Tuesday, February 21, 2023

WWII-style rationing of petrol and energy 'could fight climate change'

Another Greenie attempt to send society backwards. They really hate us

Climate change could be tackled with the help of a World War II-style rationing of petrol, meat and the energy people use in their homes, UK scientists say.

They claim that this would help countries to slash their greenhouse gas emissions 'rapidly and fairly'.

Researchers from the University of Leeds also said that governments could restrict the number of long-haul flights people make in a year or 'limit the amount of petrol one can buy in a month'.

They said that previous schemes put forward as a way to fight global warming – such as carbon taxes or carbon trading schemes – would not work because they favoured the wealthy, who would effectively be able to buy the right to pollute.

The experts also made a comparison with the need to limit certain goods as they grew scarce in the 1940s, adding that trying to achieve this by raising taxes was rejected at the time because 'the impact of tax rises would be slow and inequitable'.

But rationing in Britain during the war was widely accepted, the authors wrote in their paper. 'As long as there was scarcity, rationing was accepted, even welcomed or demanded,' they said.

How would the scheme work?

The researchers say there are two options for a rationing policy:

It wasn't until nine years after the war ended that rationing finished in the UK.

In much the same way as during World War Two, the researchers argue that carbon rationing would allow people to receive an equal portion of resources based on their needs, therefore sharing out the effort to protect the planet.

Lead author Dr Nathan Wood, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Utrecht University's Fair Energy Consortium, said: 'The concept of rationing could help, not only in the mitigation of climate change, but also in reference to a variety of other social and political issues – such as the current energy crisis.'

The researchers add: 'Rationing is often seen as unattractive, and therefore not a viable option for policy-makers. 'It is important to highlight the fact that this was not the case for many of those who had experienced rationing.

'It is important to emphasise the difference between rationing itself and the scarcity that rationing was a response to.

'Of course, people did welcome the end of rationing, but they were really celebrating the end of scarcity, and celebrating the fact that rationing was no longer necessary.'

The problem with rationing energy, meat and petrol, the researchers point out, is that people might not be as willing to accept it as they would if resources were scarce, because they know there is an 'abundance of resources available'.

To tackle this, the researchers said, governments could regulate the biggest polluters, such as oil, gas and petrol, long-haul flights and intensive farming, which would therefore create a scarcity in products that harm the planet.

They added that rationing could then be introduced gradually to manage the resulting scarcity.

Fellow lead author Dr Rob Lawlor, of the University of Leeds, said: 'There is a limit to how much we can emit if we are to reduce the catastrophic impacts of climate change. In this sense, the scarcity is very real.

'It seems feasible to reduce emissions overall even while the lowest emitters, often the worst off, may be able to increase their emissions – not despite rationing, but because of rationing and price controls.'

Dr Wood added: 'The cost of living crisis has shown what happens when scarcity drives up prices, with energy prices rising steeply and leaving vulnerable groups unable to pay their bills.

'Currently, those living in energy poverty cannot use anywhere near their fair share of energy supply, whereas the richest in society are free to use as much energy as they can afford.'

The experts said one way to roll out the rationing scheme would be to use 'carbon cards', which would work like bank cards to keep track of a person's carbon allowance, rather than using ration cards.

Dr Lawlor said: 'Many have proposed carbon allowances and carbon cards before.

'What is new (or old, taking inspiration from World War II) is the idea that the allowances should not be tradable.

'Another feature of World War II-style rationing is that price controls on rationed goods would prevent prices from rising with increased demand, benefitting those with the least money.'

The experts believe that rationing would also encourage people to move to more sustainable lifestyles, rather than relying on fossil fuels.

'For example, rationing petrol could encourage greater use of, and investment in, low carbon public transport, such as railways and local trams,' Dr Wood said.


Hey, Axios, Try Looking at Real Data, not Models; It Shows Ice Sheet Melting is not Dangerous

A recent article in Axios claims that the current rate of global ice sheet melting and sea level rise will rapidly accelerate unless global warming is stopped before it reaches 1.5°C. Axios also claims that even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, sea levels will rise for centuries because of the “delayed response” of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Axios’ claims are misleading at best. Warming, sea level rise, and ice melt is likely to continue regardless of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, as it has been going on for far longer than human emissions have been a factor. There is no evidence that any out-of-control “tipping point” exists or is being approached, nor any evidence rates of sea level rise are increasing. Ice mass naturally grows and shrinks in the north and south poles.

The article, “Drastic emissions cuts needed to avert multi-century sea level rise, study finds,” discusses a new study that comes to some old, unoriginal conclusions. Mainly, that unless humans stop emitting greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane rapidly in order to keep warming to 1.5°C or less (the earth has already warmed 1.2°C) rapid ice melt and rising seas will occur.

Writer Andrew Freedman cites a study published in Nature Communications, to support his story. Describing the study’s methodology, Freedman writes it “utilizes multiple simulations from what are known as “coupled” computer models in which the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, ice sheets and ice shelves are included and capable of influencing one another over time.”

As is typical, these alarming predictions are based not on observable data, but on computer model projections that have a bias towards human-caused warming. Climate Realism has discussed the problems with climate modelling dozens of times, including here, here, and here, for instance.

In reality, scientists’ understanding of how the atmosphere and clouds, oceans, and polar ice caps interact is limited in scope, with new connections and feedbacks being discovered with some regularity. Because of the immense complexity of the Earth’s climate, it is no wonder that modelers consistently fail to accurately predict future warming and downstream effects like sea level rise.

Regarding sea level rise, current and past trends are hardly alarming. Climate at a Glance: Sea Level Rise shows that global sea level has been rising since the end of the last ices age, far before humans began burning large quantities of fossil fuels, sometimes at rates far above the roughly 1.2 inches per decade measured over the past couple of centuries

Sea level has already risen more than 400 feet since the end of the last ice age. As explored in Climate Realism, here and here, for example, recent claims that rates of sea level rise have increased in the past few decades are due to an incorrect methodology in accounting for a shift from one set of satellites to a newer set. Tide gauge data does not support the claim that rates of sea level rise are accelerating.

Freedman claims that the research proves “even if global warming slows near or just after 2100, as would be the case in moderate to high emissions scenarios, ice sheet contributions to sea level rise would keep accelerating well beyond that.”

The researchers themselves are quoted as claiming that ice sheet melting will be “similar to a runaway train.”

However, ice melt data demonstrates no evidence such a “tipping point” exists that would lead to runaway melting.

Looking at Greenland, one of the “at risk” locations mentioned in the article, it’s clear that ice mass change fluctuates over time. While there has been a general decline in ice mass, the rate of loss has actually been declining in recent years, despite the modest warming and increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Ice loss in Greenland thus far has been insignificant compared to the ice mass of the entire Greenland ice sheet, the loss each year is around 0.005 percent of the entire mass.

Antarctica’s ice sheets, also mentioned by Freedman as being at risk of melting away, are seeing similarly unalarming melting trends. In fact, recent research concludes that Antarctica has seen a modest expansion of ice over the last several decades, as well as net-zero warming across the continent. Some sections, like the Antarctic Peninsula, are more prone to melting, while the eastern portion of the continent has seen a cooling trend and ice expansion.

The discovery of 800-year-old penguin remains that were revealed after some ice melted away in Antarctica gives good evidence that Antarctica experienced lower ice levels and warming that allowed penguins to inhabit the normally too-icy region during the Medieval Warm Period, which took place between 900 A.D. and 1200 A.D.

The researchers and Freedman claim that the ice sheets are merely “delayed” in responding to global warming. Yet when ice losses begin to mount, researchers claim it shows ice sheets respond to warming nearly immediately. It evidently never occurred to the researchers or Freedman that the climate models could be wrong, as they have consistently been concerning temperatures, and as a result, the response might not be as severe as they hypothesize. Without a return to ice age conditions, sea levels will inevitably rise over time, and ice will melt, regardless of anthropogenic causes. These cycles of warming and cooling are natural elements of earth history. Although humans are likely contributing to warming, available data does not point towards a looming catastrophe from rising seas. Axios probably would have been better served had they taken a more skeptical approach towards computer modelling, relying on publicly available (and easily accessible) sea level and ice melt data instead.


House GOP Puts New Methane Tax, ‘Greenhouse Gas’ Fund on Chopping Block

House Republicans want to eliminate a tax on methane emissions and do away with a “greenhouse gas” reduction grant program as part of their “Unleash America’s Energy” campaign to roll back regulatory restraints on domestic production in the United States.

A proposed ‘Natural Gas Tax Repeal Act,’ sponsored by Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), would eliminate the Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP) and its methane waste fee.

A yet-unnumbered bill calls for repeal of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a $27 billion program administered through the Clean Air Act to support low- and zero-emission technologies to “reduce greenhouse gases and other air pollution in low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

Both MERP and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund were established with the November 2021 adoption of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

The repeals are within a 17-bill “Unleash America’s Energy” package introduced by House Republicans since January. Other measures seek to expand domestic oil and natural gas exports, secure critical minerals supplies, and reform regulations in key environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and Toxic Substances Control Act.

The bills were vetted in Feb. 7–9 hearings in Washington, and in Feb. 13–16 Texas field hearings. They will occupy House Natural Resources and Energy & Commerce committees’ agendas when Congress returns to Washington on Feb. 27. Some could be on the House floor by late March.

Section 60113 of the IRA establishes MERP, which creates a fee on methane emissions paid by the oil and gas industry, starting at $900 per ton in 2024 and increasing to $1,500 per ton by 2026.

The IRA requires producers of emissions exceeding 25,000 tons of “CO2 equivalent” to collect data historically reported under the Clean Air Act to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program as the basis for a new realm of taxation.

MERP’s fee “is an inappropriate and unworkable methane emissions tax” derived by dividing the calculated weight of methane by the sales volume of natural gas and heat content,” Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) President and CEO Jeff Eshelman said in Washington hearings.

Emissions are already regulated under the Clean Air Act, he said, calling MERP “a redundant effort” that will “impose financial and filing burdens on independent American oil and natural gas producers” and “add another complexity to these small businesses and divert their attention from what they do best, produce the cleanest and safest barrels of oil and natural gas in the world.”

A week later during a field hearing in Midland, Texas, IPAA Board Chair Steven Pruett raised similar issues with MERP, claiming “none of the tools the law uses to generate the tax were ever designed to be used for this purpose,” adding it appears the regulations were “drafted by environmental firms that know nothing about our business.”

Both expressed concern about MERP giving “a tax collection function” to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Eshelman said MERP will “trigger complex audit challenges and the potential for abusive use” of laws by federal agencies. “The methane tax would add the burden of moving EPA into tax collection, including audit processes which involve a degree of accuracy in measurement and tax assessment that goes well beyond the agency’s capacity,” he said.

“EPA never taxed anything before,” Pruett said in Texas a week later, calling giving “the EPA a license to tax our industry as they see fit … unnerving.”


Climate Change ‘Irony’: Restricting American Oil and Gas Output Ultimately Harms Environment, Report Says

Attempts to restrict oil and natural gas production in the United States would result in negative impacts on the environment, according to a recent report, coming at a time when the Biden administration has taken several steps to curtail domestic fossil fuel activity.

Over the past years, there has arisen a “political movement centered in North America and Europe” which focuses on halting oil and gas production in these regions, according to The Environmental Quality Index report (pdf) published by the Institute for Energy Research (IER) this month. “The great irony is that this political movement—which purports to be about protecting the environment—results in oil and natural gas production moving from countries with the highest environmental standards to countries with lower, or even functionally zero, environmental standards,” the report notes.

“Reductions or limitations on domestic U.S. oil production must be made up elsewhere in the remaining major oil-producing countries, which have far lower environmental standards than the U.S.”

The report analyzed the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) produced by Yale University and found that the United States had an EPI score of 51.1. Meanwhile, the 20 largest oil-producing nations outside the United States had an average EPI score of 39. A lower score indicates poor performance concerning the impact to the environment.

“It means the average barrel of non-U.S. petroleum is produced in a country with an environmental score that is 23.6 percent lower than that of the U.S.”

The 20 largest non-U.S. natural gas producers had an average EPI of 38.6, which is 24.5 percent lower than the U.S. EPI, essentially meaning that environmental degradation increases when production is taken out of the country.

A similar situation is happening in the mining industry, where President Biden has imposed a multi-decade moratorium on thousands of acres of land within the country citing the need to protect the natural environment.

Besides the loss of revenue for U.S. businesses, national mineral self-sufficiency and loss of high-paying domestic jobs, this economical transfer has resulted in boosting mining projects in troubled regions such as Congo, where Chinese companies exploit workers, engage in slave labor, and disregard environmental factors.

High Global Output and Low Emissions

The United States is the world’s largest producer of both natural gas and oil. According to the report, only three nations outranked the country on environmental quality in terms of oil production. When it came to gas output, also only three nations scored above America.

However, among these nations, not one produces 25 percent of the gas and oil that the United States outputs.

“All oil production from countries scoring higher on environmental quality amounts to only 35.7 percent of U.S. production, and that from gas-producing countries is only 33.4 percent of U.S. production,” the report noted.

“The sheer size of U.S. production combined with its excellent environmental standards means that U.S. production disproportionately reduces the environmental harms of oil and gas production on a global scale.”

The report also notes that while the U.S. output of natural gas and oil has grown over the last four decades, pollution and emissions “have steadily declined across sources.”

“Contrary to popular media characterizations, wealth created by energy development in free economies enhances environmental performance while making people’s lives better,” the IER report stated.

Restricting American Production

Since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war, the Biden administration has tried to fill the gap of missing Russian production by seeking to import oil from authoritarian countries like Venezuela.

The IER report pointed out that “the environmental impact of Venezuelan oil has become continually more severe.” Earlier, Republican lawmakers had also criticized the Biden administration for the decision.

“President Biden is currently sitting on more than 4,400 pending applications for permits to drill. There is no reason to drill abroad when we have an abundance of clean, affordable, American-made energy,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.) stated in a tweet on Nov. 30.

Biden is the only president since Richard Nixon to lease less than 4.4 million acres of land in the first 19 months of their first term. Under Biden, the Department of Interior leased only 126,228 acres during this period, and there is a moratorium on oil and gas leases.

Biden suspended oil production leases in the Arctic National Wildlife that former President Trump had opened up for production during his time.

The American Exploration and Production Council, a national trade association representing the largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States, cited the Biden administration’s policies as weighing down on the industry in a blog post in May 2022.

“Unfortunately, this administration’s policies are restricting supply by hamstringing production on federal lands and waters, making it harder to build much-needed infrastructure, and discouraging industry capital with policies and rhetoric about the long-term value of American oil and gas.”


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