Sunday, December 31, 2023

Here’s How Much Money Biden’s ‘Anti-Fossil Fuel’ Regulatory Agenda Sucks From the US Economy Each Year

The administration has unleashed a bevy of regulations from several agencies that have distorted energy markets and disincentivized long-term investment in fossil fuel production, which in turn has increased the costs of energy production and consumption to the detriment of the overall American economy, according to the report.

These policies and their ramifications play to the advantage of major oil producers in Asia and the Middle East, some of which are known to use oil revenues to bankroll terrorist organizations, while American consumers and businesses navigate higher costs.

“This study examines what has happened with oil and gas production when we adjust for the large increase in the world price since [President Joe] Biden entered office, and the upward supply trends that had widely been expected to continue,” the report’s executive summary states. “Coincident with Biden’s new anti-energy policies, vigorous ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ (ESG) investing and rising business tax rates, U.S. oil production has fallen 1-5 million daily barrels short of previous trends. Increased costs of oil and gas extraction are reducing annual GDP by about $100 billion.”

Further, the administration’s approach to regulating energy markets has chilled incentives for technological innovation in extracting fuels, and the natural gas industry has also underperformed relative to how it was trending when former President Donald Trump was in office, according to the report.

Notably, oil production in the U.S. is hovering at or above record levels, even as the industry deals with the regulatory barrage. While the Biden administration has suggested that this fact demonstrates that it is not cracking down on fossil fuel production, Daniel Turner, an energy sector expert and the executive director for Power The Future, previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation that this narrative is misleading because “the lifetime of an oil well is years in the making, and so all of the production that is online now is from wells that started well before Biden came into office.”

The Committee To Unleash Prosperity’s report also rejects the notion that “Biden’s anti-fossil fuels policies—ranging from taking hundreds of thousands of acres off-line for drilling, to canceling pipelines, to restrictive environmental regulations that make drilling more expensive—are not the reason for the energy crisis and high gas prices at the pump.”

The administration has taken dozens of executive and regulatory actions designed to make oil and gas activity more difficult and expensive since it assumed power in 2021, according to research conducted by the Institute for Energy Research.

The Biden administration has engaged in a broad effort to reduce new oil and gas activity on federally controlled lands, which has resulted in millions of acres being removed from consideration for oil drilling activity. Biden pledged to fully stop oil and gas activity on federal lands as a candidate and issued a moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands in 2021, later saying in August that he would have been able to fulfill that promise if not for the court system.

The administration finalized the most restrictive offshore oil and gas leasing schedule in American history on Friday, has leased the fewest acres for oil and gas drilling of any administration in the last 80 years, and has moved to increase the costs of oil and gas activities on public lands that it has not excluded from such uses altogether.

The administration has also retroactively nixed leases in Alaska and attempted to remove huge swaths of the state’s land from eligibility for oil and gas activity, but the administration’s approach has not satisfied hard-line environmentalists, a key electoral and fundraising constituency for Biden.

The Biden administration’s energy policies are not only holding back the American economy, but also empowering foreign countries to whom the U.S. has ceded control of the marginal price of oil, according to the report.

“Anti-energy policies in the United States enrich the major oil producers in Asia and the Middle East, some of whom use their wealth to fund terrorism. Indeed, they are enriched twice by our policies,” the report states. “One benefit they get is that subtractions from U.S. production are subtractions from world production that contribute to higher world oil prices. The second benefit is that undermining shale activity in the U.S. gives OPEC more pricing power, because we are no longer as able to respond to OPEC production cuts with production increases of our own.”


Science and environmental costs show folly over unwavering commitment to lab meat

I have some state-of-the-art bioreactors right outside my window. They are solar-powered, grass-fuelled, self-replacing, self-cleaning and biodegradable. They walk around casually generating beef cells and are more commonly known as cows.

Little do they know they were central to discussions that recently took place half a world away at the COP28 summit in the United Arab Emirates. To build a meat-making machine that outperforms these docile ruminants on environmental and efficiency measures was surprisingly high on the agenda despite a track record of unmet targets and broken promises on the part of lab-meat proponents.

Billions of investment dollars, some of the world’s best scientific minds and the ideological willpower of vegans combined have yet to result in the development of a bioreactor quite as good as a cow. The process of taking animal cells and replicating them outside the body does work, but it requires a complex and expensive growth medium to feed the cells, as well as a sterile and temperature-controlled environment. If we thought three stomachs were complicated, this takes the cake. A kilogram of synthetic beef costs about $33,000 to produce, according to an estimate from the Good Food Institute in 2021. Admittedly, this is down from $3.5m a kilogram in 2013 when the first synthetic burger was unveiled but it’s still an astonishingly long way off commercial viability.

Estimates of when lab-grown meat will begin to replace natural meat vary from next year to next decade. The sticking point at this stage remains the cost of the pharmaceutical-grade growth medium, which is stubbornly high at more than $600 a litre. If technological advances could drive the price of the medium down to $30 a litre, the cost price of the final product is estimated to reach just under $100 a kilogram. This doesn’t account for supermarket and restaurant mark-ups.

Nevertheless, Australian lab meat company Magic Valley told The Australian earlier this year that its products would be on the shelves by the end of 2024. This is an extraordinary claim given the technological hurdles that remain and the fact lab-grown meat is not yet approved for sale in Australia.

Another company, Eat Just, did manage to sell lab-grown chicken nuggets at a restaurant in Singapore earlier this year for about $75 a nugget. The company will not comment on costs of production but – given the known variables such as medium, labour and energy costs – it has to be assumed it is selling the nuggets at a significant loss to attract publicity and further investment.

Scientists are beginning to question whether further investment in lab-grown meat is warranted in light of the scaleability challenges and doubts over improved environmental outcomes. This year University of California scientists estimated that using current technologies to produce lab-grown beef had up to 25 times more “global warming potential”. Even with technological advances, the estimate ranged from 80 per cent lower to 26 per cent higher global warming potential.

In a report released last year that estimated the future cost of lab-grown meat, scientists from Oklahoma State University made clear that some of the technological advances required to sell lab meat in a mass market might never materialise. “This cost estimate may not ever be reached since it will require multiple technological advances to be achieved,” the authors warned. “In practical terms, for this large-scale production, a kilogram of cell-cultured hamburger meat would cost well over $US100/kg at the supermarket and restaurants.”

It’s also important to consider that if renewable energy technology advanced quickly enough to cheaply power millions of giant steel vats in thousands of factories across the world, this also would dramatically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions created by existing food production systems.

Inventing cheap, reliable broadscale renewable energy is not the means to an end, it is the end. If the time and money that have been plunged into million-dollar beef patties across the past decade had been directed to renewable energy and recycling solutions, who knows what we could have achieved.

The publicity exercise around lab meat is ongoing, with a concerted effort to call it cultivated or cultured rather than lab-grown or synthetic. Cultivated is a term apparently being used to conjure wholesome imagery of growing food from the soil. Cultured sounds artisanal and bespoke. It’s image control that directs our minds away from the steel vats, the syringes, the gooey medium fluid and the white coats hovering over your future dinner. These images are off-putting but this is the reality. Just as people who eat natural meat must come to terms with facts of life such as death, people who eat lab-grown meat cannot escape the fact it came from a lab.

If the problem of methane emissions from cattle were addressed with an open mind, we could have been investing in natural dietary additives such as algae and seaweed that reduce the amount of methane cattle burp and fart. We could have been investing in management practices that used cattle to regenerate the soil naturally and sequester carbon dioxide.

Seeking to eliminate cattle from our diet fails to recognise that herd animals have played a critical role in grasslands ecosystems for hundreds of thousands of years. Removing them from areas that are unsuitable for farming is not an efficient use of land. Herd animals also remain a vital source of protein for poorer nations and small landholders responsible for most of the earth’s farmland.

Synthetic meat ventures’ continued ability to attract investment despite poor performance suggests the backing is based on hope and inflated claims rather than due diligence or evidence. The danger of being so heavily invested in an idea, both mentally and financially, is that we become incapable of considering alternatives. The unwavering commitment to lab meat despite fundamental problems is emblematic of the way ideological viewpoints quickly become blinkered and counter-productive to the original problem they were trying to solve.

It seems the allure of grandiose plans and discoveries that assure individuals a place in the history books has been prioritised over projects that genuinely would serve the collective good. Instead of having the humility to recognise and work with the genius of the natural world, our egos get in the way and the only result is a poor imitation.


Associated Press Got It Wrong: Wind Farm Contractors Acknowledge Turbines Harm Dolphins, Whales

The misleading AP article—carried by WBTS-TV in Boston; The Daily Star newspaper of Oneonta, New York; and WTFX-TV in Philadelphia, among others—stated that “scientists say there is no credible evidence linking offshore wind farms to whale deaths” and that “offshore wind opponents are using unsupported claims about harm to whales to try to stop projects, with some of the loudest opposition centered in New Jersey.”

The article accuses opponents of causing “angst in coastal communities, where developers need to build shoreside infrastructure to operate a wind farm.”

If so, why are offshore wind farm companies asking Uncle Sam for permission to harm ocean mammals, and why are dead whales washing up on East Coast beaches?

According to AP reporters Christina Larson, Jennifer McDermott, Patrick Whittle, and Wayne Parry, “One vocal opponent of offshore wind is The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of the foundation’s center for energy, climate and environment, wrote in November that Danish company Ørsted’s scrapped New Jersey wind project was “unsightly” and “a threat to wildlife.”

If the four reporters had done their homework, they would have mentioned that in required environmental-impact filings with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, companies explain that sounds generated by their activities will harm ocean mammals.

For example, Atlantic Shores and Ørsted’s Ocean Winds both requested permission to harm ocean mammals in their applications for New Jersey offshore-wind projects. And, since boats ramped up offshore surveys in May 2022, 31 dead whales have washed up on New Jersey and surrounding beaches.

Ørsted, which in November pulled out of a proposed New Jersey offshore wind farm, requested permission to harm 30 whales, 3,231 dolphins, 82 porpoises, and eight seals through sound waves generated by its surveys—although the company claims that the damage would be negligible.

The precise numbers and detailed species can be found on the website of the NOAA, in Ørsted’s Application for Incidental Harassment Authorization (Table 9).

Atlantic Shores, owned by Dutch Shell oil and French EDF, is still seeking permission to locate an offshore wind farm in New Jersey. In its Request for Incidental Harassment (Table 6-3) it stated that acoustic waves associated with the siting of the wind turbines would likely affect 10 whales, 662 dolphins, 206 porpoises, and 546 seals (also termed a negligible amount). It received permission to harm these marine animals.

Although the companies describe effects as “negligible,” the NOAA website states that it’s difficult to measure the effects of manmade sounds on mammals.

“Acoustic trauma, which could result from close exposure to loud human-produced sounds, is very challenging to assess, particularly with any amount of decomposition,” or damage to the whale’s body, states NOAA on its website.

Sean Hayes, chief of protected species for the NOAA, wrote in a letter to Brian Hooker, lead biologist at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management: “The development of offshore wind poses risks to these species [right whales], which is magnified in southern New England waters due to species abundance and distribution … . However, unlike vessel traffic and noise, which can be mitigated to some extent, oceanographic impacts from installed and operating turbines cannot be mitigated for the 30-year life span of the project, unless they are decommissioned.”

In addition, the AP article made no mention that some of the companies that would install these wind farms are owned by Denmark, the Netherlands, and France—despite the fact that renewable energy tax credits in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act are aimed at stimulating domestic firms to produce renewable energy. And there was no mention that New Jersey offshore wind farms would have practically no effect on mitigating global temperatures, either now or by 2100.

Local municipalities are increasingly rejecting wind farms, according to a Renewable Rejection Database tracker maintained by environmental scholar Robert Bryce. He reports that 417 wind farms and 190 solar arrays have been rejected by local communities in 2023. More than 600 projects have been rejected in 2023, up from 489 in 2022 and 208 in 2018.

Proponents of renewable energy are trying to gloss over its harms and exaggerate its benefits in an attempt to push costly offshore wind farms. For the record, French- and Dutch-owned Atlantic Shores and Danish-owned Ørsted asked permission to hurt whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals.

Americans in New Jersey and elsewhere oppose that environmental damage.


Australia: Peak Body Criticises Decision to Ban Oil, Gas Development in Lake Eyre Basin

A peak industry association representing Queensland’s minerals and energy producers has criticised the state government for banning new oil and gas development in the country’s largest drainage basin.

The ban came a few days after Queensland Premier Steven Miles assumed the position of the state's leader following the resignation of predecessor, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Under the ban, the Queensland government will prohibit all future oil and gas production in the Lake Eyre Basin's rivers and floodplains.

However, the ban will not cover existing approved conventional gas developments, and holders of existing petroleum exploration permits can apply for a production lease until Aug. 30, 2024.

Lake Eyre Basin is one of the largest drainage basins in the world. It covers an area of 1.2 million square kilometres, including parts of Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

Large tracts of the Basin is considered arid, supporting just 60,000 people, with the major land use (82 percent) being for low-density grazing.

It is also well-known for containing significant oil and gas resources.

Following the announcement, Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane criticised the state government for not considering the social and economic impact of preventing further expansion of Australia’s gas reserves.

“Reports this week indicate Australia’s East Coast is facing another gas shortage over the next few years and will rely on Queensland producers to ensure supply to millions of homes and businesses,” he said in a statement.

“Less supply means higher gas prices for Australians already struggling with cost-of-living pressures.

“Unless governments are prepared to allow and support new gas projects to be developed, not only will energy prices continue to climb, but southern states are going to run out of gas.”

The CEO noted that the decision was a blow to the energy sector, which had engaged in good faith with the Queensland government and other stakeholders and was willing to work with them to maintain the highest standards to protect the environment.

“The Queensland gas industry has developed alongside agriculture and other regional industries over the past six decades, supporting regional communities, and providing a benefit to all Queenslanders,” he said.

“There is no reason why the gas industry can’t continue along the same regulated and sustainable path that provides new opportunities for the communities of South West Queensland.”

Mr. Macfarlane also believed the ban would create more policy uncertainty for the resources sector and hinder new investments while impacting the livelihood of local communities relying on oil and gas extraction.

Mr. Macfarlane's remarks come after a June report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission indicated that Australia’s southern states would likely experience a gas shortfall in 2024.

The consumer watchdog warned that the shortfall risk would remain unless there was considerable transport and storage capacity to deliver Queensland’s surplus gas to those states.

Queensland Government’s Response

Meanwhile, Mr. Miles said the new policy would protect the Lake Eyre Basin for future generations of Queenslanders.
“The changes strike a good balance in preserving the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin region while providing industry with the tools they need to grow and develop,” the premier said in a statement.

Echoing the sentiment, Queensland Environment Minister Leanne Linard highlighted the importance of preserving the Basin.

“Maintaining clean and uninterrupted flow of the waterways in the basin is critical to the survival of the wildlife and the businesses and communities in the region,” she said.

“The Miles government is committed to the ongoing preservation of the ecological and cultural values in the rivers, watercourses and floodplains of the Queensland Lake Eyre Basin and First Nations Peoples’ connection to the land.”

Environmentalist group Lock The Gate welcomed the ban and hoped to see more similar policies from the government.

“Unconventional oil and gas extraction can require thousands of wells to be drilled across a landscape, with each well requiring millions of litres of water for a single frack,” Lock the Gate Alliance national coordinator Ellen Roberts said.

“This sort of development would have decimated the fragile and unique rivers and floodplains of the Channel Country. It would have pushed out existing sustainable industries and wreaked havoc on cultural sites.”




Thursday, December 28, 2023

As Wind and Solar Power Falter, U.N. Climate Agreement Becomes Wishful Thinking

Despite the lip service that governments, nongovernmental organizations and the media continue to pay to wind and solar power, most notably at the recent U.N. Climate Change Conference in Dubai—where some 200 countries signed a nonbinding agreement pledging their support for “transitioning away from fossil fuels”—some global leaders realize that wind and solar energy won’t do the trick and that fossil fuels will be here for a long, long time.

Sweden, for example, recently announced a major bet on nuclear energy and the United States and others have pledged to triple nuclear capacity by 2050.

Meanwhile, in the third quarter of 2023 alone, China permitted more coal-fired power plants than in all of 2021. Scores of solar and wind energy projects and investments have been canceled or put on hold as costs begin to catch up with reality, and production seems nowhere near where it should be to meet humanity’s needs.

Accepting reality has nothing to do with denying climate change or even that human activity plays a role alongside the natural climate cycle. It’s simply a question of understanding that political decrees and propaganda eventually collide with truth.

The truth is that (1) producing a unit of wind or solar energy requires a significant amount of energy, which defeats the purpose and makes for highly inefficient results, and (2) the declining cost of wind and solar power over the last decade was a function of artificially low interest rates and an abundance of cheap fossil fuels, thanks to the “fracking” revolution.

Regarding truth No. 1, to produce a unit of power output, wind requires three times as much and solar six times as much traditional energy as a combined-cycle natural gas plant. That’s because solar panels and wind turbines require lots of raw materials that depend on fossil fuels.

Regarding truth No. 2, green energy’s low-cost boom appears to be over. Clean energy is getting more expensive. Until recently, wind and solar advocates were touting the dramatic decline since 2010 in the cost of renewables, as measured in dollars per megawatt-hour. But that was a function of cheap capital and cheap energy.

The shale revolution that began 15 years ago turned the world’s biggest energy consumer, the United States, into its biggest energy producer, dramatically lowering energy prices. For example, North Dakota’s Bakken field increased its production sevenfold in the years leading up to 2020.

Other fields, including the Permian basin in west Texas and the Marcellus field in the Appalachian basin (Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York), experienced similar growth.

Unsurprisingly, the price of oil [West Texas Intermediate] declined from $196 per barrel in June 2008 to $73 per barrel in early 2020, pre-pandemic, while the price of natural gas [Henry Hub] fell from $18 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to $2 per MMBtu.

Given that the wind and solar industries need energy-intensive materials such as steel, concrete and copper, the low price of oil and natural gas kept their production costs down. But that has changed, helping to drive up the cost of solar energy by 60% since 2021 and the cost of wind power by 30%.

Capital was also cheap. The Federal Reserve slashed the federal funds effective rate from 5.26% in mid-2007 to essentially 0% by the end of 2008 and basically kept it there until 2016, when it began to rise slightly, reaching 2.4% in 2019, well below its mid-2007 level, when it began to fall again. The fight against inflation brought things back to reality. The current rate is about 5.33%.

The double whammy of higher energy and borrowing costs that have hit renewables is unlikely to go away in the near future—though one should never underestimate the ability (and willingness) of politicians to do the same stupid thing again and again. Nevertheless, it seems improbable we’ll see trillions of dollars of zero-interest debt again anytime soon.

Given the decline of the shale fields’ output (with the exception of the Permian basin, but that too seems close to its peak) and the scant investment in traditional energy because of the environmental, social and governance-driven political environment, the dynamics of supply and demand do not point to a sustained return of the low energy prices that renewables ironically depend on.

That’s why we will see more green projects canceled, more countries betting on nuclear energy (forgetting their knee-jerk reactions to the Fukushima, Japan, reactor accident in 2011), and oil, natural gas and coal continuing to enjoy a long life.

According to the International Energy Agency, trillions of dollars have been invested in wind and solar power. This year alone, the figure is about $600 billion. Yet wind and solar represent only about 12% of total electricity generation.

Imagine what would have happened had they not benefited from ultra-cheap capital and energy, not to mention the generous taxpayer subsidies many governments provided. A sober rethinking is long overdue.


Offshore wind in the U.S. hit headwinds in 2023. Here's what you need to know

There's a lot riding on the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry: the ability to tap into a huge source of clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, the opportunity to create thousands of jobs, the unique chance to jumpstart a new domestic manufacturing industry.

For these reasons, President Biden has made the success of the industry a pillar of his climate agenda. His administration has set an ambitious target of getting 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind power flowing into the grid by 2030, which is enough electricity to power 10 million homes.

That goal is a long way off, and given the tumultuous year the industry just had, the future is anything but certain.

2023 has been marked by "headwinds" and "tailwinds," for the young industry. While some of the first large-scale projects in the Northeast started offshore construction and began sending power to the electric grid, the industry as a whole has been hit hard by rising interest rates, inflation, and global supply chain issues.

Making sense of the "whiplash" between good and bad offshore wind news is tough. But to get a full picture of where the industry currently stands, and what to watch for in 2024, here's what you need to know.

Offshore wind projects are moving forward

Until very recently, the U.S. had a total of seven operating turbines: five near Rhode Island and two near Virginia. Together, they generate about 42 megawatts, which is less than a small natural gas power plant.

That's about to change with the addition of the country's first two commercial-scale projects: Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind.

Vineyard Wind — a 62-turbine wind farm located about 15 miles offshore from Martha's Vineyard — is set to deliver its "first power" to Massachusetts by the end of the year. Once the project is completed sometime next year, it will generate 800 megawatts, which is enough power for 400,000 homes.

South Fork Wind — a 12-turbine wind farm near Long Island — is also under construction and began producing electricity from its one completed turbine in early December. When the project is fully built out next year, its 132 megawatts will generate enough electricity to power about 70,000 homes in New York.

South Fork Wind — a 12-turbine wind farm near Long Island —began generating electricity in December. (South Fork Wind)
There are more than 10,000 offshore wind turbines in Northern Europe and parts of Asia. But adoption of offshore wind in the U.S. has been hobbled by NIMBYism and permitting delays. So industry experts and clean energy advocates say the progress on these first two American commercial-scale projects should not be understated.

"We should not lose sight of the fact that Vineyard Wind was not inevitable," said Amy Boyd Rabin, vice president of policy at the Environmental League of Massachusetts. "It is a very big deal and should be celebrated as such."

Progress in other parts of the U.S.

The Northeast is farthest ahead when it comes to U.S. offshore wind. But the last year was also notable for the fledgling industry elsewhere in the country.

In the mid-Atlantic, the federal government gave final approval to a 2,600 megawatt offshore wind project near Virginia Beach, the sixth and largest proposed project in the country so far. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project will consist of 176 turbines and is expected to begin generating power by 2026.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the government held the region's first auction to lease areas offshore for wind development. The results, however, were "underwhelming." Only one of the three proposed lease areas near Texas and Louisiana received any bids.

Building a west coast offshore wind industry will be challenging, in large part because the water is so deep that only floating turbines will work. But on the heels of a successful auction for five lease areas, California continued to plow ahead this year on its ambitious plan to get 3,000 megawatts of offshore power by 2030 and a whopping 25,000 megawatts by 2045.

In 2024, the federal government has scheduled another lease auction in the mid-Atlantic and is expected to hold auctions in the Gulf of Maine and off the coast of Oregon.

Economic woes and canceled contracts

A year and half ago, the U.S. offshore wind industry looked nearly unstoppable. But global financial challenges and supply chain backlogs of the post-pandemic era, followed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, complicated everything.

The problems first surfaced in Massachusetts when two offshore wind developers announced that the large projects they had signed contracts for were "no longer viable" under the terms of their existing agreements.

Offshore wind farms cost billions to build, so even a small rise in interest rates or the cost of steel can send the price tag of a project soaring. The two companies unsuccessfully pleaded with Massachusetts the state to let them charge more for the electricity, and ultimately ended up backing out of their contracts. Both companies have promised to re-bid their projects, just at a higher cost, during Massachusetts' next round of offshore wind solicitations in early 2024.

Similar economic issues surfaced in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Even in Northern Europe, where offshore wind turbines have been in the water for decades, upcoming projects face unprecedented economic challenges and potential delays.

A major setback to the industry

For a while, offshore wind experts said the industry was simply undergoing a market correction and making up for overly optimistic bids — the projects weren't abandoned, people noted; they just needed new contracts.

Then, in late October, Ørsted, the world's largest offshore wind developer, canceled two projects it had proposed for New Jersey. The decision, which the company blamed on economic challenges and supply chain bottlenecks, shook the offshore wind world.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called the move "outrageous." Opponents of offshore wind jumped on the news, pointing to it as further evidence that building turbines in the ocean is bad policy and financially irresponsible. Meanwhile, environmentalists quietly worried that other cancellations would follow.

"The world has in many ways, from a macroeconomic and industry point of view, almost turned upside down," Mads Nipper, the company's CEO said at the time. But while Nipper reaffirmed the company's commitment to other U.S. offshore wind projects in the pipeline, headlines about doom and gloom for the industry were everywhere.

"I think the reason the Ørsted cancellations just seemed so astounding was because they never came out and said, 'We want to renegotiate our contracts, we want to rebid,'" said Samantha Woodworth, an offshore wind analyst with consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. "I think that it was the abruptness that caused the industry to sort of go, 'Oh God!'"

In her view, the Ørsted cancellations are part of a bigger story about the struggle to get a new industry off the ground in a challenging economic situation.

"I don't think the offshore wind industry in the U.S. is going to fail," she said.

Other experts agree; meeting Biden's 2030 goals is more a matter of "when" than "if," they say.

"I think we will see the continuous rise of offshore wind," said Jan Matthiessen, director of the offshore wind program at The Carbon Trust, which advises governments and industry. "It is a young sector. We are scaling up, we are growing. And that also means you have some bumps in the road that you need to overcome."


Sorry, USA Today, Weather Isn’t Getting Weirder or More Extreme

USA Today ran a story titled, “The weather is getting cold. Global warming is still making weather weird.” Both the second half of the headline and the story underlying it are false. Data refutes claims that weather has been unusual in recent years. Winters are still cold, with some places being colder and receiving more snow than others as has been true throughout history. Also summers are still hot with some regions being hotter and more prone droughts and heatwaves, than others.

Dinah Voyles Pulver, writing for USA Today says:

[Researchers are] compiling increasing evidence that climate change is bringing weirder weather, even in frigid locations like this northeastern landmark.

Notoriously fickle, the world’s weather is lurching from one extreme to another more often and to a greater degree as the warming atmosphere pushes natural variability to new extremes, breaking records time and again, the researchers say.

Human-induced climate change alters the intensity, frequency and duration of many extreme events during every season of the year, according to the report. Drought, flooding and wildfire are becoming more frequent and severe, with cascading effects in every part of the country.

There is no evidence whatsoever that weather is wildly swinging from one extreme to the other in a way that it has not done in the past, outside of unjustifiably alarming mainstream media headlines proclaiming it. The data just doesn’t support the claim.

Specifically, contrary to Pulver and USA Today’s claims, as discussed in Climate At A Glance: Drought and across dozens of Climate Realism articles, here, here, here, and here, for example, data refutes claims that droughts in the United States or globally have increased in number or intensity in recent years. The earth certainly hasn’t experienced any of the 100 year or longer droughts that research shows have occurred multiple times in past centuries and millennia, long before humans began pumping large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Nor have wildfires or floods increased in frequency, intensity, or duration outside of their historical norms amidst recent modest warming, as data presented in Climate At A Glance: U.S. Wildfires, Climate At A Glance: Floods, and articles at Climate Realism discussing flood and wildfire trends demonstrate.

In the end, the USA Today’s story on weird weather is wrong on almost every testable claim made in it. Scientists’ anecdotes and impressions aside, no real-world data exists suggesting that weather in recent decades is getting weirder, however defined, or that extreme weather events are becoming more common or severe when they occur. Sorry, Pulver and USA Today, climate change can’t be causing something that isn’t happening. Such a claim is laughably false.


Crude Oil Isn’t Going Away Soon

We’ve become a very materialistic society over the last 200 years, and the world has populated from 1 to 8 billion because of more than 6,000 useful products and different fuels for planes, ships, trucks, cars, military, and the space program made from crude oil that did not exist before the 1800’s.

As a refresher for those pursuing net-zero emissions, wind and solar do different things than crude oil.

Wind and solar renewables only generate occasional electricity but cannot manufacture anything. The problem with renewable electricity from wind turbines and solar panels is that they don’t work most of the time, and thus are unreliable for “just electricity”!

Then there is “the nameplate farce” of those renewables. There should be financial penalties for the subsidies and tax credits provided to wind and solar power plants for their inability to deliver at least 90 percent of their permitted nameplate ratings on an ANNUAL basis, like their backup competitors of coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants that provide continuous uninterruptable electricity.

Of the three fossil fuels, coal and natural gas are used to generate electricity, but the third, crude oil, is virtually never used to generate electricity. However, when crude oil is manufactured into petrochemicals, it is the basis for virtually all the products in our materialistic society that did not exist before the 1800’s.

Today’s policymakers do not understand that everything that needs electricity is made with petrochemicals manufactured from crude oil, from the light bulb to the refrigerator, iPhone, defibrillator, computer, and communications equipment. Thus, “just electricity” from the so-called green renewables of wind turbines and solar panels are not displacing the need for crude oil.

We should be careful with what we wish for. From the proverb “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” tells us that:

You can’t rid the world of crude oil and,
Continue to enjoy the products and transportation fuels that are currently made with petrochemicals manufactured from crude oil.

The few wealthy countries of the United States of America, Germany, the UK, and Australia representing about 6 percent of the world’s population (515 million vs 8 billion) are mandating social changes to achieve net zero emissions. Those developed countries have come a long way from the zero emissions society that existed before the 1800’s when:

There were no coal fired power plants before the 1800’s.

There were no natural gas-powered plants before the 1800’s.

There were no nuclear power plants before the 1800’s.

There were no products for heating, cooling, or irrigation to prevent weather related fatalities and injuries before the 1800’s.

There were no tires or asphalt to support transportation infrastructures.

Life expectancy was short, as life longevity was about 40 years of age before the 1800’s.

When people were born, they seldom traveled more than 100 miles from their birthplace before the 1800’s.

There was no medical industry before the 1800’s.

There were no electronics before the 1800’s.

There were no transportation infrastructures before the 1800’s.

There were no airplanes and thus no airports before the 1800’s.

There were no cruise ships nor merchant ships, other than sailing vessels before the 1800’s.

There were no military ships or planes before the 1800’s.

Looking beyond the few wealthy countries setting environmental policies for the other 94 percent of the world’s population,

Nearly Half the World Lives on Less than $5.50 a Day, as billions still struggle to meet basic needs. They may never be able to enjoy the materialistic living styles of those in wealthier countries.

At the recent climate summit gathering in Dubai that attracted more than 70,000 from around the world that enjoy their carbon-intensive lifestyles, as well as more than 600 emission-spewing private jets, the president of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber stated that a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves”, i.e. back to the pre-1800’a as noted above.

Until a crude oil replacement is identified that can support making the more than 6,000 products in today’s society, the world cannot do without crude oil that is the basis of our materialistic “products” society.

Without crude oil, here are several conundrums that 8 billion on this planet would need to adjust to:

There would be no products that are based on oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil! Such as tires, asphalt, refrigerators, televisions, air conditioners, X-Ray machines, life-saving medical equipment, and the other 6,000 products that did not exist 200 years ago that make our lives better, and just about everything we take to be modern, such as cell phones.

The elimination of all of today’s militaries and space programs as the world reverts to when civilization existed without the products and fuels from oil, i.e., pre-1800.

The elimination of the tents and sleeping bags utilized by the growing homeless population, as tents and sleeping bags are just a few of the products made from petrochemicals manufactured from crude oil.

Eliminate the need for airports that now accommodate more than 25,000 commercial aircraft and more than 14,000 military aircraft.

Eliminate the more than 50,000 merchant ships, that are moving products around the world to support the 8 billion on this planet that are made with the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil!

Eliminate the needs for major shipping ports that accommodate military, cruise, and merchant ships.

Wealthier countries continue their pursuit of wind and solar generated electricity. believing that electricity will reduce crude oil usage, the wealthier countries renewables dream would mean sacrificing an estimated 6,000 useful products that rely on the petrochemicals manufactured from crude oil – products that range from tires and asphalt for highways to fertilizers, cosmetics, synthetic rubber, medicines and medical devices, cleaning products, and so many more.

Without fuels and without products now based on crude oil, we would be unable to operate the international and military airports that now accommodate a large number of the more than 25,000 commercial aircraft and a large number of the more than 14,000 military aircraft, as well as many of the more than50,000 merchant ships.

Just as food is fuel (no pun intended) for our bodies, crude oil is food for our way of life. It provides the products we need for prosperous lives. No sane person would cut off their main food supply without lining up for a new food supply, first unless they wanted to starve to death.

So, before we jump out of the airplane without a parachute, and revert to the pre-1800’s, let’s identify the back-up “source” that can continue to support the making of more than 6,000 products and the various fuels of our materialistic society that are now based on crude oil.




Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Measuring methane intensity is a key step on the path to net zero

Sheer madness. In the atmosphere its effects are blocked by water vapour. It has no effect on the amount of radiation received and hence no effect on global temperature

After Canada and the United States both announced new policy measures to address oil and gas methane at the COP28 climate summit — just weeks after the EU agreed to extend its methane intensity standards to imported natural gas — it is clear that global policy to address the potent climate-warming greenhouse gas is moving fast.

As policy continues to evolve and demand shifts toward cleaner forms of energy, methane intensity will be key to assessing progress and regulatory efficacy, as well as ensuring the global competitiveness of Canadian product.

Measuring methane

Methane intensity is the quantity of methane released into the atmosphere relative to the amount of oil or gas produced. Measuring it enables comparisons of environmental performance across regions, companies, facilities, production levels, fuel sources and time frames.

With this data we can see where policies and practices are driving down emissions and where improvements are needed.

To effectively target methane emissions and gauge intensity improvements, you need to know how much methane you have and where. However, studies continue to show that we lack adequate knowledge of its magnitude and distribution. Comprehensive measurement to determine methane intensity is key.

When it comes to methane intensity, some producers do a lot better than others. A study by researchers at St. Francis Xavier University’s FluxLab found a 1,000-fold variation in methane intensities among Albertan oil and gas producers.

Since Canada’s oil and gas industry consists of many different production methods and fluid types, methane intensity also varies significantly across regions.

Measurements collected by FluxLab researchers in 2021 show that methane intensity from offshore oil production in Newfoundland is quite low, likely due to a combination of technology advances (for example, flare recovery systems), regulation and high production volumes.

Natural gas produced in British Columbia also has relatively low methane intensities. Another study showed B.C.’s overall methane intensity was lower than 2019 averages for Western Canada and the United States (though, at 0.42 per cent, it’s still higher than the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act’s 0.2 per cent methane fee threshold and the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative target).

B.C. introduced regulations in 2020 to drive down oil and gas methane emissions, which the B.C. Energy Regulator is now working to strengthen.

Heavy oil regions have the most methane-intensive production in Canada. Certain production methods can have as much as 400 times the methane intensity as offshore production.

A recent study of Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand (CHOPS) production in Saskatchewan found that methane intensity just during production was four times higher than the mean carbon intensity of Canadian oil over its entire life cycle. Saskatchewan’s overall emissions intensity is also getting worse.

Possible solutions

Fortunately, reducing methane emissions — and by extension, methane intensity — is dirt cheap. A Dunsky report found that a 75 per cent reduction in upstream oil and gas methane emissions would cost as little as $11 per ton of CO₂ equivalent.

That’s far below the federal carbon price of $65 per ton of CO₂ equivalent and rising, as well as carbon capture and storage for oilsands, which could cost between $89-144 per ton of CO₂ equivalent.

An overview of Canada’s newly announced methane reduction policy, produced by the CBC.

Canada’s newly announced amendments to its methane regulations will help drive deep methane reductions, so long as they are meaningfully enforced.

However, to credibly assess outcomes and achieve the reductions we truly need, producers and governments need to have accurate data on oil and gas methane emissions and emissions intensity. In addition:

Following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Canada should develop stronger measurement, monitoring, verification and reporting requirements to generate a more accurate picture of emissions and emissions intensity.

Saskatchewan and Alberta should proceed with regulatory development to update and strengthen their oil and gas methane regulations in a timely manner and follow B.C.’s lead by basing models and targets on aerial survey data.

Energy regulators should apply strong monetary penalties for non-compliance in a consistent and timely manner.

Methane intensity allows various stakeholders to recognize, quantify and base decision-making on important comparisons and trends. It will be a key metric in the global transition to net-zero that will make or break producer competitiveness and, if accurately measured and reported, help governments effectively determine emissions reduction progress and priorities.,and%20where%20improvements%20are%20needed .


Eco-Warriors are now battling Christmas

In one of the season’s most predictable developments, climate activists have declared war on Christmas trees, vandalizing holiday displays in cities across Germany.

Like any new religion, the climate cult despises competition, and so its members target religious symbols — not only Christmas trees but also Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” — as well as civic institutions, recently having defaced Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

With great pomp and gloom, the anti-Christmas tree group calls itself Last Generation (Letzte Generation), and, while apocalyptic youth cults do not have a very inspiring record anywhere, they have an especially ugly history in Germany — Seig heil and jackboots and all.

I do not make the comparison lightly.

There is a real debate to be had on climate policy, but these young vandals are not a part of it.

What they are about is pure millenarian hysteria, with all its usual destructive features: the cult of youth, contempt for political norms and property and an unearned sense of importance.

The German cities that endured this Christmas tree vandalism have seen this sort of thing before, from the Protestant iconoclastic riots of the 16th century to the book-burnings and church-strippings a few hundred years later.

There’s nothing new here.

As I saw for myself while attending the 2021 UN climate confab in Glasgow, what dominates the climate conversation is not policy wonkery but ritual rooted in apocalyptic mysticism.

That isn’t an exaggeration: I didn’t meet a lot of scientists or engineers at COP26, but I did meet many monks, magicians, and shamans; there was lot of incense-burning and chanting.

But there was very little talk about building a better power grid and lots of rubbish about the folk wisdom of the indigenous peoples of . . . wherever.

Climate change is a real issue that requires a real response: Ironically, our European cousins were until recently among the best positioned to actually do something about carbon-dioxide emissions.

They had the infrastructure and experience to build out the most important mitigation technology on offer: nuclear power.

Unfortunately, Europe at large — and Germany in particular — has turned away from that option.

Germany’s last three nuclear plants were shuttered in April.

The current German governing coalition includes the Green Party, which grew out of anti-nuclear protests in the Cold War era and never made peace with peaceable uses for nuclear power.

And if nuclear power gives them fits, then they absolutely go nuts at the mention of natural gas, even though expanding gas use would represent a significant carbon-footprint improvement for countries that rely heavily on coal for generating electricity.

Mitigation, adaptation, incremental improvement — that’s how constructive public policy works, but that’s not how a religious revival works.

Religious revivals require a conversion, the experience of being born again, along with pledges, acts of penance, symbolic sacrifice and striving toward personal holiness.

Such holiness even extends to Pope Francis, who’s been pressured recently to reinstate the Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays.

The pressure, however, is not coming from traditionalists looking to reinforce Catholic observances but from climate activists who argue (with some pretty fuzzy math) that this would meaningfully mitigate climate change by meat production emissions.

This would have no real effect on the climate, of course, but co-opting the pope would be a major spiritual coup.

The most recent UN climate conference just concluded in Dubai — the Rome, Jerusalem, and Mecca of hydrocarbon-enabled consumerism.

The Dubai conference produced the same thing every previous conference did: non-binding pledges by governments to mend their nations’ ways and similarly non-binding pledges to spend a lot of money helping poor countries adapt to climate disruptions.

Speaking for the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber said his country would commit $100 million to a climate-mitigation fund.

For perspective, consider that the figure is about 1/15th of what UAE residents spend on Rolexes and other luxury timepieces in a given year. It’s also about one half of 1% of what Emiratis spend on the gas-guzzling automobiles of which they are so famously fond — booming demand in the Arab oil kingdoms helped Rolls Royce set an all-time sales record in 2022. Not everyone in the church is a true believer.


Has anyone checked on the Great White North lately?

It appears the Trudeau government has ramped up its extreme “green” efforts and is ignoring the cries of protest and suffering left in their wake.

COP 28, the United Nations’ latest climate conference, just ended, and despite Trudeau not attending the event, he and his lackeys drafted up a plan that would require their oil and gas industry to rapidly reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 35 to 38 percent below 2019 levels.

The Canadian government uses the word “pollution” over and over, no doubt to paint a picture in the uninformed public’s mind that they are merely regulating toxic chemicals and other similar emissions, when in reality, it is carbon dioxide they are targeting.

Alberta government officials have pushed back, explaining that this will be essentially a production cap that will decimate the local economy, especially since the Canadian oil patch has already significantly reduced emissions and they have been engaging in carbon pricing schemes and other similar policies to fund green energy projects and make up for what carbon dioxide is emitted.

Canada is one of the lowest greenhouse gas emitters among industrialized nations, and yet their government seems insistent that they show off to their international friends by cutting their energy industry down (sometimes followed by a meek backpedal to avoid distressing voters too much).

The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors told Bloomberg that these regulations were going to make it more difficult for companies to attract investment capital, just like what has been happening in the United States amid the Biden administration’s regulatory onslaught. It’s obvious that government hostility towards an industry would make investing capital in it less appealing. In the case of the United States, we have a president who has repeatedly pledged to end hydraulic fracturing, end drilling on federal lands, end offshore drilling, and more, so that investing in those kinds of projects would appear to be a serious risk. In Canada, it is no different. Why invest in an industry that is being “phased out” by the government? This will result in lower production and higher prices that Canadians can hardly afford.

But Trudeau’s attack on the oil industry in Canada is not enough for the bloodthirsty greens; the Canadian Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act also targets farmers, specifically those who need to use natural gas and propane to heat barns and greenhouses. If you didn’t realize, the Great White North is cold, awfully cold in the winter, and fruits and vegetables are not easily grown outdoors during the winter season. Canadian farmers have already seen their income fall 8.3 percent in 2022, while the costs of running a farm increased 21.2 percent.

If that’s not bad enough, Trudeau bizarrely called for a tax on grocery stores as food prices began to skyrocket. Grocery stores operate at very slim margins of 1 to 3 percent, depending on volume more than anything else. The only thing a tax would do is raise food costs, or pressure farmers and other suppliers to lower their prices even as the cost of operating (not to mention transportation) rises.

Outrage already caused the Canadian government to temporarily pause their tax on home heating oil, yet another burden on average Canadians, who are struggling just to pay bills.

Canada has a very high cost of living. In fact, it has become so extreme that Reuters reports recent immigrants are leaving the country and moving elsewhere to survive. Natural-born Canadian citizens, of course, can’t jump ship so easily.

All of these factors leave me with one burning question: Are Trudeau and his government incompetent, incomprehensibly stupid, or bluntly and callously evil?

Regardless of which is the case, things are not looking good for our neighbors up north. This hyper-focus on global warming has gone way too far, and it’s actively hurting people. It’s long past time for this madness to stop.


U.S. Climate 2023 Year in Review In One Word: NORMAL

The year is not quite in the books, but it is late enough that we can have a look-back at this year’s weather and climate extremes.

We are all well aware of the narrative that the weather is quickly getting worse. Unfortunately, data does not agree.1

The weather — and certainly the impacts — of the past 12 months in the United States was actually pretty typical, even benign, in historical context.2

The one variable that stands out among extreme weather is temperature — extreme high temperatures in summer and (in particular) winter were very high in 2023, both of which contribute to a long-term trend that the IPCC has attributed primarily to the emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

This year will come in well below average for the total and insured economic costs of disasters in the United States, mainly because the only landfalling hurricane (Idalia) resulted in less than $1 billion in total damages, far less than the $22+ billion of an average hurricane season.

Month-by-month, 2023 ventured above and below the zero-line of the NOAA temperature anomaly time series (the USCRN). You can see from the figure above that there is no trend in this time series since December 2000, which is counter to what has occurred globally.


Lots of interesting details, but as far as landfalls and damage, just Hurricane Idalia which was preliminarily classified as a Category 3 storm, but to date just over $300 million in insured damage … Zzzzzz.


The US sees a lot of flooding every year. It is normal. This year saw its fair share but nothing unusual or particularly damaging. Disaster declarations don’t tell us anything about climate, but they do tell us something about disaster declarations — 2023 saw (to date) 19 flood-related FEMA disaster declarations, which is just about exactly the average from 2000-2022.4 You can dive much deeper into trends in US flood at this recent post. 2023 will no doubt be consistent with the trends documented there.


2023 was not particularly exceptional for drought in long-term context. In fact, compared to one year ago, 2023 has seen a markedly improvement in US drought conditions, as you can see below — with December 2022 on the left and December 2023 on the right. 2023 ends the year just about in the 50th percentile of months since 2000 for area under exceptional and extreme drought.

The figure below shows the proportion of US land area characterized as “very wet” and “very dry” from 1895 to 2023. If you squint, you can see that “very dry” has declined a bit, with extremes reduced dramatically since the 1950s, while “very wet” has increased, with more extremes since the 1980s. Fascinating, as Spock would say.

The “very wet” and “very dry” time series has a lot of month-to-month variability — in 2023 the “very wet” area ranged from 0.81% of the country (Nov) to 23.56% (Jan), and “very dry” from 3.36% (Jan) to 23.07% (Jul).

Tornados, Hail, Wind

The figures above show from left to right, tornadoes, hail and wind local storm report counts, based on preliminary data for 2023. The data shows that tornadoes are a bit above the recent average and hail is a bit below. Winds, in contrast, were exceptionally high in 2023. Given that convective storms produce tornadoes, hail and winds, I am looking forward to how meteorologists explain these contrasting trends of 2023. Economic losses from hail and wind were quite large in 2023.


Remarkably, 2023 has seen the fewest acres burned in the US since 1998. Everyone has heard about the record wildfires in Canada, but the quiet US season has been largely ignored.




Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas to all who come by here

Some political toons up on: (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Dictatorial Control, From Covid to Climate

Paul Driessen

I choked on my coffee when I read the headline: “Democrats raise specter of Trump dictatorship to boost Biden.” What a textbook example of “projection,” I laughed, referring to the psychology term for deflecting attention away from one’s own blatant behavior by claiming someone else is doing it.

Partisan media and politicos parroted the accusation, and the Biden campaign doubled down.

In the interest of fairness and accuracy, it’s appropriate then to revisit ways the Biden Administration, Democrats and their allies have battled wannabe dictators and defended freedom, democracy and viewpoint diversity in recent years. (Or not.) For example:

* Incessant Antifa rage, riots, rampaging and legal warfare against “Russia-colluding” President Trump, from his election and inauguration throughout and after his term in office.

* School, park and restaurant lockdowns, “social distancing” and mask “advisories,” mandates for “safe and effective” inoculations with vaccines approved with minimal study under “emergency use authorizations,” and endless misrepresentation and censorship by Biden officials, Democrat governors and “journalists” – in the name of preventing Covid.

* Opening our southern border to untold millions of “undocumented noncitizens” – mostly Latin Americans but also Chinese agents, drug smugglers, sex traffickers, terrorists, and disease carriers.

* Billions in “student debt forgiveness,” forcing taxpayers to pay off huge loans to graduates who struggle to get six-figure jobs despite prestigious degrees in gender studies or community organizing.

* Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Environment Social Governance (ESG) programs, from K-12, college to law school, and into government and corporate arenas – to ensure that every component of the society reflects racial, ethnic, and gender proportionality, but never viewpoint or political diversity.

These and many other authoritarian actions impacted American society, freedoms, health, and prosperity in countless negative ways. Far worse, many progressives and leftists hope they will pave the way for obeisance to even more dictatorial mandates promulgated in the name of saving our planet from supposed cataclysms inflicted by fossil-fuel-driven climate change.

Few will quibble that President Biden directed federal employees to take public transportation, ride bikes or rent electric vehicles for work travel, and hold virtual meetings instead of in-person gatherings.

These rules certainly won’t apply to private-jet globe-trotters like Climate Czar John Kerry, and EVs mostly transfer emissions from tailpipes to distant countries where toxic pollution and child labor accompany the mining and processing of raw materials to make EV batteries. But at least some federal workers will now suffer the inconveniences they impose on us, commoners.

However, Team Biden’s endless torrent of dictatorial executive orders, regulatory mandates, and twisted legal reinterpretations for electricity generation, vehicles, appliances, agriculture, housing, and other matters are already impacting our industries, livelihoods, living standards, and basic rights and freedoms.

These diktats are designed to force us to convert everything we now operate with coal, gasoline, diesel or natural gas to electric models. The United States will soon need 3-4 times more electricity than today – and still more to power the AI revolution.

But the same bureaucrats are shutting down coal, gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric generators – ensuring that electricity will be in short supply, generated primarily by weather-dependent wind turbines and solar panels, backed up by massive grid-scale battery systems, and thus unavailable or unaffordable during the coldest and hottest days, when electric heat or air conditioning becomes a matter of life or death.

In fact, just the batteries to back up nationwide electricity would cost up to $290 trillion (13 times US 2021 GDP)! Add that to wind, solar, and transmission costs, and the juice to run your all-electric home, business, hospital, school, or transportation will likely cost 30-40 cents per kilowatt-hour instead of the 12-15 cents the average American is paying now.

It’s a prescription for repeated blackouts, economic disaster – and unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats micromanaging every aspect of our lives: what size home we can have; how warm or cool we can keep it; what cars we can drive and how far, or whether we too will be forced to walk, bike or take a bus; how many trips we can take in jetliners, in our lifetime; what foods we can eat (hint: not beef); maybe even how many new clothing items we will be “allowed” to purchase each year!

The ecological impacts will be equally horrendous and widespread in the USA and overseas.

Wind and solar installations, transmission lines, and enormous battery complexes would sprawl across millions of acres of now scenic wildlife habitat and agricultural land. A single solar facility proposed in Virgnia would involve 3,000 acres of panels on 21,000 acres (over half the land area of Washington, DC). It’s just one of dozens of Virginia solar plans – on top of onshore and offshore wind turbine projects.

The installations “will power millions of homes,” supporters insist. Perhaps – but only when the wind is blowing and sun is shining at optimal intensities ... maybe 15-30% of the year in northern latitudes, considering winter snow and sunlight, clouds, nighttime, zero wind and other factors.

Many local residents and other citizens don’t want these massive installations in their backyards; the habitat and scenic vista destruction, bird and bat killings, health problems, and electricity costs and disruptions that go with them; or being turned into energy colonies for progressive urban centers. They’ve already blocked more than 500 wind and solar projects, on environmental and other grounds.

That’s why Michigan, California, New York and Illinois have already enacted laws that give state bureaucrats authority over land use – the ability to exercise eminent domain and other powers over local governments that want to slow or stop the onrush of enormous, heavily subsidized industrial wind, solar, transmission line and other “green” projects. More are likely to follow – depriving rural communities of their rights, property values and autonomy – to serve corporate interests that bankroll Democrat pols.

The federal “deep state” is likely to seek similar legislative authority – or simply assert authority – to implement President Biden’s national net-zero “renewable” energy transformation agenda.

UN and Biden “30x30” plans to “conserve” (make off limits to development) 30% of US and global lands and waters by 2030 will massively increase all these impacts and usurpations of power. Any lands not made off-limits by 30x30, wilderness, park, refuge, and other actions will be developed and desecrated to the hilt with wind, solar, transmission line, mining, biofuel, and other “green energy” projects.

Meanwhile, international climate alarmists and bureaucrats are telling African and other impoverished nations how much they will be “permitted” to develop and improve their health and living standards – using only “sustainable, renewable” wind and solar power. It’s dictatorial colonialism at its worst.

And amid all that, China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other rapidly developing countries are burning more coal, oil, and gas – and emitting more greenhouse gases – than most developed nations combined. That means US and EU economic suicide on the climate altar won’t make an iota of difference.

What might a Trump dictator do? Roll back or cancel these dictatorial decrees. Stop fast-tracking wind and solar projects. End phony environmental justice, DEI, and ESG programs. Return America to energy independence and affordable energy. Build the wall and control immigration. Above all, follow the law and Constitution. How revolutionary, tyrannical ... and refreshing ... that would be!

Paul Driessen is a senior policy advisor to the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy, climate, environmental, and human rights issues.


Environmental campaigners filmed, threatened and harassed at Cop28

Greenie versus Greenie

Incidents of harassment, surveillance, threats and intimidation are creating a climate of fear at UN events including the recent Cop28 climate conference in Dubai, experts have said.

Indigenous campaigners, human rights defenders and environmental activists say they are increasingly afraid to speak out on urgent issues because of concerns about reprisals from governments or fossil fuel industries.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen Indigenous representatives being filmed by people related to government institutions while giving statements about human rights at UN events, or photographed just for being present at a UN event,” said Lola García-Alix, the global governance senior adviser for the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.

“We’ve witnessed people working closely with governments physically corner and encircle Indigenous representatives in UN meetings. Such acts of intimidation have drastic effects back home, where Indigenous people sometimes face reprisals, including being questioned, harassed or detained.

“While many of these incidents happened in UN human rights events, such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, this worrying trend is expanding,’ García-Alix said. “We recently saw intimidation tactics at Cop in Dubai, where several Indigenous people from one country were intimidated by people working closely with that country’s government.

“The brazenness of governments is spreading into international spaces to suppress any voice that goes against their narratives. Over the last decade, there has been increasing alarm over the severity and frequency of such acts. Governments now feel they can act without suffering consequences.”

Other Indigenous activists also reported an atmosphere of intimidation in Dubai. “There was a heavy presence of surveillance and harassment at Cop28,” said Mesiah Burciaga-Hameed, an afro-Indigenous activist with Native Land Digital. “On numerous occasions, we were stalled from entering events, with no explanation. The United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) prides itself on being a peaceful space for self-expression when, in reality, it silences many people.”

Activists, Indigenous and otherwise, have reported being filmed and photographed by people connected to governments or fossil fuel industries as an intimidation tactic.

“Many individuals who made speeches during actions for Palestine or West Papua had reps from Israel and Indonesia taking closeup shots of them,” said Neeka Jun from the Climate Alliance for Palestine. “This intimidation causes extreme fear. There are many people who simply wouldn’t speak their truth publicly for fear of being targeted later.”

Marta Schaaf, Amnesty International’s programme director of climate, economic and social justice and corporate accountability, was at Cop28. Her delegation’s plans to highlight the link between human rights and climate action in Cop host countries, including the UAE and Egypt, resulted in demands for changes from the UNFCCC and UN security, including for text and photos to be removed.

“We were told our safety couldn’t be guaranteed if we didn’t comply with the requests,” said Schaaf. “We’re concerned about freedom of expression and the right to protest at Cop, including the UNFCCC’s commitment to ensuring safeguards are in place to protect participants.”

Other attenders were afraid to use sim cards or WhatsApp at Cop28, in case phones or messages were being monitored, or to speak openly in public areas because of the thousands of cameras installed, or to openly discuss or protest on wider issues, such as Russia and Ukraine or Israel and Gaza.

“I was stopped by a security guard for a watermelon pin [a sign of solidarity with Palestine] I was wearing,” Krishna, a climate campaigner from the Philippines, said. “He said I could be debadged.”

Official processes are in place for people to report incidents of harassment or intimidation to the UN, but they are seen by many as toothless.

Activists are concerned there will be a similarly repressive atmosphere at next year’s Cop29 in Azerbaijan, a petrostate with strong ties to Russia and where “violations of international humanitarian law” have been reported.

“The last two Cops and the next Cop on climate are in countries where freedom of speech and the right to protest are not upheld, so the UN has increasingly targeted activists,” said Big Wind Carpenter from the Northern Arapaho tribe, part of the Wisdom Keepers delegation at Cop28. “It’s a growing problem. Many Indigenous activists are threatened and punished by their own governments, and can’t speak out against them or corporations. Instead, the UN would rather punish us for speaking the truth.

“But in the hottest year in human history, where we’re watching fossil fuel corporations lead backdoor deals at the UN conference on climate, where leaders can refute climate science as ‘false’ or ‘fringe’, you have to ask why isn’t this oppression happening to the industry responsible for climate change?”

Campaigners are calling for change. “The agreement between the UNFCCC and each Cop host country’s government should be made public,” said Schaaf. “There is a lack of transparency. There should be stronger rules on conflicts of interests to minimise fossil fuel industry influence, and stronger safeguards for all civil society participants. Activists, researchers, and journalists need their rights to free expression to be respected.”

Activists are also hoping the UN will commit to protecting Indigenous peoples and other activists at events and afterwards, including taking action against states or organisations that intimidate campaigners.

“The reprisals faced by Indigenous leaders and defenders of human rights in the United Nations’ mechanisms is alarming – it’s at pandemic level,” said Anexa Alfred Cunningham, an Indigenous Miskitu lawyer from Nicaragua, who was blocked from returning home after participating at an Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) event in Switzerland in 2022. She now lives in Geneva, separated from family, friends and colleagues.

“The UN must take effective measures to ensure no one is subject to retaliation for their participation. The UN should operate free spaces where you can express yourself without fear.”

Activists say the suppression of free speech at Cops and other UN events is hampering progress on climate action and human rights. “If people, Indigenous or otherwise, know they will be intimidated, threatened, harassed or worse for bringing their situation to the attention of the UN and the international community, we’re all facing a serious problem,” García-Alix said.

“If this continues to be allowed, it will delegitimise the whole UN system, important voices will be lost, and environmental degradation and gross human rights violations will persist.”


Wind farm ‘free for all’ must stop, says Bob Brown

Veteran conservationist Bob Brown has turned on sections of the wind industry, accusing some developers of “profiteering” from climate change and not caring about the planet, while warning the wind rush risks accelerating extinctions.

The former Greens leader told The Weekend Australian better planning and environmental regulation were needed to ensure the nation’s wind rush did not have perverse outcomes.

“Wind power is an essential part of the answer to global warming but at the moment we have a free-for-all and whenever that happens there are reckless casualties,” Dr Brown said.

“And the (Albanese) government is way behind industry on this. There are international as well as national (wind farm developer) interests looking at anywhere the wind blows. They’re not doing it in the service of the planet.

“I do see a small number of those wind farms that are environmentally unjustified because the detriment is far greater than the benefit. That’s not being properly safeguarded at state or federal level.”

Dr Brown’s foundation has ­opposed a wind farm proposed for Robbins Island, at the northwestern tip of Tasmania, and Dr Brown is opposed to another inland from Cairns, in Queensland.

He said he was being ­approached to help fight wind farms across the country and had to make a case-by-case decision.

“(Some of these wind farms) are going in the end to be negative – the overall environmental offer is false because the impact on the environment is going to be bigger than the benefit,” he said.

Dr Brown, who famously led opposition to the damming of the Franklin River for a hydro-electric scheme in the 1980s, agreed the wind rush, if mishandled, could create as many environmental problems as it solved.

He was concerned the Tasmanian government’s pursuit of a 200 per cent renewable energy target – to allow surplus power to be exported to the mainland – was driven by “profiteering” under the guise of climate action.

The Bob Brown Foundation continues to fight the 100-turbine wind farm proposed for Robbins Island by ACEN Australia.

“The real driving reason for that (200 per cent renewables target) is profiteering by people like ACEN, moving into a lucrative new market which is being forced by the exigencies of climate change,” Dr Brown said.

He said the federal government was still talking about improving environmental regulation of wind farms, while developers moved into inappropriate areas.

“There’s an appalling wind farm being built inland at Cairns on the top of the range there, to the west of the Daintree National Park, and this one on Robbins ­Island,” Dr Brown said.

“I’m afraid we’re going to see more of this with massive wind farms lined up across the Australian environment to sell at profit renewable energy into Asia, either directly through cables or for ­hydrogen.

“We’re in a calamitous situation for the environment and nobody in this is much discussing energy efficiency, which is the cheapest and most environmentally sound (source of new power).”

ACEN said it had worked hard to address potential impacts of its Robbins Island wind farm on endangered Tasmanian devils and orange-bellied parrots, and that such impacts would be negligible.

Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek declined to comment but her department said the government was committed to “strengthening and streamlining … national environmental laws, including for renewables projects”.

“The reforms will improve the system for business and ensure we have faster, clearer, more efficient decision-making that enables economic development, while at the same time ensuring we better protect our environment and heritage,” a spokeswoman said.


British PM faces Net Zero ‘boiler tax’ rebellion

Tory backbenchers mobilise against plans to penalise boiler makers that do not meet heat pump installation targets.

Rishi Sunak is facing another major Tory rebellion over his plans to introduce a net zero “boiler tax” to railroad through the switch to heat pumps.

Conservative backbenchers are mobilising to oppose the proposals when they come before the Commons for a crunch vote in the new year.

The Prime Minister is pressing ahead with plans to fine boiler makers who do not meet heat pump installation targets from April.

Manufacturers have responded to the proposals by increasing their prices, raising them by up to £120 to offset the cost of the heat pump rollout.

However, the penalties require legislation to enforce, meaning Mr Sunak faces a showdown with MPs who are unhappy with the cost to consumers.

The Telegraph has been told the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, which consists of 50 Tory backbenchers, is mobilising to vote against the plans.

Craig Mackinlay, the influential group’s chairman, said: “The Government’s planned new boiler tax is another blow to hardworking families.

“If heat pumps are as good as ministers are claiming then why do they feel the need to mandate them?

“I urge the Prime Minister to remember his speech from back in September and deliver on his promise to protect families from the cost of net zero. He must scrap this tax.”

Ministers need to pass a Statutory Instrument through the Commons early next year to provide the legal powers to enforce heat pump quotas.

‘Green mania will increase inflation’

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, a former energy secretary, said: “Once again the green mania will increase inflation and lower living standards.

“It is wrong to tax boilers. If heat pumps are expensive and inefficient people should not be coerced into buying them.”

Sir John Redwood, a former Cabinet minister, said that if MPs saw an opportunity to vote against the proposals “we’ll obviously take it”.

He branded the plan “a disgrace”, adding: “It will mean higher prices for gas boilers for the many who still want them and will not necessarily sell more heat pumps.”

Under the scheme boiler manufacturers will have to ensure that 4pc of their sales are made up of heat pumps next year, rising to 6pc in 2025-26.

They will be fined £3,000 for every unit that they miss their target by.

Labour is poised to support the measures, known as the Clean Heat Market Mechanism (CHMM), meaning Mr Sunak is not in danger of an embarrassing defeat.

But a sizeable mutiny would leave him once again in the embarrassing position of having to rely on the opposition to pass a flagship piece of Net Zero law.

The Prime Minister suffered one of the biggest rebellions of his premiership earlier this month as dozens of Tory MPs opposed similar targets for car makers.

Senior figures including Suella Braverman and Dame Priti Patel, both former home secretaries, voted against quotas for electric vehicle sales.

In total 26 of Mr Sunak’s own MPs opposed the plans, meaning that they would have been defeated had it not been for Labour’s support.

Backbenchers have accused the Prime Minister of effectively reneging on a promise he made in September to scale back the cost of Net Zero.

He gave a major speech from Downing Street which he hailed as a change of course on green targets to reduce the hit to family finances.




Thursday, December 21, 2023

Another eco myth? Study finds plant-based utensils do NOT break down in the environment like activists claim

Plant-based plastics have been touted as the environmentally conscious alternative to typical petroleum-based products.

But many so-called 'bioplastic' products failed to decompose after more than a year in the ocean or on land, a new study shows.

The products have become increasingly common, with companies like Starbucks, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Lavazza, Lego, Nestle, Lush Cosmetics, and Kelloggs using them for all sorts of packaging, either as single-use plastic items or as linings for other materials.

Previous research has shown that paper straws contain cancer-causing PFAS, known as 'forever chemicals' because they remain in the environment for many, many years.

And the new study suggests that even if these bioplastics are not toxic, they don't appear to break down either.

Given the increasing popularity of bioplastics, researchers with The 5 Gyres Institute set out to see how these products would fare when thrown in the ocean or left by the side of the road - common fates for plastic bags, bottles, straws, and forks.

They placed bioplastics at multiple sites on land and sea, alongside conventional plastics and some made from wood or paper for comparison.

Almost none of these products fully wore away after 64 weeks, and some were virtually unchanged. Those that did wear away tended to break down into smaller pieces, rather than decomposing.

The bioplastic industry is valued at about $11.6 billion worldwide, and it is expected to grow about 19 percent per year.

Products left on land tended to break down more slowly than those left in the water, but even after 64 weeks, 78 percent of the bioplastic items remained in some form.

'Bioplastics' is a category that includes both biobased plastics made from renewable sources like vegetable fats, corn starch, straw, sawdust, or recycled food waste, and what are known as 'biopolymers,' plastics produced by microorganisms like bacteria or yeast, which are fed fats or sugars.

The study mainly examined PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) and PLA (polylactic acid) products, which are both biopolymers.

Researchers deposited 22 different products at 6 sites in California, Maine, and Florida - one on land and one at sea in each state. Seventeen of the products were bioplastics. For comparison, they included three polyethylene, one bamboo, and one paper product.

Mesh bags held the objects in place, while still exposing them to the elements. Land-based items were buried, and sea items were dangled into the water.

Researchers retrieved the items at fixed periods to track how much they had broken down: 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 16 weeks, 32 weeks, and 64 weeks.

As expected, none of the polyethylene products broke down after 64 weeks. The bamboo forks did not, either.

The paper straws at all three aquatic sites broke down after 32 weeks, but only the land-based ones in Maine were fully gone by 64 weeks.

The bioplastics followed a similar pattern: Out of those that actually did break down, most were in the water. Overall, about 78 out of 102 bioplastic items remained intact.

The 5 Gyres Institute is an environmental nonprofit funded mostly by donations from corporations and charitable foundations. Charity Navigator rated it three out of four stars.

The study's results were published in a report on the group's website.

One of the study's main conclusions is that consumers should be aware of the difference between products that are 'compostable' versus those that are 'biodegradable.'

All compostable products are biodegradable, but that does not mean they will break down while they float around in the ocean or lie in the dirt.

Part of the issue is that, even though the products may start life as natural ingredients like corn, chemical tweaking yields a chemical structure almost the same as regular plastics made from petroleum products.

Most of them require high-heat composting facilities, and most will never get there - and many end up in garbage incinerators just like any other trash.

Bioplastics are rarely disposed properly, previous research has shown, making them potentially worse for global warming than conventional plastics. Environmental groups have called them a 'false solution' to the problem of plastic waste.


The Impossible Energy 'Transition'

After two weeks of negotiation, the United Nations climate conference in Dubai agreed last week to “transition away” from fossil fuels. Left unanswered is whether governments are supposed to do that by reducing supply, reducing demand or both. A lot rides on the answer, but neither would affect the climate much.

In the demand-side scenario, technology saves the day with cost-competitive renewables. This is the vision of the International Energy Agency, according to which the more rapid the transition from fossil fuels, the more precipitous the decline in fossil-fuel prices. In its “Net Zero Emissions” scenario, oil demand drops faster than supply this decade, pushing oil prices below $30 a barrel soon after 2030, which corresponds to $1-a-gallon gasoline.

Yet even with fossil-fuel prices near historic highs, effective renewable substitutes are nowhere near cost-competitive. They’d have to get cheaper still to compete with $30-a-barrel oil. And in developed countries, especially the U.S., it’s impossible to get permits quickly enough for the staggering amount of renewable capacity that would be needed.

In the supply-side approach, governments would slash oil production or impose rationing, hoping to make fossil fuels so expensive that renewables are the only option. This is the dark vision of “Stop Oil” and Greta Thunberg. But as long as renewable substitutes aren’t immediately available and oil and gas remain necessary, a small reduction in supply causes prices to soar. That means windfall profits for energy companies, scarcity for everyone else, and electoral danger for the governments responsible. Ms. Thunberg claims that climate change is a “death sentence” for the poor, but the poor are far more vulnerable to disruptions in energy supply. In the 1970s, an oil boycott aimed at the U.S. caused famines in Africa.

While the stop-oil view was popular at Dubai, there were enough adults in the room to keep the conference from committing to it. “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5 C” (the Paris Agreement’s proposed limit on 21st-century temperature increases), said conference president Ahmed al Jaber, “unless you want to take the world back into caves.” Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman dared countries to try to choke off the oil supply: “Let them do that themselves. And we will see how much they can deliver.”

Poor countries are clear-eyed about the danger of energy poverty. “We are not going to compromise with the availability of power for growth,” said India’s minister for power, R.K. Singh. China has more coal plants under construction than are in operation in the U.S. Few rich countries have announced plans to stop drilling for oil or gas, and none of those are major producers. Even President Biden ran away from increasing the gasoline tax as soon as prices went above $3 a gallon in the summer of 2021.

The administration’s answer to this conundrum is to defer political consequences via the regulatory state. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to require that all coal and natural-gas plants shut down or adopt unproven zero-carbon technologies by 2038. Another EPA proposal would require 62% of all cars sold in America to be fully electric by 2032.

Assuming they survive court challenges and future administrations, they would impose soaring prices and reduced mobility on Americans. They would have almost no impact on global temperatures unless other countries, including China and India, also commit to energy poverty. The question is how much damage these policies will do before they’re abandoned.


What could happen if we just stopped oil? Six billion might die

It's difficult to see how an immediate ban on fossil fuels will allow civilisation to continue and flourish

Many of us have been exasperated by the antics of Just Stop Oil protesters. Now, I believe that these are well-meaning and committed to their cause and I am sure that they think that they are trying to save the planet in the best way they can think of – gain publicity, get people talking and influence politicians.

But what would happen if we literally just stopped oil tomorrow and did without the natural resources on which the world, its economies and populations depend? The answer: most likely six billion people would die within a year.

I am going to assume the “oil” in Just Stop Oil means fossil fuels – so oil, gas and coal. I am also going to assume that we have today’s technological knowledge and infrastructure, so we are talking about stopping fossil fuels now, not at some unspecified time in the future.

Day 1 – no more mining of coal; the world’s oil wells shut down; the world’s gas fields likewise. The first to feel the change would be gas users.

Gas stocks held above ground are typically not that high. So the UK would quite quickly, say in 10 or 15 days, have to turn off its gas distribution system as it would be unable to maintain pressure.

This would mean in turn that the domestic supply would be shut down too – gas would stop flowing, and some 21 million households (74pc of the population) would no longer have heating, hot water, and cooking facilities. In their panic, people might turn to electricity for their cooking and heating, but wait…

The UK electricity grid relies on natural gas as its “buffer” energy source. Every day, demand varies according to consumer demand, and the other main energy supplier, renewables, are highly variable and can only power the grid when gas is picking up the lion’s share of the gap between their output and consumer demand.

So the moment that the main gas distribution system is de-pressurised, the grid-balancing system fails and power cuts ensue.

It is impossible to gauge how extensive these power cuts would be, but the grid would be so seriously compromised, possibly fatally, that they may be widespread and permanent.

Electricity demand would have rocketed through the switch to electric space heating, cooking and water-heating, and so it seems very likely that the sudden excess demand would be undeliverable, and therefore that the grid would spiral into uncontrollability.

No electricity means no communication systems – no mobiles, no TV, and no running water. With no power and no heating, vulnerable people start to die.

Initially just the elderly in their own homes, then in hospitals when the diesel back-up generators run out of fuel, but then new existential problems emerge for ordinary people in the form of food availability and distribution.

Day 25 – I’m probably being generous with the timing here, but diesel and petrol are likely to have run out by day 25. This means that food distribution would fail, and so the population, most of which are entirely dependent on bought food, begin to starve.

In dire national emergencies, international help is often forthcoming, but in this case, this scenario is taking place, in largely identical ways and timing, across the developed and developing world. Only isolated rural communities, agriculturally self-sufficient, would be relatively unaffected. So no international rescue mission.

Day 50 – in the urban world, many people would be near death from starvation. In the 50 days since the ending of fossil fuel supply, law and order would have broken down, and I suspect that mass conflict and slaughter would have been taking place with the increasingly desperate search for the means of survival.

But disease would be on the rampage too, with no power, no water supply and no sewage flow, so cholera, dysentery and all the other Victorian diseases of crowding would take over.

Day 100 – just three months or so since the world just stopped oil – my guess is that around half of the world’s population (say four billion people) would be dead. The first to die would be the urban poor; then the middle and upper classes, with money and status becoming increasingly irrelevant with the passage of time.

The survivors would be largely rural, able to live off local agricultural produce, or live off dwindling food stocks.


Why the green elites hate Christmas

Ignore the doom-mongers, the killjoys, the snobs. Don’t let your week of freedom be clouded by the wailing of upper-class neurotics who think the world will end if we get to do what we want. Instead, eat, drink and – the greatest rebellion of all – be merry.

Not content with blocking roads and ruining the snooker, now Just Stop Oil’s glum toffs are coming for Christmas. Nothing horrifies plummy greens more than the thought of millions of plebs buying gifts, getting sloshed and eating dead birds. So they intend to do something about it. They’ll be spray-painting Christmas trees and singing ‘climate Christmas carols’. Then there’s the ace up their sleeve. Their greatest act of torment against the British public yet. A Christmas single.

It’s called ‘We Tried’. The singer is Louise Harris. You remember her – she’s the eco-zealot who wept on a motorway gantry during a JSO stunt. ‘I’m here because I don’t have a future!’, she blubbed. ‘Why does it take young people like me up on a fucking gantry on the M25 for you to listen?!’, she wailed. Oh sweetheart, we’re still not listening. Now the Cambridge grad is turning on the waterworks once more as she warbles: ‘Take me where the birds still fly / Cos smoke fills up our sky.’ Deep.

‘This song woke me up’, says Brian Eno, making it sound like it interrupted his afternoon nap. It’s a ‘fucking horrific, terrifying and tragic’ song and you must ‘listen to it’, says naturalist fruitcake Chris Packham. For five long, mournful minutes Ms Harris sings and sobs against a backdrop of factories, war and natural disasters. It’s a deathly ballad, the bastard child of Chris de Burgh and Greta Thunberg. ‘Just Stop Singing!’, as a headline in the Daily Mail aptly puts it.

JSO hopes it will be the Christmas No1. Fat chance. That spot is Shane MacGowan’s. What’s more, people don’t take kindly to being lectured by the emotionally incontinent upper classes during the season to be jolly. Ms Harris must know this. In 2022, she invaded the pitch when Spurs were playing West Ham, whereupon legions of fans pelted her with drinks. She fled to Facebook to boohoo about being ‘hated by the majority of the general public’. There’s an easy fix for that, Louise: don’t interrupt the football and don’t release rubbish singles.

There’s something about Christmas that always brings out the well-off eco-aware in a rash. For years the right-on have bemoaned the waste and indulgence of the holiday season. ‘[F]or God’s sake stop trashing the planet’ with your ‘junk’ gifts, said Guardian Scrooge George Monbiot a decade ago. We’ve had Buy Nothing Christmas, an outgrowth of Buy Nothing Day, which encouraged us to ‘bypass the tinsel, the tree and the tat’ and ‘go cold turkey on consumerism’ (boom boom). ‘All I want for Christmas is a lower rate of consumption’, say headlines in the pompous press. Just Stop Oil’s party-pooping is only the latest expression of this weird aristocratic derision for Christmas.

JSO has already sang climate carols outside Keir Starmer’s house. ‘On the first day of Christmas, Keir Starmer gave to me / Genocide from the North Sea’, the loons intoned, because apparently Sir Keir isn’t sufficiently committed to phasing out oil-pumping in Scotland. ‘All I want for Christmas is for oil-rig workers to lose their jobs’ would have been a more honest lyric. Just Stop Oil’s German wing has defiled Christmas trees with JSO’s trademark orange paint. Furious Christmas shoppers in Strasbourg rose up against the paint-splattering grinches, leading to one of my favorite headlines of the year: ‘Eco protesters manhandled by angry public after spraying Xmas market tree orange.’

There’s a powerful whiff of snobbery to this Christmasphobia. The annual handwringing over holiday ‘waste’ feels a lot like ‘wealthy leftists talking down to the working class about their life choices’, wrote Simon Copland a few years ago. Indeed. From the pulpit of the New York Times comment pages to the weepy pleas of apocalyptic greens, every Christmas the well-off reprimand workers for eating, drinking and spending too much. In the words of a writer for the NYT, ‘Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans produce a colossal amount of waste’, causing ‘landfills [to] swell beyond all reason’, and making ‘whales starve because of the plastic they have consumed’. Oh, stop it! Can we not have one week off from the finger-wagging?