Massachusetts v. EPA: Where are we now? (the left view)

Pamela King reports for the Green Wire Massachusetts v. EPA: Where are we now?.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Environmentalist David Bookbinder:  We’re in a really good position because we’ve defined a word (“air pollutant”), and courts are reluctant to redefine a word.”

In a scathing dissent yesterday, Justice Elena Kagan rebuked her conservative colleagues for chipping away at a key 2007 finding that is foundational to environmental law.

Kagan rebuked her conservative colleagues who formed the six-member majority in West Virginia v. EPA, which said that the federal government exceeded its authority with the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which set systemwide requirements aimed at shifting the power sector from coal to renewable generation.

To reach its conclusion, the majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, applied the major questions doctrine, which says Congress must speak clearly when allowing agencies to decide matters of “vast economic and political significance”.

Climate activists protesting outside the Supreme Court yesterday after the court announced its decision in West Virginia v. EPA. Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO

Kagan punctuated her introductory sentence with a citation: Massachusetts v. EPA.

West Virginia did not overturn Massachusetts, which in 2007 recognized greenhouse gases as “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act and that states can sue EPA if it fails to regulate them.

Kagan cites or refers to Massachusetts five times in her dissent. Neither the majority nor a concurring opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch mentions the case at all.

But West Virginia did take off the table one regulatory option for EPA — the power to determine under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act that the “best system of emission reduction” was for coal-fired plants to either reduce production or shift to renewable generation sources.

The Obama administration had taken that approach in the Clean Power Plan, which was put on hold by the Supreme Court in 2016 and never actually took effect. The Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday invalidated the regulation.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Roberts wrote for the majority.

Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University law professor who crafted the winning argument for states and environmentalists in Massachusetts, said she is “struck by how far we’ve come” since the 2007 case. “And I don’t mean that in a good way,” she added.

Heinzerling said that while she doesn’t expect the Supreme Court to overturn Massachusetts, the conservative wing seems willing to strip away meaningful avenues for EPA to regulate emissions from the power sector, the second-biggest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gases.

And the implications go far beyond EPA, she said.

“Any agency rule right now that takes on a new problem in a creative way has a bull’s-eye on it,” she said.

Paul Seby, a shareholder at the firm Greenberg Traurig who represented North Dakota in the West Virginia case, said the Peace Garden State and other challengers have “no bone to pick” with Massachusetts.

It is well-established that greenhouse gas emissions are air pollutants subject to regulation by EPA and the states, he said. The question in this case, he added, concerned states’ role under Clean Air Act Section 111(d) in making greenhouse gas regulatory decisions for existing sources within their borders.

EPA’s role, Seby said, is to issue guidelines for emissions control by the states and provide support and information about tools to achieve the Clean Air Act’s aims — not act as a national energy regulator.

“We accept the premise of Massachusetts v. EPA,” Seby said. “It’s just a question of who implements that in the provisions of the statute.”

‘Hard look’ at EPA

The Supreme Court has taken on other EPA climate cases in the years since Massachusetts.

In the 2011 case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court said EPA authority’s climate authority preempted a litany of public nuisance lawsuits against corporations for greenhouse gas emissions. And in 2014’s Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, the Supreme Court cabined the agency’s authority by finding that its regulation of vehicle emissions did not automatically trigger permitting requirements for stationary sources.

Yesterday’s ruling in West Virginia is in keeping with the trajectory of these cases, said Allison Wood, a partner at the firm McGuireWoods who was involved in Massachusetts, AEP and UARG.

“The court is willing to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act — that’s Massachusetts — but it’s going to take a hard look at what EPA tries to do under the Clean Air Act and make sure that it hews closely to the statute,” she said. “And here in the West Virginia case, they found that what the Obama EPA was trying to do in the Clean Power Plan went too far.”

But environmental lawyers have expressed concern that the Supreme Court’s six-justice conservative majority could find ways in future cases to upend the Massachusetts decision.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the lawyer whose lower court victory in Massachusetts was later overturned by the Supreme Court, wrote on Twitter yesterday that West Virginia was “a July 4th birthday present” for the nation.

As head of the Justice Department’s environment division under former President Donald Trump, Clark oversaw the defense of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which gutted the Clean Power Plan and was later struck down by a federal appeals court, paving the way for the West Virginia case.

He now faces allegations that he worked with the former president to pursue baseless fraud claims in the 2020 election (E&E Daily, June 24).

[Baseless?  Take your heads out of the sand!]

Clark added on Twitter yesterday that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Massachusetts might have “come out the other way” under the major questions doctrine and called for the case to be “reconsidered.”

Concerns about the stability of settled law were heightened last week after the court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent recognizing the constitutional right to an abortion (Greenwire, June 24).

Massachusetts is “slowly becoming insulated as precedent, but we’ve seen what this court thinks about precedent,” said David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center. “I’d be more confident about that if Dobbs hadn’t been decided last week.”

But Bookbinder, who represented environmentalists in Massachusetts, drew a distinction between constitutional issues in cases like Dobbs and fights over the definitions of terms in statutes — such as “air pollutant” in the Clean Air Act.

“Dobbs makes me uneasy because they’re really cavalier about precedent,” he said, “but we’re in a really good position because we’ve defined a word, and courts are reluctant to redefine a word.”

Postscript

So CO2, the stuff of life for plants and animals, including humans, lawyers now term an “air pollutant.”  Add it to the list of things that have been turned upside down by progressive would-be tyrants playing word games.

Progressive, instead of Socialist or Marxist

Woke, instead of Brainwashed

They, instead of Gender Confused

Mansplain, instead of Point Taken

Latinx, instead of Hispanic

Antifa, instead of Leftist Hoodlums

Inclusive, instead of Tolerant

Social Justice, instead of Endless Conflict

Top Surgery and Bottom Surgery, instead of Sexual Mutilation

Unvaccinated, instead of Herd Immunity

Racist, instead of Color Blind

Birthing Person, instead of Mother

And so on, and so on. . .

 

 

Huge: EPA Loses–America Wins

Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday called for the Supreme Court to be abolished after the High Court reined in the EPA’s power to regulated greenhouse gases.

Scotusblog reports on this latest return to sanity by the US Supreme Court. Supreme Court curtails EPA’s authority to fight climate change  Once again the court refuses to legislate an issue that belongs to Congressional deliberation. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In a 6-3 decision that may limit agency power across the federal government, the court held that Congress did not clearly authorize the EPA to adopt broad rules to lower carbon emissions from power plants.

The Supreme Court on Thursday truncated the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. The ruling may hamper President Joe Biden’s plan to fight climate change and could limit the authority of federal agencies across the executive branch.

By a vote of 6-3, the court agreed with Republican-led states and coal companies that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was wrong when it interpreted the Clean Air Act to give the EPA expansive power over carbon emissions. The decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, was handed down on the final opinion day of the 2021-22 term.

Two different and conflicting sets of regulations – neither of which is currently in effect – were at issue in the case, known as West Virginia v. EPA. In 2015, the Obama administration adopted the Clean Power Plan, which sought to combat climate change by reducing carbon pollution from power plants – for example, by shifting electricity production to natural-gas plants or wind farms. The CPP set individual goals for each state to cut power-plant emissions by 2030. But in 2016, the Supreme Court put the CPP on hold in response to a challenge by several states and private parties.

In 2019, the Trump administration repealed the CPP and replaced it with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which gave states discretion to set standards and gave power plants flexibility in complying with those standards. The Trump administration argued that it was required to end the CPP because it exceeded the EPA’s authority under Section 7411 of the Clean Air Act, which gives the EPA the power to determine the “best system of emission reduction” for buildings that emit air pollutants. That provision, the Trump administration contended, only allows the EPA to implement measures that apply to the physical premises of a power plant, rather than the kind of industry-wide measures included in the CPP.

Last year the D.C. Circuit vacated both the Trump administration’s repeal of the CPP and the ACE Rule, and sent the case back to the EPA for additional proceedings. Section 7411, the court of appeals explained, does not require the more limited view of the EPA’s authority that the Trump administration adopted.

The Supreme Court on Thursday reversed the D.C. Circuit’s ruling. Roberts’ 31-page opinion began by considering whether the Republican-led states and coal companies challenging the D.C. Circuit’s decision had a right to seek review in the Supreme Court now. Because the Biden administration plans to issue a new rule on carbon emissions from power plants, rather than reinstating the CPP, the administration had argued that the case did not present a live controversy for the justices to decide. But a decision by the government to stop the conduct at the center of a case does not end the case, Roberts emphasized, “unless it is ‘absolutely clear that the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.’” And in this case, Roberts stressed, because the Biden administration “vigorously defends” the approach that the Obama EPA took with the CPP, the Supreme Court can weigh in.

Turning to the merits of the case, Roberts wrote that the EPA’s effort to regulate greenhouse gases by making industry-wide changes violated the “major-questions” doctrine – the idea that if Congress wants to give an administrative agency the power to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance,” it must say so clearly.

Section 7411 of the Clean Air Act, Roberts reasoned, had been “designed as a gap filler and had rarely been used in the preceding decades.” But with the CPP, Roberts observed, the EPA sought to rely on Section 7411 to exercise “unprecedented power over American industry.” “There is little reason to think Congress assigned such decisions to” the EPA, Roberts concluded, especially when Congress had previously rejected efforts to enact the kind of program that the EPA wanted to implement with the CPP.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Roberts wrote. But only Congress, or an agency with express authority from Congress, can adopt a “decision of such magnitude and consequence.”

Roberts’ full-throated embrace of the major-questions doctrine – a judicially created approach to statutory interpretation in challenges to agency authority – likely will have ripple effects far beyond the EPA. His reasoning applies to any major policymaking effort by federal agencies.

In a concurring opinion that was joined by Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch emphasized that the dispute before the court involved “basic questions about self-government, equality, fair notice, federalism, and the separation of powers.” The major-questions doctrine, Gorsuch wrote, “seeks to protect against ‘unintentional, oblique, or otherwise unlikely’ intrusions on these interests” by requiring federal agencies to have “clear congressional authorization” when they address important issues. Whether coal- and gas-fired power plants “should be allowed to operate is a question on which people today may disagree, but it is a question everyone can agree is vitally important.”

The Ruling WEST VIRGINIA v. EPA

Background  Supremes to Review EPA Authority Over GHGs

Footnote from CO2 Coalition

EPA loses – America Wins

Victory for citizens and businesses alike

In what is likely the most damaging setback ever dealt to those advocating for overzealous enforcement actions against greenhouse gas emissions, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of constitutional limitations on unelected regulators.

This morning SCOTUS ruled in favor of the plaintiff states in WV v. EPA. This was an important “separation of powers” case. Over 20 states allege EPA improperly used very narrow statutory language as the basis for a national CO2 cap-and-trade program.

The constitutional principle of separation of powers requires that only Congress—through legislation—is authorized to decide major policy issues, not federal agencies. The related legal “Major Question Doctrine” holds that federal agencies must have a clear authorization from Congress before exercising new and significant regulatory power.

According to the ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts: “But the only interpretive question before us, and the only one we answer, is more narrow: whether the “best system of emission reduction” identified by EPA in the Clean Power Plan was within the authority granted to the Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. For the reasons given, the answer is no.”

This is why we fight.

Statement on the ruling by CO2 Coalition Chair William Happer:

“The decision is a very welcome reaffirmation of the Constitutional rights of citizens of the United States. Untouched is the question of whether the Constitution allows Congress to make scientifically incorrect decisions by majority vote, for example: that carbon dioxide, a beneficial gas that is essential to life on Earth, is a pollutant.”

A Rational Climate Policy

Recently in a post called Silence of Conservative Lambs I wrote:

The 1991 blockbuster movie revolved around meek, silent victims preyed upon by malevolent believers in their warped, twisted view of the world. A comparison can be drawn between how today’s conservative thinkers and politicians respond to advocates of the pernicious global warming/climate change ideology. Instead of challenging and pushing back against CO2 hysteria, and speaking out with a rational climate perspective, Republicans in the US, and Conservatives in Canada and elsewhere are meek and silent lambs in the face of this energy slaughter. Worse, when they do speak it is to usually to pander and try to appease offering proposals for things like carbon taxes or other non-remedies for a non-problem, essentially ceding the case to leftists.

So to be more constructive, let’s consider what should be proposed by political leaders regarding climate, energy and the environment.  IMO these should be the pillars:

♦  Climate change is real, but not an emergency.

♦  We must use our time to adapt to future climate extremes.

♦  We must transition to a diversified energy platform.

♦  We must safeguard our air and water from industrial pollutants.

For those not familiar, Climate Intelligence (CLINTEL) is an independent foundation that operates in the fields of climate change and climate policy. CLINTEL was founded in 2019 by emeritus professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout and science journalist Marcel Crok.  Their 1000+ members are signatories of a declaration There is No Climate Emergency

A global network of 900 scientists and professionals has prepared this urgent message. Climate science should be less political, while climate policies should be more scientific. Scientists should openly address uncertainties and exaggerations in their predictions of global warming, while politicians should dispassionately count the real costs as well as the imagined benefits of their policy measures.

One example of a national energy and environment strategy is provided by Clintel for The Netherlands.  The document is Clintel’s Integrated Energy Vision.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Preamble

We all agree in CLINTEL that:
– There is no climate emergency. We have ample time to improve our climate models (for a better understanding of the factors that regulate the climate) and to search for better adaptation technologies.

– The influence of CO2 on global warming is overestimated and its influence on greening is underestimated (even worse, it is often ignored). Nobody knows what the optimum value of atmospheric CO2 concentration is, but from a geological point of view we may conclude that we live in a time with historical low concentrations. Again, there is no climate emergency.

– There is an energy emergency.  Decarbonisation policies – in terms of the current energy transition are most destructive. They do much more harm than good. These energy policies must be terminated immediately.

– The new generation (III and IV) nuclear power plants ought to get all our attention. These plants promise low-priced, reliable, safe and clean energy. In combination with natural gas nuclear energy is a ‘No Regret Solution’. Wind and solar energy are at most niche technologies. Their contribution is and will stay marginal.

With respect to the energy transition, CLINTEL emphasises that there exists not something as a global uniform energy system.  Every country needs a tailor-made energy system depending on its geography, mineral resources, development phase, industrial specialization, population density, etc. For instance, The Netherlands – being a very densely populated country and being severely divided on the CO2 issue – it looks like the new generation of nuclear power plants may function as a breakthrough in the political process:

Part I shows that current Dutch energy policy – having the ambition to reduce CO₂ emissions as much as 49% by 2030 – is based on panic and shall lead to immense additional costs and a drastically deteriorated living environment. Below, we will propose an inspiring long-term energy vision that fits our (and many other) country’s needs, is based on scientific facts, and aimed at a prosperous future for everyone. A positive vision that replaces the gloom and doom predictions of the climate models. A vision with a hopeful perspective for the future.

A Guiding Vision for the Future

It is well known that high-risk, capital-intensive decisions should be based on a policy that is as insensitive as possible about the way the future will unfold. We have called it a No Regret Policy. It represents a long-term policy, implemented by taking small steps, and continuously adapted to what is happening in reality. CLINTEL has drawn up a No Regret Energy Policy, especially aimed at the Dutch energy transition.

The proposed NRE policy is insensitive for the impact that CO₂ might or might not have on climate change (dominant or marginal). In addition it is insensitive for what role the future electricity grid will play and for what the best mobility energy option will be. An extra bonus of the NRE policy is that the Netherlands’ energy supply will become less dependent on Russian natural gas and Middle Eastern oil.

CLINTEL’s proposal consists of three main elements:

1. Introduction of nuclear energy
If we base ourselves on the most up-to-date insights in energy supply, and we look at our four objectives as well as to our ‘no regret demands’, then nuclear energy is the only choice that meets these needs:

• No CO₂ emissions (mandatory requirement in the climate policy in force) as well as excellent controlled waste treatment (pollution requirement)
• High safety level (safety requirement)
• Demand-driven, reliable and affordable (prosperity requirement)
• High energy density (environmental requirement)

About the last entry, please compare a medium-sized 500 MW nuclear power plant with a medium wind turbine park of 4 MW full load. For this reactor, we will need a terrain of approximately 1 km², for the wind farm approx. 300 km². In addition, a nuclear power plant delivers guaranteed for at least 60 years power with low operational costsWind turbines on the other hand deliver unreliable power with high operational costs for a maximum of 25 years.  Solar panels aren’t performing any better. Moreover, the corresponding inverter (from direct current to alternating current) only lasts about 10 years.

2. Transforming green electrons into green molecules

Transport and storage of much larger than the current quantities of electrical energy is
technically difficult and economically unattractive. Every physicist will say: Don’t do it!
The real alternative is that with a large supply of cheap and reliable electrical energy we can afford to transform this energy into any desired molecular clean energy carrier, in the form of synthetic gas and synthetic oil.

There are attractive candidates with an appropriate energy density, such as methanol (CH3OH), ammonia (NH3) and hydrogen (H2), or a combination. These truly green energy carriers can be used safely and affordably be stored and transported using the existing infrastructure (bear in mind that 100% H2 is very aggressive and highly flammable, so there is still a lot of work to be done before this energy carrier can be implemented safely at a large scale).

Oil companies should not be tempted by substantial public subsidies to participate in solar fields and wind farms. Instead, they should concentrate on production, transport and distribution of green molecules (green gas, green oil), so do what they are good at.  Plans to store surplus CO₂ underground may turn out to be a silly activity. Oil companies, be critical before starting such an activity at a large scale.

3. Hybrid applications

With the supply of truly clean electricity and truly clean energy carriers, optimal choices can be made without large and expensive  grid reinforcements and polluting battery packs. Examples:

• Clean high-efficiency boilers (green gas)
• Clean road traffic (green petrol, green diesel)
• Clean aviation (green kerosene)
• Clean industrial production (green gas)
• Clean desalination of seawater (green potable water)

Interestingly, for each application there also is a hybrid solution (fossil-fuel molecules combined with green molecules and/or green molecules combined with green electrons). Here are also great opportunities to meet the ever-growing need for potable water. After all, it is bad for the soil if we keep on pumping up groundwater (e.g. soil desiccation, and soil subsidence). This can be done much better if we link our energy policy to our drinking water policy.

NRE policy excludes burning of biomass (‘the most stupid policy of all times’) and includes sun and wind as niches only. Batteries are only used for low-power applications, as in the information sector. Natural gas and natural oil are primarily still raw materials for the industry. ‘Saying goodbye to ‘natural’ gas, is utterly silly. Any CO₂ tax is even more silly.

Nuclear energy is proposed as the only truly sustainable solution.  To start with, nuclear power will have to take over the energy and heat supply from existing power plants that have almost reached the end of their technical and/or economic lifespan. Next are the energy applications proposed by CLINTEL being part of this vision. The present nuclear technology works with enriched uranium. Breeder reactors on uranium and thorium will in the long run take over the role of these traditional nuclear reactors. Hopefully, nuclear fusion will follow. The Netherlands will, together with other countries, have to participate in research and development efforts, thus acknowledging the importance of a 100% clean, reliable and affordable global energy supply for the foreseeable future. 

Footnote:  US Republicans Get Behind a Six-Point Plan

ClearPath Action

♦  Leverage American Innovation

Innovation and creating jobs is just part of who we are. And thanks to innovation, America has reduced its emissions by more than any other country in the last 20 years. We did this through new American technology, research at the Department of Energy, and strong bipartisan support.

We need to double down and get more American innovations to market.

♦  Modernize Permitting

We need to build cleaner, faster. Clean energy and grid modernization present tremendous economic opportunities, but burdensome and outdated regulations mean that new projects take five years on average to come online.

We have to move faster by enacting common sense reforms to the permitting process.

♦  Bring American Industry Back

American manufacturing is the cleanest in the world with the highest environmental standards. Unfortunately, countries like China and Russia don’t have the same standards.

We can restore American manufacturing leadership in industries like steel and concrete by strengthening our own supply chains and eliminating dependence from countries that don’t meet our environmental standards.

♦  Unleash American Resource Independence

A new industrial revolution is going to require an enormous amount of resources like lithium, copper, cobalt, graphite, and nickel. Currently, we are too dependent on countries like China to supply our needs.

This dependence increases emissions and handicaps American businesses. We have to make it easier to safely supply manufacturers with American-made materials and employ American workers.

♦  Make Our Communities More Resilient

As conservatives, we plan ahead. When it comes to natural disasters, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One dollar invested now equals six dollars after the disaster.

We can help take common sense measures and make sound investments that make our communities and farms more resistant to natural disasters like floods, fires and droughts.

♦  Use Natural Solutions

Crop production depends on access to healthy soil, adequate water supplies and predictable weather conditions, all of which are more difficult to manage as the climate changes.

Natural climate solutions – planting trees and farming practices that improve soil health – have a major impact on reducing carbon emissions while making forests and farms more resilient to floods and fires. They are also profitable.

Finland’s Self-imposed Climate Lockdown

You’d think that politicians had learned to forego climate virtue-signaling after seeing the lawfare tactics that they will suffer.  And yet, Finland bravely goes where smarter angels fear to tread.  As the Helsinki Times reports New Climate Change Act into force in July.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Climate Change Act lays the foundation for national work on climate change in Finland. The reformed Act sets emission reductions targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050. Now the target of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035 has for the first time been laid down by law.

The Government submitted the bill for approval on 9 June. The President of the Republic is to approve the Act on 10 June and it will enter into force on 1 July 2022.

“The new Climate Change Act is vital for Finland. The Climate Change Act ensures that ambitious climate work will continue across government terms. The Act shows the world how we can built a carbon-neutral welfare state by 2035. It is also a strong signal for companies that in Finland clean solutions are well worth investing in,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo at a press event in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

The Act lays down provisions on the climate change policy plans. The scope of the Act will be extended to also cover emissions from the land use sector, i.e. land use, forestry and agriculture, and it will for the first time include the objective to strengthen carbon sinks.

“Including land use in the Climate Change Act is a significant improvement. We have a lot of opportunities to reduce emissions and strengthen carbon sinks in the land use sector – in forests, construction and agriculture,” Minister Ohisalo says.

The previous Climate Change Act entered into force in 2015, and it set an emission reduction target only for 2050. The new Climate Change Act will include emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040 that are based on the recommendations of the Finnish Climate Change Panel, and the target for 2050 will be updated.

The emission reduction targets are -60% by 2030, -80% by 2040 and at least -90% but aiming at -95% by 2050, compared to the levels in 1990.

Finns have lost any room to maneuver, or to walk back ill-advised policies should the future be cooler rather than the warming of which they are so certain.  The lawyers will be all over them to prevent any escape.  To use another metaphor, they are lobsters who put themselves into the pots; there will be no getting out or going free.

 

See Also Dutch Judges Dictate Energy Policy

See Also Climate Tyranny By Way of Criminal Law

 

 

 

Silence of Conservative Lambs

The 1991 blockbuster movie revolved around meek, silent victims preyed upon by malevolent believers in their warped, twisted view of the world.  A comparison can be drawn between how today’s conservative thinkers and politicians respond to advocates of the pernicious global warming/climate change ideology. Instead of challenging and pushing back against CO2 hysteria, and speaking out with a rational climate perspective, Republicans in the US, and Conservatives in Canada and elsewhere are meek and silent lambs in the face of this energy slaughter.  Worse, when they do speak it is to usually to pander and try to appease offering proposals for things like carbon taxes or other non-remedies for a non-problem, essentially ceding the case to leftists.

Tom Harris of International Climate Science Coalition – Canada explains in his Financial Post article Tom Harris: The Tories should shape climate opinion, not just respond to it.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images from Friends of Science billboard campaign.

Grassroots conservatives need to ask CPC leadership candidates why, if they really support Canadian energy, they don’t contest climate alarmism

When CPC leadership candidates defend Canadian oil and gas, they either support, acquiesce to, or say nothing about the climate scare. PHOTO BY JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES

The common wisdom among candidates for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) is that the party must have a credible plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it is to have a fighting chance to form the next government. As former Quebec premier Jean Charest said in the Edmonton debate on May 11, “we will not be elected as a political party if we’re not credible” about putting a price on carbon for large emitters.

The strategists’ thinking is that, given current public support for reducing emissions to “stop climate change,” the CPC has no choice but to follow along or risk electoral defeat. And public opinion polls, like one from Abacus Data last October, do typically find that a majority of Canadians, in that poll 66 per cent, “would like to see governments in Canada put more emphasis on reducing emissions.”

[For the politics of climate polling see Uncensored: Canadians View Global Warming]

But the strategists are wrong. The candidates are giving up a golden opportunity to win the votes, not just of the many grassroots conservatives who oppose the climate scare,
but of Canadians at large in the next election.

A 2012 paper published in the journal Climatic Change suggests why. Three scholars — Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, Jason Carmichael of McGill and J. Craig Jenkins of Ohio State — looked at 74 separate surveys over a nine-year period to try to figure out which factors had the greatest influence on public views on climate change. They considered five possibilities: extreme weather events, scientific information, media coverage, advocacy, and what politicians and political parties were saying on the subject. Surprisingly, they found that neither extreme weather events nor the promulgation of scientific information had a significant impact. Media coverage did, but the strongest effect came from the positions of competing politicians and political parties.

When politicians across the political spectrum supported the narrative
of man-made climate change, the public’s demand for action rose.

We see that today in Canada, with all major political parties supporting action on greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, when politicians questioned the narrative, as Congressional Republicans frequently did, the public’s demand for action dropped — substantially. The scholars’ analysis supported the 2009 conclusion of Harvard University’s Susan McDonald that: “When elites have consensus, the public follows suit and the issue becomes mainstreamed.

When elites disagree, polarization occurs, citizens rely on other indicators
to make up their minds.”

These findings are consistent with other studies that have demonstrated the leading role politicians and political parties play in shaping public opinion on issues. It’s a little like the tail wagging the dog but public opinion supporting government climate policy seems at least partly due to the lack of coherent opposition to the policy on the part of opinion-makers — especially elected officials.

If that’s true, then instead of citing public opinion polls that support climate policies they may be skeptical of, why don’t politicians and political strategists work to change public opinion? As conservative strategist and former policy aide to Stephen Harper, Joseph Ben-Ami, put it in a 2021 study for ICSC-Canada: “The answer may come down to inexperienced politicians and their advisers not understanding their power to influence public opinion. They look at polls and conclude that they have no hope of getting elected unless they climb onto the current public opinion bandwagon.

They fail to understand that the reason the public believes what it does is largely because they (politicians) aren’t making the opposite case.”

This phenomenon is widespread in Canada, and on many topics, not just climate change. At all levels of government, politicians use language and promote policies they very likely disagree with because they think public opinion leaves them no choice. As Ben-Ami argues, the result is a “feedback loop” where politicians’ “response” to public opinion is in reality the principal driver of the public opinion to which they are supposedly responding. The more obsequious their responses, the more entrenched that public opinion becomes, which then results in even more obsequious responses from even more frightened politicians.

Climate activists don’t pull their punches. They want an end
to all of Canada’s oil and gas development as soon as possible.

And, sadly, they are being helped by many in the press, government and other institutions. But a fast phase-out would be immensely costly. Besides contributing $105 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2020, oil and gas provided $10 billion in average annual revenue to governments between 2017 and 2019. Yet, when CPC leadership candidates defend Canadian oil and gas, they either support, acquiesce to, or say nothing about the climate scare.

Grassroots conservatives need to ask the candidates why, if they really support Canadian energy, they don’t contest climate alarmism, which is by far the greatest threat to that energy.

Tom Harris is executive director of International Climate Science Coalition – Canada.

Footnote: 

The billboards are from a campaign to inform the public by Friends of Science, not to be confused with the predatory Fiends  Friends of the Earth in the UK.

Calgary Climate Change Billboard campaign shows
Five Key Points of Cli-Sci Uncertainty says Friends of Science

 

Hard Facts Puncture Anti-Fossil Fuel Fantasies

Gwyn Morgan explains at Financial Post Hard facts puncture anti-fossil fuel fantasies.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The belief that 84% of global energy supplied by oil and gas can be replaced by so-called ‘green energy’ is a fantasy

The marvelous Christmas movie Polar Express, starring the inimitable Tom Hanks, ends with the words “anything is possible, if you only believe.” Except, as adults understand, many things aren’t possible, not even if some people do believe them. An obvious example is the fantasy that the 84 per cent of global energy supplied by oil and gas can be replaced by so-called “green energy.”

Since the first UN COP (“Conference of the Parties”) meeting in 1995, world oil demand has increased from 64 to 100 million barrels per day. But even as demand increased, the “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) movement encouraged investors to unload their oil industry holdings. Faced with share valuations reflecting their perceived status as a “sunset Industry,” the rational course for oil company leaders was to pay out large dividends rather than reinvest in production growth. As demand grew, supply therefore stagnated. The Ukraine crisis revealed just how narrow the supply margin has become. Regrettably, most of that margin is in the hands of Vladimir Putin, leaving European countries that depend on Russian oil no choice but to continue to provide the funds with which he ravages the Ukrainian people.

This is the tragedy sanctimonious ESG zealots have wrought.

Meanwhile, back in the world capital of “if you only believe” fantasies, the prime minister of a country endowed with one of the world’s largest reserves of oil has presided over a seven-year long anti-oil industry scourge, thwarting multiple proposed export pipelines that could now have been supplying those captive market countries.

Sharing his anti-oil zealotry seems to be a necessary qualification for Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently went to Washington to present the Senate Energy Committee with plans to increase Canadian oil exports, thereby freeing-up more U.S. oil to help Europe reduce Russian oil purchases. The idea received a warm reception. Unfortunately, Kenney’s message was promptly contradicted by Federal Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who told the same committee that shifting to renewables and hydrogen “will provide true energy and national security to Europe.” In other words, don’t count on Canada to help de-fund Putin’s murderous war unless it lasts five or ten more years.

It’s incomprehensible that during a global oil and gas shortage brought on by the wanton destruction of a civilized democracy, our prime minister thinks all will be well if only Canada rids itself of fossil-fueled vehicles. Deep in delusion, he considers this a perfect time to announce a plan to have 60 per cent of new cars and light duty trucks be “zero emission” by 2030.

When you live in a perennial state of fantasy, facts don’t matter. But here are facts that do matter to Canadians forced to face the real-world impact.

Fact 1: High cost. The federal budget promises a $5000/vehicle rebate. There are 24 million gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles in Canada. Subsidizing replacement of just one million would cost $5 billion. The budget also contains $900 million for new charging stations. That’s helpful in urban centres but providing a charging station network necessary to allow e-vehicles to travel interurban highways would cost tens of billions more.

Fact 2: Revenue needs. The Trudeau government’s longer-term plan is to get rid of all fossil-fueled vehicles. Federal and provincial fuel taxes now total a stunning $22 billion each and every year. These revenues fund the cost of building and maintaining urban streets and highways. How long can it be before governments are forced to regain those revenues from electrical vehicle charging levies?

Fact 3: Grid stress. The average Canadian motorist drives 15,000 km per year and the average electric passenger vehicle uses 19 kw/hr per 100 km. That works out to 2,850 kw/hr per year, more than 25 per cent of current Canadian household consumption. Many of the country’s electrical generation and distribution grids are already near capacity. Electric vehicle advocates say the problem will be mitigated by mandating low amperage during off-peak, late-night hours. But most highway drivers travel during the day when the grid is near capacity. And they will need high-amperage DC quick-chargers during these already supply-tight hours.

Fact 4: Land demand. Refueling with gasoline or diesel takes around five minutes. But even rapid chargers need 30 minutes. That means six times more land occupied by charging stations. How much of that land will be taken from agricultural production?

Fact 5: More emissions, not fewer. Canada’s 24 million fossil-fueled cars and pickup trucks emit 14 per cent of the country’s 1.5 per cent share of global emissions. If all 24 million were converted to battery power, global emissions would be reduced by just two-tenths of one per cent. Emissions growth from China’s coal-fired power plants would offset that in just a few days. And that two-tenths of a per cent doesn’t count emissions produced from mining and transporting the materials that go into all those batteries. Nor does it consider that 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity is generated with fossil fuels.

Those factors clearly wipe out any benefit, unless we include the benefit that living a fantasy allows people, our leader included, not to have to think about all those Ukrainians we could have saved by helping Europe say “no” to Russia’s oil — if only our oil industry hadn’t been hamstrung.

 

 

 

 

The Looming Energy Catastrophe

Ron Stein provides a briefing from California on the energy debacle imposed by clueless political leaders on ordinary Americans.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds H/T CFACT

The Looming Energy Catastrophe

Please enjoy and share this educational energy literacy briefing, a 5-minute video by Costa Mesa Brief at a California Chevron gas station. The video talks about the outrageous gas prices and tells us what is behind the increases, where it is heading and what, if anything, we can do about it. I think you will find his no-nonsense approach and perspective unique, sobering and very informative.

The video explains the impact on fuel prices from California government-imposed reductions in the supply chain of crude oil has increased imported crude oil from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to more than 60% today of total consumption. Biden’s pledge stating, “we are going to get rid of fossil fuels,” is impacting fuel prices.

At today’s price of crude oil well above $100 per barrel, the imported crude oil costs California more than $150 million dollars a day, yes, everyday, being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, depriving Californians of jobs and business opportunities, and forcing drivers to pay premium prices for fuel.

Californians are consuming more than 50 million gallons of fuel daily for its 35 million vehicles, which is slightly more than one gallon per day per vehicle.

Californians continue to pay more than $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country primarily for the State, Federal and Local taxes, and the Government environmental compliance programs such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), Cap and Trade, Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and the Underground Storage Tax. Those costs ‘dumped” onto the posted price at the pump are not transparent to the public.

The demand for fuels to move the heavy-weight and long-range needs of more than 50,000 jets for the military, commercial, private and the President’s Air Force One, and the more than 50,000 merchant ships that move products throughout the world are also manufactured from the supply of crude oil.

Life Without Oil is NOT AS SIMPLE AS YOU MAY THINK as renewable energy is only intermittent electricity from breezes and sunshine as NEITHER wind turbines nor solar panels can manufacture anything for society. Climate change may impact humanity, but being mandated to live without the more than 6,000 products and the various fuels manufactured from crude oil will necessitate lifestyles being mandated back to the horse and buggy days of the 1800’s.

When the public continues to demand increasing needs for the transportation fuels and the products made from crude oil, limiting its supply by governments and the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) movement to manufacture those items is a guarantee for today’s shortages and inflation.

Life without crude oil could be the greatest threat to civilization’s eight billion residents, resulting in billions of fatalities from diseases, malnutrition, and weather-related deaths.

G7 Ministers Pledge Energy Hari-Kari

G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué, Berlin, May 27th, 2022

Excerpts in italics with my bolds

Recognising that accelerating the international clean energy transition and phasing out continued global investment in the unabated fossil fuel sector is essential to keep a limit of 1.5 °C temperature rise within reach, we commit to end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022, except in limited circumstances clearly defined by each country that are consistent with a 1.5 °C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement. (pg. 33)

We note with concern the scale of private finance currently still supporting non-Paris aligned activities especially in the fossil fuel sector. (pg. 22)

We are thus further strengthened in our resolve to accelerate the clean energy transition towards a net zero emissions future by 2050, while also keeping energy security and affordability at the core of our action, including through the rapid expansion of low-carbon and renewable energies and an increase in energy efficiency.  (pg. 29)

In this regard, we acknowledge the IEA net zero scenario which suggests that G7 economies
invest at least US$1.3 trillion in renewable energy including tripling investments in clean
power and electricity networks between 2021 and 2030. (pg. 31)

We confirm our strong financial commitments for the market ramp-up of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen and its derivatives, thereby signalling an irreversible shift towards a world economy based on low carbon and renewable energy sources. (pg. 31)

In view of the Russian attack on Ukraine, financial support for companies and citizens affected by severely rising prices for fossil fuels is now on the political agenda for several countries. Nevertheless, we aim for our relief measures to be temporary and targeted and we reaffirm our commitment to the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. (pg. 32)

We also highlight that we have ended new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal-fired power generation by the end of 2021, including through Official Development Assistance, export finance, investment, and financial and trade promotion support. (pg. 33)

We commit to increase national efforts to decarbonise building heating and cooling systems by using appropriate policy tools, including regulations and incentives, with the ultimate objective of transitioning away from fossil fuels. (pg. 37)

This will also guide our approach in public finance institutions and on the boards of MDBs and bilateral DFIs. We therefore call on other major economies, the MDBs and bilateral DFIs, multilateral funds, public banks and relevant agencies to also adopt these commitments. We commit to review our progress against our commitments. (pg. 33)

(Note: Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), Development finance institution (DFIs)

See also Michael Kelly on Energy Utopias and Engineering Realities synopsis Kelly’s Climate Clarity

And Dieter Helm Seeking Climate and Energy Security

West’s Obsession with EV Tech Puts China in World Driver Seat

James Kennedy explains the dangerous slide in his presentation Critical Materials
The New Tool of Global Hegemony.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T Mark Krebs

This presentation outlines the vast disconnect between green technology goals and the anticipated compounding economic consequences of finite resources.
♦  Begin by assessing resources and the challenges associated with the Administration’s             limited goal of replacing the internal combustion engine.
♦  Expose who leads in resource production
♦  Reveal who leads in research, IP, control over finished materials and estimated
resource demand

♦  Consider the asymmetric geopolitical consequences
♦  Consider the consequences of compounding renewables (wind & solar), energy                   distribution and grid-storage demand on these limited resources.

To enlarge, open image in new tab.

♦ Most of the critical technology metals make up less than .003% of the earth’s crust.
♦ They tend to be present in measurements of parts per million.
♦ They tend to be tied up in much more complex mineralization’s.
♦ Extracting them requires mining and refining facilities that cost billions of dollars.
♦ The extraction process requires lots of energy and complex chemical processes.
♦ These processes pose environmental problems of their own.

As you can see from the red arrows,  China controls most of these elements and critical materials at the point of refined materials, metals, alloys and magnets.  Recent production from California’s Mt. Pass mine goes to China for refining and metal / magnet production.

China’s state sponsored subsidies and internal tax advantages make U.S. production of rare earth metals and magnets non-competitive. This is also true for refined cobalt and many other critical materials and components like anodes and cathodes for batteries.

China’s production capacity for these materials and components dwarfs the rest of the world – exceeding global demand in many cases.

Conclusion:

This rush to zero carbon is driven by short term private interests leveraging fears of global warming that conflate with larger ideological agendas.
Things will go wrong, there will be multiple train wrecks.

Potential Winners: China, natural gas producers, mining companies that supply China, flim-flam renewable / green tech / green energy project promoters, 1% or less of the U.S. & EU population.

Potential Losers: 99% of U.S. & EU population, legacy and residual manufacturing industries, the financial system and the U.S. dollar as its status as world reserve currency evaporates.

Potential Black Swan Outcomes
Upside: Material Science Breakthroughs solve the problem
Downside: Forfeiture of Western Economic Relevance

My Comment:

As posted previously, this drive to reduce carbon-based energy is absurd, costly and pointless.

Absurd, because there is no reliable data showing anything in our climate or weather outside historical ranges of variation.

Costly, because proposed remedies including “green energy” and electric vehicles serve only to make affordable reliable energy expensive and intermittent.  In addition  as demonstrated above, the tech depends on the rarest, most precious and environmentally damaging materials.

Pointless, because we do not control the weather anyway.

High time to unplug the EV illusion and back away from the social and economic cliff.

See also: Electric Car Lie Exposed

If That Tesla Battery Could Talk