Thursday, March 09, 2023

Net Zero Watch urges UK government to stand up to the wind lobby’s blackmail

New briefing exposes the lobby’s deceptive tactics and the true cost of wind farms

Net Zero Watch has urged the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to resist the renewables industry’s demands for additional subsidies and has denounced its blackmailing tactics.

Its new briefing for MPs and ministers exposes a systematic campaign to deceive the public over the real cost of wind farms.

Author Andrew Montford explains that wind lobby claims of a dramatic fall in costs, repeated incessantly since 2017, were deliberate falsehoods.

"If it were true, costs could double and they’d still make extraordinary profits at current market prices. The truth is that they deceived the public when they said there had been a cost revolution."

And claims that wind farms have suffered input price inflation since bids were submitted a year ago are also untrue. Most key commodities used in the production and deployment of wind turbines have reduced in prices, and the bids are inflation-indexed in any case.

Net Zero Watch director, Dr Benny Peiser said:

"Wind farms are awash with billions of subsidies every year, making energy bills more expensive year on year. To blackmail the government and demand even more handouts, at a time when households are struggling to make ends meet, is reprehensible and should be categorically opposed by ministers."

Contact Andrew Montford, Deputy Director, Net Zero Watch


Changing climate change: debunking the global colossus

Mark Imisides

In a previous article, I discussed how climate science has grown from an obscure theory in the late 80s to a worldwide colossus that will soon overtake the oil and gas industry in terms of its size.

How is it that despite the scientific case for a climate apocalypse comprehensively collapsing some 20 years ago, we have seen a 16-year-old girl (at the time) being invited to address the United Nations, weeping children marching in our streets, and a federal election outcome in which this issue dominated the political landscape?

Where did we go wrong? And by ‘we’ I’m referring to those of us termed sceptics – people who understand the science, and the house of cards that comprises the notion of Anthropogenic Climate Change.

Mainly, we have fallen into the trap of thinking that just because the evidence is on our side, people will come around to our way of thinking. Or to put it another way, we naively assume that everyone is as interested in evidence as we are.

They are not. The Climate Change industry is a massive global entity with unimaginably large financial and political interests. There is too much at stake for those involved to sully themselves with things like evidence…

The time is ripe for a major political party to take up the cudgels and go to the next election on the ‘cost of living’ platform by tossing every initiative or program with ‘eco’, ‘green’, and particularly ‘renewable’ in the bin. Peter Dutton, I’m looking at you.

How do we do it?

Put simply, we must learn the art of the polemic. The art of rhetoric. We must recognise that there’s no point in having evidence on our side if we don’t know how to use it.

We begin with this proposition. There is no case for reducing our carbon footprint unless all four of these statements are true:

The world is warming.

We are causing it.

It’s a bad thing.

We can do something about it.

No rational person can have any problem with this, and if they do, we need to find out why.

Here’s where we have to decide which of these points we want to contest. Remember, you only have to falsify one of them for the whole thing to collapse like a house of cards.

Most sceptics, in my view, pick the wrong fight. They do this by attempting to prosecute the case based on one of the first two points. This is a mistake.

Here’s why.

Arguments about whether the world is warming revolve around competing graphs: ‘My graph shows it’s warming. If your graph shows it isn’t, then it’s wrong – no it isn’t – yes it is – no it isn’t…’

This argument also looks at Urban Heat Island Effects, and examines manipulation of data by government agencies.

This is a poor approach to take because:

You’re never going to prove your graph is right.

You can be very easily and quickly discredited as a conspiracy theorist (Brian Cox did this to Malcolm Roberts on Q&A a few years ago).

People just do not believe that government agencies would manipulate data.

We should not fear a warming world. Records began at the end of the last ice age, so it’s only natural that the world is warming. And the current temperatures are well within historical averages.

As for arguments about whether we are causing the warming, this is even more problematic. The various contributions to global temperatures are extremely complex, involving a deep understanding of atmospheric physics and thermodynamics. With a PhD in Chemistry, this is much closer to my area of expertise than Joe Public, but I am very quickly out of my depth. I recognise most of the terms and concepts involved, but know just enough to know how little I know.

Sadly, many people on both sides of the debate don’t understand how little they know, nor how complex the subject of atmospheric physics is, and it is nothing short of comical seeing two people debating about a subject of which both of them are blissfully ignorant.

This approach is taken simply because it is so tempting. We can point to the Vladivostok ice cores that prove that CO2 follows temperature changes. We can ask why the cooling period from 1940-75 coincided with the greatest increase in CO2 production the world has ever seen. It’s very tempting. But, I’m sorry to say, it is simply a futile approach.

The bottom line is this – they simply don’t change anyone’s minds – ever. Having seen these arguments used for years, and having used them myself, I cannot point to a single person that has said, ‘Oh yes! I see it now…’ The whole point of arguing, or debating, is to change someone’s mind (including, at times, your own). If that isn’t happening, then it’s futile to continue with the same approach.

I think the reason both these approaches fail that most people do not believe that all these experts, and the government, can be wrong. You say the world isn’t warming? Oh, I’m sure you have the wrong graph. You say that CO2 is not responsible? Oh, I’m sure the government scientists know more than you do.

This then brings us to the third point. Why is a warmer world a bad thing?

This is even more tempting than the first two points, as it’s so easy to prove that a warming world, so far from being a crisis, is actually a good thing. The reason for this is that, unlike with the first two points, they don’t have to look at a complex scientific argument. They just have to look at the weather. Are cyclones and hurricanes increasing? Are droughts increasing? Are flooding events increasing?

Regretfully, it is impossible to get people to even look at this. Even worse, they seem oblivious to the simple concept of cause and effect. We see this in that they simply can’t see that droughts and floods are opposites, and the same cause cannot produce exactly opposite effects. Astonishingly, they somehow think that charts that plot these extreme events are somehow manipulated, even when they come from a primary source such as the BOM, and that there really is a ‘climate crisis’.

Where does that leave us? Well, before we adopt Catweazle’s mantra of ‘nothing works’, there is one more point – point 4 (can we do anything about it?).

Most people will have seen the address of Konstantin Kisin at an Oxford Union debate, where he prosecuted this case to great effect. He pointed out, in simple terms, that as the UK only contributes 2 per cent to the global CO2 budget, anything they did will have negligible effect, and that global CO2 levels will be determined by people in Africa and Asia. He then pointed out that people in these countries ‘didn’t give a sh*t’ about climate change, as all they want to do is feed and clothe their children, and they don’t care how much CO2 that produces.

Finally, he pointed out that Xi Jinping knows that the way to ensure that he isn’t rolled in a revolution, as happened to so many other leaders in former communist regimes, is to ensure prosperity for the Chinese people. And indispensable to that goal is cheap, reliable, power, which is the reason that China is now building lots more coal-fired power plants – in 2021 alone they built 25 GW of capacity – equivalent to 25 x 1000MW plants.

By all accounts, his speech was well-received, with many people turning to his side. The beauty of prosecuting this case, as opposed to the other three, is that people don’t have to look at any evidence. They don’t even have to look at the weather.

The argument is at the same time simple, compelling, and irresistible. The question is this: will we see a major political party with the courage to take it on?

That part remains to be seen. But what is certain is this – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes. If, for twenty years we’ve been telling people either that the world isn’t warming, or if it is we aren’t causing it, or if it is warmer but there’s no climate crisis, and not a single person has been persuaded by our arguments, then we have the brains of a tomato if we think anything is going to change.

Konstantin Kisin’s talk, and in particular the way it was received, fill me with hope that I haven’t had in years. It fills me with hope that if the case is prosecuted wisely, the climate change colossus can be brought to a grinding halt, politicians will unashamedly take on energy security as a political mantra, and the notion of climate change will at last be exposed as the unscientific, anti-human, regressive, apocalyptic cult that it is.


Biden’s Energy Lunacy Is An Attack On The American People

Under President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” policies and after 62 years of hard work, the United States achieved energy independence and produced more energy than it consumed.

Under the Trump administration, the United States produced more oil and natural gas than any other country, including Russia and Saudi Arabia – the U.S. even exported oil to Saudi Arabia under the previous administration. President Trump is absolutely right when he says that the oil price would have been less than $40 per barrel under his leadership, and Russia would not have invaded Ukraine, displacing millions of people.

President Biden has methodically reversed the Trump administration’s policies in less than three years. He killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, suspended new drilling leases on federal land/water, rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, depleted our strategic reserves, doubled energy prices, and emboldened Russia to attack Ukraine. But most alarming, the Biden administration’s feckless and “Chamberlainesque” foreign policy has forged new economic and trade alliances detrimental to American national interests - specifically China, Russia, and Iran.

During the previous administration, President Trump saw energy as an avenue to build closer political, security, and trade ties with India, the world’s third-largest oil importer. The United States saw a trade deficit fall by 9% with its premier Indo-Pacific ally. Due to India’s Natural Gas demand, the United States became a primary source for liquified natural gas (LNG) exports – including a $2.5 billion deal with U.S. company Petronet, among other agreements where Trump expanded trade and general relations with India.

Fast forward to a Biden administration that has made BLUNDER AFTER BLUNDER. Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan emboldened Russia to invade Ukraine, leaving India alone after making a significant investment in Afghanistan. The unnecessary war between Russia and Ukraine created a difficult situation for India, whose military depended on continued supply of spare parts from Russia. India’s friendly economic relations with the U.S. have now taken a backseat.

Under Biden, India’s imports from Russia have risen nearly 500% since the war in Ukraine began. Additionally, India has refused to condemn the Russian invasion and/or ally with the United States, but most importantly, it has increased its purchases, becoming a key strategic buyer of Russian oil.

Knowing President Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and chief architect of India’s foreign policy Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar the way I do, I can confidently tell you this would have never happened with President Trump at the helm of affairs.

However, this is but one example of how Biden’s policies have elevated American adversaries and threatened American prosperity for years to come, creating global energy shortages that his policies created. This is a self-inflicted wound that a clueless administration is now trying to remedy – manipulating the system by using our national Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to combat rising gas prices.

Our SPR was established in 1975 with national security in mind. According to the Department of Energy, our reserves constitute the nation's "first line of defense." The Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s continued aggression highlight the importance of American energy independence. With depleted reserves, the United States is left exposed.

If there is a national emergency such as war (which every day seems even more likely), we have SPR, and we can continue its flow from the refineries to our frontlines – rather than allowing it to serve as a mask for Biden’s foolish policies. Rising gas prices are a direct result of this administration’s irresponsible agenda. The Biden administration’s decisions will have long-lasting effects on our energy producers, the jobs the industry supports, and all American families that depend on traditional power sources.

Unfortunately, President Biden has shredded our Constitution – taking countless actions hostile to the United States and our energy interests. Americans are paying the price of the current administration’s incompetent leadership. We are quickly approaching a cataclysmic point of no return as a nation. If we are to truly “Make America Great Again,” immediate change is needed. President Trump rolled out his initiative to save America this week on the campaign. He described this plan as an action to cleanse out the globalists in the Deep State, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the national security industrial complex. This plan is the key to America’s survival moving forward.


UK: Madness on stilts: Hydrogen boilers might need ‘four-inch holes in walls to prevent explosions’

Households that have hydrogen boilers installed could be forced to drill a 4x4-inch hole in their wall to mitigate risks of explosion, according to recommendations in a government-backed safety report.

Residents in a neighbourhood being considered for a trial of hydrogen for home heating have been alarmed by a report’s recommendation that rooms with boilers hobs or substantial pipework “should have non-closable vents with [an] equivalent area of 10,000 mm2”.

The report, by Arup, the design consultants, said these should be located as close to the ceiling level as possible and no more than 50cm below ceiling level.

The same report, which came out in 2019, said that hydrogen for home heating could cause four times as many explosions and injuries than gas boilers without sufficient mitigations, including ventilation.

The report, which is based on a two-storey, masonry-built, terraced house with a basement and a loft conversion, will be used to inform the trials of hydrogen for home heating expected to go ahead from 2025.

Whitby, in the Cheshire town of Ellesmere Port, is one of two neighbourhoods being considered for conversion to hydrogen, with the final decision expected to be made by the Government this year.

In discussions with residents, representatives from Arup and gas network Cadent, which is bidding to run the trial, have said most homes will not require the maximum ventilation given the draughtiness of much of the UK’s housing stock.

Kate Grannell, a resident of Whitby who has led opposition to the plans for the hydrogen trial, said the assurances had not allayed concerns.

She said: “All we’ve done for decades is insulate and draught-proof our houses. So to say homes are leaky enough to void the requirements for ventilation, I think is a really big question.”

Richard Lowes, an energy expert at the Regulatory Assistance Project, said that it ran counter to efforts to reduce draughts and insulate homes to reduce emissions.

He said: “We’re trying to make building more energy efficient and putting in a 10-centimetre hole is doing the opposite of that. So it’s totally backwards.

“To counteract the heat loss, you’d have to have more heat so it is making hydrogen more inefficient. We already know that hydrogen will be more expensive, so it’s making that even more expensive.”

The proposed trials, which will inform the Government’s final decision on whether hydrogen is a viable fuel to help decarbonise home heating, have already been thrown into doubt by the strength of local opposition.

This week, the Government conceded that the trials would not go ahead without the support of residents, although it has not said exactly how this will be measured.

A Cadent spokesperson said: “Every decision we make as an organisation is to ensure the welfare and safety of the 11m customers we serve every single day.

"We have been working closely with Arup as they have developed their research on the safety of hydrogen in homes.

"Their Hy4Heat study undertaken for the UK Government concluded that where the safety measures described in the report are implemented, ensuring ventilation in a home meets the minimum requirements of current building regulations, hydrogen is as safe as natural gas.”




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