Sunday, April 30, 2023

The inhumanity of the green agenda

‘Man is the measure of all things’, Greek philosopher Protagoras wrote over 2,500 years ago. Unfortunately, our elites today tend not to see it that way.

In recent years, the overused word ‘sustainability’ has fostered a narrative in which human needs and aspirations have taken a back seat to the green austerity of Net Zero and ‘degrowth’. The ruling classes of a fading West are determined to save the planet by immiserating their fellow citizens. Their agenda is expected to cost the world $6 trillion per year for the next 30 years. Meanwhile, they will get to harvest massive green subsidies and live like Renaissance potentates.

In Enemies of Progress, author Austin Williams suggests that ‘the mantra of sustainability’ starts with the assumption that humanity is ‘the biggest problem of the planet’, rather than the ‘creators of a better future’. Indeed, many climate scientists and green activists see having fewer people on the planet as a key priority. Their programme calls not only for fewer people and fewer families, but also for lower consumption among the masses. They expect us to live in ever smaller dwelling units, to have less mobility, and to endure more costly home heating and air-conditioning. These priorities are reflected in a regulatory bureaucracy that, if it does not claim justification from God, acts as the right hand of Gaia and of sanctified science.

The question we need to ask is: sustainability for whom? US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen recently suggested that her department sees climate change as ‘the greatest economic opportunity of our time’. To be sure, there is lots of gold in green for the same Wall Street investors, tech oligarchs and inheritors who fund the campaigns of climate activists. They increasingly control the media, too. The Rockefellers, heirs to the Standard Oil fortune, and other ultra-wealthy greens are currently funding climate reporters at organs like the Associated Press and National Public Radio.

Under the new sustainability regime, the ultra-rich profit, but the rest of us not so much. The most egregious example may be the forced take-up of electric vehicles (EVs), which has already helped to make Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, the world’s second-richest man. Although improvements are being made to low-emissions vehicles, consumers are essentially being frogmarched into adopting a technology that has clear technical problems, remains far more expensive than the internal-combustion engine and depends primarily on an electric grid already on the brink of blackouts. Green activists, it turns out, do not expect EVs to replace the cars of hoi polloi. No, ordinary people will be dragooned to use public transport, or to walk or bike to get around.

The shift to electric cars is certainly no win for the West’s working and middle classes. But it is an enormous boon to China, which enjoys a huge lead in the production of batteries and rare-earth elements needed to make EVs, and which also figure prominently in wind turbines and solar panels. China’s BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffett, has emerged as the world’s top EV manufacturer, with big export ambitions. Meanwhile, American EV firms struggle with production and supply-chain issues, in part due to green resistance to domestic mining for rare-earth minerals. Even Tesla expects much of its future growth to come from its Chinese factories.

Building cars from primarily Chinese components will have consequences for autoworkers across the West. Germany was once a car-manufacturing giant, but it is expected to lose an estimated 400,000 car-factory jobs by 2030. According to McKinsey, the US’s manufacturing workforce could be cut by up to 30 per cent. After all, when the key components are made elsewhere, far less labour is needed from US and European workers. It’s no surprise that some European politicians, worried about a popular backlash, have moved to slow down the EV juggernaut.

This dynamic is found across the entire sustainability agenda. The soaring energy costs in the West have helped China expand its market share in manufactured exports to roughly equal that of the US, Germany and Japan combined. American manufacturing has dropped recently to its lowest point since the pandemic. The West’s crusade against carbon emissions makes it likely that jobs, ‘green’ or otherwise, will move to China, which already emits more greenhouse gases than the rest of the high-income world. Meanwhile, the Chinese leadership is looking to adapt to changes in the climate, instead of undermining economic growth by chasing implausible Net Zero targets.

There are clear class implications here. California’s regulators recently admitted that the state’s strict climate laws aid the affluent, but hurt the poor. These laws also have a disproportionate impact on ethnic-minority citizens, creating what attorney Jennifer Hernandez has labelled the ‘green Jim Crow’. As China’s increasingly sophisticated tech and industrial growth is being joyously funded by US venture capitalists and Wall Street, living standards among the Western middle class are in decline. Europe has endured a decade of stagnation, while Americans’ life expectancy has recently fallen for the first time in peacetime. Deutsche Bank’s Eric Heymann suggests that the only way to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 is by squelching all future growth, which could have catastrophic effects on working-class and middle-class living standards.

Rather than the upward mobility most have come to expect, much of the West’s workforce now faces the prospect of either living on the dole or working at low wages. Today, nearly half of all American workers receive low wages and the future looks worse. Almost two-thirds of all new jobs in recent months were in low-paying service industries. This is also true in Britain. Over recent decades, many jobs that might have once supported whole families have disappeared. According to one UK account, self-employment and gig work do not provide sustenance for anything like a comfortable lifestyle. Rates of poverty and food shortages are already on the rise. As a result, most parents in the US and elsewhere doubt their children will do better than their generation, while trust in our institutions is at historic lows.

The fabulists at places like the New York Times have convinced themselves that climate change is the biggest threat to prosperity. But many ordinary folk are far more worried about the immediate effects of climate policy than the prospect of an overheated planet in the medium or long term. This opposition to the Net Zero agenda was first expressed by the gilet jaunes movement in France in 2018, whose weekly protests were initially sparked by green taxes. This has been followed by protests by Dutch and other European farmers in recent years, who are angry at restrictions on fertilisers that will cut their yields. The pushback has sparked the rise of populism in a host of countries, notably Italy, Sweden and France. Even in ultra-with-it Berlin, a referendum on tighter-emissions targets recently failed to win over enough voters.

This is class warfare obscured by green rhetoric. It pits elites in finance, tech and the nonprofit world against a more numerous, but less connected, group of ordinary citizens. Many of these folk make their living from producing food and basic necessities, or from hauling these things around. Factory workers, truck drivers and farmers, all slated for massive green regulatory onslaughts, see sustainability very differently than the urban corporate elites and their woke employees. As the French gilets jaunes protesters put it bluntly: ‘The elites worry about the end of the world. We worry about the end of the month.’

This disconnect also exists in the United States, according to long-time Democratic analyst Ruy Teixeira. Attempts to wipe out fossil fuels may thrill people in San Francisco, but are regarded very differently in Bakersfield, the centre of the California oil industry, and in Texas, where as many as a million generally good-paying jobs could be lost. Overall, according to a Chamber of Commerce report, a full national ban on fracking, widely supported by greens, would cost 14million jobs – far more than the eight million jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2007-09.

No surprise then that blue-collar workers are not so enthusiastic about the green agenda. Just one per cent, according to a new Monmouth poll, consider climate as their main concern. A new Gallup poll shows that just two per cent of working-class respondents say they currently own an electric vehicle and a mere nine per cent say they are ‘seriously considering’ purchasing one.

These Western concerns are nothing compared to how the sustainability agenda could impact the developing world. Developing countries are home to roughly 3.5 billion people with no reliable access to electricity. They are far more vulnerable to high energy and food prices than we are. For places like Sub-Saharan Africa, green admonitions against new agricultural technologies, fossil fuels and nuclear power undermine any hope of creating desperately needed new wealth and jobs. It’s no wonder that these countries increasingly ignore the West and are looking to China instead, which is helping the developing world to build new fossil-fuel plants, as well as hydroelectric and nuclear facilities. All of this is anathema to many Western greens. To make matters worse, the EU is already considering carbon taxes on imports, which could cut the developing world off from what remains of global markets.

More critical still could be the impact of the sustainability mantra on food production, particularly for Sub-Saharan Africa, which will be home to most of the world’s population growth over the next three decades, according to United Nations projections. These countries need more food production, either domestically or from rich countries like the US, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia and France. And they are acutely aware of what happened when Sri Lanka adopted the sustainability agenda. This led to the breakdown of Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector and, eventually, to the violent overthrow of its government.

We need to rethink the sustainability agenda. Protecting the environment cannot come at the cost of jobs and growth. We should also assist developing countries in achieving a more prosperous future. This means financing workable technologies – gas, nuclear, hydro – that can provide the reliable energy so critical for economic development. It does no good to suggest a programme that will keep the poor impoverished.

Unless people’s concerns about the green agenda are addressed, they will almost certainly seek to disrupt the best-laid plans of our supposedly enlightened elites. In the end, as Protagoras said, human beings are still the ultimate ‘measure’ of what happens in the world – whether the cognoscenti like it or not.


The narcissism of Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists have an insatiable appetite for mayhem. Protesters from the environmental group are slowing down traffic in London today, conducting a ‘go slow’ march through Parliament Square. This isn’t the first time, of course, that they’ve caused disruption.

Cast your minds back to July last year, when five members of JSO glued themselves to the Last Supper painting in London’s Royal Academy. A few days before this rather odd demonstration, campaigners entered the National Gallery in central London and proceeded to glue themselves to the frame of John Constable’s the Hay Wain.

Earlier this month, a JSO protester disrupted the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield by jumping onto the table and emptying a bag of orange powder paint over the playing surface. Next up, according to reports, is the King’s coronation.

Some JSO members appear to be hypocrites of the highest order

A peer-reviewed paper, released earlier this month, suggests that some activism is driven by narcissism. The study, conducted by two prominent psychologists at the University of Bern, Switzerland, found narcissism to be a common feature among ‘anti-sexual assault activism’. But might that narcissism also be a motivating factor for other demonstrators, including members of JSO?

When we think of narcissism, we tend to focus on agentic narcissism (those with diminished empathy for others), or grandiose narcissism (someone who displays an excessive sense of self-importance). However, communal narcissists – those who consider themselves the most caring person in his or her social surroundings – differ from more traditional narcissists, in that they use communal events to satisfy their grandiose needs. According to the researchers, manipulative individuals with ulterior motives may view some types of activism as a vehicle for obtaining positive self-presentation (e.g., virtue signalling) and gaining status. They may also view public demonstrations – particularly those against sexual assault – as a way of dominating others and engaging in social conflicts to ‘get their thrills’. In short, some are willing to exploit the adoration (or notoriety) of the movement to fuel their own egotistical desires. The authors aren’t describing JSO members specifically, but you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

One of the psychologists involved in the study, Alexander Bertrams, told me that many forms of modern day activism are attractive to narcissists, as they help satisfy their self-related needs.

‘In this sense,’ he said, ‘we have found a relationship between greater involvement in activism and a higher inclination for virtue signalling.’ This allows an activist to advertise their supposed moral superiority over non-activists.

‘We think that narcissists are involved in activism not for altruistic reasons, but for selfish ones,’ said Bertrams, who was quick to emphasise that activism in itself is not narcissistic. Instead, an increasing number of individuals with narcissistic traits view activism as a powerful channel to act out narcissistically.

On JSO protesters, Bertrams told me that climate activism, which ‘is currently receiving a lot of media attention, elicits strong emotional reactions from the people, and involves a certain amount of aggression’. For this very reason, he noted, ‘it is likely to be very attractive to narcissists.’

According to Bertrams, there are two groups of climate activists: those who take action out of their authentic views and are truly convinced that urgent action is required; and, on the other side, there are the narcissists who appear to be more interested in performative acts of ‘care’. They are fixated on the idea of drawing attention to themselves, rather than actually drawing attention to any specific environmental matter.

‘If trying to damage artworks in the name of saving the climate leads to increased admiration in one’s peer group and invitations to talk shows,’ said Bertrams, ‘that strikes me as very attractive to narcissists.’ Indeed.

Narcissists derive great pleasure from being able to control and influence the actions of other people. ‘I can imagine that the negative emotions that a roadblock triggers in the affected citizens are emotional feed for a narcissist,’ said Bertrams. ‘Triggering a strong reaction in others through one’s own behaviour is a form of exercising power and control.’

Then, there is the matter of hypocrisy: an infuriating practice that is intimately associated with narcissism. Some JSO members appear to be hypocrites of the highest order. After all, they famously used adhesives made from fossil fuels to glue themselves to paintings and roads. They claim to care about saving humanity, yet have prevented ambulances and fire engines from reaching their destinations.

Bertrams stressed the fact that ‘narcissists place a lot of value in presenting themselves in a positive light,’ but rarely, if ever, live up to their lofty ideals away from the public eye. A virtuous image is important to them, even if this image is built on nothing but a foundation of sand.

Of course, one needn’t be a trailblazing psychologist to see through the JSO charade. Nevertheless, the study sheds some much needed light on the motives of some modern day activists.


UK Food Strategy and Net Zero

A new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation warns that imposing radical decarbonisation targets on the agricultural sector is a serious threat to food security and could have highly damaging effects.

According to author Martin Livermore, modern farming unavoidably emits greenhouse gases, which are intrinsic to the production of fertiliser and raising of livestock.

That being the case, governments appear to have decided that we should all be pushed towards a vegan diet and that productive intensive arable farming should be discouraged. This would have an enormous negative impact on farmers, the rural economy and the landscapes we value.

Martin Livermore says:

“Moves to limit fertiliser use have already brought farmers onto the streets in the Netherlands, and will surely do so elsewhere. Farming is vital for the countryside and for our food security. We cannot just wish it away.”

Dr Benny Peiser, GWPF director, adds:

“Martin Livermore’s paper shows the risk of putting our livestock farmers out of business in order to shave a small fraction off our carbon dioxide emissions. It’s an extraordinary threat to Britain’s food and national security.”


Scrap Bank of England’s climate mandate, Balls and Osborne say

Climate goals should be stripped from the Bank of England’s remit to remove any distractions from its focus on inflation and financial stability, according to one of the architects of UK central bank independence.

Ed Balls, an adviser to former Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown when the Labour Party made the bank independent in 1997, said it “doesn’t make any sense” to give the BOE a role for which it has no tools. In the same House of Lords committee meeting, ex-Conservative Chancellor George Osborne agreed with Balls — in effect criticizing current Tory premier Rishi Sunak.

“It concerns me, the idea that you start to throw into the mix objectives which aren’t really affected sensibly by the instrument the bank has – which is interest rates,” Balls, who opposed Osborne as Labour’s shadow chancellor from 2011 to 2015, told the Lords’ economic affairs committee on Tuesday.

Sunak, who was then chancellor, added the goal of supporting the government’s net zero ambition to the BOE’s monetary and financial policy remits in 2021. The bank has since come under attack for failing to prevent double-digit inflation, with some critics arguing it was distracted by such policy “baubles.”

Balls said there is value in doing climate stress tests on commercial banks to ensure they are resilient to financial risks posed by global warming.

“But the government has got to be clear that meeting an objective like climate change and reducing emissions is a matter for fiscal policy, regulatory policy and the government,” he said.

Osborne said that while he respected “the desire to get all arms of the British state trying to deal with the challenge of climate change, I don’t think it’s necessary to single out that objective.” He added that it was “a good exercise every few years to simplify these things.”

The former politicians’ comments were made to a House of Lords’ inquiry into the independence of the BOE. Paul Tucker, a former BOE deputy governor, and John Vickers, a former BOE chief economist, have suggested that net zero has been a distraction.




Friday, April 28, 2023

Climate Scepticism on the Rise Throughout the World

Scepticism about human-caused climate change continues to increase around the world. A recent poll conducted by a group within the University of Chicago found that belief in humans causing all or most climate change had slumped in America to 49% from the 60% level recorded just five years ago. Similar falls have been recorded elsewhere, with a recent IPSOS survey covering two thirds of the world’s population revealing that nearly four people in every 10 believe climate change is mainly due to natural causes.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) survey is that 70% of Americans are unwilling to spend more than $2.50 a week to combat climate change. Nearly four in 10 Americans said they were unwilling to pay a couple of dimes. Despite decades of relentless green doomsday agitprop designed to corral populations into living under a collectivist Net Zero-ordered society, it appears that the vast majority of Americans are unwilling to pay even the chump change in their back pockets to stop the climate changing.

Surveys such as EPIC and IPSOS speak to the fundamental flaw in the ‘settled’ science surrounding the suggestion that humans burning fossil fuel are causing the climate to breakdown. The hypothesis is unproven – not a single science paper provides conclusive proof. Natural causes and the proposition that carbon dioxide becomes ‘saturated’ beyond certain atmospheric levels are more convincing explanations for scientific observations. Fears that mainstream climate science is heavily corrupted by faulty data, pseudoscientific modelling and outright political cherry-picking are becoming more widespread.

Interestingly, the recent overall fall in support for human-caused climate change in the U.S. is due to Democrats and Independents.

Scepticism levels remain high among Republicans but there have been dramatic increases among Left-leaning Democrats. Nevertheless, Democrats were found to be more likely than Republicans to be influenced by the ‘evidence’ of what is called ‘extreme’ weather (71% vs 30% for Democrats vs Republicans). This news will bring some comfort to green propogandists since the recent lack of noticeable global warming has led to a massive rise in pseudoscientific attributions of single weather events to overall climate change. Personal observations are said to influence 55% of Democrats, compared with 20% of Republicans, while appeals to higher authority play better on the Left than the Right. News coverage ranks higher for Democrats at 47% vs 20% , while scientists, most of whom go along with the ‘settled’ agenda, score 73% against just 32% for more sceptical Republicans.

EPIC also found that scepticism was rising among young people aged between 18-29 with a 17% decline in numbers who think humans play a predominant role in changing the climate. The drop was just as significant for those who graduated from college as those with a high school diploma (11%). Of considerable interest was this 17% fall compared with just a 9% drop for those aged over 60. This will concern alarmists, since the impressionable young are heavily targeted with green agitprop from an early age.

The IPSOS survey found that levels of climate scepticism were similar in all age categories. As with EPIC, it found that political leanings were decisive. In the seven countries where political input was sought, 28% of supporters of the Left turned out to be climate sceptics, compared with 50% on the Right.

Is it surprising that climate scepticism is increasing throughout the world? As noted, anthropogenic climate science rests on a shaky evidence base, which no amount of debate cancellation, modelling, invented attributions and data manipulation can hide. Over nearly 50 years, laudable environmental concerns have been hijacked to promote a collectivist, controlling political agenda. But decades of easy virtue-signalling are coming to an end, and the harsh realities of Net Zero are starting to become obvious. Claims that the green revolution will be largely painless are seen for the nonsense they are by the realistic Net Zero appraisal publicised by the Government-funded U.K. FIRES collaborative project.

According to the FIRES report, written by a number of British academics, Net Zero means just 60% of current levels of food cooking, heating and energy by 2050. Within less than 30 years there will be no beef and lamb, and all flying and shipping will have to stop. Road use will be restricted to 60% of today’s levels. There will be no cement, and the only steel available will be recycled. Norman Fenton, the recently retired Professor of Risk Information Management at Queen Mary University of London, noted that these conclusions are consistent with UN/WEF Agenda 21, the UN ‘World at 2050’ agenda and the WEF Great Reset. The latter, noted Fenton, incorporates ‘Build Back Better’ in which you’ll “own nothing and be happy”, and eat bugs instead of meat.

Another senior academic, the nuclear physicist Dr. Wallace Manheimer, recently warned that Net Zero would lead to the end of modern civilisation. The new green infrastructure will fail, cost trillions, trash large portions of the environment, and be entirely unnecessary. Manheimer noted that before fossil fuel became widely used, energy was provided by people and animals. Because so little energy was produced, “civilisation was a thin veneer atop a vast mountain of human squalour and misery, a veneer maintained by such institutions as slavery, colonialism and tyranny”.


Biden proposes $2 trillion for clean energy projects, calls for end to power plant emissions by 2035

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed spending $2 trillion over four years on clean energy projects and ending carbon emissions from power plants by 2035.

The former vice president’s proposal is part of a series of economic plans aimed at jump-starting an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech detailing the plan Tuesday afternoon in Delaware, Biden called the threat posed by climate change a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy.”

“We’re not just going to tinker around the edges. We’re going to make historic investments that will seize this moment in history,” he said.

The plan marks a clear shift by Biden toward progressives’ goals of urgently reducing fossil fuel consumption to combat climate change. Biden’s new proposal is more ambitious than the 10-year, $1.7 trillion plan he’d offered during the Democratic primary, which included the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Biden used the speech to mock President Donald Trump’s lack of commitment to addressing climate change. “He said he doesn’t like LED because, quote, the light is no good. I always look orange,” Biden said.

His proposed 100% clean electricity standard by 2035 is modeled after a proposal initially offered by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and later embraced by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The same aim was included in a series of recommendations recently negotiated by a task force made up of members appointed by Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and co-chaired by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a chief proponent of the Green New Deal.

“It’s no secret that we’ve been critical of Vice President Biden’s plans and commitments in the past. Today, he’s responded to many of those criticisms: dramatically increasing the scale and urgency of investments, filling in details on how he’d achieve environmental justice and create good union jobs, and promising immediate action – on day 1, in his first 100 days, in his first term, in the next decade – not just some far-off goals,” said Varshini Prakash, the co-founder of the Sunrise Movement.

Biden’s aides told reporters on a call Tuesday he would pay for it in part by undoing Trump’s tax cuts, raising taxes on wealthy Americans and increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%. They said more details on how Biden will pay for his proposals will come in the weeks ahead, after he unveils other economic proposals.

The clean energy plan marks the second straight week Biden has proposed stimulus spending to bolster a reeling economy as part of his “Build Back Better” agenda. Last week, he called for $400 billion for US-made manufacturing efforts such as clean-energy vehicles, telecommunications equipment, steel and other building materials and health care equipment, as well as another $300 billion in research and development on areas like 5G, artificial intelligence and electric vehicle technology.

It’s an approach similar to how former President Barack Obama and Biden entered office in 2009. Biden aides argue that the former vice president’s role in enacting the stimulus package back then makes for a strong contrast with Trump, who has not signed into law any major infrastructure plans and whose administration’s efforts to make infrastructure the theme of specific weeks – only to repeatedly be derailed by controversies Trump caused – has become a long-running joke in Washington.

Biden on Tuesday highlighted his role in the passage of the stimulus in the early days of the Obama administration.

“I know how to get it done. In 2009, President Obama and I inherited an economy in free fall and we prevented a depression,” he said.

During the Democratic primary, Biden had expressed skepticism about Green New Deal objectives of net-zero emissions by 2030. Pressed by an activist in New Hampshire, he said he was committed to achieving that goal – but not on the same timeline progressive activists had called for.

“By 2030?” she asked. “No, it can’t be done by 2030,” he said, “but it can be done by 2050.”

Republicans criticized Biden’s proposal for endangering the jobs of millions of people employed by fossil fuel companies.

“Joe Biden’s economic and climate agenda shows that he is beholden to left-wing ideologues and not to the American people who face the prospect of eliminated jobs and higher taxes under his plan,” Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest said in an email to reporters.

Biden’s campaign said the plan would create union jobs in clean energy and through projects such as the construction of electric vehicle charging stations, the weatherization of millions of buildings, updating electric grids, expanding broadband internet access and more.

In his speech Tuesday, the former vice president was also critical of Trump’s handling of the pandemic and his rush to reopen schools and businesses.

“Mr. President, ‘open everything now’ isn’t a strategy for success. It’s barely a slogan. Quit pushing the false choice between protecting our health and protecting our economy. All it does is endanger our recovery on both fronts,” Biden said.


US ESG Bond Market Chokes on Republican Backlash, Investor Angst

US sales of bonds designed to help companies do good are plunging amid pressure from investors and Republican politicians.

Companies sold about $6 billion of bonds last quarter to pay for projects that help the environment, achieve a social goal, or improve their governance, a type of debt known as ESG. That’s down more than 50% from the same time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, which focused on companies outside the financial industry.

The slump in issuance comes amid a political assault on ESG investing by some of the biggest names in the Republican party, including former Vice President Mike Pence and the governors of Florida and Texas, Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott. DeSantis, a likely 2024 presidential candidate, said last month that he’s leading an alliance of 19 states intent on banning ESG investing outright.

“Before, ESG could do no wrong and the scrutiny that should have been there wasn’t there,” said Andrew Poreda, a senior research analyst at Sage Advisory Services. “Now there’s more skepticism and policing.”

Some states are prohibiting external asset managers that oversee public pension funds and other investment pools from considering ESG criteria, wrote JPMorgan Chase & Co. credit analysts led by Eric Beinstein and Nathaniel Rosenbaum in February. That could be making borrowers less interested in selling ESG debt, they wrote.


Australia closes oldest coal plant, pivots to renewables

Here come blackouts on windless nights

Australia's oldest coal-fired power plant was shuttered Friday, as the country -- a once-notorious climate straggler -- prepares for a seismic shift towards renewable energy.

The Liddell power station, a three-hour drive north of Sydney, was one in a series of ageing coal-fired plants slated to close in the coming years.

Built in 1971, Liddell provided about 10 percent of the electricity used in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state.

Liddell's owner AGL said it would take about two years to demolish the hulking facility, which would free up the site for new clean energy projects such as a hydrogen power plant.

"More than 90 per cent of the materials in the power station will be recycled, including 70,000 tonnes of steel -- which is more steel than there is in the Sydney Harbour Bridge," the company said.

For decades, coal has provided the bulk of Australia's electricity, but University of New South Wales renewable energy expert Mark Diesendorf told AFP that stations such as Liddell were fast becoming unreliable "clunkers".

Besides being inefficient, highly polluting and expensive to repair, the continued widespread use of coal-fired power plants would make Australia's climate targets almost impossible to meet.

Australia has long been one of the world's largest coal producers and exporters, and a series of governments have resisted pressure to scale back the industry.

But the centre-left Labor Party elected last year on the promise of climate action has pledged that 82 percent of the country's electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030.

This demands a drastic overhaul -- while world leaders such as Norway produce more than 90 percent of their power through renewables, Australia currently sits around 30 percent.

"The plans are for a fairly rapid phase-out," Diesendorf told AFP. "These stations are overdue for retirement and there's no economic argument for replacing them with new coal."

- 'Right direction' -

Under growing public pressure to address the climate crisis, many Australian fossil fuel companies increasingly prefer to shutter old coal plants than keep them online.

Australia's largest coal-fired power station, the Eraring facility in New South Wales, is scheduled to close in 2025 and a handful more will follow over the next decade.

While these closures will test whether renewables are ready to fill the gap, a government report released Friday indicated Australia was heading in the right direction.

The Australian Energy Market Operator found that record levels of renewable electricity -- mostly solar power -- were already driving down both emissions and household power prices.




Thursday, April 27, 2023

Insane German attempt to make super-expensive steel

In Germany’s industrial heartland, a slender spire of tubes rises amid a cluster of smoke-belching foundries. Owned by Salzgitter AG, Germany’s second-largest steelmaker, the installation is an ambitious attempt to revolutionize the steelmaking process, and ultimately, secure a critical piece of the country’s economy.

Steel is the most important material for Germany’s manufacturing sector, going into everything from Volkswagen AG automobiles to the advanced machinery made by Siemens AG. The metal is “the starting point of any value chain that you can think of,” Salzgitter Chief Executive Officer Gunnar Groebler said in a Bloomberg TV interview, describing it as “an important factor in any industry in any economy.”

Yet steel is also one of the worst offenders in terms of carbon emissions. Its production techniques, which have remained unchanged for over a century and a half, rely on fossil fuel-burning furnaces that generate over one ton of carbon for each ton of steel created — more than the cement or chemicals sectors.

Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Gateway Europe conference outside Dublin this week, Rachel Muncrief, deputy director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, singled out steel for not getting enough attention as a “massive polluter.”

With Germany racing to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, the switch to green steel is an early test of what kinds of heavy industry Europe will be able to retain – and adapt — in the transition to a cleaner economy.

It’s also a deeply personal question in steelmaking regions like Lower Saxony, the Ruhr valley and Saarland. If beleaguered German steel companies Thyssenkrupp AG, Salzgitter and Dillinger H├╝ttenwerke falter, firms like Mercedes-Benz AG and BMW AG will have to turn elsewhere for supplies. That could potentially lead manufacturing supply chains to drift overseas, and would close a chapter on a key part of the country’s industrial heritage.

“Not managing to achieve this transformation to clean technologies means the end of steel here,” said Juergen Barke, economy minister of Saarland, which witnessed the closure of an ironworks factory that produced steel helmets for the Kaiser’s armies in World War I. “It’s a question of survival.”

Salzgitter’s site in the gentle hills of Lower Saxony is a case study in real-time structural change. While molten metal streams from the bowels of the three coal-fired blast furnaces on one edge of the sprawling facility, elsewhere on the site, a twist of pipes uses power from nearby wind turbines to convert water into hydrogen, which then gets pumped into chambers to refine raw iron ore into purified pellets, known as sponge.

In contrast to traditional foundries, iron used in the green steel process doesn’t need to be melted. To complete the conversion, the purified ore is combined with other elements in an electric-powered furnace akin to a giant pressure cooker. The process eliminates some 97% of carbon emissions but implementing it doesn’t come cheap: while Salzgitter has already secured nearly €1 billion ($1.07 billion) in state aid, the first phase of the transition alone is expected to cost the company as much as €2.4 billion.

To make green steel production work over long haul, Salzgitter needs to ensure that it has enough renewable power and the right infrastructure to convert energy into hydrogen – and that customers, or governments, are willing to cover the potentially greater costs.

Under pressure from investors and regulators, steelmakers across Europe are pouring resources into the challenge. Salzgitter aims to convert all three of its traditional foundries by 2033, and other competitors are getting ready as well. ArcelorMittal is investing in facilities in France and Belgium, while in Sweden, SSAB and startup H2 Green Steel are working on projects that would tap the country’s hydropower resources.

All this is just a small window into Germany’s larger struggle to prove that it has a future both as a net-zero country and an energy-intensive production location. The imperative of hitting climate goals means abandoning coal, the fuel around which Germany’s steelmaking regions originally sprang up, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has meant the end of its reliance on cheap natural gas. Moreover, as green energy executives eye the Middle East and North Africa for future production sites, Germany’s capacity to produce renewable resources is limited by its relatively small coastline and dark winters.

For the steel industry, these challenges are forcing them to consider options that would have once seemed far-fetched. Thyssenkrupp is mulling a plan that could see it reduce upstream steel production and instead import foreign steel blocks into Germany, where they would be processed into higher-value products.

While this would reduce the manufacturer’s carbon footprint, the Duisburg-based company may have little choice in the decision: to make the enough hydrogen for a year’s worth of green steel, it would need a year’s worth of power from 3,800 wind turbines — about 13% of Germany’s current capacity.

The weeds sprouting between the rusting pipes of the Voelklingen ironworks in western Germany indicate what can happen if this transition goes wrong. Once among the mightiest metal producers in Europe, the plant closed down in 1986 after failing to adapt to the onset of globalization.

At its peak in the 1960s, more than 17,000 workers labored in around-the-clock shifts to melt and mold metal at the Voelklingen factory. Now, more than three decades on, what was once a sprawling array of blast furnaces, ore conveyors and coking plants has been transformed into an art space and destination for fans of industrial history.

In a cavernous hall that used to house giant blowers to keep furnaces blazing, a video work called “When We Are Gone” by Julian Rosefeldt explores the demise of the capitalist system. Playing in a loop amid silent machinery, the film follows scientists who have returned to a barren earth to research the legacies of now-vanished cultures. It’s an unsettling critique of Germany’s existing industrial economy, and a reminder of how much work the country must undertake to adapt this economy to a net-zero future.

But the people on the front lines are optimistic.

“We need to be courageous in order to overcome the huge challenges facing German industry,” Saarland’s Barke said. “We’re working hard to make this transition a success.”


Biden's Energy Secretary Endorses Suicidal Mission for the U.S. Military

Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says she supports requiring the U.S. military to adopt an ALL-electric vehicle fleet by 2030

Ah yes, this will work perfectly in places like Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Africa and everywhere else around the globe without electric charging stations. And how long does Granholm propose U.S. troops ask the enemy to hold off while they wait for days to recharge their military vehicles?

Of course this is an idea also backed by President Joe Biden, who insists the military should be 100 percent electric in the next decade.

During Earth Day remarks delivered in Washington state on April 22, Biden said, “We’re going to start the process for every vehicle in the United States military, every vehicle is going to be climate-friendly.”

“Every vehicle. I mean it. We’re spending billions of dollars to do it,” he said.

To make every one of those vehicles climate-friendly would place service members at increased risk, as well as bankrupt the Department of Defense, all in the pursuit of Biden’s misguided goal.

Warfighters rely on our government to provide them the best tactical equipment available. By declaring that “every vehicle” in the military will be “climate friendly,” Biden risks sacrificing warfighting capability in the pursuit of his radical climate agenda.

It's a delusional proposal that puts the national security of the U.S. at risk, not to mention putting the country even further behind when it comes to global competition


How the Green cult has disarmed Europe

Most NATO members have long failed to meet the alliance’s defense-spending benchmark of 2% of GDP. Europe’s defense industry relies on private investment to help fund research and development, training and recruitment of a skilled workforce, and more. Yet in recent years defense investment has become taboo.

Much of the pressure not to spend comes from the political left that lobbies investors and legislatures through nonprofits. “We have a problem because we think that deliveries and weapons exports” are “fueling conflicts and are at the end responsible for deaths and a big number of refugees,” says Thomas K├╝chenmeister, managing director of the nonprofit Facing Finance.

The Swedish Consumers’ Association says it wants to restrict investment in defense companies that make controversial weapons like mines or cluster munitions or sell to governments that are corrupt, unstable, have a poor track record on human rights, or “spend a disproportionate part of their budget on purchases of arms.” But war is an inherently ugly business, and good luck finding a defense company that can meet these standards.

The ESG mindset has also spread to European Union institutions. The European Investment Bank, the EU’s development bank, has a policy against providing financing for “ammunition and weapons, including explosives and sporting weapons, as well as equipment or infrastructure dedicated to military/police use.”

The Ecolabel is a voluntary EU certification program that directs consumers to sustainable products and businesses, and an effort is underway to include financial products. But the most recent draft proposal suggests a restriction against investment in companies that derive “more than 5% turnover from the production or trade of conventional weapons and/or military products used for combat.” Have they told the Russians?

The EU is also working to develop a unified definition for what qualifies as an ESG investment. In July 2021 the EU published a draft proposal for a “social taxonomy” that lists weapons alongside gambling and tobacco as “harmful sectors or activities” that “cannot qualify as socially sustainable despite e.g. good worker-related performance.”

After Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, a proposal scaled back the social-taxonomy language to designate as “harmful” only controversial weapons like mines, cluster munitions and chemical or biological weapons.

But Jan Pie, secretary general of the Aerospace, Security and Defence Industries Association of Europe, says “European banks and investors have picked up the signal that Europe would be about to say defense is not a sustainable activity.” Mr. Pie says some investors are limiting exposure to the defense industry, some banks have denied loans and guarantees, and some insurers are raising premiums.

Alessandra Genco, chief financial officer at the Italian aerospace and defense company Leonardo, said the industry may face higher capital costs if fewer banks and institutions are unwilling to invest. Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said last month that it’s “a problem” that “our pension funds here in the Netherlands prefer not to invest in the defense industry.”

Examples abound of financial institutions that have adopted policies to restrict defense investment. Allianz Global Investors says its sustainable-labeled funds don’t invest in companies that derive more than 10% of revenue from weapons, military equipment and services.

The German GLS Bank condemns “the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a war of aggression and against international law,” says spokeswoman Nora Schareika. But the bank doesn’t invest in “weapons and armaments,” a policy “based on its conviction” that they “can never be sustainable, since they destroy lives.”

Bad actors like Russia and China share no such ethical qualms. They respect only military power. A West that is reluctant to arm itself won’t deter aggressors, and the result will be a more dangerous, violent world.

Carbon capture project in Norway temporarily halted by high costs

A project to capture carbon emissions from a waste plant in the Norwegian capital Oslo has been paused for a year amid projections of large cost overruns, potentially dealing a blow to wider Norwegian plans to foster the fledgling technology.

"New cost calculations show that we cannot implement the original plans for the carbon capture project within the existing budget," Knut Inderhaug, head of project operator Hafslund Oslo Celsio, said in a statement.

The reasons were higher costs from suppliers due to inflation, the geopolitical instability that has lifted energy prices, and a weakened Norwegian crown, Celsio said without providing specific overrun figures.

Investment costs for the Klemetsrud waste plant, which are being subsidised by both the Oslo city council and the Norwegian government, were initially set at 5.5 billion Norwegian crowns ($518.88 million).

To date, Celsio has spent around 450 million crowns, a spokesperson told Reuters.

The company will now take a 12-month hiatus to find ways to reduce costs, which would delay the project from its initial 2026 commissioning date, it said.

Celsio was also in contact with municipal and state stakeholders over how best to realise the project.

The CO2 captured at Klemetsrud is part of Norway's prestigious Longship carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, which also includes carbon capture at a cement plant and the Northern Lights transport and storage project.

Klemetsrud was expected to capture round 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, corresponding to 14% of Oslo's overall emissions of greenhouse gases.

The delay would likely impact deposits at Northern Lights, a joint venture founded by oil firms Equinor, TotalEnergies and Shell, although interest from European customers may see lost volumes replaced, Celsio's spokesperson added.




Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The endless wind drought crippling renewables

The spectre of power failure is haunting Europe as Britain and Germany demonstrate that modern societies can’t run on wind and solar power. Wind droughts are the fatal flaw in the system and one can envisage a future book titled How Wind Droughts Destroyed Western Civilisation. Think about the consequences of a system blackout if Net Zero policies are pursued to the bitter end in Western Europe and Australia…

Texas in 2021 gave us a glimpse of the abyss during a spell of low wind and a serious cold snap. Hundreds died and it would have been thousands if the state had gone completely black, instead of hanging on by a thread. Now, Texas is planning to subsidise gas producers to maintain capacity in the face of competition from subsidised wind and solar power.

Don’t laugh, this was happening here with a deal in Victoria to maintain the supply of coal power from Loy Yang A to the Portland aluminium smelter. However, plans are now in motion to close Loy Yang B ahead of schedule with things looking increasingly grim for the smelter. Both the major parties in NSW promised before the recent election to keep the coal fires burning at Eraring.

Wind droughts were not properly considered in the rush to decarbonise the power supply, but they can’t be ignored any longer. The burning question is: How did the meteorologists fail to issue wind drought warnings? They monitor every other kind of extreme weather to feed the inexhaustible appetite of the media for bad news about ‘climate change’.

In Australia the answer is easy. According to a CSIRO report in 2002, the Bureau of Meteorology used the average velocity of the wind for weeks and months to measure wind resources with information collected at hundreds of sites established by the BOM during the 1990s. Tom Quirk and Paul Miskelly first reported wind droughts using the AEMO data which reports the output from the registered wind farms at five-minute intervals.

Our wind droughts mostly last less than a day and they max out around three days, based on the AEMO records. In the BOM records, a wind drought lasting three days would simply lower the number for the week or the month without signalling that there was a serious restriction in the supply.

The neglect of wind droughts in Europe is harder to explain because the Dunkelflaute or ‘dark doldrums’ (the still, dark periods), can persist for weeks. They must have been well-known to sailors for centuries, also to the millers who pumped water in Holland and those who milled grain across the continent. And what about the experience of recreational sailors in modern times? In the absence of readily available historical records, it was helpful to read this comment by ‘Michael’ on a recent post by my colleague Peter Smith. It is an extract from a 1901 book by H.G. Wells.

‘Wind was extremely inconvenient for the purpose of pumping [water from mines] because in these latitudes it is inconstant: it was costly, too, because “at any time the labourers might be obliged to sit at the pit’s mouth for weeks together whistling for a gale”.H.G. Wells, in Anticipations of the Reactions of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, 1901.’

Yes Virginia, they did have wind droughts in England before 2020!

Official recognition in the wind industry was slow in coming, although the German policy of energiewende was clearly in trouble in 2018 when a government report admitted that it was failing on three vital metrics: cost, reliability, and emission reduction. Recently, there has been more coverage of wind issues, but officially the green transition is still happening. More research is required, with hard questions directed to the responsible authorities.


Lazard's levelised cost of power generation figures remain "highly implausible"

Net Zero Watch has slammed new estimates of the cost of electricity generation published by the merchant bank Lazard.

Lazard's Levelised Cost of Generation report appears annually, and is widely cited, supposedly as an authoritative source. However, its credibility must now be in serious doubt, because of the divergence of its underlying assumptions from reality.

Net Zero Watch's criticism centres on the cost of offshore wind, an area in which it has considerable expertise, and where highly transparent UK data make firm conclusions possible.

Net Zero Watch's deputy director, Andrew Montford, explained:

"Lazard's estimates of lifetime output are probably overstated by more than 50%, and their estimate of operational expenditure by more than 200%. Their figures are highly implausible."


Australian EV drivers will soon benefit from nation-wide fast charging program

This is amusing. It's like a dog chasing its tail. It never catches up. The facility will entice more people to go electric, which will heighten the chance that when you roll up to recharge there will always be someone there recharging ahead of you. Frequently spending hours waiting to refuel will not tbe attractive. Electric cars are ok as suburban runabouts but are a pain for long trips

Electric car owners will be able to drive from Adelaide to Alice Springs, cross the Nullarbor, and run from Tasmania to Far North Queensland without stressing about charging, thanks to a new network coming to Australian roads.

A Federally funded program working with the NRMA to put 117 fast chargers on Australian highways will bring an end to “range anxiety”, according to Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen.

“EVs aren’t just for the cities, and Australians who drive long distances either for work or for holidays should be able to reap the benefits of cars that are cheaper and cleaner to run,” he said.

“We’re making range anxiety a thing of the past. This project will help close the gaps and known black spots in the network and make it possible to drive from Darwin to Perth, Broken Hill to Adelaide, and from Brisbane to Tennant Creek in the NT.

“This national rollout will help put more Australians in the driver’s seat of cheaper and cleaner cars.”

The Federal Government’s “Driving the Nation” fund will spend $39.3 million ensuring electric car chargers are placed at 150 kilometre intervals on national highways.

Full technical details – including the charging speed of the network – have not been released.

The NRMA will be using purpose built charger models for various public charging locations depending upon environmental conditions, location and power availability, sourcing chargers from manufacturers including Tritium, Kempower and ABB.

A spokesman for the organisation said plug power for the public charging locations “will initially range from 75kW to around 300kW”.

The fastest chargers currently used in Australia can add around 300 kilometres of range in about 20 minutes to high-end electric cars with more than 500 kilometres of range.

Cheaper models such as the Nissan Leaf, that can’t handle the flow of energy at need about an hour to add around 200 kilometres of range.

Mr Bowen drives a Tesla Model 3 – Australia’s most popular electric car.

Priced from about $64,000 drive-away, the Tesla offers around 491 kilometres of driving range.

Tesla has a widespread “Supercharger” network that is not available to owners of other electric cars.

Carly Irving-Dolan, NRMA chief executive for energy and infrastructure, said the network would be the charging backbone of Australia.

“The NRMA is excited to be partnering with the Australian Government to grow our regional network of fast charging stations across the country because we fundamentally believe that regional Australia should not be left behind,” she said.

“Australia’s expansive landscape presents some unique and local challenges to ensure that we are ready for more electric vehicles on our roads.

“NRMA has over 100 years’ experience helping Australia address transport challenges and we are committed to building on this work through this national charging network.”




Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Everyone forgot about Earth Hour

Editor’s Note: Earth Hour is the creation of the World Wildlife Fund. It is an event during which companies and individuals symbolically turn off their lights for an hour to virtue-signal their commitment to the environment, effectively wasting energy rather than conserving it, due to the nature of power production. This year, it was held on March 25, but you probably missed it…

We should spend Earth Hour in a salute to coal, oil, gas, and uranium.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn green fuels like wood, cardboard, and cow dung for cooking and home heating.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the steam engines for electricity generation and to produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.

It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms, and the bark on the old bark hut.

And it is diesel and petrol that powers our farms, mines, and road transport.

In Australia today, coal still provides our most reliable electricity for lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport, and steel.

Without coal, oil, and gas much of the world would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees, and streets knee-deep in horse manure.

Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and often less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.

Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich status-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.

We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real heroes who, despite the abuse, still produce the coal, oil, gas, and uranium on which most people on Earth depend.

The Real Agenda of Earth Hour below:

‘We must make this place an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects – we must reclaim the roads and plowed lands, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers, and return to the wilderness millions and tens of millions of acres of presently settled land.’

– Dave Foreman, ‘Earth First’


Weird Weather

When someone tells me, “Boy, the weather sure has been weird in recent years,” I am pretty confident of two things: one, they have bought into the climate change hoax, and two, they know absolutely nothing about history. Upon hearing the “weather is weird lately” comment, I immediately ask two questions: “Compared to what?” and “How do you know what the weather was like 200 years ago?” To the first question, they might mumble something like, “well, it’s weirder than it was a few years ago” and to the second question, they have no answer. Because they don’t know. Except in general, I don’t, either.

So, the weather is weirder than it was 5 years ago, but maybe not as weird as it was 205 years ago. Brilliant. Let’s destroy the world’s economy on that.

Lots of tornados in America so far this spring? Weird weather! Climate change! Global warming! Snow in the northern plains in late April? Uhh...has to be climate change. Somehow. “It’s been a long winter,” I heard the nice lady on The Weather Channel say a few days ago. She probably will never be heard from again. You people in Montana have fun sweeping that “global warming” off your sidewalks.

As an historian, I have frequently, in various writings, bemoaned the abysmal ignorance of history evident among most Americans today. To use history effectively, we must broaden our viewpoint beyond what we had for dinner last night, and especially put events into their historical circumstances. The last point is critical and what most people almost never do, simply because they don’t know enough history to accomplish it. This is true with the “climate change” discussion.

One conundrum is that thinking is an exercise which requires a little bit of training and labor, more than most folks want to accede to. People don’t think, and they often don’t think because they have little knowledge to think about. You must “know” something before you can “think” rationally about it, and Americans know virtually nothing about history. This is obviously true regarding climate history. And Al Gore has made millions off that ignorance while Joe Biden has destroyed American energy independence via the same method.

So, back to the southern tornadoes for a moment. Yes, terrible. Can anybody tell me the weather in Mississippi on March 20, 1701? How about in central Utah on June 13, 1666? Mr. “Weird Weather Genius,” please enlighten me about the weather in western Arizona on October 3, 1312. Florida panhandle on April 15, 1512. Manhattan Island from February 5, 772 B.C. to March 25, 756 B.C. Don’t know? Then how do you know our current weather is “weird”? How many tornadoes did Oklahoma have in 1412? 1639? 1845? You have no clue, have you. All you know is the “weather is weird '' and “global warming/climate change is true” because CNN and Greta Thunberg tell you so.

“But the weather records show warming...” Yes, that is true—over the last few decades. How far do accurate instrument-measured weather records go back? Maybe 140 years, tops. So how do we know about specific weather events, on specific days or even months, before those records started being kept? We don’t. Climate scientists can tell us weather trends over decades and centuries, but they cannot tell you how many tornadoes Mississippi had in any month, for thousands of years, prior to recent record-keeping. It is folly to say our weather is “weird” because we don’t know what “normal” was like in the past. It may have been even weirder. Thirty years is nothing historically, and the planet shouldn’t be revolutionized based on information over such a small sample period.

On top of that, satellite data (the most accurate current weather instrumentation) demonstrates that there has been no true “global warming” since 2013 (check Marc Morano’s “Climate Depot” website for more information about this). There is a reason the switch was made from “global warming” to “climate change”—there ain’t been no warming recently. Climate scientists also know, through various methods, that the earth was warmer in the year 100 A.D. than in 2000 A.D. The 2000-year trend, except for the “Medieval Warming Period”, has been towards colder weather. Since about 1900, there has been gradual, but inconsistent, warming. We can see the developments of weather, but no specific places or dates (Mississippi, April 3, 1102). Thus, there is absolutely no way of knowing if, historically, this spring’s tornados are “weird” or “normal.” It may have been worse 1,000 years ago.

Climate scientists also speak of the “Medieval Warming Period” (appx. 1000-1300 A.D.), followed by nearly 500 years of a “Little Ice Age.” The earth only began to recover from that last century, though predictions of another “ice age” were widespread in the 1950s-70s. Now the trend is back to greater warmth. Except for the long winter this year. But, of course, the hotter temperatures, especially over the past 30 years, are the evidence “global warmists” use for their theory. And it is man’s fault.

But how did humans cause temperatures to rise 2000 years ago in the Roman period? What industries did medieval men invent that created the Medieval Warming Period? Peasant farming, I guess.

Thomas Jefferson, in 1799, noted there was generally less snow then than 60 years earlier (there was indeed a warming trend in the 1700s). Did mankind cause that, too?

A little history can work wonders in debunking hoaxes and myths. That is why Karl Marx so accurately said, “Keep people from their history and they are easily controlled.” People are being 'controlled’ now by Leftist, “climate change” lies, and one of the major reasons for it is an abysmal ignorance of history. Marano (“Climate Depot”) and others are trying. But they are being swamped and overwhelmed. As long as the Left controls the global narrative and the American education system, our climb is decidedly uphill. ?


Your Taxes at Work: ‘Eco-Anxiety’ Counseling

US Fish and Wildlife Service employees are struggling to cope with feelings of trauma and loss over the world’s changing climates and imperiled environments. Their work repeatedly confronts them with ecological changes, but even a sense of “anticipated loss” perhaps decades from now requires compassionate help. Or so the FWS and American Psychological Association tell us.

The FWS is thus offering paid leave to employees who attend “eco-anxiety” and “climate grief” training. When the House Natural Resources Committee called the sessions a colossal waste of money, the agency downplayed their cost and scope. But naturally the “woke” programs don’t end there.

FWS Director Martha Williams is also pushing diversity-equity-inclusion-LBGTQ programs as the agency’s “number one priority” (or perhaps number two, after climate change). Employees can take as much paid time off as needed for DEI and “gay pride” programs and eco-anguish counseling.

There’s no word about programs to help employees deal with widespread habitat and wildlife destruction that will result from millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels and tens of thousands of miles of new transmission lines, due to “net zero” policies implemented in the name of averting the “climate crisis.” Apparently no programs offer paid leave to participate in “conservative pride” campaigns or study Earth’s historic ice ages, warm periods, little ice ages and decades-long droughts.

That’s hardly surprising. The FWS and Interior Department were getting eco-centric and anti-fossil-fuel when I worked there 35 years ago. Like American and Western society in general, their culture has simply gotten more noticeably and intolerantly devoted to extreme environmentalist agendas since then.

Movies, television and news stories, constant instruction in what to think, rather than how to think, an absence of religion and ethics in many schools and homes, and incessant themes of inequality, victimhood and global doom foster widespread tension, anxiety and depression. They leave too many children, teens and adults unable to cope with life and setbacks, less respectful of authority and human life, inured to violence, and aggressively intolerant of opinions that differ from their own ideologies and agendas.

Even before they were forced to endure Covid-induced lockdowns, nearly 20% of Americans were taking antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, some linked to precipitating acts of violence; a third of high school students experienced prolonged anxiety, depression and hopelessness; and almost one in five teenagers had contemplated suicide.

Social isolation, minimal physical and outdoor activity, video games and reading self-selected online media have amplified depression and “chronic incapacitating mental illness” in America and many Western countries. Also hardly surprising, the problems are increasingly blamed on climate change.

“Climate grief is real,” self-proclaimed experts insist, and it’s spreading rapidly among young people. “The future is frightening,” 77% of 10,000 young people ages 16-25 from the USA and other countries told “climate anxiety” and “climate depression” investigators. Many children have climate nightmares.

“The climate mental health crisis” already affects people who have “lost everything in worsening climate infernos,” claims a NASA scientist and climate activist who’s certain we face “the end of life on Earth as we know it.” He’s not alone in being convinced that every extreme weather event and ecological calamity today is due to or made worse by fossil fuel and agricultural emissions.

“I don’t want to be alive anymore,” wailed a four-year-old who’s clearly been indoctrinated already. “The animals are all going to die, and I don’t want to be here when all the animals are dead.”

Parents fantasize about killing their children, over fears of a “climate-ravaged future.” Parents, teens and even children increasingly consider suicide.

At least one psychologist has based his entire practice on addressing climate psychoses. The Climate Psychology Alliance provides an online directory of “climate-aware therapists,” and a “peer support network” offers grief therapy modeled on twelve-step drug addiction programs.

There’s only one real solution to this epidemic, other “experts” insist: Governments must “take action now” to “end the climate crisis,” to eliminate “the death knell of climate chaos” that threatens us. Otherwise the epidemic of anxiety, depression, pills, climate grief and suicide will steadily worsen.

This is nonsense, insanity. We don’t have a climate crisis. We have a climate fear-mongering crisis.

We don’t need to “fix” exaggerated and over-hyped climate problems. We need to end the junk science, the indoctrination dominating news stories and classroom discussions about energy and climate change, the censorship that prevents alternative, reality-based facts and voices from being heard, the massive government funding of one side of this crucial debate.

Claims of “unprecedented” temperatures and extreme weather, floods and droughts have no basis in real-world evidence. The “climate crisis” exists in greenhouse-gas-focused computer models, headlines and hype, not in reality. There is no unprecedented upward trend in the frequency of violent US tornados, or US landfalling hurricanes, for example – though the 12-year absence of Category 3-5 hurricanes hitting the United States between Wilma (October 2005) and Harvey (August 2017) is an all-time record.

Unfortunately, viewpoints, evidence and experts challenging climate crisis claims are too often banished from school curricula, news and social media, and government policy discussions.

President Biden’s “national climate advisor” worked closely with Big Tech and news organizations, to suppress facts about climate change, fossil fuels, and the acreage, raw materials and mining required for wind, solar and battery power. Meta (Facebook), YouTube, pre-Musk Twitter and other companies routinely help to deplatform, demonetize and censor anyone contesting crisis-promoting claims.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “summaries for policy makers” often misrepresent scientific findings and advance frightening but unsupported scenarios about Earth’s future climate. The IPCC also ignores studies that demonstrate how increased atmospheric carbon dioxide improves plant growth and wildlife habitats, how climate has changed repeatedly throughout Earth’s history, and that eliminating fossil fuels would result in extensive ecological damage from wind, solar, battery and transmission line mining and installations.

China, India and other countries are rapidly expanding their oil, gas and coal use, to improve their economies and lift billions out of poverty. China dominates raw material and “green tech” supply chains, making the West increasingly reliant on China for energy, economy and national defense needs – via Chinese mines, processing plants and factories that operate under minimal standards for pollution control, habitat destruction, and slave and child labor. As a result:

* Nothing the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia do will have any effect on global fossil fuel use or greenhouse gas emissions.

* Western foreign and domestic policy options will be restricted by reliance on adversarial nations for pseudo-renewable energy materials and technologies.

* Prices for energy, goods and services will skyrocket, because every megawatt of wind and solar must be duplicated with backup batteries or generators.

* Politicians and bureaucrats – egged on by loud, often violent mobs – will increasingly dictate our energy consumption, living standards, home sizes, vacations, and what we can eat, drink, drive and buy.

These are the real existential threats to democracy, society, humanity and planet. Parents, voters, legislators and judges concerned about our future must take action now to stop this insanity.


‘Environmental Justice’ From Climate Saint Joe

Putting an adjective before the word “justice” usually means you’re no longer getting justice. Such is the case with Joe Biden’s Earth Day Eve executive order that will further weaponize every federal agency, this time to save the planet by making it their “mission” to ensure “environmental justice for all.”

Never underestimate what the climate cultist will do to worship Gaia.

“Under this order,” Biden explained during the signing ceremony Friday, “environmental justice will become the responsibility of every single federal agency — I mean every single federal agency.” It even comes complete with “the first-ever Environmental Justice Scorecard.” And we all saw how well mobilizing government for the global emergency of COVID worked for everyone.

“This is about people’s health,” Biden declared in a similar vein. “It’s about the health of our communities. It’s only about the future of our planet.”

We’re killing the planet, Team Biden says, and it’s because we’re racist.

“For far too long, communities across our country have faced persistent environmental injustice through toxic pollution, underinvestment in infrastructure and critical services, and other disproportionate environmental harms often due to a legacy of racial discrimination including redlining,” read a White House statement. “These communities with environmental justice concerns face even greater burdens due to climate change.”

The statement adds that Biden “is working to ensure that all people” have access to “cleaner air and water, reduced risk for asthma, cancer, and other health burdens, and better access to green space, safe and affordable housing, and clean transportation.”

On the surface, that sounds pretty good. We all want clean air and water and to eradicate cancer and other health problems. We all want the American Dream.

In practice, however, Biden’s order means top-down government control over an ever-increasing portion of our lives, and that will often hamper the stated goals. Central planning never works. “Affordable housing,” for example, means penalizing people with good credit in order to subsidize those with bad credit. That’s on top of rampant inflation thanks to Biden’s spending spree, the response to which is increasing interest rates that make houses even more unaffordable.

“Clean transportation” means subsidizing and mandating Team Biden’s favored electric vehicles while waging war on gas-powered cars.

Speaking of energy, Americans get 60% of our electricity from coal and gas-fired power plants. The EPA is set to announce strict carbon limits on those power plants, and you better believe the objective is not to make that energy more affordable for American families of every color who are already struggling to keep up after two years of declining wages and rising prices.

Indeed, we all pay more for everything from homes to vehicles to energy as a result of this grossly distorted and patently unconstitutional “whole-of-government commitment to environmental justice.”

This isn’t Biden’s first executive order related to “environmental justice,” either. In his first days after taking office, he carpet-bombed America with EOs on everything from banning the term “China virus” to mandating masks in various places to regulating the supply chain to directing government agencies to pursue “environmental justice.”

Nevertheless, Biden is renewing the push now as the White House drums up anticipation over his looming reelection announcement, perhaps this week. We need to reelect the demented octogenarian, the argument will be, because the planet itself is at stake.

Biden alluded to this by fearmongering about GOP opposition to his schemes. “The MAGA Republicans in Congress want to repeal climate protections in the Inflation Reduction Act,” the president warned. Indeed, the House GOP did pass the Lower Energy Costs Act (HR 1) last month to reduce regulations on American energy production so as to reduce the cost of filling up our cars and heating our homes.

Biden called it “a thinly veiled license to pollute” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pronounced it “dead on arrival.”

Elections have consequences and, unfortunately, Americans put Biden in the White House and Democrats in control of the Senate. A lot of folks might feel good about saving the planet, but others of us know just how economic damaging and constitutionally contemptuous the resulting bid for “environmental justice” really is. ?




Monday, April 24, 2023

Media Won't Report That Renewable Energy Subsidies Dwarf Fossil Fuel Subsidies

On April 11, The New York Times ran an article titled, “Why Are Taxpayers Propping Up the Fossil Fuel Industry?” in which the author claims, “Around the world, taxpayers are helping to support fossil fuels through subsidies when their money could be funding green energy transitions instead.”

This article should have been printed 10 days earlier, on April 1, under the heading: “April Fool’s Joke!”

In reality, taxpayers are not propping up the fossil fuel industry, however, they are propping up the renewable energy industry.

According to the World Economic Forum, “Government spending on clean energy has risen by more than $500 billion since March 2022…This brings the total amount allocated to clean energy since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to more than $1.2 trillion.”

In the United States, under the Biden administration, green energy subsidies have increased substantially as well.

For example, thanks to Biden’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. government will spend more than $400 billion on renewable energy subsidies over the next decade. This includes a $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of an electric vehicle (EV) and a $14,000 tax rebate for the purchase of “heat pumps and other energy efficient home appliances.”

Biden also packed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with more than $100 billion in green energy subsidies, which includes $7.5 billion towards EV charging stations and $5 billion for electric school buses.

According to Biden, “This moment demands urgent investments the American people want and our nation needs – investments that will bolster America’s competitiveness, resilience, and economy all while creating good-paying jobs, saving people money, and building an equitable clean energy economy of the future.”

Make no mistake, renewable energy subsidies are not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the United States has been “investing” in renewable energy technology since 1979, when it began offering tax credits for wind and solar power.

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which allocated more than $87 billion in green energy subsidies. At the time, Al Gore praised the law, claiming it would create, “critical investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy and a unified national smart grid. By accelerating America’s shift to a clean energy economy, this bill lays the foundation for a true recovery and is an important first step in dramatically reducing our carbon emissions.”

Fourteen years after the fact, we now know that Gore (as per usual) wildly overstated these claims. We also know that many of these subsidies, such as the $570 million guaranteed loan the government gave to Solyndra, turned out to be a total waste of taxpayer money.

Yet, despite the hundreds of billions in taxpayer funds that have flowed to green energy projects over the past few decades, the industry still represents only a fraction of total power generation in the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “In 2021, renewable energy sources accounted for about 12.4% of total U.S. primary energy consumption.”

Since 2010, according to EIA data, subsidies for renewable energy have dwarfed subsidies for fossil fuels.

Per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “since the mid-2000s, new legislation has expanded the scope of federal energy policy, and the share of total financial support provided through energy-related tax incentives that goes toward the production of fossil fuels has decreased.”

How much has this decreased? The CBO notes, “Roughly three-fourths of the projected cost of tax preferences for energy in 2016 was for renewable energy and energy efficiency. An estimated $10.9 billion, or 59 percent of the energy-related tax preferences, was directed toward renewable energy; $2.7 billion, or 15 percent, went to energy efficiency or electricity transmission. Fossil fuels accounted for most of the remaining cost of energy-related tax preferences—an estimated $4.6 billion, or 25 percent.”

Keep in mind, that was all the way back in 2016, well before the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law added $500 billion more to the left’s renewable energy slush fund.

And, that was five years before President Biden signed an executive order that “directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.”

Clearly, a trend is occurring in which the U.S. government, and governments around the globe, are picking energy winners and losers.

However, unlike the Times article would have you believe, these governments are not pouring billions into “propping up” fossil fuel companies. Instead, they are villainizing fossil fuels as they stubbornly continue to throw good money after bad.


Residents Erupt After Michigan Dem Approves CCP-Backed Green Energy Deal

Michigan residents erupted angrily after state Democrats approved funding for a Chinese-backed green energy project.

During the Michigan State Senate Budget Committee hearing, Democrat lawmakers granted the final approval of $175 million in taxpayer money in a 10-9 vote to Gotion, a Hefei-based, China-based Gotion High-Tech subsidiary building electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in Big Rapids.

However, almost all of the residents in attendants were less than thrilled about the plan, slamming the Chinese-backed deal.

"Why are we even considering, why would the county, the township, the state of Michigan even consider a Chinese-based company if, in fact, there is an American company willing to build this type of plant," Russ Jennings, a resident, said.

Another resident expressed frustration and anger, criticizing the state for rushing a lucrative decision that would impact everyone.

"I am angry. I'm angry that this vote slipped into the agenda today with as little information as possible so people like me wouldn't know it's happening," she said. "I am furious that you, our elected officials, have ignored requests from my community to submit this ballot until a small semblance of due diligence can be conducted."

Furthermore, a community member accused the Chinese government of having a broader plan to "overthrow the United States without firing a shot."

She said that the whole state should be concerned and that the Chinese Communist Party is dangerous and a "threat to our way of life and our God-given and constitutional freedoms."

Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich) announced that Gotion would invest $2.4 billion to build two 550,000-square-foot manufacturing facilities on 260 acres in northern Michigan. Praising the proposal, the Democrat claimed it would boost the state's status as a "global hub for mobility and electrification."

The supervisor of Barton Township, a jurisdiction near the proposed site, Kyle Luce, said 85 percent of its residents were against Gotion's CCP-funded project.


NYC exposes its own folly on climate change

City Comptroller Brad Lander no doubt thought he was helping the climate war (and scoring points with warriors) when he boasted of his “dashboard” on climate progress last week, in advance of Saturday’s celebration of Earth Day.

Instead, he wound up exposing the utter folly of New York’s pricey efforts to lower Earth’s temperature.

Start with Lander’s revelation that the city’s reliance on fossil fuels for power has grown since 2019 — from 75% to 89%.

That’s largely thanks to the closure of the Indian Point nuclear plant, which accounted for 25% of the city’s juice.

The city plans to make up for that by expanding solar, with 72 megawatts installed last year, putting Gotham on pace to meet its 2030 goal.

Yet that goal,1,000 MW, is just half of the 2,000 MW Indian Point could put out.

And just a fraction of the 13,000 MW the city needs.

Lander’s term for the goal, “modest,” is the understatement of the century. (And Indian Point didn’t need cloudless skies to generate power.)

There’s more: The city is “committed” to limiting its greenhouse-gas emissions to 12 metric tons a year, an 80% cut by 2050, the dashboard notes.

Yet over the decade since 2011, it brought them down by less than 4%, to 53.9 metric tons in 2021.

And added cuts will only get harder as low-hanging fruit vanishes.

Lander’s dashboard also brags of a $3.8 billion divestment from fossil fuels, in pursuit of “net zero greenhouse gas emissions,” by companies in the city’s pension funds by 2040.

Yet divesting from an entire economic sector will inevitably narrow the funds’ diversity, boost risks and preclude the opportunity for greater returns. (Remember: Taxpayers must make up any pension-fund shortfalls.)

And the greenies continue to demand ever more pain, including a push for all-electric buildings that’ll require vast infrastructure upgrades — and spell the end of gas stoves — without actually reducing emissions, since fossil fuels still generate the most electricity.

Meanwhile, the left’s Climate Change Superfund Act aims to make fossil-fuel companies pay for their past, perfectly legal business operations.

If it actually became law and survived court challenges, it might help cover the monster tab — as much as a half trillion dollars — of meeting the state’s emission goals.

Then again, New York consumers would get socked with hefty new costs as the firms pass along that charge.

And the big picture is all about futility: Even if the city and state somehow meet their goals (at enormous pain and expense), it won’t budge global temps one bit, especially as nations like China and India continue to increase their greenhouse-gas output.

Yet if the entire world stopped doing anything more to combat it, climate change would still have a negligible impact on worldwide GDP by 2100, per the UN’s own climate-change panel.

Lander’s inadvertent admission about the failures of the city’s climate agenda, in short, is just a case study of the futility of the entire global campaign


How liberal politicians steer trillions of public funds via ESG

It’s no surprise that liberal politicians have been some of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies’ strongest proponents.

ESG-friendly politicians often co-opt pension fund money for political ends.

However, that’s not the only power they have.

Elected officials can also wield influence through executive orders, agency directives, and letter writing to pave the way for ESG asset managers to access the back door of corporate America and sometimes even shove those managers through.

That’s exactly what President Biden has done.

The first thing he did when he took office was pick up his executive order pen.

He used it to direct his federal agencies to revisit their rules with an eye toward making them more ESG-friendly.

There was no need for messy bipartisanship, congressional compromises, or involving the legislative branch at all.

Why bother with the tedious, constitutionally approved method of making new laws when there is an army of federal bureaucrats at your disposal?

On day one of his presidency, he lamented “the unbearable human costs of systemic racism” and mandated an “ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda.”

To that end, he instructed every federal agency to “assess whether, and to what extent, its programs and policies perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color,” among other things.

He gave the agencies 200 days to do so and report back.

The same day, he rejoined the Paris Agreement, and simultaneously issued another order directing that all federal agencies “immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis.”

This time, the agencies had 30 days to respond.

Within a week, he issued yet another order, promising “bold, progressive action that combines the full capacity of the Federal Government with efforts from every corner of our Nation, every level of government, and every sector of our economy.”

He charged every federal agency with appointing an “Agency Chief Sustainability Officer” and announced that the United States would be “promoting the flow of capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments.”

By May, his executive orders became even more specific, focusing federal climate efforts on the financial sector in particular.

Through strokes of the executive pen, a Green New Deal that would never be approved by Congress would be pushed on corporate America through Wall Street, guided by the heavy hand of federal agencies at every turn.

Following the orders of the new climate commander-in-chief, the government joined the ESG battle. For the most part, federal agencies were pleased to be conscripted into service.

The Department of Labor was one of the first agencies to respond.

At the time Biden took office, the department had regulations that made it harder for retirement fund managers to do ESG investing.

The existing Trump-era rule memorialized the DOL’s long-standing requirement that private pension fund managers consider only pecuniary factors when making investment, engagement, and proxy voting decisions.

Less than two months after President Biden took office, the department announced that it would not enforce the rule.

As a department representative explained at the time, the DOL sought to replace the existing financially focused rules with ones that “better recognize the important role that environmental, social and governance integration can play in the evaluation and management of plan investments.”

And replace the rules it did. In October 2021, the Biden administration proposed a new regulation that repealed the Trump-era rules and replaced them with one that encouraged ESG investing with retirement and pension fund money.

The proposed rule pushed retirement fund managers to consider ESG factors such as “climate change” and “collateral benefits other than investment returns” when investing employees’ money. Indeed, it said that consideration of ESG factors was “often require[d].”

The enacted version was slightly less radical; it says that investment managers “may” consider ESG factors, rather than requiring them.

The overall message is still pro-ESG. It still represented a departure from the strict financial focus of the Trump-era rules.

The Department of Labor, of course, is not supposed to be in the business of making environmental policy; it’s supposed to be protecting workers — their working conditions, their safety, their wages, and, in this instance, their retirement funds.

The very reason Congress had asked the Department of Labor to oversee pension and retirement accounts was to ensure that the funds would have as much money as possible — not just because American workers are depending on it but because taxpayers will end up on the short end of the funds fall short.

Now, if a company’s pensions are underfunded or a company goes bankrupt, taxpayers will make up the shortfall.

But in return, companies providing retirement benefits are required to fund their pensions and invest the assets “solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries.”

Allowing plan managers to invest for “collateral benefits” doesn’t just run afoul of this statutory language; it runs counter to the justification for allowing the Department of Labor to regulate pension funds in the first place.

That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of 25 state attorneys general.

In January, a coalition of 25 states and a handful of private businesses sued the Department of Labor.

They alleged that the rule change allows large asset managers to “leverage ERISA plans assets for nonpecuniary ESG purposes,” which violates ERISA and exceeds the department’s authority.

In this case, the rule change isn’t just bad, but likely illegal.

Only time will tell if the Texas court decides to use the Wite-Out on the presidential pen