Thursday, May 30, 2024

Turns Out Those ‘All-Electric’ ‘Zero Emissions’ Fire Trucks Have Diesel Engines

When Albuquerque announced plans to acquire a new fire engine, New Mexico’s governor lauded the “zero emissions” technology while a fire department spokesman called it “all electric” and KRQE 13 gushed about the “fully electric” fire truck.

San Diego’s NBC 7 reported on what it called that city’s first “all-electric fire apparatus.” When the electric fire engine debuted in Portland, NBC’s KGW 8 quoted a fire department spokesman lauding the “monumental” “zero emissions” vehicle.

When an electric fire truck came to Gilbert, Arizona, FOX 10 quoted the fire chief saying, “There’s no cancer coming out of the tailpipe and I say it that way because diesel particulates are a contributor for cancers.”

Viewers could be forgiven for thinking that the new fire trucks were all electric and had zero emissions. They’d be wrong.

All the fire trucks also have a diesel engine and a tailpipe releases those “cancer-causing particulates.”

When the first Pierce Volterra Electric Fire Truck rolled out in Madison, Wisconsin, the vehicle was repeatedly called “all electric” or “zero emissions.”

You had to listen eight minutes into the presentation to get to the part where a fire chief admits there’s an internal combustion engine for pumping water on a fire.

Perhaps journalists and fire department spokespeople were misled by Pierce Manufacturing’s website, which reads in bold headline type: “Zero Emissions. Zero compromises.”

Critics say it is because electric engines are being hyped beyond what they can deliver.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, electric engines are not up to powering a simple road trip, much less taking on a role as critical as public safety,” said Larry Behrens, Communications Director for Power The Future. “The fact this over-hyped fire truck has a diesel engine is proof they know it needs power that won’t run out.”

The new fire trucks come with a hefty price tag – 40% to 50% more than a comparable diesel fire truck.

For example, the New Mexico hybrid fire truck that has been ordered costs the local government $1.8 million with $400,000 coming from a federal grant.

As state governments such as California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency write regulations to phase out most uses of the internal combustion engine, the federal government has a program that is buying new diesel engines to replace older, more polluting models all over the country in everything from school buses to tug boats.

The replacements come from grants under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. The EPA has spent billions of dollars on the project since the law was passed in 2005 and signed by President George W. Bush.

After replacing diesel engines in every state, DERA received fresh funding under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, but now states and localities are incorrectly claiming diesel doesn’t have anything to do with DERA


Another Day, Another Mindless Attack on Fossil Energy Producers

It is another day ending in “y” in the Beltway, and with it we have another “climate crisis” attack on the oil and gas companies — the very ones that produce efficient energy for the great mass of Americans and, indeed, the world.

The latest example of this game of pin the climate blame on the energy producers is a new “Joint Staff Report” from the Democratic minority members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the majority members of the Senate Committee on the Budget.

The two committees, respectively, are supposed “to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies,” and “to develop a concurrent resolution on the budget to serve as the framework for congressional action on spending, revenue, and debt-limit legislation.” What does any of that have to do with the fossil energy producers and, purportedly, “Big Oil’s Campaign of Climate Denial, Disinformation, and Doublespeak”? Who knows? And it matters not: attacking the energy producers is a guaranteed winner among numerous left-wing constituencies, including many journalists and ideological pressure groups.

First on the list of accusations: Two news enterprises reported that as recently as the fall of 2015, “Big Oil companies … knew that burning fossil fuels was a major contributor to climate change” but “internally did not dispute the findings but tried to dismiss them as ‘hyperbolic’ and ‘journalistic malpractice.’” This purported perfidy depends crucially on whether the actual evidence supports the common assertion that a climate “crisis” is upon us. The evidence for that stance is vastly weaker than commonly asserted. And so in the view of the authors of the joint staff report, a skeptical view of the “climate crisis”/“major contributor to climate change” argument — the kind of ordinary disagreement that is a natural manifestation of a system of free speech — is an example of “deception, disinformation, and doublespeak.” Wow.

The joint staff report is asserting that the fossil fuel producers “knew” things years ago that were not known then, are not known now, and are the subject of sharp disagreement in the scientific literature — a state of affairs virtually certain to remain with us for a very long time because the determinants of shifts in climate phenomena are massively complex. Again: Precisely who is engaged in “deception, disinformation, and doublespeak?”

And about that purported knowledge on the part of U.S. fossil energy producers “that burning fossil fuels was a major contributor to climate change.” In 2022, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels were about 4.7 billion metric tons, or about 8.7% of the global total of 53.8 bmt. Assume that all those U.S. GHG emissions were to be eliminated, and apply the Environmental Protection Agency climate model: Even under extreme assumptions, the temperature effect in 2100 would be about 0.119°C, an impact that would be barely detectable.

And so the “major contributor” rhetoric is little more than propaganda. Precisely who is engaged in “deception, disinformation, and doublespeak?”

And on and on it goes. The fossil energy producers have “perpetuat[ed] doublespeak about the [effect] of natural gas” in terms of GHG emissions, the Democrats claim. Doublespeak? Since 1990, U.S. GHG emissions have declined by 3%, largely because of the substitution of natural gas in place of coal and other fuels. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, GHG emissions have increased by 61.7%. So mindless is this attack on the fossil energy producers that the politicians behind it have lost sight of their own GHG “climate” objectives.

And the most amusing of all is the accusation that fossil energy producers have engaged in lobbying “either directly or through their trade associations against pro-climate legislation and regulations that they publicly claimed to support.” The politicians seem to have forgotten that the First Amendment continues to protect “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” into associations, whether focused on “trade” or other endeavors, “and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Individuals and groups — and businesses — do not forfeit the latter right merely by exercising the former. How unusual is it for an organization to support a given policy goal publicly but to believe that a specific proposal is perverse?

Pay no attention to such political propaganda as the joint staff report. It is a classic example of traditional Beltway dishonesty, misdirection, and disdain for the wealth and massive human benefits yielded by private enterprise generally and the fossil energy industry in particular. More fundamentally, it is an attack on the freedom and independence from political coercion that private property and market economic activity — capitalism — create. It is fundamentally totalitarian, and should be given the contempt that it deserves.


The Bee-Pocalypse Debunked: Another Scare Story The Media Got Wrong

Written by John Stossel

It’s another environmental crisis we’re supposed to worry about. The media call it “bee-pocalypse” and “bee-mageddon!”

A YouTube video with 15 million views says bee-mageddon “could lead to millions of people starving!”

Even Fox News shrieked, “Do you like to eat? The disappearance of honeybees could have a drastic impact on our nation’s food supply!”

It’s nonsense.

Now, it’s true that, about 20 years ago, many American bees did die. Beekeepers opened hives and found their bees gone. Scientists called it “colony collapse disorder.” No one knows what caused it. After the initial dramatic reports, it’s steadily diminished.

But media hysteria hasn’t.

Beekeepers adjusted to colony collapse. They divided the remaining colonies to make new hives. Bee numbers increased by millions.

“We’re not in any way facing an apocalypse,” says Science journalist Jon Entine. “Things have never been better in terms of the numbers of bees.”

Entine runs the Genetic Literacy Project, which challenges scientific misinformation.

I remind him that the media continues to run scare stories.

“Bees are dying at an alarming rate,” says NBC. CNN headlines: “Bee Population is Dying … the food we eat is at risk.”

It’s so stupid.

“They could have just Googled bee population, and they would’ve seen them going up?” I ask.

“Absolutely,” responds Entine. “It’s farcical.”

In 2013, TIME magazine’s cover predicted “A World Without Bees!” “I don’t remember seeing Time apologize,” I tell Entine.

“TIME has not even written a new article that puts this in science perspective,” he responds. Nor did The New York Times Magazine correct its cover story on “The Insect Apocalypse.” It just “skipped on to another ‘crisis.’”

“There’s always a scare,” I point out. “Catastrophe, exaggeration,” he says. “That gets the clicks.”

Entine complains that the media rarely interview serious scientists for its scare stories.

“They have the Environmental Working Group or Pesticide Action Network framing these issues … Hysteria generates donations. The oxygen for these organizations is money.”

Sadly, “Many of these [environment] groups harm people.”

How? By convincing gullible politicians to ban fertilizers and new pesticides, even though the new chemicals are usually safer.

For example, even with worldwide honeybee populations at record highs, the European Union prohibited the use of neonicotinoids, a common insecticide, out of fear they might kill bees. That means farmers use older, more dangerous chemicals that actually do kill bees.

But why use these chemicals at all? I push back at Entine, “‘Natural’ food advocates say: ‘Organic! You don’t have to have chemicals! Buy organic, and you don’t get them!”

Entine laughs and says, “They use chemicals extensively! It’s not like organic farmers can sprinkle organic fairy dust to get rid of insects and weeds.”

Instead, they use “natural” chemicals “like copper sulfate,” he says, “one of the most toxic chemicals in the world!”

Sri Lanka’s president listened to activists and banned chemical fertilizers. Suddenly, farms produced much less food. Prices rose 80%.

Sri Lankans invaded the presidential mansion, and the president fled his country. The new government re-legalized chemical fertilizers. Only then could the crisis end.

“This attack on industrial chemicals,” says Entine, “is really a way for the environmental industry—industry is what it is—to go after what they call big [agriculture], big corporations. It’s an anti-capitalist movement.”

The anti-capitalists oppose genetically modified organisms. They’ve persuaded most European countries to basically ban GMO crops.

However, genetic modification allows farmers to grow more food on less land. It creates plants resistant to disease and insects. That allows farmers to use fewer pesticides. That’s good for everyone, especially poor people.

In Bangladesh, scientists invented a GMO eggplant. “It decreased the use of chemicals by 85%,” says Entine. “Allowing women and children who do most of the farming to live a much more viable life. We have to be smart about these things!”

“We’re not being smart,” I note.

“No,” he says, “We’re following an outdated, 40-year-old environmental script that doesn’t work in this technologically innovative world. … They hurt the very people they claim to help.”

Modern chemicals and GMOs make our food cheaper and safer. Deceitful, money-hungry environmental groups won’t acknowledge that.


Chinese tech could smash Australia's battery making dreams

If British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak loses the upcoming election, he will be the first major western political casualty to the global electric car mess that has been created by politicians misreading the market.

And here in Australia, as I will explain below, there is grave danger the Chinese technology will disrupt our plans to hose billions of dollars at battery making and “essential” raw materials, particularly nickel.

But the Chinese battery technology could help solve some of the problems facing the global electric car market.

Sunak listened to the green elite and their demand for electric cars and set rules for motor makers that completely misread the views and buying patterns of ordinary Britisher.

Sunak set a target of banning new petrol car sales by 2030.

And he went further with a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate that came into force last January and required car manufacturers to ensure that 22 per cent of the vehicles they sell in Britain this year are fully electric.

Hybrids don’t count. The carmakers are fined £15,000 for every vehicle sold short of the mandate, which will rise to 28 per cent next year and continue to rise until it hits 80 per cent initially by 2030.

The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says electric cars currently have a market share of only 15.7 per cent – about -the same as last year. Sunak gave fleet companies big incentives so they now buy five in every six EVs sold, but it can’t bridge the boycott by the majority of the population.

Sunak’s policies are set to push the British motor industry out of existence. Why have the ordinary British people told Sunak to jump in the Thames and refused to buy electric cars?

Via the SMMT, the carmakers and retailers in public statements try to explain to Sunak that his problem is that the ratio of charging points to EV drivers has not improved since last year.

Around 30 per cent of the population don’t have a dwelling garage so must park their car in the street so can’t charge EVs at home.

Meanwhile, the cost of electricity from a rapid charger is up by about 10 per cent so not only are EVs 40 per cent more expensive to buy than petrol cars, but they are also costlier to run, despite the big petrol taxes. Eventually, electric vehicles being charged must face “petrol” taxes because governments need the revenue.

Cornered, Sunak extended the “no petrol car sales” deadline from 2030 to 2035 which enraged his green supporters. But he has left in place the massive fines, so whoever wins the next election will need to decide between slashing the fine, subsidising electric vehicles on a massive scale or sending vast areas of the motor industry broke.

The Sunak mess is a warning for politicians around the world that pandering to elites against the will of ordinary people does not work. You need to fix the basics and bring the population with you. Then impose your penalties.

Meanwhile, China, the dominant force in making electric vehicles, not only flooded its own market with electric vehicles but shipped vast quantities to the UK and other countries that would take them.

In the UK, these unsold vehicles are clogging storage areas near the ports.

But out of China is coming a battery revolution that may make it possible to get ordinary people to buy electric cars.

A report from the International Energy Agency says China has developed a fast-charging “Shenxing” battery “capable of delivering 400km of range from a ten-minute charge”.

But the next generation of batteries will be able to travel almost 1000km from a ten-minute charge.

While these technology advances offer the opportunity to increase the popularity of electric cars beyond the elite, the technology advance is also likely to enshrine China’s dominance of the renewable energy market.

One of the few things President Biden and former President Trump agree on is the need to make America much less reliant on China in all areas.

But of course Trump will also encourage the production of oil and gas and the use of petrol. For US motor makers struggling with a similar scenario to the UK, a switch back to petrol will cause more chaos.

Meanwhile, Australia wants to be a leader in battery production, but it will need to match the Chinese in technology or Australia’s money will go down the drain.

And the new Chinese batteries use less nickel, which means that nickel may go into a period of great oversupply just as we are subsidising nickel mines.

The Sunak story has a lesson for Australia as well as the rest of the world




Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How To Con Your Population About Electric Water Heaters

Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault Xed out last Wednesday that “#DYK that in 2022, more heat pumps were shipped to BC (37,800) than natural gas furnaces (30,700)? This was a first for the province and shows us that the clean energy future is rolling in!”

No. It shows that the subsidies are rolling in; as one firm in the business puts it:

“The terms of heat pump rebates in Canada vary from program to program. They are constantly changing, providing incentives to larger groups of citizens.”

And a day later Blacklock’s Reporter informed us that:

“The federal cabinet yesterday approved $103.7 million in subsidies for homeowners who switch from natural gas furnaces to electric heat pumps, but only in British Columbia.”

The province’s Trudeau-friendly NDP government faces an election this fall and is slipping behind in the polls. And the federal NDP is propping up Guilbeault’s minority regime.

So the ‘clean’ energy future looks like more of the dirty politics past.

The grift even extends to a government-subsidized advocacy tank which says:

“Existing federal and provincial rebate programs, as well as the price of carbon, support the cost competitiveness of heat pumps.”

Which of course really means that they are not cost competitive, which is why they need rebate programs. Like, arguably, government-subsidized advocacy groups.

In keeping with which, Canary Media’s news-of-the-future section tells us “Why heat-pump water heaters could soon take off” and sure enough market forces have nothing to do with it.

Instead “New federal efficiency standards, local air quality regulations, and government incentives are spurring a shift toward the up-and-coming clean energy tech.”

The piece goes on to claim that electric water heaters are way too expensive, which makes an economist wonder why anyone would buy one even without new “efficiency” standards, the whole price system being the most amazingly efficient efficiency standard anyone could imagine, or want.

Whereas instead “A final factor spurring the popularity of heat-pump water heaters is the bevy of incentives available.” Imagine that. People like it when you throw money at them.


Swiss parliamentary committee rejects European climate ruling

A Swiss parliamentary committee on Tuesday rejected a ruling by a top European court that said Switzerland had violated the human rights of its citizens by not doing enough to prevent climate change.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg found in favor of a group of elderly Swiss women who took their government to court over its record on tackling global warming.

The decision, which was expected to embolden more people to bring climate cases against governments, indicated Switzerland had a legal duty to take greater action on reducing emissions.

The ruling received widespread criticism in Switzerland, and the legal affairs committee of the upper house of parliament voted to rebuff it on the grounds the country was taking enough action, said Andrea Caroni, a lawmaker on the committee.

The Swiss government had pushed back against the Strasbourg court's decision, with the environment minister saying the ruling was hard to reconcile with direct democracy.

Switzerland, where referendums regularly test the limits of national policymaking, has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

The government had proposed stronger measures to deliver the goal, but Swiss voters rejected them in a 2021 referendum


UK: Politicians must drop their ‘Comical Ali’ approach to offshore wind costs

According to officials at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), offshore wind power is around half the cost of electricity from gas turbines. But in Parliament recently, David Frost exposed the problem with this claim. If what DESNZ says is true, he observed, it is hard to understand why we still have to subsidise windfarms. And harder still to understand why we have just had to give them a 70 per cent increase in the guaranteed price they receive.

It was striking that the energy minister Martin Callanan, responding for the Government, failed to answer the question, merely reiterating the claim that wind is cheaper than gas. His evasion tells a story, and highlights the great deception at the heart of the Net Zero policy.

For years, governments have told us of a revolution in windfarms costs. Developers may even have believed it themselves, submitting extraordinarily low bids into the renewables auctions. But for the sums to add up, costs had to go down and output had to go up. So developers shaved engineering margins to the bone and moved to bigger turbines and windier sites far from shore.

The results have been an almost complete disappointment. In the hostile environment of the North Sea, operating costs have soared, and those big turbines have worn out much faster than expected. It seems that engineering margins had been cut too far. This is the real reason developers forced such an astonishing price increase from the Government. They can’t get the costs down in the way that was claimed.

So while DESNZ says that offshore wind has been cheap for many years, the sums demanded at auction, and the hard data from windfarm financial accounts, tell another story.

This leaves Callanan and the officials who briefed him, looking foolish, if not mendacious. They can’t have it both ways. If wind is cheap, it doesn’t need subsidies, let alone the astonishing largesse now on offer. Either the Government is making consumers vastly overpay for wind power, or they are not telling us the truth about the costs. It should be a resigning matter either way, or would have been, in the absence of the election.

Nevertheless, ministers have to maintain the charade. Offshore wind is the sine qua non of the Net Zero project. Almost every transition – from petrol cars to electric, from gas boilers to heat pumps – depends on the availablity of cheap offshore wind power. Without it, the cost of Net Zero soars.

The official estimate of that cost, from the Climate Change Committee, assumes that wind power can be had for around half the price currently on offer in the renewables auctions. That claim has always been absurd, and is just one of a series of scandals around the CCC’s cost estimates, which are now entirely discredited. It is perhaps not surprising that Claire Coutinho, asked a few weeks ago by GBNews’s Camilla Tominey for her current estimate of the cost of Net Zero, chose to dodge the question. One thing we can be sure is it is that it is much more expensive than we have been led to believe.

Few who were alive at the time of second Gulf War can forget the TV performances of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (‘Comical Ali’), Saddam Hussein’s Information Minister, who hilariously explained, night after night, that US forces were being driven back by the heroic Iraqi resistance, his insistence in Uncle Sam’s impending rout continuing entirely unabashed, even as US troops were knocking at the gates of Baghdad.

That extraordinary moment, when the truth finally became undeniable, has parallels in Coutinho’s announcement that she had surrendered to the windfarm developers and decided to award them the extraordinary price increase they wanted. Suddenly the idea of “cheap renewables” was exposed as a lie once and for all.

As the American tanks rolled into view, Comical Ali kept up the charade for a few more hours before disappearing forever. So, I imagine, Comical Callanan will continue to insist that wind power is cheap for a little longer, before he too will be swept away, consigned to the history books as a ridiculous figure of fun.


The hopeless mission of the Australian Energy Market Operator

This year 2024 Daniel Westerman will become a well-known if not much-loved public figure.
In his role as the energy czar – the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator – his mission is to mastermind the great transformation of our energy system to deliver clean, reliable, and affordable energy to your home, business, and in due course, your car.

In fact, the decision to pursue that transformation is the greatest policy blunder in our history, wartime included. To anticipate the punchline of this bad joke: ‘It’s the wind supply, stupid!’ That is explained below.

Westerman’s predecessor laid the foundations for this ‘Great Reset’ of the energy market with a cultural revolution in AEMO, stacking the organisation with green activists and model builders to generate the Integrated System Plan for the transformation. This received high praise from the Net Zero industry and scathing criticism in a forensic review by a team of scientists and engineers associated with the Energy Realists in the parallel universe of energy policy.

The interaction between the two worlds is much like the dispute between two fishwives observed by Boswell and Johnson (literary lions of the time) shouting at each other from their front windows across a narrow street. Johnson remarked, ‘They will never agree. They are arguing from different premises.’

Perhaps a shared perception of impending disaster can provide a common premise for a constructive exchange between the two worlds. The possibility is there since the latest update of the AEMO Electricity Statement of Opportunities in late February flags an impending shortage of supply after Liddell power station closes in April to be followed by the biggest unit in NSW, Eraring, two years later. In less diplomatic language, get ready for blackouts! This is old news for energy realists, still, with the threat officially acknowledged, the time has come for an urgent review of the transition plan.

The role of Daniel Westerman will be crucial in that process. What manner of man is he? Does he have the qualifications and experience to lead a gruelling and divisive campaign to keep the lights on? Can he keep his head while all about him are losing theirs and blaming it on him?

He was born in Australia, graduated in Mechanical Engineering, and gained MBAs in Melbourne and London. He did some time consulting on energy at McKinsey before he moved to England in 2014 and rose to be the Chief Transformation Officer and President of Renewable Energy at London-based National Grid. He also ran the England and Wales electricity system as part of National Grid’s dual responsibility as electricity market operator. The UK was on a ‘rapid energy transformation pathway’ based on large-scale wind and solar, especially wind.

In 2021, he was appointed as the CEO of AEMO, arousing great expectations. The Financial Review reported that the AEMO chairman and the board members were very pleased with Mr Westerman’s experience. The voice of the Energy Network of Australia was effusive: ‘The northern hemisphere’s loss is Australia’s gain as we chart the path towards a clean, reliable and affordable energy future.’

Sarah McNamara of the Australian Energy Council opined that his knowledge of markets in the UK will be invaluable as we navigate the challenges, ‘Protecting the future security of the National Electricity Market and balancing the energy needs of today with the necessary changes for the future.’

What happened in Britain under his leadership to arouse so much hope for our future? Warning: We are now entering the parallel universe where the former Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May, proudly legislated for Net Zero with practically unanimous support in the House.

Consequently, Britain went into free fall on the energy front, well over a year before the war in Ukraine started. Power prices went through the roof and energy-intensive industries are closing down or heading for the Exit door. Subscribe to Net Zero Watch from the Global Warming Policy Foundation to get a gruesome week by week account of the deindustrialisation of Western Europe, especially Britain, and Germany.

Can we expect to do better? The answer at present appears to be, ‘No!’ At the release of the Electricity Statement of Opportunities, Mr Westerman quickly resiled from the full implications of the report and reverted to the official script, calling for ‘urgent and ongoing investment in renewable energy, long-duration storage, and transmission to reliably meet demand’. This reflects the government commitment to more wind and solar, more ‘big batteries’, completing Snowy2.0, re-wiring the nation, and getting rid of coal.

What don’t they get about the Iron Triangle of Energy Supply? That is the nexus of wind droughts and lack of storage that guarantees blackouts on windless nights unless there is 100 per cent of conventional power available? Surely they appreciate the need for continuous input to the grid…

As for wind droughts, AEMO has all the information they need to document the phenomenon because they have continuous records of the output from all the registered windmills attached the grid. In 2012, Paul Miskelly documented wind droughts across SE Australia when highpressure systems linger, sometimes for days.

Anton Lang drew on the AEMO data to keep tabs on the wind supply and the performance of the other generators, which he documented in thousands of blog posts on his site from 2018 to the present.

It seems that nobody with influence in energy planning and policy took any notice of these public records which clearly signal that the green energy transition is impossible with existing technology. This means that the Net Zero policy is the greatest blunder in our history, wartime included.

Wind literacy is the key to public appreciation of the Iron Triangle. Regular weather bulletins could easily include the amount of wind power in the energy mix at the time. The figures at night and at breakfast and dinnertime, when there is little or no solar power, should be a wakeup call. Similarly, glancing at the NemWatch widget at those times signals how much we depend on coal and gas for hot meals and air conditioning.

The reporters and commentators in the mainstream media have scandalously kept people ignorant of the basic facts pertaining to the Iron Triangle, facts that are required to enable informed public debate. If the news doesn’t travel fast enough to stimulate timely remedial action, be prepared to move to Tasmania or hoard wood and animal dung for the time when household generators are banned or our diesel stocks run out.




Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Despite Alarmist Claims, US Hasn’t Seen An EF5 Tornado In 11 Years

An EF5 tornado is one of the most catastrophic weather events on Earth

Monstrous twisters of this magnitude can destroy entire neighborhoods in the blink of an eye, grow to be more than a mile wide and pack winds over 200 mph — stronger than any Category 5 hurricane on record across the Atlantic basin.

On May 20, 2013, an extremely powerful tornado destroyed a huge part of Moore, Okla. Eleven years later, it remains the most recent tornado to be rated EF5, the strongest possible rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The 11-year gap is the longest since official U.S. records began in 1950.

Before the Moore tornado, the blockbuster tornado season in 2011 led to the confirmation of five EF5 twisters, including the Joplin, Missouri, EF5 that killed 161 people. A total of 50 tornadoes have been rated F5/EF5 since records began in the United States in 1950.

Because most weather instruments can’t survive tornadoes, the EF scale estimates tornado strength based on NWS staff investigating damage indicators.

Meteorologist Bob Henson said in 2023 that the current EF5 “drought” is hard to explain since damage estimates can be subjective.

Damage to a “well-constructed building” is the most common factor that helps the National Weather Service (NWS) confirm an EF5, yet many homes in the U.S. do not meet that criteria.

Henson quotes Tanya Brown-Giammanco, director of Disaster & Failure Studies at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, who says that many houses are missing key features to be considered wind resistant, disqualifying them from being used to determine if a twister reached EF5 status.

The Enhanced Fujita system is not likely to change from a ground-damage-based scale, Henson says, but new standards may be implemented to improve rural damage assessments based on damage to wind turbines, irrigation systems, farm silos, churches, and passenger vehicles.

The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program at NIST is developing these standards, which would have to be adopted by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center to change the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

Radar data, by definition measured above ground, cannot be used to rate tornadoes on the EF scale. This precedent was reaffirmed by the El Reno tornado on May 31, 2013, which tracked just south of El Reno, Oklahoma. At peak strength, Doppler radar measured winds over 300 mph.

The National Weather Service initially rated El Reno as an EF5, but subsequent damage investigations were unable to find damage indicators above EF3 since it largely tracked over open fields.

Because of the damage found, the El Reno tornado, despite being the largest twister ever recorded at 2.6 miles wide, was confirmed as an EF3.


What the IPCC Says about Drought


Last week, I testified before the Senate Committee on the Budget in a hearing titled, Droughts, Dollars, and Decisions: Water Scarcity in a Changing Climate.1 The hearing was the 18th in the Committee’s series on climate change this Congress, prompting the Wall Street Journal to suggest “the old-fashioned idea that the Budget Committee ought to focus on the budget.”

The hearing could easily have been held the Senate Agriculture Committee, and indeed, almost all the questions from senators to the witnesses came from Budget Committee members who are also on the Agriculture Committee.

I was invited to testify on what the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says about drought — and I focused my testimony on the finding of the IPCC Sixth Assessment (AR6) Working Group 1 (WG1). I always appreciate the opportunity to testify before Congress, and I thank Senators Whitehouse and Grassley for the opportunity.2

Aside from my testimony, there was essentially no discussion of climate change — it was mostly about local farming and urban water management, both crucially important. All the witnesses were excellent, and the Senators asked some worthwhile questions.

Some tidbits I left with from the other witnesses:

Despite a large increase in population, Southern California has cut its water consumption by about half since the 1970s.

Almost all of the world’s carrot seeds are produced in the high desert of Oregon.

Despite variability and changes in U.S. climate, agricultural productivity has continued to increase, and with no end in sight.

My testimony focused on summarizing what the IPCC AR6 Working Group 1 said about drought, with a focus on the United States (specifically, North America).

Low confidence (2 in 10) in detection of changes in drought across the U.S., with the exception of increasing “agricultural and economical drought” in Western North America at medium confidence (5 in 10).

No ability to express any confidence in how drought may change from a 1995 to 2014 baseline under future temperature changes of >1.5C from that baseline (Note: a 1.5C change from that recent baseline is about the same as a 2.5C change from preindustrial, which is similar to a “current policies” baseline and well below a SSP2-4.5 scenario).3

In fact, the IPCC has not achieved detection of trends in drought anywhere in the world at a level consistent with the IPCC’s threshold for detection (i.e., at least very high confidence or 9 in 10). The IPCC has detected an increase in hydrological drought in the Mediterranean and North East South America with high confidence (8 in 10) but has, respectively, only medium confidence and low confidence in attribution in those two regions (5 in 10 and 2 in 10).

The IPCC does conclude with high confidence that human-caused climate change affects the hydrological cycle, and thus drought. However, achieving detection and attribution of trends in the IPCC’s various definitions of drought — both observed and projected — in the context of significant internal variability remains a challenge.

Don’t take it from me. Here is what the IPCC AR6 concluded:

"There is low confidence in the emergence of drought frequency in observations, for any type of drought, in all regions. Even though significant drought trends are observed in several regions with at least medium confidence (Sections 11.6 and 12.4), agricultural and ecological drought indices have interannual variability that dominates trends, as can be seen from their time series (medium confidence)"

In fact, published studies are lacking that explore when signals of projected changes in drought might emerge from the background of internal climate variability, under the IPCC’s framework for detection and attribution:

"Studies of the emergence of drought with systematic comparisons between trends and variability of indices are lacking, precluding a comprehensive assessment of future drought emergence."

Given the closing “jaws of the snake” due to the growing recognition of the implausibility of extreme climate scenarios, it will be interesting to see what future “time of emergence” studies say about projected changes in drought. I’ll have a post dedicated to this neglected topic in the coming weeks.

As I said at the hearing, it is easy to perform anecdotal attribution of any weather and climate event that happens anywhere on the planet (Turbulence! Home runs! Migraines!). The IPCC tells us that reality is just a bit more complicated.


Yes, Aratina Solar Project Will Down Iconic Joshua Trees in Southern California

image from

In 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that Joshua Trees are not endangered. They concluded they are unlikely to be significantly threatened in the next 50 years.

However, a study conducted in 2013 revealed that Joshua trees are experiencing a halt in reproduction across approximately half of their range within Joshua Tree National Park. As temperatures rise and conditions become drier, it is anticipated that the available habitat for Joshua trees will diminish significantly. By the end of the century, as much as 90 percent of the Joshua Tree habitat could vanish due to these environmental changes. You read that right, a reduction of 90 percent.

So, in the name of our Solar Agenda, to protect the world from greenhouse gases, let’s destroy another species and wait until it is too late to save them. I am not anti-solar. I am anti-destroying a species for the sake of an agenda.

The trouble is that the “climate crisis” narrative has given those who wish to impose a particular green energy source on us the moral authority to do so.

This particular saga began in 2021 when the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved the Aratina Solar Project despite residents’ objections.

Despite comments and concerns from residence in Boron and Desert Lake, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a solar farm project which will include five different sites in the East Kern County area; the board voted on the approval at their October 12th meeting in Bakersfield.

8-minute Solar Energy’s Aratina Solar Center would provide 250 megawatts of power which is enough to power 93,000 homes to a pair of community choice organizations that contract electricity on behalf of residential customers in the Monterrey Bay and Silicone Valley areas of California.

The agreements represent a new and growing market for a company that’s integrating large photovoltaic solar arrays with battery installations to provide sun power 24 hours a day at prices low enough to compete with natural gas fired power plants.

In fact, on its website, Avantus (formerly 8-Minute Solar Energy) admits it has every intention of chopping down the Joshua Trees on its website:

The kicker…they are destroying the dress to save the trees from “climate change.”

Avantus is working to preserve native Mojave plants like Joshua Trees while also preserving California’s ability to achieve its clean energy goals – and the economic and climate benefits that come with them. While trees will be impacted during project construction, vastly more Joshua Trees are being threatened by climate change caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions, which the Aratina solar project directly addresses.

If California had just not gutted our nuclear power capabilities and looked at next-generation options, and if the state didn’t ludicrously decide “net zero” was a sensible and responsible goal. Perhaps the Joshua Trees and the wildlife end habitat dependent on them would not now be threatened.


Australia: Deck was stacked as CSIRO estimated the cost of nuclear power

The cost of nuclear energy is twice the cost of renewables, so sayeth the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. But why is the CSIRO in the non-scientific game of providing assumption-driven estimates of the cost of generating electricity in different ways?

On the face of it, it looks like a bit of buck-passing by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which enlisted the assistance of the CSIRO some years ago. This is a task for engineers, economists and accountants – not scientists.

Modelling is not science, and ­estimating costs is also not science. By rights, the CSIRO should have declined the request. Its reputation has been markedly sullied.

Let’s consider the latest version of the CSIRO’s GenCost report. As with all modelling, it’s a case of garbage in, garbage out. The assumptions in it range from the plausible to the absolutely ridiculous.

The most glaring errors in the report are the assumptions about the upfront costs of nuclear plants, their rates of utilisation and their lifespans. The assumption on the capacity of wind power is also laughable and the assumed life­spans of both wind and solar are too long.

It looks suspiciously like a tail-wagging-the-dog exercise: how to ensure that nuclear power looks extraordinarily expensive compared with the preferred renewable energy option of the federal and state governments.

The fact that Australia is the only country of the largest 20 economies in the world not to have nuclear power didn’t seem to awaken the curiosity of the CSIRO team. Should we be assuming that all their governments are simply stupid by having such an expensive form of generation?

And how could it be the case that a very large number of countries are now aggressively in­vesting in more zero-emissions nuclear plants?

Indeed, our main ally, the US, has a target of tripling the amount of nuclear power by 2050.

The international figures are clear: countries with high wind and solar shares in their generation of electricity actually have relatively high electricity prices. They include Germany, Britain, Spain, Denmark and Italy, as well as the states of California and South Australia. By contrast, those countries with very low renewable shares have the cheapest electricity: Russia, United Arab Emirates, Korea and India.

It is worth pausing here to briefly outline the methodology of the GenCost report. It uses levelised cost of electricity, or LCOE, as the key metric – a measure that includes both the cost of installation as well as the expected lifetime of the asset. The cost of the fuel is added, which is zero for wind and solar but material for other means of generation.

The capacity factors of different means of generation are then taken into account. They should vary between 25 and 33 per cent for wind and solar but the GenCost report has onshore wind at 48 per cent and offshore wind at 52 per cent, which are both clearly errors. The capacity factor for nuclear should be in the 90s but in one scenario, the CSIRO puts the figure at 53 per cent, another clanger.

But the key is this: the LCOE is the wrong measure to use. What is required is a system-wide LCOE because of the inherent intermittency of wind and solar and the inviolable objective of 24/7 power. When the wind blows and the sun shines, the cost of generating electricity by these means is very low. But because the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun sets, ­expensive back-up (or firming) is required.

This back-up must be added to the cost of both wind and solar. And account must be taken of both extended wind droughts and cloudy periods – short-duration batteries will simply be inadequate. In practical terms, the option of long-­duration, affordable batteries simply doesn’t exist and affordable pumped hydro is not possible in this country.

Last year’s GenCost report was a major hit job on the highly prospective Small Nuclear Reactors which are still being developed, although Canada is further down this path than other countries.

By choosing just one pilot scheme in Utah that was subsequently abandoned, the report was based on the worst-case scenario. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this was quite deliberate. This time, the decision was made to include tried and tested large-scale nuclear plants in its comparison of generating costs. The upfront costs of building nuclear plants are very substantial and they can also take some years to complete. There are also quite a few examples of cost blowouts and delays – in Finland and the UK, for example.

The GenCost report uses the relatively successful example of Korea’s nuclear program to estimate the expected capital cost of a large-scale plant. The figure is put at $8700 per kilowatt, which sounds reasonable enough. But the figure is then arbitrarily doubled because it would be the “first-of-a-kind” in Australia. It is simply asserted that “FOAK premiums of up to 100 per cannot be ruled out”.

This is absurd. After all, Australia would be importing the expertise from experienced players were nuclear plants to be built here. And as the nuclear energy industry enjoys a significant renaissance around the world, the number of companies and the depth of talent involved are increasing markedly. By the time Australia is in a position to consent to nuclear plants, it is inconceivable that the FOAK would be double. This assumption makes a substantial difference to the final results.

Stung by the criticism that previous GenCost reports failed to take into account the cost of transmission needed to get renewable energy to the grid, this latest version makes some effort to do so. But instead of focusing on the entire cost of transmission, which feeds into retail prices, only the cost of additional transmission is included in the analysis. Again this is a bias in favour of renewable energy.

Of course, one of the advantages of nuclear plants is that they can be located where existing transmission lines exist; the cost of foregone investment in transmission by rights should be included as reducing the cost of nuclear.

They can also last more than 80 years, even though the GenCost report bizarrely gives them a lifespan of 30 years. Solar and wind are assumed to last 25 years, which is far too long.

Of course, no serious investors would take much notice of the GenCost report or any of the other selective pieces of analysis put out by various government departments. Their analysis would be based on carefully derived figures subject to sensitivity analysis. The key now is for both the federal and state government bans on nuclear power to be lifted so the potential investors can sharpen their pencils and get to work.




Monday, May 27, 2024

Rajasthan swelters at 50 degrees Celsius, severe heat wave to continue for next 2-3 days

And people live and work in that environment. It puts the trifling temperatures predicted by the Warmists to shame. Rajasthan is essentially a desert and high daytime temperatures are normal in a desert

The severe heat wave in Rajasthan will continue for the next two to three days, said the India Meteorological Department on Sunday.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), on Saturday, Jaisalmer recorded 48.0 degrees Celsius, Bikaner 47.2 degrees Celsius, Churu 47.0 degrees Celsius, Jodhpur 46.9 degrees Celsius, Ganganagar 46.5 degrees Celsius, Kota 46.3 degrees Celsius, and Jaipur 43.8 degrees Celsius.

The rising temperatures have significantly impacted the normal life of people, especially those exposed to the sun for extended periods. In an attempt to protect themselves from the effects of the intense heat, people are taking several precautions including staying hydrated, avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours and covering their faces with cloth.

A resident of Jaipur, Hoshiyar Singh, while speaking with ANI said, "The mercury rose here in last few days. To protect ourselves from heat, we are taking necessary precautions like staying hydrated, and covering our body with cloth while going out from home. We are keeping ourselves hydrated by consuming coconut water and lemonade."

Another resident Rai Singh said, "I am a delivery boy and I have to do my work even in this hot weather. And since my job involves travelling outside only, I try to protect myself by drinking lots of water."

"To protect oneself from heat, I would advise people to not venture out of their homes in the afternoon. Even if they have to, they should step outside their home by drinking lots of water and covering their head and body with cloth, Shyamlal Choudhary, another resident said.

Meanwhile, Radhey Shyam Sharma, Director, Meteorological Center, Jaipur, said a maximum temperature of 50 degrees Celsius has reached for the first time in this summer season in Rajasthan. The 50 degrees Celsius was recorded in Phalodi in the last 24 hours.

Speaking with ANI, Radhey Shyam Sharma said, "Heatwave and severe heatwave will continue for the next two to three days. From May 28 and 29, there can be a decrease of 2-3 degrees in maximum temperature... From May 29 and 30, there can be a slight relief from severe heatwave."
In a post on X, IMD said, "Heatwave is very likely over parts of West Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana-Chandigarh-Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, East Rajasthan and isolated places over Vidarbha on May 30, 2024."

In another post, IMD said, "Heatwave to a severe heat wave is very likely over many parts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana-Chandigarh-Delhi, West Uttar Pradesh on May 27, 2024." (ANI)


Dutch Farmers Force Heat Pumps About-Turn

The Netherlands will tear up rules forcing homeowners to buy heat pumps as part of a war on net zero by Geert Wilders and the Dutch farmers’ party.

Six months after his shock election victory, Mr Wilders this week struck an agreement to usher in a Right-wing coalition government of four parties. “We are writing history,” he said as he announced the programme for the new government.

The new coalition marks the first time that a party focused on the interests of the agricultural sector has got into power in the Netherlands. Earlier this year, mass farmers’ protests swept Europe.

The coalition pact includes pledges to reverse green policies introduced under the previous government to hit EU climate targets, including compulsory buyouts of polluting farms. It also plans to end subsidies for electric cars in 2025 and rejects an EU demand that the Dutch reduce livestock numbers to cut pollution.

But now, even Western countries are starting to turn against the worst excesses of the green movement. The new Dutch coalition has released its programme for government, and at the heart of it are a swathe of pro-consumer, pro-energy security policies, reversing some of the bizarre environmental schemes introduced by its predecessors.

Among them was a programme to compulsorily purchase farms to meet EU climate targets. The result was a farmers’ revolt and a new insurgent political party. The coalition agreement tears up rules forcing homeowners to buy heat pumps and scraps an obligation that the Netherlands should pursue a “more ambitious environment policy” than the rest of Europe.

Young Voters Are Shifting Right And Breaking “Taboos.”

Geert Wilders’ party did better among 18 – 35-year-olds than among some older groups. If all ages matched the younger vote, his party would have won four more seats.

At Politico, writers are worried that trends like this, which are also seen in Portugal and France, mean the “taboos against voting for populist anti-immigration parties are fading.” This begs the question of who decided that was taboo in the first place.

Their biggest fear is that even young voters are breaking out of their educational pens. They paint this as a devious “far right” opportunity instead of what it really is: the young rebelling against a lifetime of propaganda. The old jargon and name-calling formula to bully the workers into submission isn’t working anymore.


Houston Storm Reveals Downside of Forced Electrification

We live in a world with more and more devices that require charging. Nothing shows the downside of that better than the recent storm that hit Houston, where thousands of residents still lack power.

Houstonians with electric stoves can’t cook, those with electric water heaters lack hot water—and those with electric cars can’t charge them.

The range of an electric vehicle without electricity is zero.

But President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation are requiring that, by 2032, 70% of new cars and 25% of new trucks sold will be electric.

Imagine the state that Houston would be in if the number of EVs on the road today met those standards.

Biden’s Energy Department has issued final regulations that most stoves sold must be electric by 2028, and most water heaters must be electric by 2029.

If these rules were fully phased in, Houstonians would be worse off today. These appliances not only are more expensive, they don’t work without electricity—unlike natural gas stoves and water heaters.

The latest report from the Institute of Energy Research, released earlier this month, shows that the United States has 4 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough for 130 years; 1.7 trillion barrels of oil, more than five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia, enough for 227 years; and 470 billion short tons of coal, enough for 485 years, and 50% more than Russia.

These are all recoverable with current technology. And as technology advances, America’s resources will expand.

Although America has centuries of reserves, the Biden administration wants to use wind turbines and solar panels to power electricity. Electricity made from wind and solar power is intermittent and less resilient and reliable than continuous energy from nuclear power, coal, and natural gas.

Wind farms require backup natural gas power plants to start up when the wind stops blowing. And solar arrays require battery storage for when the sun doesn’t shine.

The Houston crisis dramatically illustrates that not only will forced electrification lead to higher energy prices, but it will reduce economic resilience. Natural gas pipelines are buried underground, but electric transmission cables and towers are out in the open. That is why major storms lead to electricity blackouts but not natural gas blackouts.

The Biden administration’s goal is for forced electrification through wind and solar to reduce global temperatures. But even if America used no fossil fuels at all, starting now, this would make a difference of only 0.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to government models.

Costs of integrating renewables into America’s electricity grid underestimate the resilience needed for renewable infrastructure against storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The resiliency analysis does not fully address the considerable costs of reinforcing and repairing vulnerable wind turbines and solar panels.

Houston’s crisis is further proof that a sensible energy policy would overhaul America’s transmission and distribution systems, including burying power lines. Renewables strain the existing transmission system, leading to blackouts, as is becoming increasingly common in California. Environmental siting regulation limits the construction of new transmission lines.

Biden’s transition to renewable energy would require a fundamental reengineering of America’s power grid. High levels of distributed solar energy would require replacing existing transmission and distribution equipment with expensive grid-forming inverters and controllable capacitors. The massive rollout’s costs are not fully accounted for.

Low-income households are disproportionately vulnerable to blackouts. Their electricity takes longer to restore and they can’t purchase standalone generators that enabled some Houstonians to keep power during the disruption.

Through multiple regulations, the Biden administration is attempting impose electrification on Americans and end the use of fossil fuels. But EVs, electric water heaters, and electric stoves don’t operate during blackouts.

Houston residents today, together with all Americans, need a resilient power grid that will continue to provide electricity during storms.


“All of the Above” — a VERY Bad Idea

The fundamental fight over enacting effective energy policies is between lobbyists and the public. (A parallel perspective is that it is a contest between real Science and political science.)

Lobbyists are paid to represent their clients’ economic interests or political agendas. The public consists of citizens, businesses, and the military.

Lobbyists are professionals who spend most of their time soliciting legislators on their client’s behalf. See this interesting new book about lobbyists.

The obvious question is: “Who is balancing out this one-sided influence by competently and aggressively representing the public’s interests on energy policies (and other important issues)? The unfortunate answer is almost no one.

The result of this striking imbalance is that most energy policies are essentially written by lobbyists — which means they are permeated with benefits for their clients, and then conveyed with carefully orchestrated marketing propaganda.

To keep their control, lobbyists full well know that they must maintain the impression that their self-serving policies are actually in the public interest — so they leave no stone unturned to creatively maintain that illusion.

Despite lobbyists’ carefully massaged messages, it is totally accidental if any parts of their policies actually happen to be advantageous to the public.

A classic example of this is the well-known “All of the Above” energy mantra.

This is saying that ALL energy sources should not only be allowed on the Grid but should also be supported. On the surface (especially to non-technical parties) it sounds reasonable, as who wouldn’t be in favor of investigating alternative energy options?

However, allowing an energy source on the Grid is a privilege, not an entitlement! Sound energy policies (i.e., those that would actually benefit the public) would ensure that the only energy alternatives that are permitted on the Grid would be those that have scientific proof that they are a net societal benefit.

Phrased another way, that would mean the only alternative energy sources that should be approved and supported are those that are: a) reliable, b) low cost, and c) environmentally friendly. [Note: Wind and solar are none of these!]

How do we do that? Well, it’s certainly not by taking a salesperson’s (lobbyist’s) word about their product! We assess the real qualifications of proposed alternative energy sources by conducting a scientific assessment.

A key problem with the “All of the Above” policy is that it purposefully bypasses the scientific assessment part… Why? Because lobbyists are acutely aware that their clients’ energy products will fail such an evaluation.

To avoid that exposé, they devised a clever end-run around the facts: no scientific assessment is needed if all options are pre-approved as acceptable!

If we buy the lobbyists’ energy mantra, we accept everything. These marketers have cleverly switched the focus from the actual merits of alternative energy sources, to such subjective intangibles as energy “diversity” and “security”…

On the surface, the “All of the Above” slogan sounds innocent enough and even has a ring of reasonableness to it. But, of course, that is the lobbyists’ raison d’etre: to subtly get preferential treatment for third-rate energy sources that otherwise would fall by the wayside.

We need to do some critical thinking about lobbyists’ sales pitches. In this example: does an “All of the Above” policy really make sense?

#1 – When we include ALL options, that would mean that unreliable alternative sources of energy would be put on the Grid.

#2 – When we include ALL options, that would mean very expensive alternative sources of energy would be put on the Grid.

#3 – When we include ALL options, that would mean environmentally destructive alternative sources of energy would be put on the Grid.

Do ANY of those make sense? How do we advance our economy and our society, by allowing unreliable, expensive, and environmentally ruinous alternative power sources on the Grid?

This is a 100% predictable result when political science replaces real Science.

Who benefits from an “All of the Above” energy policy? It certainly is not taxpayers, ratepayers, most businesses, the military, or the environment. Major beneficiaries would be foreign conglomerates who supply us with inferior energy sources, our enemies who are anxious to see our Grid and economy crippled, plus China to whom we will owe an even larger debt.

There is a BETTER path, and one that is in the public’s best interest…

An “All of the Sensible” energy slogan would go a LONG way towards putting some balance in the energy policy fight, plus it would send the message that citizens, businesses, and the environment are a top priority for legislators.

What are our “sensible” energy choices? Well, that is exactly the conversation we should be having — but are not.

I would posit that “sensible” alternative electrical energy sources are those that are proven to have a net societal benefit — so let the discussion begin!




Sunday, May 26, 2024

A Critical Examination Of ‘Consensus’ In Climate Science

Written by Dr. Matthew Wielicki

I see that Wielicki refers to the famous "97%" study by John Cook (entitled “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters in 2013).

It was once widely quoted by the Green/Left but it no longer is and I had almost forgotten it. But it was such a methodological disaster area that even the Left eventually had to go quiet on it. See some of the critique of it below:

The concept of a scientific consensus on ‘climate change’ has been a focal point in public and academic discourse, often cited to underscore the urgency and legitimacy of addressing global warming

This consensus refers to the agreement among scientists that climate change is real, predominantly caused by human activities, and poses significant risks to the planet.

While the consensus is frequently highlighted to support policy measures and societal action, its emergence, use, and implications warrant a critical examination.

This article explores the origins of the consensus concept, its application in promoting bad science, and the methodological critiques that challenge its validity.

Ultimately, science should be driven by continuous inquiry and debate rather than by consensus, which can stifle scientific progress.

The idea of a consensus on ‘climate change’ began to take shape in the late 20th century as the evidence for global warming accumulated. Key reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and prominent studies highlighted the human impact on climate, leading to a perceived agreement among climate scientists.

This consensus was increasingly used to galvanize public opinion and political action. The notion gained substantial traction with the publication of influential papers and statements by scientific bodies, such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the NASA.

The consensus on ‘climate change’ has played a dual role. On one hand, it has been instrumental in driving policy initiatives aimed at mitigating ‘climate change’. By presenting an apparent unified front, scientists have effectively exaggerated the seriousness of climate issues to policymakers and the public, fostering initiatives like the Paris Agreement.

On the other hand, the reliance on consensus has sometimes led to the endorsement of flawed science. Historical examples, such as the consensus on the geocentric model of the universe or the now-discredited belief in eugenics, illustrate how consensus can perpetuate incorrect or harmful ideas.

In the context of climate science, the emphasis on consensus may have suppressed dissenting views and critical examination of methodologies.

Several seminal papers have bolstered the perception of a scientific consensus on ‘climate change’. In her widely cited essay published in Science, Naomi Oreskes reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers and concluded that 75 percent supported the consensus view, while none explicitly refuted it.

This study has been pivotal in reinforcing the consensus narrative. Similarly, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Anderegg et al. analyzed the publication and citation records of climate researchers, finding that 97-98 pertcent of the most active researchers supported the consensus view on ‘anthropogenic climate change’.

Another review by Cook et al. of over 11,000 scientific papers found that 97.1 percent of those expressing a position on anthropogenic global warming endorsed the consensus view. This paper has been extensively cited in both academic literature and public discourse.

However, the consensus narrative has raised several methodological concerns. Studies like Oreskes and Cook et al. suffer from selection bias, as they only include papers that explicitly state a position on ‘climate change’, potentially excluding neutral or dissenting papers.

Notice how the consensus arguments fall apart when including all papers.

The methodologies used to assess consensus, such as counting abstracts or analyzing citation records, have been critiqued for oversimplifying complex scientific opinions and reducing nuanced positions to binary categories.

In fact, a re-review of Cook et al. 2013 found…

A claim has been that 97 percent of the scientific literature endorses anthropogenic climate change (Cook et al., 2013. Environ. Res. Lett. 8, 024024).

This claim, frequently repeated in debates about climate policy, does not stand. A trend in composition is mistaken for a trend in endorsement.

Reported results are inconsistent and biased. The sample is not representative and contains many irrelevant papers. Overall, data quality is low. Cook׳s validation test shows that the data are invalid.

Data disclosure is incomplete so that key results cannot be reproduced or tested.

Additionally, there are concerns that the drive to establish a consensus has led to confirmation bias, where studies and papers supporting the consensus are preferentially published, cited, and funded while dissenting views are marginalized.

Evidence suggests that many scientists, particularly young career, feel pressured to align with the consensus to secure funding, publish in prestigious journals, or avoid professional ostracism.

I definitely felt this pressure as a young academic working towards tenure. This entire system inhibits open scientific inquiry and debate.

While a useful tool for mobilizing action, the claimed consensus in climate science also presents significant challenges. The reliance on consensus can perpetuate flawed methodologies, suppress dissent, and hinder the fundamental scientific process of debate and critical inquiry.

Historical precedents demonstrate that scientific progress often arises from questioning and overturning established views, not from adhering to consensus.

Science thrives on skepticism and debate, and it is through this process that our understanding of complex issues like ‘climate change’ will continue to evolve and improve.


Scotland can meet Germany's demand for green hydrogen, new report finds

Green hydrogen is hydrogen cracked out of water using a lot of electricity from solar power or windfarms. It is unclear why Scotland would be good at that. Sunlight is rare there though it is rather windy. And let us not mention the large costs of transporting it in its customary liquefied form. Just another Leftist boondoggle

PLANS have been set out for green hydrogen produced in Scotland to be exported to Germany.

The Enabling Green Hydrogen Exports report commissioned by the Scottish Government analysed hydrogen production in Scotland and the demand for the green energy source in Germany.

The report is a collaborative effort between the UK-based Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) and German-based Cruh21 and explores the technologies, infrastructure, and regulatory frameworks required to enable a safe and effective distribution of hydrogen.

According to the report, Scottish hydrogen exports could potentially meet between 22% to 100% of Germany’s hydrogen import demand by 2045.

One key point raised from the report is the need for further research and prioritising investment into the infrastructure to meet the potential demand for green hydrogen from Germany.

Mairi McAllan, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, recognised the “great” export opportunity with green hydrogen and confirmed the Scottish Government will shortly publish more plans on the project.

She said: “Scotland is strongly positioned to become a major exporter of hydrogen to Northern Europe and the UK – contributing to our climate objectives and to green economic property for our nation.

“Today’s report, which the Scottish Government commissioned and funded, explores how to match Scottish hydrogen production to German hydrogen demand.

“Green hydrogen that is created with renewable electricity will help to reduce our emissions for hard to decarbonise sectors in Scotland and could also be a great export opportunity to the rest of the UK and to our European neighbours.

“We are determined to realise this opportunity and will shortly be publishing an export plan for to this end.”

Mairi McAllan, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Energy, and MSP for Clydesdale

NZTC is a not-for-profit organisation working with industry, government and academia to help drive technology innovation and to accelerate the energy transition to net zero.

Ana Almeida, senior project engineer for NZTC, also hailed the collaboration with German-based Cruh21 saying that working together helped to make sure both parties benefit equally from the proposed plans.

She said: “Whilst the potential for hydrogen production in Scotland is well understood alongside the scale of predicted demand in Germany, there is a lack of tangible strategies connecting supply and demand and its evolution from present day to 2045, when both countries aim to achieve Net Zero carbon emission targets.

“The scenarios outlined in this report illustrate pathways to maximise the opportunity of international hydrogen distribution.

“Developing the report in collaboration with Cruh21 also ensured the barriers and benefits for both countries were fully considered.”

There are two “critical stages” in the report, the first being the short term up to 2030 which focuses on early production and the transition out of energy generating systems which the green hydrogen plants will replace.

The second stage looks at a period between 2030-2045 and involves commissioning and ramping up of the pipeline infrastructure to help distribution at a lower cost.

Meryem Maghrebi, a consultant at Cruh21, said: “This report provides a holistic overview and stresses the necessity of developing a synchronised hydrogen and derivatives infrastructure, encompassing export terminals and pipeline networks, to bolster the hydrogen supply chain between Scotland and Germany.

“The critical factors to accelerate collaboration between Scotland and Germany lie in mapping supply and demand development and the establishment of Pan North Sea transport infrastructure.

“The cooperation with NZTC is a first step towards this goal.”


La belle France: Over 170 Arrested As Climate Protests Target TotalEnergies And Fund Manager

The boss of TotalEnergies told shareholders Friday that new oil fields had to be developed to meet global demand, as the annual meetings of the French energy giant and one of its biggest shareholders were picketed by climate activists.

Police said they detained 173 people among hundreds who gathered outside the Paris headquarters of Amundi, one of the world's biggest investment managers and a major TotalEnergies shareholder.

Climate activists also gathered hours before the TotalEnergies annual general meeting opened. Greenpeace members unfurled a "Wanted" banner calling its chief Patrick Pouyanne "the leader of France's most polluting company".

The banner was quickly taken down by police.

Several hundred activists belonging to Extinction Rebellion gathered outside Amundi for its general meeting.

A few dozen protesters forced their way into Amundi's tower block, daubing graffiti on the walls and smashing some windows, police said. Amundi said eight of its security staff were injured.

The activists say TotalEnergies is contributing to global warming and the destruction of biodiversity through its gas and oil activities.

Pouyanne told shareholders that higher oil prices prompted by insufficient fossil fuel output "would quickly become unbearable for the populations in emerging countries, but also in our developed countries".

Demand for oil was growing in line with the global population, he said.

But Pouyanne said TotalEnergies would pursue its "balanced strategy" of developing both fossil fuel and low-carbon energy production.

TotalEnergies had proved it was possible "to be a profitable, or even the most profitable, company while pursuing a transformation" toward cleaner energy, he said.

At Friday's meeting, nearly 80 percent of shareholders approved the company's climate strategy, with more than 75 percent also voting to renew Pouyanne as CEO for three years.

Pouyanne, who last month floated the idea of a New York listing for the company, told shareholders there was "no question" of TotalEnergies leaving France.

French President Emmanuel Macron, asked by Bloomberg if he would be "happy" with such a move, responded: "Not at all and I would be very surprised" if it came to pass.


Climate Ideology Ignores Science and History, Threatens Humanity

Climate scientists would be less likely to issue dire warnings of planetary doom if they gave more credence to the geological history of the past several million years. Instead, they rely on computer models that are biased by the preconceptions of their manipulators and incapable of accounting for the myriad factors influencing global temperatures.

Minuscule recent warming, whatever the cause, is inconsequential in light of the long record of data found in Antarctica ice cores that go back 800,000 years. The bottom line is that Earth is colder by nearly 3 degrees Celsius than it was 3,000 years ago and is just now climbing out of its longest cold spell of the last 10,000 years. Blaring headlines about record heat waves of the past 100 years are meaningless, hysterical blather.

A deeper dive into geologic history — based partly on the record stored over millions of years in deep-ocean sediments — shows that today’s carbon dioxide concentrations of 420 parts per million are a fraction of past levels that reached 5,000 ppm and more. Carbon dioxide is nearly at its lowest level ever since plant life began so many millions of years ago and well below the optimum amount for the health of most vegetation.

In fact, the 280-ppm concentration of the mid-19th century is uncomfortably close to the point at which plant life dies — below 150 ppm. Given that all life depends on adequate amounts of this gas, proposals to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide are nothing less than reckless.

Any global increase in carbon dioxide will be beneficial and have nearly no impact on future temperature. In contrast, demonstrated in the “bible” of human history and climate change compiled by the late professor Hubert Lamb at the University of East Anglia, cold kills.

During the Little Ice Age in parts of England, the “yearly number of burials exceeded the births from the 1660’s until about 1730,” he reported.

Why, then, are so many demonizing fossil fuels? The wealth enabled by coal, oil and natural gas has provided the leisure — and funding — for numerous researchers to focus on climate change instead of struggling to stay alive. Global society is absolutely dependent upon cheap and plentiful energy for its survival. Why would some demand that civilization retreat from useful energy sources to bring back mass starvation, poverty and horse-drawn buggies?

To dream of a utopian world is perhaps admirable, but to inflict suffering upon society through ignorance of science is deplorable.

Humanity is deprived of precious learning when so many favor the ideology and fearmongering of climate alarmists over the meticulous research of eminent physical scientists such as Richard Alley, professor of geoscience at Pennsylvania State University, who pioneered studies of ice cores, and Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who explored the incredible complexity of atmospheric physics.

We could easily name dozens of others similarly credentialed, who are largely unknown outside the scientific community.

The public is “protected” from empirical data by legacy and social media censors who eagerly broadcast the supposed need to restrict global warming to 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius — artificial constructs with no scientific basis.

We thus suffer the consequences of unwarranted regulatory intrusions into daily life, be they restrictions on heating, air conditioning, dishwashers and stoves or the increased price and reduced availability of electricity. The effects of these range from annoying to life-threatening.

There is no global climate emergency. There is, however, a widespread knowledge crisis.




Thursday, May 23, 2024

Just Stop Oil eco-zealots may be forced to pay compensation to the people whose lives they make a misery

Just Stop Oil will be forced to pay compensation under new plans being drawn up by Dowing Street to combat its protest mayhem.

The group, along with other eco-clowns, will have to pay people whose lives their antics disrupt under the commissioned review into political violence and disruption.

Those who can prove they endured loss, distress or suffering from an illegal protest would be entitled by law to reimbursement.

The Telegraph reported that the plans are supported in principle by Downing Street and are due to be announced on Tuesday.

Led out by Lord Walney, the independent Government adviser, the plans are intended to bring sanctions upon protesters who hold up ambulances, stop or delay employees from getting to work, and losing businesses money.

It may also extend to students being prevented from getting to classes or getting their degrees, like with the recent pro-Palestinian protests at universities.

The review will set out more than 40 recommendations for dealing with disruption.

The Telegraph reported that the review will recommend the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to come up with a legal framework for compensation.

A Home Office source told the newspaper that if JSO organises a major roadblock and someone cannot get to work or miss a hospital appointment, there would be a framework where they could 'more easily sue the organisation'.


It’s About To Get COLDER And CO2 Levels May Drop To Dangerously Unproductive Levels

On a Tom Nelson Podcast, Professor David Dilley discussed his perspective on global warming and the importance of understanding Earth’s natural climate cycles.

He emphasised that the current global warming cycle is the first time instrument data has been available and that there have been multiple global warming and cooling cycles throughout Earth’s history.

“Global warming will be dead by 2030,” he said.

Prof. Dilley is a meteorologist, climatologist, palaeoclimatologist and a former NOAA National Weather Service Meteorologist. He is the founder and CEO of Global Weather Oscillations (“GWO”), a company heavily involved in researching and developing technology for predicting natural climate and weather cycles.

He has 54 years of experience ranging from the Air Force to NOAA National Weather Service and GWO. As the senior research scientist and forecaster for GWO, Prof. Dilley developed ClimatePulse Technology based on geomagnetic cycles of the earth, moon and sun, and how these cycles align with historical, present-day and future climate and weather cycles.


We Are Fast Approaching The ‘Green Energy Wall’

The “Wall” consists of some combination of real-world obstacles, part cost and part physics, that will inevitably end the quest for emissions-free “net zero” electricity generation well before the goal of zero emissions is reached

I first identified the approaching Wall in this post in December 2021 and remarked that it was “gradually coming into focus” in this follow-up post in November 2023.

Anyone paying attention and capable of doing basic arithmetic knows that we are approaching this Wall, with some jurisdictions much faster than others. (New York has voluntarily put itself in the front ranks.).

What we don’t know is how the hitting of the Wall will manifest itself:

Widespread and frequent blackouts? Regular, enforced load-shedding brownouts? Tripling or quadrupling of electricity prices? A political uprising as people realize that they have been duped by scammers claiming that an energy transition would be easy and cheap?

Or perhaps it will be all of the above.

Meanwhile, the years pass slowly. The impossibility of the situation we are digging into becomes more and more obvious, but so far there is no obvious crisis. Will it arrive in another year, or two? Or maybe five?

Consider New York. Multiple statutes and regulations commit us to energy transition mandates that simply will not be met.

Among the fantasies are two major statutes passed in 2019, one for New York State (Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act), and the other for the City (Local Law 97); and vehicle emissions standards adopted in 2022 by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Start with those vehicle emissions standards. In 2022 the DEC adopted for New York the standards and requirements outlined in the California Air Resources Board’s “Advanced Clean Cars II” regulation.

California’s regulations call for minimum percentages of vehicles sold to be “zero emissions” starting with the 2026 model year, and then rapidly scaling up to 100 percent “zero emissions” by the 2035 model year.

Here is a chart from CARB of the percentages of vehicles sold, by model year, that are supposed to be “zero emissions.”

EVs are not the only things that qualify as “zero emissions” (e.g., hydrogen vehicles qualify), but EVs are the only things that qualify and also exist in meaningful numbers. The 2026 model year begins around September 2025 — that is, about 16 months away.

What is the current percent of vehicles sold in New York that are “zero emissions”? A piece on March 6, 2024, in the New York Times puts the percentage of electric vehicles sold in the New York “metropolitan area” in 2023 at less than 10 percent.

The article does not give a figure for New York State as a whole, but undoubtedly the figure for the state — including rural upstate areas — is far less than the percentage in the City and suburbs.

Meanwhile, many sources report that EV sales have suddenly declined sharply in the first quarter of 2024. (I can’t find statistics on that broken down by state.).

But even if EV sales in New York State continued to increase in the first months of this year, are they really going to somehow get to 35 percent of all sales within a little more than a year? And then to 43 percent after just one more year, and then 51 percent after one more year, and so on to 100 percent by 2035?

This is completely ridiculous.

Equally ridiculous is the mandate in the CLCPA for 70% of electricity generation from “renewables” by 2030. The people in charge of implementing this mandate are completely incompetent and have no idea what they are doing.

After the passage of the Act in 2019, the first significant step [taken] in 2020 and 2021 was to close the two zero-emissions nuclear reactors at Indian Point that provided about 25 percent of New York City’s electricity, and replace them with two brand-new natural gas plants, thus substantially increasing emissions.

So to date, the progress toward the so-called 70 x 30 goal has been negative.


Green/Left surrenders: Eraring, Australia's largest coal-fired powerplant to remain open in order to prevent shortages and blackouts

That wonderful coal! Very hard to replace

The life of Australia's largest coal-fired power station will be extended for at least two years in order to prevent power shortages and blackouts in NSW.

Origin Energy has been in talks with the NSW government about extending the life of the Eraring power station after a review warned the scheduled August 2025 retirement could result in electricity shortfalls and price hikes, leaving a 25 per cent gap in NSW's power requirements.

In a statement on Thursday, the state government described the agreement as 'temporary and targeted' in order to guarantee a minimum supply of electricity until the new expected closure date.

'A temporary extension of Eraring will provide time to deliver the renewable energy, storage and network infrastructure projects required to replace the power station,' it said.

The NSW government and Origin have agreed to an underwriting arrangement under which the state will not make any up-front payments to the energy company to operate Eraring.

Instead, Origin will need to decide by March 31 in 2025 and 2026 whether it wishes to opt in to the underwriting arrangement for the following financial year and share up to $40million per year of any profits it earns from the facility.

If the power station operates at a loss, Origin will be able to claim no more than 80 per cent of the sum from the state government.

Those claims will be capped at $225million each year, if the company does opt in.

Environmental groups and progressive think-tanks have long railed against Eraring receiving any lifeline.

'To keep Eraring open beyond its closure date will make the national job of decarbonising our energy grid all that much harder,' Australian Conservation Foundation climate policy adviser Annika Reynolds said.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen in March said delaying Eraring's retirement would not imperil Australia's 2030 emissions reduction target.

Eraring was privatised under the former coalition government in a 2013 deal that resulted in Origin being paid $75 million to take over the ageing asset.

NSW Energy Minister Penny Sharpe emphasised today's decision was a 'temporary and targeted agreement' to ensure reliability, however she said the state was still prioritising a transition to green energy.

'NSW is stepping up the transition to cheap, clean, reliable renewable energy. But to keep the lights on and prices down, we need to make sure new renewable infrastructure and storage capacity is online before coal-fired generators reach the end of their life,' she said.

'This temporary and targeted agreement will provide financial support only if it's needed, and only for as long as needed, during an orderly exit of coal-fired power.

'This is a proactive and sensible step to ensure a plan is in place, if needed, to avoid electricity outages and rising power prices.'

The government has stressed Thursday's announcement would protect NSW taxpayers.

'This agreement gets the balance right. It means the clean energy transition can continue without exposing families and businesses to extreme bill shocks during a severe cost-of-living crisis,' said NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey.

'Taxpayers are well-protected. We won't be handing over a $3 billion cheque to Origin as some said we would. Instead, this agreement incentivises Origin to only use the underwrite if there is a sudden change in market conditions.

'Had Eraring remained in public ownership, an agreement like this would not have been necessary.'