Sunday, October 09, 2022

UK: Forcing farmers to join the rush for Net Zero will see MILLIONS go hungry, warns cattle and wheat farmer of 40 years

There are so many threats to British agriculture. Too much sun, not enough rain. Rising costs for fuel and fertiliser. Catastrophic labour shortages. And shockingly low profit margins which have left farmers scrabbling to survive or selling up entirely. So self-inflicted wounds on top of these are a serious matter.

I’m talking in particular about the rush for Net Zero, at least as it applies to agriculture. Net Zero is the aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But what this means in practical terms is farms have been told to abandon the tried and trusted aids to food production – pesticides and chemical fertilisers – that have done so much to feed the nation since the war.

Farmers have also been urged to pull out of traditional meat production in the cause of cutting methane in the atmosphere. Who is demanding these changes? Bureaucrats, of course – namely the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, plus the vestiges of diktats from the European Union.

I’ve spent 40 years growing food and today run a mixed farm in Aberdeenshire with grass-fed beef cattle, barley for the Scotch whisky industry and wheat for chickens. So I know that what has been proposed is simply unworkable. Pesticide and fertiliser reduction targets for between 2030 and 2050 are not so much ambitious as impossible. Impossible, that is, if we want to continue feeding the country.

I realise there’s plenty of support for green virtue-signalling, mainly from people who have never set foot on a farm. But let’s get real about organic food, which is what the Net Zero drive is demanding we produce. That is to say, livestock and crops raised without the benefit of pest control and chemical fertiliser.

EU officials have been pushing an unworkable ‘farm-to-fork’ plan, which involves a 30 per cent rise in such food by 2030. Despite Brexit, we seem to be adopting this.

I believe the organic movement is no more than a fad. It is certainly not a national food plan for a country of 67 million.

Organic farming is suitable only for gardening at home, for allotments and for the rich, who choose to spend a lot more money. For conventional farmers like myself, it is clear organic production requires significantly more land – and therefore is hugely inefficient.

It’s not that I am anti-environment. Where green schemes are practical and appropriate, we put them into practice on our farm. There’s mixed woodland to encourage wildlife and we leave natural corridors across the land to help small mammals escape the plough.

But anything other than smart, modern farming is self-indulgent, low-yield and unsustainable. Retreating to the methods of the 1940s cannot be part of the plan for any farmer. It will punish the poor and leave us dependent on foreign food supplies – a state of affairs thrown into clear focus by Putin’s monstrous invasion of Ukraine.

Food prices in Britain have risen by nearly 12 per cent this year, mostly as a consequence of an event a couple of thousand miles away. The cost of fertiliser, which depends on petrochemicals, has gone through the roof. No wonder civil servants are scrambling to redraw the more fanciful plans for green conformity. To say we have been caught with our trousers down is a gross understatement.

Then there is the fashionable war on meat, driven partly by the ‘methane myth’. This is the claim that livestock, such as cows and sheep, damage the environment by burping and farting. Cows, in particular, are accused of being a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, one cow can produce up to 200kg of methane, which – as Joe Biden has lectured us all – is ‘one of the most potent greenhouse gases’, with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Is this true? Recent research from Munich University suggests that the methane contribution from livestock could be overstated by a factor of three or even four. It is also the case that methane, unlike carbon dioxide, is broken down entirely after a few years. This war cannot be dismissed as some deep-Green fad. A recent editorial in The Guardian newspaper went so far as to suggest it is time to put official limits on the amount of meat sold.

Never mind the weight of evidence that grass-fed British meat is sustainable. Or that the fields themselves remove vast quantities of carbon from the atmosphere. Or the fact that, without artificial fertiliser, the arable production so prized by teenage vegans is impossible… without the excrement from animals to enrich the soil, that is.

I have long suspected that a drive towards synthetic meat production – and the money-making opportunity it promises – is a hidden factor in this disgraceful attempt to abolish animal husbandry. Does anyone really want to eat synthetic meat?

Sadly, the public is as confused as it is misinformed by zealots blinded by self-important activism. It’s not just a British problem. In Germany, half the population think back-to-nature farming can fight global hunger. It cannot.

The World Bank and the UN are part of the problem. Their Left-wing views dominate and give credence to anti-meat reports. They declare adopting alternatives to meat produces ‘progressive’ outcomes, such as ‘rewilding’.

I am convinced we can protect our landscape and produce more quality food for our own needs. Critics of modern farming often disparage current systems as industrial or intensive but it is only by producing more food from fewer hectares that we can keep the population fed and leave more land for biodiversity and wildlife.

Why not support more farming in cities, where technology allows crops to be grown indoors? Or do more to develop policies which avoid unnecessary ploughing and the consequent release of carbon dioxide locked in the earth?

The world’s sheer diversity of crops, terrains and weather systems means we will always need not just traditional farming skills but modern methods, too. That’s why it is essential that British agriculture finds a way to promote farming systems that encourage biodiversity and production.

Whimsical concepts such as fertiliser-free food or rewilding will salve the consciences of the well-to-do. But what good is that if millions go hungry?


Biden Claims Hurricane Ian Proves Climate Change, Despite Hurricane Expert’s Dismissal

President Joe Biden attributed deadly Hurricane Ian to climate change and suggested people “should do something about it,” despite such a conclusion going against the nation’s top hurricane expert.

Biden traveled on Oct. 5 to Florida to survey the devastation of hurricane-ravaged Florida and meet those who had lost homes and businesses. While the president put up a rare united front with Gov. Ron DeSantis in the wake of the Category 4 storm, as the two toured the damage and praised each other for collaboration, Biden opened his remarks by underscoring climate change.

“We’re in a situation where the Colorado River looks more like a stream,” Biden said during his Wednesday speech in Fort Myers Beach, a hard-hit town in southwest Florida during the Ian landfall, as DeSantis stood behind him.

“There’s a lot going on, and I think the one thing this has finally ended is a discussion about whether or not there’s climate change and we should do something about it,” the president continued.

When Hurricane Ian, described by DeSantis as a “500-year flood event,” slammed into the state last week and caused widespread destruction, flooding, and power outages to coastal communities, it spurred a bevy of Liberals and left-wing media outlets to push hard the climate agenda, asserting that carbon emissions and global warming have intensified hurricanes.

Biden administration’s top hurricane expert, however, has rebuked such claims due to lack of evidence.

“I don’t think you can link climate change to any one event,” Jamie Rhome, the acting director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center, told CNN during a Sept. 27 interview, after being pressed about how climate change had contributed to the storm and its “rapid intensification.”

“On the whole, on the cumulative, climate change may be making storms worse. But to link it to any one event, I would caution against that,” Rhome added.

‘Premature’ Conclusion

NOAA recently released a study with similar conclusions, saying “it is premature to conclude with high confidence that human-caused increases in greenhouse gases” have impacted hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

“After adjusting for a likely under-count of hurricanes in the pre-satellite era there is essentially no long-term trend in hurricane counts,” according to the federal agency.

Michael Shellenberger, the founder and president of Environmental Progress and author of “The Death of Environmentalism,” pushed back the long-term trend of increasing hurricane intensity at CPAC Australia, known as the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Sydney.

“The best available science predicts that there will be a 25 percent decline in hurricane frequency in the future, even alongside a five percent increase in intensity, which we are not seeing at this point,” the California-based environmentalist said on Oct. 1.

As part of his Wednesday remarks, Biden stressed the amount of federal help Florida will receive for storm aid and as part of Democrat-backed spending, including $13 billion over the next five years for highways and bridges.

The death toll from Hurricane Ian has climbed past 100, while nearly 400,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Florida as of Oct. 4.


Hundreds of billions in new subsidies will bring expensive, unreliable, eco-destructive power

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) wanted regulatory reform, in part to reverse some of the Biden Administration reversals of Trump era reforms intended to expedite permits for fossil fuel projects.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) needed Manchin’s vote in the 50-50 Senate to enact his latest spending extravaganza, the Inflation Reduction Act, which was primarily a massive climate and “green” energy subsidy arrangement. It gives Schumer allies some $370 billion in wind, solar, battery and other funding, tax credits and subsidies. In exchange, Schumer would offer a path for Manchin’s reform bill.

Manchin voted YEA, and promptly got bushwhacked. Once he’d helped enact the IRA, he had zero leverage. Schumer, he discovered, had promised an opportunity, maybe a vote, but not actual support. House and Senate members told him, we weren’t part of your secret negotiations with Schumer; we didn’t shake hands on any deal; we don’t want easier permitting for drilling, pipelines and LNG terminals that could help send US natural gas to Britain and Europe.

In the end, it’s probably a good thing Manchin’s bill went nowhere.

Yes, it provided some much needed and long overdue reforms to curb the paralysis by analysis and endless litigation that have plagued fossil fuel, highway, airport and countless other projects for decades.

But it also had Trojan horse provisions that would have unleashed hordes of newly subsidized wind, solar and transmission marauders on much of the Lower 48 USA, to send pseudo-clean electricity to mostly Democrat cities and states that don’t want even “renewable” power generation in their own backyards.

As the Wall Street Journal and energy analyst Robert Bryce observed, Manchin’s “reforms” would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other bureaucrats the power to issue permits and force multiple states to acquiesce to new transmission lines and 200-foot-tall towers across their scenic, habitat, agricultural and even residential lands – if the feds decide the lines are in the "national interest.” This could easily transform into federal powers of eminent domain, to take the needed acreage.

The feds could decree that thousands of miles of new transmission lines are in the “national interest” if, for instance, the lines “enhance the ability” of faraway wind and solar facilities to connect their intermittent, weather-dependent energy to an electric grid; or enable distant blue states to reach their renewable energy goals; or help achieve Biden Administration goals of stopping manmade climate change, “advancing environmental justice” and having “a net-zero economy” by 2050. Hopefully while avoiding blackout-a-week nightmares.

Populous states like New York could also work with FERC & Co. to have offshore wind turbines installed off less populated coasts, like Maine or North Carolina – and have the electricity delivered to the Empire State. New York’s peak summertime needs alone would require 2,500 monstrous 680-foot-tall 12-MW offshore turbines, operating 24/7 – when we’d be lucky if they generated electricity 40% of the year. (Imagine how many offshore ... or 6-MW onshore ... turbines we’d need to power the entire USA.)

Compounding the energy colonialism, the Manchin reform package would also give FERC authority to allocate and “socialize” transmission line costs, so that residents of states that don’t even get any of the electricity being sent along the newly imposed transmission lines would still have to help pay for them.

In short, the feds would be able to ride roughshod over states, local communities and federalism.

Let me say it again: Wind and sunshine are free, clean, green, renewable and sustainable. But harnessing this diffuse, unreliable, weather-dependent energy to power civilization definitely is not. And every bit of “renewable” power must be backed up with other power – so double our cash and material investments.

The Green Lobby and its legislator and regulator friends really seem to think they can just pass laws and earmark subsidies, demanding energy transformations by 2050 – and it will just happen. The raw materials will just be there, perhaps with a little MAGIC: Materials Acquisition for Global Industrial Change. That is, they simply assume the necessary raw materials will also just be there.

Not one of these luminaries has given a moment’s thought to – much less attempted to calculate – what this net-zero transition would require:

How many millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of EV and backup batteries, millions of transformers, thousands of miles of transmission lines – sprawling across how many millions of acres of wildlife habitat, scenic and agricultural lands, and people’s once-placid backyards?

How many billions of tons of copper, steel, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, lithium, concrete, rare earths, composite plastics and other materials? How many trillions of tons of ores and overburden? How many mines, across how many more acres – with how much fossil fuel energy to operate the enormous mining equipment, and how much toxic air and water pollution emitted in the process? Where will it be done?

To cite just one example, just those 2,500 wind turbines for New York electricity (30,000 megawatts) would require nearly 110,000 tons of copper – which would require mining, crushing, processing and refining 25 million tons of copper ore ... after removing some 40 million tons of overlying rock to reach the ore bodies. Multiply that times 50 states – and the entire world – plus transmission lines.

How many processing plants and factories would be needed? How much fossil fuel power to run those massive operations? How many thousands of square miles of toxic waste pits all over world under zero to minimal environmental standards, workplace safety standards, child and slave labor rules?

How many dead birds, bats, and endangered and other species would be killed off all across the USA and world – from mineral extraction activities, wind turbine blades, solar panels blanketing thousands of square miles of wildlife habitats, and transmission lines impacting still more land?

How many will survive hurricanes like Ian or Andrew? Where will we dump the green energy trash?

Not only do the luminaries and activists ignore these issues and refuse to address them. They actively suppress, cancel, censor and deplatform any questions and discussions about them. They collude with Big Tech companies and news agencies, which too often seem all too happy to assist.

The hard reality is, there are not, will not be, and cannot be, enough mines, metals and minerals on the entire planet – to reach any “net-zero” US economy by 2050, much less a global “green” economy.

Here’s another issue: electric vehicle and backup lithium-ion battery modules can erupt spontaneously into chemical-fueled infernos that cannot be extinguished by conventional fire-fighting means. That raises an important analog to rules Alec Baldwin should have kept uppermost in mind a year ago. Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Never point your muzzle at anything you are not prepared to destroy.

In the Biden-Newsom-Kerry-IPCC energy arena: Treat every electric vehicle and backup battery system as if it is loaded and ready to ignite. Never park an EV, install a PowerWall or locate a backup power facility near anything you are not prepared to destroy.

That includes in your garage; near other vehicles; in parking garages under apartment and office buildings; in residential neighborhoods and highway tunnels; or on cargo ships like the Felicity Ace.

And yet we’re supposed to go along with Green Energy schemes – as we did with masks, school lockdowns and vaccinations to stop Covid – because our government, media and “public interest” groups insist that we “follow the science,” on which there can be no doubt (certainly none permitted) that we face a “manmade climate crisis” that threatens the very existence of humanity and “the only Earth we have.”

Because we have to destroy the planet (with green energy) in order to save it (from climate change).

It’s time to short-circuit this electricity nightmare, by asking these questions, demanding answers, and ending the notion that governments can simply issue edicts and compel reality to change in response. ?


UK: Companies collapse at fastest rate since financial crisis as energy bills soar

UK companies are collapsing at the fastest rate since the height of the global financial crisis as surging energy bills drive thousands of firms out of business.

There were more than 5,600 insolvencies in England and Wales in the second quarter – the highest level since 2009, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The sharp rise in energy bills was cited as the biggest problem for businesses, while difficulties paying debt, rising costs of raw materials and supply chain disruptions also took their toll.

While the squeeze on finances has hit all businesses, construction, retail and accommodation and food services suffered the highest number of insolvencies in the first half of the year.

The Government has outlined support to help companies and public sector bodies struggling with their energy bills. However, the scheme for businesses will run for only six months, unlike the two-year programme aimed at households.

Insolvencies slumped in 2020 as the Government rolled out support to protect businesses during the pandemic. But the number of failures has since spiked sharply as companies grapple with fresh challenges even after lockdowns ended.




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