Lomborg & Peterson: COP27 Proposing Insane Emissions Policies

Bjorn Lomborg and Jordan Peterson wrote in The Telegraph Pushing the same old climate policies at COP27 is simply insane.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

After decades of failure to curb emissions, let’s accept that capitalist investment is not the problem: it’s the solution

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This famous quote – often misattributed to Albert Einstein – might very well become the unofficial motto of the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt, the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (Cop27).

Global CO₂ emissions have kept increasing since the world’s nations first committed to rein in climate change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 – despite dozens of climate summits and the global climate agreements struck in Kyoto and Paris. This is the case, once again, in 2022, when we will collectively set a new emissions record. While rich countries increasingly promise draconian cuts (and then generally backtrack, as they import huge amounts of oil, gas and coal to save their citizens from energy poverty, as they have done most recently to address the current energy crisis), most of the future emissions will come from the currently poorer countries in Asia and Africa, as they power their climb out of abject poverty.

In the previous ten years, the world has focused more on remediating climate change than ever before. Despite this, we are not achieving anything, although no shortage of money has been wasted. In a surprisingly honest review of climate policies, the UN revealed a “lost decade”: The report found that it couldn’t tell the difference between what has happened and a world that adopted no new climate policies since 2005.

Consider that: all those climate summits and grandiose promises – all that expense and trouble – and no measurable difference whatsoever.

This state of affairs is unsurprising, unfortunately, because today’s renewable energy sources have two big problems. First, they occupy a vast amount of space, often displacing nature: replacing a square yard of a gas-fired power plant requires 73 square yards of solar panels, 239 square yards of on-shore wind turbines, or an astonishing 6,000 square yards of biomass. One study found that the United States would have to devote a land area four times the size of the United Kingdom to “clean power” to fulfill President Biden’s promise of a carbon-free economy by 2050.

Land in grey required for wind farms to power London UK, solar panels covering the yellow space.

Second – and of even greater importance – the two renewable energy technologies favoured by the vast majority of environmental activists are intermittent or unreliable. Solar energy simply isn’t produced when it is overcast or at nighttime. Wind energy requires a breeze. We are often told by green energy boosters that wind and solar energy are cheaper than fossil fuels. At best, that is only true when the wind is blowing, or the sun is shining. On a windless, dark night, the cost of wind and solar power rises to the infinite.

It is for such reasons that it is deeply misleading (although highly convenient) to compare the energy costs of wind or solar to fossil fuels only when it is windy and sunny. It is also important to note that since all solar energy is sold at essentially the same time (when the sun is up and shining), its value drops dramatically. When solar reaches 30% market share in California, as one study revealed, it loses two-thirds of its value.

Furthermore: because modern societies require 24 hours of non-stop power, backup is not optional – and that means reliance on fossil fuels, when there’s no sun or wind. As more solar and wind is introduced, moreover, fossil fuel backups become ever more expensive as they offer their services for fewer hours, to produce the necessary return on capital. And what of batteries? Globally, we have battery storage with the current capacity to store one minute and 15 seconds of the world’s electricity consumption. And that problem will not be ameliorated soon – even by 2030, global batteries will only cover less than 11 minutes of the global electricity consumption.

The scale of the challenge

All of this shows just the problems with moving electricity away from fossil fuel. When Biden promises ambitiously that all of America’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2035, he is addressing the comparatively simple part of the climate challenge. Electricity constitutes just 19% of total energy use. We’re far further behind in developing solutions for agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and transportation. Of these, the latter is most often discussed by environmentalists and virtue-signaling politicians, who insist that a solution is already at hand: electric vehicles. Despite massive subsidies, however, just 1.4% of cars globally are electric, and that number is not going up quickly. The Biden Administration itself estimates that battery-electric cars will make up less than 10 percent of total US automobile stock – by 2050.

The scenario for the entire world is that less than one-fifth of all global cars will be battery-electric by 2050. We should remember, as well, that we do not yet have electric tractors, or heavy trucks, or airplanes, or ships – and that means that all the fossil fuel infrastructure that allows such machinery to operate will have to stay intact for our supply chains to continue their necessary operations.

And our current turbo-charge on electric cars will have very little impact on climate. The International Energy Agency estimates that the world would produce 231 million fewer tons of C02 if we achieve all our ambitious stated transport electrification targets in this decade. This reduction will lower global temperatures by one-ten thousandth of a degree Celsius (0.0001°C) by the end of the century, according to the UN’s own Climate Panel’s model.

Tackling climate change with current technology is essentially impossible.

This means that climate policy-makers tinker at the margins, offering deceptive solutions, and morally grandstanding. This pattern has repeated for three decades. Most of the promises made in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and in Kyoto in 1997 were disregarded. A 2018 study found that only 17 of the 157 countries that pledged emissions cuts in Paris passed laws mandating the required action. Which nations? Algeria, Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, North Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Samoa, Singapore, and Tonga. These are not the nations that will change global emissions. Even if every country did everything promised in the original Paris agreement, the emission cuts by 2030 would constitute just 1% of what is necessary to keep temperature rising under the 2°C target.

Failure, however, has not made politicians or the people they serve more careful and or more adamant about searching for better solutions. Instead, they (we) have doubled down, making ever-more ludicrous but emotionally attractive pledges, despite zero chance of either their implementation or their success if implemented. Attempting to implement the much-heralded and oft-trumpeted vision of a zero C02-emission world – whether by 2035 or 2050 – would be so ruinously expensive that extensive gilets-jaunes-style riots are certain long before the “goal” is reached.

A different approach

If we do care about fixing this challenge, we need to change course. Pretending that the proper technological answer currently exists, and is not being implemented because we lack conviction and willpower is reckless and misleading. Worse, it stops us from pursuing real solutions to the many problems that confront us – only one of which is climate change.

Dozens of the world’s top climate economists and three Nobel Laureates in Economics evaluated a whole gamut of climate solutions for the think tank Copenhagen Consensus. If we continued to do what the EU has been doing – cutting carbon with a mix of market and planning diktats – means spending one pound to avoid a mere three pence of long-term climate damage. That’s partly because cutting CO₂ output in the rich and already efficiently-producing EU is impractically expensive, and partly because EU climate policies are much more inefficient than necessary (the EU prefers using wind and solar, for example, to cut a ton of CO₂, over the more efficient option of switching from coal to natural gas).

The Nobel laureates and climate economists instead determined that investment in green innovation comprised the best long-term investment. Why? Consider how the world worried over starvation in the 1960-70s. If we had approached that problem like we are approaching climate remediation, we would have required the rich to eat less, while serving their leftovers to the poor. That would have failed – as our current approaches will fail – disastrously. What worked instead? The Green Revolution: the innovative development of higher-yielding crops. We thereby increased world grain production by 250% between 1950 and 1984, raising the calorie intake of the world’s poorest people and reducing the incidence of serious famines.

Innovative thinkers tackled the problem head-on, instead of tinkering around the edges. Innovation meant producing more with less, instead of requiring people to make do, with less. Would-be and even genuinely looming catastrophes have been continually pushed aside throughout human history because of innovation and technological development. Innovation gave us security and prosperity, and continues to drive the growth and the increased efficiency of the world’s largest economies.

In general, unfortunately, investment in long-term innovation is underfunded because it is hard for private investors to capture benefits. In areas where long-term innovation on the private front can be underfunded (because of difficulties of monetising benefits in a sufficiently short time frame), public investment and support is often warranted. A recent example – and a stellar success on the climate innovation front? The ten-year $10 billion US public investment in shale gas, which originated under President George W. Bush. Remarkably, this was not planned as part of the policy of climate change remediation. Nonetheless, it led the way for a production surge (with all the attendant economic benefits, particularly for the poor) that allowed natural gas to become cheaper than the dirtier coal it partially replaced. Energy derived from natural gas produces approximately half the CO₂ of coal. The consequence? The US has the best record of C02 emission reduction of any country in the past decade – and simultaneously reduced its reliance on foreign suppliers of uncertain reliability and cost.
Investing in innovation

Everyone, in principle, agrees that we should be spending much more on R&D. However, the fraction of rich countries’ GDP actually invested into R&D has halved since the 1980s. Why? Putting up inefficient solar panels and wind turbines offers the opportunity for good photo ops, and allows those who lead to convince us of their dedication to action, while funding researchers requires a more subtle and mature understanding and approach. We might remember, however, when considering such things, that our economic stability and opportunity is now at serious risk, and we are simultaneously not currently doing the planet any favors.

According to the Copenhagen Consensus Nobel Laureates, we should increase our current spending five-fold, to $100 billion per year. This doesn’t mean that in total we should spend more. We already devote $600 billion per year to financing ineffective climate remediation strategies. We could instead take a mere sixth of that poorly spent money and direct it toward the most effective means of addressing our problems.

A genuine innovation-led response would require the consideration of multiple solutions. We should improve today’s technologies rather than erecting currently inefficient turbines and solar panels. We should devote more attention to nuclear fission (perhaps in the form of modular reactors), and continue to explore fusion, hydrogen generation from water, and more. The geneticist who spearheaded development of the first draft sequence of the human genome – a technological tour-de-force, completed far earlier and at less cost than originally estimated – makes the case for research into algae that produces oil, grown on the ocean surface. Because such algae simply converts sunlight and CO₂ to oil, when producing it, burning it would be CO₂-free. Oil algae are far from cost-effective now, but researching this and many other solutions is not only inexpensive but offers our best opportunity to find real breakthrough technologies.

If we innovate the price of green energy down below fossil fuels, everyone will switch. This would be a far better solution, particularly for the poor, than increasing the cost of fossil fuel to the point of general penury to disincentivise use. The Copenhagen Consensus experts calculated returns from green energy R&D at eleven pounds for every pound invested – hundreds of times more effective than current climate policies.

Finding the breakthroughs that will power the rest of the 21st century could require a decade, or it could take four. But no other genuine solutions beckon, and we have already had three decades of spectacular failure pursuing the policies that are currently in place. We know that the world leaders gathered at COP27 won’t solve the problems that beset us with the same empty promises offered twenty-six times previously. Are we doing the same thing yet again? Remember the definition of insanity…

But innovation beckons, as it has so reliably in the past. We have better options, and ignore them at the cost of our economy, our opportunity, and the environment.

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg is President of the Copenhagen Consensus and Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His latest book is “False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.” A collection of his writings for the Telegraph can be found here.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, and the author of three books: “Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief”, “12 Rules for Life: an Antidote to Chaos” and “Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life”. A collection of his writings for the Telegraph can be found here.

Climate Loss and Damage, Legal House of Cards

The big news out of COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh concerns funding for climate “loss and damage.”

Reuters  At COP27, climate ‘loss and damage’ funding makes it on the table

Columbia Climate School Loss and Damage: What Is It, and Will There Be Progress at COP27?

CarbonBrief COP27: Why is addressing ‘loss and damage’ crucial for climate justice?

Etc., Etc., Etc.

Mike Hulme explained the house of cards underlying the claims for compensation from extreme weather loss and damage.  He addressed this directly in his 2016 article Can (and Should) “Loss and Damage” be Attributed to Climate Change?.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

One of the outcomes of the eighteenth negotiating session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Doha last December, was the agreement to establish institutional arrangements to “address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change.” This opens up new possibilities for allocating international climate adaptation finance to developing countries. A meeting this week in Bonn (25–27 February), co-organized by the UN University Institute for Environmental and Human Security and the Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries Initiative, is bringing together various scholars and policymakers to consider how this decision might be implemented, possibly by as early as 2015.

At the heart of the loss and damage (L&D) agenda is the idea of attribution—that specific losses and damages in developing countries can be “associated with the impacts of climate change,” where “climate change” means human-caused alterations to climate. It is therefore not just any L&D that qualify for financial assistance under the Convention; it is L&D attributable to or “associated with” a very specific causal pathway.

Developing countries face some serious difficulties—at best, ambiguities—
with this approach to directing climate adaptation finance.

This is particularly so given the argument that the new science of weather attribution opens the possibility for a framework of legal liability for L&D, which has recently gained prominence (see here and here). Weather attribution science seeks to generate model-based estimates of the likelihood that human influence on the climate caused specific weather extremes.

Weather attribution should not, however, be used to make the funding of climate adaptation in developing countries dependent on proving liability for weather extremes.

There are four specific problems with using the post-Doha negotiations on L&D to advance the legal liability paradigm for climate adaptation. First, with what level of confidence can it be shown that specific weather or climate hazards in particular places are caused by anthropogenic climate change, as opposed to a naturally varying climate? Weather attribution scientists claim that such knowledge is achievable, but this knowledge will be partial, probabilistic, and open to contestation in the courts.

Second, even if such scientific claims were defendable, how will we define “anthropogenic?” Weather attribution science—if it is to be used to support a legal liability paradigm—needs to be capable of distinguishing between the meteorological effects of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and those from land use change, and between the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, black carbon (soot), and aerosol emissions. Each of these sources and types of climate-altering agents implicates different social and political actors and interests, so to establish liability in the courts, any given weather or climate hazard would need to be broken down into a profile of multiple fractional attributions. This adds a further layer of complexity and contestation to the approach.

Third, L&D may often be as much—or more—a function of levels of social and infrastructural development as it is a function of weather or climate hazard. Whether or not an atmospheric hazard is (partially) attributable to a liable human actor or institution is hardly the determining factor on the extent of the L&D. A legal liability framework based on attribution science promotes a “pollutionist approach” to climate adaptation and human welfare rather than a “developmentalist approach.” Under a pollutionist approach, adaptation is primarily about avoiding the dangers of human-induced climate change rather than building human resilience to a range of weather risks irrespective of cause. This approach has very specific political ramifications, serving some interests rather than others (e.g., technocratic and centralized control of adaptation funding over values-centered and decentralized control).

Finally, if such a legal framework were to be adopted, then what account should be taken of “gains and benefits” that might accrue to developing countries as a result of the impacts of climate change? Not all changes in weather and climate hazard as a result of human influence are detrimental to human welfare, and the principle of symmetry would demand that a full cost-benefit analysis lie at the heart of such a legal framework. This introduces another tier of complexity and contestation.

Following Doha and the COP18, the loss and damage agenda now has institutional force, and the coming months and years will see rounds of technical and political negotiation about how it may be put into operation. This agenda, however, should not place climate adaptation funding into the framework of legal liability backed by the new science of weather attribution.

Hulme goes more deeply into the Loss and Damage difficulties in his 2014 paper Attributing Weather Extremes to ‘Climate Change’: a Review.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In this third and final review I survey the nascent science of extreme weather event attribution. The article proceeds by examining the field in four stages: motivations for extreme weather attribution, methods of attribution, some example case studies and the politics of weather event Attribution.

Hulme concludes by discussing the political hunger for scientific proof in support of policy actions.

But Hulme et al. (2011) show why such ambitious claims are unlikely to be realised. Investment in climate adaptation, they claim, is most needed “… where vulnerability to meteorological hazard is high, not where meteorological hazards are most attributable to human influence” (p.765). Extreme weather attribution says nothing about how damages are attributable to meteorological hazard as opposed to exposure to risk; it says nothing about the complex political, social and economic structures which mediate physical hazards.

And separating weather into two categories — ‘human-caused’ weather and ‘tough-luck’ weather – raises practical and ethical concerns about any subsequent investment allocation guidelines which excluded the victims of ‘tough-luck weather’ from benefiting from adaptation funds.

Contrary to the claims of some weather attribution scientists, the loss and damage agenda of the UNFCCC, as it is currently emerging, makes no distinction between ‘human-caused’ and ‘tough-luck’ weather. “Loss and damage impacts fall along a continuum, ranging from ‘events’ associated with variability around current climatic norms (e.g., weather-related natural hazards) to [slow-onset] ‘processes’ associated with future anticipated changes in climatic norms” (Warner et al., 2012:21). Although definitions and protocols have not yet been formally ratified, it seems unlikely that there will be a role for the sort of forensic science being offered by extreme weather attribution science.

Synopsis of this paper is at X-Weathermen are Back!

Integrated Storm Activity Annually over the Continental U.S. (ISAAC)

See also Data vs. Models #3: Disasters

 

 

 

 

Advancing National Takeover of Energy Industry

Tom Luongo writes at his blog The Oil Nationalization Two-Step.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

You’ve all heard me rant about the “Straussian Two-Step,” which is nothing more than a retread of the Hegelian Dialectic.   Here’s the formal definition:

An interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (thesis ) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis ), the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (synthesis ).

In modern politics it’s used to create a false reality by asserting something that is
partially true (at best) or a truth that you yourself created as a person in power.

In today’s case it’s a manufactured energy crisis across the West.

In order to see the Straussian Two-Step however you have to work backwards. This process is not an a priori deduction or an exhaustive fit of investigative journalism.

Rather it is an inductive conclusion based on awareness of the motivations of those in power and seeing how they lead a mass of people to a pre-ordained conclusion. In other words, schizo-posting.

Carbon fighters attacking the Exxon Mobil bastion, here seen without their shareholders disguises.

Thesis

So, say your goal is to legitimize the state takeover, or advance another step forward the state takeover, of an industry. Let’s use oil and gas for today’s lesson.

The first thing you do is manufacture a crisis that will disrupt the supply of the product you want to takeover. In this case, it started with COVID-19, which disrupted far more than just the energy sector.

More than 2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was lost world wide thanks to COVID-19. Given the current hostility to new refineries (more on this later), those barrels are not coming back.

Don’t forget, that for a “Straussian Two-Step” this big you will have to brainwash and/or gaslight two entire generations into hating themselves for being rich, wasteful, spoiled, alive or worse, just plain white.

So, they are already primed to hate all the things at play here — capitalism, Big Oil, Banks, Old White Guys (rich or poor) — and enrage your useful idiots by pushing their already tenuous hold on reality to the literal breaking point.   “I can’t even….” isn’t the most common phrase uttered on Tik-Tok for nothing.

That’s the Thesis part.

So, when the crisis hits thanks to natural gas disruption you forbid buying of from a particular country… you demonize not only Vlad but the industry itself for price gouging and preying on the widdle guy during a war.   There’s a word for this… chutzpah.

Antithesis

Predictably, you then allow your fake political opponents …[enter Cocaine Mitch from Stage Right]… to produce the opposite argument. In this case, the counter is obviously we need free markets to produce oil and gas. The refiners are just responding to the market.

That fake opposition, of course, also blames Vlad for this crisis to ensure the market’s champion looks not only patriotic but also suitably bought and paid for by Big Oil, Old White Guys, etc.

Both sides of this argument have now been framed 90 degrees away from the real source of the problem–government intrusion into the flow of oil and gas to your homes.

This is a crisis that if left solved to human ingenuity and, yes, the studious application of greed, would be over in a matter of weeks as refineries shut down during COVID would come back online, supply chains reorganized etc.

While the crisis phase would be over quickly, the long term investment cycle set off in refining would take longer to structurally immunize the industry against future supply shocks to accomplish.

Prices may not return to normal for years but the market, without intervention by rapacious morons both in government and running them from behind the curtain, would eventually grind the arbitrage out of the fuel industry nearly entirely.

Synthesis

Remember the goal. Destroy free markets, nationalize oil and gas.

This means also preparing the next move to get rid of another aspect of the free market while zeroing in on the current crisis. In this theoretical case, we’re looking at the massive diesel crack spreads of refineries, fueling the perpetual motion machine of Marxism’s inherent envy.

Moreover, this situation exploded on the eve of a crucial election to put into the mouths of the crisis actors we call colloquially, “Members of Congress.”

Their solution? Put windfall profit taxes on refiners who are taking advantage of the vulnerable and needy common man. They are evil ‘price gougers’ by accepting the bids from the market for the fruits of their labors which occurred precisely because of artificially inducing a shock to the system.

In the case of diesel fuel in the US this is clearly a manufactured crisis.

COVID took a lot of refineries in the Northeast (PADD-1) offline. And given the hostility of the Biden administration and environmentalists to the oil industry as a whole, as I alluded to earlier, those refineries are not coming back online anytime soon.

Don’t take my word for it, take it from the ones who own the refineries.

“Building a refinery is a multi-billion dollar investment. It may take a decade. We haven’t had a refinery built in the United States since the 1970s. My personal view is that there will never be another refinery built in the United States.”

According to Wirth, oil and gas companies would have to weigh the benefits of committing capital ten years out that will need decades to offer a return to shareholders “in a policy environment where governments around the world are saying ‘we don’t want these products to be used in the future’”.

Why would they? If it were your money would you begin the insane process to build an oil refinery in the US today even with crack spreads at $70+ per barrel? Of course not. By the time you filed the first Environmental Impact Assessment application form the spreads could be back to $20 because it’s politically advantageous for the “Straussian Two-Steppers” to take the pressure off for a few months.

Government is keeping the market in a supply/demand mismatch on purpose. That’s the only conclusion you can draw. Because if “Biden” wanted to solve this problem he wouldn’t be draining the SPR, he’d be rolling back regulations on refining oil or offering some of that ‘infrastructure money’ to help the industry rebuild post-COVID.

High Bid Wins the Prize

Diesel fuel demand is mostly inelastic, since it’s simply necessary for our daily life. Any supply disruption will cause massive price spikes because people will fall all over themselves bidding up the price of available supply to get what they can.

This is the one thing morons leftists can’t wrap their head around. Producers aren’t withholding supply and ‘raising prices’ in an open market economy. That’s propaganda. The reality is that consumers bid up the price for everything in demand or withhold those bids when the cost/benefit isn’t in their favor.

This is the dynamic at play when I use the term cost-push inflation. A supply shortage pushes the bids for basic goods up out of necessity and pouring money into the system through government handouts only accelerates this effect.

Low cost or free dollars flow to the things people need the most and that is the main source of our inflation today.

So, when you see the headlines full of scaremongering like the US only has 20 days of diesel fuel left, this undergirds the bids for limited supply. The futures markets are stripped of their power to coordinate supply over time and producers are stuck being demonized by low quality agitprop from the likes of AOC and Lizzie Slapaho.

Nationalization: The Next Two-Step

Windfall profit taxes are already on the way in Germany, 90% of all profits taxed away to the state. Energy production, when that bill passes, will be nationalized in Germany. The end of rational energy pricing will be gone.

Germany will become another energy subsidizing hellscape like we see all over the world.

The choice in front of German energy companies now is Uniper’s fate, nationalization through bailout, or remain ‘private’ but on a government-mandated cost-plus business model the profits from which will never outcompete the depreciation curve.

Today here in the US the Democrats are pushing for outright nationalization of all oil and gas production. That was the goal all along, the thesis. The fake antithesis is the “Drill baby, Drill,” crowd on Capitol Hill, crying crocodile tears over the loss of the Keystone XL pipeline for more than a decade.

The synthesis this time around will be finally getting through their long-sought after billionaire’s tax in the form of a windfall tax starting with evil Big Oil. Even if they don’t get it, it’s not like they don’t have other things on their to-do lists to get it done.

They are starting here again because they know no one will seriously consider outright nationalization (the next synthesis) unless there’s a war with Russia…

UN’s Imaginary Planet

A banner advertising the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, U.K., on Oct. 20, 2021. PHOTO BY IAN FORSYTH/BLOOMBERG FILES

William Watson writes at Financial Post What planet do UN carbon-fighters live on? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

If current trends continue, the chance of the world hitting the UN’s goals are slim to none

One of the biggest news stories in Quebec this week is the partial closing of the Louis Hippolyte-Lafontaine tunnel, a major commuting artery under the St. Lawrence River, for what are termed “urgent” repairs. Half the tunnel’s lanes will be closed for three years — though that’s probably optimistic. Montreal’s brand-spanking-new light rail system, which for some reason the people who run the public pension plan think will be a big money-maker for them, recently had its opening delayed until next spring. In Quebec, big projects delays are like winter snow: simply assumed.

Though big for the affected commuters, these are tiny projects for the world. Yet they’ll take three years. Slowly, very slowly, does seem to be the way things work in many parts of the world these days. (Is there, by the way, a more aptly named figure than former Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly, whose approach to the truckers’ incursion seems to have been the opposite of speedy — and therefore of course very, very Ottawa?)

The tunnel, the bridge and the Réseau express métropolitain LRT came to mind as I scrolled through the latest edition of the United Nation Environment Programme’s (UNEP) update on the progress — or, in its view, shameful lack of progress — the world has made decarbonizing itself.

Judging by the 2½ pages of acknowledgements, this annual “Emissions Gap Report” is an immense undertaking by all sorts of committed people from universities, the UNEP itself and organizations such as the Bezos Earth Fund, the International Council on Clean Transportation, the ClimateWorks Foundation and so on. IKEA itself gets a shout-out for contributions from its foundation.

Not all the carbon news is bad. In a lovely set of graphs — production values, as always at the UN, are world-class — the team reports on how each G20 country is doing on its 2050 target (or NDC: nationally determined contribution). The arrow emerging from Canada’s trend points downward and to the right, heading for what looks like an exact bull’s eye with our commitment. If we do what we’ve said we’ll do — though that’s obviously a big if — we’ll get there. The EU27, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia (though its aim is off by a few years) are in essentially the same situation.

But other countries are not, including five that already account for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus the arrows for China, India, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia are headed skyward, soaring to levels far above their 2060 (not 2050) commitments. Maybe a decade or two of rapid economic growth will persuade them they’re now rich enough to go after carbon. But if current trends continue, the chance of the world hitting the UN’s goals are slim to none.

Which leads to a lot of foot-stamping scolding on the part of the emissions-gap team. Watching 20th-century international hockey, we Canadians were always shocked that Soviet coaches evidently thought they could get more out of their players by haranguing them on the bench after a lousy play. For some reason, the UN folk don’t seem to understand that being harangued puts most people off.

LULUCF refers to emissions from land use and forestry, which can be in addition or subtraction.

Yet the report argues what we need is “wide-ranging, large-scale, rapid and systemic transformation” in order to reach the goal of a two-degree, let alone 1.5-degree, increase in average global temperatures. “Is it a tall order to transform our systems in just eight years?” asks the executive director of UNEP, apparently with a straight face. “Yes,” she concedes, “but we must try.” And so the report goes on to provide a long list of imperatives for governments, industry and (they get their own chapter) bankers.

We all understand that ardent environmentalists are driven by their love for the planet. But which planet exactly do they live on? In the part of planet earth I live on (and love, too, in my own conservative way), it takes three years to perform “urgent” repairs on an important tunnel — and it probably took at least as many to clear the decision to go ahead. Yet here are apparently intelligent and certainly well-educated people saying the world must turn its agricultural sector upside down, or at least get a good start on doing so, in just eight years.

Figure 6.2 Food systems emissions trajectory and mitigation potentials by transformation domain

Societies do undergo radical transformations. The other day I found myself talking to a speaker, telling it which radio station to play. We of a certain age are living quite differently than we did as children. But people only make these big transformations voluntarily, when new technologies or ideas come along that are self-evidently desirable and appear worth spending money on.

That would not be the case with a precipitate, top-down overhaul
of our agricultural and industrial systems.

We’ve only just figured out how to feed eight-billion people. What happens to a billion or two of them if the grand agricultural experiment the UN wants us all to try doesn’t work out? Environmentalists always say this is the only planet we’ve got. It is indeed. But that means there’s nowhere else to import food from if global experiments go wrong.

NY and PA: Midterm Election Energy Lesson

The Marcellus formation lies under more than 60 percent of the state of Pennsylvania alone. Some geologists and petroleum engineers believe that the massive shale formation may hold as much as 500 to 700 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This amount of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale could supply the entire east coast for the next 50 years according to some geologists.

Larry Behrens writes at Real Clear Energy Fetterman and Cuomo: A Midterm Election Energy Lesson.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

With energy dominating the national discussion, look no further than Pennsylvania and New York as examples of failure and fortune. The Empire State might be looking to make a U-turn after a years-long trip into failed energy policy, while the Keystone State must decide if they will adopt the “America Last” energy policy currently favored in Washington, D.C.

The two states share a border of 225 miles, but when it comes to energy,
they might as well be on different planets.

It’s clear energy is on the ballot this midterm season. That’s bad news for fracking foes like Pennsylvania Senate Candidate John Fetterman. While he may be struggling to articulate his position du jour on fracking, it’s clear he’s borrowing from the Joe Biden play book: play a moderate in the campaign, return to radical roots once elected.

In 2014, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed an outright ban on fracking in his state. The decision cost a loss of 400 jobs per year in some of the state’s counties and resulted in a “statically significant increase in unemployment.” By declaring a war on pipelines, some utilities in New York stopped “new residential, and commercial and industrial customer gas service connections.” New Yorkers are paying the 10th highest electric rates in the nation, and nearly 30 percent higher than their neighbors in Pennsylvania.

With no fracking ban in their state, Pennsylvanians are much better off. Today, the Commonwealth is second only to Texas when it comes to production of shale gas and in 2021 the state received over $235 million in impact fees from drillers. One university study found communities in Pennsylvania suffering from long-term economic stagnation are the beneficiaries of American energy development in their area.

Two different states, two very different outcomes. Enter the 2022 midterm election.

Rank FF Consumption  Trillion BTU
1 Texas 11767
2 California 4845
3 Louisiana 3698
4 Florida 3110
5 Pennsylvania 3110
6 Ohio 2774
7 Illinois 2590
8 New York 2370

Source of Primary Energy Consumption Data:  EIA   Notice that California and New York are top consumers of FF energy, principally oil and natural gas, but neither is a top producer, despite accessible resources.  Florida, Ohio and Illinois also share that predicament.

New York’s race for Governor is turning into a nail-biter, as residents of the state consider hiring the first Republican for the job in 16 years. Appointed Governor Kathy Hochul would continue Cuomo’s failed anti-fracking policy while Republican Lee Zeldin supports energy development in New York. The result? A Republican is surging in a massively blue state where people say their top issue is the economy. New Yorkers are suffering under the consequences of failed-fracking policy. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, they have a radical in moderate’s clothing that thinks the New York failure is just fine.

The stakes are as high as they are clear: John Fetterman wants to end fracking and if elected, he’ll do all he can to do it. Sure, we all witnessed his bumbling response where he pinky-swears he now likes fracking, but he can’t bumble over the truth. He once referred to the industry as a “stain” on the state he is seeking to represent. Don’t forget that Joe Biden also did the fracking flip-flop as a candidate, only to take office and impose an “America Last” energy policy that’s delivered record gas prices, massive inflation and a weaker country on the world stage. Apparently, John Fetterman and Joe Biden view the disaster in New York as a winning game plan.

It failed for Andrew Cuomo, it’s failing for Joe Biden and if he’s elected, it will fail for John Fetterman, too. You might say that just like Communism, banning fracking has failed everywhere it’s been tried.

Vote accordingly.

See also New England Energy Inflation Self-Imposed

Project abandoned in 2017 after New York blocked planning and permit processes.

Climate Dreams, Meet Brick Wall

Fred Laza writes at Financial Post Climate fantasies hit brick wall of U.S. politics.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The reality of the energy transition could be ugly for politicians

The Biden administration’s attempt to lower gasoline prices before the November mid-terms has been both amusing and disappointing. First the president attributed the run-up in oil and gas prices to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Then his government drained about a million barrels a day from the strategic oil reserve. After six months of that and with gasoline prices creeping up again, Mr. Biden went to Saudi Arabia to ask Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his help in keeping oil prices from rising at least through to the mid-term elections.

The prince said no, which was totally predictable. It appears none of the foreign policy experts advising the president understands basic human relations, let alone Arab culture. You can’t call someone a murderer and then expect him to turn the other cheek and meekly accede to your request for a big personal favour.

The substantial long-term damage to the important relationship between Arab countries and the U.S. has been driven entirely by short-term political expediency. This greenest administration in history at first seemed very committed to dealing with climate change and accelerating the timeline to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for the U.S. as a whole. A key driver for this goal is higher oil and gas prices. Economics 101 teaches that sharply higher prices for carbon fuels will reduce demand for them and promote the shift to alternative sources of energy, primarily renewables.

Well, Putin’s war on Ukraine and Biden’s war on fossil fuels have been very effective in delivering skyrocketing oil and gas prices. But now it seems another key driver of climate policy has been discovered: that a Democratic administration remain in office, a necessity that has run into the reality that people do not seem willing to pay the price, at least not right now, for the transition from carbon to non-carbon sources of energy.

Ardent supporters of the energy transition keep suggesting it will lead to the creation of millions of new jobs. (“There is no trade-off between the economy and the environment.”) There are at least two problems with this argument. First, it ignores the euphemistically named “adjustment process.” As the economy moves away from fossil fuels, many millions of people will lose their jobs and not “transition” easily and smoothly to the new jobs that might eventually be created. As with all dramatic policy changes, there will be winners and losers, and the losers likely won’t be fully compensated by the winners — or happy about that. That reality could be ugly for politicians.

As for the claim that the transition will eventually produce millions of net new jobs,
there is good reason for doubt.

Consumer-oriented industries, with the possible exceptions of food and shelter, will have to make drastic changes in their business models. The carbon footprints resulting from the continual introduction of marginally better products are substantial, which means the regular introduction of new products or of varieties of existing products will have to end. Think of the effects in automobiles, iPhones, clothing, furniture, cosmetics, detergents and so on. Further, until most electricity worldwide is derived from renewables or nuclear, the growth of the Internet will have to be curtailed. The millions of servers that are its backbone require large amounts of electricity for cooling and power. Will users willingly limit their reliance on social media and streaming services? Imagine the implications for business and commerce if they are required to.

If our production of carbon is to be reduced as much as the most insistent environmentalists want, market economies will have to move to much lower levels of production and employment. The yellow brick road to Green Oz does not run smooth. It might never actually reach Green Oz, and even if it does, there is no assurance that either the trip or the destination will be pleasant for everyone.

Until very recently, this political reality seems to have been forgotten. Politicians need to be careful in what they ask for and much more honest with the people whose votes they seek.

Fred Lazar is an associate professor of economics in the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Footnote Q & A:

Q:  What is the difference between Golf and Government?

A:  In Government you can always improve your lie.

–Anonymous Source

 

 

Nations the Gods Destroy They First Make Green

LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) filling station for trucks in Dortmund, western Germany. PHOTO BY INA FASSBENDER /AFP via Getty Images

Rex Murphy explains how the demise of nations works in his piercing National Post editorial Even green zealots fear the cold more than the evils of natural gas.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The Germans, among others, aren’t smirking now

Forgive the phrase, but it is appropriate — Vladimir Putin has the European Union — Germany in particular — over a barrel. . . Over several barrels come to think of it.

The virtue states went green, but contented themselves with getting the slack, the dirty oil and gas stuff they so deplored, from reliable Russia.

And when a certain American President — the sagacious readers of the Post will divine whom I mean, and it is merely to forestall trauma in readers of other journals that I withhold his name (hint: there was a hotel in Toronto that featured his name as a brand and rhymed with “plump”). When that President warned German authorities that it was a risk and a very bad move to set up a dependency on Vladimir Putin for an essential resource, in public — the scene is available on YouTube — half of them smirked and the other half laughed.

There is a small moral here. Advice worth following does not need to come from lips you approve of. The quality and worth of advice may, on occasion, be independent of the character (or what you presume to be the character) of the person offering it.

They are not smirking now. Germany, in the warm haze and fuzzy thinking of “progressive” thought, broke the bank on their master green plan, the great Energiewende, to “get off” planet-destroying fuels (and nuclear)which proved to be a massive multi-billion dollar mess and a failure.

This even before Mr. Putin unleashed his legions on Ukraine. Putin’s current leverage was founded on their previous policies.

Contrary to the sooth-sayers of the IPCC and the Eco-Nostradami, great economies can’t be flipped on a Davos dream, and the German winter of 2023 will be unmoved by replays of An Inconvenient Truth. Or shoreline rants from a most intemperate David Suzuki. Anger does not become an elder about to board a sea plane.

As a footnote to the Energiewende opera, be it noted at the end of September the German government announced is spending US$195 billion, to cap natural gas prices for households and businesses.  That’s a bigger price tag than the US$172 billion the UK government was expected to spend to finance its own price cap. Germany went green with a vengeance and now has to mail out checks to its citizens to compensate for the folly.

And before turning to the distressed UK, one line from Forbes, quoting Foreign Policy, has quite a punch: “Electricity prices, in fact, have tended to be highest in places with the greatest share of renewable energy.” Dear Lord, who could have guessed? It’s a good thing they didn’t impose … an escalating carbon tax.

Great Britain has dropped its second prime minister in mere weeks. As in Germany, it’s all about energy, all about the mindless embrace over the last years of green ideologies, until fear of a cold winter causes an impressively swift rearrangement of concerns about energy.

It has just reversed its stand on fracking. During its green-virtue phase, fracking — the most efficient technological advance in the search for the most basic energy resource — was termed a pure evil.

It was banned by law. It was a blasphemy against Mother Earth and Bill Nye. Now that winter closes in, and energy prices that were once mere Honda Civic (used) are now going all Rolls Royce (customized), fracking is a good thing, a necessary thing. It has received an official vote of approval from the House of Commons, UK.

On our side of the world under the increasingly — let’s choose a kind word — drifting leadership of Joe Biden, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — intended as a backup for the most drastic emergencies, has been raided once again. OPEC turned him down on his request to increase oil flow. Let us recall that the Biden presidency began with shutting down a great Canadian source of oil, the Keystone XL.

It is a wonderful consideration that when Reality (capital R) speaks, all poses and postures, all voice-hushed bleating of virtue-speak platitudes take a stay. I wonder if our deputy-prime minister is still pulsating the message that all this reminds us of “how important climate action is.” And how carbon taxes are so very necessary in the present moment.

How did we get here?

It is the speeches and the campaigns against oil and gas, the sermons from the jet-set di Caprio’s, the dim-witted tirades of such as Neil Young against Fort McMurray, much and more than Putin, have brought this crisis on. People who have never seen a COP meeting, never could have dreamt of going to Davos, never mind been able to afford such a folly, that will bear, and perhaps not be able to bear, the cost of the winter to come.

Thank heaven, reality and its sister common sense is having a minute
at the microphone of the world’s attention.

As an ending point, would it not have been a great thing, if a moderate country, of magnificent and vast geography, had taken advantage of its so-plentiful natural resources, encouraged and supported its energy industry, built pipelines, guaranteed supply, could now — at this crisis moment — offer so many of its allies, real support and immediate remedy?

We would be in a place to issue this pronouncement: “Canada says, to hell with Putin, we have what you need, and we can send it now.”

But no. Under the current net-zero fascinated government, energy was deemed an enemy, due for shut down as soon as possible, and what we now offer a tormented world is a windmill-driven, not yet started, dubious in the extreme, futuristic hydrogen plant in Stephenville, Newfoundland. If you have tears, weep them now.

The countries whom the gods would destroy they first make green.

See also Net Zero = Pro China + Pro Russia

Green Energy Profiteering Scam

J.B. Shurk writes at Gatestone Institute The Green Energy Profiteering Scam.  H/T Tyler Durden.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

“Green” Profits Can Only Rise if Citizens’ Freedoms Fall

In free markets, commodities bought and sold possess perceived value. When a buyer and seller reach an agreed upon price for any product, there is a “meeting of the minds.” The value of any natural raw material is proportional to its scarcity. The more of it there is, and the more easily it can be obtained, the less value it holds. A vendor who sells ordinary rocks cannot make a living when his product is found freely all over the ground. If he transacts in gold or silver, diamonds or rubies, however, his hard-to-find “rocks” are worth a small fortune.

If only there were a way to turn ordinary rocks into valuable commodities!

There are, in fact, two well-known ways to do so. An unscrupulous vendor could simply paint ordinary rocks gold and pretend that common minerals are rare, and an unsuspecting customer might never be the wiser. Through fraud, the seller can hijack the perceived value of his goods and undermine the agreed “meeting of the minds” between himself and any deceived customer. His “precious” rocks actually hold no value but provide him with ill-gotten gains. Over time, however, this type of fraud does not last. More discerning customers eventually catch on to the ruse, and that information is shared among prospective buyers. And unless he is quick to move on to a new town with new buyers yet to be deceived, old swindled customers are likely to end his livelihood or much worse. Engaging in fraud comes with serious personal risks.

There is another, safer way, however, to turn ordinary rocks into valuable commodities. The vendor could petition the king of the realm for the exclusive right to gather and sell ordinary rocks. If granted such an extraordinary license — whereby ordinary rocks may only be possessed if first stamped with the vendor’s mark — then an abundantly available natural resource becomes scarce overnight. What was once free now costs whatever the vendor and the king’s tax-collecting chancery decide to charge for the use of regulated rocks. Perhaps citizens with special status or recognized allegiance to the king will still get their rocks for next to nothing. Yet the classical mechanics of supply and demand still come into play for everyone else. Even if the price charged for an officially sanctioned rock is kept low, its value on secondary markets is determined entirely by the scarcity of available vendor-stamped rocks.

How much are licensed rocks worth if they are the only ones that may be legally owned? When a king and vendor conspire to make only a small fraction of available rocks “legal,” then their manufactured “unavailability” makes them extremely valuable. Legally imposed scarcity comes with much fewer personal risks. Licensed monopoly on high-demand commodities is a license to print money.

From this lens, it is easy to see why so many investors love
government intervention in energy markets.

  • When governments limit drilling and mining for hydrocarbons in the ground, they manufacture scarcity.
  • When only certain wealthy individuals and companies can afford artificially expensive hydrocarbon energies as regular business costs, then budding entrepreneurs and small firms can no longer compete. Those at the peak of society’s wealth pyramid have a much easier time staying on top when the same natural sources of hydrocarbon energy once used to amass fortunes are now denied to those who would do the same.
  • A war on “fossil fuels” is a superb tactic for protecting private market share. It is a profitable ideological cause for fattening government revenues. And it is a constant source of income for environmental “nonprofits” and other special interests….
  • Can plastics, heating oil, and most synthetic materials found around a home be magically manufactured without petroleum?

  • Can the global population stave off famine and starvation if farmers are forced to overhaul agricultural and livestock production methods in order to abide by “green” laws limiting the use or release of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen, and phosphate — molecules and compounds essential to basic farming and high crop yield fertilizers?
  • Ideology hijacks the market’s natural direction toward an objective and transparent “meeting of the minds.” There is an unspoken but unmistakable fraud. Until governments, including hostile adversaries such as Russia and the United States, conspired to limit the use of hydrocarbon energy and “go green,” the idea that anybody could turn a profit from the wind or sun would have seemed as absurd as a vendor selling rocks freely available all around us.

  • Are electric vehicles as powerful as their internal combustion engine counterparts? Can wind and solar energies really provide nations with reliable power grids robust enough to avoid rolling blackouts? Can plastics, heating oil, and most synthetic materials found around a home be magically manufactured without petroleum?

Pictured: An electric car at a charging station in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

Will not these “green” initiatives wind up looking remarkably similar to the example of the unscrupulous vendor above who learned how to swindle his customers by treating common minerals as rare and painting ordinary rocks gold — or perhaps now, a resplendent green?

Is that not what the imposition of Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) standards upon markets accomplishes? Is ESG not a concerted effort to warp trading markets with acutely political aims that seek to reward companies and capital investments for their pledged commitment to ideological beliefs rather than their likelihood for generating future profits?

When boardrooms and investors distort free markets by treating stocks and other assets as more valuable than they really are, simply because they are painted a shiny “green,” then ESG overvaluation turns misguided yet “politically correct” fantasies into gold.  Government-enforced environmentalism has created its own class of “green” billionaires. Whenever and wherever governments have mandated that citizens purchase certain goods or suffer legal consequences, the producers of those goods have made financial killings.

Anyone once blissfully unaware of that kind of crummy crony capitalism surely learned a thing or two watching global vaccine mandates drive up pharmaceutical industry profits, while government-granted indemnification clauses rendered vaccine makers free from financial liability for any resulting injuries.

When governments subsidize entire industries, force citizens to purchase those industries’ products, and protect those industries from the legal consequences of their products’ harm, then money flows into the pockets of those with ownership stakes.

Does that sound remarkably similar to another political philosophy that is predicated on the abolition of all private property? What is that old saying somewhat apocryphally credited to Vladimir Lenin? “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” Or perhaps today it is the “green” capitalists who make money by rendering food and fuel scarce, virtue-signaling “green” advocates who cheer the one-sided transaction, and the increasingly impoverished Western citizens who end up worse off than ever.

This much is certain: irrespective of prevailing politically correct Western “wisdom” and the current environmental “madness of crowds,” should the hydrocarbon bedrock of the global economy be traded for worthless “green” rocks, neither wealthy capitalists nor poor citizens will long survive.

Expensive Energy is not a Bug, but Biden Agenda’s Core Feature

Marlo Thomas explains in his Real Clear Energy article Expensive Energy Is a Core Feature, Not a Bug, of Biden’s Climate Agenda.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises was being generous by describing interventionism’s nasty side-effects as “unintended.” Some younger interventionists are naïve, and know not what they do, but the older, street-smart captains of progressive politics understand the harms their policies entail. For them, the adverse consequences are features, not bugs.

The only downside is the risk of political retribution at the polls.

That’s the predicament in which the Biden administration now finds itself. It is also the theme of “Energy Inflation Was by Design,” a new report by supply-chain consultant Joseph Toomey.
[Synopsis is in previous post Energy Inflation Playbook]

President Biden and congressional Democrats want to replace fossil fuels with a “zero-carbon” energy system. Their biggest win to date is the comically mistitled Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). A Penn-Wharton analysis estimated that the IRA would increase federal climate and energy spending by $369 billion over ten years. A recent article in The Atlantic touts a Credit Suisse estimate that actual climate-related federal support could reach $800 billion. That’s because the incentives for electric vehicles and renewable energy are “uncapped tax credits.” Moreover, since federal spending leverages private-sector investment, total economy-wide green-tech spending could increase by as much as $1.7 trillion.

Nor is that all. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the IRA has increased its loan program authorities by up to $350 billion.

No wonder Democrats celebrated the IRA’s enactment. No bigger program to rig energy markets against fossil fuels was ever enacted.

The IRA aims to enrich thousands of enterprises, tens of thousands of employees, and millions of shareholders—all dependent on Democrats to keep the gravy train flowing. Hardly an “unintended” consequence.

But voters see and feel the downsides of Biden’s war on fossil fuels: the high costs of gasoline, electricity, and other utilities, which in turn increase the costs of food, rent, and consumer goods. Those effects, moreover, coincide with high general inflation, a cratering stock market, and negative GDP growth in two consecutive quarters. Biden tries to blame Vladimir Putin and Big Oil for America’s energy woes. That is nonsense, and the public isn’t buying it.

Toomey marshals overwhelming evidence that “energy inflation” is a core feature of the president’s climate agenda. And how could it be otherwise? A core progressive article of faith is that fossil fuels are too cheap because market prices do not reflect the “social costs” of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). Accordingly, no matter how expensive or scarce fossil energy may become for other reasons, taxing or capping fossil-fuel consumption to make it even more costly is hailed as a “climate solution.” Of course, handicapping fossil fuels is also touted as a way to make renewables more “competitive.” As President Obama enthused, cap-and-trade will “finally make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy in America.”

The public, however, has repeatedly spurned proposals to tax or cap the carbon content of fuels or emissions. So, U.S. progressives now concentrate on rigging energy markets via targeted regulations, state-level renewable-energy quotas, and subsidies. As noted, the IRA sets a new standard for anti-fossil-fuel subsidies.

President Biden seeks to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve a zero-emission electricity sector by 2035. That means that about half of all U.S. fossil-fuel consumption must end in eight years. Few investors want to park their capital in rapidly contracting industries. So, thanks to Biden, the market forecasts that supplies of oil, gas, and coal will decline relative to demand—and prices will rise. The expectation of shrinking supplies and higher future prices puts upward pressure on energy prices today.

An irony noted by Toomey is that by endangering fossil-fuel energy supply, Biden has not only increased fossil-fuel energy prices but also boosted oil and gas company profits and stock values. The short-term enrichment of oil companies may well be an unintended consequence of a long-term agenda to put them out of business. On the other hand, Biden’s boost to oil industry profits is also the setup for further interventions popular with progressive activists and politicians—windfall profits taxes, export bans, and Federal Trade Commission investigations of “anti-consumer behavior.”

Toomey demolishes the Biden administration’s allegation that oil companies are deliberately reducing refinery utilization to constrict supplies and raise prices. In fact, refineries are running at higher utilization rates than ever (about 94 percent).

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden promised to “get rid of fossil fuels,” assuring one activist, “I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.”

Toomey reviews several Biden initiatives that back up such threats. The major ones, besides the government-wide, IRA-funded effort to channel “the flow of capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments,” include:

Cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline on Inauguration Day;

Suspending new oil and gas leases on federal lands;

Reviving social-cost-of-carbon sophistry;

Halting petroleum-development activity in Alaska’s National Arctic Wildlife Refuge;

Rejoining the Paris Climate Accords without asking for the Senate’s advice and consent;

Considering a non-attainment designation for ozone pollution that could curb drilling in the Permian Basin, which accounts for 43 percent of U.S. oil production; and

Imposing stricter methane standards for oil and gas production.

To provide historical context for the fiscal side of Biden’s climate agenda, Toomey discusses the Obama DOE loan program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment (“Stimulus”) Act. The best-known program beneficiary was solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 despite receiving $535 million in DOE loan guarantees. Some readers may also recall a list of seven such “Stimulosers.”

In short, nearly seven out of ten Obama DOE loan recipients in a $32 billion loan program went bankrupt. The total federal financial support provided by the IRA for “climate-aligned” investments is potentially 36 times larger. The stage is set for scores of Solyndras. Toomey’s labor as a chronicler of the war on fossil fuels is nowhere near done.

 

 

JustStopOil is a Malignant Tumor

Tom Slater reports on this social cancer and the need to excise it in his Spectator article Just stop Just Stop Oil.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The chasm between the protestors and the public grows wider with each demonstration

Why block roads? Why make people’s lives miserable? Who do you think this is going to convince? So go the interminable TV-news debates after each disruptive piece of direct action by eco-troupe Extinction Rebellion and the various single-issue offshoots, such as Just Stop Oil, that it has inspired.

These past two weeks, Just Stop Oil has been back in the spotlight. It is now into its 12th consecutive day of action in London, demanding the government stop all oil and gas production. Yesterday, its activists blocked roads in Knightsbridge, delaying an ambulance, a fire engine and cars carrying babies to hospital. Today, they’re sitting in the road outside parliament.

Once again, all these hi-vis-clad protestors have managed to achieve, beyond disrupting the days of ordinary people and the work of the emergency services, is to infuriate members of the public up and down the country.

But the tactics of Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and other groups make a lot more sense when you realise that the point of these protests is to disrupt the lives of working-class people. Indeed, the future these bourgeois irritants envisage would sacrifice ordinary people’s living standards on the altar of eco-austerity.

It’s perhaps too easy to portray Extinction Rebellion as dominated by the posh and over-educated. But only because this is a factually accurate characterisation. Academic research has shown that XR activists are overwhelmingly middle class and a whopping 85 per cent of them have degrees.

There’s a reason for this class skew. The eco agenda is essentially about making life harder for anyone who doesn’t work primarily on a laptop, who can’t cycle to work, who drives for a living, or who just isn’t convinced that soaring energy costs are the price we must pay for progress.

No wonder so few working-class people are fully paid-up members of these groups. No wonder working-class people clash with these protestors on the streets whenever these supple-handed sons of privilege decide to glue themselves to the road and bring traffic to a standstill.

In groups like Just Stop Oil we see a perfect fusion of political goals and political tactics.

Their ultimate aim is to make working-class people’s lives more difficult, insisting essentially that everyone must pay more to consume less. Their campaign to bring this about takes the form of making working-class people’s lives more difficult. It’s genius, really.

The class tensions of it all have become crystal clear in the repeated scenes of builders, delivery men and otherwise irked members of the public having to drag these activists off the road so they can go about their business – as we saw in Knightsbridge again yesterday.

‘I will start moving these people myself, I ain’t f****** about’, said one man, who told the protestors he didn’t give a ‘flying s***’ about what they had to say.

The chasm between the protestors and the public grows wider with each protest. In another clip from this week, a man says to the road-blocking activists: ‘Somebody’s sick, get off the road!’ To which a protester replies, remarkably: ‘If somebody’s sick, they shouldn’t be driving.’ The man is then forced to spell out that ‘they’ve got a passenger who is sick’. ‘Are you silly?’, he adds.

Direct action is supposed to be disruptive, of course. But the protestors’ callous indifference to the disruption they are causing speaks to something deeper about their movement. It has become so cultish and myopically obsessed with saving ‘the planet’ that it has become entirely alienated from the needs of human beings.

We glimpsed this in Just Stop Oil’s media appearances yesterday. During an interview on GB News, a young man, apparently convinced that we are on the brink of ‘societal collapse’, suggested his cause was ‘more serious actually’ than the plight of a sick person in an ambulance, stuck behind his friends’ human roadblock.

This indifference makes ordinary people all the more infuriated when the police seem incapable of dealing with these protests in a timely fashion. In some cases, officers have even appeared to indulge protestors. At an Insulate Britain roadblock last year, one officer was filmed telling the activists to let them know if they ‘need anything’.

Everyone supports the right to protest, of course. There is just no right to glue yourself to a road for hours on end. Now more and more members of the public are willing to do what the police are apparently so incapable of doing. And who could blame them?

These aren’t protests for the climate, they’re protests against ordinary people.

See also Climatism the Real Threat to Democracy

Having failed at the ballot box, millennial climate activists will
pursue any means to impose their will on society

A handout picture from the Just Stop Oil climate campaign group shows activists with their hands glued to the wall under Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” after throwing tomato soup on the painting at the National Gallery in central London on October 14, 2022.