panel installation rebates. NSW Fire and Rescue attended 151 solar panel fires in 2020-21, up from 56 in the previous year, faulty isolation switches being the main cause.

Jeff Dimery, the head of Alinta who has had somewhat more experience in the energy game than Bowen, says we’re on course for an energy transition “train wreck”.

“I personally don’t believe we can achieve the transition based on what we’re seeing to date,” Dimery told the AFR last week. “I think we’re headed for failure.”

Anthony Albanese was elected on a promise to cut household energy bills by $275 in his first term. A survey by Compass Polling last month found 70 per cent of Australians don’t believe him. Last week Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb told a parliamentary committee household energy bills had risen by $300 since April.

Dimery predicts energy costs will rise by at least 35 per cent in 2023. Jim Chalmers says energy is the most “problematic aspect of our inflation problem over the course of the next six or nine months”.

Yet Bowen stood as steady as the legless Black Knight in a Monty Python movie last week, refusing to budge. He told the conference that “getting more renewables in the system will mean lower power prices”. He added: “I don’t think that should be such a controversial statement in Australia in 2022.”

Bowen is betting the future of the economy on his counterintuitive assumption that a transition from hydrocarbons to solar, wind and batteries will bring the cost of energy down.

In every country that has gone down this path, the very opposite has occurred. Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy prices had risen between 60 per cent and 100 per cent in Britain and Germany since renewable investment began at the start of the century. In Australia, energy prices fell for 60 years until the start of the renewable era. Now they’re rising.

Bowen hasn’t said when the correlation between rising investment in weather-dependent zero-carbon energy and rising prices will start to reverse. He does, however, stand by the modelling he commissioned in opposition, which predicts that the average household energy bill will fall by $385 once we reach the magic 82 per cent renewables share in the energy grid in eight years’ time.

Rising electricity prices aren’t all bad news, according to Guardian Australia, which reported last week that sales of household solar arrays were through the roof. To illustrate what good news this supposedly is, the Guardian claimed rooftop solar supplied almost three-quarters of WA’s total energy demand on the weekend before last. Confirmation-biased reporting like this demands a little fact checking.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s records show rooftop solar supplied 71 per cent of demand in WA at 12.30pm on Saturday, October 8. Between 6pm Saturday and 6am on Sunday, however, rooftop solar was supplying 0 per cent. During that period three-quarters of the power was supplied by coal and gas.

The answer to this little hiccup, as every Guardian Australia reader knows, is to install batteries, which, as every Guardian reader also knows, are getting cheaper by the minute.

The cost is falling so fast that electric cars and vans will be cheaper to buy than petrol or diesel vehicles by 2027, the newspaper reported in May last year. In February this year, however, economic reality reared its ugly head. “Gone ballistic” read the Guardian’s headline. “Lithium price rockets nearly 500% in a year amid electric vehicle rush.”

The cost of installing a Tesla Powerwall, a domestic energy storage unit the size of a fridge, has risen from less than $10,000 in 2017 to about $19,000 today.

None of this should surprise. Improved technology and manufacturing efficiency gains were only going to push battery prices downwards for so long. The International Energy Agency has analysed the cost of moving from a fuel-intensive energy system to a material-intensive one. Far from eliminating hydrocarbons, the IEA forecasts, the demand for minerals such as lithium, graphite, nickel, copper and rare earths will rise by 4200 per cent, 2500 per cent, 1900 per cent and 700 per cent respectively by 2040.

If nothing else destroys the delusion that renewable energy offers nothing but healing kindness to a desiccated planet, the rapacious hunger for minerals surely must. In an influential recent paper for the Manhattan Institute, Mark P. Mills predicts that meeting the world’s transition goals will require dozens of new mines for each of a dozen classes of minerals, each at the scale of some of the biggest mines in the world today and each requiring tens of billions of dollars of investment.

“The lessons of the recent decade make it clear that SWB (solar, wind, batteries) technologies cannot be surged in times of need, are neither inherently ‘clean’ nor even independent of hydrocarbons, and are not cheap,” Mills writes.

Having set Australia’s 2030 and 2050 emissions targets in stone, it falls on Bowen and Anthony Albanese to produce plan B. Assuming, of course, they have one.


My other blogs. Main ones below

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

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

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

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

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

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


No comments: