Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Automakers Wake Up to Reality on Electric Vehicles

Driving through rural Georgia, I have yet to see an electric vehicle or a charging station. After promising the Biden administration that they would eliminate most of the cars Americans want to buy from dealer lots by 2035, GM and Ford are now waking up to reality. They are cutting back on projections of EV sales and lowering production targets for the cars and batteries.

Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said Thursday on a media call, “Given the dynamic EV environment, we are being judicious about our production and adjusting future capacity to better match market demand.” He announced that Ford is postponing $12 billion of spending and investment on EVs, including a Kentucky battery plant, after it halted its $3.5 billion Michigan-China battery partnership in September.

This follows an announcement by General Motors on Oct. 17 that it is pausing expansion of electric pickups “due to evolving EV demand.”

About 6% of new vehicle sales were electric in 2022, and President Joe Biden wants to bring this share up to 60% in 2030 and 66% in 2032 through regulations from the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. These regulations would penalize automakers for selling gasoline-powered cars. California is going further, requiring all new vehicle sales to be electric after 2035.

But there are four reasons that most Americans prefer to buy cars with internal combustion engines: cost, convenience, climate, and China.

New electric vehicles cost more than gasoline-powered vehicles. As I drive around the Clayton area (median household income $47,000), I see two-door and four-door pickup trucks, some battered and some shiny.

The electric version of the base version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck, the best-selling vehicle in America, costs an additional $26,000. And Tesla’s base prices start at about $40,000 for a Model 3 and go up to almost $100,000 for a Model X. Few Americans can afford these vehicles.

Many people who love their EVs recharge them at home, overnight. But not everyone has a garage at home. Some live in apartments and homes without garages. Many of these people have to rely on charging stations for their EVs if they can’t run extension cords from their residences to the parking lot.

At the local Walmart in nearby Tiger, Georgia, and in local gas stations, I didn’t see any charging stations. A lack of charging stations is a major problem in rural areas. Plus, gasoline-powered cars can be refueled in five or 10 minutes at a gas station. Recharging an electric vehicle can take 45 minutes—or much longer if you want a full charge. If someone is in front of you at the charging station, the wait can double. Most people don’t want to let their EV battery go below 20%, and the charging rate goes down when it is charged over 80%.

Batteries lose range in cold weather. Many of us have awakened on a cold winter morning to find our car batteries dead and in need of a jump start or a replacement. The American Automobile Association has a fleet of small vehicles whose sole purpose is to rescue troubled motorists in chilly situations.

A study by truck manufacturer Autocar shows that electric vehicles lose, on average, a third of their range in the winter, which reduces the typical 240-mile range to 160 miles. If a heat pump is added to the car, the loss is less, but still, the 240-mile range would shrink to 180.

In cold climates, batteries lose 20% to 40% of their range. That’s one reason only 380 North Dakota residents chose EVs in 2021 and Alaska had just 1,300.

Temperatures got down to 13 degrees in Georgia last Christmas, and it gets hot in the summer. Batteries lose range in weather above 85 degrees, too, according to a study by the electric battery company Recurrent. Additionally, car air conditioning uses electricity, and so the range is lower when the air conditioning is running—something people prefer in hot weather.

The forced push to EVs is making America weaker and China stronger, because almost 80% of batteries are made in China.

America is energy independent due to vast resources of oil and natural gas that have been discovered and produced through innovative technology. However, should Biden’s EV goal come to pass, America would become less energy independent and more dependent on China for electric batteries and associated components. One major reason is because China is buying up many of the world’s mines where rare earth minerals used in batteries are found.

As the world has seen from Russia’s cutoff of natural gas supplies to Europe, it is not prudent to rely on an unfriendly country for a vital resource such as energy, because restrictions can raise energy prices and carry disastrous economic and social consequences.

Moreover, the Biden administration’s push for EVs is to supposedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But in order to produce supplies of batteries for EVs and other components, China is increasing its construction of coal-fired power plants. America has 225 coal-fired power plants (which the Biden administration is trying to put out of business), and China has 1,118 (half of all the coal-fired plants in the world).

Research by Kevin Dayaratna, chief statistician and senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, has shown that even completely eliminating all fossil fuels from the United States would result in less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in temperature mitigation by 2100. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)

Biden says that EVs will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that regulations on tailpipe and power plant emissions reduce global warming. But this is a fantasy. Emissions will not be reduced until the biggest producers of so-called greenhouse gases—China, India, and Russia—reduce their emissions, which they show no signs of doing.

Ford and GM are finally realizing that Americans are smarter than their government and are not buying the EV fantasy. If Georgia is any guide, the automakers’ “pause” on EV investment might end up as a permanent stop.


NOAA Rejects Misguided Gulf of Mexico Vessel Speed Rule

The Biden administration has killed a proposed vessel speed rule in the Gulf of Mexico billed as a measure to protect endangered Rice’s whale.

On October 27th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries- housed under the Commerce Department helmed by Secretary Gina Raimondo - announced it was denying this petition filed by radical environmental groups Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife.

“NOAA Fisheries denied a petition from several non-government organizations to establish a mandatory 10-knot speed limit and other vessel-related mitigation measures to protect endangered Rice’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico and will not proceed with rulemaking at this time,” the NOAA website fact sheet read. “We have concluded that fundamental conservation tasks, including finalizing the critical habitat designation, drafting a species recovery plan, and conducting a quantitative vessel risk assessment, are all needed before we consider vessel regulations.”

The aforementioned groups filed a petition entitled “Endangered and Threatened Species; Petition To Establish a Vessel Speed Restriction and Other Vessel-Related Measures To Protect Rice's Whales” in May 2021 that blamed commercial and recreational anglers, along with boaters - without citing any concrete evidence - for harming this rare yet recently discovered whale. These groups, unsurprisingly, ignored NOAA Fisheries Marine Recreational Information Program trip data and vessel registration data that determined the likelihood of a recreational vessel striking an endangered whale is “less than one in a million.” Clearly, this draft petition wasn’t following the science.

Had the rule gone into effect, a year-round 11 mph slow-down zone stretching from “Pensacola, Fla. to south of Tampa '' would have been enforced to the detriment of law-abiding anglers and boaters. As I noted here at Townhall in July, this draft rule would have deliberately conflated commercial vessels with recreational ones and would impose unenforceable conditions on recreationists. I wrote, “The rule, if adopted, will bar recreational vessels from hosting overnight offshore trips, mandate observers on all trips in the proposed speed zone, and embolden radical environmentalists to report on “non-compliant” recreational vessels, for instance.``

More concerning, this petition undermined actual conservation work involving anglers and boaters - the true conservationists, unlike the aforementioned environmental groups - to bolster diminishing whale numbers. This is typical of powerful, litigious ambulance chasers masquerading as conservationists.

During the summer, recreational fishing and boating groups expressed their dismay with NOAA over considering this rule. They said adopting such a strident rule would disincentivize stakeholders from assisting with whale conservation efforts.

“As more is learned about the recently-discovered Rice’s whale, it is critical that NOAA focus from the outset on collaborating with stakeholders instead of leaping to drastic restrictions,” said American Sportfishing Association president Glenn Hughes “As an industry that cares deeply about conservation of the marine environment, the recreational fishing and boating industry is ready, willing and able to help develop solutions to support whale conservation. Relying on massive speed restrictions that effectively shut down boating and fishing is not a viable path forward for the Rice’s whale or the economy.”

“This would be a huge detriment to the Western panhandle of Florida and they would really be severely impacted in the number of vessels transiting that area would just be incredible,” said Captain Dyland Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina in St. Petersburg, Florida. “NOAA Fisheries doesn't have the logistics to be able to handle those phone calls. This would be a huge detriment to NOAA Fisheries and an already strenuous environment where they're underfunded and their budget is maxed out. It would cripple NOAA Fisheries to be able to handle that volume of calls so that's totally impossible. Vessel Safety is a huge concern with this.”

The federal government, unsurprisingly, is aiding and abetting the plight of the Rice’s whale in the Gulf and endangered North Atlantic right whale in the Atlantic Ocean.

Instead of greenlighting questionable offshore wind turbines or regulating vessel speeds, the Biden administration should enhance whale monitoring capabilities instead of exploiting their plight.

Both Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations funds and the Green New Deal lite “Inflation Reduction Act '' gave NOAA Fisheries $82 million to expand whale monitoring programs. Has that program started? Has the money actually been used or not? I’m not confident this administration properly stewards these funds since they prioritize DEI and wokeism above all else.

Some legislative remedies exist to resolve this issue, especially concerning the North Atlantic right whale, without displacing this multibillion-dollar industry.

The Protecting Whales, Human Safety, and the Economy Act of 2023 - co-sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Boozman (R-AR) - would prohibit NOAA from issuing rules “that modifies or replaces the North Atlantic Right Whale vessel strike reduction regulation” until technological solutions are deployed.


The actual 'climate change' agenda

The latest edition of the State of the Climate Report, published this week in the journal BioScience, begins rather ominously: “Life on planet Earth is under siege. We are now in an uncharted territory.” These sentences are meant to instill abject fear and evoke a sense of doom in the general public. However, they are patently absurd and ought to be disregarded outright.

Like almost every climate change report I’ve come across, the 2023 State of the Climate Report is full of red herrings and bombastic assertions that are intended to alarm the public into believing that climate change is an existential threat that must be stopped at all costs, regardless of the collateral damage and unintended consequences that their so-called solutions would inevitably bring to bear.

But what I find most alarming about this particular report, which 15,000 scientists signed, is the anti-human and anti-progress message that lies at the heart of it.

These messages are most prevalent in the part of the report titled “Scientists’ warning recommendations,” which includes “coordinated efforts” intended to “support a broader agenda focused on holistic and equitable climate policy.”

The authors erroneously claim that “economic growth” is the driver of the climate crisis and that it prevents them from achieving their “social, climate, and biodiversity goals.” Unsurprisingly, they lay the blame on the world’s most prosperous nations, particularly those located in the “global north,” which they argue are preventing the need for “decoupling economic growth from harmful environmental impacts.” As such, they suggest we “change our economy to a system that supports meeting basic needs for all people instead of excessive consumption by the wealthy.” As it turns out, this type of economic system has been implemented many times over, most notably in the Soviet Union. The results, in every single case, were downright dreadful.

In other words, these scientists dismiss the fact that economic growth under a free-market capitalist system, which has produced myriad technological advancements and innovations that have significantly improved the human experience in recent centuries, is a net positive. Casting economic growth and free enterprise in a mostly negative light is ludicrous. Thanks to economic growth over the past few decades alone, humans are living longer than ever before, in less poverty than ever before, are able to communicate across the world in the blink of an eye, and live more comfortably than ever before.

In their misguided worldview, economic growth is a net harm because it does not automatically allocate resources in an equitable manner. Spoiler alert: neither does socialism. Apparently, these scientists are unaware that as President John F. Kennedy famously put it, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Aside from their anti-economic growth stance, the authors also recommend “eliminating” “fossil fuels” and “transitioning away from coal” while calling for “funding to build out renewable energy capacity.” Based on statements like these, I wonder if the scientists who produce these types of reports are delusional. If we were to eliminate fossil fuels and stop using coal as a fuel source, the entire global economy would grind to a halt, billions of people would suffer, and millions would die.

But maybe that is the point, or at least a part of it. One of the last recommendations the scientists make is downright chilling: “gradually decrease the human population.”

Make no mistake, for decades, climate-change zealots have been calling for degrowth and depopulation. From Paul Ehrlich to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the list is too long to catalogue. For some strange reason, this call for depopulation and degrowth is resonating across academia and the illiberal Left. Even worse, it seems to be in vogue among today’s youth.

Across the West or “global north,” birth rates have been declining precipitously. In many countries, including the United States, the birth rate has dropped below the level of replacement.

Sadly, the climate change-industrial complex, a multi-trillion-dollar money machine, has irrevocably corrupted the once-hallowed scientific community. As most scientists know, though are probably less-than-willing to go on record for fear of cancelation and loss of grants and such, climate change is not an existential threat. However, if we unflinchingly take their recommendations as gospel, and plow forward with their idiotic degrowth and depopulation agenda, you better believe humanity will face an existential crisis like none before: the possible extinction of the human species.


1.5°C Target is ‘Currently Out the Window’ as Global Carbon Budget Shrinks

The world’s available carbon budget is running out faster than scientists expected, meaning that average global warming could routinely exceed 1.5°C by 2029 rather than the mid-2030s, warns a new study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“The window to avoid 1.5°C of warming is shrinking, because we continue to emit and because of our improved understanding of atmospheric physics,” lead author Dr. Robin Lamboll of Imperial College London told the BBC. “We now estimate that we can only afford to release about six years’ worth of current emissions before we are likely to exceed this key Paris agreement reference point.”

Holding average global warming to no more than 1.5°C was the signature goal in the 2015 Paris deal. In its latest assessment report earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said countries would have to cut their emissions 43% from 2019 levels by 2030, 60% by 2035, 69% by 2040, and 84% by 2050 for even a 50-50 chance of hitting that target.

But the IPCC’s assessment was limited to scientific papers published through 2020. This week’s study adjusted the carbon budget estimate to include record carbon dioxide emissions over the last three years, along with the impact of other pollutants in the atmosphere.

“One of the most critical are sooty particles called aerosols, which mainly arise from the burning of fossil fuels,” the BBC explains. “They contribute heavily to air pollution but have an unexpected benefit for the climate because they help cool the atmosphere by reflecting sunlight back into space.”

It turns out that cooling impact has been far greater than scientists previously believed, the new paper concludes.

The difference is enough to remove 100 billion tonnes of carbon from a global budget that the IPCC estimated at 500 billion tonnes, the news story states. Add that to the last three years of emissions, and the remaining budget adds up to just 250 billion tonnes—at a moment when human activity is still generating about 40 billion tonnes of CO2 or equivalent per year. To avoid overshooting the 1.5°C target, the paper says, humanity would have to bring emissions to net-zero by 2034—16 years ahead of the 2050 deadline that has been at the core climate policy and action for years.

“There are no socio-technical scenarios globally available in the scientific literature that would support that that is actually possible, or even describe how that would be possible,” study co-author Joeri Rogelj of Imperial College London told the BBC. “So that really shows that having a 50% or higher likelihood that we limit warming to 1.5°C, irrespective of how much political action and policy action there is, is currently out of the window.”


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Monday, October 30, 2023

Stuff You Aren’t Allowed To Know: Global Greening

The next topic in the Alimonti article that your intellectual superiors have decreed you are not supposed to learn about is the riotous growth of trees, plants, grasses and all the other inhabitants of the Earth for whom rising CO2 levels are nutritious food, not poisonous “pollution”.

The authors summarize several independent studies that have used changes in atmospheric chemistry and satellite imagery, all of which conclude that the world is getting greener. Even deserts are starting to green up. And rising CO2 is behind it, at least in part, though agricultural practices have also improved. The combination means rising food production per hectare, and the authors point to evidence that a return to pre-industrial CO2 levels would entail an 18 percent drop in global agricultural productivity. We’re willing to go way out on a limb here and say such a drop would be a bad thing due to the mass starvation facing poor nations if humans overall grew a fifth less food.

The authors acknowledge that rising CO2 and the general greening effect is a complex issue, and without adaptation it is not always beneficial. For example, they cite a study that showed that more rapid plant growth in the early spring can lead to drier soils in the summer. So farmers need to adapt practises accordingly. But we know they are good at adapting and increasing productivity for the simple reason that agricultural productivity has been rising for decades. And millennia, we might add. But especially recently. The authors present the output per hectare record for maize, rice, soybean and wheat since 1961, which taken together provide 64 percent of the world’s caloric intake.

These are remarkable growth rates ranging from 2.4 to 3.8 percent per year, which translates into food growth outstripping population growth. The authors also point out that variations in extreme weather events have not had any effect on agricultural productivity growth. In sum, rising CO2 has contributed to overall global greening and improved agricultural productivity. Which is one reason why alarmists remain so silent on the subject.


Siemens Energy’s faulty wind turbines become Germany’s €16 billion problem

With its biggest shareholder Siemens withdrawing support, the gas turbine and grid technology maker was forced to seek a €16 billion backstop from the government.

The history of Siemens is the history of electricity. After Werner von Siemens set up shop in a Berlin workshop in 1847, his improved design for the electric telegraph won him the contract to build Europe’s first long-distance cable. His company became an industrial behemoth, making everything from light bulbs to giant turbines for power stations.

The company has morphed many times since, and more recently spawned multiple listed businesses making chips, healthcare screening equipment — and wind turbines. Just like other parts of German industry, one of Siemens AG’s former units has hit a roadblock as the green energy transition reshapes global business.

In 2017, Siemens, already a major builder of offshore wind turbines, bought Spanish rival Gamesa SA to create the world’s biggest installer. Then-Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser described the move as having a “clear and compelling industrial logic.”

Six years later and the sure-fire bet on surging appetite for carbon-free electricity has turned close to catastrophic. A fault in thousands of wind turbines has left Siemens Energy AG, spun out of the mothership in 2020, on the hook for a repair bill of at least €1.6 billion ($1.7 billion) alongside an expected €4.5 billion net loss for the year.

With its biggest shareholder Siemens withdrawing support, the gas turbine and grid technology maker was forced to seek a €16 billion backstop from the government, while it’s still working on how to address the faulty turbines.

Investors responded by wiping out more than a third of the company’s value, the second such move this year.


Shell takes axe to its eco-friendly business as oil giant focuses on digging up fossil fuels

Shell has taken another axe to its once lofty decarbonization plans, as the U.K. oil giant’s pivot back to fossil fuels picks up steam.

The group plans to cut at least 15% of staff working in its low-carbon solutions division while scaling back its hydrogen business, Reuters first reported Wednesday.

The move will see 200 jobs go in 2024, with another 130 placed under review by the company, according to a statement from Shell.

The division specializes in solutions to decarbonize the transport and industry sector, but is separate from its renewables business. The focus of the cuts is its hydrogen light mobility unit, which develops technologies for passenger vehicles. The unit’s ambitions have been clipped as customers opt for EVs.

“We are transforming our Low Carbon Solutions (LCS) business to strengthen its delivery on our core low-carbon business areas such as transport and industry,” a representative for Shell told Fortune.

“We remain committed to investing in viable low-carbon business models and focusing on our strengths as we play our part in decarbonization of the global energy system.”

There are 1,300 people working in the LCS division, Reuters reported, but the company has said that isn’t a full reflection of the people contributing to the unit.

It’s the latest move from CEO Wael Sawan, who joined in January, that pivots Shell back to fossil fuels.


Climate change hurts the poor: but not the way you think it does

Moves to “fight climate change” are precisely what is hurting the poor most. It is not “climate change” but the policies adopted in response to it that are the problem afflicting the poor the most.

“Climate impacts hit the world's poor the hardest”. By sheer dint of repetition in countless “expert” reports and mass media articles, this line in the climate change narrative has become a truism. According to the International Monetary Fund, “by hitting the poorest hardest, climate change risks both increasing existing economic inequalities and causing people to fall into poverty.” The World Economic Forum states that “the lowest income countries produce one-tenth of emissions, but are the most heavily impacted by climate change.”

It would seem straightforward that resolving the “climate change” problem would serve the poor the most, given that they are the hardest hit. But, by a tragic turn of irony, moves to “fight climate change” are precisely what is hurting the poor most. It is not “climate change” but the policies adopted in response to it that are the problem afflicting the poor the most.

“Fighting climate change” — which for most Western politicians and policy makers means achieving the “net-zero [carbon emissions] by 2050” policy target of the UN Paris Agreement — has thus also become a fight for the world’s most poor and vulnerable. That the climate industrial complex claims the interests of the world’s poor within its ‘net zero’ agenda is a powerful lever in public relations.

The call to “save the planet” includes, by definition, ensuring the welfare of the world’s poor. But making the fight even more so about helping “the most vulnerable” gives the narrative of “fighting climate change” a philanthropic edge. Philanthropy is universally admired, like Mother Theresa. It is a particularly attractive hobby for the rich who have made their fortune and want to “give back” to society. Thus, Bill Gates’ or Michael Bloomberg’s self-proclaimed philanthropic interests in the global poor, public health and climate change.

When discussions of climate change issues turn to helping the poor and the vulnerable, Africa quickly becomes the center of attention. Africa is the world's second largest and second-most populous continent, both after Asia. The share of the sub-Sahara African population living in extreme poverty, defined as those living on less than $2.15 per day (in international dollars adjusted for cost-of-living differences among countries), was 35% in 2021. This compared to the world average of 8.4%.

In 2019, out of the world total of almost 760 million people without access to electricity, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost 590 million or approximately 78%. Without electricity or clean fuels such as natural gas, keeping warm (or cool), getting drinking water, cooking food cleanly, and getting enough light to read after the sun sets is not possible.

Most of us who take affordable electricity ‘24/7’ supply for granted are unaware of the existential constraint on people’s daily lives that a lack of electricity implies. This was brought home brilliantly by Geoff Hill at a talk in House of Lords in Westminster on Monday. Geoff is Africa correspondent for The Washington Times, the first non-American John Steinbeck Award winner and has published with the Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), The East African (Nairobi) and across the African continent.

With electricity unavailable or too expensive for 600-million people in Africa, vast areas of forest are being denuded for fuelwood or charcoal to cook and to warm homes by those who have no other fuel. Faced with buying logs from a plantation or cutting them for free in the wild, people who don’t have enough money for food choose the latter. With deforestation, the land degrades and soon enough there’s a desert where the jungle once stood.

As Geoff points out, “Africa is losing its forest. Not just a few trees here and there: an area the size of Switzerland is cleared every year… A staggering 90% of the timber is used as firewood, commonly turned into charcoal, and sold in markets across the continent.” There is a need for reliable energy, and at a price local people can afford. Without this, Geoff observes, the forest will continue to decline and, ultimately, vanish.

The impact of indoor pollution due to cooking with dirty solid fuels like charcoal and firewood on respiratory health and mortality on Africans is severe. The death rate in Africa from indoor pollution in 2019 was three times that of the global average. While 69% of the world's population had access to clean fuels for cooking (such as LPG or electricity), only 19% of Africa’s population did so in 2020. Conversely, the percentage of Africa’s population using dirty solid fuels (such as dung, firewood, or charcoal) for cooking was 77% in 2010; the world average was 41%. Mr. Hill cites a global study which puts the mortality rate in Africa as higher than AIDS, malaria and TB combined.

Africa — home to giant river systems including the Nile, Congo, Zambezi and Volta — has abundant water. Dams and lakes are plentiful. But the challenge lies in getting water to where it is needed. Urbanization in Africa has been very rapid over the past 50 years, creating some of the world’s largest cities. Urban demand for water is huge and supply is often pitiful. “Without water, hospitals can’t function, schools close, factories often must shut for hours at a time, food can’t be washed and diseases such as typhoid and cholera begin to spread.” As Mr. Hill shows, the chronic water problems of African cities – either poor or undrinkable supply – mostly come down to a shortage of electricity required to pump water to where it is needed.


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Sunday, October 29, 2023

Don’t Follow Net-Zero Lemmings Over the Energy Cliff

Seventeen states – including Virginia – tie their vehicle emission standards and electric vehicle sale mandates to California, the most climate-centric state in the Union. Unless current laws change, by 2035 all their new cars, pickups and SUVs must be electric (or hydrogen-powered).

In further obeisance to California, most of these states also require that their utility companies generate 100% of their electricity from “renewable sources” by 2045 or 2050. They and the federal government are also mandating that electric models replace gas-fueled furnaces, water heaters, driers, stoves and ovens within a decade or less.

This means electricity demand will double in the very near future – at the same time that reliable, affordable fossil-fuel (and nuclear and hydroelectric) electricity generation plummets. Charging massive batteries to ensure power on windless, sunless days would double demand again.

Home, hospital, school and business lighting, heating, cooling, cooking and computing costs will likely double or triple, hitting poor and minority families hardest. Blackouts will become commonplace.

No wonder citizens in Germany, Luxembourg and other European countries are revolting against net zero laws, forcing politicians to delay or terminate their green dictates.

And yet Democrats in Virginia and elsewhere have refused to budge. They’re so convinced that climate cataclysms are imminent – and government mandates will magically usher in a renewable energy era – that they are willing to compel families and businesses to follow them and other virtue-signaling lemmings off the net-zero cliff.

That’s why – even with attention now focused on Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and other global hot spots – voters also need to think long and hard about looming US energy cataclysms.

Democrats, some Republicans, and their media and environmentalist allies are determined to sweep vitally important energy realities under the rug. Voters mustn’t that happen.

First and foremost, not one village on Earth – much less a city or state – has shown that wind and solar power backed up by grid-scale batteries can enable them to function normally ... or merely survive ... for even a week, winter or summer. And yet President Biden and many others want to impose a “green energy transformation” on the entire United States.

Such a transformation would require literally millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, and tens of thousands of miles of new transmission lines. Billions of Tesla-EV-equivalent battery modules would be needed to stabilize increasingly large and complex electricity grids ... and back up sporadic, weather-dependent electricity ... to prevent widespread blackouts.

Building this equipment would involve billions of tons of steel, aluminum, copper, cobalt, lithium, concrete, plastics and other materials; hundreds of billions of tons of ore and overburden from thousands of mines; fossil fuels for mining, processing and manufacturing; and unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions, toxic air, water and ground pollution, and wildlife habitat destruction.

Installing all that equipment would impact thousands of square miles of habitats, scenic areas and croplands – decimating wildlife all across rural America – to serve major urban areas that have the votes to impose their views, but not the room or desire to have those impacts in their own backyards. Disposing of worn out and broken solar panels and wind turbine blades would require hundreds of huge landfills, also in rural America’s backyards.

The costs would be astronomical. Net Zero Reality Coalition experts have calculated that grid-balancing and backup batteries alone would cost up to $290-trillion, depending on which capital cost, hourly or daily electricity generation data and other factors are employed.

The wind industry loves to say such-and-such wind or solar project has the “capacity” to power 100,000 homes. That may be true – when the wind is blowing or sun is shining at optimal levels. However, that rarely happens. On an annual basis, those unreliable systems would likely generate electricity 20-40% of the year, in short intervals, at totally unpredictable times.

Since the Biden Administration and environmentalists steadfastly oppose mining in the USA, most resource extraction will be done overseas. The raw materials will mostly come from or through China, which often employs slave and child labor, zero to minimal environmental standards, subpar wage and workplace safety standards, and minerals as a political weapon.

That means wind, solar and battery power is actually the antithesis of clean, green, renewable, sustainable and ethical. All the dirty, evil, unsustainable activities just take place in faraway places, where they can be ignored; where they needn’t be factored into slick product and campaign ads.

An all-electric economy also requires that home, neighborhood, local, state and national transmission systems be significantly upgraded to handle the massive additional electric loads. That’s more trillions of dollars, further increasing the cost of electricity and every product and service.

Personal needs and choices will disappear. You will be told what cars you can buy and how far you can drive them; how big your home can be, and how warm or cool you can keep it; how often and how far you can travel on vacation; even what foods you can eat.

Where’s the beef? Not on the menu. And just imagine being in your EV, in a massive traffic jam, during a blizzard or hurricane evacuation. But as California goes, so will you. Your legislators demand it.

Delving into specifics: President Biden wants 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind electricity by 2030. That would require 2,500 gigantic 12-MW wind turbines. But even if the wind is blowing optimally, their output would barely meet New York State’s peak summertime electricity needs.

Equally crazy, New York’s plan for 24,000 megawatt-hours of battery storage would provide backup for barely 45 minutes on a sweltering windless day. And even that minuscule storage would require 300,000 Tesla 80-kilowatt-hour battery modules.

The 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act requires that utilities have 3,100 megawatt-hours of electricity storage. If those are to be 19-MWh Tesla Megapack battery modules, costing $10-million apiece, Virginia taxpayers and ratepayers would have to lay out $1.6 billion. For that they’d get one-half-hour of statewide windless/sunless day backup!

Ask your elected officials how many offshore turbines would be needed to power your state – or the entire USA. How many onshore turbines with a nameplate capacity of perhaps 6 MW. How many solar panels sprawling across vast scenic areas, croplands and wildlife habitats – in sunny Arizona or frosty Wisconsin. How many battery modules for a full week of backup storage.

Demand to know costs – and how much mining, processing, manufacturing, toxic pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, child labor, and habitat destruction would go into making all that equipment.

Watch them bob and weave, run for cover, or have the police remove you for asking such impertinent questions.

Mandates for electric vehicles, wind and solar power, and a magical transition to a fossil-fuel-free energy utopia are critical issues this year and in 2024. Ponder them carefully before you head to the polls.

Your vote – and whether you encourage your friends to vote – will determine whether we end this insanity or must live with the iron fists of increasingly oppressive climate authoritarians.


Top Wind Firm Profits Tumble 98% in New Blow to alternative Energy

Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., the largest wind-turbine maker, said third-quarter profit tumbled in another blow to a renewables sector reeling from the impact of lower prices even as demand jumps.

The producer’s net income fell 98% to 9.4 million yuan ($1.29 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, the company said Thursday in a statement. Sales volumes in the first nine months were 8.9 gigawatts, up more than a quarter on the same period in 2022. Goldwind’s shares fell as much as 5% intraday in Shenzhen on Friday.

Asia’s largest economy is accelerating deployment of renewable energy as it works to curb emissions and meet rising electricity demand. Though installations are rising, competition is intensifying among China’s wind turbine producers and pushing prices lower.

The sharp quarterly profit drop is due to higher selling expenses and research-and-development costs, Citigroup analyst Pierre Lau wrote in a note. Wind developers are facing higher project costs since all national subsidies expired in 2021 and regional governments require more local-economy contributions, Bloomberg NEF analyst Xiangyu Chen wrote last month.

Clean energy technology manufacturers globally are struggling with rising costs and delays to some projects. Siemens Energy AG plunged more than a third Thursday after confirming it is in talks with the German government about state guarantees as it grapples with weakness in its wind-turbine unit.

Vattenfall AB and Iberdrola SA have already scrapped some developments this year, and the bleak outlook threatens to hamper efforts by Goldwind and other Chinese turbine producers to expand outside their home market.


Chasing idiocy: how subsidies power Australia's energy price hikes

If we looked at the picture for Australia in the mid-90s, the electricity industry was massively overstaffed and the gas industry was dissipating the wealth that Exxon had discovered in Bass Strait.

In the case of electricity, Victoria led the way, and one simple figure illustrates the benefits brought about by privatisation and the introduction of competition. Generation Victoria was the monopoly supplier. Prior to reforms, which were ironically initiated by socialist Premier Joan Kirner, it employed 25,000 people; by the early 2000s, the numbers employed, including consultants and contractors, were under 3,000. At the same time the output, in terms of the power stations’ availabilities to run, had lifted from somewhere in the mid-70 per cent range to the mid-90s.

So, we had over 20,000 surplus personnel who only gummed up the work. Similar savings can be found in the distribution and transmission businesses, albeit to a lesser degree.

Australia was largely traversing the path that had been trailblazed by Margaret Thatcher’s administration in the UK and, less systematically in the US, where The Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland network (PJM) showed the way in which independent generator businesses could compete while cooperating thereby bringing about lower prices with considerable incentives to invest where investment would be profitable.

Within six or seven years of initiating the reforms, Australia had achieved what was probably the lowest electricity prices in the world and an electricity system, which was no longer plagued with downtime, strikes, and blackouts. We saw new investment responding to commercial, not political, incentives.

This was done as a result of profits-oriented businesses, in retail as well as generation – not all of them privately owned – competing for business within a known framework of rules. These as the very conditions under which capitalism generally has prevailed and brought the wealth of nations we enjoy today.

But the situation in the energy industry was always precarious. Even while the reforms were taking place, Victorian Treasurer Alan Stockdale felt obliged to introduce regulatory arrangements for pricing and for ombudsman arrangements that went far beyond those seen in other industries.

At the start of the 21st Century, and for the next few years, electricity prices (and to a lesser degree gas, having fallen immediately after the reforms), were increasing more or less in line with inflation.

But the germs of the present disaster were already starting to infect the industry – and the economy as a whole.

Spurred on by claims that carbon dioxide emissions were causing global warming, and a fantasy that wind and solar energy would soon become cheaper than ‘dinosaur’ coal and gas and supposedly inherently dangerous nuclear, the first tentative steps were taken to favour renewable industries. Amusingly, we see agencies like CSIRO and others claiming even more stridently that wind and solar is cheaper and – often within the same sentence – adding that they therefore need to continue receiving the subsidies they enjoy.

In response to climate scares and skilful lobbying, John Howard introduced requirements for ‘2 per cent of additional energy’ to be supplied by wind and solar. The method of arranging, for this was through the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) whereby energy certificates, which provided a subsidy to wind and solar, equivalent in those days to about $30 per MWh (providing a 70 per cent premium on the commercial market price).

John Howard has since said that this 2 per cent additional energy policy was his greatest political error. He sought to cap the level of support and appointed an inquiry, chaired by former Senator Tamblyn, to advise on this. As is often the case, the inquiry was captured by the bureaucrats and recommended the expansion of the scheme from what had been quantified at 9,500 GWh to 16,000 GWh. To his credit, Howard rejected this but was quickly replaced by Australia’s new economic and political saviour, Kevin Rudd.

Under Rudd/Gillard, the MRET scheme and its roof-top sister scheme went into break-neck expansion until the Abbott victory in 2013. Abbott wanted to wind back the scheme but, fearing radical advice and conscious of political opposition to this, appointed the sensible Dick Warburton to head the inquiry, and the best he felt he could do was to cap the scheme.

So the subsidies have continued. They have transformed what was a supply comprising 85 per cent coal 10 per cent hydro and 5 per cent gas to the present output of 60 per cent coal 25 per cent solar/wind and 15 per cent hydro and gas. The present government seeks to eliminate coal altogether and, ostensibly at least, the Opposition is not far behind.

In terms of subsidies, the PC has put their effect as follows

In annualised dollar terms, the energy subsidies to renewables, the flip side of which is a tax-type penalty on fossil fuels come to over $9,800 (million):


RERT, FCAS and system security $400

Clean Energy Regulator $750

Expansion of transmission $510

CEFC $1,333

ARENA $100

Snowy 2 $1,333

State schemes $1,410

The subsidies do far more damage than a simple transfer of money from one party to another. Because wind is subsidised (and is favoured by the market operator’s dispatch algorithm that gives it preferred access), it can bid into the market at anything above negative $40-50 per MWh. This not only displaces coal but forces up its costs since the generators are capital-intensive and designed to operate for much of the day but are being forced to fill in when the wind/sun is not producing.

As a result, we see prices forced down as the coal generators meet the market pressures from wind and solar that will seek to run at anything over its (subsidised) break-even of about $50 per MWh. Prices then shoot up when those distorted market pressures add costs (by forcing the capital-intensive coal plant to operate part-time) and at the same time squeeze prices. That process forces a facility to close once a new lick of new capital is required to supply – not at the steady rate of the original design – but as a filler for when lack of wind and sun prevent intermittent renewables from generating. The pattern can be observed in prices depicted below.

This year’s closure of Liddell brought what the Australian Financial Review called a revelation, ‘Had Liddell’s capacity still been available, prices would have been lower.’ Chanticleer noted, that the average realised wholesale price increased 32 per cent in NSW, 27 per cent in Victoria, 100 per cent in SA and 14 per cent in Queensland.

The pressures on electricity have been increased by regulatory constraints on new developments and tax increases (called royalty increases) on coal and gas. For gas, Australia now has shortages due to regulatory restrictions that largely outlaw developments in all eastern states other than Queensland.

The outcome has seen Australia being transformed from its former position of enjoying very low-cost energy supply. Australian electricity prices are now twice those of China, Russia and Vietnam and much dearer than other nations following us down the climate energy wormhole, like Canada, the US, and Korea.

One solution according to our politicians and those who advise them is to re-nationalise the industry and double up on the subsidies to renewables.

Former Premier Andrews set renationalisation in train for Victoria. Fortunately, his government would be unable to raise sufficient funds to implement this.

The latest subsidy expansion is the Safeguard Mechanism but the Prime Minister has foreshadowed a new array of subsidies and regulatory impediments. And hydrogen is a popular elixir to fix the system but one that cannot conceivably work if only because it takes more energy to produce than if provides.

The further we go along this path of replacing coal with intermittent solar and wind supplies, the more expensive the firming operation becomes. With a 100 per cent renewables supply and no transmission constraints, Global Roam has put the firming costs as the equivalent of 25 Snowy 2’s or 70,000 Hornsdale batteries which would cost some $6 trillion and, even if amortised over a 15-year period would require one-third of annual GDP – and that is just for the batteries. Even larger costs are estimated by others like Francis Menton, who estimates that just to keep the lights on would require a backup of 25 days supply with 100 per cent wind supply. Pumped hydro might have a firming role alongside batteries but it cannot be a major one given Australia’s limited river flows.

One solution proposed by the Opposition is to adopt nuclear but this – at the present time – is nowhere near as economical for Australia as coal. It is even less so in the way Peter Dutton expressed it – as an adjunct and firming mechanism for renewables, a role that nuclear (like coal), with its high fixed costs, is intrinsically ill-placed to perform.

Of course, the real solution is that adopted by China, India, and others

But for the time being Prime Minister Albanese, reeling from the Voice debate, is preparing for a redoubled support for renewable energy. In doing so he is tacitly supported by the finance industry that is cowering from the ‘global boiling’ incandescents and refusing to finance energy sources other than those renewables requiring government subsidies. We therefore, at the very least, face a considerable increase in national misery before sensible energy economic policies are restored.


Electric-vehicle shares look toppy as car buyer interest wanes

The electric-vehicle boom that spawned multibillion dollar startups overnight and pushed Tesla's value into the stratosphere is starting to flounder just a few years after it began.

A key theme from this earnings season is the waning demand for electric cars. First was Tesla's grim earnings report last week, that was followed by dour commentary from General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and car-rental company Hertz.

The shift has been sobering for investors, as the valuations of most EV stocks assume a rapid industry expansion. Should that fail to materialise, share prices will likely unwind and many startups won't be able to rely on the capital markets to fund their unprofitable ventures.

"People were always too aggressive on EV adoption," said Craig Irwin, analyst at Roth Capital Partners. "What we have now is a market adjustment, a recalibration back to reality."

While Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk placed the blame on high interest rates, others pointed to demand. GM said it was rethinking goals as EV sales were slower than anticipated, and Honda shelved plans to develop affordable EVs with GM. Mercedes called the EV price war "brutal" and unsustainable, and Hertz said it will slow the pace of buying these cars due to high repair costs.

At the same time, Wall Street analysts downgraded EV-exposed companies such as lithium suppliers and charging station operators.

"EVs had a grace period of initial demand enthusiasm, but that appears to be over," said Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research.

The warning signs appeared early this year as Tesla started aggressively cutting prices in an effort to shore up demand. That sparked a price war as other EV-makers followed, eating into profitability for some carmakers and pushing up already steep losses for others.

But demand stayed weak despite the lower prices, leading some to conclude that the pool of "first-adopter" consumers may have been tapped. Then there are other hurdles like high interest rates and expensive car loans, still inconsistent charging networks and the relatively fewer electric models available.

Even the global political push for cleaner transportation options isn't making a difference.

"Consumers have the final word on where pricing has to go," Mr Colas said. "If demand is already faltering, then margins are going to be tight from here on."


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Thursday, October 26, 2023

The madness of Net Zero

John Gideon Hartnett

How crazy has the world become? What we are watching is the most insane delusion faced by humankind.

To believe that carbon dioxide, plant food, is a pollutant is an idea that would have put you in the asylum 40 years ago. But not now. The climate cult has taken this bizarre ideology mainstream and the asylum is being run by the inmates…

Some sane voices are still speaking up.

Princeton University’s Emeritus (retired) Professor of Physics William Happer is one of them. The Institute of Public Affairs was proud to host his tour around Australia. A video of his presentation may be viewed on YouTube.

Professor Happer is one of the world’s leading scientists and climate realists, having made extensive contributions to the debate about climate science. He has often spoken on the crusade against carbon dioxide and the importance of integrity within the body of climate science. He has played a vital role in ensuring the community is exposed to information and arguments that many major institutions in our society seek to censor.

As a physics professor (now retired also), I found his approach to fundamental issues, like thermal radiation into space, refreshing. He has looked at the fundamentals of the laws of nature and shown that there cannot be any climate emergency based on carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere.

In recent times, whole communities have suddenly fixed ‘their minds upon one object Net Zero’ and have subsequently gone ‘mad’. He stated, ‘Millions of people [have] become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it.’ This is what has happened regarding the war against alleged anthropogenic global warming caused by carbon dioxide, water vapour, and cow farts (he never said that; the last one was just me).

When it comes to his background, Professor Happer described his involvement in developing artificial stars for the US military. It is a technique that uses a powerful laser and adaptive optics to cancel the speckling effects of temperature variations in the atmosphere from the ground up to high altitudes. Details aside, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this research was declassified and now astronomical observatories routinely use the technique to improve their image quality from light passing through the atmosphere.

A side benefit of this research was that scientists could measure the temperature profiles of the atmosphere precisely up to an altitude of 100 km. This meant they could measure the thermal radiation being emitted into space.

More than 100 years ago, German physicist Max Planck figured out radiation from a ‘blackbody’, beginning what is now known as quantum mechanics. The measurements that Happer et al. made fell within standard predictions of that physics. But more importantly, they discovered that the atmospheric greenhouse gases reduced the emissions into space. This is due to the effects that certain features of those molecules (their vibrational and rotational states and Karl Schwarzschild’s research) have on the emissions at various wavelengths, particularly in the infrared. In total those features reduce the amount of radiation into space by about 30 per cent less than would be radiated if there were no gasses such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour in the atmosphere. CO2 particularly has a very strong effect and it is easily observed how much it reduces emissions. In fact, without CO2 there would be way too much emission of heat into space and the Earth would be too cold to live on.

The physics also showed that ‘if you double CO2 it almost doesn’t affect the radiation to space’. You can hardly tell any difference in the emissions. It is only a 1 per cent increase. Prof. Happer said, ‘100 per cent increase of CO2 [give you a] 1 per cent effect on radiation to space, so of course the mainstream media would never tell you that but the UN knows perfectly well this is true.’ This is hard physics as he says. It is not debatable. It is not consensus physics like the UN IPCC likes to use. It is by measurement with very accurate instruments.

Now I don’t want to get too nerdy into the physics, but Prof. Happer went on to describe the Stefan-Boltzman equation that tells us the relationship between the emission of radiation into space and the temperature of the radiating body (the Earth in this case). It turns out the emission of radiation into space goes as the fourth power of the temperature. That’s a huge effect. It means if you double the temperature you increase the radiation by 16 times. But if you invert this – a 1 per cent change in radiation into space means 0.25 per cent change in absolute temperature and that is not centigrade (C), but absolute temperature measured in kelvin (K). An atmospheric temperature at sea level of 15.5 C is about 288.7 K. That means 0.25 per cent of 288.7 K change, which is about 0.71 of a degree C. In this case that change is the same in C or K. 0.7 degrees is tiny but that is all you would get from a doubling of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, from 400 ppm to 800 ppm, which at current accumulation rates would take a very long time, maybe another hundred years.

There is much more to the story. He explains the invocation of huge positive feedback in all the UN climate models which are not in any normal systems. They have to have these unknown feedback systems to get temperature changes way beyond any understanding in the standard physics. This is because ‘CO2 is too wimpy to be worried about,’ Prof. Happer said. So the climate cult makes up something that Happer called ‘affirmative action for CO2’. He then commented that the French chemist Le Chatelier noted that in most natural processes in nature, feedbacks are negative. Positive feedbacks almost never occur. But unremarkable negative-feedback-stabilised Earth temperatures are hardly likely to secure the next lucrative research grant and so the gravy train continues.

There is nothing to get excited about. Well-established standard physics and experimental observations tell us that it doesn’t matter how much CO2 density in the atmosphere varies around the 400 ppm to 800 ppm range; it does very little to change Earth’s temperatures.

Net Zero emissions is total madness. Even if humans could reduce their CO2 output to the atmosphere it will reduce plant food production, create famines and unnecessarily cool the planet by less than 1 degree. Reject the propaganda!


Mega-Jolt: The Costs and Logistics of Plugging In EVs Are About to Become Supercharged

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm gave Americans an unintended glimpse of the future during her road trip this summer touting the wonders of electric vehicles. Far from spotlighting the promise of EVs, her public relations misadventure in Georgia involved one of her staff in a gasoline-powered vehicle blocking off a coveted charger in advance of her arrival, leading to frayed tempers and a local EV owner calling the cops. It was an illustration of the challenges drivers could face as governments push the public to embrace plug-in vehicles.

Hyped as technological marvels, EVs are boobytrapped with a host of inconveniences and tradeoffs. By now many people have heard about range anxiety, exploding lithium-ion batteries, and the environmental destruction caused by global mining for battery minerals.

But another wave of challenges is in the offing as the federal government and state officials pump in billions of dollars to build out a massive national infrastructure of charging stations to power the EVs.

The sheer scale of a charging infrastructure means recruiting retailers and businesses to install and maintain chargers that are expected to lose money in the near future, with some likely to be written off as economic losses.

In California, which is slated to ban sales of new gasoline-powered cars in just 12 years, government estimates indicate the state may need to install at least 20 electric chargers for every gas pump now in service to create a reliable, seamless network.

Massive public subsidies will be a crucial part of this effort because private industry is not willing to take the financial risks of betting on an uncertain future. Government subsidies mean complying with recordkeeping and reporting mandates and making sure chargers are online 97% of the time, while bearing the financial risk of vandalism, mechanical malfunctions, daily fluctuations in electricity pricing, and cashflow unpredictability.

A “net zero” society inherently favors the haves over the have-nots. Renters and low-income families aren’t as likely to own private chargers, and electricity purchased from public chargers can cost five to 10 times as much as charging privately in a garage at home. To avoid penalizing the little guy, federal EV mandates require that 40% of benefits pay for public chargers in disadvantaged areas, while California requires that at least half go to such “equity” communities, where relatively few people currently drive EVs.

The rapid transition from a reliable legacy energy infrastructure that’s more than a century old to emerging technologies in just a few decades will require the buy-in of virtually every American, including relearning driving habits and adopting charging patterns that right now constitute the leisurely prerogative of early adopters and trend-setters.

“We need to make sure the infrastructure is overbuilt, oversupplied and over-capacity so that nobody as a driver gets stranded,” said John Eichberger, executive director of the Transportation Energy Institute, a nonprofit research organization. “When you point out the challenges to a believer or a staunch advocate, well now you’re just being negative, you’re just trying to impede progress.”


Beware the offshore wind oligarchy

The Atlantic coastal states are painting themselves into a financial corner with offshore wind targets and mandates. These purchase requirements may be creating a seller’s market for offshore power providers. Even worse, given that there are only a handful of developers, it may well become an oligopoly market. If so, then the question is how high the prices to the states will go.

This alarming possibility is in sharp contrast to how the situation is being reported. Some developers have bought out their existing power purchase (supply) agreements as uneconomical. In New York, the State rejected a large-scale request from a bunch of developers for price increases averaging over 50% on the grounds that it violated their competitive procurement policy.

These events have been reported as serious setbacks for the industry, but in every case, the developers are expected to rebid the PPAs at much higher prices. In fact, these States are rushing to get new procurements underway. Other states are doing likewise.

The New York developers can hardly be expected to bid lower than they already asked for, as that would suggest their ask was dishonest. They may well bid higher, arguing that their costs have continued to increase. Developers for other states are likely to want similar amounts.

The driver here may be the huge targets already set by the states. Reports often cite the Biden target of 30,000 MW, but the combined state targets are much bigger. Just New York, New Jersey, and Virginia sum to over the Biden target. The combined targets from Maine to North Carolina exceed a whopping 50,000 MW of offshore wind capacity.

Given the huge targets, the question is how high a price will these states eat? If I were the developers, I would come in very high. As the saying goes, it is easy to go down but hard to go up.

Not only is it a mandated seller’s market, it has the makings of an oligopoly. These are short-term procurements, so the only viable bidders are those ready to build. That is a very small number of developers, perhaps a dozen or so, if that. For each state, there may only be a very small number that can deliver to them.

There are lots of leases, but it takes 5 years or more to get to the construction stage. Even though the Environmental Impact Statements are a cruel joke on the environment, they still require a lot of research. Smoke and mirrors take time to build.

So I would not be surprised if the bids on the first state’s procurement were very high and they kept getting higher, state by state and procurement by procurement. Of course, the states will scream and squawk. They may even reject these high prices at first, but they have huge targets and mandates to meet. The developers are mostly big, global companies, so they can afford to take their time, holding out for their high prices.

This particular issue storm is going to be very interesting. Nor will it be over quickly. Green politics meets green business head-on. We are talking about something like $200 billion in offshore wind projects. A titanic struggle.

Of course, it is possible the states will simply ditch the targets or slip them harmlessly into the future so they can repeatedly reject the high bids. This might even wipe out offshore wind, which is what it deserves. Watching that happen, perhaps even helping it along, could be great fun.


Do We Really Know That Human Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cause Significant Climate Change?

It’s by far the most important scientific question of our age: Do human emissions of CO2 and other such “greenhouse gases” cause significant global warming, aka “climate change”? Based on the belief that an affirmative answer to that question is a universally accepted truth, our government has embarked on a multi-trillion dollar campaign to transform our economy by, among other things, eliminating hydrocarbon fuels from electricity generation (without any demonstrated workable plan for the replacement), outlawing the kinds of vehicles we currently drive, suppressing fossil fuel extraction, banning pipeline construction, making all your appliances work less well, and much more. Express any doubt about the causal connection between human activities and climate change, and you could very well get labeled as a “climate denier,” fired from your academic job, demonetized by Google or Facebook, or even completely ostracized from polite society.

But is there actually any real proof of the proposition at issue? In fact, there is not.

I had two important posts on this subject back in 2021: one from January 2, titled “Causation Of Climate Change, And The Scientific Method,” and the other from October 28, titled “‘The Climate Is Changing And Human Activities Are The Cause’: How, Exactly, Do We Know That?” Those posts covered the basics of how causation is generally established under the scientific method. Those posts also reviewed certain articles published at the time that gave good reasons to doubt the truth of the proposition that human greenhouse gas emissions are a main driver of significant climate change. Go to those posts for discussions of and links to the 2020/21 articles that I reviewed at the time.

The reason for today’s post is that a couple of important new articles have come to my attention that further make clear that the proposition that human activities, particularly “greenhouse gas” emissions, are causing significant climate change has not been proved and, based on existing data, cannot be proved. I’ll provide links and summaries, and let you draw your own conclusions as to the significance of these new articles.

But before that, let’s review one more time the basics of how causation is extablished under the scientific method. This is from my January 2, 2021 post:

We start with the basic maxim that “correlation does not prove causation.” Instead, causation is established by disproof of all relevant alternative (“null”) hypotheses. Everybody knows how this works from drug testing. We can’t prove that drug A cures disease X by administering drug A a thousand times and observing that disease X almost always goes away. Disease X might have gone away for other reasons, or on its own. Even if we administer drug A a million times, and disease X almost always goes away, we have only proved correlation, not causation. To prove causation, we must disprove the null hypothesis by testing drug A against a placebo. The placebo represents the null hypothesis that something else (call it “natural factors”) is curing disease X. When drug A is significantly more effective at curing disease X than the placebo, then we have disproved the null hypothesis, and established, at least provisionally, the effectiveness of drug A.

And yet somehow these principles don’t apply in the field of climate science. Instead, all the inside clique of the climate science community have decided to agree that the new way to prove causation is to show really, really good correlation with the preferred hypothesis, in which case subjecting the proposition at issue to a test of invalidation against a null hypothesis can be dispensed with. The climate science community calls its system for establishing causation “detection and attribution” studies. The basic idea is to come up with a model (i.e., a hypothesis) that predicts global warming based on increased greenhouse gases, and then collect data that show a very close match between what the model predicted and the data. Correlation with the model predictions is the claimed proof of causation. There are hundreds of such studies in the climate literature. My January 2, 2021 post linked to a classic of the genre, a 2018 IPCC-sponsored article written by a collection of some 36 co-authors who constitute a virtual “who’s who” of the insiders of the climate science cult (e.g., Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Tom Wigley, Ben Santer, etc., etc., etc.). The title is “Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes.” Key quote:

There is a wide range of evidence of qualitative consistencies between observed climate changes and model responses to anthropogenic forcing, including global warming, increasing land-ocean temperature contrast, diminishing Arctic sea-ice extent, glacial retreat and increases in precip- itation in Northern Hemisphere high latitudes.

Just get yourself enough “qualitative consistencies” with your hypothesis and proof of causation will be yours!

The authors of the two new papers beg to differ. First, we have a paper by John Dagsvik and Sigmund Moen of Statistics Norway, dated September 2023, titled “To what extent are temperature levels changing due to greenhouse gas emissions?” This paper is particularly significant because it has been issued by a governmental agency — the government statistical agencies being otherwise all in lockstep in support of the human-caused global warming narrative. Excerpt from the Dagsvik and Moen paper (page 5):

At present, there is apparently a high degree of consensus among many climate researchers that the temperature increase of the last decades is systematic (and partly man-made). This is certainly the impression conveyed by the mass media. For non-experts, it is very difficult to obtain a comprehensive picture of the research in this field, and it is almost impossible to obtain an overview and understanding of the scientific basis for such a consensus (Koonin, 2021, Curry, 2023). By looking at these issues in more detail, this article reviews past observed and reconstructed temperature data as well as properties and tests of the global climate models (GCMs). Moreover, we conduct statistical analyses of observed and reconstructed temperature series and test whether the recent fluctuation in temperatures differs systematically from previous temperature cycles, due possibly to emission of greenhouse gases.

And the conclusion of Dagsvik and Moen (from the abstract):

[W]e find, . . . that the effect of man-made CO2 emissions does not appear to be strong enough to cause systematic changes in the temperature fluctuations during the last 200 years.

A good deal of the discussion in Dagsvik and Moen covers various deficiencies and inadequacies of the existing temperature data series — inadequacies that make it impossible to draw conclusions from existing data about causation of temperature increases from human greenhouse gas emissions. Here is one comment on the data from page 10 that I find particularly significant:

For all three surface air temperature records, but especially NCDC and GISS, administrative changes to anomaly values are quite often introduced, even for observations several years back in time. Some changes may be due to the delayed reductions of stations or addition of new station data, while others probably have their origin in a change of technique to calculate average values. It is impossible to evaluate the validity of such administrative changes for an outside user of these records.

For more than you will ever want to know on that subject, see my thirty part series “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time.” Bureaucrats altering the data to support their preferred narrative have rendered the data completely useless for any legitimate public policy purpose.

A second important new paper is from Antonis Christofides and co-authors dated September 26, 2023. They introduce their paper with a long post of that date at Climate, Etc. titled “Causality and Climate.” The part of the full technical paper relating to the climate science application can be found at this link. If you go to that last link and try to read through it, you will find technical math that will quickly have your head swimming, even if you are a quasi math geek like myself. However, their fundamental point as to causality in climate science is not very complicated: if you plot recent temperature increases against increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, it’s the temperature increases that come first, and the CO2 increases follow. Thus, if there is causality, it must be that the temperature increase is causing the CO2 increase, rather than the other way around.

More here:


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Humans have 'lost control' of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet melting - and it could cause global sea levels to rise by 3.2 FEET by 2100, study warns

Here we go again! Yes. The volcanoes under it do cause West Antarctic glaciers to calve at times but it is nothing to do with global warming. Otherwise the whole ice-sheet would melt. The East is actually gaining mass. It is just a fraudulent scare below

Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey say that the inevitable melting from heating caused by greenhouse gas emissions is set to raise sea levels throughout the following decades.

Even if emissions are controlled to achieve the best possible scenario, melting of the ice sheet will continue to accelerate this century, at a speed three times faster than during the 20th century.

If it melts completely, the ice sheet will release enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 17ft (5.3 metres).

However, scientists say that it is 'only' likely to make them rise by 3.2ft (one metre) by the end of the century.

Warming oceans, that are absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere, erode the ice sheet from underneath and this effect is most pronounced on the western side of the continent.

Scientists are unsure how much this is likely to contribute towards global sea level rise but if the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet melted it would contribute around five metres, though this scenario is seen as unlikely to happen.

East Antarctica, which contains around 95 per cent of the continent's ice, remains stable as far as scientists can see, with a recent study finding the amount of ice has been increasing there over the past 30 years, though it is rapidly melting in the west with a net loss of around 7.5 trillion tonnes of ice.

How much this melting will contribute to rising oceans is not as well understood as other polar regions such as the Greenland glaciers.

Dr Kaitlin Naughten of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and lead author of the study said other research beyond her own points to it contributing to around one metre of sea level rise by 2100.

Describing her findings, she said: 'It appears we may have lost control of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf melting over the 21st century.

'Our actions today likely will make a difference further down the line in the 22nd century and beyond, but that's a timescale that probably none of us here will be around to see.'

The research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, has been described by scientists as 'sobering' as it points to an inevitable rising of sea levels that will likely devastate many coastal communities if they do not adapt.

Already in the UK the Welsh village of Fairbourne is scheduled for abandonment in the 2050s by Gwynedd Council after it announced it will no longer keep up sea defences.

Millions of people around the world live by the coast and will either have to 'build around' the threat or 'be abandoned', Dr Naughten said, who added that controlling emissions would result in slower sea level rise which would give people more time to adapt.

For the current study, Dr Naughten's BAS team simulated four scenarios for the current century against a historic baseline of the previous one, imagining that emissions are either controlled to rein in the global temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above pre-industrial levels or that emissions continue at a medium or high level.

Every scenario showed there would be widespread warming of the Amundsen sea, which borders West Antarctica, resulting in faster melting of the ice sheets.

The various emissions pathways did not show much difference until around 2045, when the high-emissions simulation began to increase the rate of melting faster than the other scenarios.

Other scientists cautioned against viewing the results of the study as being absolutely conclusive as they are based on a single model, but that it is in line with other similar studies.

Professor Alberto Naveira Garabato, an oceanographer at the University of Southampton, said: 'This is a sobering piece of research.

'It illustrates how our past choices have likely committed us to substantial melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its consequent sea level rise – to which we will inevitably have to adapt as a society over coming decades and centuries.

'However, it should also serve as a wake up call. We can still save the rest of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, containing about 10 times as many metres of sea level rise, if we learn from our past inaction and start reducing greenhouse gas emissions now.'


EU proposes delaying more green rules amid opposition

Europe’s executive arm is proposing a two-year delay in implementing a key element of its sustainable finance framework, as complaints mount that businesses can’t keep up.

The European Commission said cutting red tape is critical to ensuring that the region’s companies remain competitive, according to a document laying out its agenda for 2024. That means extending the deadline for adoption of sectoral elements of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards, or ESRS, currently due to come into force in June 2024.

“This will provide an immediate reduction in the reporting burden for in-scope companies,” small and medium-sized firms, the commission said.

The development is the latest sign of a pushback against Europe’s ambitions to swiftly respond to climate change and social inequality, and steer its economy toward a more sustainable model. An 11th-hour attempt on Wednesday by members of the EU’s parliament to entirely rework the ESRS failed, in a vote of 359-261.

Other corners of Europe’s ESG framework are also likely to be reworked. The commission is reviewing the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, its ESG investing rulebook. And this week, the EU announced that it’s seeking stakeholder input as it reconsiders Europe’s taxonomy of sustainable business activities amid a steady drumbeat of complaints that companies can’t meet the welter of new rules within existing deadlines.

The commission has pledged to reduce reporting requirements generally by 25%, and said it will cooperate with the European Parliament and the Council “to ensure all forthcoming proposals take into account the need to reduce burdens while preserving their policy objectives.”


Much of the world’s gas comes from Hamas headquarters. This war could affect us all

HAMAS is headquartered in Qatar

The brutal Hamas attacks on Israel and the continuing military response to them have given rise to many questions related to regional and global energy security in recent days.

As is always the case whenever new conflicts arise in the Middle East, the direction of oil prices was the first question on many analysts’ minds. The market’s response thus far has been fairly muted, with crude prices rising by about 5 per cent at the start of Friday trading. That trend appears likely to continue absent some significant escalation of the conflict outside of Israel and Gaza, or a decision by officials in the Biden administration to restart enforcement of US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, which they quietly stopped performing late in 2022.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising a ground campaign to eradicate Hamas and President Joe Biden pledging full US support, other questions around regional and global energy security are also being raised. Prominent among them is the status of the government in Qatar, and the country’s exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) that serve as a vital source of sorely needed natural gas supplies across Asia, Europe and the UK.

The questions surrounding Qatar arise chiefly from its strong ties to both Hamas and Iran, which serves as Hamas’s major funder and sponsor. Hamas maintains its head office in Qatar’s capital city of Doha and receives a good deal of its funding from the Qatari government. According to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Qatar has provided between $360 million-$480 million annually to Hamas in recent years, enabling the funding of social services and strengthening the terrorist group’s grip on power in Gaza.

Qatar’s strong ties to both Hamas and Iran give rise to concerns it could become entangled in the response by Israel and the US to the terrorist attacks. Qatar’s ties to Iran were a factor in an agreement between the US and Iran to pick Doha banks as repositories for the $6 billion in funds released to Iran’s government by the Biden administration as part of a hostage exchange between the two countries in September.

Following Hamas’s attacks on Israel, that $6 billion became a flashpoint of criticism for the Biden government, with allegations Iran had used the money to fund Hamas’s operations. The New York Times reported on Thursday that, following days of negotiations, Qatar’s government has agreed to refreeze those funds and deny Iran’s government access to them.

When asked about such an agreement with Qatar, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken did not overtly confirm it, but did claim, “none of the funds that have now gone to Qatar have actually been spent or accessed in any way by Iran.” White House spokesman John Kirby was similarly noncommittal when asked the same question, but did go on record saying, “Every single dime of that money is still sitting in a Qatari bank. Not one dime of it has been spent.”

Regardless of the actual status of those funds, the reports of Qatari cooperation with the US related to their disposal should somewhat ease concerns about ongoing availability of the country’s LNG exports.

There is little question about the vital role Qatar plays in supplying the global LNG market. Prior to 2022, the UK had regularly sourced the majority of its LNG imports from Qatar. But the vast increase in US LNG exports in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine enabled it to surpass Qatar as the UK’s biggest LNG trading partner, supplying more than half of all UK imports. Records maintained by the UK government show Qatar still supplying more than a 30 per cent share of British LNG needs, and a similar share of overall European imports. Natural gas is vital for power generation, heating, industry and other uses.

Asia is the other main destination for Qatari LNG, receiving 70 per cent of Qatar’s exports during 2021. Major Asian importers include China, South Korea, India, Japan and Pakistan. Any disruptions of Qatar’s LNG exports would result in major economic impacts across both the European and Asian continents.

Qatar’s geographic positioning near the mid-point of the Persian Gulf serves as a key factor here. This reality yet again highlights the critical nature of the ability to maintain the open flow of shipping traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow choke point connecting the Persian Gulf to the world’s oceans and global markets for both crude oil and LNG. This objective has been a key role filled by the US Navy since the end of World War II. Iran, which sits on one side of the Strait, has often sought to impede shipping there, and has recently taken to seizing vessels on various pretexts. The US has moved forces to the area in response.

Any major escalation of this conflict between Israel and Hamas that threatens to disrupt that flow comes with wide-ranging global economic and energy security implications


Australia: disastrous renewable energy project that's blown out in cost by $10BILLION after it was plagued by sinkholes, gas leaks and flooding

Pumped storage is an attractive idea in many ways but this project should be a warning about how it can go badly wrong in practice

The 'complex' Snowy Hydro 2.0 project continues to face delays, months after a sinkhole and a gas leak caused operational difficulties.

ABC's Four Corners program revealed on Monday the $2bn project, which has since blown out to $12bn, has faced a number of safety and operational delays.

The project's use of a $150m 400-tonne boring machine, called Florence, has caused chaos for workers and planners in recent months.

The tunnel project, which aims to dig the 15km journey below Kosciuszko National Park, was launched in March 2022.

Four Corners reported on Monday Florence has only completed 150m since the project began because of geotechnical issues the workers faced when they hit soft ground 100m into the dig.

The stalled project has added another $2bn to the budget blowout, according to Four Corners.

Despite the initial concerns, the project continued on when the machine became bogged due to water and soft ground.

'We would push forward 50cm then spend the next week clearing out all the mud and water from around the tunnel boring machine,' one worker told Four Corners.

'Sometimes there was 3 to 4 feet of water around the machine.'

To ensure the project could continue, so-called 'slurry system' equipment was ordered but it was designed on inappropriate modelling.

Snowy Hydro chief executive Dennis Barnes, who was appointed in February, told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday the Florence machine continued to operate despite the difficulties it had experienced.

'There's been no point since Florence experienced this soft ground in November 2022 that the machine has not been in some way been able to move forward,' Mr Barnes said. 'It's not bogged, it is able to move.'

Mr Barnes accepted he was naive when he took on the project earlier this year and informed a previous Senate inquiry that the project would be up and running sooner rather than later.

'I'm sorry to have understated the restarting of Florence ... it was far more complex than I anticipated,' he said.

The project also saw a sinkhole open up just before Christmas. Mr Barnes said this sinkhole was just outside the construction boundary.

The tunnel also filled up with toxic gas in July as the work was underway in an attempt to stabilise the ground around the Florence machine.

Mr Barnes told Senate estimates this was caused by a chemical reaction which caused isocyanate, a hazardous chemical.

SafeWork NSW told Four Corners the gas posed a 'serious imminent risk' to 'health and safety' and labelled the Snowy 2.0 project as having 'inadequate control measures ... to prevent exposure to a harmful substance'.

The project had also been issued a number of fines by the NSW Environment and Heritage Department.

Mr Barnes said the project was working with the state government to meet its compliance obligations and assured the Senate estimates hearing on Monday that the project is about 40 per cent complete.

Mr Barnes said while 'design immaturity and geotechnical issues' had initially added to the budget blowout, the project still was important for Australia.

'The market really does need this asset and I would characterise this as something good for the Australian market,' he said.

'We have taken third party modelling and determined that over and above the $12bn there's still a $3bn (estimated portfolio value).'

Snowy 2.0 has been pitched as a critical driver to the renewables transition and will aim to create enough clean energy to power half a million homes.

As of June, $4.3bn had been spent on the project, and is expected to be fully operational in late 2028.


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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