Friday, February 24, 2023

Traffic pollution could be far more dangerous than previously thought, researchers say

And pigs could fly. Studies aiming to prove that traffic pollution is bad for you come out at least once a year -- and the evidential base for them is always poor. So no wonder they have given up on facts and rely on models instead. So I have to agree with their admission, "more robust data was needed". Models prove nothing.

So why is it so hard to find bad effects of traffic pollution? Simple. It does not usually have bad effects. For maybe a million years, mankind evolved sitting around wood and dung fires, which give off a LOT of smoke pollution. So we have evolved to cope with air pollution. Basically, we just cough it up, spit it out and are none the worse for it. It might be a problem in some parts of the Third world but levels of pollution in Western cities are low relative to what could cause illness in otherwise healthy people

Traffic pollution likely causes more than 11,000 premature deaths in Australia a year, new modelling by climate researchers has revealed.

The grave estimate from the study means that death from air pollution in Australia is 10 times more likely than a fatal road accident.

"With these high levels of mortality and morbidity impacts, we look to our leaders to make the decisions required to reduce the social, economic and human costs of vehicle emissions," co-lead researcher from the University of Melbourne Clare Walter said.

The study conducted by the Melbourne Climate Futures used a peer-reviewed New Zealand study of particulate matter — or PM 2.5 — and nitrogen dioxide levels, to assess the risk for Australia.

The New Zealand study estimated that country's traffic pollution death toll at 3,300 premature deaths per year.

A 2021 study had estimated that all air pollution caused around 2,000 deaths a year in Australia – a number that has been widely used since then.

In an expert position statement released on Friday, the researchers said more robust data was needed to quantify the health and economic effects of traffic emissions.

Air pollution is caused by both man-made and natural sources including heavy industry, vehicle emissions and wood fire heaters as well as dust storms and bushfires.

Particulate matter formed by combustion processes is particularly small and can enter the bloodstream leading to systemic inflammation and detrimental effects on organs throughout the body.

Air pollution can cause a wide range of harm to the human body. It has been linked to illnesses including stroke, diabetes, asthma, lung cancer, premature birth and low birth weight.

Nitrogen dioxide is a gas formed from high temperature combustion, such as emissions from vehicles, power stations and industrial processes.


Pence Fights Biden Administration ESG Assault on American Workers

Vice President Mike Pence, today announced a six-figure ad campaign in Arizona and Montana calling for support on the resolution introduced by Senator Mike Braun and Representative Andy Barr. The resolution would rollback the Biden administration’s ability to regulate how Americans’ retirement accounts are managed with respect to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing goals.
Advancing American Freedom also recently led a coalition letter, co-signed with over 100 conservative leaders and officials, calling on members to support the resolution.

The letter said in part:

A pernicious practice known as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing has emerged over the past several decades. Rather than prioritize the financial well-being and stability of retirees, ESG seeks to advance ideological goals related to environmental policy and other divisive subjects. While it is a tenet of a free society that people ought to be able to use their own money as they see fit (including advancing their own particular priorities), ESG is a misappropriation of retirees’ savings by money managers for their own political agendas. Most Americans think it’s a bad idea for companies to use their financial influence to advance a political or social agenda, as is the case in ESG investing.

Forcing Americans into ESG investment is not only politically inappropriate, it is also financially irresponsible. According to research from the University of Chicago, mutual funds scoring highly on ESG factors are constantly outperformed by funds rated lowest for ESG.2 Moreover, 85 percent of the country does not even know what “ESG” is, and therefore would not be aware of the financial risks their retirement account managers are subjecting them to when they actively pursue ESG investment decisions.3

Under the Trump-Pence administration, the U.S. government protected retirees from this kind of abuse by issuing a rule clarifying that, under ERISA, the managers of retirement funds could not engage in ESG investment if it would have a negative impact on retiree’s savings or expose them to additional risks (“Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments”).

Tragically, on November 22, 2022, the Biden administration chose to undermine the Trump-Pence safeguards by issuing their own ERISA rule that would make it easier for retirement fund managers to imperil retirees’ savings. With 22 percent of Americans set to be relying upon their retirement savings and benefits in 2050, this policy of misappropriation cannot be allowed to stand.

In April of 2022, Vice President Pence delivered remarks at Rice University, calling out those who sought to weaponize the U.S. financial system to “destroy energy producers from within.”

Vice President Pence has since written two nationally-syndicated pieces in RealClearMarkets and the Wall Street Journal calling for conservatives to take up the mantle against the Radical Left’s ESG agenda.

Advancing American Freedom launched the two new digital ads in Arizona and Montana urging voters to contact Senators Sinema and Tester and demand they vote yes on the Braun/Barr Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that seeks to protect Americans’ retirement accounts. This resolution would roll back the Biden administration’s authority to impose ESG rules on how Americans’ retirement accounts are managed.

This six-figure digital spend will run for the next week in the lead up to the vote on the CRA, which will take place between Tuesday and Thursday of next week. Each ad is projected to generate roughly one-million impressions per state, educating constituents on the harmful impacts of the Biden administration’s ESG rulemaking and amplifying our call to action ahead of movement in Senate next week


Biden’s War on Oil Fuels Putin’s War on Ukraine

With all the hoopla surrounding President Biden’s trip to Poland and his surprise visit to Kyiv to meet with President Zelensky, plus more bravado from Vladimir Putin — including dropping out of the New Start nuclear treaty with the U.S. — and of course the Chinese foreign minister insulting Secretary Blinken and then sucking up to Mr. Putin, one issue that no one seems to be talking about for the moment is oil.

So, let’s talk about oil.

Mr. Biden hates oil. Mr. Putin loves oil. Xi Jinping loves Mr. Putin’s oil.

Remember all the sanctions from the U.S., the EU, and NATO? Sanctioning the Russian central bank, sanctioning the Russian oil producers, bank lenders, and insurance companies around the world? Remember all that?

Well, guess what? Russia today is still selling roughly 10 million barrels of oil a day — basically what it was selling a year ago. How is this possible, you might ask. Well, it’s a good question. It may be unanswerable.

Sanctions really haven’t worked, but, for sure, China and India have been buying up any Russian oil production slack created by reduced European demand. That’s our great friend India, remember?

I don’t know what the U.S. numbers are. I sincerely hope they’re way down, but here’s a thought: With Russia still selling 10 million barrels a day and the basic ballpark oil price being $80 per barrel, that makes $800 million a day from oil sales. With 365 days in a year, that comes to $292 billion. For the year.

That’s enough to fight a war, even if your army is terrible. Even if you’re bungling the war left and right, you still have $292 billion. Much of which, by the way, is probably skimmed off the top and stolen by Mr. Putin and his cronies.

Now, consider this: For the three years pre-Covid under President Trump, the average price of oil was about $60 a barrel. If that were the selling price for Mr. Putin’s 10 million barrels a day, it comes to $600 million, or $219 billion for the year.

So now we complete the exercise: At today’s $80, at which Mr. Putin gets $292 billion, versus the $60 price several years ago, at which Mr. Putin would be getting $219 billion, Mr. Putin has made a tidy profit of $73 billion for the year.

In fact, the oil price rose to well over $100 a barrel at the time of Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which greased his pockets and his war machine ever more, but let’s stay with the current quotes.

That $73 billion profit means Mr. Putin is playing with house money, but it’s our U.S. house. Mr. Putin just stood there and watched it happen and of course fought a war and of course probably stole a good chunk, also.

Now, consider Mr. Biden, who hates oil. If he weren’t waging war against oil, petroleum products, and fossil fuels, we might be producing 14 million or 15 million barrels a day right now, instead of roughly 12 million barrels.

The 14 million or 15 million barrels a day were the estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy a couple years ago. Right before Covid, we were over 13 million.

Purely as a guess, I’m going to suggest that, with 14 million or 15 million barrels a day being produced by the U.S., the world oil price would probably come in someplace close to $50. Just a guess, but I don’t think it would be $80, and I think it’s a pretty good guess it wouldn’t be $100.

So, Mr. Biden’s Green New Deal radical climate obsession, and the global petroleum politics that go with it, has really paid off for — wait for it, hang on a second — Vladimir Putin, and his war against Ukrainian freedom.

Could Mr. Putin fight a war at $50 a barrel? Maybe, but that’s not his history. His history is that when oil hit $130 a barrel in July 2008, Mr. Putin filched a big chunk of Georgia. When oil crossed $100 a barrel in February 2014, Mr. Putin picked off Crimea. Roughly a year ago, with oil above $100 a barrel, he invaded Ukraine.

Moral of the story? Mr. Putin likes high oil prices. Second moral of the story? Let’s ask why the Biden administration is helping him with high oil prices.

Third moral of the story? Reopen the fossil fuel spigots here in the U.S. It could save Ukraine, and it would sure be America First.


Using EVs as Grid Storage is Unrealistic

The push for electrification of the entire economy – electric cars and trucks, electric heat and hot water, and even electric stoves – is relentless. Various states, including California, New Jersey, and New York, to name just three, have enacted legislation and developed all-encompassing “plans” to put everything into an electrified basket.

But electrification requires, well, electricity. Lots of it. And it requires that electricity to be available at all times. Greens envision most of that electricity will come from wind and solar power, along with hydrogen-burning generators that don’t yet exist and battery storage to meet the demand for power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

Recognizing that building enough battery storage facilities will be prohibitively expensive, a new push has developed: using electric vehicles as a source of back-up power storage to meet electricity demand. It’s called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) technology and means using the millions of electric vehicles that consumers and businesses will be forced to buy to supply electricity to the grid when wind and solar do not. Proponents claim it will make the electric grid stronger and more reliable, and provide a quick path to the “net-zero” future that supposedly will save the planet.

But like other green energy fantasies, the math doesn’t add up.

Consider New York. The state’s Climate Action Council Scoping Plan envisions there will be about 3.5 million EVs on the roads by 2050, 15 years after the state’s ban on the sale of internal combustion vehicles takes effect. How much electricity would those vehicles provide?

According to the Electric Vehicle Database, the average EV manufactured today contains about 66 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of usable electricity. Most Teslas provide around 95 to 100 kWh. On the other end of the scale, the cheaper Nissan Leaf provides just 40 kWh.

Here’s the math. Suppose that, on a cold winter’s day in 2050, all 3.5 million EVs are connected to the state’s power grid. None are being driven and all are fully charged. And suppose that improved battery technology means each provides an average of 100 kWh of electricity. That’s 350 million kWh in total, or 350 gigawatt-hours (GWh).

Sounds like a lot. According to the most recent forecast prepared by New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which oversees operation of the state’s electric generating plants and transmission system, total electricity demand in 2050 will be just under 200,000 GWh. That’s an average of 540 GWh per day. So, on an average day these EVs could provide around 15 hours of electricity.

But extra electricity will be most needed on cold, windless, and cloudy winter days, which are not uncommon for New York. According to NYISO, electricity demand on such a day will peak at almost 45 gigawatts. If that load persisted for an entire day, it would be over 1,000 GWh of electricity. Suppose, though, total electricity consumption on a peak day is just 50% higher than an average day, or around 800 GWh. Then those 3.5 million EVs could supply enough back-up electricity for just 10 hours.

In reality, of course, not all of those EVs would be connected to the power grid. Many would be in use. And not all of them would be fully charged. If only 50% of total EVs are available to supply electricity to the grid, they would supply just five hours of back-up.

Moreover, once those batteries were drained, they would have to be recharged. Were a second consecutive cloudy, windless day to occur – again, not uncommon in New York – millions of EVs would sit useless in garages and parking lots.

Then there is the cost of the infrastructure needed for V2G. Getting power from all of those parked EVs to the grid will require all sorts of new technology, which will cost billions of dollars. It will require upgrading local distribution systems – the poles and wires running down the street.

And what happens if consumers and businesses don’t want their EV batteries drained by the local electric utility? So far, few EV owners are signing up for managed charging programs that allow their local utilities to control when EVs can be charged in exchange for rate reductions. Then again, will EV owners ultimately even have a choice?

Perhaps technological leaps will make V2G practical someday. But the proclamations and studies about V2G strengthening the power grid and making EVs even more perfect ring hollow. That puts V2G in good company with the unrealistic visions of a transformed, fully electric society.




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