Thursday, April 18, 2024

The current “Net Zero” agenda will backfire

The whole current policy agenda associated with responding to climate change is both misguided/counterproductive and almost guaranteed to annoy those people who do not want to change.

It is counterproductive because, firstly, it is based on the fantasy that renewable energy is a like for like replacement for fossil fuels. It simply is not – there is no alternative to fossil fuels for a whole range of economically vital activities (e.g. steelmaking, cement making, long-distance transport).

Secondly, because following the current agenda will make environmental problems much worse, and lead to more carbon emissions, not less. To build the amount of extra electricity-generating capacity we are talking about will mean mining more copper than we have done in the whole of history up to right now (not to mention a whole lot of other kinds of mineral/metal). To make all of the windmills and solar panels we will need will only be possible with massive use of fossil fuels so emissions will have to go up in the short to medium term.

So the whole Net Zero agenda is simply not going to happen – it is based on a fantasy and is actually a way of avoiding tough choices and appearing to do something while not actually doing it. What it does though is impose major costs and inconvenience on people who really dislike it and will react politically – I don’t welcome much of that political reaction (e.g. voting for Trump), quite the contrary, but it is a real phenomenon. The patronising and condescending language used by environmentalist activists and their supporters adds to this effect.

I think there is an actual class conflict at the root of this. I do not think this is a matter of masses or ‘ordinary people’ versus elites. It is a conflict of both interests and visions between two social groups, one of which makes up 25–35% of the population of developed countries while the other makes up roughly 40%. The first group consists of people who work in the non-physical economy and live in globally connected metropolitan areas, who do have higher social status on average than the people in the second group, but who do not necessarily have higher incomes.

The second group is the proverbial “man in the pub”, broadly defined (as mentioned, this group can include some very well-to-do people).

I think both sides are avoiding serious thinking about the actual issue. The first group are engaged in a displacement exercise in which they are advocating a set of policies that will put much of the costs of pretending to deal with climate change on the second group. They justify this with a kind of rhetoric that is hostile to mass consumerism etc but not to their own version of it – this is what enrages their interlocutors and gives rise to really bad politics. I think the beliefs of the first class are an ideology or false consciousness in the classic Friedrich Engels sense of the word – though you could make a similar point about the second.

What we actually need is a serious conversation about whether we can continue to have a high-energy civilisation, and if we decide we can do that and want to, how we do it, or if we decide that we cannot, what the alternative would actually look like. It would not mean for example, still using cars as the main form of transportation but just electric ones – that is a fantasy for all kinds of reasons. Most of the policies in place right now actively hinder this kind of debate or conversation and are provoking a very dangerous political backlash.

A good first step would be to impose a general carbon tax and then to use the price signals that are generated to decide via distributed decision making in the market which aspects of contemporary life we are prepared to pay for and continue and which not. What is simply not going to work is to impose policies in a top-down way and use a language and particular measures that disproportionately impact just under half of the population while (initially) not touching another third or more and justifying it with a perspective and arguments that denigrate the choices and preferences of those 40%.


Real experts never warn of climate apocalypse

The end of the world is nigh. No, make that nigher. This was, in effect, the warning made last week at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) by Simon Stiell, often described as the UN’s “climate chief”. Stiell, a former minister in the government of Grenada, and now executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told his audience in London: “We have two years to save the world.”

The fact that you may not have been aware of his apocalyptic warning (though The Times ran it on page 10 of Thursday’s paper under the headline “Two years to save the planet, UN chief says”) only underlines how devalued such claims of imminent planetary doom now are. They never come from the experts involved, since none of the scientific reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have warned of human or planetary extinction as a result of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Rising temperatures and higher sea levels, yes, but nothing remotely on the scale of the catastrophe so frequently invoked by the politicians and lobbyists.

In his speech Stiell declared: “Who has two years to save the world? Every person on this planet”, adding that this would be best achieved by all of us “cutting fossil fuel production”. I suspect the moderator of the Chatham House event, who gasped “Amazing!” when this peroration ended, was unaware that Stiell had been part of the government of Grenada that passed a Hydrocarbon Exploration Incentive Bill, and served under a prime minister, Keith Mitchell, who declared before the country’s general election in 2018: “We can now confirm that we have found oil and gas in huge commercial quantities. Grenada is now on its way to becoming a major oil-producing country … This, sisters and brothers, is a game-changer.”


How did the current obsession with decarbonization arise?

(part of a lecture givenby Prof. R, Lindzen to MIT Students for Free Inquiry on March 6, 2024)

Currently, there is great emphasis on the march through the educational institutions: first the schools of education and then higher education in the humanities and the social sciences and now STEM.

What is usually ignored is that the first institutions to be captured were professional societies. My wife attended a meeting of the Modern Language Association in the late 60’s , and it was already fully ‘woke.’ While there is currently a focus on the capture of education, DEI was not the only goal of the march through the institutions. I think it would be a mistake to ignore the traditional focus of revolutionary movements on the means of production. The vehicle for this was the capture of the environmental movement.

Prior to 1970, the focus of this movement was on things like whales, endangered species, landscape, clean air and water, and population. However, with the first Earth Day in April of 1970 , the focus turned to the energy sector which, after all, is fundamental to all production, and relatedly, involves trillions of dollars. This was accompanied by the creation of new environmental organizations like Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It was also accompanied by new governmental organizations like the EPA and the Department of Transportation.

Once again, professional societies were easy pickings: the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and even the honorary societies like the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, etc. There was a bit of floundering to begin with. The movement initially attempted to focus on global cooling due to the reflection of sunlight by sulfate aerosols emitted by coal fired generators . After all, there seemed to have been global cooling between the 1930’s and the 1970’s. However, the cooling ended in the 1970’s.

There was an additional effort to tie the sulfates to acid rain which was allegedly killing forests. This also turned out to be a dud. In the 70’s, attention turned to CO 2 and its contribution to warming via the greenhouse effect. The attraction of controlling CO 2 to political control freaks was obvious. It was the inevitable product of all burning of carbon - based fuels. It was also the product of breathing.

However, there was a problem: CO 2 was a minor greenhouse gas compared to the Origins of Decarbonization.pdf naturally produced water vapor. Doubling CO 2 would only lead to warming of less than 1 o C. A paper in the early 70’s by Manabe and Wetherald came to the rescue. Using a highly unrealistic one - dimensional model of the atmosphere, they found that assuming (without any basis) that relative humidity remained constant as the atmosphere warmed would provide a positive feedback that would amplify the impact of CO 2 by a factor of 2. This violated Le Chatelier’s Principle that held that natural systems tended to oppose change, but to be fair, the principle was not something that had been rigorously proven.

Positive feedbacks now became the stock in trade of all climate models which now were producing responses to doubling CO 2 of 3 o C and even 4 o C rather than a paltry 1 o C or less. The enthusiasm of politicians became boundless. Virtue signaling elites promised to achieve net zero emissions within a decade or 2 or 3 with no idea of how to achieve this without destroying their society. Ordinary people, confronted with impossible demands on their own well - being, have not found warming of a few degrees to be very impressive. Few of them contemplate retiring to the arctic rather than Florida.

Excited politicians, confronted by this resistance, have frantically changed their story. Rather than emphasizing miniscule changes in their temperature metric, they now point to weather extremes which occur almost daily some place on earth, as proof not only of climate change but of climate change due to increasing CO 2 (and now also to the even more negligible contributors to the greenhouse effect like methane and nitrous oxide) even though such extremes show no significant correlation with the emissions.

From the political point of view, extremes provide convenient visuals that have more emotional impact than small temperature changes. The desperation of political figures often goes beyond this to claiming that climate change is an existential threat (associated with alleged ‘tipping points’) even though the official document s produced to support climate concerns never come close to claiming this , and where there is no theoretical or observational basis for tipping points .

I should note that there was one exception to the focus on warming, and that was the ozone depletion issue. However, even this issue served a purpose. When Richard Benedick, the American negotiator of the Montreal Convention which banned Freon passed t hrough MIT on his way back from Montreal, he gloated over his success, but assured us that we hadn’t seen anything yet; we should wait to see what they would do with CO 2 . In brief the ozone issue constituted a dry run for global warming.

To be sure, the EPA ’ s activities still include conventional pollution control, but energy dominates. Of course, the attraction of power is not the only thing motivating politicians. The ability to award trillions of dollars to reorient our energy sector means that there are recipients of these trillions of dollars, and these recipients must only share a few percent of these trillions of dollars to support the campaigns of these politicians for many election cycles and guarantee the support of these politicians for the policies associated w ith the reorientation .


Watchdog accuses Biden administration of inflating climate disaster numbers

The Biden administration relied on tainted, inaccurate, misleading and self-serving data analysis to claim storms are becoming more extreme and expensive due to climate change, according to a watchdog group.

Protect the Public’s Trust cited a new study that combed through data used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for its climate and disaster tracking project and found it inflated damage and made inexplicable data calculations that did not factor in obvious contributions to disaster costs, such as an increase in development in coastal regions and other areas vulnerable to hurricanes, flooding or wildfires.

Most recently, NOAA ballooned the cost of damage from Hurricane Idalia, a storm last August that affected the southeastern part of the United States.

While insured losses from wind damage and flooding totaled $310 million through mid-November, NOAA estimated the storm caused losses of $3.6 billion, or about 12 times the damage covered by insurance.

Idalia’s steep costs were included in NOAA’s Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters tracking project, which has been used by the Biden administration to push its climate change agenda by saying weather events are becoming much more severe and costly, to the tune of billions of dollars’ worth of damage each year.

The NOAA data was cited in a November Biden-Harris administration fact sheet justifying $6 billion in new spending to combat climate change and advance “environmental justice.”

The administration cited the NOAA figures in claiming the U.S. set a record in 2023 for the number of climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion and that the nation now experiences a billion-dollar disaster every three weeks on average compared with once every four months in the 1980s.

“Every degree of global warming we avoid matters because each increment of warming is expected to lead to more damage and greater economic losses in the United States. Each climate action taken to reduce and avoid warming reduces those risks and harmful impacts,” Biden administration officials said in the announcement.

According to NOAA’s assessment, there were 8.5 weather disasters on average annually from 1980 to 2023 that caused losses exceeding $1 billion. The number surged to 20.4 of this type of weather disaster in the last five years, NOAA calculated.

But NOAA’s data doesn’t add up or does not include enough information to explain why it inflated some costs well beyond the initial assessment made by insurers and NOAA’s own National Hurricane Center, critics said.




Wednesday, April 17, 2024

UK Electricity Rates Five Times Higher Than China’s Thanks To Net Zero

The United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in 1988 and in 1995 the first Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP1) was held in Berlin.

There has been a COP meeting every year since then, apart from 2020 when covid intervened.

Last year COP28 was held in the United Arab Emirates and was attended by 84,000 delegates who flew in from all around the world to lecture the rest of us about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint.

In the nearly 30 years since COP conferences began, the U.K. has halved its CO2 emissions so that we now account for a mere 1% of the global total. But in this same time interval, the developing world has massively increased its CO2 emissions.

For example, China’s CO2 emissions have quadrupled and now account for 29% of the global total.

India’s emissions have tripled and now account for 7% of the global total. Both countries are still increasing their CO2 emissions.

The problem is that ‘green’ technologies are not very good. Electric cars and renewable energy are more expensive and inferior in performance to their fossil fuel equivalents.

So as the developing world industrializes, it is using fossil fuel technology to keep its costs down.

Is it right for the privileged people of the First World to tell the poorest people in the Third World to stop operating gas- and coal-fired power stations and stop driving petrol cars because of worries that in 50 years the planet will be warmer?

Climate modeling is so complex and uncertain that we don’t know how much warmer and we don’t know the consequences of that warming. Quite understandably the priority for the leaders of the developing world is to improve the lives of people now rather than worry about what may or may not happen in 50 years hence.

Even though [the UK] only produces 1% of global CO2 emissions, our government has decided we must press on with being world leaders in Net Zero.

Because our ‘carbon footprint’ is already so small, reducing it further will have no measurable impact on global temperatures, but it will further impoverish British people.

For example, we are repeatedly told by the green lobby (which these days occupy influential positions in politics, the media, universities, and business) that renewables are now the cheapest form of energy generation and we should build ever more wind farms and solar farms.

Since the U.K. is already a world leader in offshore wind, it follows that we should have some of the lowest electricity prices in the world.

In fact, the opposite is true; the U.K. has some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Typically people in this country pay more than twice as much for electricity as they do in the USA, where shale gas has transformed the energy market, and more than five times as much as in China, where they are still building coal-fired power stations.

The reason the U.K.’s electricity prices are so high is that there is a massive hidden cost in renewables its supporters gloss over or never mention, namely the need to have backup energy generation for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.


EPA Threatens Locally Produced Beef

On Jan. 23, 2024, under Biden Administration guidance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule that will bring 3,879 meat and poultry products (MPP) processing facilities under their jurisdiction. This was swiftly followed by an abbreviated comment period which closed on March 25, 2024, and then immediate implementation of the rule change.

All justified by wastewater levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus coming from animal meat processing, mirroring the World Economic Forum (WEF) agenda to minimize Nitrogen runoff from European farms which has sparked the widespread farmer protests throughout the European Union.

The new rule involves a major shift in the technology-based effluent limitations guidelines and standards (ELGs) for the meat and poultry industry, threatening their livelihoods by forcing them to add water filtration systems to their facilities.

What does this mean to small meat processing facilities? It’s been reported that the initial cost to install a water filtration system bringing them into compliance would be $300,000–400,000 with a minimum of $100,000 annual maintenance. This would force many small meat-processing facilities to shutter their doors.

It is also a direct attack on the buy local foods movement. If local meat producers no longer have a nearby facility to process the meat, they will no longer be able to provide their product direct to the customer at food markets or online.

The EPA initially promulgated the MPP ELGs in 1974 and amended them in 2004. Currently, they only apply to approximately 150 of the 5,055 MPP facilities in the industry. But, in the EPA’s Benefit Cost Analysis, they state that “EPA estimates the regulatory options potentially affect 3,879 MPP facilities.”

Accordingly, the history of the EPA’s regulation of MPP effluent guidelines and standards has never extended beyond direct discharge facilities and this rule significantly expands their regulatory overreach.

The Kansas Natural Resource Coalition (KNRC) filed comments opposing the proposed rule and was joined by other county coalitions and American Stewards of Liberty. KNRC, an organization of 30 Kansas counties, states these proposed rules will “regulate indirect discharge facilities” that “departs from constitutional and statutory authority” significantly altering the balance between state and federal powers.

They also state that the proposal “gives priority to environmental justice goals and emphasizes ecological benefits, but the EPA jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act is not based on ecological importance or environmental justice.”

Demonstrating that the “comment period” was mere window dressing to meet formal federal comment requirements, immediately on March 25, 2024 the EPA jammed through a finalized version of its devastating new interpretation of the Clean Water Act, which it has titled “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Meat and Poultry Products Point Source Category.” Clearly this is another case of aggressive, arbitrary and capricious EPA regulatory overreach, directly analogous to the recent Supreme Court case West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, 597 U.S. 697 (2022), a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court relating to the Clean Air Act, and the extent to which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can regulate carbon dioxide emissions related to climate change.

According to the EPA, after months of study and testing to look for bacteria, viruses etc., what they actually found in the wastewater of processing facilities was Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Two of the fundamental elements which all living things are composed of (Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus).

As a result, the EPA has decided that the entire meat industry—from slaughtering beef to poultry, marinas to packaging—must now retrofit current facilities with lagoons and biomass dissipates to turn “nutrients” into CO2 and methane in order to prevent these “pollutants” from entering local water supplies.

The EPA anticipates these new rules will, at least, result in the closure of 16 processing facilities across the country at a time when our country’s meat producers are already struggling to survive due to bottlenecks in USDA certified facilities. However, on the high side EPA estimates include an impact range of up to 845 processing facilities.

The EPA acknowledges (via the Federal Register) that this rule change will have far-reaching impacts up and down the supply chain from consumer prices to producer losses.

A press release was just put out by a consortium of protein producers who have said this will cost “millions more than the EPA’s highest estimates and result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.”

It gets worse;

Facilities can bypass these new regulations by drastically reducing their weekly/annual pounds processed. However, the US population continues to grow (largely due to immigration) at a rate that we’re currently incapable of feeding with record low volumes of meet production. Reducing pounds processed will have sizable impacts upon food security, as will further closures, and supply chain disruptions. These issues have now risen to the point of being a national security threat.

Problems in the rule change;

* The rule change fails to provide clarity or funding to local water treatment facilities for testing or range of acceptable levels of runoff, and in my opinion oversteps federal authority (Waters of the United States (WOTUS) jurisdiction) by dictating local water rights. Especially as the EPA acknowledges most water used in processing is from a well source, or privately owned water source.

* The rules fail to account for foreign inputs, and actually incentivize domestic closures, prioritizing imported meat products in a manner conducive to the monopolistic multinational conglomerate beef producers who are not U.S.-based. This, at a time when the United States has gradually become a net importer yet facing critical infrastructure collapses, such as the Key Bridge.

* The rules specify 17 species of endangered animals that may become affected by the salt residues (a byproduct of the process they want used to turn biomass into gas), as these salts flow “downstream” from processing facilities. This is bogus language to attempt to establish jurisdictional standing, as the rules do not differentiate between facilities that are near navigable waters vs facilities that have private water rights.

However, for those that do comply, as opposed to reducing production, they’ll be left open and vulnerable to future lawsuits from environmental activists over endangered species. These lawsuits have historically become costly, with states eventually caving to the demands made, as evidenced by the Oregon Dept of Forestry v. Cascadia in filing after filing—Spotted Owl to CoHo Salmon—resulting in the drastic reduction of privately owned timber lands and logging contracts.

* The rules currently allow for the off-gassing of the biomass as it becomes CO2 and methane, but say nothing about future carbon taxes, or financial burdens that may be incurred due to the additional carbon outputs via the new carbon credit/taxes the Biden Administration created via the Commodities Credit Corporation. Oregon, California, and Washington have already instituted state versions of Cap and Trade legislation e.g. requiring companies to purchase these carbon credits in order to remain in business.

Aside from the massive overreach in relation to non-navigable waters of the United States, typically locally regulated, or an authority reserved to the states to regulate, these new rule changes have the potential to negatively impact our food supply for years to come.

Congressmen Estes and Burlison have proposed H.R. 7079, the “BEEF ACT” (formally known as H.R.7079—Banning EPA’s Encroachment on Facilities Act), as a means of prohibiting the EPA from using its deferential authority (Chevron doctrine) to interpret the Clean Water Act. However, this legislation currently has a 1 percent chance of being enacted, and only a 4 percent chance of passing out of the House Committee on Transportation.

In parallel to direct legislative action, there is clearly a need to mount a legal challenge to this action, one which can build upon the precedent established by West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, which should benefit from the anticipated Supreme Court action to overturn the Chevron deference legal precedent which currently enables this type of regulatory overreach. Further information concerning the Chevron deference can be found in this Substack essay, and SCOTUS Blog has covered the current status of the Supreme Court case in an article titled “Supreme Court likely to discard Chevron.”


Scotland’s Net Zero Target ‘Beyond What Is Credible’: Report

Scotland’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030 is “beyond what is credible” to be achieved, the independent climate advisory body has said.

On Wednesday, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) said that the Scottish Government was “failing to achieve” the country’s “ambitious” climate goals. The committee said that in order to meet the target, emissions reduction in most sectors would have to increase by a factor of nine between now and 2030.

“The acceleration required in emissions reduction to meet the 2030 target is now beyond what is credible,” the report to the Scottish Parliament said.

“The Scottish Government is failing to achieve Scotland’s ambitious climate goals,” the CCC said.

The report also noted that “only three of the 14 key recommendations from the CCC’s 2022 Scottish Progress Report scored ‘good progress’. Two scored ‘moderate progress’, seven scored ‘some but insufficient progress’, and two made ‘no progress’ at all.”

While the UK government has set net zero targets, Scotland has its own milestones for reducing carbon emissions, including the interim goal of reducing carbon emissions by 75 percent—compared to levels of territorial emissions in 1990—by 2030. The UK government aims for a 68 percent reduction by that year.

Annual Targets ‘Repeatedly Missed’

Scotland’s annual targets for reducing emissions are “repeatedly missed,” said the CCC, marking eight times in 12 years that goals have not been achieved. The report also noted that emissions increased in 2021, in part owing to colder than average temperatures and a rise in transport emissions post-COVID-19 lockdowns.

The CCC also chastised the Scottish Parliament for failing to publish its new draft Climate Change Plan, which was due for release in late 2023.

Without the plan, there is “no comprehensive delivery strategy for meeting future emissions targets” and “actions continue to fall far short of what is legally required.”

“Scotland’s Climate Change Plan needs to be published urgently, so we can assess it. We need to see actions that will deliver on its future targets,” said Professor Piers Forster, interim chairman of the CCC.

Progress ‘Off Track’ for Heat Pumps, Tree Planting, Recycling
The CCC pinpointed that “most key indicators of delivery progress are off track,” including heat pump installations, recycling, tree planting, peatland restoration, and selling electric cars and vans.

The independent advisory body noted that the sale of electric vehicles was lower than in the UK as a whole, at just 2 percent in 2022. The report said that Scotland will need to “treble the pace of rollout of public electric vehicle charge points” as well as reduce car traffic by 20 percent.

Just 6,000 domestic heat pumps had been installed in Scotland last year, with the CCC saying this needed to increase “by a factor of at least thirteen” to meet the target of 80,000 a year by the end of this decade.

Heat pump uptake has also been slow in the rest of Britain. The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a report published on Monday that the uptake of the new technology with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme in England and Wales was less than half (18,900) of that expected (50,000) between May 2022 and December 2023. The NAO said that the cost of installing and maintaining heat pumps was discouraging people from transitioning from gas boilers.

Scotland had also missed its peatland restoration target for the fifth year in a row, while “more than double” the amount of new woodland needs to be created, with just 8,000 hectares established in 2022–2023 compared to an aim of 18,000 hectares.

While the report did say that Scotland was on track for its offshore wind capacity by 2030, onshore wind capacity needs to “double.”

Mr. Forster said, “Scotland has laudable ambitions to decarbonise but it isn’t enough to set a target—the government must act.”

Scotland ‘Half Way to Net Zero’

The Scottish Government’s net zero secretary, Mairi McAllan, said that she was grateful for the latest advice from the CCC’s report, and that her government remains “fully committed to meeting our target of net zero emissions by 2045, and in 2024–25 alone we are committing £4.7 billion to support the delivery of our climate change goals.”

“Scotland is already half way to net zero and continues to decarbonise faster than the UK average,” Ms. McAllan said.

The minister outlined her government’s net zero endeavours in the last five years, including that Scotland had created around 75 percent of all new UK woodlands and invested over £65 million to support the installation of over 2,700 public electronic vehicle charging points, “ensuring Scotland has the best provision of public charge points per head of population in the UK, outside of London.”

“However, over the past 12 months Scotland has faced a series of unprecedented changes by the UK government, who have reneged on their net zero commitments, and rolled back on policies already announced and accounted for,” Ms. McAllan said.

“We are also expecting a real-terms cut to our UK capital funding of almost 10 percent over five years, totalling around £1.3 billion, which is deeply concerning given it has implications for the delivery of climate ambition in Scotland and our ability to produce a draft Climate Change Plan as intended,” she continued.

The net zero secretary said her government had also faced opposition to “modest” climate measures, such as low emission zones and workplace parking.

“We will now carefully consider the report’s recommendations and our next steps, including legislative options, before providing a formal response,” she said.

Scotland’s 2030 Target a ‘Fiscal Risk’

The CCC assessment of the Scottish Government’s ability to meet its ambitious net zero targets comes after the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) said the government would have to spend £1.1 billion a year over the period of 2020 to 2050 to achieve net zero. This is around 18 percent of its capital budget.

The SFC said in its report published last week that while achieving net zero is a responsibility shared by the central UK and Scottish governments, the “fiscal burden” may fall more onto Scotland which will need to invest more in forestry and land use.

The committee also labelled the 2030 target to reduce emissions by 75 percent a “fiscal risk,” saying, “Overall, this presents a substantial pressure for public spending and could be difficult to manage within the Scottish Budget.”


Another limit to Australia's electric vehicle revolution

If you are towing something with an EV, you can't just drive onto a forecourt and fill up as you would with a combustion-powered vehicle. Anybody who ever tows a trailer of any kind would be mad to buy an EV. EVs are just a rich man's toy

I have financed an older couple to travel around Australia towing a long and very well-appointed caravan. A diesel Toyota Prado does an effortless and untroubled job of towing it. They pass through many country areas so would just not be able to do the trip with an EV.

image from

Aussie drivers have scorned a viral image of an electric vehicle mounting the kerb whilst charging, revealing yet another issue with the government's plans to drastically grow the country's EV network.

The photo of a grey Tesla hooked up to a BP Pulse charging station at an undisclosed location was shared in a Facebook group on Thursday, captioned: 'I'm aware they don't have a spare tyre, I wasn't aware that they don't have reverse.'

Clearly well beyond the bay's perimeters, the majority of the car had mounted the kerb in front.

Social media users were quick to criticise the car's position, questioning why the driver didn't reverse into the spot to make it easier for the charging cable to reach the outlet.

But it soon became apparent why the Tesla was across the boundaries of the parking bay when the original image, which had been cropped, resurfaced and revealed the Tesla was towing a trailer.

It highlights yet another glaring issue with the government's plans to drastically grow the country's EV network by 2030.

Of the 3,000 electric vehicle charging stations currently available nationwide, none of them are equipped for cars towing caravans.

The current infrastructure means drivers often have to unhitch the trailer to effectively charge their vehicle or risk blocking other vehicles.

Carola Jonas, CEO and Founder of Everty, said it's something charging station owners and operators must 'pay close attention to'.

As well as having a lot of catching up to do in terms of having ample charging stations both roadside and in buildings, Jonas argued 'a balance' must be found with the types of bays available for drivers.

'If you look at the charging stations in Wilson or Secure car parks in the city CBDs the parking bays there are limited, but you also wouldn't use these ones with a trailer,' she told Yahoo News Australia.

'But then when you look at highway charging or charging in more public open locations, it would definitely be good if the charging networks start implementing a mix [of suitable bays].'

Some charging networks are currently installed in the 'trucking areas' of some petrol stations so trucks and longer EV vehicles can still use them, Jonas continued.

'So even if you come there with a normal passenger car, you can just drive into the trucking parking area and use the charger. The other way around, it wouldn't have been possible.

'So there are solutions, but it's really for the infrastructure providers to make sure they're for the right mix.'




Tuesday, April 16, 2024

EPA sets new regulations on ‘forever chemicals’ in US drinking water

So global warming is not the only myth the EPA subscribes to. Note the weasel wording: "Has been linked to". Yes, a lot of people have linked PFAS to illness and have done so for many years. But nobody has produced good evidence for the link. Below is the most recent attempt to "link" PFAS to something. Pathetic
See also:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized rules on PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) also known as “forever chemicals” in drinking water systems across the US.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan who previously served as head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality from 2017 until early 2021, announced the regulations at the P.O. Hoffer Water Plant in Fayetteville on Wednesday.

The new rules require public water utilities to monitor for six types of PFAS and limit maximum contaminant levels (MCL).

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to serious health risks, including certain cancers, liver and heart damage in adults, and immune and developmental effects for infants and children.

“Today I’m proud to return to North Carolina to announce the first ever, nationwide, legally enforceable drinking water standard for PFAS,” Regan said, “this is the most significant action EPA has ever taken on PFAS.”

Regan noted the importance of these chemicals, but also the risks.

“These chemicals have a place and are important for certain industries and certain practices. There’s also no doubt that these chemicals entering our environment in an uncontrolled manner are harmful to our families, harmful to our communities, and harmful to our economy,” Regan said.

PFAS are a category of chemicals used since the 1940s to repel oil and water and resist heat, which makes them useful in everyday products such as nonstick cookware, stain resistant clothing, and firefighting foam.

13 months ago, Regan was in Wilmington at the campus of UNCW to announce the start of the rule-making process.

Southeastern North Carolina has been on the forefront of contaminated drinking water, since 2017 when it was reported that chemical company Chemours had been dumping GenX into the Cape Fear River for decades.

The Biden administration has allocated $1 billion to assist states in funding infrastructure upgrades to adhere to the new regulations. North Carolina is set to receive $29 million in grant funding to aid utilities in implementing testing and upgrading water treatment technology.

“You are going to hear a lot of talk about cost and it can’t be done and we shouldn’t do this,” Regan said, “Let me just tell you it can be done. It can be achieved using a range of technologies and approaches that many water systems are using today.”

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, which provides water to customers in New Hanover County, has already invested more than $40 million to install granular activated carbon filters to address PFAS.


Study grades natural gas as best source for reliability, affordability and environmental impact

A new study finds that natural gas is the most effective energy source meeting growing energy demands affordably and reliably, while balancing environmental and human impact.

The “Grading the Grid” study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a pro-free market nonprofit, and Northwood University rates natural gas, coal, petroleum, nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal generation sources on their reliability, environmental and human impact, cost, innovation and market feasibility.

Natural gas got an “A” grade, followed by nuclear, which got a “B+”. Wind and solar energy came in last, each receiving “F” grades, according to the study.

Natural gas, the study explains, is best suited to integrate with the intermittency inherent with wind and solar power, which only produce electricity under the weather conditions.

“Gas provides a reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean source of energy in both traditional and ‘carbon-constrained’ applications,” the study stated.

The study rated nuclear as the “best of all worlds” for its safety, abundance and reliability, as well as its ability to deliver electricity without carbon emissions.

The main challenges nuclear faces, according to the report, is its upfront costs and concerns about storage of nuclear waste. The study notes that this waste has been stored at reactor sites in dry casks that withstand a direct hit by missiles traveling 600 mph. The spent fuel may also be a fuel source for reactors currently under development.

Coal rated high in the study for abundance, affordability and reliability, but it lost points for its high levels of pollutant emissions and carbon dioxide. With U.S. gas producers hitting record-high production that drives down gas prices, the study notes, coal is facing stiff competition.

Hydroelectric received a “B-” grade. While it produces reliable energy without carbon emissions, the expansive nature of hydroelectric facilities make permitting new developments in the U.S. unlikely, which limits its potential to meet more demand.

Wind and solar don’t produce carbon dioxide emissions by themselves, but the study rates renewable energy low for other environmental and human impacts.

Because wind and solar energy require large amounts of land to produce the same amount of energy as other forms, they study explains, there are environmental impacts from the space they take up, which includes harms to wildlife.

The study also calls into question the ability of renewable energy to reduce emissions. Since they require backup from reliable sources, which is often natural gas, they aren’t drivers of major reductions.

While the fuel for wind and solar is free, the study states there are other costs associated with addressing their inherent intermittency, which make them the most expensive forms of energy of those the study examined, and the least reliable.

The study concludes that policies pursuing a rapid transition away from conventional, reliable sources will have a negative impact on human health and the well-being of an energy-abundant society.

“Advocates for wind and solar hold them up as essential to environmental and climate health. However, rushing a systemwide transition to these untested and unreliable energy options puts human lives and the North American economy at risk,” the study concludes.


How Green Energy, EVs Actually Endanger America

Consider some inescapable self-inflicted scenarios from hell that government “experts” never warned you about regarding utopian visions of carbon-free vehicles powered by friendly breezes and sunbeams.

So, imagine it’s one of those warm, beautiful days when the first news breaks about a big hurricane or tropical storm heading your way.

You immediately begin thinking about stocking up on food supplies that don’t require refrigeration and charging up your electric plug-in to get out of town in a hurry if necessary … just like, it seems, everyone else is doing.

Or maybe, with no warning, “poof,” all power goes off because the grid is down for suspicious reasons no one fully understands or can inform you about.

As it turns out, a foreign adversary cyberattack precludes either of those previous options, plus an added problem.

Along with knocking out all power transformers, the malign hackers also took remote control of both autonomous and operator-controlled electric vehicles, jamming exit highways with colossal human and metal crash wreckage.

In both cases, it’s already too late.

In the first scenario, there isn’t enough available electrical power to serve the broad hurricane zone. It has been in dangerously short supply since millions of EV cars and trucks have been added to an ancient grid that has depended upon natural gas turbines to balance fluctuating wind and solar loads.

It seems that shutting down those fossil companies through “net-zero” carbon policies didn’t prevent extreme weather after all.

Instead, extreme ideological EPA policies such as imposing costly, useless carbon capture requirements on those natural gas producers prevented energy companies from economically competing with heavily government subsidized “green” fantasies.

A March 2024 ruling adding heavy-duty trucks to its original all-electric light vehicle mandate dealt another crushing drain on already slim power margins: each one of them consuming seven times as much electricity on a single charge as a typical daily home.

Sadly, your plug-in has no plug with any juice due to emergency rationing necessary to support medical care facilities and other critical services. And forget about any hopes of using municipal or commercial recharging stations which have the same problem.

The situation soon becomes more expansive and dangerous as high winds have downed long transmission lines connecting remote wind and solar sites to the grid sparking massive fires and extending regional power outages.

Deluges of rain have flooded metropolitan centers and small lowland communities, making them inaccessible for emergency rescue by now-useless electric ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles with depleted batteries.

Downed trees collapse local power lines, further blocking access and operations of similarly stranded maintenance crews.

Even then, circumstances could have been much worse with cyber scenario two.

Neighbors and friends with battery back-up radios finally inform you one of three power grids serving the entire nation has been disabled by hackers of unknown geographic origin, with transmission connections to the other two intentionally switched off to prevent universal overload collapse.

Darkness soon descends everywhere around you except where backup energy generators temporarily powered by batteries and purloined natural gas provide isolated pockets of light which are soon extinguished as well.

Hospitals are rapidly losing limited generator-supplied electricity to operate life-critical equipment. Meanwhile, primary power can’t be restored any time soon due to melted power transmission lines and damaged turbines at few remaining conventional fossil and nuclear power plants.

Supplies of clean water are being depleted as well.

Whereas metropolitan areas with high water towers atop high-rise buildings will have enough gravity flow to supply most basic living needs for at best a few days, when that runs out, taps will go dry, toilets won’t flush, and emergency supplies of bottled water will become exhausted.

Mountains of uncollected waste, including human biological material, soon create a previously unimaginable unsanitary health crisis.

If you are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a nondepleted grocery, plan to use cash because the credit card system won’t be operative. Ditto, any ATM machine.

In any case, those stores can’t be restocked because of stranded EV long-haul and local delivery trucks.

Meanwhile, police and fire responses who are busily engaged in rescuing people trapped in elevators and other emergency services have also become overwhelmed by widespread store looting by desperately hungry individuals and families.

As tens or hundreds of millions of others over many states share such chaotic dilemmas, there is no way of predicting when power will be restored. And whereas present weather and temperature conditions may be moderate, many of these regions – including yours – anticipate a coming winter home heating crisis which will put countless lives at risk.

There are few opportunities for people to leave for warmer climes. Personal EVs are useless, as are commercial EV buses and moving vans.

Contemplating either of such avoidably catastrophic scenarios might provide cause to seriously doubt those government experts who continue to warn us of climate change and extreme weather being our greatest threat, with the solution being to load our ancient, cyberattack-prone power grids with weather dependent energy systems overloaded with voracious EV electricity consumption.

No, climate change isn’t nearly as great as the threat presented by their own policies, with the best solution of all…powerful winds of regime change sanity blowing through November voting booths before it is too late.


Australia: "Low cost" renewable energy is an impossible dream

The amusing claim that wind and sunshine are "free" still sounds relevant to some. But converting wind and sunshine into electricity and and delivering it to peple's homes is VERY costly. Coal is free too -- until you start digging it out of the ground

The pre-eminent figure in political economy at Sydney during Albanese’s time at university was red-ragger Ted Wheelwright. Never a fan of the invisible hand, Wheelwright believed in something called “balanced economic development” while disparaging the role of multinational companies and foreign investment. He was a true believer in government intervention and big government, both key convictions of Albanese.

But here’s the thing: while the Prime Minister may sadly remember a lot of what he was taught all those years ago – he probably doesn’t sign up to the evils of foreign investment like Wheelwright did – he failed to come to grips with some ironclad laws of economics. These include the fact that price results from the interaction of supply and demand and that there is a difference between marginal and average costs.

I mention this because of his incorrect assertion that “investment in renewables will lead to cheaper power, because that’s what every economist tells us”.

Not this little black duck, aka an economist, I’m afraid. Virtually all my pals in the economics profession also take the view that renewable energy as a source of 24/7 power is actually more expensive than other sources after accounting for overbuild, additional transmission, the need for back-up/storage and frequency and voltage controls. By the way, economists need their friends in the engineering profession to get to the bottom of the issue.

It’s worth going through the issues because our Prime Minister needs to come to his senses: if he really believes renewable energy is cheaper power, we are heading for the economic rocks and quite quickly.

The most common (but deficient) way of looking at this issue is using levelised cost of electricity according to the source of generation. This is done for many countries but actually falls into the trap of confusing marginal and average costs. Marginal costs are the additional costs of generating an extra unit whereas average costs are the total costs divided by all the units generated.

LCOE takes into account the cost of installation as well as the expected lifetime of the asset. (Wind and solar last half as long as coal and nuclear). A key variable is the capacity factor of the different sources: nuclear has the highest and wind and solar the lowest (around 25 to 33 per cent).

By rights, extended wind droughts and cloudy periods should be taken into account but this rarely occurs. The cost of the feeder stock is then added – which is zero in the case of wind and solar, and meaningful in other cases

The end result is the net present value of electricity generation over the lifetime of the asset in question. Note here that the results are highly assumption-dependent and relate only to wholesale electricity costs, which make up less than one-third of retail costs in the National Electricity Market.

The reality is that LCOE estimates don’t tell us very much because we need electricity 24/7 and wind and solar, by definition, cannot provide this. Moreover, because wind and solar are decentralised assets, they require very expensive and substantial transmission lines to connect to the grid.

These lines have to be paid for and are becoming increasingly expensive to build. There is also a great deal of local resistance to their construction. In addition, ancillary services – frequency and voltage control – have to be paid for. The point here is that when you consider the issue in a holistic way, electricity generation dominated by renewable energy cannot provide the 24/7 power we need or offer affordable prices.

We only need to look at the countries that have pushed a great deal of renewable energy – leaving hydro to one side – into their systems through regulation and subsidies – think Denmark, Germany, the UK and the states of California and South Australia. They all have very high electricity prices with their attendant problems for households and businesses.

It might even pique the interest of our Prime Minister to observe Victoria, which is currently subsidising two brown coal-fired electricity plants having embarked on a headlong campaign to promote renewable energy installations across the state as well as offshore. Astonishingly, its government has also rejected the use of gas; gas peaking plants are the best fit with renewables.

If renewable energy really is cheaper, why would it be necessary to subsidise the investors? And if renewable energy is the best form of electricity generation, how is it the case that two coal plants are now being incentivised to continue? The Eraring plant in NSW is next in line.

The reality is that pushing renewable energy into the system undermines the business models of 24/7 coal-fired generators, but these generators become crucial to pick up the inevitable slack created by the intermittency of wind and solar. Expensive batteries can make a bit of difference but only for short periods. The number of large-scale batteries we would need to firm wind and solar renders this route completely impractical.

In other words, it’s not good economics, notwithstanding the naive view of the Prime Minister. It is also unacceptable to simply expect those in rural and regional communities to bear the external costs of having these installations littered in their backyards.

Over time, it is easy to predict that the owners of the last standing reliable plants will be able to hold the federal and state governments to ransom, thereby driving up electricity prices even further. It’s a perfectly rational business response.

You wouldn’t buy a fridge that only works a third of the time or a stove that only works a third of the time. But we are expected to believe renewable energy is the route to cheaper electricity and economic prosperity. Albanese’s assertion that “climate action is good for our economy” is simply not borne out by the figures.




Monday, April 15, 2024

The Miami Herald is (Partially) Right – Python Farming Will Not Stop Climate Change

A recent article by the Miami Herald, titled “Pythons are eating the Everglades. Could eating them instead help fight climate change?” highlights some problems with a study out of Australia which proposes python farming as a solution to emissions associated with cattle farming. The Miami Herald points out major practicality issues with Python farming, but in the process misses the more important point that the shift in farming to battle climate change is unnecessary.

The study, published in Scientific Reports “Python farming as a flexible and efficient form of agricultural food security,” claims that python farming is well established in Asia, and offers “tangible benefits for sustainability and food systems resilience.”

The Miami Herald explains that the study authors give several reasons for how Burmese python farming is “climate friendly:”

Scientists found they are incredibly efficient at converting small amounts of food into large amounts of high-protein, low-fat weight gain. Also important, cattle burps, farts and poops are huge sources of methane, making up an estimated 45 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions of the U.S. agriculture industry. Pythons poop every few days to even weeks, and if they do pass gas, it’s much, much less.

While it is true that cattle produce methane, the impact of those emissions are greatly exaggerated by climate alarmists and media acolytes. As discussed previously at Climate Realism (here, here, and here), the Environmental Protection Agency calculated the contributions of cattle related methane and found that cattle make up just 2 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. (See figure below)

Methane itself also plays a very minor role in the atmosphere’s energy absorption spectrum. It has narrow absorption bands that occur at wavelengths which are already being covered by water vapor. It is also a relatively short-lived atmospheric gas, with an atmospheric lifespan of around 12 years, making it unlikely to contribute significantly to any warming effect anyway. Methane is practically irrelevant when it comes to supposed human-caused global warming, so attempting to replace cattle farming with python farming for climate purposes is a waste of time and effort at best.

Besides these errors, the Miami Herald post points out that there are serious scaling (pun intended) issues with python farming, despite the fact that it might be easier to get people to accept eating snake rather than insects, another cattle replacement popular with climate alarmists. Python farmers have to individually remove the snakes one by one from their enclosures to hand feed them, which is labor intensive and becomes increasingly difficult to accomplish with more and more snakes.

Energy efficiency aside, pythons, Miami Herald points out, don’t feed on “sustainable growth like grass,” and are exclusively carnivores, meaning some emissions will result from producing the prey used to feed the pythons, and in housing the pythons in a secure location and processing the waste.

Wild caught snake is no silver bullet either. The Miami Herald reports that some pythons caught in the Everglades “had mercury levels 100 times too high for human consumption,” and the snakes are too difficult to find in quantities that would make them a viable food source for a reasonable number of people.

Python meat is also unpalatable to most python hunters in the Everglades, not just because of the potential mercury, but also because as the Miami Herald quotes, the meat is “very chewy” but slow cooking it turns it “to slime.”

There is nothing really wrong with python farming in general, for those who like the meat, but it is not a solution to climate change. Replacing cattle farming with snake farming will have an insubstantial impact on climate change, if any at all, and it’s questionable if the labor intensity and food requirements are really carbon neutral. The Miami Herald is right to be skeptical about the future of python farming in the West.


The Spectator is Right, Climate Alarmist Messaging is Harming People

A recent editorial in The Spectator claims that alarmist messaging like warnings of impending doom by climate activists and the United Nations are hyperbolic and even harmful. This is true. Data show that there is no catastrophe in store for humanity due to climate change, and studies show alarmist messaging is counterproductive and harms the mental health of people who take it to heart.

The article, “The irresponsibility of ‘two years to save the planet’” written by Ross Clark, describes the hyperbolic language used by climate alarmists, such as the concept of a climate crisis or giving humanity a countdown to disaster, and how it is counterproductive or even harmful. This discussion follows the recent claims made by the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in which he stated that there are only two years left to save the planet.

Clark points out that these “only a few years left” warnings have been made repeatedly, and “[b]y my maths that means we became doomed a dozen years ago, so I was resigned to sitting back and waiting calmly for the end, like the elderly couple who sat in deckchairs on the Titanic holding hands as the ship went down.”

Humor aside, Clark’s perspective is shared by many, and not only among those who are skeptical of the climate crisis narrative. Climate Realism covered a trend last year in media outlets admitting that the catastrophe narrative was becoming counterproductive even to their would-be supporters, as climate “doomers” began to believe that it was already too late to do anything about climate change, so why bother.

WaPo stated at the time “some scientists and experts worry that their defeatism — which could undermine efforts to take action — may be just as dangerous as climate denial.”

Climate Realism previously discussed another one of Clark’s articles, where he pointed out that “if you believe that human societies are doomed anyway — as 56 per cent of young people apparently do — what is the incentive to cut emissions?”

Besides the general non-issue of climate apathy, however, there is one troubling result of catastrophizing, and that is the state of mental health among younger people. Clark talks about a 2021 study which asked students at the University of Bath between the ages of 16 and 25 questions about climate change, which found “45 per cent of people in this age group were so worried about climate change that it was affecting their day-to-day life, while 56 per cent said that they thought humanity was doomed and 40 per cent said they were hesitant to have children because they would be bringing them up in an uninhabitable world.”

He goes on to say that “[n]o reasoned interpretation of the evidence would say that humanity is doomed by a changing climate,” which is absolutely true. Weather is not becoming more extreme, the planet is greening and crop production is growing, and issues like sea level rise are occurring at a very manageable rate.

Climate Realism has likewise addressed the fact that many peoples’ mental health are being impaired by the media’s coverage of climate change, here, here, and here, for example. The media and alarmists spin catastrophic narratives that real world data debunk, but, unfortunately a lot of people believe the hype and don’t check or follow the science.

It is always beneficial when media outlets, like The Spectator, run op-eds which provide much needed balance to the discussion. In the face of the copious evidence that no climate crisis is in the offing, it is unreasonable to be terrified or deeply distressed by climate change. It takes efforts like Clark’s to inoculate people against catastrophism with the truth.


Hidden Behind Climate Policies, Data From Nonexistent Temperature Stations

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts July, August, and September will be hotter than usual. And for those who view warmer temperatures as problematic, that’s a significant cause for concern.

“Earth’s issuing a distress call,” said United Nations secretary-general António Guterres on March 19. “The latest State of the Global Climate report shows a planet on the brink.

“Fossil fuel pollution is sending climate chaos off the charts. Sirens are blaring across all major indicators: Last year saw record heat, record sea levels, and record ocean surface temperatures. … Some records aren’t just chart-topping, they’re chart-busting.”

President Joe Biden called the climate “an existential threat” in his 2023 State of the Union address. “Let’s face reality. The climate crisis doesn’t care if you’re in a red or a blue state.”

In his 2024 address he said, “I don’t think any of you think there’s no longer a climate crisis. At least, I hope you don’t.”

When recalling past temperatures to make comparisons to the present, and, more importantly, inform future climate policy, officials such as Mr. Guterres and President Biden rely in part on temperature readings from the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).

The network was established to provide an “accurate, unbiased, up-to-date historical climate record for the United States,” NOAA states, and it has recorded more than 100 years of daily maximum and minimum temperatures from stations across the United States.

The problem, say experts, is that an increasing number of USHCN’s stations don’t exist anymore. “They are physically gone—but still report data—like magic,” said Lt. Col. John Shewchuk, a certified consulting meteorologist.

“NOAA fabricates temperature data for more than 30 percent of the 1,218 USHCN reporting stations that no longer exist.”

He calls them “ghost” stations.

Mr. Shewchuck said USHCN stations reached a maximum of 1,218 stations in 1957, but after 1990 the number of active stations began declining due to aging equipment and personnel retirements.

NOAA still records data from these ghost stations by taking the temperature readings from surrounding stations, and recording their average for the ghost station, followed by an “E,” for estimate.

The addition of the ghost station data means NOAA’s “monthly and yearly reports are not representative of reality,” said Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and senior fellow for environment and climate at the Heartland Institute.

“If this kind of process were used in a court of law, then the evidence would be thrown out as being polluted.”

Critical Data

NOAA’s complete record of USHCN data is available on its website, making it a vital tool for scientists examining temperature trends since before the Industrial Revolution.

Jamal Munshi, emeritus professor at California’s Sonoma State University, wrote in a 2017 paper that because many of the stations in the USHCN, and their data, date back to the 1800s, they’ve been “widely used in the study of global warming.”

“The fear of anthropogenic global warming has generated a great interest in temperature trends such that even minute changes in the temperature record are scrutinized, and controversial implications for their effects on climate, extreme weather, and sea level rise are weighed against the cost of reducing emissions as a way of moderating these changes,” Mr. Munshi wrote.

“Energy and development policy around the world are impacted by these evaluations.”

Mr. Shewchuk said the USHCN data is the only long-term historical temperature data the United States has.

“In these days of apparent ‘climate crisis,’ you would think that maintaining actual temperature reporting stations would be a top priority—but they instead manufacture data for hundreds of non-existent stations. This is a bizarre way of monitoring a climate claimed to be an existential threat,” he said.


Global warming as ritual

The other day we were driving in a major Canadian city and a large wide heavy industrial truck trundled past with the slogan “On the Road to Net Zero” stuck on its side.

Whoever put it there probably realizes that the proposed destination does not permit trucks of this kind, yet they dutifully cheer on their own demise. Which oddly reminded us of the latest order of clothing to arrive from Amazon, also by truck, in a package claiming to be “reducing carbon emissions”.

Both offer up conventional pieties in an unconvincing, lackadaisical manner, as in the decadent phase of a state-imposed civic religion. It is like living in a society where it remains customary to offer oblations to the Olympian gods, while not giving two seconds’ thought to what Hermes would want you to do, or whether Zeus might punish you for denying hospitality to strangers.

The weird ritual quality to it all suggests the worst combination of conformity, cunning and indifference. Whether you call it “greenwashing” or mere hypocrisy, it is a rarity in the debate in that it irritates the zealots and the skeptics equally.

The former grumble that all these corporations genuflecting before the sign of Net Zero are just faking it while destroying the planet, and the latter that by carrying on with the pretense they are shoring up bad public policy.And both are annoyed, rightly, that this stuff is everywhere but doesn’t seem to mean anything. You can confront intransigence. But not mush.

The people who, for instance, make the garments in question are not lying when they say “Being earth-friendly is important to us.” We have no doubt that the majority of that firm’s employees, from top to bottom, really do care about the environment and like to go to bed at night thinking they haven’t spent the day helping wreck it.

The problem is that having agreed to the conventional formulation, like someone mumbling their way through the Lord’s Prayer while thinking about cooking some bacon for breakfast as soon as the dreary thing ends, they do not spend much time actually conforming their behaviour to their words, probably because they haven’t bothered discovering much about what it would require.

In the case of the trucking firm, the problem is that what they do is energy-intensive. And since wind and solar cannot power our economy, for reasons this firm certainly cannot control, the fact that they might at some point buy enough offsets or engage in other Jesuitical jiggery-pokery does not mean that they will not emit carbon.

It just means they’ve purchased the modern equivalent of an “indulgence”. Again, we do not accuse them of having worked through the whole thing and decided to fake it. On the contrary, we accuse them of having vaguely absorbed a few conventional pieties without careful consideration, made them into a slogan, and gone about their business.

You can find literally thousands of examples. Indeed, it is hard to find a product nowadays that does not merely claim to be environmentally friendly, but make a hoo-hah about climate in particular. Go ahead. Read the package, or the website promo, before you buy it. Whatever it is. And yet we are not on the road to Net Zero collectively because we are not on it individually. That people really think offsets somehow work doesn’t make it better. Especially if they go out of their way to avoid listening to any contrary claims lest it disturb their sleep.

P.S. We ourselves, since we do not believe in a man-made climate crisis, are not being lazy hypocrites in rejecting the advice on the underwear package to “Wash cold and save energy”. We strongly suspect that most people who buy such things don’t hunt through the packaging for ideological sore points.

(Just as most normal human beings don’t get riled up at those ridiculous notices telling you that everything you buy is known to the State of California to cause cancer, partly because they don’t read them.) But among those of us eccentrics who do, we strongly suspect that they wash them in whatever way they think will work, and those who choose to wash in cold water aim to save money not the planet.




Sunday, April 14, 2024

European Court Rules Government Protection From Climate Change Is a Human Right

The European Court of Human Rights sided with a group of female senior citizens who had sued its government over its perceived failures to sufficiently address climate change on human rights grounds, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A group of more than 2,000 Swiss women over the age of 64 alleged that the Swiss government’s climate change policies were in violation of the right to life and other provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the court ruled in its favor in its first decision pertaining directly to climate change, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The decision sets a new precedent in most of Europe that could encourage similar cases against national governments and corporations.

“Climate campaigners are likely to seize on the conclusion that states have positive obligations under human rights law in relation to climate change, and use it as the basis for future claims against states which they deem to not be moving quickly enough to address the threat of climate change,” Tom Cummins, a partner at a global law firm called Ashurst, told The Wall Street Journal, adding:

Companies and financial institutions will also want to review these cases carefully. Corporate climate litigation often relies on human rights arguments, including in high-profile cases like the Dutch litigation brought by Milieudefensie against Shell. The decision in the case against Switzerland will likely encourage claims of this nature.

The European Court of Human Rights’ Tuesday decision will likely encourage similar lawsuits against national governments in Europe, according to Reuters. The court put a lawsuit against the Norwegian government—alleging that it violated human rights by issuing oil and gas exploration licenses—on hold ahead of issuing the landmark ruling in the Swiss women’s case.

Greta Thunberg, a prominent European climate activist, thinks that the Swiss women’s lawsuit is the start of a barrage of European climate lawsuits to come. A panel for the United Nations has suggested that children should sue their governments for perceived negligence on climate change.

“This is only the beginning of climate litigation,” Thunberg told Reuters. “The results of this can mean in no way that we lean back. This means that we have to fight even more, since this is only the beginning.”

The plaintiffs were senior women specifically because people 55 years old and above, and women especially, face increased risks of death related to heat, giving them standing to sue the Swiss government for its purported failures to stem the effects of climate change, according to Axios. The European Court of Human Rights’ decision in favor of the Swiss women is final, according to The Wall Street Journal.

There were two similar climate cases before the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday, but the court dismissed each of them. One of those cases saw a group of Portuguese youths sue a group of 32 European countries, while a French mayor sued the French national government in the other.


Tory backlash against European Court of Human Rights climate ruling

The Energy Secretary has led a Tory backlash against the European Court of Human Rights after it issued a landmark ruling that governments have a duty to protect people from climate change.

Claire Coutinho said she was “concerned” that Strasbourg judges were taking over decisions best made by elected politicians.

Senior Tories urged Rishi Sunak to take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the wake of the ruling.

They accused the court of acting in a “profoundly undemocratic” way and being “bent out of shape” by “progressive” activists and politicians.

The row came as an exclusive opinion poll for The Telegraph revealed that half of Conservative voters believe the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

Some 49 per cent of people who backed the party at the 2019 general election wanted to quit the convention, according to Savanta polling, with 35 per cent wanting to stay. In 2022, polling had found that 43 per cent of Tory voters favoured quitting the ECHR.

Last week, Mr Sunak raised the possibility of the UK leaving it if the Strasbourg court continued to block his delayed plans to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda.

On Tuesday, Ms Coutinho said: “I’m concerned by the Strasbourg court decision. How we tackle climate change affects our economic, energy and national security. Elected politicians are best placed to make those decisions.”

She made the comments after – in the first judgment of its kind – Strasbourg judges ruled that the human rights of a group of elderly Swiss women had been violated by the failure of their government to act quickly enough to tackle climate change.

The court found the Swiss state had breached article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the “right to respect for private and family life”.


D.C. Cherry Blossoms Aren’t Safe Around Climate Activists!

Green/Left ideology is an incredible mess

The National Park Service — the organization supposedly missioned to preserve “unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations”– will, after the 2024 National Cherry Blossom Festival, cut down 300 trees in Washington, D.C., 158 of which will be cherry trees. Their reason? To “fight” “climate change” — the 300 will be disposed of to make room for a reconstructed seawall around the Tidal Basin and Potomac River so D.C. can “withstand about 100 years of future sea level rise.”

At this point, climate change is like the dishrag punchline of a washed-up comedian — predictable and disappointing. As the bit goes, climate change is exacerbated by CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — except that CO2 levels today are the same as they were 3 million years ago. The oceans are going to cataclysmically rise — except that in the last 122 years, the oceans have risen a grand total of eight inches with, at this rate, another 1,800 years before they reach apocalyptic levels. This must be why climate change activists like the Obamas and Neil DeGrasse Tyson keep buying beachfront properties.

The Pravda media are no different, insisting the cherry trees reached their earliest peak bloom in 20 years because of “an abnormally warm winter, consistent with climate change trends.” They scream, “Be afraid! The end is nigh!” while failing to mention the just-as-crazy winters from decades ago. For example, in mid-February of 1930, there was an abnormally warm 10-day period with recorded temperatures including 89 degrees Fahrenheit (Jefferson City, MO), 76 degrees (Burlington, IA), and 82 degrees (Richmond, VA).

What’s more, this “unusually warm winter” was not all that unusual when considering the eruption of the underwater Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano in January 2022 followed by the arrival of El Nino in 2023. Under the circumstances, the unusual event would have been having a normal winter in the middle of this convergence.

The truth is, the “common knowledge” that 97 percent of scientists agree climate change is man’s fault is about as reliable as Barack Obama’s autobiography. And the cherry on top is that we could very well be heading for an extended period of cooling caused by diminished solar activity.

The Park Service says it will plant a variety of new trees following the project, but why chop down 300 trees in the first place, just to start over with immature trees and needless walls to the tune of $113 million? Money and power are the surface answers. Climate change is not science, but it is big business, with the federal government doling out billions of dollars a year on the subject and the spending only increasing. The power comes with restrictions on peoples’ travel (in both cars and airplanes), international carbon taxes, attempting to prosecute “ecocide” as an international crime, and shutting up anyone who raises a hand to question “the science.”

But there may also be a more disturbing and painfully ironic reason, both for the cherry tree demolition and the perpetuation of climate change fearmongering: the love of destruction for the sake of destruction.

Maintaining order and enforcing justice are the bare-bones requirements for any civilization. But the real, gold-standard civilizations — the Roman Republic, Victorian Britain, and the United States up to 1963 — go above and beyond the basics by promoting the arts and sciences and encouraging what de Tocqueville called the manly passion for equality — encouraging each individual to be the best he can and reach full, 100 percent capacity.

Look at the feats of architecture or entire artistic movements like Art Deco. Look at the accomplishments of Dickens, Frost, Hemingway, Tennyson, Disney, and Ford in the arts or at the Hoover Dam, the moon landing, and the rebuilding of Europe and Japan after 1945 — a civilization is supposed to create with purpose, and what it creates has to be good and beautiful. It needs to fill and lift the soul. Even dads in their garages were, once upon a time, encouraged to manifest themselves in this way.

Compare that to the regime under which we currently live. Now, works of art are attacked — in some cases completely destroyed — with only a whimper of counter-energy. In fact, when the suggestion is made to make beautiful things again, it’s decried as dangerous and fascist. Our institutions do worse than nothing — they aid and abet this mindset.

Look at the National Endowment on the Arts and Humanities, whose prime job is no longer to inspire and push people to the stars, but to applaud the latest manifestation of the zeitgeist. These include: plays with “Black Lives Matter” themes; Shakespeare performances that showcase an anti-Trump bent; “queer” theatre; mime performances about racism; an art exhibit dedicated to the life of Yuri Kochiyama, who once claimed Osama bin Laden as one of the people she “admired”; and theatre performances that allow people to “commune” with a cactus. The education system does its part by graduating fewer and fewer students who can read and add, meaning fewer students who can differentiate between art and slop.

Of course, most acts of creation involve some destruction; our own Republic was created by destroying the British Empire circa 1763. And, oftentimes, the destruction that does take place will be a compromise to prevent something even worse. But, destruction for the sake of itself — or for the sake of a fiction — threatens what is good, instills fear, and is a sign that a civilization is in decline.

Fear is the antithesis of hope — the mind-killer that eventually dissolves our humanity into a spineless glob, eager to hand over the keys to the algorithm. Whether it’s through skewed warnings about the end of “democracy” or the claim that the planet could burst into flames and floods at any moment, the Borg is determined to control our lives through fear. This is why, in the eyes of the elites, beauty itself is too dangerous. It causes people to dream, to push themselves, and, at its highest, imparts hope — it threatens their ability to wield fear.

Ultimately, beauty — from an Art Deco building to a blossoming cherry tree — makes us human. But that is what the Borg cannot allow, at any cost.


China leads global coal power surge as capacity hits record

Global coal-power capacity rose to a record last year, led by a surge in new plants in China and a slowdown in retirements around the world, according to a new report from Global Energy Monitor.

The world’s coal fleet grew by 2% to 2,130 gigawatts, with China accounting for about two thirds of the increase followed by Indonesia and India, according to the climate research firm. China also started construction on 70 gigawatts of new coal plants last year, nearly 20 times more than the rest of the world combined.

China’s expansion of what’s already by far the world’s largest coal fleet highlights Beijing’s continued focus on energy security after a series of economy-damaging power shortages in 2021 and 2022. While officials say the plants will primarily be used to balance out intermittent generation from rapidly growing wind and solar farms, the building boom has raised questions about China’s climate commitments and stymied global efforts to phase out use of the dirtiest fossil fuel.

“The recent surge in coal power development in China starkly contrasts with the global trend, putting China’s 2025 climate targets at risk,” said Qi Qin, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which contributed to the report.




Thursday, April 11, 2024

UK: Heat Pumps Are Unlikely To Ever Cut The Mustard

Has there ever been a more pernicious lie spread by government and lobbyists than the claim that net zero will save us money?

Heat pumps, for example, weren’t just supposed to ‘decarbonise’ home heating and thereby ‘save the planet’; they were all going to slash our bills as we switched from expensive gas to cheap-as-chips ‘renewable’ energy from wind and solar farms.

The narrative was always flawed: if heat pumps really did promise to save us money the government would hardly need to push them at us, offering grants of £7500 through its Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

The government has good reason to bribe, as heat pump installations last year reached only 55,000 – far short of the government’s target of 600,000 a year by 2028.

As today’s National Audit Office report all but confirms, people are not falling for the bait. The Boiler Upgrade scheme has been an expensive failure, with consumers seeing through the guff and working out that dumping their gas boiler for a heat pump is not going to save them a bean.

On the contrary, it will cost them more to install and more to run.

Remember how government grants were supposed to allow the industry to reach a scale at which prices would start to tumble? That’s not quite going according to plan.

The average real-terms cost of a heat pump installation has actually risen over the past four years, from £10,328 in 2019 to £11,287 in 2023 (both at 2021 prices). It still costs four times as much to replace a gas boiler with a heat pump than with a like-for-like replacement.

True, there are those aforementioned £7500 grants available for early-adopters, so it might be possible if you have a small property to fit a heat pump at no greater cost than a gas boiler.

But grants are not free money: we are all paying for them through our taxes and energy bills. If the government ended up having to bung all 30 million UK households grants of £7500 to fit a heat pump, it would add over £200 billion to annual public spending.

Electricity prices are so much higher than gas prices that you can’t count on saving money when it comes to running costs – even if your heat pump works as intended, and pumps at least three times as much heat energy into your home than it consumes in electrical energy.

In any case, field trials have repeatedly shown many heat pumps failing to reach this benchmark, with the coefficient of performance (the ratio of heat energy out to electrical energy in) achieving a median of 2.80, falling to a mean of 2.44 when the outside temperature falls below 2 Celsius – exactly when you need your heating the most.

Bizarrely, given this tale of serial under-performance in both cost and effectiveness, the green lobby wants the government to double down in pushing heat pumps on consumers.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit preposterously blames low take up of heat pumps on government ‘dithering’ over hydrogen boilers. The government has said that it will make a decision by 2026 as to whether the existing gas network might be repurposed for hydrogen in future.

Predictably enough, the heat pump industry doesn’t like hydrogen and wants it ruled out sooner, saying that it will turn out to be too expensive.

Maybe it will, but the inescapable truth is that a switch to heat pumps, too, will cost the country a fortune.

And that the bill is going to fall on the heads of us all, in one way or another.


Backlash Against Wind And Solar Projects Is Real, Global, And Growing

All around the world, big solar and wind projects are being rejected.

From rural England to the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, local communities are telling alt-energy developers to take their projects and put them where the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. [emphasis, links added]

As I have documented in the Renewable Rejection Database, there have been at least 639 rejections or restrictions of wind or solar projects in the U.S. alone since 2015.

Why are so many communities objecting? The answer is simple: landowners and homeowners want to preserve the integrity of their neighborhoods.

They don’t want their landscapes and views destroyed by oceans of solar panels and forests of 600-foot-high wind turbines. They are also rightly concerned about the diminution of their property values and the noise pollution that comes with these projects.

Don’t blame yourself if you haven’t heard about these rejections.

The widespread opposition to wind and solar doesn’t fit the narrative that’s relentlessly pushed by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and other big media outlets about the “energy transition” and “clean” energy.

Nor do they fit with claims made by the Biden administration, which has repeatedly touted its goal of having a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.”

These myriad rejections are a massive problem for corporate interests that are trying to build huge new wind and solar projects. Indeed, rural communities are standing between big business and tens of billions of dollars in tax credits.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Treasury, this year alone, the production tax credit (used primarily for wind energy) and the investment tax credit (primarily solar) will cost taxpayers $35 billion.

For reference, the oil and gas industry’s most significant tax credit, the depletion allowance, will cost taxpayers about $1.6 billion.

Given the vast sums at stake, it’s not surprising that lobbyists for the wind and solar sectors are pushing measures that strip local communities of their zoning authority and hand that authority to state bureaucrats.

In fact, four heavily Democratic states, New York, California, Michigan, and Illinois, have recently passed measures that do precisely that.

But before delving further into what’s happening across the U.S., here’s a quick roundup of what’s happening overseas.

Last December, a French court ruled that a wind project in southern France near the town of Luna must be dismantled due to “noise complaints from residents and the effect it is having on birds.” According to one news report, “Residents in the immediate surrounding area have long complained about the noise from the wind farm.”

In March, a judge in Ireland sided with local landowners and ruled that the noise pollution generated by a wind project in County Wexford built near their properties amounted to a “nuisance to the plaintiffs.”

The judge also wrote, “I find that the plaintiffs’ complaints are objectively justified in that the noise interferes with the ordinary comfort and enjoyment of their homes. When it occurs, this interference is a substantial interference.” Damages in the case have yet to be determined.

In England, the solar rejections are piling up so fast it’s challenging to keep track. Since January, local authorities have rejected a 102-acre project in Cambridgeshire, a 198-acre project in Holbeach, a 66-acre project in Kent, a 96-acre project in Herefordshire, and a 103-acre project in Coventry.

After the rejection of the Holbeach solar project, a local politician, Nick Worth, said the land “should be used for farming, not energy. We should be producing more food, not less, particularly on the best land in the country.”

In January, an Australian court rejected an application for a 10-megawatt solar project proposed near Mudgee in New South Wales.

The ruling confirmed the judgment of a regional council that had determined the project would be an “alien feature” on the landscape and that the area would be “irreversibly changed” by the 25,000-solar panel facility.

Last year, in Canada, regulators in Alberta imposed a moratorium on all wind and solar projects. In February, provincial officials announced updates to their regulations, including a ban on alt-energy projects on prime agricultural land.

Further, in an unprecedented move, the rules will require a 35-kilometer (21.7 miles) buffer zone between wind and solar facilities and protected areas or “pristine landscapes.”

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said the new regulations were made in response to Alberta residents who “don’t want large-scale developments to interfere with our province’s most beautiful natural features.”

Back here in the U.S., in February, local officials in Tennessee vetoed a proposed solar project that was supposed to help fuel a data center owned by Facebook parent Meta Platforms.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, “A proposed solar farm that was slated to occupy about 600 acres of land in Millington was denied by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners Monday evening, amid fervent opposition from residents.”

The Shelby County denial is one of 212 rejections or restrictions of solar that have occurred since 2017.

Meanwhile, as we show in our new five-part docuseries, “Juice: Power, Politics & The Grid,” the Osage tribe is prevailing in the longest-running legal battle over wind energy in American history.

In December, a federal judge in Tulsa ruled that Enel, the Italian company, violated the tribe’s sovereignty when it built a 150-megawatt wind project on Osage traditional land but did not obtain mining leases from the tribe.

The judge ordered the company to remove all 84 wind turbines, which the company says will cost about $300 million.

The tribe’s legal battle with Enel started in 2011. Its court victory is a historic win for Native American sovereignty.

The federal court ruling is an embarrassing and costly loss for Enel and a massive black eye for the U.S. wind industry, which has repeatedly tried to roll over rural communities in its inexorable thirst for tax credits. Despite the importance of the decision, it’s been largely ignored in the media.

Legacy media outlets may refuse to honestly report on the growing backlash against wind and solar projects, but the facts on the ground are clear.

Legacy media outlets may refuse to honestly report on the growing backlash against wind and solar projects, but the facts on the ground are clear.

The binding constraint on the growth of solar and wind around the world is that fewer and fewer communities are willing to accept the landscape destruction that comes with large alt-energy projects.

And no amount of PR or spin can change that fact.


BBC’s Failed ‘Fact Check’ of Daily Sceptic Report on Arctic Sea Ice

The BBC More or Less radio programme recently ‘fact checked’ the Daily Sceptic’s report that sea ice in the Arctic had soared to its highest level for 21 years on January 8th this year. Alas, the report was confirmed to be true so the Beeb went down the ‘cherry pick’ line of attack.

Curiously missing from the programme was any mention that the article dealt mainly with long term trends in Arctic sea ice and concentrated on scientific evidence that showed at least a decade-long slow recovery. The ‘fact check’ did little more than confirm the widely held suspicion that many BBC programmes are now infected with a need to crowbar a climate catastrophe narrative into broadcast messages.

Being accused of “cherry picking” by an organisation that routinely catastrophises bad weather events is of course risible. Taking lessons from a state-reliant operation that can publish a recent story from a “science correspondent” that starts, “Climate change threatens to ‘call time’ on the great British pint”, is also laughable. The 21-year high on January 8th was clearly identified as part of a number of short and long term trends, and in the third paragraph of the article it was noted that ”we must be careful not to follow alarmists down their chosen political path of cherry-picking and warning of climate collapse on the basis of individual events”.

It is evident that the BBC did little investigative work on the matter despite More or Less priding itself on checking statistics and data. Instead it relied on the usual ‘scientists say’, in this case Professor Julienne Stroeve. The UCL “Earth Scientist” attempted to muddy the Arctic sea ice waters by suggesting the ice extent is thinner, but presenter Tom Colls had to admit, “the data is not available yet”.

If you pick a particular day, you might just be talking about the weather, states Colls. There is no correlation between winter sea ice extent and how much the ice will melt in the summer, added Stroeve. What you see since 1979, continued Stroeve, is that the trend in Arctic sea ice is downwards for four decades. The overall decline in long term Arctic sea ice is very easy to see, adds Colls.

If you ‘cherry pick’ the date 1979, probably the high point for Arctic sea ice for almost a century, and draw a line to the present day, the cyclical trend is undoubtedly down. There was more ice around at the high point in 1979 than there is now, nobody disputes that. If you are just after a simple political message of climate collapse to promote the Net Zero fantasy, further examination of the data will be unwelcome.

But a more detailed review of the statistics gives a more realistic interpretation. According to recent work published by the Arctic scientist Allan Astrup Jensen, the summer ice plateaued from 1979-97, fell for 10 years and then resumed a minimal downward trend from 2007. Jensen observes that either side of the 10 year fall after 1997, there have been minimal losses.

In fact using a four-year moving average, the trend has been slightly upwards over the last few years. The graph below is compiled by the investigative science writer Tony Heller and shows the recent stability of Arctic summer sea ice around the minimum recorded every September. A slight recovery from about 2012 can be clearly seen.

As we can see, More or Less has produced little more than a narrative-driven attempt to keep the Arctic sea ice poster scare going for as long as possible. Since the drop in the early part of the century, alarmists have been forecasting ice free summers in the Arctic in the near future. Sir David Attenborough told BBC viewers in 2022 that the Arctic could be ice free by 2035. Professor Stroeve claims to have briefed former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, a man who has never lived down reporting that the ice could all be gone by 2014. In fact what has clearly been happening is noted by Tony Heller. They bury the old data going back to the 1950s, “and pretend they don’t notice sea ice is increasing again”. Nevertheless activists are starting to learn lessons about putting short timelines on their fanciful forecasts. For her part, Stroeve suggests ice free summers in the Arctic by the next 50 years.

Meanwhile, after the ‘hottest year ever’, the maximum winter sea ice for 2024 was recorded on March 14th at 15.01 million sq kms. Polar bear scientist Susan Crockford noted that the ‘U.S. headline writers’ at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre said it was below the average for 1981-2010. Indeed it was, although this year’s total was within two standard deviations, states Crockford. But why compare the a 30-year average to 2010 when another decade of data to 2020 is available? Cynics might note that taking out the higher totals of 40 years ago and replacing them with the lower recent figures would produce – more or less – an above average maximum in 2024.


The Age of Underpopulation Is Here

The age of overpopulation is over. The age of underpopulation is here. After decades of warnings and fear about an overpopulation crisis, population is now rapidly declining in most of the world. The overpopulation disaster predicted by world elites did not occur.

Total fertility rate is the average number of children born per woman. Demographers tell us that a country’s fertility rate must be at least 2.1 children per woman to sustain the current level of population.

According to data from the United Nations, total world population still continues to rise, but population is declining in all major nations, where fertility rates have fallen below the minimum population replacement rate. Africa is the only continent where the population continues to grow. According to birth rates and without counting immigration flows, population is now falling in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and all European nations except Monaco and the Faroe Islands.

For the last four decades of the 20th century, world leaders warned of a coming catastrophe from an uncontrolled rise in global population. In 1950, the average woman was birthing about five children during her lifetime. Global population was growing at a rate of about two percent per year by 1955.

“The Population Bomb,” written by Paul Ehrlich in 1968, became a worldwide best seller. The prologue of the book stated, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” The author warned of coming famines and resource shortages and advocated for compulsory population control.

The fear of overpopulation produced a population control movement by the early 1970s. A consistent theme of the movement was that population growth was unplanned. Ehrlich stated: “A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people.”

The United Nations indicated that people were not intelligent enough to plan their own families. James Grant, Undersecretary General for the UN, wrote in 1992: “Family planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology available to the human race.”

Convinced by the overpopulation elites, governments of the world endorsed tragic population control measures. By the 1970s, it became U.S. government policy to grant foreign aid only if population control measures were implemented. The World Bank and the U.N. also established policies requiring population control in exchange for loans or aid.

During the last decades of the 20th century, population programs proposed by Western intellectuals and the U.N. were implemented in the form of anti-human policies by the governments of China, India and dozens of other nations. The government of India established sterilization and intrauterine device insertion quotas in 1966. Over 40 million people were sterilized between 1965 and 1985, most coercively.

The People’s Republic of China implemented population policies in 1970 and adopted a one-child policy for all families in 1979. By March 2013, the China government reported that 336 million abortions and 222 million sterilizations had been carried out since 1971. Sex-selection abortion became common and even the killing of girl babies was practiced in both China and India.

Population control policies typically disproportionally impacted disadvantaged races or social classes. In India, coercive policies often targeted people of lower castes. In 1966, sterilization programs were set up at federally funded Indian Health Service hospitals in the U.S. Thousands of Native American women were sterilized between 1966 and 1976, often without informed consent. In Peru, sterilizations targeted rural natives of Incan descent.

But the overpopulation intellectuals were wrong. Famine did not kill hundreds of millions of people as the Ehrlichs predicted. Instead, an agricultural revolution increased global output of corn, rice and wheat by a factor of five from 1960 to 2023. The malnourished portion of world population declined from 30 percent in 1950 to 10 percent today and continues to fall.

The world fertility rate dropped from about five children per woman in 1950 to 2.3 children per woman in 2021 and continues to fall. The population growth rate dropped to 0.82 percent per year by 2021 and is declining rapidly.

Nations moved from agricultural, to industrial, to technological societies, achieving the elimination of infectious disease, improved sanitation, improved food supply, a decline in infant mortality, and rising levels of education. Women entered the work force in larger numbers and family sizes declined.

But despite tragic implementation of population control policies in several nations, today’s families are having fewer children, the world population is stabilizing, and the predicted overpopulation disaster did not happen. Governments now pursue programs to boost family size in China, Japan, South Korea, and many nations of Europe.

But didn’t population control programs cause the drop in fertility rates? The answer is “no.” Fertility rates dropped faster in South Korea than in China, driven by economic development, rising incomes, and increased levels of education and workforce participation for women, without forced population control measures. Fertility rates dropped faster in Brazil and Mexico due to demographic changes, than in India where forced population control was employed.

What is the lesson from the overpopulation crisis that did not occur? The United Nations, the intellectuals, and strident political leaders were dead wrong about overpopulation. People do not multiply like cancer cells. Rather than being a species “out of control,” humans plan their own families and react to changing societal conditions. The lesson from the overpopulation debacle is that people adapt to their environment.

But the United Nations and world elites now warn of a coming climate catastrophe. They demand a costly energy transition to Net Zero emissions. They demand that we change our transportation and our home appliances, that we stop eating meat, and that we adopt hundreds of other proposed climate-saving remedies. Will we have a climate disaster, or will the global elites be wrong again?