Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Leading maker of electric cars still not green enough

Elon Musk evidently has a diabolical view of environmental, social and corporate governance – more commonly referred to as “ESG.”

His comments came in response to a Sunday Twitter post from small business expert and advisor Carol Roth.

“Remember when @ElonMusk wanted to bring free speech to Twitter and then S&P removed Tesla from their ESG 500 index, but kept in Exxon?” Roth wrote. “ESG is business social credit. It’s a means to control capital, keep business people in line with the narrative, and, ultimately, control you.”

In characteristically brief fashion, Musk responded: “ESG is the devil.”

ESG refers to non-financial standards used by asset managers and investors in financial decision-making. ESG investing is sometimes referred to as sustainable investing or impact investing, and investors can use ESG standards and criteria to screen potential investments and monitor non-financial risks.

Earlier this year, Tesla was removed from the S&P 500’s ESG index. S&P Dow Jones Indices’ senior director and head of ESG indices Margaret Dorn said in a May blog post that Tesla was no longer eligible for inclusion in the index because its S&P DPJ ESG score had fallen into the bottom 25% of its global industry group peers despite remaining “fairly stable” year over year.

Factors that contributed to Tesla’s lower score include its lack of “low carbon energy and codes of business conduct.”

“While Tesla may be playing its part in taking fuel-powered cars off the road, it has fallen behind its peers when examined through a wider ESG lens,” Dorn said.


Biden’s Dirty Deal for Venezuelan Oil

We don’t have a lot of friends in South America these days. And with Joe Biden’s sneaky scheme to buy oil from Venezuela’s scummy socialists while stifling the production of light sweet crude from little Guyana, an erstwhile ally in the region, we now have one fewer.

“Washington policy makers occasionally make miscalculations that help American enemies, undermine development in a poor country, or harm U.S. economic interests,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s Latin American expert Mary Anastasia O'Grady. “But to nail the trifecta requires a special blend of ideological blindness and incompetence that is mercifully rare. Still, as the administration’s treatment of Guyana demonstrates, it does happen.”

It’s not just that the Venezuelan regime has a history of anti-Americanism, which former dictator Hugo Chavez bequeathed to the nation’s current strongman, Nicol├ís Maduro. And it’s not just that the Biden administration, by allowing Chevron to resume drilling in Venezuela, has reversed restrictions that the Trump administration had put in place in an effort to oust the illegitimately elected Maduro. No, Venezuela is also cozy with the “Death to America” mullahs of Iran.

We’ll say this about Joe Biden: He sure knows how to pick ‘em. And he sure knows how to put one over on the American people. As O'Grady explains:

The U.S. government thinks you’re a fool, dear reader. And not only because it waited until Americans were en route to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving to let news slip of a deal to increase heavy-crude output from joint ventures controlled by a dictatorship allied with Iran. Or that it expects you to believe that Venezuela is considering a return to free elections in exchange.

What does the U.S. get out of all this? Precious little, according to former Trump economist Stephen Moore: “This is the same administration … that won’t allow us to do drilling here in the United States, not in Texas, not in Oklahoma, not in Alaska, not in West Virginia. But we can pump oil from Venezuela. It makes absolutely no sense. It’s put America last energy policy they got. And by the way … when Trump left office and I helped Trump on energy policy, our whole policy was to make America totally energy independent, so we wouldn’t have to rely on countries like Venezuela and Iran and Russia.”

And yet here we are. Helping to prop up a dictatorship whose citizens were recently reduced to scavenging for morsels in the back of a garbage truck, and chasing and stoning to death a cow in a field.

Fox New’s Peter Doocy put the question to Biden talkinghead John Kirby yesterday: “Does the President think there’s some benefit to the climate to drill oil in Venezuela and not here?”

As for little Guyana, what a missed opportunity. Exxon Mobil discovered an abundance of oil in its offshore waters in 2015, and Guyana’s estimated reserves are now more than 11 billion oil-equivalent barrels. To put this in perspective, only Kuwait has more oil per capita.

“The story gets even better,” as O'Grady writes, “because the crude under Guyanese waters has low sulfur content, the opposite of the tar that comes out of Venezuela. It would be hard to dream up a more exciting narrative for a country mired in poverty.”

But, no, let’s instead do business with a guy we’ve been trying to oust for years.

None of this would’ve happened, of course, had the U.S. simply tapped into its own abundant energy reserves rather than getting ourselves over a barrel with South American socialists. Instead, Joe Biden has stiffed a friend and thereby invited the Communist Chinese into the picture. As O'Grady reports, China “is aggressively signing contracts to build infrastructure in Guyana and getting in on the oil boom.”

All while the U.S. is buying dirty crude from people who hate us.

Good to go, Joe.


Britain doubles coal imports to head off winter energy crisis

Rising gas prices resulting from the war in Ukraine have forced the UK to nearly double its coal imports in the fight to keep the lights on through the Winter.

The increasing use of coal-generated power in the UK comes after years of the country shifting to cleaner electricity from gas-fired power plants and renewables, but is deemed vital as Russian president Vladimir Putin crimps gas supplies to Europe.

Figures from Kpler, a commodity analytics firm, show that last month more than 560,000 tonnes of coal came into British ports, compared to the 291,089 tonnes that arrived in October 2021, a 93 per cent increase.

In the first 10 months of this year, the UK imported more than 5.5 million tonnes of coal, already exceeding the 4.2 million tonnes throughout the whole of 2021.

Victor Katona, senior analyst at Kpler said increased demand for coal is because of the rising price of wholesale gas. “Absent the option of burning fuel oil - the most cost-efficient power generation option right now - coal- is very much the best option out there, albeit the most polluting one, too.

“With gas prices like these, relying on natural gas for power generation is a no-go zone for anyone who can switch between fuels.”


Barrier Reef in danger? The fight’s on again as Australian government prepares to lobby UN

Australia faces its second fight in less than two years to prevent the Great Barrier Reef from being ­declared “in danger” by the UN, as Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek prepares to lobby her global counterparts against the move and scientists say the reef is improving.

The expert panel of the ­UNESCO World Heritage Committee has released a report recommending the reef be placed on a list of World Heritage sites in danger as it faces risk from climate change and degrading water quality from agricultural run-off.

Farmers within the Great Barrier Reef catchment area have warned they will lobby hard against any extra regulations after the report recommended a ­reduction in run-off from banana and sugarcane farming.

Ms Plibersek faces a battle to stave off a formal ruling when the report is considered at the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in mid-2023. Having recently met with UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay in Lisbon, she will speak with her international counterparts at global environmental talks in Montreal next month.

The Australian understands Ms Plibersek is prepared to lobby hard if a formal proposal to place the reef “in danger” is made.

Ms Plibersek and her Queensland counterpart, Meaghan Scanlon, sought to distance themselves from the report’s findings, arguing they were the result of the former Coalition government’s failure to act on climate change.

“The reason that UNESCO in the past has singled out a place as ‘at risk’ is because they wanted to see greater government investment or greater government action – and since the change of government, both of those things have happened,” she said.

“We’ll clearly make the point to UNESCO that there is no need to single the Great Barrier Reef out in this way.”

Former Coalition environment minister Sussan Ley only last year successfully fended off an attempt downgrade the health status of the reef. She flew to Europe last July to directly lobby World Heritage Council members.

Steve Edmondson, a reef tour operator in Port Douglas, said the UN-backed report relied on old ­information gathered during a monitoring mission in March while the reef was going through a mass coral bleaching event.

“I don’t think it considers that there are a lot of positive things that have happened in the past year,” he said. “The reef is in excellent condition at the moment and that’s what our guests are experiencing every day.

“It’s actually doing better than it has done for a very, very long time. It is fragile, but I do feel ­encouraged by the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.”

An August report from the commonwealth’s chief independent marine science agency found the northern and central parts of the reef have the highest amounts of coral for 36 years, ­despite another bleaching episode earlier this year.




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