Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wind & Solar Generators Couldn’t Care Less When You’re Freezing In The Dark

Solar panels smothered with snow and ice produce nothing; wind turbines frozen solid during breathless, frigid weather produce even less (they actually consume power from the grid to run heating systems meant to prevent their internal workings suffering permanent damage).

So, if you’re sitting freezing in the dark, don’t expect wind and solar power generators to come to your rescue.

No, if the lights and power are on this winter, then you ought to raise a glass for the gas, coal and nuclear power generators separating you and your loved ones from a date with hypothermia and, ultimately, the morgue.

Hundreds died during the Big Freeze that hit Texas in February 2021, thanks to a complete collapse in wind and solar output. Thousands more would have died, but for the reliable output delivered by coal, gas and nuclear plants.

As this piece from Alberta attests, the wind and solar industries couldn’t care less whether you freeze to death when winter bites.

Some things look great on paper until they are tested with the cold, hard reality.

For years, the province of Alberta, Canada looked like a decent place to build large scale wind projects. Alberta has wide open, windy spaces. So, in the name of fighting global warming (AKA raking in government subsidies) wind developers built nearly 4,500MWs of wind capacity as of January 2024. Solar’s installed capacity sits at 1650MWs for a combined wind and solar capacity of just over 6100MWs.

In January of 2024, Alberta’ wind turbines faced one of their most serious tests to date: a Polar Vortex pushed artic air down through Canada and into the United States. Temperatures plummeted, sending Alberta’s grid demand sky high.

CBC news reported on Friday January 12th that “Just before sunrise in Edmonton, temperatures hit lows of –37C (-34.6F), breaking a daily record of –32 (-25F) set in 1998.”

And it got colder.

On Friday night going into Saturday (13th) at Edmonton International Airport, temperatures dropped to -45C (-49F) by 10pm (according to

As astute readers may know, a grid consumes electricity as it’s produced. If Alberta needs 12,000MWs of power, it has to produced 12,000MWs of power at the same instant (more or less). If the real-time supply and demand gets out of whack, the ‘pressure’ on the grid drops, forcing grid operators to call on other generators, force customers to reduce demand, or initiated rolling blackouts.

And no grid should run at 100% capacity. A grid should keep some capacity in reserve. If your largest plant suddenly runs into trouble and has to be pulled offline, you want more than enough standby capacity to plug that gap. And, even the best generators might struggle to provide maximum output during extreme weather. So, to safely operate, a grid wants to keep some standby capacity, well in excess of peak demand.

During the polar Vortex, Alberat’s grid demand skyrocket, hitting 10,000, 11,000, and more than 12,000MWs of demand. To supply that demand, Alberta’s gas plants have run hard, and the province had to rely on imports.

Of course, at night, Alberta’s 1650 MWs of solar were completely useless.

And wind output failed too. On the night of Jan 12-13, during the record-breaking cold temperatures, wind output stood at only 14MWs at 2115hrs. That wasn’t the lowest either. Early in the evening, wind output stood at 8-10MWs. But 8MWs would barely show up on the chart. So, we’re going with output at 2115hrs.

No, that’s not an exaggeration. Basically, Alberta’s wind was missing when the grid needed it most.


French Farmers Vow To Continue Protests

French farmers have vowed to continue their tractor protests “for as long as necessary” while laying the blame for growing rural anger at the feet of the European Union’s ‘green’ agenda and the globalist government of President Emmanuel Macron.

Building off the momentum of the political gains from farmers in the Netherlands last year and the recent uprisings seen across Germany — not to mention decades of tractor protests already seen in France — French farmers said that they plan to continue shutting down motorways with their tractors at least until the end of the week and maybe even longer if the government fails to heed their demands.

Near Toulouse, hundreds of farmers have been blocking a highway in both directions since last Thursday afternoon, while similar protests have been staged across the country.

Arnaud Rousseau, the president of the FNSEA agricultural union said according to Le Figaro: “I can tell you that from today and throughout the week and for as long as it is necessary, a certain number of actions will be carried out.”

“The anger that is being expressed is not new… what farmers want is to restore a form of dignity to their profession, it is to talk about the questions of income and competitiveness. That is the whole subject of the daily exercise of the profession: how with the over-administration and the European variations of a certain number of rules, we are no longer in line with what is happening,” he continued.

Principally, the farmers are calling for their way of life to be respected by elites in Paris and Brussels.

However, in terms of concrete measures, they have called for a reduction in onerous ‘green’ regulations from the EU and from their government, which recently raised taxes on agricultural fuel.

The French farmers have also expressed anger over unfair competition, with food produced with cheaper labor and lax standards undercutting their prices, including from Ukraine, which the EU gave tariff-free access to the single market last year.

This has been further compounded by a lack of enforcement of laws surrounding the annual negotiation of prices between supermarket chains and farmers.

While recently installed French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has promised to make announcements on initial changes to agricultural policy within the week, it is unclear if the government will be able to restore trust with rural communities ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections in June, in which farming is set to become a key political issue throughout the bloc.

As has been the case in the Netherlands and Germany, the populist right in France has aligned itself with the farmer protest movement.

The President of National Rally, Jordan Bardella, said that his party is the champion of the farmers while visiting wine growers over the weekend. In contrast, Bardella said: “Macron’s Europe wants the death of our agriculture.”

Bardella declared that the farmers’ anger is a “cry of a French people who do not want to die, who are attached to their social model, who are attached to their countryside, to their rural life.”


End the chimera of ‘green jobs’ tomorrow at the expense of real jobs today

The rush to net zero presents a severe threat to industries that have long been the lifeblood of our economy.

Grangemouth Refinery should be celebrating its centenary year in 2024, as Britain’s longest producing oil refinery. Instead, skilled workers at the Falkirk plant face months of worry, after the owners announced in November they will convert the site into an import terminal by 2025 with the loss of 400 jobs.

Instead of adding value to the economy and providing well-paid jobs to British workers – as well as supplying 70 per cent of Scotland’s petrol demand – we will instead ship fuel from abroad, supporting foreign jobs whilst further hammering the UK’s balance of payments. All the while doing nothing to reduce global emissions.

These developments are payback after years of neglect. Whilst the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill is a welcome yet belated attempt to maximise our own resources, it comes after clobbering North Sea operators with debilitating windfall taxes that cratered investment.

Our attitude towards energy security has bordered on dangerous indifference.

By failing to develop shale gas or rushing the closure of reliable fossil-fuelled power stations, we have lumbered ourselves with some of the world’s highest power costs, whilst subsidising intermittent renewables. And we impose some of the world’s highest carbon costs through the UK Emissions Trading Scheme on our industry, whose main competitors in China, India and the Middle East operate under no such burdens.

Furthermore, Grangemouth’s owners pointed directly to the “decline in demand for the type of fuels we produce” as key to their decision to close. The ideological obsession for battery vehicles at all costs can therefore be directly tied to the survival of British industry. Indeed, responding to a parliamentary debate on Grangemouth recently, ministers seemed happy to embrace the “managed decline” of a once proud sector, without considering the ramifications for our standard of living if the EV utopia fails to materialise.

This shameful acceptance of decline from a Conservative government would previously have been unthinkable. The only thing that can be said for the Government’s approach is our opponent’s policies offer even more insanity: “crocodile tears” from the SNP and Greens after years of undermining Scottish industry, and Labour’s eco-zealotry amounting to unfunded billions for the impossible promise of being a “clean energy superpower” by 2030.

Ask people most affected by the “green transition” where their preferences lie, however, and common sense prevails. When given a choice between energy independence or net zero, a recent survey of Scottish voters by pollsters Redfield & Wilton showed 58 per cent prioritising energy security, more than double those wanting net zero.

It is time we accept the same realism as these voters. We cannot burden industries with excessive costs that foreign competitors avoid, whilst expecting them to continue operating in the UK. Nor can we recklessly pursue a transition to EVs by diktat, which ordinary consumers do not want, on the chimera of “green jobs” tomorrow at the expense of real jobs today.

The closure of Grangemouth Refinery is a tragedy, but it is also a wake-up call. I could write in similar terms about the proposed closure of our remaining blast furnaces on the back of high energy costs and more net zero zealotry leaving the UK as the only G20 country without the ability to manufacture virgin steel. Do we continue down this path to ruin? Or do we finally wake up and prioritise true British energy security?


BP attacked by investor over ‘irrational’ switch to clean energy

BP is facing fresh demands to scrap “irrational” net zero commitments championed by former chief executive Bernard Looney, after an activist investor claimed they have left shareholders £40bn poorer.

The FTSE 100 oil giant was on Monday accused of pursuing an unrealistic strategy by Bluebell Capital Partners, the investor that has taken a minority stake in BP after previously taking on blue chip heavyweights Glencore and Danone.

In a 30-page letter, Bluebell called on BP to scrap its commitment to scale back its oil and gas business by a quarter this decade, halt investment in renewable energy schemes and rewrite its net zero targets to clarify they will be achieved “in line with society”.

Bluebell argued that the targets will artificially constrain BP and leave it at a disadvantage compared to rivals such as Shell and ExxonMobil, which have made no such commitments of their own.

It added that BP’s investment in renewables such as solar and wind are failing to generate strong enough returns.

The activist is also demanding that BP returns an extra $16bn (£12.6bn) to shareholders this decade, and urged the oil giant to sack a board director with links to fund giant Blackrock, which it branded “a world champion of ESG inconsistency and hypocrisy”.

Blackrock has been one of the most vocal supporters of so-called environmental, social and governance investment principles, but has faced criticism over claims that it has prioritised progressive views over investor returns.

Bluebell said BP’s true worth was “at least 50pc more” than its stock market value, which stood at about £80bn on Monday, but had been dragged down by the “ill-conceived” strategy.

Giuseppe Bivona, partner and chief executive at Bluebell, said he spent the day speaking to BP shareholders, as he warned that too many companies were making unattainable green commitments to appear politically correct.




Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Impossible Energy “Transition”

After two weeks of negotiation, the United Nations climate conference in Dubai agreed last week to “transition away” from fossil fuels.

The question is how much damage these policies will do before they’re abandoned.

Left unanswered is whether governments are supposed to do that by reducing supply, reducing demand or both. A lot rides on the answer, but neither would affect the climate much.

In the demand-side scenario, technology saves the day with cost-competitive renewables. This is the vision of the International Energy Agency, according to which the more rapid the transition from fossil fuels, the more precipitous the decline in fossil-fuel prices. In its “Net Zero Emissions” scenario, oil demand drops faster than supply this decade, pushing oil prices below $30 a barrel soon after 2030, which corresponds to $1-a-gallon gasoline.

Yet even with fossil-fuel prices near historic highs, effective renewable substitutes are nowhere near cost-competitive. They’d have to get cheaper still to compete with $30-a-barrel oil. And in developed countries, especially the U.S., it’s impossible to get permits quickly enough for the staggering amount of renewable capacity that would be needed.

In the supply-side approach, governments would slash oil production or impose rationing, hoping to make fossil fuels so expensive that renewables are the only option. This is the dark vision of “Stop Oil” and Greta Thunberg. But as long as renewable substitutes aren’t immediately available and oil and gas remain necessary, a small reduction in supply causes prices to soar. That means windfall profits for energy companies, scarcity for everyone else, and electoral danger for the governments responsible. Ms. Thunberg claims that climate change is a “death sentence” for the poor, but the poor are far more vulnerable to disruptions in energy supply. In the 1970s, an oil boycott aimed at the U.S. caused famines in Africa.

While the stop-oil view was popular at Dubai, there were enough adults in the room to keep the conference from committing to it. “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5 C” (the Paris Agreement’s proposed limit on 21st-century temperature increases), said conference president Ahmed al Jaber, “unless you want to take the world back into caves.” Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman dared countries to try to choke off the oil supply: “Let them do that themselves. And we will see how much they can deliver.”

Poor countries are clear-eyed about the danger of energy poverty. “We are not going to compromise with the availability of power for growth,” said India’s minister for power, R.K. Singh. China has more coal plants under construction than are in operation in the U.S. Few rich countries have announced plans to stop drilling for oil or gas, and none of those are major producers. Even President Biden ran away from increasing the gasoline tax as soon as prices went above $3 a gallon in the summer of 2021.

The administration’s answer to this conundrum is to defer political consequences via the regulatory state. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to require that all coal and natural-gas plants shut down or adopt unproven zero-carbon technologies by 2038. Another EPA proposal would require 62% of all cars sold in America to be fully electric by 2032.

Assuming they survive court challenges and future administrations, they would impose soaring prices and reduced mobility on Americans. They would have almost no impact on global temperatures unless other countries, including China and India, also commit to energy poverty. The question is how much damage these policies will do before they’re abandoned.


Mann v Steyn

Dr. Michael E. Mann is a well-known climate activist. E.g., he was the person who invented the hockey-stick climate graph — which intentionally conveys alarmism.

Mark Steyn is a conservative, outspoken public speaker, writer, TV personality, etc. who has a keen interest in public policies, from COVID to climate.

About 12 years ago, Mark added some comments to an internet post written by someone else. His observations drew a parallel between Jerry Sandusky (the disgraced Penn State football coach), and Mann (also a Penn State employee). Both Mann and Sandusky were investigated by Penn State’s administration in what Steyn characterized as a cover-up. Steyn also described Mann’s famous hockey stick temperature chart as fraudulent.

My understanding is that Mann subsequently told Steyn to retract his comments. However, Steyn refused, saying that what he wrote was accurate. Mann then said that he would sue Steyn if he didn’t retract, and Steyn said be my guest. This began the saga.

There are at least four fascinating aspects of this lawsuit:

1 - Mann’s contention is that this case is primarily about Science.

2 - Steyn’s position is that this is a trial primarily about Free Speech.

3 - Steyn is acting as his own lawyer (i.e. pro se), which is highly unusual.

4 - The case took 12 years to be heard, which seems to violate due process.

I could easily expand on any of those four issues, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll focus on just the Science element.

Mann’s contention about Science is interesting, and (for multiple reasons) seems to be a very weak argument. E.g., it’s fascinating to note that, despite this being a high-profile case about a topic of paramount interest (climate change), it appears that not a single Science organization formally stepped forward to side with Mann! (See here.)

Also very interesting is that (earlier) the Judge denied Mann’s request for certain experts (some of his climate alarmist buds) to testify on his behalf. What is extremely fascinating is the Judge’s reason:

“Applying Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Daubert standard for scientific evidence, Judge Irving concluded that most of the proffered expert testimony was inadmissible because the experts failed to identify the methodology they used in reaching their conclusions about the contested statements… The methodologies of the expert must be grounded in the Scientific Method, such that another person with similar expertise could replicate them (Daubert 509 US at 591).”

That the Judge is looking for evidence that the Scientific Method is used in the alarmist’s climate arguments is extraordinarily significant, for at least two reasons: 1) alarmists contend that the Scientific Method is not applicable for assessing the validity of climate change claims, as climate is “too complicated,” and 2) as I have explained in earlier commentaries (e.g., here), progressives have specifically attacked the Scientific Method, so that it is no longer taught in almost any K-12 US schools (thanks to the acceptance of the progressive NGSS by some 49 states).

My unsolicited advice is for Steyn to take on Mann about Science. Starting with the definition of Science (“Science is a process”), to what is the main process (the Scientific Method). It’s a major asset that it already appears that the Judge is aware of, and is favorably disposed to, the Scientific Method.

The Scientific Method can be traced back some 4000 years (e.g., here and here) — and was heavily relied on by essentially every notable scientist in history (Newton, Curie, Einstein, etc.). That progressives are trying to now throw it in the trash should indeed be vigorously challenged — and this seems like a superior venue.

Steyn should also make it clear that what Mann calls science is really political science. I can not overstate the significance of this distinction. We are inundated with activist scientists who arbitrarily discard the standards of real Science (the process), and substitute their own. Their rationale for this abrogation is the end justifies the means. This is relevant in this trial, as that appears to be exactly what Mann did with the hockey stick graph. (See this excellent detailed discussion about Mann’s graph.)

Mann and Greta Thunberg are birds of a feather. The most relevant difference is that Mann has significantly more academic credentials. He should know better as to what Science is, what the Scientific Method is, what Critical Thinking is, etc. What that translates to is that considering Mann’s dissipations, the sin is greater for him.

If Steyn plays his cards right, he has a superior opportunity to expose Mann’s turpitudes. Ideally, that in turn, could bring about a penitential response by Mann, to begin to make amends for the horrific influence his actions have had on the world, and on genuine Science.

The takeaway here is that Steyn is an odds-on favorite to win this case, based on the merits of either (or both) Science and Free Speech, plus the fact that the judge seems inclined to be serious about this, rather than play politics.


UK: Does the Climate Change Committee understand the energy storage problem?

Andrew Montford

Yesterday, I reported that four national institutions – the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the National Infrastructure Commission, National Grid, and the Royal Society – have got their energy system modelling wrong and have thus underestimated the cost of Net Zero.

Last night, the CCC’s Chief Executive, Chris Stark put out a long Twitter thread addressing these issues. But while it’s dressed up as a rebuttal, it’s nothing of the sort. In fact, it’s a masterpiece of bureaucratic obfuscation.

Recall firstly that this blew up when the Sunday Telegraph reported Sir Christopher Llewellyn Smith’s criticisms of the CCC’s energy system modelling: they had failed to look at the possibility of back-to-back low wind years. This meant that they underestimated the amount of hydrogen storage the system would need, and thus the costs involved.

There are 24 tweets in Stark’s thread. On number 10, we get this:

We could certainly look further at a sequence of years. We are hoping we can do this in later work.

Clearly then, Stark accepts Sir Christopher’s central point. He would have had to, of course, because he had already done so in correspondence with the Sunday Telegraph’s Ed Malnick, who reported in his article:

…in response to further questions from this newspaper, the [CCC] admitted that its original recommendations in 2019 about the feasibility of meeting the 2050 net zero target, were also based on just one year’s worth of weather data.

And since the CCC had the underlying modelling for the 2019 Net Zero report dragged out of them under FOI, we can see in the model itself that only one year’s worth of data is analysed!

But while Stark has to accept the point, in true bureaucratic fashion, he dresses it up so that it appears to be a rebuttal:

quote tweeting someone saying that the Royal Society’s criticisms are misleading

calling the Sunday Telegraph piece “nasty” (it isn’t) but not linking to it

multiple tweets describing the (incorrect) modelling that they did

claiming to have made a strong rebuttal.

saying “there’s nothing ‘right or wrong’ here.

calling it a “silly story”


Stark introduces a 2023 report, for which he says they looked at five different years of weather data, so he is once again accepting Llewellyn Smith’s central criticism, namely that they haven’t looked at back to back low wind years and will thus have got the costs wrong.

He also says:

we modelled two sensitivities looking specifically at the impact of low-wind periods (‘wind droughts’) up to 30 days. An understanding of these extremes is essential to system design (although its impact on the overall net zero transition shouldn’t be exaggerated).

This appears to betray an alarming misunderstanding of the issue. A period of a few weeks with little or no renewable generation (usually referred to as a “dunkelflaute”) is a secondary problem. Dunkelflautes are typically a couple of weeks long, but even one lasting 30 days would only reduce annual output by 10% or so. In simple terms, it would mean that we would need 10% of annual demand in the store at the start of the year.*

I use the term wind “drought” to refer to years in which wind is low over the whole year. In 2021, for example, annual wind output was down 20% or more. To get through a year like that, we’d need 20% of demand in the store. To survive back-to-back wind drought years, we’d need to store 40% of demand (and to have a commensurately larger generation fleet so that we can quickly refill it). Thus the costs will be grossly understated.

That Stark appears not to understand this, even after Llewellyn Smith has explained it to him, should be a cause for concern.

It may be, of course, that bringing dunkelflautes into the thread is just part of his efforts to obfuscate his admission of failure, but we need to be clear. So, does Chris Stark accept that back-to-back wind droughts mean more storage, more generation equipment and higher costs, or doesn’t he?

We need to know.


Australian conservative leader commits to defunding Environmental Defenders Office under next government

The Coalition will strip funding from the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) if it wins the next federal election, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has promised.

The EDO is an environmental legal centre that runs litigation and offers legal support in climate change and environment cases.

Federal funding to the non-government organisation was cut by former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2013 but reinstated by the Albanese government when it came into power.

The government committed to providing $8.2 million to the EDO over four years, with the rest of its revenue received from state and territory governments or philanthropy.

But the EDO has recently worn criticism for its conduct in court. Federal Justice Natalie Charlesworth ruled the group had confected evidence and coached witnesses in its legal challenge of a Santos gas project in the Timor Sea.

In the wake of that case, Mr Dutton vowed to revive the Abbott-era cuts if the Coalition won government.

"They have obviously been discredited in a recent federal court case but the federal government has had nothing to say about it," Mr Dutton told resources groups in West Australia this morning.

"The same activists are now seeking to use the courts to thwart Woodside's $16.5 billion Scarborough offshore gas field project here in WA.

"It does stymie existing projects and it does stop new endeavours from taking off. "We think it needs to be defunded."

Mr Dutton's commitment follows a pledge by the LNP in Queensland to pull state funding for the EDO if it wins the next election, and calls from former WA Liberal premier Colin Barnett for the group to be abolished altogether.

On Tuesday, EDO chief executive David Morris wrote to supporters acknowledging the court had been critical of "some aspects of the handling of the case", and said the office was treating that with the utmost seriousness.

"We are reviewing the judgement carefully but as the matter remains before the court, we are limited in making further comment," Mr Morris wrote.

"While this decision was devastating for EDO's clients and deeply disappointing for EDO and supporters like you, our determination to continue providing public interest legal services to communities across the continent is unwavering.

"We provide these services in circumstances where, were it not for EDO, access to environmental justice in Australia would be seriously diminished."




Monday, January 29, 2024

Climate and Energy Fantasy and Tyranny

It’s mystifying and terrifying that our lives, livelihoods and living standards are increasingly dictated by activist, political, bureaucratic, academic and media ruling elites who disseminate theoretical nonsense, calculated myths and outright disinformation.

Not only on pronouns, gender and immigration – but on climate change and energy, the foundation of modern civilization and life spans.

We’re constantly told the world will plunge into an existential climate cataclysm if average planetary temperatures rise another few tenths of a degree, due to using fossil fuels for reliable, affordable energy, raw materials for over 6,000 vital products, and lifting billions out of poverty, disease and early death.

Climate alarmism implicitly assumes Earth’s climate was stable until coal, oil and gas emissions knocked it off kilter, and would be stable again if people stopped using fossil fuels.

In the real world, climate has changed numerous times, often dramatically, sometimes catastrophically, and always naturally. Multiple ice ages and interglacial periods, Roman and Medieval warm periods, a Little Ice Age, major floods, droughts and dust bowls all actually happened – long before fossil fuels.

Tornadoes, hurricanes and other extreme weather events are not getting more frequent or intense. You might argue that Harvey and Irma marked a sudden increase in major hurricanes in 2017 – but that’s only because after Wilma there would have been a record twelve years of zero Category 3-5 hurricanes.

We need to ignore the fear-mongering, look at the actual records, and recognize that dangerous upward trends simply aren’t there. We must insist that alarmists distinguish and quantify human influences versus natural forces for recent temperature, climate and weather events – and show when, where and how human activities replaced natural forces.

The only place manmade temperature and climate catastrophes exist is in Michael Mann and other GIGO computer models. These climate models are worthless for policymaking because they aren’t verified by actual measurements, don’t account for urban heat island effects, and cannot incorporate the vast scale and complexity of atmospheric, planetary and galactic forces that determine Earth’s climate.

In reality, people and the planet are threatened far more by global cooling than warming. Even a couple degrees drop in average global temperatures would drastically reduce growing seasons, arable land, plant growth, wildlife habitats and agricultural output – especially if it’s accompanied by reductions in plant-fertilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Plants, animals and people would face starvation.

We’re also told ruling elites could prevent this imagined crisis by switching us to wind, solar and battery power. (They also want to eliminate cows and modern agriculture, over misplaced concerns about methane and fertilizer, but that’s anudder discussion.)

Build a coal, gas or nuclear power plant – and unless governments shut it down or cut off fuel supplies, the plant provides plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity nearly 24/7/365 for decades. Build a massive sprawling wind or solar installation, and you have to back up every kilowatt with coal, gas or nuclear power – or with millions of huge batteries – for every windless, sunless period.

The economic and ecological effects would be ruinous.

Coal, gas and nuclear plants can be built close to electricity-intensive urban centers. Tens of thousands of wind turbines and billions of solar panels must go where there’s good wind and sunshine, far from urban areas, connected by high voltage transmission lines. In fact, for Net Zero, says the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world would need 50,000,000 miles of new and upgraded transmission lines by 2040!

All those “clean, green, renewable, sustainable, affordable” wind, solar and battery systems, backup generators, transmission lines and electric vehicles would require millions of tons of iron, copper, aluminum, manganese, cobalt, lithium, concrete, plastics and numerous other metals and minerals.

Onshore wind turbines require nine times more materials per megawatt – and offshore turbines need fourteen times more – than a combined-cycle natural gas power plant, the IEA calculates. Solar panels and EVs have the same problem.

To get these materials, billions of tons of overlying rock must be removed to reach billions of tons of ores – which then must be processed in huge industrial facilities that use mercury and toxic chemicals, emit vast quantities of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants, and are powered by coal or natural gas. Many components for these “green” technologies are derived from oil and natural gas.

US and other Western facilities control and recycle these pollutants. Chinese and Russian facilities pay little attention to air and water pollution, workplace safety, or fossil fuel use, efficiency and emissions – yet they supply over 80% of “renewable” energy raw materials, because the West increasingly bans mining and processing and makes energy prohibitively expensive to operate mines and factories.

Pseudo-renewable energy worldwide would cost hundreds of trillions of dollars, would have to be subsidized by trillions of taxpayer dollars, and would dramatically increase electricity rates.

Electric vehicle, appliance and heating mandates would double or triple all these infrastructure, materials, mining and land use requirements, ecological impacts and costs.

American residential electricity prices in 2023 ranged from 10.4¢ per kilowatt-hour (Idaho) to 28.4¢ per kWh (California). British families paid 47¢ per kWh! UK factories and businesses paid up to three times what their US counterparts did. German families, factories and businesses are in the same capsizing boat.

But EU industrial leaders say energy prices must continue rising, to cover the soaring costs of the “energy transition.” If they don’t, factories, jobs and emissions will move overseas. But if they do, families will freeze jobless in the dark.

What many call the Climate Industrial Complex has a monumental stake in perpetuating this situation. Collectively, its members have incredible power, control much of government and education, hold enormous financial stakes in green tech subsidies, and often censor contrarian viewpoints.

Just as ominous, if it becomes clear that the Brave New World of Net Zero Energy cannot provide sufficient affordable electricity and other necessities for modern industries, healthcare and living standards, two-thirds of America’s ruling elites favor food and energy rationing to combat climate change and retain their anti-capitalism, anti-growth agenda. It’s likely the same in Europe and Canada.

The Biden Administration and other governments are already dictating the kinds of vehicles we can drive and what appliances and heating systems we can use. They’re already exploring ways to limit the kind and size of homes we can live in, how warm and cool we can keep them, how often we can travel by air, the kinds and amounts of meat we can eat, and many other aspects of our lives.

Meanwhile, China, India, Indonesia and dozens of other countries are building hundreds of coal and gas generating units – further underscoring the insanity and futility of trying to control energy sources, quantities and emissions.

This is what America’s 2024 state and national elections are about – and elections in Europe, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. The longer these elites remain in power, the more our liberties, lives and living standards will resemble life a century ago under authoritarian regimes. Vote accordingly.


Many Ways The Climate Scam Isn’t Aligning With The Facts

Much of the U.S. was frosted and frozen by bitter winter weather last week. But this is just further proof of manmade global warming, the media claim.

Because even as America freezes, “most of the rest of the world is feeling unusually warm weather,” which is merely a “contradiction” that “fits snugly in explanations of what climate change is doing to Earth,” says the Associated Press.

Of course what doesn’t fit “snugly” is ignored. And there’s plenty of that.

For instance, [all the right people have assured us for decades] that Arctic ice will disappear due to man’s wanton combustion of fossil fuels.

At a United Nations climate conference in 2009, Al Gore, always a gushing font of climate disinformation, said polar scientists had told him, according to CBS News, “that the latest data ‘suggest a 75% chance the entire polar ice cap will melt in summer within the next five to seven years.’ ”

A couple of months earlier [in 2009], the BBC reported that “the Arctic Ocean could be largely ice-free and open to shipping during the summer in as little as 10 years,” basing this statement on the word of Peter Wadhams, a University of Cambridge “top polar scientist.”

But the reality is that in the middle of January 2024, “Arctic sea ice for this date stands at its highest level in 21 years,” says Climate Change Dispatch.

No, it’s not summer. It’s the dead of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

But this peak arrived immediately after Earth went through the “hottest” year on record. (It’s a meaningless claim, as our friend from Junk Science Steve Milloy has shown.)

How could Arctic ice be so healthy after a year that was so warm we’d guess from all the media and political fuss that it broke thermometers all over the world?

Furthermore, Arctic ice levels for the summer months of 2023 don’t show enough of a difference from the long-term averages to be alarmed.

Another fear that is supposed to paralyze us – as well as convince us to surrender our liberties and dollars to the mountebanks who promise they can tame our savage climate – is the loss of land to the rising seas caused by global warming.

The world’s biggest (and of course most important) cities, and the elites’ favorite tropical vacation spots, are on track to be flooded. (Didn’t Barack Obama’s very presence in the White House fix this)?

But reality and the global warming script simply aren’t in sync.

Or as Roger Pielke Jr., a University of Colorado environmental studies professor, puts it, there’s “a large gap between narratives promoted in the media and real-world evidence.”

Pielke writes that “From 1985 to 2015 – a period when global sea levels increased by about 60 millimeters (about 2.4 inches) – the areal extent of global coastal land increased by almost 34,000 square kilometers (about 13k square miles), or about the size of Belgium, home to more than 11 million people.”

The additional terrain is due to “‘landification,’ or the emergence of new land area,” he says.

He cites a team of Dutch researchers who have “warned that popular anecdotes can present a misleading picture of global trends in changes in the Earth’s surface from land to water and vice versa.”

The researchers argue that “general conclusions cannot be drawn from a limited sample of case studies.”

Rather, “planetary-scale monitoring is” necessary if we are “to understand (and disentangle) the causes of detected changes and their attribution to natural variability, climate change or man-made change.”

Everything that proceeds from the mouths of the climate alarmists must be taken with a boxcar of salt. Truth has long been a casualty in their war on fossil fuels.


Dark doldrums in renewable energy

For years, the media has supported politicians, NGOs, and environmentalists in the West who have been warning us about the harm fossil fuels are causing to the environment. We are continuously told that we need to invest in renewable energy in order to prevent a climate catastrophe. This narrative tells us that switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is not only going to save the planet, but it will also significantly lower our energy bills. It will unleash a new post-scarcity green society with cheap, abundant energy that can power the world for eternity. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The radical experiment with renewable energy has been underway for some time. The United Kingdom’s carbon emissions target was enshrined in law in 2019 by former British prime minister Theresa May, thereby mandating the nation to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. A crucial aspect of the policy calls for us to shift away from fossil fuels and towards more affordable, sustainable energy sources. In order to achieve net zero, we must have a reliable domestic renewable energy source.

Renewable energy companies in the UK receive a guaranteed price for electricity that is subsidised. The government sets this price before wind and solar farms are constructed. The theory is that government funding will spark a technological revolution and that future innovation will result in more affordable renewable energy projects. But things don’t operate in this manner. The British government raised the cost of offshore wind by 66 per cent, supposedly costing the consumer £44 per megawatt hour. In actuality, the cost rose to £73.

Energy costs have increased in every nation that has adopted the trendy theory of renewable energy. Consider Australia. The federal government wants to generate four-fifths of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, a target of 82 per cent. Australia now produces one-third of its electricity from renewable energy sources, so consumers should be benefiting from lower energy costs. The average wholesale price of electricity was $87 per megawatt hour in the first three months of 2022, a 141 per cent increase from the same point a year earlier. The Australian Energy Regulator attributes the price decline that started around the same time last year to the increased availability of black coal. Supply and demand work.

The same is true in California. Known as the renewable capital of the United States, the price of electricity increased five times faster in this state between 2011 and 2017 than it did in any other. Or Germany, which is among the biggest investors in renewable power in the world. The nation started its transition to a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy in 2010. It plans to phase out coal power by 2038 under a policy known as Energiewende, and it closed its last three nuclear plants in April of last year. As a result, electricity costs increased by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2017 – one of the most expensive in Europe.

But the primary problem with renewable energy sources is unpredictability. They are unreliable because their power generation depends on the whims of the weather. In today’s globalised world, where instant access to power is essential, this is not ideal. During the winter, when we most need electricity, renewables produce very little of it. Winter nights that are longer and colder are not ideal for solar power. It doesn’t help that wind speeds are a lot slower during colder months. The ironic situation is described by the Germans as Dunkelflaute –dark doldrums. Nature is a cruel mistress.

She’s not done yet. There are periods when the sun shines too brightly and the wind blows too fast. This also brings about problems. According to a report from Sky News UK, the Brits gave wind farm owners £215 million to compensate them for the days when the wind was too strong and they had to be turned off. Left to run, they could substantially overload the national grid. The same is true with solar energy: too much heat raises the possibility of blowout. The absurd situation we find ourselves in is having to switch them off on the sunniest days. California pays neighbouring states to take its excess solar energy.

Storage is the answer to the reliability issue. But there isn’t any technology that can store this extra energy in batteries. Building a battery facility in the US that could store solar and wind energy for just 12 hours would cost approximately $2.5 trillion – roughly one-third of all US federal spending, according to the MIT Technology Review.

Then there’s the restriction based on geography. To generate the same amount of energy, a solar farm would need to be 450 times larger than a nuclear power plant, requiring more land and causing real environmental damage. As for net zero? According to a report co-sponsored by the University of Melbourne, more than 120,000 square kilometres of land are needed to produce enough renewable energy to meet Australia’s net zero goal – equivalent to 90 per cent of England’s landmass, or half the size of Victoria.

And such renewables must be environmentally friendly, right? Hardly. Fossil fuels are used in the extraction and production processes. The carbon fibre used to make wind turbine blades needs both gas and oil. Polysilicon, which is produced using coal, is used in solar panels. A decommissioned solar farm, meanwhile, generates 300 times more toxic waste than a nuclear power plant.

Due to the release of energy from fossil fuels, the West has experienced unprecedented levels of material prosperity for the past 250 years. The number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen from 89 per cent in 1820 to just under 10 per cent today. We are living in a time that historian Deidre McCloskey calls ‘the great enrichment’ because of fossil fuels. An activity as elementary as flicking on a light switch is the result of two hundred years of innovation and free trade. Something lost on our green comrades.

Western elites need to be more honest and forthright about the cost of net zero. There’s a reason that only three per cent of the world’s energy comes from renewables. Dunkelflaute indeed.


Climate of naivety Australia's greatest danger

Hubris is a well-known occupational hazard for self-made billionaires. They risk mistaking obsequiousness for admiration and are vulnerable to the knowledge delusion: the conviction that their business acumen qualifies them as experts about everything.

Andrew Forrest took the opportunity to share his wisdom on international security at a sod-turning ceremony at one of his wind turbine plants this month.

He claimed investing in wind and solar would make us safer in a world where bad actors want to control fossil fuel supplies. “I don’t want machine gun-toting, fruitcake extremists in Yemen, firing missiles in the Red Sea, to dictate if I can drive my kids to school here in Dubbo,” Forrest said. “Why would I back oil and gas when it’s controlled by people like Putin?”

You don’t have to be Henry Kissinger to spot the flaws in Forrest’s analysis. Whatever the assumed benefits of stripping native vegetation to erect wind turbines, they are not an obvious deterrent to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Warships tend to be more effective.

The Russian President may be a man of some influence, but he does not have the power to impose limits on Australian gas or coal production. Punitive royalties and activist judges are much better at doing that.

Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal, pushing Russia into a distant third. We are the third-largest exporter of liquid natural gas, shipping three times more than Russia. We do less well when it comes to pipelines, but that’s a small price to pay for the security of living on an island continent.

We could be more than self-sufficient in oil if we put our minds to it. Geoscience Australia estimates our identified recoverable reserves of conventional oil at 1.8 billion barrels. There is significant potential for unconventional oil, which could be recovered with fracking.

It would be nitpicking to point out to Forrest that Yemenis sweeten their cakes with honey, not fruit. It is true that Iranian-backed terrorists from this dirt-poor but troublesome country are a not inconsiderable threat to our trade with Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa. They pose little, if any, threat to our oil imports, however.

Less than 40 per cent of international oil exports come from the Middle East, almost all of which comes from the Persian Gulf. The tankers the Houthis delight in setting on fire in the Red Sea are bound in the first instance for Europe and the Mediterranean.

One doesn’t have to travel to Dubbo to guess that electric vehicles are seen less frequently outside its school gates than in Cottesloe. For those concerned about domestic energy security, that’s a good thing. While Australia is rich in lithium, cobalt, rare-earth minerals and almost everything that makes a lithium-ion battery, nearly all of it is sent offshore for processing, predominantly to China. The Chinese manufacture two-thirds of electric vehicles, including the BYD Atto 3 and MG ZS EV, the third- and fourth-best-selling electric cars in Australia.

That’s no problem if you live in Twiggy Land, where the People’s Republic of China is a benign player in world affairs and is the country that will turn the battle against global warming. Back in the real world, however, outsourcing our energy future to the Communists in Beijing is about as stupid as government policy gets.

Turning to wind and solar makes us highly dependent on China. Most of the world’s solar panels come from there, and they are aggressively attacking the wind turbine market. Chinese belligerence is the most significant external threat by far to the security of energy supply as we continue to run down our coal-fired power stations and put obstacles in the path of gas.

The most significant risk to energy security, however, is homemade. Labor’s ambitious 2030 energy target and opposition to nuclear power is driving coal out of the energy mix with no alternative source of base-load energy.

Rising interest prices and lengthy approval processes are stifling the growth in insecure, intermittent wind and solar. Reaching the target of 40 new 7MW wind turbines a month has been a little trickier than Chris Bowen seemed to imagine in his first weeks in the job.

Bowen has precious few opportunities to turn sods, so it is hardly surprising he was prepared to travel to the picturesque NSW Central Tablelands this month for a photo opportunity with Forrest at Squadron Energy’s Uungula wind turbine development.

Uungula was the only commercial wind turbine project to reach financial closure last year. Hundreds of renewable projects are “in the pipeline”, as renewable enthusiasts like to say.

Mercifully for the local communities they are helping to destroy, however, precious few of them are likely to get off the ground. Uungula has been in the planning stage since 2011. In 2016, CWP Renewables, the previous incarnation of Squadron, sought approval for 249 turbines on the site that it claimed would be connected to the grid by 2020.

That proposal has since been scaled back to 69 6MW turbines and is unlikely to be connected until the end of 2025 at the very earliest after submitting neighbouring residents to two years of construction hell.

We must be thankful for small mercies. The original proposal threatened 1880 hectares of native vegetation. The revised proposal’s footprint covers just 639 hectares, an area some 1½ times larger than the Perth suburb of Mosman Park.

Sooner or later, the impossibility of reaching the government’s back-of-the-envelope targets will sink in. Governments in a liberal democracy are bound to obey the laws, including the laws of physics. They will take stock of the energy graphs and realise the last thing we need in the middle of the day is more renewable energy, and the last thing we need the rest of the time is energy we cannot rely on.

In a world that grows increasingly unstable and in which we, or more accurately our friends, are already fighting two wars, we will realise we are indeed the lucky country, blessed with abundant resources which we must learn to mine and process ourselves.

We will learn that the greatest threat to our future is not global climate change but homegrown naivety.




Sunday, January 28, 2024

Climate Alarmists Are Coming for Your Coffee

You've heard it before: "The planet is dying!" "Society is going to collapse!" "We are going to run out of water!"

Elite climate alarmists will stop at nothing to throw dirt on the things Americans love and enjoy in order to push the Left's radical Green New Deal.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) now has a new target: Coffee.

During last week's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Swiss banker Hubert Keller told the WEF panel that too much CO2 is exerted into the atmosphere through coffee production, warning that "they're coming for your coffee."

In a clip posted to social media, Keller pointed to the amount of "tonnes" (metric units equivalent to 2,204 lbs) CO2 coffee makers put into the air globally when producing their product. He said that the "coffee that we all drink emits between 15 and 20 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of coffee. So we should all know that this is — every time we drink coffee, we are basically putting CO2 into the atmosphere."

These are the same global elitists who want us to get our protein from eating crickets and try to make us believe eating meat will cause the world to end.

"Most of the coffee plantation — most of the coffee's produced through monoculture, and monoculture is also affected by climate change. The quality of these nature assets is deteriorating quite rapidly," Keller added.

The global warming fear-monger said that making the coffee industry more eco-friendly is a $250 billion market— no wonder why the world's most elite Leftists want to push their new attack on one of the country’s most beloved beverage.

So, not only does drinking coffee cause damage to the climate, but cars do as well. Having children is irresponsible, and gas stoves are evil. Not only that, refrigerators and freezers are also the planet's enemy.

Journalist Tim Hinchliffe blasted the WEF elitists for putting a guilt trip on coffee drinkers.

"It's all a power grab to seize land and the means of production to carbon tax you and I to oblivion," Hinchliffe said. "When he says production is 'fragmented,' he's saying it has yet to be captured by corporations & centralized. The coffee farmers in the globalist-termed 'global south' are to be stripped of their livelihoods in the name of climate justice."


Senate Opens Door to Massive Carbon Tax Despite Critical Economic Concerns

This week, Congress took a step toward passing a carbon tax—an inflationary, regressive tax on all products that would lower economic growth; make all Americans worse off; and disproportionately harm poor people, farmers, and small businesses. Politicians have rightly rejected carbon taxes in the past and should continue to do so.

On Jan. 18, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to send a proposed law to the full Senate that would require the federal government to conduct a study calculating the carbon emissions of a broad range of different products made in America and other countries. These include construction materials, plastics, and fertilizers—all vital to small businesses and corporations that power the economy.

This study is the first step to imposing a carbon tax on these products. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and Chris Coons, D-Del., is titled the Providing Reliable, Objective, Verifiable Emissions Intensity and Transparency (PROVE IT) Act.

The bill’s proponents say they are responding to carbon taxes in Europe, which will be implemented in 2024. The European Union, which has 21 countries with a carbon tax, is preparing laws to tax imports based on greenhouse gases emitted in their production. This border tax proposal is meant to prevent companies from shifting production outside the EU to avoid carbon taxes.

The complexity of this proposed European legislation, and the pushback from emerging economies, is one reason that it is unwise for America to follow. Europe’s current carbon taxes do not cover carbon emissions from all products. On average, the carbon tax covers 38% of total national carbon emissions, ranging from a high of 81% in Liechtenstein with a rate of $131 per ton to a low of 2% in Spain with a rate of $16 per ton.

In taxing carbon dioxide, Congress would end up reducing energy use while, according to carbon tax proponents, raising revenue that might permit a reduction of income tax rates to compensate.

The U.S. Treasury estimated in 2017 that a carbon tax of $49 per ton, rising at 2% a year, would raise $2.2 trillion over 10 years. Such a carbon tax would raise taxes on gasoline by 44 cents per gallon, on natural gas by about $2.60 per thousand cubic feet, on oil by $21.50 per barrel, and on coal by $62 to $126 per ton, depending on its carbon content.

The carbon tax is a favorite of individual economists across the political spectrum for restructuring the tax system. Proponents include Tuft University’s Gilbert Metcalf, American Enterprise Institute scholar Alex Brill, and Donald Marron and Eric Toder of the Tax Policy Center. The Climate Leadership Council, which cleverly refers to the carbon tax as “carbon dividends,” has as its founding members former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Harvard professors Larry Summers and Greg Mankiw, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (listed on the website as inactive due to her current position).

But a carbon tax has four major disadvantages—it is inflationary and regressive, it causes regional disparities, it is complex, and it drives production offshore. America is stronger without it.

Inflationary and Regressive. One major problem with the carbon tax is that it would raise prices, because all products contain carbon. Inflation is running at almost 4% and has reduced Americans’ real incomes. Since low-income people spend more on energy as a percent of their income than high-income people, a switch to a carbon tax would have to be accompanied by income transfers to low-income groups—i.e., some type of subsidy paid for by taxpayers.

Proponents suggest that offsets, paid for by carbon tax revenues, can be returned to taxpayers through lower income taxes, perhaps with the proceeds going chiefly to poor people who are disproportionately hurt by what is in essence an energy consumption tax.

However, Congress rarely cuts one tax by as much as it raises another tax, so Americans will end up paying more in taxes. Further, many poor people are not required to file tax returns, and they would have to do so in order to be identified and compensated. That means extra work for them and for the Internal Revenue Service.

Regional Disparities. Another problem is that carbon-intensive sectors, such as coal, heavy manufacturing, and agriculture, would be the biggest losers under the new tax. This means higher prices for food and gasoline for everyone, especially in rural areas, as well as companies announcing that they are moving offshore. Farmers in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium are rioting against the new climate provisions.

Complexity. A carbon tax is complex to set up, as can be seen from the PROVE IT Act. The bill selects which products are analyzed and then open to be taxed. Practically all products have some carbon in the content or in the manufacturing process or both, even food and clothing. That is why European carbon taxes range from 2% to 81% of carbon emissions.

Proponents of the tax suggest putting tariffs on imports in proportion to their carbon content so that American companies will not be at a disadvantage. But the precise quantities are complex to calculate, and tariffs might be illegal under World Trade Organization regulations.

Greater Offshore Production Increases Global Emissions. Carbon taxes raise the prices of domestic energy-intensive goods compared to imports from countries without carbon taxes. If American goods were taxed, Americans would prefer to buy cheaper, untaxed imports, and American firms would relocate abroad to avoid the tax or lose business to foreign companies.

This potential relocation reduces the goal of the tax, namely to lower global emissions and global temperatures. It also potentially sends millions of jobs overseas.

With production going abroad to countries with less stringent environmental regulations, global emissions might well rise rather than decline. Without a carbon tax, U.S. carbon emissions declined by 1,000 million metric tons over the past 16 years due to the substitution of natural gas for coal. Other countries do not have America’s inexpensive natural gas and rely more on coal. Therefore, companies relocating overseas would rely on dirtier, coal-produced energy.

A carbon tax would hurt the poor and raise domestic prices relative to the prices of many imports. It would be another add-on levy, with exemptions for political friends and punishments for enemies. The PROVE IT Act is a first step toward the tax, and Congress would be wise to reject the bill.


Creepy e-bike graveyards

Despite all the green hype surrounding the ‘dockless bike-share’ industry, it is producing an extraordinary amount of waste. Like wind turbine blades, these e-bikes are congregating in Xiamen and Shenyang, among other places, where they are largely left to rot in a sea of metal and rubber.

In some cases, these fields of bikes are several stories high, reshaping the landscape with the failed dreams of green urban enthusiasts. Not only are bikes dumped because they are damaged, some of China’s largest e-bike companies have collapsed. Many more are confiscated by government authorities. It is a disaster.

Even when the bikes are used as intended, they have created a major problem for already squeezed urban spaces. Residents have complained that bike-sharing has left their cities cluttered and a mess, with bikes discarded in the middle of footpaths, in hedges, rivers, parks – anywhere the careless user chooses.

Because bike-shares follow the old socialist principle of ‘people will take care of communal property’, it naturally fails in most places – with China’s problem of mistreated share-bikes repeated in America, Australia, and Europe. The largest measure for the success of a bike-share company appears to be the strict social order of society. Effectively, it operates on trust.

E-bike sharing is another one of those lovey-dovey Utopian ideas that woefully overlooks human behaviour. Just as public housing built on the taxpayer dollar is frequently neglected and destroyed, share-bikes are abused and abandoned because there is no significant punishment for the user. They didn’t buy it and they have no emotional attachment to it.

The globalist philosophy of ‘you will own nothing and be happy’ would likely turn the whole world into a slum. People don’t look after things if they can’t own them. We’re a nesting species, not squatters.

In 2020, there were over 10 million e-bikes in operation in China with the market continuing to grow despite teething problems. Where will they end up? In landfill? In the sea? Leaching into the dirt? In China, particularly, there are millions of early-model e-bikes with lead-acid batteries residing in these graveyards. They will be joined by the newer lithium-ion batteries. None of this is zero emission in the sense that the public expect.

‘Cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen subsequently tightened up policies on bike-share operators to better manage the chaotic environments the oversupply and unregulated bikes have created,’ said the ITDP.

While making cities more ‘bike friendly’ might help the immediate safety requirements, we know from some European countries, which are already well adapted for bikes, that it does not solve the larger issue of customer use.

E-bike sharing in Australia is annoying. If you walk towards Broadway in Sydney, the chances are you’ll trip over one collapsed and abandoned in the middle of the footpath. Sometimes they are left on the road. They all have helmets hanging off the handlebar so you can put your head in the same spot as a hundred other strangers. This is an odd behaviour for the Covid hypochondriacs who still wear masks and overdose on hand sanitiser. They refuse to sit on trains or touch escalator handrails, but shared helmets? That doesn’t count. Woke maths.

Australia’s e-bikes have a history of being thrown into rivers and left in parks. Depressing photos surfaced in 2017 of a barge with a couple of blokes pulling dozens out of the Yarra River in Melbourne. E-bike companies are doing their best to combat poor customer behaviour, but they are like parents trying to get a TikToker to clean their room.

Why do people panicky about the end of the world go to the trouble of using an e-bike only to chuck it in the water?

I’ve seen shared bikes work. In a regional seaside town, old-school bikes are left neatly locked into position beside a major shopping centre right beside the bike tracks. They are unlocked via an app which is relatively cheap to use. If the bikes aren’t back in their little homes within 24 hours, the user is automatically charged the full cost of the bike. Weirdly, this threat sees all the bikes returned without a scratch.

Brisbane has also had some luck with e-bike sharing for two main reasons: the city is very hard to navigate for newbies (and Google Maps has no idea how to help), and there are some scenic purpose-built bike-ways that suit the ‘drop in, drop off’ model.

Riding in Sydney or Melbourne is more like an extreme sport where some bike lanes end on freeway ramps or tram tracks while others channel riders into death traps like lemmings to a cliff.

The dream of shared e-bikes is not evil, and I’m sure plenty of green advocates have an Eden-esque result in mind. What we have to be careful of is that we don’t choke the world with e-waste while trying to ‘save it’.


More coal coming from Australia

Dartbrook mine set to reopen after 18 years

Australian Pacific Coal and Tetra Resources have finalised a three year US$60 million debt facility with energy and commodity group Vitol Asia.
Dartbrook coal mine near Muswellbrook is a step closer to reopening, 18 years after it was placed into care and maintenance.

Australian Pacific Coal and Tetra Resources announced on Tuesday that they had finalised a three year US$60 million debt facility with energy and commodity group Vitol Asia to cover the cost of reopening the mine through to first coal.

The funding will cover equipment acquisitions, the completion of remediation work and the acquisition of additional mining systems during ramp-up to achieve full capacity.

The companies been working to recommission the mine since September 2022.

"This is a landmark event for Australian Pacific Coal, our shareholders, and the Dartbrook mine," Australian Pacific Coal interim chief executive officer Ayten Saridas said.

"Our ability to secure debt funding for Dartbrook during a period of high inflation and global tension is testament to the quality of the project, the vision and work ethic of the team of people bringing it back to market, and the commitment of our shareholders."

The debt facility will be structured as a loan notes issuance agreement and will involve a three-year facility with repayments commencing after an initial grace period to allow for mine production startup.

"From the moment we engaged with Vitol, they have seen the potential value we can create at Dartbrook," Saridas said.

"They have been thoroughly professional during this process and we are looking forward to working closely with them in coming years.

"Vitol will play a key strategic role in the development of the project following their appointment as sole marketing agent for Dartbrook coal. Dartbrook product is very high quality and we anticipate strong interest from export markets.

The schedule to first coal is under review and will be announced in AQC's quarterly report later this month, Saridas said.

The Independent Planning Commission approved an amended application to reopen the mine in 2019, despite community opposition.

The conditions stipulate that the mine will have to use the Hunter Tunnel rather than transport coal by truck. It must also use existing processing infrastructure and cannot mine the Piercefield Seam to reduce groundwater impact.




Thursday, January 25, 2024

Carbon benefits of not using cookstoves overestimated: study

Comment from India

The greenhouse gas-reducing benefit of replacing highly polluting cookstoves has been overestimated by up to 10-fold, researchers reported on January 23.

A peer-reviewed study looked at carbon offset schemes based on getting rid of primitive charcoal- or wood-burning home stoves used by some 2.4 billion people that contribute to global warming and cause millions of pollution-related deaths every year.

Projects to provide cleaner, more efficient alternatives often raise funds by the sales of credits, which are based on estimates of how much carbon the new cookers keep out of Earth’s atmosphere -- one credit should equal one tonne of carbon dioxide.

The problem, according to the study published in the journal Nature Sustainability, is that a lack of methodological “rigour” is causing overestimation.

The scientists evaluated five methodologies used to measure emission reductions of the cookstove projects system, and found them all wanting.

Data covering some 40% of cookstove credits worldwide showed that 26.7 million carbon credits barely avoided a tenth of the carbon dioxide emissions claimed, about 2.9 million tonnes.

In carbon markets, one credit corresponded to one tonne of carbon dioxide.

Extrapolating out across all cookstove projects, the authors estimated credits were overvalued by more than 10-fold.

Carbon credits allow corporations -- or countries under certain conditions -- to offset greenhouse gas emissions by investing in projects that avoid carbon dioxide emissions, or remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Over-crediting damages the credibility of carbon markets, Annelise Gill-Wiehl, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, told AFP.

“No one has trust that one carbon credit represents one metric tonne of reduced emissions”, she told AFP.

“Whoever is buying the credits is allowed to emit one more tonne of carbon dioxide under the premise that they’re not actually emitting it.”

The research caused a stir in the so-called voluntary carbon market even before it was published when a review draft was widely circulated.

Investors, project developers and other industry representatives proactively contacted journalists, urging them not to “exaggerate the exaggerations”.

But the researchers insisted their work would help strengthen the trade in carbon offsets.

“A carbon credit market built on exaggerations is destined to fail,” said co-author Barbara Haya, an expert on offset quality and director of the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project.

“Our study offers specific recommendations that could make clean cookstoves a trusted source of quality carbon credits, and carbon credits a stable source of funding for clean cookstoves and all of their benefits for people and forests.”


Two thirds of elite Americans favour food and energy rationing to combat climate change, poll finds

The profound disconnect between the attitudes shared by the ‘top’ 1% elites in American society and the rest of the population is laid bare by the results of an illuminating new poll.

Nearly six in 10 elite members believe there is too much individual freedom in America, more than two-thirds favour rationing of food and energy to combat climate change, somewhere between a half and two-thirds favour banning things like SUVs, gas stoves, air conditioning and non-essential air travel, while two-thirds believe teachers should decide what children are taught.

Meanwhile, 70% of those polled trust Government to “do the right thing most of the time”, while among these groups, President Biden enjoys an 84% approval rating.

The poll’s authors note that at a time when most Americans have suffered a loss of real take-home pay, 74% of members say they are financially better off than in the past. “The people who run America, or at least think they do, live in a bubble of their own construction. They’ve isolated themselves from everyday America’s realities to such a degree their views about what is and what should be happening in this country differ widely from the average American,” it is observed.

The poll studied American elites but observations suggest these views are widespread within small highly influential groups in many other countries. Populist parties are rising across Europe and elsewhere, in reaction to open borders, the woke attack on traditional values and cohesive societies, and the savage insanity of the collectivist Net Zero project.

In Britain, this last lunacy is demonstrated with the recent news that steel making is to stop in Port Talbot with the horrendous loss of around 3,000 local jobs. Wherever you look, none of this concerns the new elite aristocracy, insulated and isolated by high state salaries and subsidies, or large, outsized remunerations from corporations and financial institutions with an almost monopolistic lock on commerce and ‘virtue’.

Two polls were conducted last September among 1,000 U.S. elite members, defined as having a postgraduate degree, a household annual income of more than $150,000 and living in an area with more than 10,000 people per square mile. About 1% of the U.S. population are said to meet these criteria.

The results were titled ‘Them v U.S’ and published by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity (CUP), a Maryland-based non-profit advocacy group founded by the distinguished economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore. The methodology was determined after observing numerous surveys indicating that these elite segments of the population consistently exhibited views that were distinct from the general population.

Many of the views expressed are frankly very scary, but they chime with the agenda promoted by similar elites across the world. Climate change is clearly an obsession of the very rich and highly educated, note the authors, adding: “An astonishing 77% of the elites – including nearly 90% of the elites who graduate from the top universities – favour rationing of energy, gas and meat to combat climate change.” More than two-thirds of graduates from elite colleges would ban SUVs, gas stoves, air-conditioning and most air travel.

The cynical will note of course that current elite lifestyles suggest that the favoured few have little expectation that such restrictions will apply to themselves – rather it is a new way of living for the sheeple, the fly-overs, the deplorables or the gammon, or whatever insult is in vogue at any one time.

Attempting to remove a steak dinner from many Americans and substituting it with a bean salad might be considered an unwise course of action, but elites are three times more likely to say there is too much individual freedom than all Americans. Almost six out of 10 graduates from elite colleges think there is too much freedom in a country that has always considered itself the ‘land of the free’.

The authors note that these elites have extraordinary political and societal powers. They determine what the conversation will be about on campus, in the legacy media and corporate boardrooms. They put their trust in big government/media/business/academia because they run all these institutions. As we have seen in the Daily Sceptic, large amounts of green billionaire money is available to promote their destructive agendas, and in the process censor any views not fully backing the pre-ordained narrative.

Only in mainstream media and over-funded academia can the scientific process of climate science be deemed ‘settled’, only a Harvard professor can think there is ‘context’ in calling for the genocide of Jews, and only the very flexible of mind can believe that a woman has a penis. Only a very odd group can give the barely sentient President Biden an 84% approval rating.


European People’s Party wants to scrap EU’s 2035 ban on petrol and diesel cars

Conservative forces in the European Parliament are considering calling on the EU to drop its 2035 ban on petrol and diesel engines in an embarrassing blow to Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Commission president has made the green deal a flagship policy in the bloc’s push for net zero but there are growing calls to roll back green rules because of the cost of living crisis.

Mrs von der Leyen’s own party, the centre-Right European People’s Party (EPP), plans to oppose the phased ban on petrol and diesel engines.

In September last year, Rishi Sunak delayed the UK’s ban on internal combustion engines from 2030 by five years to 2035, in line with Europe. The Prime Minister said it would protect hard-pressed families from “unacceptable costs”.

The call to ditch the ban is part of the EPP’s draft manifesto ahead of June’s European Parliament elections.

The so-called burden of green regulations is already a hot button issue after recent mass protests by Dutch and German farmers.

‘We reject a ban’

The manifesto, obtained by the Politico website, said: “We reject a ban policy, such as a ban on combustion engines, and will also revise it as soon as possible.”

It would instead rely on “innovative concepts and market-based instruments” and the “expansion of renewable energies”.

The EPP has already led calls to relax strict EU protections for the wolf, which Mrs von der Leyen supported after Dolly, her beloved horse, was killed by one of the predators.

It also opposed the EU’s nature restoration law, which narrowly passed in watered down form last year, after arguing it damaged farmers and food security.


Australia: Santos’ LNG project to be delayed and cost more after environmentalist lawfare

Santos’ Barossa LNG project will produce its first gas three months later than initially scheduled and the development will cost as much as US$300m ($456.3m) more, as the oil and gas company reveals the toll of two legal challenges.

The updated timings and cost is much less than some had feared, and the outlook sent Santos shares up nearly 1 per cent.

Santos chief executive Kevin Gallagher praised the work of his staff in keeping the project on track and as much on budget as possible.

“The team has done a great job in keeping Barossa close to the original schedule and managing the costs of delay,” Mr Gallagher said.

Mr Gallagher revealed drilling and pipeline work was now fully underway as the outlook for the company continues to brighten.

First gas from the project is now expected in the third quarter of 2024.




Wednesday, January 24, 2024

'Drill, baby, drill!' Americans by wide margin back Trump's greenlighting of oil and gas projects

Americans by a wide margin endorse President Donald Trump's pledge to 'Drill, baby, drill' and allow oil and gas schemes on federal lands, despite fears of global warming after 2023's searing temperatures, our poll shows.

A Poll reveals that 49 percent of US adults support the former president's pro-fossil fuel policy, while only 40 percent disagree. Another 11 percent said they were not sure.

Trump uses the phrase regularly on the campaign trail — including at a rally in Waterloo, Iowa, last month. The expression has been used by other Republicans these past two decades.

The poll comes at the start of an election year in which Trump looks set to face-off against Democratic President Joe Biden, who touts his switch to renewables and support for electric vehicles as reasons to re-elect him.

Trump instead vows to slash US energy and electricity costs by ramping up domestic production of fossil fuels, with tax breaks for producers of oil, gas, and coal, even as scientists warn about man-made global warming.

He also wants to scrap much of Biden's $369 billion Inflation Reduction Act, the largest climate measure in US history.

Our survey of 1,247 voters this month found that more people supported Trump's policy than opposed it.


Green ideology is tearing Germany apart

Extortionate energy prices have shattered its industry. Regulations and taxes have enraged hard-working farmers. This should be a warning to the world

Germany has long occupied a special place in the liberal-elite imagination. Over the past few decades, and especially since the world was upended by the votes for Brexit and Trump, Germany has been held up by the great and good as a model nation. As the rest of the West lost their minds, or so the story goes, Germany remained a paragon of economic efficiency, political maturity and environmental stewardship. The last bulwark of the liberal order in an age of rising populism.

This elite Germanophilia is best embodied in John Kampfner’s Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes From a Grown-Up Country. First published in August 2020, it became an unlikely bestseller in the UK. It received rave reviews and was declared ‘book of the year’ by the Guardian, the New Statesman and The Economist. Its central claim is that Germany has forged ‘a new paradigm in stability’ that the rest of the world ought to follow. It is hard to think of any book that has aged quite so badly, quite so quickly.

Indeed, the news coming out of Germany lately paints a wholly different picture: one of economic collapse and interminable political strife.

Even though 2024 is just a few weeks old, Germany has already been rocked by huge farmers’ protests, with thousands of tractors blocking cities and motorway junctions this past week alone. It has been crippled by transport workers’ and doctors’ strikes. Factories in its much-vaunted manufacturing sector are shutting down and shipping production elsewhere. The federal government is struggling to reckon with a budget crisis and is ushering in a new age of austerity. Data released this week showed that Germany had the worst economic performance last year of any major economy. In the year ahead, it is predicted to have the slowest growth in the G20, apart from Argentina.

So far, the German public has focussed its anger mainly on the current government, led by chancellor Olaf Scholz. The Ampel – the ‘traffic-light’ coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats – can only muster a combined share in the polls of 21 per cent, down from 52 per cent at the 2021 federal elections, and only slightly less than the 22 per cent currently enjoyed by right-wing populists the Alternative for Germany (AfD). But Germany’s problems have far deeper roots than just one unpopular government and its hapless leader. They are structural. In fact, so much of the current crisis can be traced back to precisely the aspects of Germany that are so often admired by liberal-elite observers like Kampfner – most of all, its embrace of green ideology and its democracy-dodging elites.

A world leader in green dogma

Germany’s green movement is one of the oldest and most influential in the world. Its Green Party was the first in the West to be in government – initially between 1998 and 2001, and now since 2021. Other mainstream parties were also early adopters of green ideology. Angela Merkel, one of the longest-serving chancellors of the postwar era, wanted the world to know her as the Klimakanzlerin, the ‘climate chancellor’.

It has taken the global energy crisis, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, to truly kill off Germany’s industrial strength. But the death sentence was surely handed down in 2010, when Merkel’s government initiated the Energiewende – the ‘energy transition’ to renewables.

The Energiewende amounted to the world’s largest single investment in wind and solar power. The trouble with this plan was that, unlike fossil fuels, which can be tapped on demand, renewable-energy sources are ‘intermittent’ – they cannot produce electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and the Sun doesn’t shine. And so they need a constant supply of back-up sources, usually fossil fuels like coal or gas, to keep the grid running. This is why, despite Germany’s green reputation, the energy transition has had little effect on CO2 emissions. It is also part of the reason why Germany developed its now infamous dependence on imports of Russian gas.

Madder still was the Atomausstieg, the plan to rid Germany of all its nuclear plants. Despite nuclear power providing plentiful, reliable, cheap and even carbon-neutral electricity, every major political party in Germany is opposed to it, following decades of hysterical, fact-free campaigns by environmentalists. In 2000, the SDP-Green government announced a nuclear phaseout, with the first plants due to be dismantled in 2007. Then, in 2011, following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Merkel doubled down on the policy. In April last year, the Ampel closed Germany’s last three nuclear plants. It did so even in the grip of the energy crisis, as the government struggled to source alternative energy supplies to Russian gas, such is its devotion to green ideology.

The results of the Energiewende have been stark. Electricity prices rose by 50 per cent between 2006 and 2017, giving Germany the most expensive electricity in Europe. The energy shock of the war in Ukraine then sent prices into the stratosphere. In 2022, the government was forced to spend some €440 billion – or €1.5 billion per day – bailing out energy firms, sourcing new energy supplies and subsidising bills. And still cutbacks had to be made to energy use, as supplies dwindled. Town councils dimmed or turned off street lights and even traffic lights. Large landlords and housing associations turned down the heating on their residents and rationed their hot water.


No more LNG for you? Biden’s climate obsession threatens Western alliance and Europe’s economies

The Biden administration’s climate-driven rethinking of U.S. natural gas exports is spooking Europe’s fragile energy industry.

The reassessment of how the Department of Energy approves gas export permits, first reported by POLITICO, threatens to stall projects that Europe depends on to meet its energy demands while it tries to counter Russia’s war in Ukraine. It’s just the latest example of how U.S. policy priorities — in this case, reducing reliance on carbon-polluting fossil fuels — can create headaches for European leaders and even frustrate the transatlantic allies’ shared security goals.

President Joe Biden’s supporters in the environmental movement cheered the news that the White House is considering strengthening its scrutiny of how gas exports worsen climate change. But it is causing tensions among the heads of European industry as the Ukraine war drags on.

The European Union has slashed its intake of Russian gas to less than a third of the 155 billion cubic meters it imported in 2021, according to estimates by the EuroGas trade association. It did that by tripling its imports of U.S. liquefied natural gas, which reached 60 billion cubic meters in 2023.

“This LNG has been a relief for Europe and contributed to the stabilisation of gas and electricity prices in Europe for consumers, after a long period of record high prices caused by the Russian supply drop,” Didier Holleaux, president of trade association EuroGas, said in a statement.

A lack of additional U.S. gas-export capacity “would risk increasing and prolonging the global supply imbalance,” Holleaux continued.

One senior EU official said the bloc’s leadership wouldn’t be drawn into “speculating on potential U.S. cuts in production or supply to the EU,” given that Washington hasn’t communicated any such move. The person was granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive political and diplomatic issue.

Biden national climate adviser Ali Zaidi declined to detail how the assessment would proceed, or whether it would result in a slowing of permits from the Energy Department. ?


Australia: Will the crash in critical minerals derail the clean energy transition?

Just as stock markets are surging to new records and property is shrugging aside the impact of more than a dozen rate hikes on the hop, those betting on a bold, new carbon free future are nursing huge losses.

Two years ago, the race began in earnest to nail down global supplies of critical minerals as the world embraced emissions reduction targets that eventually would see the phase out of fossil fuels and a shift towards the electrification of the global economy.

It was a race turbo-charged by an increasingly polarised geo-political environment that pitted America against China, the biggest producer and processor of critical minerals and a domination of battery production.

Lithium prices soared as the US embarked upon a hurried program to shore up supplies of the key battery production component in an effort to reduce reliance upon China. And it wasn't just lithium.

Rare earth prices also shot for the moon along with more traditional metals such as nickel, which also is crucial to manufacturing electric vehicle battery components.

Even rival technologies, particularly hydrogen, found themselves in hot demand as big investors threw billions of dollars into what they believed would be the dominant green energy technology by the next decade.

Can Australia straddle the East-West divide?

The dust has barely settled after Australia and China reached an uneasy truce last month, but our abundance of critical minerals and China's stranglehold on them has us in the middle of a geopolitical tug of war, writes Ian Verrender.

It was a boom that promised fabulous riches for countries with large deposits of these raw materials. It just so happened that Australia found itself, once again, the lucky country with bountiful supplies.

But the recent boom looks to have been something of a bubble, yet another example where enthusiasm and expectations overrode reality. Suddenly, the prices for each of these materials has unravelled in spectacular style.

While the long-term future for some of these materials remains solid, there could well be some high profile casualties from the recent madness.

It's been a common story in resources for centuries. A sudden price hike based upon forecasts of huge demand feeds through to a massive lift in exploration and production until suddenly, everyone realises there's a glut.

It seemed like a sure bet at the time
The dire announcements have been coming thick and fast.

Nickel projects that only recently were given the green light have been put on hold while the value of existing mines are being written down.

Lithium miners, meanwhile, are in a world of pain with many explorers and junior operators facing the prospect either of collapse or the task of looking for something else.

Even established, large scale operators like Liontown and Azure — both of which now are within the orbit of Gina Rinehart — are feeling the heat. Both have been beaten up by investors who have been spooked by the sudden collapse in the price of the raw material as the chart below for lithium carbonate prices graphically illustrates.

Mrs Rinehart late last year built a 19.9 per cent stake in Liontown which she used to thwart a $6.6 billion takeover bid from American giant Albermarle.

While that left Liontown scrambling to raise cash to independently fund development of its massive Kathleen Valley lithium deposit, a banking syndicate including Australia's big four quickly rode to the rescue with a $760 million finance package.

On Monday, however, that financing was pulled, sending Liontown's share price tumbling 21 per cent. At just 94c, it is way below the $3 a share Mrs Rinehart paid last year for the stock, leaving the company's fate and its future in her hands.

Meanwhile, nickel prices this week hit their lowest levels in three years, having halved in the past 12 months, prompting a wave of shutdowns and curtailed expansion plans.

In response to the forecasts of higher demand, Indonesia – with the help of Chinese investment –dramatically increased production, sending prices crashing.

One of the most prominent victims is another iron ore magnate, Andrew Forrest. Just six months ago, his private company Wyloo splashed out $760 million for three mines near Kambalda in Western Australia. This week, he decided to shut them.

The nickel collapse has threatened the viability of BHP's Western Australian nickel operations and just a month ago another producer, Panoramic Resources, was put into the hands of administrators.