Friday, June 30, 2023

How misfiring environmentalism risks harming the world’s poor

This is a useful warning about burdening poor countries with green goals but its starting premise is obtuse: Crope in a warmer world will THRIVE, not fail. Crops do better in warm conditions, they do MUCH beter in high CO2 conditions and a warmer world would be more rainy, which is hugely good for crops. If ever significant global warming does happen, it will create a world of food abundance. Global warming would be a vast worldwide fertiliser application

THANK GOODNESS for the enthusiasts and the obsessives. If everyone always took a balanced view of everything, nothing would ever get done. But when campaigners’ worldview seeps into the staid apparatus of policymaking and global forums, bad decisions tend to follow. That, unfortunately, is especially true in the world of climate change.

One example is the effect of global warming on the world’s poorest people. As the planet heats up, extreme events such as droughts, floods and storms are becoming more common and more severe. Many places are becoming less habitable. Over the coming decades many vulnerable farmers, from Mali to the Mekong Delta, will find their crops failing more frequently. And as resources grow scarcer, more fighting will break out.

This pattern is no longer just a warning by activists. It is accepted by the mainstream to the point where fears of a surge in climate migration are fodder for the nativist right. Because people are understandably troubled by the idea of climate change forcing poor farmers to leave behind their ancestral lands, an important goal of adaptation spending is to help them stay.

Yet the truth is more complex. The vast majority of displaced people will not cross international borders but move within their own country. By 2050, 50m-216m people could be on the move internally. And many will be rural folk moving to cities, where their lives are likely to become better. Urbanisation usually aids development, bringing people closer to schools, health care and well-paying jobs, as well as more liberal social norms, particularly for women. This is not an argument in favour of climate change. But it suggests that one cost-effective and beneficial form of climate-adaptation spending would be helping people move, rather than preserving small farms in ever-harsher conditions.

There is another, more profound, example of the danger of climate groupthink. From the panels of Davos to the pages of newspapers, it is increasingly argued that no trade-off exists between the economic development of low- and middle-income countries and reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions. This is partly because much of the rich world has successfully made some cuts in emissions while continuing to grow, and its leaders want more of the same. But more crucially, it is because governments and development banks with limited budgets struggle to admit that not all their goals can be reconciled, and that they must therefore choose between them.

Yet choose they must, because the trade-off is in plain sight. Growth is the best way to lift people out of poverty and improve average living standards. But in the developing world, more growth still leads to more emissions. Researchers at the IMF have found that in 72 developing countries since 1990, a 1% rise in annual GDP was on average associated with a 0.7% rise in emissions. By 2030, fast-growing India and Indonesia alone will have increased their annual emissions by the equivalent of over 800m tonnes of carbon dioxide—an extra Germany’s-worth of greenhouse-gas belching. In other big emerging markets such as Brazil, Egypt and the Philippines, emissions are rising, too.

Many rich-world leaders say they can square the circle by funding green development projects which, in theory, cut emissions and boost growth at the same time. That is true to a degree. But, without adequate carbon pricing and cross-border emissions trading to encourage the private sector to invest on its own initiative, it is an enormously expensive and fiendishly complex task. On June 23rd, at the conclusion of a summit in Paris, rich countries again pledged to meet a target of providing $100bn a year in “climate finance” to fund such projects. Yet that is only a fraction of the $2.8trn annual investment thought to be needed by 2030 to put the developing world on a green growth path, at least $1trn of which probably needs to come from rich countries.

The reality of limited resources worsens the trade-off. The need to spend money decarbonising big developing economies that already offer citizens reasonable services threatens aid budgets which help pay for things like vaccines and schooling in the poorest parts of Africa. Unlike Brazil or India, say, such nations are unlikely ever to contribute significantly to global emissions.

They lose out, however, when foreign aid and loans come with green strings attached. As well as facing stingier health-care and education budgets, they might find scant funding for expanding a gas-powered electricity grid, even though nobody stands ready to pay for the far greater costs of converting it to a green one. African governments rightly resent being told to cut emissions rather than help people in desperate need—especially given that Westerners continue to belch carbon.

As a result, while leaders offer bromides about sustainable growth, an epic fight for resources rages behind the scenes between those who favour development as practised in decades past and those who want the world’s foreign-aid apparatus to turn wholeheartedly towards decarbonisation. It is a battle over what is worse: a poorer today or a hotter tomorrow.

The virtue of hard choices

That is an excruciating choice, given the moral force of the argument that the rich world should pay the developing world’s climate bills. Global temperatures depend on the stock of carbon in the atmosphere, not the current flow of emissions. On a per-person basis, the rich world has been disproportionately responsible for rising global temperatures and has more capacity to respond to them. Poor countries lack the resources to invest to cut emissions or adapt to climate change themselves. Yet relative to the size of their economies, they face the biggest costs.

As with the decision between forestalling or accommodating climate-induced migration, pretending that this choice does not exist helps no one. Politics mean that neither an adequate carbon price nor sufficient Western money are likely. Limited resources make it essential to squeeze as much value as possible out of what is available. Squeamishness about weighing costs and benefits—stemming from a well-meaning desire to avoid every injustice—gets in the way. And the consequences of that evasion fall most heavily on those in the greatest need.


Hybrid cars are not as green as you think as they produce much more greenhouse gases than claimed by manufacturers, report reveals

Hybrid cars produce much more greenhouse gases than claimed by manufacturers, a report reveals today.

The Climate Change Committee says plug-in hybrids – which can run either on electric or on petrol/diesel – have performed up to five times worse than expected.

The findings come in a progress report from the CCC on how well the Government is doing on cutting emissions.

Chief executive Chris Stark said progress to reaching net zero was 'worryingly slow', and that the Government is relying on technological breakthroughs such as carbon capture rather than asking people to 'reduce their high-carbon activities'.

Mr Stark said transport's share of the country's overall emissions – the so-called 'carbon budget' – is now much higher than had been expected.

He said: 'The Government is now expecting surface transport emissions to be higher than it was in the net zero-strategy by the mid 2030s.'

He added that the Government's latest figures show carbon savings from plug-in hybrid cars 'are between three to five times lower' than previously assumed.

The sale of new hybrid vehicles will be banned in the UK by 2035, five years earlier than petrol and diesel vehicles.

Tory MP Philip Dunne, chairman of the environmental audit committee, said the Government 'risks the unravelling of the last few years of climate leadership'.

Industry experts have warned the UK's 900,000 electric cars could be exacerbating the pothole crisis after new research revealed they cause twice as much damage to roads as their petrol and diesel equivalents.

Analysis by the University of Leeds shows the average electric car – which is heavier due to its larger battery – puts 2.24 times more stress on surfaces than its petrol equivalent, and 1.95 times more than diesel.


Climate cult weakening

Politically, ‘net zero’ is increasingly on the nose in many European countries. This week, the Swedish parliament officially abandoned its 100 per cent renewable energy target to meet net zero by 2045, replacing it with a ‘technology-neutral’ target. Many green-tinged Europeans were dismayed, but as Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson told the Swedish parliament, ‘We need more electricity production… we need a stable energy system.’

Of course, for the Swedes, blessed with huge mountains and deep lakes but little abundant sun, hydro plays a key part in their renewable energy supply: 98 per cent of their electricity already comes from hydro, wind or nuclear power, so they can afford to eschew fossil fuels. The new ‘non-renewable’ target simply means they can get more nuclear power into the grid, and essentially admits that the Nordic utopian fantasy about wind and solar being our salvation is now done and dusted.

Meanwhile, in Germany during the last winter, one town was forced to tear down the local wind farm and dig it up to get to the precious coal beneath. A more entertaining and apt metaphor is hard to find.

In an article headlined, ‘The perils of net zero coercion’, the UK Telegraph this week reported that, ‘Sweeping bans to cut greenhouse emissions in Europe is leading to widespread public backlash,’ and that, ‘Climate coercion is a very bad way to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Western democracies’.

A day earlier, the Telegraph had also warned that, ‘Germany is headed for a political meltdown. Olaf Scholz faces a reckoning as Germans resist his “Green dictatorship” of mandatory heat pumps and unaffordable technologies.’

This week, even the BBC had to admit that Britain is not capable of meeting its own net-zero targets. According to the latest report by the bed-wetting Climate Change Committee, there is a ‘worrying tendency’ of UK government ministers to avoid embracing the next stage of net zero. What a surprise! ‘The UK has lost its clear global leadership position on climate action,’ the report’s authors lament. ‘We are no longer COP President; no longer a member of the EU negotiating bloc…. We have backtracked on fossil fuel commitments.… And we have been slow to react to the US Inflation Reduction Act and the EU’s proposed Green Deal Industrial Plan, which are now a strong pull for green investment away from the UK.’

Last week Britain also abandoned its proposed ‘green hydrogen levy’ on households, which, according to the Guardian, ‘[signals] a possible U-turn as households struggle with high inflation and this week’s shock interest rate rise’.

Craig Mackinlay MP, chairman of the parliamentary Net Zero Scrutiny Group, said: ‘The cancellation of the proposed £118 Hydrogen Tax on household energy bills is hugely welcome and I hope is the start of a common sense journey for the government on energy policy…. When the laudable ambition of net zero hits the reality of cost and significant changes to the way we live, the public are understandably turned off.’ Meanwhile, we also learn that EVs are looking increasingly dubious. That same UK Climate Change Committee report says that ‘plug-in hybrids have performed up to five times worse than expected’. China, too, is reportedly ‘discarding fields of EVs, leaving them to rot’.


Thanks to New Climate Change Program, Washington State Now Has the Most Expensive Gas in the Country

Washington state has unseated California as the state with the most expensive gasoline in the country, and analysts have a simple explanation for the dubious distinction — a new carbon cap-and-trade program instituted by the state in an effort to combat climate change.

An analysis of gas prices by the Seattle Times found that the average price of a gallon of fuel in the state reached $4.91 cents this week. In King County, which includes Seattle, the average price is well above $5. Oil industry officials and analysts are telling drivers in Washington, “We warned you.”

This year, a new law went into effect in Washington that requires oil companies and other fossil fuel producers to pay the state for the greenhouse gasses their products emit, also known as a cap-and-trade program. At the first two auctions for emissions allowances this year, companies had to pay more than $850 million to offset their emissions.


Australia: Queensland's insanely expensive pumped hydro plans

With desperately underfunded hospitals, police, schools and roads, this is gross

The Queensland government surprised many when it announced last year that the state would construct two new pumped hydro schemes, dwarfing the troubled Snowy Hydro 2.0 project in NSW.

At the core of the Energy and Jobs Plan, announced in September 2022 by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, is a commitment to turn off coal-fired power stations by 2035.

By the same year, Queensland would be running on 80 per cent renewable energy thanks to dozens of new solar and wind farms that would traverse the state.

To meet that target, the state needs a ready supply of stored power to draw upon when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing — enough to power the state for hours at a time.

That is where pumped hydro comes in as a large-scale storage option.

What is pumped hydro?

Pumped hydro works similarly to big batteries, filling in supply gaps when the grid needs a top-up of electricity.

The design involves two dams built at differing elevations, connected by a tunnel, with transmission lines then connecting it to the grid.

When there is plenty of sun and wind to power the grid, energy is in high supply, so water is pumped to the upper reservoir using surplus electricity.

When the sun goes down or there is no wind, water is released to the lower dam through the tunnel, generating electricity as it passes through a turbine.

That electricity is then injected into the grid via high-voltage transmission lines.

The debate

The criticism is broadly two-fold: firstly, that pumped hydro comes at a monumental cost and is being outpaced by other technologies (namely batteries), and secondly, that Australia simply does not have the workforce needed to construct such huge pieces of infrastructure by 2035.

The Energy and Jobs Plan proposed a 2-gigawatt pumped hydro scheme at Borumba Dam — west of Gympie — and another much larger plant called Pioneer-Burdekin, approximately 1,000 kilometres north of Brisbane, west of Mackay, offering an unprecedented 5 gigawatts.

The government has promised that the 2GW Borumba project would store enough energy to power 2 million homes continuously for 24 hours.

If constructed, the 5GW Pioneer-Burdekin project would be the largest energy storage (PHES) in the world.

Currently, the largest PHES schemes are in China and the United States, with plants of around 3 gigawatts each.

Pumped hydro is also expensive. The cost and delivery time frame for the Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme bears little resemblance to what was originally announced by Malcolm Turnbull in 2017.

It was estimated to cost around $2 billion, not including power lines, and to be completed by 2021. Now, it is expected by December 2029 at a total estimated cost of $10 billion.

New transmission lines

The sheer amount of energy that will be stored in each of Queensland's pumped hydro centres means that new high-voltage transmission lines need to be built, replacing the current mostly 275kV lines that connect the grid.

Powerlink, the state-owned company that constructs and manages the transmission lines, estimates the new 500kV lines will cost $6-8 million per kilometre and will become the backbone of a new "super grid" that will connect the state's renewable energy network.

The company announced a compensation scheme for those that will be impacted by the new transmission lines surrounding Borumba at meetings and via letters earlier this year.

Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser said the route had been designed to run through as much state-owned land as possible, but that some impacts on landholders were unavoidable.

"We've come up with what we think is the lowest-cost solution for Queenslanders," he said.

But the former CEO of Powerlink, Simon Bartlett, warned that the current plans would come at an exorbitant cost because Pioneer-Burdekin was so far away from the main population centre of South-East Queensland.

"A basic rule of planning is: build your generation, if you can, as close as you can to the load centre. That reduces what you spend on transmission, and it reduces the risk of long-distance transmission," Professor Bartlett said.

"But the plan doesn't do that, the plan wants to build it 1,000 kilometres from the main load centre [Brisbane] – it just makes no logic to me, I'm afraid."

Professor Bartlett also says it is high risk for Powerlink to connect the pumped storage schemes by only one new line of 500kV towers that carry a double circuit, due to the risk of fires or vandals bringing down towers.

"What they're proposing is just a single transmission line, that's a major flaw in the design because that can come down, and every half a kilometre there's a tower, and all the wires are on the one tower. So that can come down and totally blackout a large part of the state," he said.

Mr Simshauser refuted that, arguing two lines of towers were not needed.

"We believe at this point in time anyway, [it] will be a cost that we won't need. We believe we can manage it in other ways," Mr Simshauser said.

"There are always risks in running a transmission network, any of our system plans will always take into account the most probable and credible contingencies that we can envisage and make sure that the balance of the network is, you know, available to deal with those contingencies."

What about batteries?

Queensland's Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said he considered the state's plan to be "the best path possible" to transition to renewables.

Professor Bartlett is urging the government to re-think the scale of the two schemes, in favour of emerging grid-scale batteries.

"They say it's the world's largest scheme. As soon as someone says that: watch out. There's a reason that others haven't gone that big," Professor Bartlett said.

"There are other ways of getting storage besides pumped storage, and there's been incredible developments in chemical batteries, the costs have just come down dramatically.

"[Australian Energy Market Operator] AEMO's own report shows that 8-hour batteries are about half the cost of an 8-hour pump storage scheme.

"Pumped storage is expensive because of the civil engineering, the concrete, the steel, the labour … and while pumped storage has getting dearer, batteries are getting cheaper."

However, Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser said that it needed to make decisions based on current market conditions.

"At this point in time, the only serious battery proposals that we've got on our book are lithium-ion batteries, and all of them have congested around a 2-hour storage time, which tells us that that's what the market deems as economic at this point," he said.

"In terms of long-duration storage, really the only long-duration storage project proponents we've seen are pumped hydro," he said.

Similarly, Mr de Brenni said the government had closely considered the alternatives.

"We've worked for a number of years considering all of these options, and pumped hydro energy storage is the proven technology that will enable us to reach our renewable energy targets," he said.

Who is going to build it?

The construction industry is sounding the alarm that there are too many projects in the infrastructure pipeline, and Australia simply does not have the workers to complete them.

Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew said governments around the country were not learning from major infrastructure delays on other big projects.

"When you take into account the infrastructure pipeline that's already in place, you've got the Queensland Olympics coming up in 2032.

"You also have AUKUS now been added into the mix from the federal government. And then you add in energy transition. The capacity isn't there," Ms Madew said.

"If we say it's going to take 10 years, let's say it's going to be 15. There are so many unknowns at the moment and we really need to make sure we have contingencies on these projects,"

"We must remember it's taxpayer money — so are we reporting transparently on the time frames, on the delivery and on our commitments, and being really realistic about those?"

Mr de Brenni agreed there were workforce issues but was not concerned the state would not be able to attract workers.

"Whilst there are challenges in the infrastructure market, today, we're confident that we'll be able to attract the very best workers so that it's delivered, and it will be a quality outcome for our state for generations," he said.




Thursday, June 29, 2023

Trump Sounds Off on How Biden's Environmental Extremism Will Wreck Michigan's Auto Industry

Former President Trump blasted President Biden’s push to rapidly transition the U.S. auto market to electric vehicles, saying his environmental extremism is “killing Michigan.”

“Biden is a catastrophe for Michigan and his environmental extremism is heartless and disloyal and horrible for the American worker and you’re starting to see it,” Trump told Oakland County Republicans on Sunday.

“Driven by his ridiculous regulations, electric cars will kill more than half of U.S. auto jobs and decimate the suppliers that they decimated already — decimate the suppliers and it’s going to decimate your jobs and it’s going to decimate more than anybody else, the state of Michigan,” he continued. “It’s going to be decimation, it’s going to be at a level that the people can’t even imagine.”

In April, the Biden administration's Environmental Protection Agency released draft federal emission standards that would aim for about 67 percent of new U.S. passenger vehicle sales to be electric vehicles by 2032.

“These actions will accelerate the ongoing transition to a clean-vehicle future, tackle the climate crisis and improve our air quality for communities across the country,” EPA administrator Michael Regan said during a press conference in April.

Trump said the country that stands to gain the most from such a rapid transformation of the U.S. auto industry is China.

“The push for all electric cars, it’s killing the United States, it’s killing Michigan and it’s a total vote for China,” Trump said during his hour-long address.

He also took a shot at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval of more than $700 million in economic development incentives for a battery plant near Big Rapids.

“The governor of your state is now giving away hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of billions of Michigan taxpayer dollars to Chinese companies and one in particular, Gotion, to build batteries in Michigan,” Trump said. “That sounds good, but the money’s going to Chinese companies, and then they’re gonna leave, they’re planning to take our money and then they say ‘bye bye, you stupid fools.’”


Even Environmentalists Furious About Biden's Intrusive New Green Initiative: 'Do It Where You Live'

Americans’ general frustrations with President Joe Biden continue to mount — and now the incumbent president seeking re-election is facing heat from some of the very same groups he so often champions.

Biden and his beleaguered administration have long pushed “green” initiatives no matter how polarizing those policies may be.

This time, however, it seems that polarization is hitting groups of environmentalists who are typically all aboard all things “green.”

The policy in question this time, per The Washington Post, is the method of “carbon capturing.”

“Carbon capturing” is exactly what it sounds like — taking those carbon emissions from various high-emission sources, “capturing” them and then storing them underground.

The entire process is a direct response to carbon dioxide being pumped into the air.

The problem: If these carbon emissions are as dangerous as they are being touted, is storing them right below people’s feet a better answer?

Many environmentalists are arguing, “No.”

The Post reported that “environmental justice advocates” in Louisiana are opposing carbon capture techniques there because of the close proximity of these emissions to black communities as well as the already higher-than-normal cancer rates found in the region — earning one stretch of the state the nickname of “Cancer Alley.”

Additionally, others fear that carbon capturing will embolden the very same fossil fuel titans they want to kneecap.

If your emissions can just be stored underground, what’s to stop you from maximizing those emissions?

There are also those with more pragmatic concerns — namely, how these underground gas bunkers will affect any planned infrastructure renovations or plans.

“What they’re trying to do to Louisiana now is I think the worst of anything we’ve been exposed to, because of all the uncertainty,” Beverly Wright, the executive director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, told the Post.

Wright didn’t mince words about what she thought of carbon capturing: “In the real world, this is an experiment.”

Chad Ross, who lives in the Donaldsonville area, told the Post he doesn’t trust any of what is being peddled.

“It is called Cancer Alley, and that’s part of the reason we don’t trust them,” Ross said. “It’s still not so good to have all these plants, so many of them, all around us. Anything could happen.”

According to the Post, the “world’s largest ammonia and nitrogen plant” is just south of Donaldsonville.

Ashley Gaignard, a part-time secretary for the city council, offered a counter-solution to the Biden administration.

“Don’t do it in my neighborhood. Do it where you live,” Gaignard said. “Right about now it’s politics over people. And I don’t think they give a damn about people.”

Of particular concern for the president is the fact she voted for him in the 2020 general election and seems positively nonplussed by this.

Biden can seldom afford to lose support from anyone. A recent CNN poll had his favorability at 32 percent — the lowest of his presidency — heading into the 2024 presidential campaign.

And yet, as the drive toward “green” initiatives plows forward, it seems as though it will only get more divisive and polarizing — even among those who consider themselves environmental activists.


UK: It’s becoming ever clearer that climate change is a class issue

Julie Burchill

It’s not news that we live in a New Medieval age of Magical Thinking, when the Enlightenment is seen as the start of hate-speech, feelings must always overrule facts and ‘transubstantiation’ has taken on a whole new meaning.

Men can become women simply by wishing it so, the BBC instructs its staff that there are 150 genders and teachers call students ‘despicable’ and ‘homophobic’ when they understandably ask a fellow classmate ‘How can you identify as a cat, when you are a girl?’

Deranged posh girls who would have happily been curtseying to a cake a few generations back now throw excrement and soup around in order to get attention

Those who identify as young while having one foot in the grave have not yet benefitted from this strange new belief system – but give it time. We may look back with incomprehension that in 2018 the Dutchman Emile Ratelband had his attempt to make himself legally younger by 20 years quashed, even though his plea was easily as sensible as that of navvies who call themselves Nina and thus must use the female restrooms: ‘When I’m 69 – I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer’.

That doesn’t stop the great and the good from attempting to bathe in the funky fountain of youth, though – grumpy old woke bros such as Alexei Sayle, Billy Bragg and their pin-up Jeremy ‘The Absolute Boy’ Corbyn are forever standing alongside blue-haired students and telling old feminists not to horde rights. (As Victoria Smith points out in her brilliant book Hags, identifying as young will bring women only mutton/lamb mockery.)

The then 68-years-young Ian McEwan spluttered at an anti-Brexit rally in 2017: ‘A gang of angry old men… are shaping the future of the country against the inclinations of its youth… By 2019 the country could be in a receptive mood: 2.5million over-18-year-olds, freshly franchised and mostly Remainers; 1.5 million oldsters, mostly Brexiters, freshly in their graves’. I had a social-media scrap with a Remoaner who told me that my generation was done and his was about to take over; when I checked his age, he was two years older than me.

But even more than Remnants, if any group likes to identify as young, it’s the climate-change hysterics. Deranged posh girls who would have happily been curtseying to a cake a few generations back now throw excrement and soup around in order to get attention. More than any other issue this one has been seen to divide the generations, symbolised by Extinction Rebellion choosing the witless schoolgirl Greta Thunberg as their leader when she was only 15. But now some actual young people appear to have had enough of these giant toddlers who to have nothing to do with their time apart from obstruct those who have places to be and livings to earn.

This week in Stratford, East London, schoolchildren were seen remonstrating with the overgrown tantrum-havers of Just Stop Oil – staging a ‘slow march’ during rush-hour – for making them late to lessons, in some cases ripping their banners from their hands. A refuse collector nearby summed it up nicely – ‘Get to work, you lazy ****s’.

It’s becoming ever more evident that climate change is a class issue. These East End schoolkids understand – where adults have tried to skate around the issue, not wanting to be seen as Enemies of the Earth – that the climate change mob were born into privilege and thus are able to treat learning lightly. No matter how they waste their days, they’ll never be forced to choose between heating and eating.

It was telling that the children who tackled them were a multi-racial group – like the East London workers who in 2019 pulled an XR protester from the roof of a rush-hour tube train, leading a spokesperson to admit that the move had been a ‘huge own goal’. A subsequent hastily deleted tweet comparing themselves to Rosa Parks probably wasn’t the cleverest move, considering that climate-change protestors are – as an ex-director-general of the BBC once put it of his own corporation – ‘hideously white’.

I’d like Jon Snow – who said of a Brexit rally that he’d ‘never seen so many white people in one place’ – to cover the next climate protest. They’re so white they make the Lib Dem conference look like the Notting Hill Carnival.

They’re white because they’re posh. Even their monikers give the game away; the first tranche of XR leaders gloried in such names as Robin Ellis-Cockcroft and Robin Boardman-Pattison (more hyphens than Debrett’s) the latter of whom opined ‘Air travel should only be used in emergencies’ – despite having been on a number of recent skiing trips. Another comrade, Zoe Jones, was shown on social media enjoying safari holidays in Uganda, boozing on the beach in New Zealand and bungee jumping over the Nile; that’s not a simple carbon footprint – that’s a carbon clown-shoe footprint.

It’s not that the climate change mob are against flying per se – they’re very much in favour of ‘travel’ for themselves and their mates from ‘uni’ – they just don’t like it when the great unwashed follow the herd down to Greece on holiday. Like the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey asking ‘What is a weekend?’ it’s hard for people who do what they enjoy (or do nothing) to understand what holidays mean to those who do essential jobs, or jobs they don’t particularly enjoy, just to make a living.

But there’s a shining light at the end of the dimly lit eco-bulb tunnel. Kids of the kind who told Just Stop Oil to get a move on aren’t an exception, but a sign of brighter times ahead. A 2021 survey in the USA inspired the journalist Daniel Roman to write a piece called ‘Has the woke wave peaked? Shock poll reveals Generation Z rejects cancel culture.’ The findings were very encouraging. Overall, no one admitted caring much for cancel culture; the only group in which more respondents viewed it positively or neutrally than negatively were the notoriously miserable Millennials. More members of Gen X (1965-1980) and Boomers (1946-64) viewed it negatively (46 per cent for Gen X, 50 per cent for Boomers) than positively or neutrally (29 per cent for Gen X, 27 per cent for Boomers). But the real shock came from those born between 1997 and 2008, only 8 per cent of whom viewed cancel culture favourably, while 55 per cent had a negative view – higher than Gen X or Boomers.

I’ve never felt comfortable disapproving of youngsters, so I’m happy to discover that it was just the wrong sort of young people that I disapproved of all along; the mouthy posh ones who always push their way to the front. These East End schoolkids are far more the ticket – and politicians should take notice. The thing about pandering to the youth vote is that young people who have anything about them don’t identify as young, but as what they’d like their adult lives to be like. And I’d bet they’re no keener on living in a censorious, narrow-minded cancel-culture than we old folk. It’s time for those who identify as young to grow up – and learn from the mouths of babes what actually matters to everyday people of all generations.


Dirty little secrets of Australia’s dangerous EV rollout

The electric vehicle take-up among Australian consumers may provide a warm and fuzzy feeling for the environmentally conscious, but as machines, EVs are significantly heavier than the traditional motor car and a challenge more likely to weigh on Australian roads.

According to data provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, electric vehicles accounted for 6.8 per cent (17,396) of light vehicle sales (257,094) in the 12 months to March this year.

It is important to note there are more than 20 million registered cars nationally.

Electric vehicles such as the Tesla 3 which dot the more fashionable areas of Australia are also very heavy, due primarily to the weight of the battery required to power such vehicles.

A Tesla Model 3 weighs 1844kg (1.84 tonnes) at the higher end while the fuel-efficient Mazda 3, for example, tips the scales at 1.4 tonnes.

Considering the popularity of sports utility vehicles, the weight difference would be even greater than the 400kg gap between the Tesla Model 3 and the Mazda sedan.

If hydrogen-powered or battery-powered trucks ever make the leap from concept vehicle to commercial reality, then Australia’s road network would require far greater levels of maintenance and construction than exist currently.

In the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported earlier this year that the safety aspect around collisions (a heavier vehicle tends to keep going when it collides with a lighter vehicle) as well as braking performance were increasingly major areas of concern.

It appears that environmental posturing requires a reality check.

While EVs are popular, the question of whether such vehicles should be subsidised is debatable.

To be exact, more than 85 per cent of the driving public through their registration fees have enabled the Queensland government to provide a $3000 rebate for zero-emission vehicles, (this of course does not consider the dirty offshore refining practices to acquire the specific minerals for these cars).

For fans of the George Orwell novel Animal Farm, the idea that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” rings true as the 85 per cent represent the horse.

With a market share of 6.8 per cent and growing, electrical vehicle owners should be coming under the purview of policy makers in terms of a timeline to legislate a road usage fee as opposed to being given a $3000 kicker.

As it stands, most car owners subsidise would-be Tesla owners the equivalent of a year’s fuel as the batteries EVs use are included, meaning those same EV drivers pay nothing in fuel excise which, of course, helps fund the nation’s roads.

Fuel excise receipts from petrol is expected to hit $60bn over the next four years according to federal budget papers, although is likely to decline given the incentives to the more
well-heeled to buy an EV.

Well-paid politicians such as Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, an electrical vehicle evangelist, in a YouTube video where she test-drove a Tesla told her adoring fans afterwards, “Wow, I’m hooked!” If only the good senator took an interest in the minerals used for such cars, the emission intensity of the mining effort to create that same vehicle and the industrial resources required to upgrade the transport network so it can cope with the extra load.

While noting Tesla’s desire to be free of cobalt, the mineral mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the raw material that powers the rechargeable batteries used in modern-day computers, phones, and electric vehicles as well as being a standout in human rights abuses.

Children as young as seven, according to Human Rights Watch, are working in cobalt mines, all in the name of the great green leap forward.

While foodies are proud of the “paddock to plate” mantra around its clean supply chain practices, the same cannot be said for the “resources to road” moniker for Australia’s electric vehicle enthusiasts where questions around a sustainable transport future remain murky.




Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Sweden Dumps Climate Agenda, Scraps Green Energy Targets

Sweden has just dealt a severe blow to the globalist climate agenda by scraping its green energy targets.

In a statement announcing the new policy in the Swedish Parliament, Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson warned that the Scandinavian nation needs “a stable energy system.”

Svantesson asserted that wind and solar power are too “unstable” to meet the nation’s energy requirements.

Instead, the Swedish Government is shifting back to nuclear power and has ditched its targets for a “100% renewable energy” supply.

The move is a major blow to unreliable and inefficient technology.

Countries are being pushed toward “renewable energy” to meet the goals of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) green agenda.

The WEF’s green agenda is being heavily pushed by the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), Paris Climate Agreement, World Bank, and Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration.

Announcing Sweden’s new policy, Svantesson said: “This creates the conditions for nuclear power. “We need more electricity production, we need clean electricity and we need a stable energy system.”

Environmental campaign group Net Zero Watch has welcomed the move. The group argues that the Swedish decision is “an important step in the right direction, implicitly acknowledging the low quality of unstable wind and solar, and is part of a general collapse of confidence in the renewable energy agenda pioneered in the Nordic countries and in Germany.”

Under its new direction, Sweden now views nuclear power as being critical to the nation’s “100% fossil-free” energy future. Sweden can “afford to reject fossil fuels, relying on nuclear and hydro and biomass,” Net Zero Watch suggests.

Svantesson also sent a warning to other Western nations who are blindly pushing to meet the energy requirements of the WEF’s green agenda.

In “substantial industrialized economies… only a gas to the nuclear pathway is viable to remain industrialized and competitive,” Svantesson noted.

Experts have argued that lowering carbon dioxide emissions is not really a worthwhile goal for an individual country or globally. The potential harms of the gas are uncertain and exaggerated while the benefits are overlooked.

Dr. John Constable, Net Zero Watch’s Energy Director, said that “living close to Russia focuses the mind.”

The Swedish people wish to “ground their economy in an energy source, nuclear, that is physically sound and secure, unlike renewables which are neither,” he explains.

Other world governments are continuing “to live in a fantasy” about meeting the green agenda goals, Constable added. “But we are coming to the end of the green dream. ?


NYC rules crack down on coal, wood-fired pizzerias — must cut carbon emissions up to 75%

Historic Big Apple pizza joints could be forced to dish out mounds of dough under a proposed city edict targeting pollutant-spewing coal-and-wood-fired ovens, The Post has learned.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has drafted new rules that would order eateries using the decades-old baking method to slice carbon emissions by up to 75%.

“All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air and wood and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality,” DEP spokesman Ted Timbers said in a statement Sunday. “This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible.”

The rule could require pizzerias with such ovens installed prior to May 2016 to buy pricey emission-control devices — with the owner of one Brooklyn joint saying he’s already tossed $20,000 on an air filter system in anticipation of the new mandate.

“Oh yeah, it’s a big expense!” said Paul Giannone, the owner of Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint. “It’s not just the expense of having it installed, it’s the maintenance. I got to pay somebody to do it, to go up there every couple of weeks and hose it down and you know do the maintenance.”

Giannone added that while the air filter is “expensive and it’s a huge hassle,” it also has some upsides. “My neighbors are much happier. I had a guy coming in for years complaining that the smoke was, you know, going right into his apartment and I haven’t seen him since I got the scrubber installed.”

Other iconic pizza joints facing the heat include Lombardi’s in Little Italy, Arturo’s in Soho, John’s of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, Patsy’s in Turtle Bay and the Upper West Side and Grimaldi’s near the Brooklyn Bridge — that pride themselves on having their pies baked in coal-and-wood-fired ovens.

A city official said that under 100 restaurants total would be impacted.

One pizza restaurateur, who requested anonymity, told The Post that sensitive negotiations are currently taking place with DEP officials on whether to grandfather in or exempt the dozens of coal-and-wood-oven-fired pizza joints from the mandate.

He said politicians and bureaucrats should stop messing with their crust. “This is an unfunded mandate and it’s going to cost us a fortune not to mention ruining the taste of the pizza totally destroying the product,” the restaurateur, who has a coal-fired oven, fumed.

“If you f—k around with the temperature in the oven you change the taste. That pipe, that chimney, it’s that size to create the perfect updraft, keeps the temp perfect, it’s an art as much as a science. You take away the char, the thing that makes the pizza taste great, you kill it,” he claimed.

“And for what? You really think that you’re changing the environment with these eight or nine pizza ovens?!” the restaurateur added.

Some crusty customers also told city officials not to tamper with their slice. “I’m all for responsible environmental practice but tell Al Gore to take one less private jet or something. Give me a break!” said Brooklyn Heights resident Saavi Sharma, 32, a financier who brought her parents and cousin visiting from India for their first slice at Grimaldi’s, referring to the former vice president and climate change activist.

“I’ve been bragging about this pizza to my family for like five years,” Sharma said Sunday. Don’t mess with this!”


The UK still needs fossil fuels, whether activists like it or not

The Supreme Court is hearing a case today that, if successful, could mean the end of new fossil fuel projects in the UK on climate grounds.

The justices will decide whether to reverse approval for oil extraction at Horse Hill based on downstream emissions from the use of the oil. Whatever the outcome, this case is a damning indictment of the UK’s absurd climate laws.

This is a long-running affair. Horse Hill was first test drilled in 2012 and permitted by Surrey County Council to expand to a commercial scale in 2019. This is the teeth of opposition from local campaigners, including the Weald Action Group, Friends of the Earth, and the litigant Sarah Finch.

The activists want to stop all domestic fossil fuel production, regardless of the harm this would do to our energy security and bills. To achieve this goal, they have been using judicial review, rooted in their interpretation of the Climate Act and a raft of complex planning, permitting and environmental protection laws, to delay and obstruct developments. They have been appealing and escalating at every turn. Consequently, four years into what should be a simple planning matter – to allow a legal business to expand – the case reaches the Supreme Court. No wonder the UK’s economic growth is anaemic.

The central legal point is whether Surrey County Council should have required the developer to report consumption (or Scope 3) emissions and test them against a retained EU Directive and the UK’s climate commitments. But this outcome would be absurd. Holding a producer to account for the downstream climate impact makes no sense.

In the first instance, an oil producer cannot accurately predict the future emissions profile of their product, which could be used anywhere in the world. It is highly dependent on ever-changing use cases and the pace of technological development (e.g. an oil producer 30 years ago would have failed to predict how much more fuel-efficient cars are today). These estimates may be of interest to climate nerds; but they are not relevant considerations for development, at least not in a country serious about its energy security.

In practice, we either drill here or rely on imports from allies like the USA, dodgy Opec regimes, or even Russian exports

More importantly, there is a large substitution effect. If we don’t get oil from Horse Hill, it will simply come from somewhere else and at a higher cost for consumers and the environment. Stopping Horse Hill would prove nothing more than a pyrrhic victory.

The UK is still 75 to 80 per cent dependent on fossil fuels for our power, heating, transport and industrial needs. Whatever happens to the pace of our future energy transition, we will remain dependent on oil and gas at least to some extent for at least 20 to 30 more years, and likely longer. Furthermore, cheap energy remains an essential feature of a thriving economy and, as we have discovered over the past year, a lack of energy has dire consequences for households and businesses.

In practice, we either drill here or rely on imports from allies like the USA, dodgy Opec regimes, or even Russian exports (filtered through third parties like China and India). These imports will be more expensive and environmentally damaging. For example, Liquid Natural Gas, which requires condensing, shipping and expanding, is 2 to 3 times riskier to the climate than home extraction.

It is self-evident that oil not drilled in Horse Hill will increase imports, with the near certainty of a higher emissions profile. It might feel nice for activists to export our emissions, but it does little good.

Blame for this mess lies less with the campaigners – bar their failure to understand trade-offs – than with the politicians creating laws that enable them to cripple the country’s energy supply. The creation of a legal target means subverting pragmatism to ideological purity. It hands the power to disruptive activists to delay genuine projects and ultimately to judges to make complex trade-offs. This reduces democratic accountability. Even when nakedly political cases fail, the risk of expensive and lengthy disputes creates a chilling effect on investment.

It may already be too late for oil and gas in the UK. The Conservatives and Labour are competing to introduce new obstacles to ‘dirty development’; from fracking bans onshore to development moratoriums offshore and random windfall taxes. They both talk about reforming planning rules to enable renewables, an unreliable alternative. But even here the pace is glacial and the detail scant, while the logic of general planning reform to get everything built faster escapes them.

If the campaigners win, however, the collapse of investment will be faster. The developers only won by a 2 to 1 margin at the earlier Court of Appeals stage. If your business can be shut down by activist judges, or neutral ones struggling to cope with laws so complex there is no clarity, there will be no business. The onus then falls on the politicians to understand and fix the mess that they have created. The alternative is more emissions, higher costs and greater risks of blackouts, freezeouts and queues at the pumps.


The Tough Case for Electric Trucks

Elon Musk’s trick with Tesla was not making a good electric car. That isn’t enough. What made Tesla so successful is that he built a car that was better than any of its competitors, and happened to be electric. He pulled this off with the Model S premium sedan; then repeated it with the smaller Model 3; and repeated it again with crossover Model Y, which became the best-selling new car in quarter one 2023.

In 2019, Mr. Musk promised to pull off the same trick for the pickup market, with his futuristic, polygonal Cybertruck. The thesis was simple. An electric powertrain is more space efficient than a diesel engine yet mechanically simpler, far more powerful, with instant torque, and low running costs. It made business sense too.

The Ford F-150 remains America’s best-selling vehicle, and potential customers aren’t concerned by the added weight and loss of driving dynamics that comes with batteries. Though the Cybertruck is still yet to release, Ford, GM, and Rivian all bought in, and have brought electric trucks to the market.

But the reality of pickup is not that simple, and flaws of electric power become unignorable when faced with the loads, tows, and rough roads of trucking. Put simply, if you need a pickup for work, your old Ram will still outshine the brightest new EV option.

To the layman, an electric truck makes a lot of sense. A pickup consists of two long rails, with wheels and suspension bolted to the bottom of them, a cabin and engine to the front, and a bed at the rear. That’s strikingly reminiscent of the ‘skateboard’ model that underlies most electric cars — motors on the corners, a bed of batteries in the floor, with a body on top. Simply fill those rails with a bed of batteries, replace the engine with electric motors, and voila.

But three chief problems remain. Electric trucks are more expensive to buy, far more extensive to repair, and have worse, less reliable range.

For the first: a combustion F-150 starts at $33,695 but an electric F-150 Lightning will set you back, minimum by more than $59,564, if you wait until next year. And it only gets worse when looking at competitors.

Rivian announced their R1T would start at $67,500, but when production started, this had soared to almost $80,000. Though GM and Ford both promise to make sub-$50,000 versions of their EV trucks, they’re not there yet. General Motors’ debut EV pickup was the $112,596 Hummer EV ‘Edition 1.’ And none of this accounts for dealer markups.

And what do you get for this EV premium? More technology, which need not be EV exclusive, and more problems, which are.

You don’t need a Tesla for semi-autonomous driving, given that Cadillac pairs their Super Cruise system with their gas devouring Escalade, and large touch screens are coming to all cars — sadly.

However, though electric vehicles are theoretically easier to repair than their combustion engine equivalents, the reality is that batteries age, particularly with heavy use. Battery exchange systems — like swapping out a barbecue’s gas cylinder — have yet to take off, so electric cars are ticking down to an eventual, inevitable multi-thousand dollar battery replacement bill, or a premature relocation to the scrapheap.

This is concerning for commuter cars, but the average driver changes cars roughly every seven years, upgrading to something newer, fancier, or more accommodating to their current lifestyle. By contrast, you may use the same truck for twenty years; and as the battery weakens, the range will too.

More than either the price or the eventual repair bill, the range issue is the biggest problem; and the most impermeable. On paper, an F-150 Lightning may go further on a full charge than a competitor with a full tank, but electric range is far more sensitive to circumstances.

Lightning owners report their range sometimes halving when the temperature drops, and heavy payloads and towing noticeably eat into it too. As a Ford representative reportedly told Neal Pollack in the Observer, “The 300-mile range is assuming you’re floating on marshmallows while tugged along by a unicorn.”

Given that towing and hauling are the main functions of a working truck, and unicorns and marshmallow floats are in short supply, the risk of running out of charge is often a dealbreaker. Fast charging stations are almost as rare as the aforementioned unicorn, and if you find one, it’s usually accompanied by a long queue or an “Out of Order” sign. And even so, it’s still a lot faster to stop at a gas station

Will it always be the case that electric pickups are far inferior to their combustion powered cousins? No.

Battery technology continues to improve at a rapid pace, the price of EVs will fall with further adoption, and charging networks continue to grow. Even without incoming bans on new combustion-powered cars, there’s a lot of inherent promise in pairing EV systems with utility vehicles.

Without a large engine to account for, the newly announced Telo MT1 has its cabin shifted right to the front, allowing for a full-size bed in a pickup the size of a Mini Cooper. That’s great, but it’s just a computer render with a pre-order page, and who knows if it ever releases.

Nikola Motors and Lordstown Motors were once the next big EV start-ups, promising to bring electric trucks to market with better technology and lower prices than the big players. Last month, both companies faced NASDAQ delisting, after their share prices fell beneath a dollar. In October, Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, was found guilty on three federal charges of wire and security fraud.

It’s only a matter of time before electric trucks work as well as they do on paper. But it will take time. Put simply, if you’re happy with your F-150, don’t trade it in for an electric version.

At least not yet.




Monday, June 26, 2023

Now NHS tells Scottish mums: Please DON'T use gas and air in childbirth … it's bad for the planet

No compassion for women in pain? Warmists are clearly all heart

The NHS is to warn pregnant women that they shouldn't use gas and air – because it's harmful to the environment.

The health service has launched a crackdown on harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the most popular method of pain relief for women during labour.

The Scottish Government has written to all health boards with an NHS plan which suggests women should be encouraged not to use Entonox for the good of the planet.

It proposes expectant mothers play their part in 'a collaborative mitigation approach' to cutting the impact of Entonox.

It warns: 'Future recommendations may require that education and training on the environmental impact of different analgesic techniques for labour should be made available to expectant mothers and care givers by antenatal services and delivery suite teams.'

Entonox, or gas and air, is popular with mums-to-be because it has no harmful side-effects for them or the baby. However, along with oxygen, it contains nitrous oxide – a powerful greenhouse gas.

Campaigners fear that the move could put women under pressure to shun Entonox for more invasive analgesics.

Milli Hill, author of the Positive Birth Book, said: 'I worry that if women are told the choice of gas and air could potentially be damaging for the environment, but not offered any alternative, then this could just put more pressure on women to make compromises and sacrifices at an individual level, when we know that there are many more impactful ways in which both the NHS and the government could address climate change at a national and global level.

'Birth in the UK is becoming increasingly medicalised, and any threat to the option of gas and air could exacerbate this, as women will probably turn to more invasive forms of pain relief.'

Studies show nitrous oxide is almost 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming.

In a letter to boards, the Scottish Government described it as a 'pollutant with a long atmospheric life' and 'an ozone depleting substance'. Attached to the letter was the NHS Scotland Nitrous Oxide Mitigation Implementation Plan which says the health service aims for zero nitrous oxide emissions by 2027.

Some hospitals have tried 'cracking' technology, which breaks Entonox down into harmless nitrogen and oxygen. However, the plan said that required 'excellent technique by patients and staff to correctly use a mask system'.

It then suggested mothers-to-be receive training on the environmental effect of different pain relief options, saying: 'The programme lead is keen to develop a collaborative mitigation approach working with expectant mothers, delivery suites teams and antenatal services to explore and articulate a full suite non-pharmacological and pharmacological options.

'Future recommendations may require that education and training on the environmental impact of different analgesic techniques for labour should be made available to expectant mothers and care givers by antenatal services and delivery suite teams.'

A spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said it is 'vital' that all women 'have access to safe and effective pain relief'.

Jaki Lambert, director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said it 'supports a move to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly NHS, but at the same time we would not want to see the pain relief options available to women reduced, until more sustainable ones are developed and available'.

Last night the Scottish Government said that although there are environmental concerns about Entonox, it would continue to be made available. A spokesman said: 'Women will continue to have the same access to pain relief they always have, with staff to support them in making the best choices about their birth plan.

'Any suggestion that nitrous oxide will be withdrawn or not be available for patients is simply false.'


Greta Thunberg gets lambasted for deleting prediction of climate genocide after the date arrives

Social media users mocked and ridiculed climate-change activist Greta Thunberg after the date of a climate-genocide prediction came and went.

In 2018, Thunberg tweeted a quote from a scientist warning that humanity would become extinct unless drastic action against global warming was undertaken within five years.

"A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years," she quoted from the article.

After she began being criticized over the tweet five years later, she deleted it in 2023.

Critics piled on even more after the 20-year-old deleted her doomsday missive and reposted a screenshot of the prediction.

"I have a busy day planned. Can someone please ask Greta Thunberg what time climate change is going to wipe out humanity today," replied one user.

"Seriously though, how did the world get so dumb? We were never always this stupid, right?" read another tweet.

"According to Greta Thunberg, the world will officially end today. Good luck, everyone!" responded Ryan Fournier.

"Greta Thunberg has confirmed that all of humanity has been wiped out today, and she warns that it will happen again in another five years unless she is allowed to continue crying on national television," joked another user.

Defenders of Thunberg pointed out that the scientist she was quoting was not predicting all of humanity would be wiped out in five years but that humanity only had five years to address the issue before the effects of climate change would eventually lead to the extinction of humanity.

Snopes marked the ridicule as partly true because Thunberg did delete the tweet. It also reported not being able to obtain a comment about the controversy from Thunberg.

Thunberg was busy being arrested at an environmental protest in Malmo, Sweden.


Earth is already at net zero

The climate cult will cost us all dearly

Ian Plimer

The greenhouse gas in the air that has the greatest effect on atmospheric temperature is water vapour. Why have governments tried to ban carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions and not water vapour?

Carbon dioxide is plant food. This is the first science that children should learn at school. Plants use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with water and nutrients from the soil to grow plant tissue.

The Earth’s first atmosphere contained hydrogen, helium, ammonia, carbon monoxide, rotten egg gas and methane. It derived from planetary degassing and didn’t last long.

The second atmosphere lasted for billions of years and contained up to 20 per cent carbon dioxide, again from planetary degassing. Much of the carbon dioxide from the second atmosphere dissolved in ocean water, was precipitated as the rock dolomite in warm shallow marine conditions and there it remains naturally sequestered.

During the times of very high carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the planet enjoyed a number very intense ice ages when kilometres of ice formed at sea level at the equator. We are told by climate activists that a few parts per million increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide resulting from human activities will lead to unstoppable global warming and a climate crisis. The past shows this is false.

The current oxygen-rich atmosphere formed some 550 million years ago. The oxygen came from life which is why there is a search for oxygen and ozone on exoplanets to determine if there is life somewhere out there. The planet does not degas oxygen gas. All oxygen in the atmosphere derives from photosynthesis. At times, the atmospheric oxygen content rose to 35 per cent and there were massive global forest fires. At other times during mass extinction events, the oxygen content fell to less than 5 per cent.

We hear that the Amazonian rainforests are the lungs of the Earth. This tree-hugging ideology is wrong. The lungs of the Earth are the floating phytoplankton in the oceans that have been around for billions of years and use carbon dioxide as plant food and excrete oxygen as a waste product. It’s very hard to get emotional about green slime being the lungs of the Earth.

For the last 550 million years there has been a decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide from 0.8 per cent to 0.04 per cent. Because of an explosion of animal predation, carbon dioxide was used to make protective shells, most of which are locked away as fossils in ancient rocks. If oceans were acid during past times of high atmospheric carbon dioxide shells would have dissolved and would not be preserved as fossils. Shells removed dissolved carbon dioxide from seawater. Limestone reefs, limey muds and black carbon-rich muds removed even more carbon dioxide from seawater. Ancient carbon dioxide is now locked up in rocks.

Land plants appeared 470 million years ago and removed massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They still do. Massive accumulations of plants in cool climate wetlands led to huge volumes of plant material that were later compressed to thick coal seams. There were no plant-decomposing bacteria then and plant material accumulated into very thick piles. The carbon in coal came from the atmosphere. By burning coal, this carbon as carbon dioxide is put back into the atmosphere where it originally came from.

In a forest-rich large underpopulated country like Canada, there are 318 billion trees that use 7.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide as food each year. Canadians release 545 million tons of carbon dioxide each year from fossil-fuel burning, smelting and cement manufacture. Canada is already at net zero. Canadians pay tax for the carbon dioxide they release.

In the USA, there are 228 billion trees that each year photosynthesise 5.47 billion tons of carbon dioxide as plant food. Americans release 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning, smelting and cement manufacture each year. This is 14 per cent of global emissions. The US is already at net zero.

In Australia, the grasslands, rangelands, forests, crop lands and continental shelf waters each year photosynthesise ten times the amount of carbon dioxide that is released by Australian industry and individuals. Australia is already at net zero and releases only 1.2 per cent of global emissions. Australians pay tax for the carbon dioxide they emit for plants to use as food.

On planet Earth, there are 3 trillion trees that suck up 72 billion tons of carbon dioxide as plant food each year. Humans emit 37 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. The planet is already at net zero, despite China’s massive emissions. Why even bother about net zero? Unless, of course, there is a quid to be made with energy used as a weapon for unelected elites to take away freedoms and control people.

And here is the problem. If the whole world is at net zero, where does the extra carbon dioxide come from? Obviously, it’s natural and it comes from a slight warming of the oceans. Some 97 per cent of annual emissions are from ocean degassing with minor amounts from volcanoes and animals. Carbon dioxide has an inverse solubility in water, as all beer and champagne drinkers know. The lower the temperature of water, the more carbon dioxide can dissolve in water.

Analysis of the chemical fingerprints in ice cores drilled in Greenland and Antarctica show that whenever there has been a natural warming event, the atmospheric carbon dioxide content rises hundreds to thousands of years later. If the oceans warm, they release carbon dioxide. Maybe the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is due to solar-driven warming of oceans after the 1300 to 1850 AD Little Ice Age?

The conventional view is that the oceans warm up by increased solar radiation because Earth is closer to the Sun or because the Sun releases more energy. What has never been considered is that the planet has been releasing heat for 4,567 million years and still is. At present, 70 per cent of the heat released by the planet ends up in the oceans. There are thousands of submarine eruptions each year with basalt melts at 1100°C solidifying by transferring heat to 2°C ocean bottom waters. Submarine basalt melts contain up to 13.5% by weight of dissolved carbon dioxide, most of which is released into the oceans as the melt rises towards the ocean floor.

Although there is a paucity of data, there are hints that the El Niño-La Niña cycle may be related to submarine volcanic activity. There is stronger evidence that plate tectonics is a fundamental driver of climate change. This has never been considered in climate models.

Maybe the rise in oceanic temperature resulting in the increased emissions of carbon dioxide from the oceans is due to planetary cooling expressed as increased submarine volcanicity? These are fundamental scientific questions but, because they do not fit the government ideology, such research will never be funded because 97% of scientists funded by the government agree with those who fund them.

The natural world is far more exciting than a woke world that frightens folk with a dogma claiming that small amounts of a trace gas drive a major planetary process.We’ve been fed a pup. It will cost us dearly. `


Stop blaming everything on climate change!

One of the educational pages about climate change on the BBC’s website for children laid out the negative impacts of future global warming. But it also pointed out that warmer temperatures could mean healthier outdoor lifestyles, open up shipping routes in the Arctic through the melting ice and allow easier access to oil in Alaska and Siberia.

Cue outrage from climate scientists and climate pressure groups. In response, the BBC removed mention of such ‘benefits’. Children were only to learn of the negative impacts of climate change.

This was a telling example of how the prevailing ideology of ‘climatism’ insists on a single narrative from which there can be no deviation.

For climate change is cited as the sole explanation for everything going wrong in the world. Drought, famine, flooding, wars, racism – you name it. And if it’s bad, it’s down to global warming caused by humans.

Group-think has taken over as climatism demands total allegiance. It has become an unchallengeable doctrine guiding individuals, institutions, cultures and social movements.

In the words of environment journalist George Monbiot: ‘Curtailing climate change must become the project we put before all others. If we fail in this task, we fail in everything else.’

To this supreme political challenge of our time, everything else becomes subservient.

Climatism offers a seeming explanation for nearly everything – from the loss of sleep and rising divorce rates to the decline of insect populations. An academic study has even suggested that the occurrence and acceptance of racist content online could increase in the future as the climate gets warmer.

The doctrine was summed up by a climate convention in Germany in 2022 which declared: ‘Climate change threatens the foundations of life on our planet. The fossil era must come to an end. This will lead to profound changes in our ways of producing goods, our means of transportation and, ultimately, the way in which we live. We are at the beginning of a great transformation.’

This dangerously myopic view simply reduces the present and future state of our complex world to just the fate of global temperature or to the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Yet, there is no single story that can encompass or do justice to the complexities, paradoxes and dilemmas of a changing climate. It makes no sense to reduce politics to the pursuit of a single over-arching goal: to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by a given date.

But by making other political goals subservient to this one is to create a short-sighted view of political, social and ecological wellbeing. The problems facing the world – Putin’s war in Ukraine, migration, the triumph of the Taliban, wildfire management – become ‘climatised’.

Don’t get me wrong – limiting the rate of climate change is a desirable long-term policy goal. But climate change isn’t the only thing that matters. Indeed, it might even be a distraction from doing the things that really do make a difference. Racism, for example, is unlikely to be tackled by doubling-down on carbon dioxide emissions.

The spread of climatism has become an increasingly alarmist discourse of apocalypse just round the corner. In New York’s Union Square, there is a massive clock that counts down ‘the critical time-window remaining for humanity to act to save its only home from the ravages of climate chaos’.

I disagree with the doom-mongers. Climate change is not like a comet approaching Earth. There is no good scientific or historical evidence that it will lead to human extinction or the collapse of human civilisation.

True, climate kills and climate change is real. The risks are serious. Efforts to mitigate these risks and to adapt to them are important. But climate change will not wipe out human life, let alone all life on planet Earth. Also, it is questionable whether annual deaths from climate change will ever exceed those from heart or lung failure, dementia or stroke.

Climate change is a risk that needs to be attended to, but this must be done in the context of other risks, such as nuclear war, pandemics, preventable childhood mortality, failed states and so on.

Unfortunately, the climate science world seems to have lost that vital perspective, instead declaring a perpetual climate emergency.

This is dangerous talk that can lead to hurried decisions and misguided, one-eyed solutions.

By ‘doing whatever it takes’, without wider considerations of the consequences, will not only lead to short-term thinking but also panic, fear and disengagement among people as ‘the end’ is imagined to be approaching and we supposedly run out of options.

That same loss of perspective also ignores the fact that climate is not, and never has been, static.

It is a changing condition to which all life continually adapts as a natural response. Corals evolve to cope with ocean warming and acidification. Human societies continually adapt – finding new materials to keep buildings cool or through new land-use, for example.

But instead of recognising nature’s power to adapt, climate ideologues consider all meteorological events as man-made. Hurricanes and heatwaves are seen as manifestations of the behaviour of fossil-fuel companies, colonialism, capitalism, Amazonian loggers, rich meat-eaters or frequent flyers. It is forgotten that hurricanes and heatwaves are a natural feature of the world’s climates. Climate’s ‘naturalness’ gets lost.

Certainly, human actions have caused changes in climatic patterns, and will continue to do so. The evidence is crystal clear. Nor am I suggesting that efforts to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its effects are worthless or should be stopped. But climatism, with its narrow view, is not the solution. We need to take a more sensitive, diverse and pragmatic approach. And we need to distinguish politics from science.

The fact is that there is an anti-democratic impulse within climatism that brooks no public dissent.

This is most explicit in Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and the new ‘climate Left’ – for whom climate change is all that matters. But it has also crept into a range of businesses, charities, professions and institutions, such as Amazon, Oxfam, the BBC and the World Bank.

But I question whether the ideology of climatism is supported by science. Since the mid-1980s, plotting global temperature has became a fetish. And yet, global temperature is a flawed index for capturing the full range of complex relationships between climate and human welfare and ecological integrity.

Many scenarios that inform these analyses also overestimate the likely magnitude of future climate change. They are based on the worst possible outcome in which fossil-fuel burning, especially coal, continues unabated.

Some 7,000 scientific papers produced on climate change between January 2020 and June 2021 took this as their baseline assumption. But it is clear this is now the least likely scenario, given the massive reduction in the growth of coal use.

This methodological flaw might not matter much if such scenario analysis was presented in neutral terms. But it becomes misleading when it is taken literally, when it is believed by the public and by policymakers to be describing a real future. Risks are exaggerated and climate is elevated to be a more dominant factor shaping the future than is warranted.

As a result, the World Health Organisation predicts 250,000 additional deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress as a result of climate change – despite other factors, such as wealth distribution, lifestyle choices and public health infrastructure, having a larger impact.

It implies that if future changes in climate can be arrested over the next years, 250,000 lives will be saved. This simply isn’t true.

Rather than being motivated by a disinterested ‘search for truth’, the scientific enterprise is in danger of being perceived as pushing its own interests, whether securing research funds or furthering individual scientists’ prestige and access to power.

I am certainly not claiming that climate science is necessarily biased, misleading, untrustworthy and worthless.

Rather, I am drawing attention to the fact that scientific research is always conducted within a specific social and political context and it cannot escape the influence of the society which funds it.

Remember, too, that many are beneficiaries of climatism, such as politicians who use climate change for ‘things going wrong’ to mask their own deficiencies, negligence or bad management.

Others find that flashing their climate change credentials gains them access to specific financial and political resources.

Ultimately, the rush to take political action without properly thinking through the consequences can backfire spectacularly. For example, Germany pursued an aggressive, unbalanced and rapid energy decarbonisation to meet climate mitigation targets – and then became hostage to Putin in order to keep the country supplied with gas.

The EU biofuels directive is another example.

Rather than using oil from the ground, it gave priority to palm oil as a source of energy, without considering the impact. The result? Once-rich rainforests in Sumatra have been stripped to make way for palm plantations, meaning that indigenous people have been squeezed from their homelands.

The consequences have been devastating for some of the world’s poorest communities and their quest for food security and livelihood sustainability.

A policy designed to reduce the impact of climate change 50 years from now has undermined the livelihoods of people and the habitats of species living today.

But that’s the price you pay if your sole aim is stopping climate change. Debate is closed down in favour of ‘there is no alternative’. And from that it is a short step to ‘the end justifies the means’, the motto of all totalitarian projects. Other important political values, such as liberty, equality and self-determination, are sidelined.

Politically, climatism endangers fundamental democracy by suppressing any public challenge to the dominant position. Even those with legitimate doubts are damned as ‘deniers’ and silenced.

Yet, democracies require dissent if they are to remain democracies.

How, then, do we counteract the dangers of narrow-minded climatism? First, we must challenge the hubristic certainty displayed by many climate scientists and replace it with a humbler approach that recognises the limits of human knowledge and foresight.

That means acknowledging the unforeseen contingencies of the future: pandemics, military or cyber-wars between states, global economic recessions and failed states.

As American author Ted Nordhaus wisely put it, we have to accept that ‘the present is a muddle, and the future is an even bigger muddle whose basic co-ordinates we cannot predict, let alone control’.

Second, we must defuse deadline-ism and the tyranny it imposes, along with the emotions of failure, cynicism, apathy or fear that result.

In Britain, we live neither in the best of climate, nor in the worst. In England and Wales, around 800 excess deaths are caused annually due to heat – a number vastly outweighed by the excess deaths caused by cold.

Yes, climate fatalities are large. Droughts in China and South Asia in the 20th Century killed millions, but fatalities from such climatic disasters have been greatly reduced since through better forecasting and early warning, improved infrastructure and more efficient management.

Climate fatalities can be reduced further by better land-use planning and more adaptative infrastructures. We should move beyond the doomism and adopt the language of possibility and emancipation.

Above all, we must change the message to teenagers and young adults that their generation is doomed and has no future.

Instead, we should offer the hope their lives can be better than those of their parents and grandparents.

Yes, we, as their grandparents and parents, have set in motion this ongoing change in the climate. But human ingenuity and effort can limit the extent of future warming and can develop new technologies and strategies to adapt to the changes.

Rather than repeating messages of failure and endings, the alternative to climatism should motivate young people to contribute to a future that can be so much better.

Once people recognise that what is at stake is not human extinction, nor the collapse of civilisation, nor billions of unnecessary deaths, it ought to be possible to see that there are legitimate human values and political trade-offs that must be navigated when designing our responses to it.

The present isn’t all about climate change, and the future must not be reduced to climate. Stopping climate change isn’t the only thing that matters.




Thursday, June 22, 2023

Recycling releases harmful micro-plastics

A new note from the Global Warming Policy Foundation warns that recycling plastic, mandated in law across Europe, is causing immense environmental harms.

It highlights a series of recent scientific studies revealing that plants that process plastic waste are releasing astonishing quantities of microplastic particles into the environment.

The author, Dr Mikko Paunio, explains that there is growing scientific concern that recycling plastic is a mistake that is causing significant environmental pollution. “Even Greenpeace can see that it must stop”, he says.

Paunio argues that incineration is the most environmentally friendly approach to plastic waste, pointing to its success in his native Finland, but he says that bureaucracy and green campaigners are preventing its more widespread use.

Dr Paunio also warns that we are about to take another wrong turn:

“Green campaigners now want to ban plastic outright, and the forthcoming plastic treaty looks worrying in this regard. If they manage to get a plastic ban put in place, the result will probably be to damage public health, just as they damaged the environment by getting us all to recycle in the first place”

The report is entitled Microplastics: The Harms of the Circular Economy (pdf)


Britain Turns to Coal Because It’s Too Hot for Solar Panels

The Conservative Party government is far down the road—and much out of pocket —with its plan to remove coal from Britain’s energy mix. But weather conditions earlier this week meant providers had no choice but to start burning coal again, for the first time in a month and a half.

Simply put, there wasn’t enough wind to allow for a good turbine output and it was too hot for solar panels to work efficiently. Some gas power plants were also shut down for maintenance. As a result, the National Grid had little choice but to ask a coal-fired power station in Nottingham to start producing electricity. This was due to be closed last September, but its owners reached a deal to push back the deadline by a year, citing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As part of its drive towards carbon ‘net zero,’ the Tory government announced in 2021 that Britain is moving towards producing no electricity using coal after October 2024. This was a year sooner than the original 2025 deadline, and begs the question: where will providers turn when it’s too hot and not windy enough in the future?

The push—by the party which prides itself on being “sensible” and “pragmatic”—has been met with many vocal critics, but the government appears not to have been fazed. Businessman and former Brexit party MEP Ben Habib said turning our backs on fossil fuels “before adequate alternative sources of ‘sustainable’ renewable energy are available” sounds “daft” because “it is.”

Reviewing some of the latest decisions on energy policy, Mr. Habib told The European Conservative:

In the pursuit of a net zero country, His Majesty’s Government decided many years ago to cut back on filthy coal. Then in 2021, it began shutting down North Sea oil and gas under the North Sea Transition Deal—part of the then Prime Minister’s drive to “Build Back Better.” Under that deal, the off-shore extraction of fossil fuels was to be replaced by off-shore wind energy; wells closed, and jobs moved into green energy. Rough, our biggest natural gas storage facility, was also more or less shut down and now cannot easily be re-commissioned. To make matters worse, not a single nuclear power plant has been built in the UK since the mid-1990s. By 2030, 14 of 15 nuclear power plants are scheduled to have closed with only one replacement, Hinkley Point C, to be commissioned in 2027.

This is not an energy policy, it is energy hari kari.

Such a short-term approach to energy policy is not exclusive to the Tory party. Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg provided an insight into the minds of our leading political lights when in 2010 he said nuclear is “just not even an answer” because “by the most optimistic scenarios from the government itself, there’s no way they are going to have new nuclear come on stream until 2021, 2022.” Even after these dates, Britain’s energy system will still be unable to operate fully without at least some backup from coal.

Mr. Habib described the recent burning of coal as “rub[bing] salt into the wounds of HMG’s [His Majesty’s Government] idiocy.” The “energy gods,” he added, “have a poor sense of humour!”


COP28 faces another flop as UN divisions deepen over climate $$$billions

This was supposed to be the United Arab Emirates’ chance to prove its critics wrong.

The host of this year’s COP28 climate summit was under pressure to set out a clear vision at preparatory talks held at the United Nations HQ in Bonn amid growing unease over the petrostate's fossil fuel interests.

But by the time negotiators departed the former West German capital on Thursday, concerns about the UAE’s handling of the global climate talks had only deepened.

“Bridges are not being built,” said one EU diplomat, who was granted anonymity to candidly discuss the negotiations. “I’m worried that at COP28, half of the countries will want to talk about funding and half about reducing emissions, as happened here.”

The 10-day Bonn talks were consumed by a power struggle over the conference agenda, which remained unadopted until Wednesday night.

The EU — backed by other Western countries as well as several Latin American nations and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) — added an agenda item on the “mitigation work program,” aimed at scaling up emissions cuts worldwide.

That prompted the group of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) — dominated by emerging economy emitters like China, India and Saudi Arabia — to block the agenda unless rich countries also accepted a new agenda item about climate finance.

“That was a point of principle,” the EU diplomat said. “They want no outside pressure on reducing emissions. China doesn’t want us to be the guiding force.”

Others accused Western countries of wanting to avoid a climate finance debate, in particular one — as demanded by the LMDCs — focused on what rich nations owe the Global South.


Offshore wind turbines halted to help migrating birds

Wind turbines in offshore wind farms near Borssele and Egmond aan Zee were turned off for four hours last Saturday to allow migrating birds to leave the area safely, energy minister Rob Jetten has confirmed.

It is the first time anywhere in the world that wind turbines have been halted to allow birds safe passage, Jetten said. “We want to keep the impact of wind farms on nature as small as possible and this is one measure to do this,” he said.

Experts estimate that the turbine blades kill some 50,000 birds every year as offshore wind farms proliferate on their migratory routes.

Wind farm owners will use predictions showing when large numbers of birds are about to move to decide when to turn off their turbines. These are based on forecasts by bird migration experts and a model devised by a PdD student at the University of Amsterdam using weather data and bird radar systems.

“In spring and in autumn, millions of birds move over the North Sea some nights,” said Tim van Oijen from bird protection group Vogelbescherming Nederland.

“It is crucial that North Sea wind farm development is done in a responsible way. Turning off the turbines during migration will help achieve that.”

The turbines are not completely halted, but their revolution is reduced to a maximum of two per minute.

Last Saturday’s stoppage is part of a series of trials taking place this spring to assess if turbines can be halted without damage to the network. The system will be officially enforced from the autumn.