Thursday, June 20, 2024

Biden EPA Rules Will Cause Blackouts for Millions of Americans, Study Warns

President Joe Biden’s aggressive climate regulations targeting fossil-fuel-fired power plants will create widespread electric grid instability and lead to mass blackouts impacting millions of Americans, according to a recent study commissioned by North Dakota’s state government.

The research, conducted in May by the firm Always On Energy Research, concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized regulations are not technologically feasible and will foreseeably lead to the retirement of coal power generation units. Intermittent and weather-dependent green energy sources, such as wind and solar, will replace such retired generators, leading to unreliable conditions, the study found.

The study largely echoes concerns that have been voiced by the U.S. grid watchdog, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation; regional grid operators; and power utility companies. Four regional grid operators that oversee the infrastructure supplying power for 154 million Americans warned after the EPA regulations were first proposed last year that grid reliability would “dwindle to concerning levels” under the regulations. The Edison Electric Institute, the lead industry group representing U.S. electric companies, in late May joined a lawsuit that challenged the EPA’s finalized regulations.

“Biden’s Green Agenda is shutting down baseload power and is rapidly destabilizing our electrical grid. Electricity costs are up 30% under Biden already,” North Dakota governor Doug Burgum (R.) told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement. “Prices will continue to skyrocket if he’s re-elected as real power demand increases dramatically for the first time in decades—for chip manufacturing and new foundational industries like AI.”

Burgum, a member of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which commissioned the study, added that Biden’s regulatory regime will reduce power supplies, leading to “higher prices AND less reliability.”

In April, the EPA finalized the first part of a multi-pronged effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions produced by the nation’s power sector. The regulations require existing coal plants to slash their carbon footprint 90 percent by 2032, which could force the vast majority of such plants across the country to shutter over the next two decades. They further require significant emissions reductions for new natural-gas-fired power plants that operate more than 20 percent of the time.

The finalized regulations are poised to have a particularly acute impact in Midwestern states such as North Dakota, where coal-fired power plants produce more than half of all electricity generated and where the four largest power plants are all coal-fired. North Dakota is also the sixth-largest coal-producing state in the country.

According to Always On Energy Research, the rules’ economic consequences include increasing the cost of compliance for coal plant operators, reducing competitiveness with alternative power sources, expediting the rate of coal retirements, resulting in higher electricity prices, and causing supply chain issues for industries reliant on coal.

“The Finalized Rule will increase costs, which, compounded with inflation, will negatively impact the affordability of electric and gas services, resulting in a disproportionate effect on low-income citizens,” the study stated. “Given the high rural populations in North Dakota, pricing low-income citizens out of a reliable energy source creates an economic and social justice issue with devasting [sic] impacts on North Dakotans’ lives.”

In addition, under EPA’s plans, coal plants—considered dispatchable power, or power that can quickly be turned on in times of high electricity demand—will largely be replaced by new solar and wind power generators, which are highly dependent on proper wind conditions.

Solar panels, for example, produce just 25 percent and wind turbines produce 34 percent of their listed capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration. Coal and natural gas plants, meanwhile, respectively produce 49 percent and 54 percent of their listed capacity.

Factoring in that disparity, Always On Energy Research concluded the grid across the majority of the Midwest would experience nearly 9 million megawatt hours of unserved load, leading to blackouts costing tens of billions of dollars.

“The EPA power plant rule is exactly the wrong thing to be doing for grid reliability right now,” Paige Lambermont, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Free Beacon. “To be intentionally closing and, essentially, banning the facilities that are keeping the grid functioning while, at the same time, in other ways, encouraging the penetration on the grid of things like wind and solar that are making the grid less reliable is going to have incredibly poor aftereffects.”

Nationwide, natural gas plants generated roughly 43 percent of total electricity produced in 2023 while coal plants generated another 16 percent, according to additional Energy Information Administration data. By comparison, wind power generated 10 percent of total electricity in the United States, and solar produced less than 6 percent.

The EPA is expected to finalize a second batch of regulations cracking down on existing natural gas power plants in the coming months.

Democrats and climate advocates have long targeted the power sector as part of their effort to reduce pollution and fight global warming. According to EPA data, electric power generation in the United States is responsible for 25 percent of total nationwide emissions, only behind the transportation sector, which produces roughly 28 percent of total emissions.

EPA spokeswoman Angela Hackel told the Free Beacon that “over decades EPA regulations like the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Good Neighbor Rule have achieved important reductions in pollution from electricity generation while supporting reliability.”
“This rule will do the same,” Hackel said. She added that the EPA is reviewing the North Dakota study.


Wrong, BBC, the Popular Kenyan Farmer Is Right, There Is No Climate Emergency, Africa Does Need Fossil Fuels

The BBC recently published a hit piece posing as an article attacking a Kenyan farmer who has developed a modest following on X, for his skeptical view of climate alarm claims, and his experienced based understanding that Africans need and deserve to develop fossil fuels. The farmer, Jusper Machogu, is right. In reality, it is the BBC’s “climate change misinformation” reporter who is misleading readers. Not only is the target of the hit piece correct that fossil fuels would be good for Africa, but the BBC reporter’s assertion that Africa is uniquely battered by climate change is false.

The BBC’s Marco Silva wrote the article, “How a Kenyan farmer became a champion of climate change denial,” covering the social media activity on X of a young Kenyan farmer and agricultural engineer, Jusper Machogu, who strongly supports and frequently posts that apocalyptic climate change claims are false and about fossil fuel development for Africa.

Machogu’s post history mostly involves him advocating for the mechanization and modernization of farming in Africa, enthusiastically praising synthetic fertilizers, tractors, and other production-boosting technologies that are made possible by fossil fuels and their derivatives. He has extensive knowledge about agriculture, including why “green” methods of farming and fertilizer production are nowhere near as effective as the processes involving fossil fuels.

The fact that African agriculture has benefitted from the use of fossil fuels has been covered at Climate Realism extensively.

Silva warns ominously that Machogu is a “flagbearer for fossil fuels in Africa, but there is more to his campaign than meets the eye,” accusing him of being motivated exclusively by financial gain to post “debunked theories about climate change[.]” Silva’s evidence of this is that Machogu got a whopping $9,000 over the course of two years in donations, “some of which came from individuals in Western countries linked to fossil-fuel interests.” This is just scummy on the part of Silva, an ad hominem attack on Machogu’s character and possible motivations rather than the content of his posts.

Silva doesn’t attempt to engage with Machogu’s claims that “there is no climate crisis,” except to cite specific experts who disagree. Machogu has written that his research has led him to believe that climate change is mostly natural, posting on X ““Climate change is mostly natural. A warmer climate is good for life,” to which Silva blithely responds that Machogu, “wrongly claimed in a tweet posted in February, along with the hashtag #ClimateScam (which he has used hundreds of times).” Silva cites no evidence for his claim that Machogu’s claims about climate change being natural and a warmer world being good for life are wrong — where’s his proof? That, of course, would have been to engage in facts rather than deploying smarmy rhetoric.

The problem for Silva is, as Climate Realism has shown in hundreds of articles, there is no evidence whatsoever that climate change is making the world worse for humanity. In fact, people are living longer, more food is being produced, the earth is greening, and fewer people are dying from extreme weather and non-optimum temperatures than ever in history. In short, data strongly suggests that it is the poor farmer rather than the educated journalist who is right about climate change, a warmer climate is good for life. Once again, rather than disputing Mochogu’s claims with data, Silva then parrots a talking point that Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change and its alleged effects “including more intense and frequent heatwaves, prolonged droughts, and devastating floods.” He provides no proof for these claims, either, because there is none.

Computer model projections may predict that Africa might someday suffer ill effects from climate change, and propagandist journalists may promote the idea every time some part of the continent is suffering from extreme weather, but real world data debunk such claims. The bulk of evidence show that Africa is not suffering from worse or more prolonged heatwaves, drought, or flooding, as covered in several posts by Climate Realism.

Machogu is also correct that greater fossil fuel development and use would benefit poor African nations, so long as they get to reap the benefits of having the products and energy security that fossil fuels provide, instead of having African fossil fuels exploited by corrupt governments or shipped off to energy-hungry Western nations. Silva attempts to head off this obvious point by quoting a Ugandan climate activist, writing that “fossil fuel exploration has not always been a synonym for growth and development in Africa.”

But this does not address the point at all. Just because some development has been exploitative doesn’t mean that Machogu is wrong.

Trying to stop Africans from using cheap, plentiful energy from fossil fuels makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to adapt to natural weather disasters. Similarly, as Machogu, who actually lives in a region where so-called “sustainable” farming practices dominate, points out, organic and non-mechanized farming are all fun and games when your life does not depend on it, but give lower yields and increase the threat of famine, as it did in Sri Lanka.

Modern synthetic fertilizers and fossil-fuel powered equipment have already helped African nations’ food production increase over time, reducing hunger and malnutrition, regardless of extreme weather events, as discussed here, here, and here. For a specific example, see African cereal yield data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization since just the 1990s. (See figure below)

Over the same period which has seen the most climate alarmism amid modest warming:

Cereal production rose 131 percent;

Yield rose 48 percent;

New all-time production records have been 7 times between 2011 to 2021.

To get an idea even further of the kind of dishonesty and underhanded tactics employed by Silva in his thread, take a look at this quote:

“When we spoke, Jusper told me his beliefs are shared by many people in Africa, but I found that most users engaging with his X account are actually based in the US, the UK, and Canada,” Silva wrote.

This is an obvious bait and switch that anyone with a functioning brain can see. Jusper Machogu has lived experience, every single day, with African sustenance farming communities outside of social media. There are far more Westerners with daily internet access than there are Africans that do; ironically, the former being yet another result of the Western world’s fossil fuel-based infrastructure.


Climate Alarmists Disrupt Congressional Baseball Game

Several arrests were made at the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity Wednesday night after people wearing ‘END FOSSIL FUELS’ teeshirts stormed the field at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

The game, which raises money for local charities in the D.C. area, features Democrats and Republicans from the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Climate protesters chanted while holding signs that said “Stop playing games with our future,” and they wore shirts that said “End Fossil Fuels” before entering the field.

A group known as Climate Defiance took credit for the display in a tweet on X.

“Update: Eight of us have been arrested for shutting down the Congressional Baseball Game. They are behind bars now. Make no mistake: It’s the Members of Congress who should be locked up.”

The group also bragged on social media about its mission and delaying the game.

“We have taken the field at the Congressional Baseball Game + play has FROZEN! Congress sends billions of public $$ to subsidize deadly fossil fuels — but the police are tackling us instead. This Chevron-sponsored game cannot continue. This is unconscionable,” the group wrote.

The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) promptly arrived and escorted the demonstrators out, and the game resumed. The USCP confirmed eight people were arrested.

“We are proud of our officers who are working to keep everyone safe during tonight’s Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. When eight people tried to protest on the field, our officers quickly stopped them and arrested them. The eight people are being charged with federal charges — Interference with a Member of the U.S. Capitol Police,” Capitol Police wrote in a statement on X.

A small group of anti-Israel protesters were also spotted in the crowd. The group unfurled a “Free Palestine” and Palestinian flag in the right field section near the foul post. The group’s message was met with boos from others in the stands.

It was not the first time the annual charity game has involved controversy.

Over the last several years, the event has drawn more attention after a gunman opened fire on Republicans at a ballpark for practice in 2017.


Clash of the Climateers


When Greenies fall out... One side is actually fairly realistic. The other side are off with the fairies

It’s the slugfest of the century — Australia’s top climate alarmist Dr Joelle Gergis duking it out with Anna-Maria Arabia, CEO of the Australian Academy of Science.

The green-Left Academy wants any challenge to its global warming panics to be censored by the federal apparatus – see Shut Them Up, Argues the Academy of Science. Hence I predict Ms Arabia will triumph by getting the impertinent Gergis cancelled as a climate denier.

At issue is “CCS” or carbon capture and storage. This means plucking CO2 out of industry and the atmosphere to achieve otherwise-unattainable net zero. The captured CO2, a plant food which the CSIRO admits has been lavishly greening the planet, has to be safely stored in repositories by the billion and even tens of billion tonnes a year. These CO2 jails must be locked up for thousands or even millions of years, say the Academy’s experts.[1]

But CCS is so much trillion-dollar bunk, as Joelle sets out to demonstrate. She’s playing Samson’s dangerous game — destabilising the Temple of Climate. This temple is already tottering in Europe as Germany et al recognise the havoc the Greens have caused their economies. Renewables are bunk too, not that Joelle would admit that. The climate models causing people to imagine “global boiling” and “highways to hell” are also bunk. As 2022 Nobel Prize winner in physics John Clauser puts it, “There is no correlation between temperature change and carbon dioxide – it is all a crock of crap.”[2]

In what the ABC would describe as “handbags at six paces”[3], the Arabia-Gergis stoush involves:

* For the Academy, its Roundtable Report of March 2023 on ” Greenhouse gas removal in Australia” and its submission to the feds last July espousing mind-blowing CCS targets. That submission is so silly I’ve banished it to this footnote [4], and will focus instead on the Roundtable.

* For Joelle, there’s her vast piece in June’s Quarterly Essay, which makes my wordy Quadrant effusions look like haikus. (Gergis occupies 88 pages of the 122-page issue). She took a break from climate catastrophism to study creative writing, and another break from her ANU senior lectureship to sit in the dark-green Australia Institute for months as writer-in-residence to pen her essay.[5] The Institute is a Siamese twin of the Greens Party[6] . Joelle has now emerged to title her handiwork “Highway to Hell: Climate Change and Australia’s Future.”[7]

In her essay Joelle for once takes a view I agree with, that CCS is a stupid scam with not even the chance of an ice-cream in hell of getting us to the broad sunlit uplands of net zero. More on her CCS demolition down the track.

The Academy, however, trusts CCS as the magic bullet to save the planet from computer-modelled fiery damnation in 2100. In general, the Academy wants Labor’s anti-emissions targets to be made something like twice as fierce. Instead of one giant 7MW windmill being built per day to 2030 (Albo’s scheme), the Academy logically wants two a day. And instead of 22,000 made-in-China solar panels installed per day, it wants circa 40,000 a day. Climate Minister Chris Bowen’s wind farms and power lines are flattening forests and blighting landscapes. The Academy’s brought-forward emissions targets would at least double the damage.

In trying to square the circle on net zero, the Academy’s experts have come up with what I’d call the “Kittylitter Leapthrough”. It involves methane, CO2’s greenhouse pal, (formula CH4, according to Mr Walter House, my despairing chemistry teacher in 1956). At the roundtable, experts suggested that zeolite, kittylitter’s cheap ingredient ($US140 per tonne), might be engineered on a planetary scale to mop excess methane (p15).

The Roundtable was run by Academy President Chennupati Jagadish AC , who thought the Academy’s “independence and convening power made us an ideal host for a roundtable on novel negative emissions approaches for Australia.” He foresaw Australia as a CCS research – or maybe kittylitter — superpower.[8]

A list on page 28 shows that every one of the 18 round-tablers, by invitation, were drawn from the university/CSIRO/govt sectors (12 professors among them). There was not one person from industry. They dreamed of breakthroughs unimpeded by costs or commercial technology. Their suggestions include, with my comments below

1/ Trains that capture CO2 while travelling between mine sites, to be stored subsequently at mine sites.

Does anyone remember that 268-waggon BHP train in the Pilbara that lost its driver five years ago and travelled 100km at up to 160kph before its $300-million pile-up? Imagine such a runaway train dragging captured CO2. Would Gina Hancock, who thinks climate doomism is propaganda, convert her Roy Hill trains to CO2 courier duties?.

2/ Ocean alkalinity enhancement – Addition of alkalinity-enhancing substance generated from mine tailings and other waste.

I’m not sure that whales, sardines, octopi and clown fish cavorting in the Great Barrier Reef would welcome a gazillion tonnes of mine tailings. The roundtablers’ stream of consciousness continued,

4/ Ocean farming (e.g., kelp, seagrass) for CO2 capture…

Ocean storage: – Biomass in the ocean , e.g., seaweed that sinks to the deep ocean, Blue carbon[9], Deep ocean storage.

5/ Injecting in the atmosphere “iron-salt aerosols – iron-containing particles that enhance natural methane sinks by mimicking natural reactions caused by mineral dust particles.

Not content with re-jigging the oceans, the tax-funded boffins also contemplate rehashing our atmosphere. I guess the ivory-tower crowd likes to think big!

6/ Integrating carbon capture into current structural materials and systems, e.g., building materials can perform a dual role as carbon capture surfaces or retrofitting HVAC [heating, ventilation and air cooling] systems to provide capture function.

My villa unit has its Hitachi split-system HVAC motor in the front garden. Its concrete pad is tilting in the mud and the box has quite a lean. Could someone from the Roundtable please drop by, convert my HVAC to airborne CO2 capture, and straighten the lean while they’re at it?.

7/ DAC [direct air capture] used to accelerate biomass production (e.g., bamboo) with a view to use in cross laminated timber as a large-scale replacement/augmentation for steel structures in buildings.

I foresee the CFMEU’s John Setka enforcing a “bamboo site allowance” of $20 an hour on Melbourne’s high-rise jobs. As I write, I hum a tune from my teens which, as I recall, goes

On the windier days, Seems an orchestra plays
On a musical breeze for you;
Like a merry salute From a heavenly flute
To the tower of singing bamboo.

TIME now,as promised, for Joelle’s hatchet job on the delusions of the Academy and its September 2022 Roundtable.[10]

Her Quarterly Essay dubs CCS “a fool’s errand that will only lead to delay and failure (p81)…a disastrous gamble (p12)…the fantasy get-out-of-jail-free card that threatens to ruin us (p50). If we buy into these delusions, we will be in very deep trouble.” (p51) Here’s why, she explains (p56-61):

* In the past 30 years 80 per cent of all CCS pilot projects have flopped.

* “To achieve global targets, approximately 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide need to be stored each year by 2030, growing to 10 billion tonnes per annum by 2050.”

* The 41 operational CCS projects in 2023 store less than 10m tonnes of CO2 a year (according to UNEP) or 49m tonnes (according to CCS industry-group figures – Joelle suggests the latter mob are lying, which is normal for green lobbies). Joelle herself is on the Climate Council. She’s mentored there by council chief Tim Flannery, who’s still waiting for his 2004 prediction to bear fruit about my birthplace Perth becoming a waterless ghost town.

* Given total human-caused emissions last year alone were 41 billion tonnes, CCS would need to be boosted by 1000 times to do any climate-solving.

* “Offshore CCS has added dangers of acidifying marine environments, contaminating groundwater, inducing earthquakes and the displacement of toxic brine deposits. The true risks of the hazards of the offshore CCS industry are yet to be fully scientifically and technically assessed, let alone comprehensively regulated… embarking on such a risky path for such little gain is spectacularly illogical.”

* To achieve net zero by 2050, the CCS industry would need to suck up investment worth $US655b to $US1.3 trillion ($A2 trillion or $2,000,000,000,000). Even with that, a commercial CCS plant takes ten years to build so don’t expect wonders by 2050.

A cynic might say that with CCS advocacy, the Academy is pushing a no-lose position for its 700 Fellows. If it works, they save (we hope) the planet. If it doesn’t, well the basic research costing eight or even nine-figure amounts won’t have been wasted in enhancing the Fellows’ lifestyles. There would be lavishly-staffed Centres of CCS Excellence, university promotions and job security, multi-million lab gear approvals, King’s Birthday honours and all that, plus jetting to prestigious conferences.

Also, CCS is not just a job-ticket for boffins who can do maths and engineering — there would likely be near-unlimited CCS funding for artsy hangers-on like Jungians researching the psyches of Joelle and other CCS-deniers; CCS angles re LGBTQI+s, feminists and Aboriginal main-chancers[11]; and CCS strategies expressed in gouache and dance (enjoy!). All this stuff is already affixed like sucker-fish to the mainstream “climate science” shark.

I’d better add that Joelle’s anti-CCS crusade is to stop Albanese from pussy-footing around on emissions, and harden up the progressives’ ruinous anti-fossil-fuel fatwas. Nothing but an immediate crackdown on fossil-fuel use and any new petroleum/coal projects will satisfy Joelle.

I do worry that exposing these schisms among the climate-crazy set could set back my good relations with Academy President Jagadish. He’s already cross with, I believe, other journos for disrespecting the Academy’s wisdom. He wrote to his Fellows last August that “undermining science undermines us all”. Those rogue journos “seek to twist the truth to suit their agenda”, he complained, continuing

We have witnessed the seeding and dissemination of uncertainty throughout the years—to postpone the regulation of tobacco consumption, to continue the use of lead in petrol, to obstruct vaccination during the ongoing pandemic, or to prevent action on climate change to list a few.

His next paragraph had me scratching my head. He seemed to suggest that blaming a Wuhan lab-leak for the global Covid disaster was a “deliberate undermining of public trust in science [and] conspiracy and fearmongering.” [12] I thought Xi Jin-Ping’s incendiary reaction and billion-dollar trade bans over PM Morrison’s mild call for a Covid-origins inquiry were a clue. And indeed, evidence for the lab-leak origin is compounding every day. US intelligence agencies with their vast resources are split or uncertain about the Wuhan lab-leak theory: at least one of these agencies, judging by Jagadish’s comment, must be conspiring and fear-mongering. What on earth’s going on at the Academy?




No comments: