Supremes to Review EPA Authority Over GHGs

Amy Howe writes at scotusblog Justices agree to review EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Climate change regulation

The litigation over the EPA’s authority comes to the court in a quartet of environmental cases on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The D.C. Circuit vacated both the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which established guidelines for states to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that the Trump administration issued in its place.

Urging the justices to hear the case, one of the challengers, the North American Coal Corporation, acknowledged that the issue of climate change and how to address it has “enormous importance,” but the company stressed that “[t]hose debates will not be resolved anytime soon.” What the court should resolve, it continued, “as soon as possible is who has the authority to decide those issues on an industry-wide scale — Congress or the EPA.” Unless the justices weigh in, the company warned, “these crucial decisions will be made by unelected agency officials without statutory authority, as opposed to our elected legislators.”

The Biden administration told the justices that there was no need for them to step in now, because the Clean Power Plan “is no longer in effect and EPA does not intend to resurrect it.” Instead, the government explained, it intends to issue a new rule that takes recent changes in the electricity sector into account. “Any further judicial clarification of the scope of EPA’s authority,” the government suggested, “would more appropriately occur” after the agency has actually issued the new rule.

After considering the cases at four consecutive conferences, the justices granted review and ordered the cases to be argued together. The justices’ decision in the case, which is expected by summer 2022, could have an impact well beyond environmental law because it could impose new limits on Congress’ ability to delegate authority to all regulatory agencies.

The lead case is West Virginia v. EPA. It is consolidated with North American Coal Corp. v. EPA, Westmoreland Mining Holdings v. EPA, and North Dakota v. EPA.

Background at previous post 

Latest Court Ruling re EPA and CO2

My comment: I much appreciate Judge Walker’s reprise of the historical journey. After earning my degree in organic chemistry, I am still offended that a bunch of lawyers refer to CO2 as a “pollutant” as though it were an artificial chemical rather than the stuff of life. And it annoys me that the American Lung Association fronted this legal attack, as though CO2 was causing breathing problems in addition to a bit of warming during our present ice age. And that list of ailments solved by reducing CO2 emissions rivals any snake oil poster ever printed.

Observers noted that this ruling produces a kind of limbo: Obama’s Clean Power Plan is out of order, and now Trumps Affordable Clean Energy program is shot down. Likely Biden will try to return to CPP as though Trump never happened, but the same objections will still be raised. Clearly Judge Walker sees the issue headed for the Supreme Court as the stakes are too high for anyone else. After their lack of courage on the 2020 election scandal, who knows what the Supremes will do.

Footnote: See post The Poisonous Tree of Climate Change

The roots of this poisonous tree are found in citing the famous Massachusetts v. E.P.A. (2007) case decided by a 5-4 opinion of Supreme Court justices (consensus rate: 56%). But let’s see in what context lies that reference and whether it is a quotation from a source or an issue addressed by the court. The majority opinion was written by Justice Stevens, with dissenting opinions from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia. All these documents are available at Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007). The linked post summarized the twisted logic that was applied.

Election Fraud Evidence Mounting

How long will the “Free and Fair 2020 Election” Dam hold up under the pressure of election fraud reports?   John Solomon summarizes the numerous cracks appearing in his Just The News article Narrative of a perfect 2020 election eroding as Wisconsin becomes investigative ground zero.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Evidence grows of election mismanagement, illegal acts and some fraud in several states.

Cognitively impaired nursing home residents in Wisconsin and Michigan cynically exploited for votes. Election mismanagement in Atlanta. Unlawful election instructions in Wisconsin. And 50,000 questionable ballots in Arizona, plus several criminal cases for illegal ballot harvesting and inmate voting.

Eleven months after Donald Trump was ousted from office, the narrative that the 2020 election was clean and secure has frayed like a well-worn shoelace. The challenges of the COVID pandemic, the aggressive new tactics of voting activists and the desire of Democrats to make the collection and delivery of ballots by third parties legal in states where harvesting is expressly forbidden has muddied the establishment portrait and awakened the nation to the painful reality its election system — particularly in big urban areas — is far from perfection.

Nowhere has that story become more clear than the battleground state of Wisconsin, where a local sheriff on Thursday dramatically held a nationally televised news conference alleging he had found evidence of felony crimes involving ballots sent to nursing home residents.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said his investigators have secured evidence that eight out of 42 residents at a local nursing home had been recorded as casting absentee ballots that their families said was not possible because the residents didn’t possess the cognitive ability to vote.

The probe was prompted by one family who discovered their loved one had voted in the November 2020 election despite having died a month earlier after a long period of mental decline, authorities said.

Schmaling dramatically accused the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the state’s election bureaucracy, of creating the conditions for such voting by mailing absentee ballots to nursing home residents who didn’t request them and empowering nursing home staff to fill out ballots on behalf of the residents.

The “election statute was in fact not just broken, but shattered,” he said.

The nursing home scheme alleged by Schmaling was also found in neighboring Michigan, where Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel earlier this month announced three women were charged with voting fraud, including one who fraudulently filled out ballots in the names of nursing home residents without their permission.

But the nursing home case is far from the only concern that has rocked Wisconsin, where Joe Biden was certified the winner over Trump with a razor-thin margin of about 20,000 votes. The non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau released a sweeping report last month that accused election officials of engaging in “inconsistent administration” of election laws, troublesome management of new drop boxes used to collect ballots during the pandemic, ineffective investigation of fraud complaints, and other problems.

While it did not offer evidence of systemic fraud, it flagged more than 30 problems as well as many more issues that lawmakers should resolve for future elections. The report prompted the GOP leader of the Wisconsin Senate to launch an investigation into the November election, augmenting a separate probe already authorized by the Wisconsin Assembly that is being led by former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.

And those developments follow a ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that concluded state election officials wrongly allowed tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters to skip voter ID requirements and file absentee ballots by declaring their concerns about COVID made them “indefinitely confined.” While the court ruled the advice was illegal, it noted there was no penalty and said it was up to voters to decide if they had an infirmity or disability that made them confined. Lawmakers are now looking to change the weaknesses in that law.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) the former chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which oversees elections, said the dizzying revelations coming from his own state were a clear sign that lawmakers have far more work ahead of them to improve election administration and ensure voters are treated more evenly.

“Following the LAB report, what Sheriff Schmaling has uncovered + disclosed might only be tip of the iceberg of fraud in the 2020 election,” Johnson tweeted. “The Legislature must be given the time, resources, and cooperation of election officials to conduct a complete investigation of allegations.”

Similarly, state officials in Georgia, where Trump lost by a slim margin, have found evidence that its major urban voting center of Fulton County had significant problems administering the November election, so much so that state officials have begun the process of taking the county’s election management into receivership, removing local control for the 2022 election and beyond.

That dramatic move came after Just the News unearthed a 29-page memo from a state observer that found officials in Futon County engaged in all sorts of misconduct and mistakes, including insecure transport of ballots, double scanning of ballots and possible invasions of voter privacy.

And earlier this month, two Fulton County workers were fired for allegedly shredding ballot applications in violation of state law. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger even asked the U.S. Justice Department to assist in the investigation.

And in nearby DeKalb County, Raffensperger has initiated a separate probe into whether ballots cast in “drop boxes” were properly handled and logged.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the Arizona Senate’s audit continues to be felt, as more than 50,000 ballots have been called into question and several matters referred to Attorney General Mark Brnovich for possible prosecution. Even before those referrals, Brnovich’s office has brought several criminal prosecutions, including prison inmates who illegally voted as well as some people accused of harvesting ballots from third parties.

The harvesting cases in Arizona as well as the nursing home cases in the Midwest are opening up a new line of inquiry that could drive the election integrity debate well into 2022. The emerging question: Is it possible that residents legally allowed to vote had their votes illegally gathered and delivered by third parties?

It’s a question several state officials told Just the News they have begun investigating, meaning the term “ballot harvesting” may become more familiar to Americans in the weeks and months ahead.

Meanwhile, the news media and state officials may have to grapple with a more difficulty reality: It doesn’t require widespread fraud for Americans to lose faith in the election system. Mismanagement, uneven application of the laws and plain old carelessness can sow deep distrust.

Nobel Prize for World’s Worst Climate Model

Patrick J. Michaels reports at Real Clear Policy Nobel Prize Awarded for the Worst Climate Model. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Given the persistent headlines about climate change over the years, it’s surprising how long it took the Nobel Committee to award the Physics prize to a climate modeler, which finally occurred earlier this month.

Indeed, Syukuro Manabe has been a pioneer in the development of so-called general circulation climate models (GCMs) and more comprehensive Earth System Models (ESMs). According to the Committee, Manabe was awarded the prize “For the physical modelling of the earth’s climate, quantifying variability, and reliably predicting global warming.”

What Manabe did was to modify early global weather forecasting models, adapting them to long-term increases in human emissions of carbon dioxide that alter the atmosphere’s internal energy balance, resulting in a general warming of surface temperatures, along with a much larger warming of temperatures above the surface over the earth’s vast tropics.

Unlike some climate modelers, like NASA’s James Hansen — who lit the bonfire of the greenhouse vanities in 1988, Manabe is hardly a publicity hound. And while politics clearly influences it (see Al Gore’s 2007 Prize), the Nobel Committee also respects primacy, as Manabe’s model was the first comprehensive GCM. He produced it at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) in Princeton NJ. The seminal papers were published in 1975 and 1980.

And, after many modifications and renditions, it is also the most incorrect of all the world’s GCMs at altitude over the vast tropics of the planet.

Getting the tropical temperatures right is critical. The vast majority of life-giving moisture that falls over the worlds productive midlatitude agrosystems originates as evaporation from the tropical oceans.

The major determinant of how much moisture is wafted into our region is the vertical distribution of tropical temperature. When the contrast is great, with cold temperatures aloft compared to the normally hot surface, that surface air is buoyant and ascends, ultimately transferring moisture to the temperate zones. When the contrast is less, the opposite occurs, and less moisture enters the atmosphere.

Every GCM or ESM predicts that several miles above the tropical surface should be a “hot spot,” where there is much more warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions than at the surface. If this is improperly forecast, then subsequent forecasts of rainfall over the world’s major agricultural regions will be unreliable.

That in turn will affect forecasts of surface temperature. Everyone knows a wet surface heats up (and cools down) slower than a dry one (see: deserts), so getting the moisture input right is critical.

Following Manabe, vast numbers of modelling centers popped up, mushrooms fertilized by public — and only public — money.

Every six years or so, the U.S. Department of Energy collects all of these models, aggregating them into what they call Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIPs). These serve as the bases for the various “scientific assessments” of climate change produced by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or the U.S. “National Assessments” of climate.

Figure 8: Warming in the tropical troposphere according to the CMIP6 models. Trends 1979–2014 (except the rightmost model, which is to 2007), for 20°N–20°S, 300–200 hPa. John Christy (2019)

In 2017, University of Alabama’s John Christy, along with Richard McNider, published a paper that, among other things, examined the 25 applicable families of CMIP-5 models, comparing their performance to what’s been observed in the three-dimensional global tropics. Take a close look at Figure 3 from the paper, in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, and you’ll see that the model GFDL-CM3 is so bad that it is literally off the scale of the graph. [See Climate Models: Good, Bad and Ugly]

At its worst, the GFDL model is predicting approximately five times as much warming as has been observed since the upper-atmospheric data became comprehensive in 1979. This is the most evolved version of the model that won Manabe the Nobel.

In the CMIP-5 model suite, there is one, and only one, that works. It is the model INM-CM4 from the Russian Institute for Numerical Modelling, and the lead author is Evgeny Volodin. It seems that Volodin would be much more deserving of the Nobel for, in the words of the committee “reliably predicting global warming.”

Might this have something to do with the fact that INM-CM4 and its successor models have less predicted warming than all of the other models?

Patrick J. Michaels is a senior fellow working on energy and environment issues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of “Scientocracy: The Tangled Web of Public Science and Public Policy.”

Ivermectin Proven Successful in Australia

Update October 27, 2021 at end

Palmer Foundations reports by way of Trial Site News Combination Therapy For COVID-19 Based on Ivermectin in an Australian Population.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.


The immediacy of “real-world” data in the pre-hospital treatment of Covid-19 using re-purposed drugs has been the keystone to the development of effective therapy in a pandemic situation. The sense of a “common-message database” for the therapeutic use of ivermectin (IVM) collated by clinicians over a time frame of little more than 12 months, involving patients and research workers across geographic and social lines, is extraordinary.

From over 20 countries there are 63 controlled studies accepted for meta-analysis, that have included 47,500 subjects with 625 authors.

While this compelling database on the effectiveness of IVM would not be possible without “real-life” studies, at an individual level, these trials give additional value such as information on dosage and combination therapies. They also give confidence to local doctors and regulators as they seek optimal management strategies.

Here, we report successful pre-hospital treatment of Covid-19 patients in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, using an ivermectin-doxycycline-zinc combination with an important set of observations on symptom resolution and oximetry.

The Study

Six hundred Australian residents with positive PCR symptomatic Covid-19 were treated with a combination of ivermectin (24 mg per day), doxycycline (100 mg bd), and zinc (50mg per day), for 10 days within 48 hrs of obtaining a positive PCR test for Covid-19. The treatment period was from June to September 2021. Seven percent (7%) were given additional vitamins and nutritional supplements. Only 7% identified adverse events from the therapy, mainly minor gut symptoms of nausea, diarrhoea and heartburn. No patient stopped therapy due to adverse drug events.

A subgroup in hotel and home quarantine was available for a more detailed assessment of symptoms and oxygenation status. This cohort of 126 was assessed for 10 symptoms according to a visual analogue scale (ranging from “0” for no symptoms, to “10” for most severe symptoms). Descriptive statistics are summarised in Table 1. P-Values were calculated using Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank t-tests. Chi Squared analysis was used to analyse rates of hospitalization in the 600-patient cohort.

The Outcome

A total of 600 patients with positive PCR tests were treated with the ten-day course of “Ivermectin Triple Therapy” (ITT), which was fully completed in over 90% of those treated. None discontinued therapy as a result of drug side effects. Two visited the hospital for less than 24 hours following a transient arrhythmia and then went home, while five were admitted to hospital (0.83%). There were no deaths.

In an equivalent control group of 600, not treated with triple therapy, 70 were admitted to hospital (11.5%), with 6 deaths (1%). Chi-squared analysis of hospitalisation rate shows a significant decrease (P<0.001) in the presence of ivermectin triple therapy intervention. The control data was from contemporary infected subjects in Australia obtained from published Covid Tracking Data.

The subgroup of 126 in quarantine had more detailed documentation. They had an average age of 42 (range: 17-94). The results of symptom analysis are in Table 1. For the 10 symptoms analysed, 98% had a total symptom score severity reduction by the end of the treatment period (P< 0.0001). Symptoms that were most persistent were loss of taste and smell, cough, and fatigue. Oximetry readings in 71 subjects were consistent with mild disease in most (Table 1), though the range extended to the low 70’s indicating severe disease in some individuals. At the completion of the 10 -day treatment programme, all subjects had normal oximetry readings.


This successful study of 600 consecutive subjects treated within 2 days of testing positive on PCR for Covid-19 infection, emphasises the value of early treatment. The results are consistent with the study by Hazan et al, further supporting the value of ITT therapy (ivermectin, doxycycline and zinc).1 The current study differs from that of Hazan et al who successfully used lower doses of IVM and a shorter treatment duration. The current study also confirms the value of oximetry in monitoring response to therapy, with all hypoxic patients having normal oximetry levels following the treatment protocol. Few become hypoxic in the first 48 hours of symptoms. The rapid increase in oximetry values following IVM, noted by Hazan1, confirms significant hypoxia was likely avoided in this treated group. Combining oximetry with visual analogue scales to monitor symptoms, is suggested as a valuable tool for future studies.

Visual analogue scale monitoring of symptoms of Covid-19 infection showed a fall from a median total symptom severity score of 37 (range: 0-100) at the onset of treatment to 3 (range: 0-62) at the conclusion of treatment (P<0.0001). The main persistent symptoms were loss of smell/taste, cough and fatigue, recognised to persist for longer periods, however, all displayed significant severity score reductions during the treatment period (P<0.0001). The impact of early treatment with ITT on subsequent “long Covid” will be an important question to pursue. Symptom resolution with untreated Covid-19 is generally 2-4 weeks, emphasising the value of visual analogue scale assessment.

The major differences in admission to hospital and death following ITT therapy compared to contemporary controls is consistent with the large and increasing body of data measuring the impact of ivermectin-combination therapy.1–3 The results from this study invites comparison with recently announced data by Merck from a study of their re-cycled antiviral polymerase inhibitor, Molnupiravir. The Merck study with 385 treated patients involved a similar group to that treated in the current Australian study judged by near-identical hospital admission and mortality rates in both control groups. In the Merck study, the hospital admission rate was halved (7.3% of treated patients) with no deaths, similar to data for the “first cousin” of Molnupiravir, Favipiravir, which is used extensively in Russia. The important point is that the admission rate in the Merck study is 8-fold greater than the 90% reduction in hospital admissions recorded in the current ITT study (P<0.0001).

The public health impact of these findings with a cheap, safe and available therapy, in terms of reduction of load on a health system that will be further stressed as country borders are re-opened, cannot be ignored.

The current study included “real-life” data on consecutive patients thus avoiding selection bias. Therapy was given in two states of Australia, involving over 30 front-line doctors. This compelling data reinforces the value of information from a range of sources and trial methodologies in assessing treatment options, especially in a pandemic situation. The number of patients in this report was capped at 600, as the Australian regulatory body (the TGA) intervened in the middle of Australia’s third Covid wave, to prohibit further prescription of ivermectin for Covid-19 by General Practitioners.

Update October 27, 2021

From medRxiv paper Effectiveness of Ivermectin-Based Multidrug Therapy in Severe Hypoxic Ambulatory  COVID-19 Patients:

Regarding strategies in the development of combination therapies, intracellular coronavirus replication requires several active drugs to inhibit viral replication. IVM, doxycycline and zinc  all individually inhibit coronavirus replication and, although there are other candidates, we have proposed the above combination based on efficacy, component safety profiles, inexpensive nature, and lack of drug-drug interaction. The combination of IVM and doxycycline has also  been demonstrated to act in synergy against COVID-19 [33]. This combination also appears to  overcome the need for high doses of IVM identified by Caly and colleagues when used  alone[34]. Further, given that zinc plays a key role in antiviral activity [34536] it would combine  well with the ionophores (IVM and doxycycline) to increase its intracellular concentration and expedite viral clearance [37].

We have also assessed drug-drug interactions and found that the combination of zinc with IVM and doxycycline has no reported interactions. Additionally, each of these drugs has a low adverse side effects profile and no QT prolongation as reported with azithromycin.

Overall, based on the current literature, a 10-day combination therapy of IVM, doxycycline and zinc will not only improve symptoms [6,7] but also accelerate recovery from COVID-19. We have chosen a safe IVM dosage approved for parasites of 36mg over 10 days, and this dose has been shown to be both effective and safe in COVID-19 treatments [38]. The staggered IVM dosage over 10 days is proposed based on the half-life clearance of the drug in plasma (up to 66 hrs.)[39]. The proposed duration would allow constant availability of adequate plasma level IVM  to facilitate zinc entry into the cells. Hence, the above rationale explains why some publications have already shown that IVM alone is not adequate to cure COVID-19 [6,18,19] while a multidrug regimen is likely to be more efficacious [40].

Dutch High on Green Hydrogen–Tulipmania Revival?

Cyril Widdershoven writes at Oil PriceThe Dutch Government Is Gambling Billions On Green Hydrogen.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

  • Green hydrogen is making headlines around the world as many consider it a cornerstone of a successful energy transition
  • The Netherlands is ready to spend billions in its attempt to become a global green hydrogen hub, but some observers are becoming increasingly skeptical
  • The economic viability of this new investment is unclear and a growing number of critics see these investments as the government gambling with billions of euros

The future of green hydrogen looks very bright, with the renewable energy source becoming something of a media darling in recent months. The global drive to invest in green or blue hydrogen is picking up steam and investment levels are staggering. Realism and economics, however, seem to be lacking when it comes to planning new green hydrogen projects in NW Europe, the USA, and Australia.

At the same time, blue hydrogen, potentially an important bridge fuel, is being largely overlooked. The Netherlands, formerly a leading natural gas producer and NW-European gas trade and transportation hub, is attempting to establish itself as a main pillar of the European hydrogen economy. According to the Dutch government, the Netherlands is ready to provide whatever is needed to support the set-up of a new green hydrogen hub and transportation network. During the presentation of the 2021-2022 government plans in September (Prinsjesdag), Dutch PM Mark Rutte committed himself to this green hydrogen future.

Without any real assessments of the risks and potential economic threats, plans are being discussed and implemented for a multibillion spending spree on green hydrogen, involving not only the refurbishment of the Dutch natural gas pipeline infrastructure but also the building of major new offshore wind parks, targeting the construction of hundreds of additional windmills. These wind parks are going to be set up and owned by international consortia, such as the NorthH2, involving Royal Dutch Shell, Gasunie (owned by the government), and others.

The optimism about these projects is now being questioned, not only by skeptics but increasingly by parties, such as Gasunie, that are part of the deals.

Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported yesterday that questions are popping up about the feasibility and commercial aspects of these large-scale plans as well as the potential risks of a new “cartel” of offshore wind producers. The multibillion-dollar investment plans, supported by the government, are even being questioned by experts of the Dutch ministry of economy, as it is not clear at all if green hydrogen production in the Netherlands, such as the NorthH2 project in Groningen (formerly known as the Dutch natural gas province), will ever be feasible or take-off.

The commercial viability of green hydrogen is a major issue as it still needs large-scale technical innovation and scaling up of electrolyzers. At the same time, there is uncertainty over demand as industry (the main client) does not appear to be interested at present. Dutch parties are also asking themselves if the current set up of the planned offshore wind parks are not a precursor to a new wind-energy cartel in the making. Some Dutch political parties and even insiders from Gasunie are worried about a monopoly position of the likes of Shell in the future.

The increased criticism by some, such as Gasunie and political parties, with regards to the power position of commercial parties, is also very strange. Some could argue that the current hydrogen strategy of Shell and others is what society and Dutch judges have forced them to do. Shell could and should argue a very simple position “we are doing what the Dutch legal system is forcing us to do”. For parties such as Shell, at least in the Netherlands or the EU, taking up green hydrogen strategies is a new License to Operate. International energy giants such as Shell do not want to be minor players in this market. For an international player, a pivotal position in any market is a must.

In the coming weeks, especially after COP26, as criticism is now being muted by most, a potential storm could be brewing.

If assessments are pointing out that the risks being taken by the Dutch government are too high in light of the benefits, and potential higher bills for customers, potential opposition to green hydrogen plans could be growing. At the same time, the Dutch hydrogen plans are seen by most as pivotal, even in light of the EU Commission’s Green Deal plans. A full-scale backlash to hydrogen could be a reality if Dutch political parties are going to constrain implementation, while other European countries will be more skeptical about their own plans. Billions, or potentially trillions, of euros will be at risk if this new hydrogen infrastructure turns out not to be economically viable. Without the power and technology of existing energy players, especially Shell, Total, BP, or ENI, behind the set-up, the future of this new power source will remain uncertain.

Comment on Hydrogen Fundamentals

What’s Not to Love About Green Hydrogen Energy? Let us count the ways.

The only cost-efficient way to produce H2 presently is electrolysis of H2O, powered by natural gas. This is called grey hydrogen. Objections: Burning the CH4 to generate the electricity gives off CO2, albeit less emissions than coal would. But because of energy losses in the process, the resulting H2 put into fuel cells delivers less energy than the CH4 that was burned. Better to run the cars using CH4 as fuel directly.

To lower the carbon footprint, some propose blue hydrogen, defined as H2 produced with fossil fuels, but including carbon capture to use or bury the CO2 emitted. Objections: Carbon Capture has not yet been scaled to be commercially viable, and in any case increases the cost of the resulting H2. And it is still less energy output than was input.

The latest dream is green hydrogen, which is H2 produced by electrolysis powered by wind or solar farms. Some proposed that this is a clean way to store intermittent renewable energy for use on demand. Objections: Wind and solar power is not clean or cheap, but involves high tech machinery requiring the extraction, transportation and refining of rare metals. Extensive tracts of land must be allocated to these installations, or else locating them offshore. Transmission lines must be built and maintained, and the panels or windmills depreciate rapidly. As well, the highly flammable H2 must be transported and stored prior to making fuel cells.

And the elephant in the room: Water is a precious resource.

One industry source told Oilprice that the production of one ton of hydrogen through electrolysis required an average of nine tons of water. But to get these nine tons of water, it would not be enough to just divert a nearby river. The water that the electrolyzer breaks down into constituent elements needs to be purified

The process of water purification, for its part, is rather wasteful. According to the same source, water treatment systems typically require some two tons of impure water to produce one ton of purified water. In other words, one ton of hydrogen actually needs not nine but 18 tons of water.

Accounting for losses, the ratio is closer to 20 tons of water for every 1 ton of hydrogen.

Speaking of water purification, organic chemists explain that the simplest way to do this is by distilling it. This method is cheap because it only needs electricity, but it is not fast. Regarding the electricity cost, distilling a liter of water requires 2.58 megajoules of energy, which translates into 0.717 kWh, on average.

So, providing the right kind of water for hydrolysis costs money, and while $2,400 per ton of hydrogen may not sound like much, the cost of purifying water is not the only water-related expense in the technology that seeks to make hydrogen from renewable sources. Besides being pure, the water to be fed into an electrolyzer has to be transported to it.

Transporting tons upon tons of water to the site of an electrolyzer means more expenses for the logistics.  To cut these, it would make sense to pick a site where water is abundant, such as by a river or the sea, or, alternatively, close to a water treatment facility. This puts a limit on the choice of locations suitable for large-scale electrolyzers. But since an electrolyzer, to be green, needs to be powered by renewable energy, it would also need to be in proximity to a solar or a wind farm. These, as we know, cannot be built just anywhere; solar farms are most cost-effective in places with a lot of sunshine, and wind farms perform best in places where there is sufficient wind.

Not all costs associated with the production of hydrogen from renewable energy sources are the costs of those renewable energy sources. Water is the commodity that the process needs, and it is a little odd that nobody seems willing to discuss the costs of water, including the European Commission’s Green Deal Team.

Summary: We now know it was a big mistake to divert corn from food production into biofuel. Will we make an even worse mistake converting drinking water into hydrogen fuel?

October Russian Arctic Flash Freezing

The animation shows on the left ice extending over the last 18 days all the way to the Russian shoreline, filling in East Siberian (lower), Laptev (middle) and Kara Seas (top).  Thus the North Sea Route is covered with ice at this time.

The chart above summarizes shipping traffic through the NSR in 2021, comprising 65 transits along the route between Asia on the right and Europe on the left.  Source: Northern Sea Route Information Office

Russia has big plans for the NSR including a new class of container ships (above) designed specifically for the NSR. As explained in the Barents Observer, Russia is not counting on an ice-free Arctic shipping lane any time soon. Shipping on Northern Sea Route has course for 35 million tons in 2021. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

There is considerable growth in shipments on Russia’s remote Arctic route, but shippers will have to boost deliveries by more than 100 percent in only two years if they are to reach the target set by the Kremlin.

The Arktika is Russia’s first LK60 icebreaker. Photo: Rosatom

Moscow sees the Northern Sea Route as a top priority project that ultimately could open an alternative trade route between Asia and Europe. Several major nuclear-powered icebreakers are under construction, among them the first Lider-class ship.

The 80 million tons target for the Northern Sea Route was set by Vladimir Putin in his so-called May Decrees in 2018.  Russian state officials have since struggled to find ways to meet the ambitious goal.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, a fleet of five LK60 (project 22220) icebreakers will be in operation by 2026 and by 2027 – the first Lider will sail in the Arctic waters. In a government meeting in early October this year, Trutnev outlined the need for as many as 30 new tankers, 40 bulk carriers and 22 container ships for Arctic shipping.

Year-round shipping on the route will start already in 2023-2024, he explained.

The graph below shows October refreezing is tracking about 400k km2 above the 14-year average.

SII is having technical difficulties and has not updated in more than a week.  Note also the much greater ice extent in 2021 compared to 2020, 2019, or 2007.



Washington Capital Overthrowing the United States

More than 25,000 troops from across the country were dispatched to the US capital on January 13, 2021.

How to make sense of the chaos in Washington, DC? What analogy or metaphor would lend insight?

♦  Is it the sacking of an Imperial Capital, as was the case with Rome and the barbarians?

♦  Is it a hostile takeover by a more wealthy cabal who bought out a weaker organization in order to install its own values and culture?

♦  Is it an internal coup by which insiders seize power and purge the palace of those loyal to another leader?

There are elements of all of these, with China as the external infiltrator in the first case, aligned with insiders having keys to the treasury. A network of billionaires collaborated to plunder the 2020 covid election in the second case, empowering the deep state to throw out the Trumpist rascals. The kinetic action to force submission in the third case came firstly from violent street riots across the US, culminating with military occupation to “protect” the Washington capital.

Some insights can be gleaned from three forward observers of the battle for regime change in process. The first one is Joshua Mitchell writing at City Journal The Politics of Innocence. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Yes, the USA is now undergoing regime change.

Joe Biden’s administration ushers in a destructive new version of the American regime.

What do the Biden administration’s three spectacular failings—the sudden and purportedly unpredictable collapse of Afghanistan, the deliberate effort to undermine U.S. energy independence with the sabotage of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the unconscionable national border crisis—have in common? More is at work here than normal political shifts, of the sort expected when one administration succeeds another. We are witnessing, instead, a change in the very purpose of politics.

The American regime, founded on the idea of limited government, presumed that citizens were competent and largely capable of taking care of themselves.

Our competence was developed, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, through the mediating institutions of family, church, civic associations, and municipal government. No citizen competence, no limited government. That was Tocqueville’s formula—the American formula.

The first phase of the American regime, characterized by citizen competence, lasted for more than a century. Supplanting it was the second, progressive, phase of the American regime, in which expert competence purportedly replaced citizen competence. The Biden administration came to power claiming the mantle of expert competence. “The adults are back in charge,” our legacy media jubilantly proclaimed.

The failings of the so-called adults in the Biden administration are a consequence of a shift to a third phase of the American regime, a shift so large that it would be more accurate to say it is the end of one type of regime and its replacement by another. The American fixation on the politics of competence, whether citizen or expert, is being replaced by the politics of innocence.

In this new politics, what matters most is your standing as an innocent victim. If you are not an innocent victim, you are anonymous or, more likely, a threat.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives the order to fly the LGBTQ+ pride flag at all U.S. embassies, including Afghanistan, signaling that innocent victimhood is the singular policy orientation of the United States government. Much of the rest of the world is incredulous, and the effort to shape Afghanistan in our own image collapses within days of our military withdrawal.

The Biden administration shuts down the Keystone Pipeline because we are all innocent victims of fossil fuels who must be saved by green energy and the crony capitalism that will usher in a new age of cleanliness.

The United States border should not, in the eyes of the Biden administration, protect us from illegal aliens. It should instead serve as the porous pass-through for “undocumented migrants,” who, along with an ever-growing list of legally protected identity groups, are also innocent victims.

More recently, Attorney General Merrick Garland has led us to believe that parents repulsed that their children are being taught critical race theory, not to mention Orwellian assertions about the fluidity of “gender,” may be investigated as domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act. Our children, the administration insists, must be taught that they are transgressors whose doltish and deplorable thoughts conspire against innocent victims everywhere. These innocent victims must now be the singular focus of the efforts of our government—not excluding the military—which must purge its ranks of the guilty to make room for the innocent victims soon to fill the vacancies.

The Biden administration is pulling the United States into a third phase of politics. We are witnessing the birth of the politics of innocence. From this we can only expect an ongoing sequence of failures.

[Comment:  Jordan Peterson describes how the politics of innocence played out in Soviet ideology of the innocent “workers” oppressed by the “bourgeoisie” :

Another problem that comes up is that Marx also assumes that you can think about history as a binary class struggle with clear divisions between say the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. That’s actually a problem because it’s not so easy to make a firm division between who is exploiter and who is exploitee. Because it’s not obvious, for example, in the case of small shareholders, whether or not they happen to be part of the oppressed or part of the oppressor.

This actually turned out to be a big problem in the Russian revolution, a tremendously big problem because it turned out that you could fragment people into multiple identities. That’s a fairly easy thing to do, and you could usually find some aspect by which they were part of the oppressor class; it might have been a consequence of their education or because of the wealth that they strived to accumulate during their life. Or it might be the fact that they had parents or grandparents who are educated or rich or that they’re a member of the priesthood or that they were socialists, and so on.

Anyways the listing of how it was possible for you to be bourgeois instead of proletariat grew immensely and that was one of the reasons that the red terror claimed all the victims that it did. So that was a huge problem, probably most exemplified by the demolition of the kulaks, who were basically peasant farmers although effective ones in the soviet union. They had managed to raise themselves out of serfdom over a period of about 40 years and to gather some some degree of material security about them. And about 1.8 million of them were exiled, about 400 000 were killed and the net consequence of that was the removal of their private property because of their bourgeois status. There was also the death of six million Ukrainians in the famines of the 1930s showing that the binary class struggle idea led to bad outcomes for many people.  See Why Marxism Always Fails ]

Breaking Eggs Hoping For an Omelet

Victor Davis Hanson’s article at Daily Signal is The Ideology Behind Biden’s Disastrous First 9 Months. In it he explains that the changes imposed in 2021 by this new federal government have brought destructive consequences by intention. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Sheer chaos and anarchy on the border? Afghanistan—the most humiliating defeat in recent U.S. military history? A labor-starved supply chain in shambles and holiday shelves emptying out? The worst inflation in 30 years that seems soon ready to match Carter-era levels? Gas hitting $5 a gallon with winter heating fuels soaring? Free-for-all looting in the major cities without consequences? Joe Biden’s policies and Biden himself diving in the polls?

Never in recent American history has any administration birthed such disasters in its first nine months.

Yet most Americans are arguing not over the sheer chaos and disasters of the Biden administration, but rather how could such sheer pre-civilizational calamity occur in modern America? Were these disasters a result of historic incompetency? Or mean-spirited nihilism? Or a deliberate effort to create the necessary turbulence to birth a new American revolution? Or a bit of all three?

Start instead with the idea that what most Americans see as sheer ruin is not what the left-wing puppeteers (who are pulling the strings of the Biden marionette) see. Our catastrophes are their minor glitches. For them bad polling is mostly a public relations problem of an occasional uncooperative media. Otherwise, a few broken eggs are always necessary to create the perfect socialist omelet.

The Left now controlling Washington believes that the U.S. border is a mere construct. Every impoverished person has a birthright to cross into America illegally. The 2 million who are scheduled to enter this fiscal year alone is a wonderful, if occasionally sloppy, event.

Our border calamity is their celebration of humanity and a long-overdue recalibration of ossified American demography, one that will properly warp the Electoral College to provide the necessary election result.

If you believe that a culturally imperialistic America needs to be taken down a notch overseas, then the flight from Afghanistan is “impressive” and a “success”— by how quickly and efficiently we skedaddled.  Why worry about a lost $1 billion embassy, a $300 million refit of the Bagram airbase, or $80 billion lost in military hardware and training? Empty shelves? Boohoo.

Grasping, upper-middle-class consumers are angry that the working classes are not willing to risk COVID infection to supply them with their accustomed holiday trinkets.  So, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg intoned that the shortages mean only that the consumer class has to wait a wee bit—until Christmas Eve—to splurge on gifts.

Who worries about a little inflation? Under new monetary theory, printing dollars brings prosperity. Or as White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain put it in a retweet, inflation is a mere “high class problem” of the Peloton elite.

Only those with money worry their ill-begotten pile shrinks. But the majority without money will eventually rejoice that it is everywhere now”—finally and properly “spread,” as former president and now multimillionaire Barack Obama once promised.

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez swore, gas and oil are going to be gone anyway in 10 years. So, if Joe Biden slashes over 2 million barrels a day in U.S. oil production, what’s wrong with that?

Didn’t Steven Chu, Obama’s energy secretary, long ago brag that when we hit $8 to $10 a gallon, we’d approach European levels of proper fuel usage? Why whine about paying over $100 to fill up, when the planet more quickly cools?

Did not Americans learn “critical legal theory” and “critical race theory”? Or as the architect of the “1619 Project” reminded us, destroying or taking someone’s property is no big deal. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey shrugged off torched downtown buildings; such torched stuff, he said, is mere “bricks and mortar.”

It is only a crime to “steal” over $500 of needed merchandise from a Walgreens in San Francisco, because the rich who make such absurd laws never have to steal goods from a pharmacy shelf.

If racists wish to point out that African American male youths are disproportionately represented in the latest crime wave, then maybe America should be learning not to create the conditions that force them to break the law.

In sum, we are on a left-wing roller coaster headed to a socialist nirvana.

Most Americans believe it is instead an out-of-control “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” nightmare with incompetents at the wheel. But the architects of such “hope and change” shrug that the occasional disturbing news that the media sometimes accidentally leaks out is merely the cost of an equitable America. One man’s anarchy is another’s road to justice.

Keep that mentality in mind and the absurdities that are mouthed by Biden, Klain, press secretary Jen Psaki, Homeland “Security” Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Pete Buttigieg, or the ravings of the Squad make perfect sense.

They are merely trying to explain to us dummies that what we think is purgatory is actually the new paradise—a promised land that, once we are properly programmed and educated, we too will welcome and thank them for our deliverance.

Social Upheaval as Theater of the Absurd: Technocracy Replaces Democracy

Matthew Crawford describes how strange for ordinary people is the everyday experience of this transformation (revolution?) in his UnHerd essay The new public health despotism. Excerpts in italics with my bolds. (The title is link to his full text which includes much more than these extractions)

Draconian rules are suppressing our humanity

I live in the Bay Area, in a county where the vaccination rate is in the mid-80s. In late July, I was dropping my younger daughter off for a soccer day camp each morning. It was 10 kids running around an open field. They wore masks for six hours each day, and it was about 85° that week. Telling my fully vaccinated daughter to put that thing on, I felt compromised for participating in the charade. The old Scots Irish belligerence started welling up.

Rules are meant to codify some bit of rational truth and make it effective. These days, we find ourselves in situations where to do the genuinely rational thing might require breaking the rules of some institution. But to do so is to invite confrontation. You may go through an internal struggle, deciding how much resistance to put up. To insist on reasons is to be ornery, and you want to be sociable. You tell yourself, there is no point in being confrontational with staff at the YMCA who are themselves simply carrying out orders. There is nobody visible to whom you can address your reasons, nobody of whom you can demand an account.

After a year and a half of this, going along with it starts to become habitual. If you defy the mask order, and are challenged by somebody doing their job as instructed, chances are you’re going to back down and comply, which is worse than if you had complied to begin with. Even if you strongly suspect fear of the virus has been stoked out of proportion to serve bureaucratic and political interests, or as an artefact of the scaremongering business model of media, you may subtly adjust your view of the reality of Covid to bring it more into line with your actual behaviour. You can reduce the dissonance­ that way. The alternative is to be confronted every day with fresh examples of your own slavishness.

In the Hobbesian formula, the Leviathan relies upon fear to suppress pride. It is pride that makes men difficult to govern. It may be illuminating to view our Covid moment through this lens and consider how small moments of humiliation may be put in the service of a long-standing political project, or find their meaning and normative force in it.

Specifically, to play one’s part in Covid theatre, as in security theatre at the airport, is to suffer the unique humiliation of a rational being who submits to moments of social control that he knows to be founded upon untruths. That these are expressed in the language of science is especially grating.

We need to consider the good faith intellectual positions that greased the skids for our slide into an illiberal form of governance. For, in addition to the political opportunism surrounding Covid, there were also well-meaning efforts to control the pandemic by altering people’s behaviour. The question is: what were the means employed for doing this, and what was the view of human beings that made such means attractive? What we got, in the end, without anyone really intending it, may fairly be called a propaganda state that seeks to manipulate without persuading.

Here, “science” may be plainly anti-scientific, according to the circumstances. The word does not name a mode of inquiry, rather it is invoked to legitimise the transfer of sovereignty from democratic to technocratic bodies, and as a device for insulating such transfers from the realm of political contest. Can this be squared with the idea of representative government?

The Columbia law professor Philip Hamburger writes about the administrative state. It consists of a vast array of executive agencies that empower themselves to place people under binding obligations without recourse to legislation, sidestepping the Constitution’s separation of powers. In theory, only Congress can make laws. Its members are subject to the democratic process, so they must persuade their constituents, and one another. But as the administrative state has metastasised, supplanting the lawmaking power of the legislature, unelected bureaucrats increasingly set the contours of modern life with little accountability. They stake their legitimacy on claims of expertise rather than alignment with popular preferences. This trajectory began a century ago in the Progressive era, and took large strides forward during the New Deal and Great Society.

The “restless desire to escape” the inconvenience of law is one that progressives are especially prone to in their aspiration to transform society: merely extant majorities of opinion, and the legislative possibilities that are circumscribed by them, typically inspire not deference but impatience.

It is as beings capable of reason that the legislature is supposed to “represent” us. The judicial branch regards us in the same light.

When a court issues a decision, the judge writes an opinion in which he explains his reasoning. He grounds the decision in law, precedent, common sense, and principles that he feels obliged to articulate and defend. This is what transforms the decision from mere fiat into something that is politically legitimate under the premises of republican government, capable of securing the assent of a free people. It constitutes the difference between simple power and authority.

The Nineties saw the rise of new currents in the social sciences that emphasised the cognitive incompetence of human beings. The “rational actor” model of human behaviour (a simplistic premise that had underwritten the party of the market for the previous half century) was deposed by the more psychologically informed school of behavioural economics, which teaches that our actions are largely guided by pre-reflective cognitive biases and heuristics. These biases tend to be functional, both in the sense that they reflect general patterns of reality, and because they offer “fast and frugal” substitutes for deliberation, which is a slow and costly activity.

While economics was getting psychologised in the 1990s, a parallel development was happening in political science. Before getting into this, consider the larger frame. The Soviet Union had just collapsed. This placed “liberal – democracy” in a new situation, or rather returned it to a situation that had obtained in the mid-19th century.

Liberalism and democracy are two distinct things, not entirely at ease with one another. Their differences were submerged during the Cold War when they had a common enemy in Soviet communism, just as they had been submerged previously when they had a common enemy in monarchy.

As Adrian Vermeule puts it, liberalism fears that its dependence on and fundamental difference from democracy will be exposed if a sustained course of non-liberal popular opinion comes to light. The solution is to offer an idealised concept of democracy, sharply distinguished from “mere majoritarianism.” By this device, the liberal may get to preserve his self-understanding as a democrat. This can become quite strained, as in the reflex to call the popularly elected governments of Poland and Hungary “antidemocratic”. When Pew did opinion polling in Afghanistan a decade ago and found that something like 95% of respondents expressed a preference that sharia law should be the law of the land, this was not allowed to interrupt the conviction that making Afghanistan “democratic” would require a feminist social transformation. That is, an explicitly anti-majoritarian revolution.

Obviously, the prospect of populism was already causing some anxiety. Propping up “liberal-democracy” as a conceptual unity would require a cadre of subtle dia­lecticians working at a meta-level on the formal conditions of thought, nudging the populace through a cognitive framing operation to be conducted beneath the threshold of explicit argument. I remember there was one grad student in my department who was running experiments on focus groups, seeing if he could get them to think the right thoughts.

As it turns out, the best way to secure the discursive conditions for “deliberative democracy”, and install a proper choice architecture that will nudge the demos in the right direction, is to curate information. Soon, the Internet would both enable and undermine these aspirations.

One of the central tenets of progressives’ self-understanding is that they are pro-fact and pro-science, while their opponents (often the majority) are said to have an unaccountable aversion to these good things: they cling to fond illusions and irrational anxieties. It follows that good governance means giving people informed choices. This is not the same as giving people what they think they want, according to their untutored preferences. Informed choices are the ones that make sense within a well-curated informational context.

Speaking at Google’s headquarters in 2007, Obama said he would use “the bully pulpit to give them good information.” The bully pulpit has previously been understood as a perch from which to attempt persuasion. Persuasion is what you do if you are engaged in democratic politics.

Curating information, on the other hand, is what you do if you believe dissent from your outlook can only be due to a failure to properly process the relevant information. A cognitive failure, that is.

The absurdities of COVID theatre could be taken as a tacit recognition of this state of affairs, much as security theater pointed to a new political accommodation after 9/11. In this accommodation, we have accepted the impossibility of grounding our practices in reality. We submit to ossified bureaucracies such as the TSA that have become self-protective interest groups. They can expand but never contract, and we must pretend reality is such as to justify their existence. Covid is likely to do for public health what 9/11 did for the security state. Going through an airport, we still take off our shoes – because twenty years ago, some clown tried to light his shoe on fire. We submit to being irradiated and groped, often as not. One tries to put out of mind facts such as this: in independent audits of airport security, about 80-90% of weapons pass through undetected. The microwave machine presents an imposing image of science that helps us bury such knowledge. We have a duty to carry out an ascetic introspection, searching out any remaining tendencies toward rational pride and regard for the truth, submitting them to analysis.

Similarly, the irrationality of the Covid rules we comply with has perhaps become their main point. In complying, we enact the new terms of citizenship.


Briefing for Glasgow COP 2021


Presently the next climate Conference of Parties is scheduled for Glasgow this November, Covid allowing.  (People used to say “God willing”, or “Weather permitting”, but nowadays it’s a virus in charge.)  Actually, climate hysteria is like a seasonal sickness.  Each year a contagion of anxiety and fear is created by disinformation going viral in both legacy and social media in the run up to the autumnal COP (postponed last year due to pandemic travel restrictions).  Now that climatists have put themselves at the controls of the formidable US federal government, we can expect the public will be hugely hosed with alarms over the next few months.  Before the distress signals go full tilt, individuals need to inoculate themselves against the false claims, in order to build some herd immunity against the nonsense the media will promulgate. This post is offered as a means to that end.

Media Climate Hype is a Cover Up

Back in 2015 in the run up to Paris COP, French mathematicians published a thorough critique of the raison d’etre of the whole crusade. They said:

Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.

  • Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
  • Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
  • Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.

The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper presenting a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis with links to the entire document is at COP Briefing for Realists

Even without attending to their documentation, you can tell they are right because all the media climate hype is concentrated against those three points.

Finding: Nothing unusual is happening with our weather and climate.
Hype: Every metric or weather event is “unprecedented,” or “worse than we thought.”

Finding: Proposed solutions will cost many trillions of dollars for little effect or benefit.
Hype: Zero carbon will lead the world to do the right thing.  Anyway, the planet must be saved at any cost.

Finding: Nature operates without caring what humans do or think.
Hype: Any destructive natural event is blamed on humans burning fossil fuels.

How the Media Throws Up Flak to Defend False Suppositions

The Absurd Media:  Climate is Dangerous Today, Yesterday It was Ideal.

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus.  A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:

 It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.

And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.


Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.In fact our climate is remarkably stable, compared to the range of daily temperatures during a year where I live.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

The Impractical Media:  Money is No Object in Saving the Planet.

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.


An Example:
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs, and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

The Irrational Media:  Whatever Happens in Nature is Our Fault.

An Example:

Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

The hype is produced by computer programs designed to frighten and distract children and the uninformed.  For example, there was mention above of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations.

Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither the media nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, advocates and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Summary:  From this we learn three things:

Climate warms and cools without any help from humans.

Warming is good and cooling is bad.

The hypothetical warming from CO2 would be a good thing.


What’s Obstructing the Supply Flow, How to Unblock It

A wholistic analysis comes from an interview by Doug Blair with Joel Griffith at Daily Signal What Is the Root Cause of Our Supply Chain Problems? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Blair: So Joel, if there is one thing that is dominating the news cycle right now, it is that there are massive supply chain issues. Americans are seeing images of empty store shelves and prices for things like electronics and gasoline have just completely shot through the roof. With all of this in mind, what exactly is the problem with the supply chain right now?

Griffith: Well, we have unprecedented demands placed on that supply chain. We talk about that chain—when we go to our grocery store, fill up our cars, we’re often not thinking of that process by which we actually get that merchandise. But in our interconnected global economy, which gives us a lot of benefits, we have a much higher standard of living now than we did a few generations ago, but we also really rely immensely on the ability to transport goods from point A to point B. And actually, in between point A and point B, you have a multitude of destination points.

You could be importing a suit from, let’s say, Vietnam. And from Vietnam, you have to go ahead, load it on a ship, get it to LA, to get it from LA all across the country. And if just one part of that process goes awry, you can be talking about delays for months on end. Because even prior to getting that finished product, you have a whole manufacturing product that also has its own supply chain. So one weak link in that chain can mean we don’t see the merchandise that we are in demand of.

Blair: So a lot of different explanations have been given for what the supply chain root cause is, what the root cause of these issues with the supply chain is. Are these basically COVID problems left over from the pandemic? Is this government policy? Is it both? Where are we seeing the root causes of this problem?

Griffith: Well, there’s a multitude of root causes to this problem. Going back the past 18 months, on the manufacturing side, we have many restrictions that were put in place that impacted even the ability to run a factory—distancing restrictions, shutdowns on occasion. And then to get that merchandise transported, there were a lot of restrictions that were placed on not just the cargo shipping sector, but also in the trucking sector as well.

If you back up a year ago, year and a half ago, truckers, especially in places like California, faced so much difficulty in even operating their profession—from not being able to get a shower, not being able to get food. You had instances in which those that wanted to get CDL licenses to drive couldn’t because those facilities were closed. And during that downtime, you had a lot of truckers retire. So we’re paying for those repercussions now.

But in the immediate term, even though the United States has largely reopened from COVID, that’s not the case across the entire world. You see, even in China, most recently in August, you had the world’s third-largest port that was in effect shut down for two weeks because of one single COVID case. And you multiply that across all of China and across Southeast Asia where you’ve had these ports that were shut down on occasion or you had capacity restrictions in place, well, that really compounded that, really made it difficult to ship the same number of items as we did just a year ago prior to the pandemic.

And even here in the United States, in the port of New Jersey, New York, New Jersey ports, we had a lot of COVID restrictions in terms of social distancing guidelines that were in place even throughout much of the summer. And we’re still dealing with the consequences of that.

So that’s just the COVID aspects of these shutdowns. But we can get into the detail about some of the other government actions that have really exacerbated this problem.

Blair: You’ve mentioned a little bit about the COVID issues and that there were other root causes. I’d like to go in-depth a little bit more on the specific government policies that are to blame for this issue. Obviously, the government does have a role to play in the supply chain crisis. What are some of the policies that have been exacerbating this problem?

Griffith: Oh, well, on the COVID front itself, social distancing restrictions that were put in place both in California but also across New Jersey, that really impacted the number of workers that could be on-site at any one time. And then restrictions too in terms of the testing, the quarantine impact on number of workers that you would have on-site. And now, of course, we’re facing a possible vaccine mandate, which is discouraging quite a few, possibly upwards of 10%, of that workforce from participating.

But if you go back to during the shutdown component of this, for quite a time, up until late this summer, you had the federal government that was providing massive unemployment bonuses to individuals. And a lot of warehouse workers, a lot of dockhands, a lot of truck drivers found that when you’re dealing with all of these hassles to actually earning a living, for them it was more personally worthwhile to just be unemployed and take those unemployment benefits, which might have been personally the right decision for them but, of course, that created a further backlog because you have to be able to transport that merchandise once you actually get it into the shipping, the dock facility. So that was a big issue.

On top of that, we had government putting in policies that were suppressing the supply of goods, but that were increasing massively the demand for goods.

If you look at the retail sales numbers right now, we see that our retail sales are at all-time highs. Our retail sales are actually around 15% higher now than they were prior to the pandemic. So we have immense demand for goods, and that is contributing to that backlog.

But that immense demand for goods isn’t really spurred by the free market at this point, that’s spurred in large part by the federal government borrowing and printing hundreds of billions of dollars and juicing up demand. So we see this artificial pressure put on that supply chain as well, which, once again, … the government [is] responsible for.

Blair: Do labor unions in any way, shape, or form have anything to do with this? I know we’ve talked a little bit about how labor and employment shortages are affecting these supply chain issues like dockhands and retail workers. Do unions have any part in this problem as well?

Griffith: Well, organized labor has played a significant role in the delays in relation to the ports in California in particular. Now, usually you have a maximum of one or two cargo ships that are stranded off the Port of Los Angeles. And I say stranded, waiting, waiting to unload the merchandise. And we saw those numbers increase to over 70 just several weeks ago. And that was due in large part to the organized labor groups refusing to expand their work hours and work on weekends.

Container ships off Los Angeles/Long Beach on Wednesday. Map: MarineTraffic The time ships are stuck waiting offshore continues to lengthen. There are simply too many vessels arriving with too much cargo for terminals, trucks, trains and warehouses to handle. There were 103 container ships at Los Angeles/Long Beach terminals or waiting offshore on Wednesday, an all-time high.  This suggests that the cargo currently waiting off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is worth around $22 billion, roughly the equivalent of the annual revenues of McDonald’s or the GDP of Iceland.

So this delay was growing and growing. And about last week, the ports in Florida, they offered to jump in and start taking in some of that excess shipping demand. And I think that’s why you saw those labor leaders finally bend just a few days ago and say, “OK,” they’re going to agree to run those ports 24/7 for the time being in order to catch up.

Blair: We’ve discussed some of the implications of the supply chain issues in terms of massive hikes in common consumer goods and services, price hikes on those certain things as well. What are some of the other implications of the supply chain issues that you see if this isn’t tamped down on?

Griffith: Yeah, well, you mentioned that price. I think it is important to underscore just how much those prices have risen for the shipping side. You’ve seen cargo costs to ship a big container have increased from around $1,500 back in 2017, it’s gone up 1,000%, to about $25,000 today. And those cargo ships, even though most of us have never visited a port in LA or New Jersey, [account] for over 10% of all global trade, just the container ships themselves. So there’s a lot riding on this.

So if these supply chain disruptions continue, that’s going to have a real impact on us as a country, both in terms of the price of goods continuing to rise, which we’ve all noticed, also, just the very ability to gain access to these goods, which I think too we’ve noticed. It’s harder to get shipments in on time with Amazon Prime. You go to Costco, go to your grocery store, oftentimes items are out of stock. So that’s another repercussion.

But something that might not be as evident is the fact that we have a number of manufactured goods that are relying on shipments, on components to finish those processes. And when you see a delay in that, well, that can cause an entire assembly plant to close, which can result in labor disruptions and layoffs.

Those are all big economic concerns, but there’s also a national security component as well. Our military relies on a lot of shipments as well from across the world, just-in-time inventory, lean inventory standards, where they don’t want to have a lot of stockpile on hand, it’s more efficient to ship these items in and have them just in the nick of time.

So I think this is going to really be something the military will have to focus on and ultimately have to reassure Congress that our national security interests aren’t being threatened by the possibility of continued disruptions.

Blair: In order to maybe tamp down on some of these problems, recently, President Joe Biden announced that he was going to be keeping the Port of LA open 24/7. Do you find that this is going to be maybe an effective government response? And if this is something that we should be doing, what else should the government be doing to maybe fix this problem?

Griffith: Sure. Well, the ports being open 24/7, that’s a commonsense measure. This should have been something that was really dealt with months ago. And I think it’s important to note that our secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has been pretty much off the job for two months. He is a new father and has taken paternity leave. But two months off the job in the midst of the biggest transportation crisis of most of our lifetimes and generations, that’s something we should not be applauding.

So I’m glad they’re open 24/7, but longer term, other measures are going to have to be taken because in California, where we rely on a lot of the shipping, there are a number of issues that are going to threaten our supply chains going forward.

One of these is an outright ban the state has proposed through Assembly Bill 5, an outright ban on independent owner-operators of trucks. And these are business owners. People work hard to be able to buy a truck and earn a living off that. And there’s a lot of special interests involved that want to deny the right of these independent truckers to operate.

The Legislature in California has already passed that bill, it’s hung up in court right now. But if the court decides that that doesn’t violate the California Constitution, you’re going to see a crisis in the trucking sector nationwide, because a lot of folks won’t be able to operate in California. Second of all, you have California moving to outright ban diesel trucks in the coming years, that too is going to impact supply chains, going to impact our prices.

So my hope is that, if California doesn’t wake up and stop passing such absurd legislation, my hope is that places such as Alabama, in Mobile; Savannah, Georgia; Texas; and Florida, which have far more sane policies, my hope is that the ports there over the coming years will be able to pick up the slack. But that is going to take time. You can’t just dredge a bigger harbor and build a new railway system overnight. That takes time.

And we are going to be dealing, I think, with the consequences of a lot of this California legislation in the coming years, separate and apart from the pandemic.

Blair: I do want to follow up on that. Switching gears slightly, I read a report in ABC News that says we probably won’t be seeing the end of these supply chain issues for a while. In your opinion, how long do you think this could last? And to maybe quote a phrase from the vice president, do parents need to start buying Christmas gifts for their kids now?

Griffith: It’s tough to prognosticate, but there is a substantial backlog and we still see these disruptions continuing across parts of the world, particularly in China with these rolling COVID shutdowns. So this is going to be something that’s going to take months to resolve.

But on the bright side, I’ve heard a number of retailers, including Best Buy today, talk about how they were working in advance to stock the shelves in time for Christmas. And Best Buy was saying that they’re actually running ahead of prior years in terms of the merchandise that they have stockpiled ready for Christmas. So that’s a positive.

On the negative side … there’s a real important ratio called inventory to sales that measures how much inventory you have on hand relative to your average monthly sales. And those numbers are still near all-time lows or at least generational lows, suggesting we’re not quite out of the woods yet.

Blair: I want to focus on something that I’ve been curious about about these issues. It seems like we’ve been talking about this in the U.S. for quite a while now. Are these issues something that the rest of the world is experiencing as badly as we are? I know you mentioned the ports in China that got closed down due to one case of COVID. But are other countries experiencing supply chain issues just as badly as we are?

Griffith: Yes, we are not alone in this. I don’t know if that should give us comfort. But other parts of the world are struggling with this as well. And in fact, other parts of the world are still struggling with lockdown measures, which are an absolute affront to human liberty. So in that respect, at least we are outperforming because we do have, in most of the country, a greater respect for human dignity and basic of human rights.

Also … with some of these other countries that rely more on the export side, their economies are really being hammered on that because they are much more reliant on manufacturing for the employment of their populace.

Blair: Now, moving back to the domestic side, is this supply chain issue something that affects rural and urban Americans equally, or is this affecting one segment of the population more than another segment of the population?

Griffith: That is a great question, Doug, that I don’t know that I have an answer to. I do know this, that regardless of where you are living, if you are looking to buy a new washer, dryer, vehicle, clothing, so much of that is reliant on imports. Even if it’s manufactured here, it’s reliant on components that come from overseas. And you’re facing some either mild inconvenience—for instance, if your washer machine goes out, you might have to wait a week or two, maybe that’s a modest inconvenience. But let’s say you need a new vehicle, spending 30% more, 40% more for a car compared to a year ago, that’s a major problem, especially for a middle-class family.

So these issues, they really do impact rural areas, urban areas as well. If you’re looking to buy food, all of us, whether we live in the countryside or whether we live in a big city, unless we’re growing our own food, and 98% of us aren’t, well, a lot of that food comes from across the border as well, whether Mexico, Canada, or even overseas for a lot of our vegetables, and those have been increasing double digits, too. So that’s impacting all of us. We are, not to use that phrase, but we are all in this together.

Blair: In a way it’s kind of refreshing that this is something that Americans are going to have to deal with together. So on that topic, what can the American government do, if anything, to help end the supply chain crisis? I know we talked briefly about you were in favor of President Biden’s announcement that he was going to be keeping the Port of LA open 24/7. You mentioned it was a commonsense measure. What are some of the other things that the government can be doing to help end the supply chain crisis?

Griffith: Yeah, and to be clear, with those ports, President Biden can’t just flip the on/off switch on that, but he did encourage them to do that. And I think that should be applauded.

But something that government could do is roll back some of these remaining onerous COVID restrictions that aren’t really grounded in science. And No. 2, this is a real big one, the Biden administration has proposed a vaccine mandate for employees at companies larger than 100. That’s 80 million people that are impacted by that. And there are possibly 5%, 10%, maybe even more, of individuals that have indicated they would rather not work than be subjected to those vaccine mandates.

Now, 10% of the workforce might not sound like a lot, but that’s millions of individuals. And many of them do work in the transportation sectors, whether they are truck drivers or they work at docks. Well, that’s going to not just be a burden on their families if they find themselves required to no longer work because of this mandate, that’s going to impact all of us. Even if a few percentage points of people decide to sit at home, that work in these vital sectors, that’s going to impact all of us.

So the administration could also forego it’s unconstitutional, unlawful vaccine mandate.

Thirdly, and this is a big one, the federal government should stop juicing demand artificially. We have a supply problem. We need to have more items produced, need to have more items shipped. The last thing we need right now, and really ever, is for the government to be printing and borrowing more money and artificially simulating demand at a time especially when supply just simply is constricted because of all these delays and restrictions.

So that’s three things right there the federal government could do to alleviate this problem.

And I want to add one more thing going forward, states have a role to play here longer term. With California looking to impose even more onerous restrictions on people in the shipping industry and in the trucking industry and diesel requirements, well, this gives opportunities for other states—we mentioned Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas in particular—to go ahead and pick up the slack. It’ll benefit their state economies. It’ll also benefit the country as well.