Beware Moving Climate Goalposts

Benjamin Zycher sounds the warning in his Real Clear Energy article Will the Climate Industry Move the Goalposts Again? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Global temperature was on course to meet the 2-degree target without any emissions cuts.

The international climate alarmist industry comprises a number of special interests. There are the activists, fundamentally anti-human and deeply disingenuous, demanding that billions of the global poor suffer and die in order that the planet be “saved.” There are the “experts” in pursuit of bigger budgets and “research” grants. There are the editors of the peer-reviewed journals, transforming “science” into a propaganda exercise. There are the bureaucrats massively expanding their budgets and powers, the politicians seeking to transfer ever more wealth, and the journalists desperate to produce clickbait even as they remain invincible in their ignorance.

There are the official “environmental” groups whose business model is the use of political, regulatory, and judicial processes to steal other people’s property. There are the foundation officials writing checks in hot pursuit of invitations to the right cocktail parties. There are the Hollywood airheads addicted to thunderous applause on the red carpets. Don’t forget the corporate gasbags myopic, ignorant, incapable of ideological battle, and so naïve as actually to believe that they can placate the environmental Left. There are the international organizations striving toward utopia through ever-greater coercion. And – of course – there are the innumerable useful idiots engaged in virtue-signaling.

Yes, it is a diverse group indeed, but its members share two habits. The first is a common (but not universal) reluctance to confront the evidence on the nonexistent climate problem emergency crisis catastrophe apocalypse. Many scientists and policy scholars have discussed the fundamental inconsistency between the mainstream climate “existential threat” narrative and the actual evidence on climate phenomena. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 5th (page 12-78) and 6th (page 12-115) assessment reports, is deeply dubious about the various severe effects – the horror stories – often asserted to be looming as impacts of anthropogenic (man-made) warming, particularly over the course of this century, the maximum time horizon that plausibly can be described as foreseeable.

The second is the purported limit on warming asserted to be necessary for global “safety,” a parameter that has been driven almost wholly by the political needs of the climate industry, and virtually not at all by “science.” Put aside the fact that the official “safety” limit shunts aside the distinction between natural and anthropogenic temperature trends; the climate industry simply asserts that all warming is anthropogenic. That is why it has not attempted to explain – for example – the sharp warming that occurred from 1910 to 1945, which could not have been caused by increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG), principally carbon dioxide, which changed only from about 300 ppm to 310 ppm over that period. It is clear that some of the recent warming is anthropogenic, some is natural, and no one knows the respective magnitudes.

Recall from 2009 the official safe limit on warming: 2°C above pre-industrial levels, as decreed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen. That limit was repeated endlessly by all of the usual suspects; and the “pre-industrial” base period has been defined, reasonably, as the 1850–1900 time frame, that is, the decades immediately following the end of the little ice age. Can it surprise anyone that some warming would follow that period?

Unfortunately for the climate alarmists, the satellite temperature data are not cooperating with the “science.”

On average the climate models underlying the most recent (6th) IPCC assessment report predict 0.4°C of warming per decade for the period 1979–2019, and 0.5°C of warming per decade for 2019–2050, or, crudely, about 4–5°C of warming over the course of a century. The actual warming record as measured by the satellites for 1979–2019: 0.16°C per decade, or about 1.6°C per century. (The weather balloon measurements are virtually identical.)

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

Accordingly, the actual data have created a massive problem for the climate industry: They suggest strongly that the 2°C “safety” limit will be achieved without any climate change/GHG policies at all. Unless the satellite data can be shown to be wrong – a task essentially impossible – the only option available to rescue the climate industry and its massive funding, perquisites, and powers is a change to the asserted “safety” limit.

Which is precisely what the climate industry has done. As of 2015, the safety limit now is 1.5°C, as the UNFCCC made clear:

“The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate.”

Yes, the IPCC, in a deeply dubious study, has moved the goalposts. The supreme silliness of that report is illustrated by its assertion (page 18) that as of 2018, “pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C … show clear emission reductions by 2030.” In other words, we – the developed and the less-developed economies – had better get moving on serious reductions in GHG emissions over the next eight years, and this time we mean it. Note that for 1990–2019, annual global GHG emissions (Table B.1) grew by over 58 percent, and almost 13 percent for 2010–2019.

Let us consider now the latest satellite temperature data through December 2021: Since 1979, the average increase (“anomaly”) in the land/ocean temperature trend has been 0.14°C per decade, or about 1.4°C over the course of a century. Accordingly, the latest data remain inconsistent with the average of the climate models, and in particular continue to suggest that over the course of this century even the new, lower “safety” limit on global temperature increases might be achieved if there occurs a substantial cooling period, a phenomenon that is very far from implausible.

And so the climate alarmists cannot rest: They cannot risk an outcome in which even the new “safety” limit might be achieved without (forced) reductions in international GHG emissions. Because they obviously cannot wait until there is a cooling period, it is wholly reasonable to hypothesize that the “safety” limit will be reduced yet again. How this will be justified politically is far from clear – first the 2°C and then the 1.5°C safety limits received enormous publicity – and deep public skepticism about yet another movement of the goalposts would be a certainty. And so the justifications – the horror stories, the imminent arrival of the apocalypse, the mass die-offs purportedly already in process, the need for immediate capitulation to the demands of the climate industry, the denunciations of dissenters, etc. – will increase exponentially in decibel level, shrillness, and utter irrationality.

The admonitions and hysteria already are becoming ever louder. This reality is illustrated by the recent decision by Google to demonetize the most important science website reporting the monthly satellite temperature data – no, I am not kidding – because of “unreliable and harmful claims.” That is the Google characterization of two scientists – John R. Christy and Roy W. Spencer – and a website that has simply reported the satellite temperature record since 1979! In short, Google now is censoring the actual science in an effort to prop up the climate industry.

In its own way this process will be supremely amusing. But what else can the climate industry do to save the planet, and its own interests, and not necessarily in that order?

Footnote on Carbon Budgeting

People who take to the streets with signs forecasting doom in 11 or 12 years have fallen victim to IPCC 450 and 430 scenarios. For years activists asserted that warming from pre industrial can be contained to 2C if CO2 concentrations peak at 450 ppm. Last year, the SR1.5 lowered the threshold to 430 ppm, thus the shortened timetable for the end of life as we know it.  Fuller explanation at posts I Want You Not to Panic.  and Greta’s Spurious “Carbon Budget”

 

Sane vs. Stupid Energy Policies

Gene Yaw writes at Real Clear Energy What Critics Get Wrong About Energy Choice.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Last month, seven environmental groups wrote a misguided letter to Philadelphia officials bashing legislation that I sponsored as counterintuitive to the city’s decarbonization goals.

In October, six Democrats, including two from the southeast corner of the state, joined all 28 Republicans and our chamber’s lone Independent to approve Senate Bill 275. That’s a veto proof majority, for those counting.

Why? Because the bill’s purpose is simple: it prevents Pennsylvania’s 2,500-plus municipalities from banning access to certain utilities, like natural gas or heating oil. This will preserve consumer access to affordable electricity, no matter where they live, and prevent a chaotic patchwork of regulations that ultimately undermine statewide environmental and energy policies.

It also reaffirms what many local and statewide officials, including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, already understand to be true: municipalities do not have the authority to restrict energy sources.

What the bill does not do is prevent Philadelphia City Council from pursuing its goal to retrofit all publicly owned buildings to reduce emissions 50% over the next decade. It’s not just about ripping out gas lines and oil tanks and installing heat pumps instead. Reducing electricity usage – through upgraded windows, roofs and insulation – is also a crucial piece of the puzzle.

The aforementioned environmental groups said that SB 275 will eliminate any hope of Philadelphia reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. Which begs the question, if the only way to achieve decarbonization is by indiscriminatingly banning utilities deemed “dirty” and “bad,” is that even a good plan? Isn’t there an old adage forewarning the danger of putting all your eggs in one basket?

Banning specific fuel sources in pursuit of “clean energy” makes zero sense in Philadelphia and beyond. First, clean energy is a misnomer. There’s simply no such thing. Even if we shuttered every coal and gas plant across the world tomorrow and began a frantic campaign to install wind and solar farms in their place, we’d need to cover about 1.8 million square kilometers of land and coastline to replace the lost capacity.

And we would need fossil fuels to produce all of those solar panels and wind turbines. Just like we need oil and gas to create and distribute nearly every product we use every single day, from the medications we take to the clothes we wear to the packaging we use to preserve our food. To assume that banning fossil fuels will only impact emissions and electricity prices is to ignore the intricate web that is our economy.

Besides, the city doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s connected to a vast, 13-state power grid called PJM, that manages the safe and reliable flow of electricity for 65 million people from Chicago to Washington D.C. and many places in between.

PJM’s operators ensure that its network of transmission lines and generation facilities work in tandem every minute of the day, preventing system overloads that could trigger massive utility failures and inflict untold suffering on millions in its territory. So, if electricity demand spikes in Philadelphia, but environmental policies have forced fossil fuel plants into nonexistence, there are fewer reliable energy sources to shoulder the burden.

 

A similar story unfolded in Texas in February when an unprecedented winter storm froze generators and rendered solar and wind farms useless, leaving more than 4 million residents without power or water for days. More than 200 people died amid the chaos. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s grid operator, promised to winterize its system to harden it against future storms, but the damage was done. The rest of the nation should take note: a diversified and robust grid is key to preventing systemwide catastrophes.

Which brings me back to the idea of banning access to fossil fuels. If we are willing to sacrifice our food, clothing, shelter and transportation, doing so might eliminate some carbon emissions in the United States. Globally, U.S. emissions equal about half of what China produces on an annual basis, according to 2018 figures. The annual combined emissions from the other three top polluting nations – India, Russia and Japan – would likewise take our place.

Then there’s the emissions from sources we can’t always control: volcanic eruptions, livestock, forest fires. Or the damage caused by human activity like deforestation and degenerative agriculture. Even if the United States found a solution to every single unsustainable practice that critics say contributes to climate change, the rest of the world’s leading nations aren’t following suit.

So what do these groups really want from the city? They want officials to take a sledgehammer to our carefully planned and managed power grid, collapse our economy and leave Pennsylvanians with higher electric bills, fewer jobs and unreliable utilities. All for the sake of reducing carbon emissions that will be offset by the rest of world, in perpetuity.

Protecting energy choices for consumers means that residents can pursue “cleaner” electricity sources if they want to or can afford to, while not punishing those who don’t have the option. SB 275 isn’t about protecting special interests – what does a senator from Williamsport owe to Philadelphia’s gas utility?

What I do care about is promoting sound energy policy that doesn’t leave others behind for the constant pursuit of ideological purity, no matter how impractical or impossible or harmful it is for the very people such policies purport to help.

Senator Gene Yaw was elected to represent the 23rd Senatorial District consisting of Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Union Counties and a portion of Susquehanna County. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Pushback on Corrosive Energy Idiocy

Congressman Byron Donalds excoriates the House Oversight and Reform Committee for biting the hands that energize the nation in the five minutes allowed him in video below.  (The settings button on the video allows you to turn on subtitles). For those who prefer reading, my transcript (lightly edited) follows in italics with my bolds and added images.

Chair: The gentleman from Florida Mr. Donalds is recognized for five minutes.

Donalds: Thank you Madam Chair and first of all to the witnesses, the the leaders of Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell, I know that the climate activists are in twitter world which Dave Chappelle says doesn’t exist. And he’s right because it’s just people who have nothing better to do but type on their keyboards. And we do it too here in congress.

But let’s be very clear. You deserve an apology, because what I witnessed today was just rank intimidation by the chair of this committee, trying to get you to pledge on what you’re going to spend your money, is a gross violation of the first amendment. Just because we’re members of congress, and we’ve got microphones and we passed laws, does not mean that we also have the ability to infringe on your ability to organize, whether it’s API or anybody else, or what you choose to spend your money on. It is disgusting, absolutely disgusting. Somebody needs to go call Merrick Garland to tell them to get in here and watch the intimidation that came from this very panel today.

Because this is not about defending big oil or defending big anything; it’s about defending the ability of people in our country to be free to say what they want, think what they want, spend their money how they choose. And if we’re not going to be any better than the Chinese, how do we ever expect to beat them on the world stage? When we’re cutting our neck when it comes to energy production, while they are burning more coal, burning more oil. They’re increasing their emissions and they’re not showing up in Scotland. And why not?

Because they’re interested in building an economy; they’re interested in becoming the dominant economic player across the globe, in becoming the dominant military player across the globe.

Meanwhile we joke around and mess around intimidating you guys who frankly heat our homes, you cool our fridges and keep our cars going. This is insane. So I’m sorry for you and I’m sorry for the people in our country who have to witness shenanigans like this and witness circuses like this.

One show on HBO or whatever it is, is called the circus because that’s exactly what this is. Madam Chair, I’m requesting that a letter be entered into the record. This is a letter written by ranking member Comer and the other ranking members on this committee that actually speaks to the chilling effect that has come from you Madam Chair, asking you to stop intimidating companies, requesting information that is their first amendment right to have. I ask that letter be admitted into the record under unanimous consent

Chair: Without objection.

Donalds: Thank you Madam Chair.

I have a question for Mr. Sommers, now that we’re done with that. Mr. Sommers, it was asked of the executives if they believe in electronic vehicles. And it’s a noble goal to have, but Mr. Sommers: Where does the energy for electricity production actually come from?

Mike Sommers, President, American Petroleum Institute: Thank you congressman. Before I address that question, I do want to clear up one thing. Having a difference of views on electric vehicles is not climate disinformation. We as an organization support all forms of energy. We support the rapid advancement of electronic vehicles as well. But at the same time we don’t agree that the federal government should be the ones funding the build out of that infrastructure. As we built out service stations across the country, those service stations have been developed not by the federal government but by private industry. And members on this panel themselves are investing in building out that infrastructure, as is appropriate for the private sector.

First of all your question is very very important, which is: Where does that energy come from? In the United States most of the energy comes from natural gas. It has replaced coal as the primary source of energy in this country.

Donalds: Let me ask you this question as a follow-up. So if we don’t have natural gas, and obviously the democrats are against coal, where would we actually get the electricity to power all of these electric cars?

Sommers: Well congressman for most countries, and certainly for the United States, there would be likely be a fuel switch back from natural gas to coal.

Donalds: So real quick Mr. Sommers, I don’t mean to cut you off, because you make a great point, but I have 30 seconds. It is important for the American people to understand that if you follow the idiocy that’s in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, it is going to make natural gas harder to procure. We’re actually not going to have lower emissions we’re going to have higher emissions because you’re going to have to switch back to coal fire plants.

And just for the record let’s also say the world will always demand energy. if you’re not getting it from us, where we actually do it more safely and more cleanly, you’ll get it from Russia or from China. And they don’t care what the climate activists have to say on twitter.

I yield the floor.

 

Leftist Energy Ignorance Abounds

Leftists are recognized by having three personality traits:  Know-it-alls, Drama Queens and Control Freaks.  The latest example is Liz Warren blaming rising fuel prices on energy producers rather than on her favored restrictive energy policies.  An article schooling the senator and her constituents is published at the Delaware Valley Journal PA Energy Pros Dismiss Liz Warren’s Complaints: ‘It’s Econ 101, Not Rocket Science’.  H/T Tyler Durden Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s latest attempt to “turn up the heat” on the energy sector sparked a backlash from industry leaders who say the real problem comes from policies the Massachusetts’ Democrat has endorsed.

In recent letters to natural gas producers, Warren blasted what she called their “corporate greed” and demanded an explanation for the record exports of natural gas at the same time prices are rising in the U.S.

Warren wants the industry to respond to questions about “the extent to which these price increases are being driven by energy companies’ corporate greed and profiteering as they moved record amounts of U.S. gas out of the country,” she wrote.

She got a response, but not the one she demanded.

Leaders in the natural gas sector responded with a letter of their own, dismissing Warren’s comments as a diversion, one intended to distract consumers from the impact of the energy policies she’s championed.

“This a misguided and headline-grabbing ploy,” says David E. Callahan, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC).

“If she knows anything about these highly complex energy markets, she must know what’s really going on here,” added Callahan, who co-authored a response letter alongside the leaders of the Gas & Oil Association of West Virginia (GO-WV), and Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA). “It’s a commodity market, prices ebb and flow, and the market is responding to those signals.

Warren is an aggressive supporter of the Green New Deal, which would drastically restrict the production of oil and natural gas. In her state of Massachusetts, policies blocking the expansion of natural gas pipelines have resulted in Russian LNG tankers in Boston Harbor bringing fuel to the Bay State.

“She has her constituents to represent and her political affiliation to support,” said Charlie Burd, executive director of GO-WV. “But to be perfectly honest, I just think those comments almost show a complete lack of understanding on how energy is explored for, produced, and transported in this country.”

And those constituents are paying the price, according to Callahan.

“Number one, her region has very high energy costs, and her region is severely capacity-constrained when it comes to pipeline infrastructure,” Callahan said. “A Carnegie Mellon study from within the year pointed out that due to those pipeline constraints, customers in the New England region paid upwards of $1.8 billion in excess energy costs during just one month in 2014.”

“It’s really supply and demand 101,” added Burd. “It’s not rocket science.”

Republican National Committee spokesperson Allie Carroll said Warren’s latest attempt to blame energy companies for the results of Biden and Democrats’ war on energy is an insult to hardworking Pennsylvanians.

“From canceling the Keystone XL pipeline to stripping away our energy independence, Democrats’ reckless anti-energy policies are crippling our country, and turn after turn, Pennsylvania families are paying the price.”

Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas, and attacks on the industry have an impact on the state’s economy.

“Hostility toward the fossil fuel industry ill-serves the American people, including Pennsylvanians who sit atop huge natural gas and coal deposits that provide plentiful and affordable energy to millions of people,” said Gordon Tomb, a senior fellow at Commonwealth Foundation. “The benefits of these resources can hardly be overstated: well-paying jobs and prosperity as well as a foundation for all kinds of business activity and energy security.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz also pushed back on Warren’s approach.

“The ground under Pennsylvania and surrounding states has almost as much natural gas as Saudi Arabia that is readily accessible through fracking,” Oz said. “We should be using this to make our nation safer, create jobs, and less dependent on China. As the Senator for Pennsylvania, I will fight against any effort to destroy Pennsylvania’s energy leadership and the jobs it supports.”

Meanwhile, Europe is facing fuel scarcity as winter approaches and some of the nations are turning back to coal to meet immediate demands. American exports are vital, experts say.

“Our friends and allies in Europe and Asia, they need natural gas and for a whole host of reasons including over-reliant policies on intermittent renewables,” says Callahan. “The wind is not blowing as hard as they expected it to this year, they find themselves in need of natural gas, and so we’ve been shipping some gas overseas to supply those markets and help our friends.”

Frank Macchiarola, American Petroleum Institute (API) Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, also has a message for U.S. policymakers.

“They play a critical role in spurring long-term investment in U.S. natural gas supplies as well as expanded pipeline capacity to deliver the energy America and the world needs while driving down emissions,” says Macchiarola. “Rising natural gas costs reflect an imbalance between supply and demand that is exacerbated in regions like the northeast due to added state-level policy restrictions on building much-needed gas infrastructure that has made the region more reliant on foreign imports.”

Callahan believes Warren should “support infrastructure expansion” to get product where it is needed, domestically and globally.

“We felt the need to set the record straight, that the rhetoric is dangerous,” said Callahan.

 

Covid/Climate Prigs Are Out to Spoil Your Days

Christopher Gage writes at Oxford Sour Bay of Prigs.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Enamoured by lockdown, the puritans wish for a perma-pandemic in which no-one, nowhere, will be happy.

Not content with dying their hair green and punching steel through their nostrils, progressives here in Great Britain have proposed something rather more exquisitely demented than their usual fare.

The Independent, a kind of Guardian for actors manqué and Cluster B personalities, those who suffer from fictitious ailments of which ‘the doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong,’ asks, ‘Should Everyone Have a Personal Carbon Quota?’

Helpfully, the newspaper lays out exactly what a Carbon Quota would entail.

It begins: “Your home, sometime in the next decade. You click the heating on and receive an app notification telling you how much of your carbon allowance you’ve used today.

“Outside in the drive, your car’s fuel is linked to the same account. In the fridge, the New Zealand lamb you’ve bought has cost not just pounds and pence but a chunk of this monthly emissions budget too.

“Welcome to the world of personal carbon allowances – a concept that is increasingly gaining traction among experts as a possible response to the climate crisis.”

Curiously, this all sounds like one’s entire life would be recorded and regulated and monitored and meddled with by politicians who’ll punish or praise, all in pursuit of a vague utopia. Sounds familiar.

According to my Carbon Quota, I could live happily and healthily, provided I die next Tuesday at noon.

If I were to stay on this planet and offend Mother Nature with my presence, I’d have to limit myself to half a cigarette per day, a slither of ribeye per week, and one soupçon of red wine per month. Such a paltry regimen would dissolve around 90% of my personality.

Besides, Tuesday is no day to die. Especially before the 4 p.m. happy hour.

Perhaps, I could time it just right. I’ll prop up a stool in my favourite dive bar, and impart everything I’d like to say but avoid saying in fear of social ostracization.

I could say that there is a biological reason why women aren’t funny. I could say that, on balance, the British Empire was a good thing, and that anyone whinging about ‘cultural appropriation’ seldom has any culture worth appropriating. I could say, with conviction, that the Jews obviously don’t secretly run the world because if they did, the world would be far closer to utopia than it is now. I could suggest that those who play music on public transport, indeed—in public—should be hung, drawn, and quartered for the benefit of the gene pool. I could say all this before shuffling off into the light.

(If my girlfriend—whose people have won a fifth of all Nobel Prizes despite being 0.2% of the world population—objects, then I’m sorry… I’m saving the planet, darling.)

You can define the confidence of a culture by the pettiness of its laws.

I’d rather shuffle off than live in a world in which one’s social status is tied to one’s ability to pretend falafel is edible, to one’s withering body. I’d rather that than live in a world in which the prigs and puritans, those weird kids from school with ‘Free Da Weed’ Sharpied on their hemp rucksacks, have won the final victory over everyone else. A world in which every consideration is now suffixed with ‘to save the planet.’

We shouldn’t feign surprise. A stubborn one-third of any population harbours latent authoritarian tendencies. All they need is a little nudge and a wink from someone in a lab coat or a pinstripe suit.

Over the last twenty months, we’ve given them plenty to chew on. We’ve sacralised Crab Mentality—that depressingly human tendency to pull down others into the soup of conformity. For many, this pandemic has been the time of their lives. They’ve enjoyed grassing on neighbours, posting their vaccine statuses, their three-mask chic. Don’t mention that sensible Sweden got it right. Don’t mention that lockdown only delays the inevitable, to great human cost. Don’t mention the fatal link between obesity and Covid deaths.

They’d love life in Austria, where the government has mandated a Western first—forcible vaccination for every citizen.

What a time to be alive. This pandemic has valorised negative personality traits. Back in the Old Normal, high neuroticism combined with high agreeableness meant you’d spend your days siphoning your biography for ‘trauma’ to weaponize against the world. Now, it’s a plus. Like Woke intellectuals, the neurotics mistake their personal problems for societal problems.

I assumed a majority of Britons would, like me, rather chew on a glass vial labelled ‘Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ than consider medical apartheid. Nope.

According to YouGov, six in ten Britons support the introduction of a ‘papers, please’ society—vaccine passports.

That’s despite vaccines blunting Covid’s ability to hospitalise and kill, but not its ability to spread—rendering vaccine passports both pointless and poisonous.

Of course, the usual disclaimer applies just in case anyone of a progressive bent is reading: I’m not saying it’s Nazi Germany, but it’s quite clear how totalitarian regimes slip into power with little resistance.

A recent survey in The Economist made for terrifying reading: forty percent wanted masks forever; a quarter wanted to shut down nightclubs and casinos; another third wanted socially-distanced pubs and clubs and theatres; a hefty rump wanted a 10 p.m. curfew, and one-third said anyone coming into this country should be quarantined, like a dog, for ten days. And they wanted all this lunacy indefinitely, Covid or not.

Perhaps that explains why the eco-loons can air with confidence the drudgery they wish to impose upon everyone else. Not a day goes by without some middle-class Insulate Britain bobo blocking the motorway or making ‘demands’ upon the government to act on the ‘climate crisis’.

What nobody asks is how any of this nonsense would make any difference given that Great Britain contributes less than one percent of global carbon emissions. Those who follow The Science don’t cotton on when last week’s gospel morphs into this week’s heresy.

What happens when we reach Net Zero and the weather doesn’t change? I can only guess… ‘That wasn’t real Net-Zero. Real Net-Zero has never been tried.’

They don’t ask such obvious questions because the answer is obvious: they don’t care about all that. As Mencken wrote, they’re governed by the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

That’s the problem with do-gooding. There’s always more good to do.

 

Brits Run Con Game at Glasgow COP

Doomsday was predicted but failed to happen at midnight.

Vijay Jayaraj explains in his Real Clear Energy article COP26’s UK Hosts Peddle Climate Misinformation.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As hosts of the Glasgow COP26 climate conference, UK leaders were models for the meeting’s steady stream of misinformation and fearmongering that came from the likes of Barack Obama and Greta Thunberg.

The clock on the doomsday device is still ticking, but we’ve got a bomb disposal team on site,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “They’re starting to snip the wires – I hope some of the right ones.” If the specter of catastrophic global warming is not sufficiently scary, how about the image of an explosion?

As for misinformation, Boris claimed that “India (is) keeping a billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere by switching half its power grid to renewable sources.”

Actually, India is increasing emissions, not reducing them.

The country is determined to raise coal production by 50 percent — from 700 million tons to 1 billion tons a year. The country has invested heavily in the coal sector and is asking coal utilities to implement fresh strategies to achieve the new target.

Also, the claim of India’s power grid being 50 percent renewables is misleading. While the total installed renewable capacity is around 40 percent out of the total installed power generation systems in the country, only nine percent of all electricity consumed comes from wind and solar because the so-called green technologies are available much less than are baseload sources. Seventy percent of all electricity comes from coal, followed by hydroelectric and nuclear. Even if wind and solar ever achieve 80 percent of total installed capacity, the actual generation from them would be less than 20 percent.

Also, there is no imminent threat from the climate as Boris so dramatically claims. Certainly not anything thing like a ticking bomb. Antarctica has been colder during the last four years, polar bears have thrived, islands are gaining land mass, and fewer people die from climate disasters than ever before.

Of course, understanding these realities requires unbiased research of data, which seems to be too much of a bother for Boris Johnson. Perhaps, the prime minister’s aides could read him page 256 of the United Nation’s special report, “Global Warming of 1.5°C.”

The report states that if we do nothing on climate, the subsequent theoretical increase of 3.66°C in temperature by the year 2100 will cost a meager 2.6 percent of the global gross domestic product — a loss that gives no reason to panic nor any justification to declare a climate emergency. And that is assuming UN projections are not overstated, which they often are.

To balance the scare tactics of the prime minister, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak employed alluring cliches to promote the financing of climate polices. “We’re talking about making a tangible difference to people’s lives,” said the chancellor. “About cheap, reliable and clean electricity to power schools and hospitals in rural Africa. About better coastal defenses in the Philippines and the pacific islands to protect people from storm surges. About everyone, everywhere having fresher water to drink…cleaner air to breathe.”

Instead of real-world data, the chancellor uses high-sounding language as poetic musical prelude and endnote to sell his vision of spending money on climate policies for a supposedly better world. He ignores that more people in the world have better access to clean water than ever before in modern history. The share of global population with access to safe drinking water went up from around 60 percent in the year 2000 to around 73 percent in 2020 despite a rapid increase in population and growing groundwater problems in cities.

Our World in DataImage: Improvement in access to clean water globally, Source: https://ourworldindata.org/water-access

Western economies — Europe, UK, and U.S. — that have been dependent on fossil fuels boast some of the cleanest air in the world today. This is because fossil fuels provide the fastest creation of wealth, which can be spent on reducing pollution. Average life expectancy in the world went up from just 45 in 1950 to 71 in recent years. These are all markers of improvement, not degradation.

When it comes to extreme weather events, there has been no increase in the global tropical hurricane frequency, a fact that is conveniently overlooked by leaders like Sunak when they bemoan storms in cyclone-prone regions of the world.

Global Hurricane Frequency — 12-month running sums. The top time series is the number of global tropical cyclones that reached at least hurricane-force (maximum lifetime wind speed exceeds 64 knots). The bottom time series is the number of global tropical cyclones that reached major hurricane strength (96 knots+). Source: http://climatlas.com/tropical/

If the chancellor really intends to provide affordable and reliable energy to the poor in Africa, then fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydro are the only probable solutions. Wind and solar are unreliable, and available battery technologies are simply not viable for on-demand baseload.

For those who care about facts, it is frustrating to have media-enabled leaders utter absurdities with few holding them to account. Billions of energy-starved people deserve better.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Va., and holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, England. He resides in Bengaluru, India.

Don’t Forget Biden’s War on Energy Producers

Hugo Gurdon writes at Washington Examiner that  Biden Hopes You Forget His War on US Energy Producers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Joe Biden’s decision to order the Federal Trade Commission to investigate high gasoline prices and see if Big Oil is manipulating them prompts an ironic chuckle, for it is perfectly emblematic of this presidency. It is calculated to suggest concern about a widely felt problem without actually giving two hoots about it except insofar as it might do serious electoral damage to the party of the Left.

Since their drubbing in the Virginia governor’s race and elsewhere on Nov. 2, panicky Democrats have scrambled to create the illusion that they’re still in touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. Biden touts his Build Back Better — or is it Bankrupt? — welfare plan as a “blue-collar blueprint” for prosperity. Translation: Hey, little people, I’ve got your back. The hapless veep nods toward government’s need to hear everyone’s voice. Translation: We don’t think you’re deplorables.

Uh-huh.

And now, because everyone notices and dislikes rising pump prices, Biden wants to persuade us saps to disregard Occam’s razor and believe corporate baddies are to blame, not his mismanagement and cheek-by-jowl adherence to the Left’s anti-energy agenda.

The reality is that Biden and his minions have waged war on domestic energy producers since his first day as president. Even now, he is doing his best to foist a comptroller of the currency onto the nation who explicitly calls for the ruin of oil companies, saying she wants them to “go bankrupt.”

Prices are soaring because demand outstrips supply, and several of the reasons can be laid at Biden’s door.

He’s weakened the supply chain, discouraged domestic production in part by raising costs, and failed to persuade Russia, the Saudis, and others to bail him out with more output. (He begged them to increase production — another national embarrassment — which would substitute dirty overseas output for the world’s most regulated and cleanest production here at home. So much for concern about greenhouse gas emissions).

The problem for Biden is that sleight of hand, extra PR, and frantic communication efforts don’t fix underlying problems, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York recently noted . The administration can spin like a dreidel — goodness knows, it’s trying — but spin doesn’t change the facts.

Obscuring the real causes of rising prices won’t make prices come down or people feel them less. Saying inflation is a luxury concern and anyway is only temporary won’t make it so. Saying another $4 trillion of spending, much of it with borrowed money, will reduce price acceleration won’t achieve that end.

So, as you drive to join family members to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, you’ll know who to thank for the extra $20 you must pay to fill your gas tank each time. When you sit down to dinner, you’ll know who to thank for the fact that your favorite foodstuffs were out of stock.

Yet, for all that, there are real reasons, even in today’s politics, to be thankful. One is that voters have already seen through the Democrats’ spin and are signaling that change is a-coming. Another is that presidential terms don’t last longer than four years.

War on Energy Case Study:  Trainer Refinery south of Philadelphia

Gordon Tomb writes at Real Clear Energy East Coast’s Remaining Refineries’ Daunting Domestic Threat.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The modernization of the Trainer Refinery south of Philadelphia is initially obscured by aged brick buildings and hulking equipment. With closer examination, however, emerge brightly painted pipes, scores of gleaming white tanks and towering construction cranes that hint of ongoing upgrades.

With a growing post-pandemic economy and strong energy prices, prospects are bright save for threats of a controversial carbon tax scheme by the governor and federal regulations. Federal rules have contributed to the closure of seven independent refineries on the East Coast since 2009, leaving only Trainer and three others remaining. And one of those — owned by PBF Energy in New Jersey — closed half its refining units and laid off 250 employees last summer.

Monroe Energy, which owns the Trainer Refinery, annually spends tens of millions of dollars on improvements to keep abreast of government regulations and customer needs. A few years ago, it invested nearly $200 million on installing equipment to make low-sulfur gasoline. Currently, the company is building high-efficiency electrical substations, as well as water-cooling units that enable millions of gallons of water to be reused, drastically reducing dependence on Delaware River water.

It employs approximately 500 people and hires at any one time up to 1,400 members of the Philadelphia Building Trades for maintenance projects that can last for months. Because of their work, Trainer produces daily more than 8 million gallons of fuel, mainly for transportation and heating.

Among the worries is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to institute a tax on electricity generators that use fossil fuels through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This taxation scheme is intended to replace fuels like coal and natural gas with more expensive wind and solar energy.

In comments to regulators, Monroe Energy noted its extensive use of electricity and cited data showing that the cost of power was 38 percent less outside existing RGGI states. The company has spent hundreds of millions on environmentally beneficial investments with plans for more. “However, Monroe added, “we fear that enacting a program like RGGI will increase costs to such an extent that we may be unable to move forward with some of these projects.”

RGGI also would put at risk tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania’s electric-power and manufacturing industries by inducing operations to move away.

An even more immediate issue for Monroe is the federal government’s 16-year-old Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires refiners to add ethanol to transportation fuels or buy credits. The RFS has expanded since its inception creating a burden that threatens to put Monroe out of business if not addressed.

Ethanol is added to fuel as it is distributed to end users — or shortly before — to protect the equipment of refiners and transporters from the additive’s corrosive effect. Because Monroe does not sell to end users, it has virtually no ability to add ethanol and has to buy credits, whose price has risen from a few cents to nearly two dollars.

“The difference between credit prices of 2 cents and 2 dollars for us is hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance-obligation costs,” says Mr. McGlaughlin. Since buying Trainer in 2012, Monroe has spent more than $800 million on RFS compliance — multiples more than the refinery’s purchase price.

The negative consequences of both RFS and RGGI — including job losses and diminished fuel security — seem obvious to nearly everybody. Yet the employees at Trainer are still waiting for relief from Washington while also hoping to avoid the economic wreckage proposed by the governor and the absurdity of bureaucrats trying to improve the climate.

“We hope people will side with us and allow us to keep doing our jobs,” says Ron Pierce.

See also Energy Industry Fights Off Biden Hostile Takeover

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Systems Have Little Risk from Climate

At John Cochrane’s blog readers can access studies showing how activists like Mark Carney are distorting and exploiting imaginary risks to the financial system from global warming/climate change.  Firstly Cochrane discusses a current Federal Reserve research document How Bad Are Weather Disasters for Banks?   Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images are from his blog article Fed Courage

How Bad Are Weather Disasters for Banks?

Kristian S. Blickle, Sarah N. Hamerling, and Donald P. Morgan

Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Reports, no. 990 November 2021

Abstract

Not very. We find that weather disasters over the last quarter century had insignificant or small effects on U.S. banks’ performance. This stability seems endogenous rather than a mere reflection of federal aid. Disasters increase loan demand, which offsets losses and actually boosts profits at larger banks. Local banks tend to avoid mortgage lending where floods are more common than official flood maps would predict, suggesting that local knowledge may also mitigate disaster impacts.

Key words: hurricanes, wildfires, floods, climate change, weather disasters, FEMA, banks, financial stability, local knowledge

In addition to the paper’s good analysis, there is a useful literature review,

Our main findings are generally consistent with the few papers that study the bank stability effects of disaster. Looking across countries, Klomp (2014) finds that disasters do not effect default risk of banks in developed countries. Brei et al. (2019) find that hurricanes (the most destructive weather disaster) do not significantly weaken Caribbean banks. Koetter et al. (2019) finds increased lending and profits at German banks exposed to flooding along the Elbe River. The study closest to ours by Noth and Schuewer (2018) finds default risk increases at U.S. banks following disasters but the effects are small and short-lived. Barth et al. (2019) find higher profits and interest spreads at U.S. banks after disasters but did not look at bank risk.

Based on four case studies of extreme disasters and small banks, FDIC (2005) concluded that …”historically, natural disasters did not appear to have a significant negative impact on bank performance.”

This is a courageous paper to write, and to write so clearly. The fantasy of “climate risks to the financial system” is passed around and around in order to justify using financial regulation to implement this Administration’s climate policies, centering on defunding fossil fuel development and subsidizing deployment of particular technologies such as electric cars and windmills. Documenting that this particular emperor has no clothes takes great courage.

As a small indicator of the forces at work, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen offered an eloquent summary of a the “whole-of-government’ effort to integrate climate into financial regulation

“FSOC is recognizing that climate change is an emerging and increasing threat to U.S. financial stability. This report puts climate change squarely at the forefront of the agenda of its member agencies..”

News that climate change is not a threat to financial stability will not go down well.

Governor Lael Brainard, currently a leading candidate for Fed Chair, is a strong proponent of “climate risks to the financial system.” = Just read here speeches. Here, for example,

Climate change is projected to have profound effects on the economy and the financial system, and it is already inflicting damage.

We can already see the growing costs associated with the increasing frequency and severity of climate-related events.

Here,

It is increasingly clear that climate change could have important implications for the Federal Reserve … Given the implications of climate change for both individual financial institutions and the financial sector as a whole...,

Climate change and the transition to a sustainable economy also pose risks to the stability of the broader financial system. …

And a hint of the vast institutional commitment to these ideas

To complement the work of the SCC, the Federal Reserve Board is establishing a Financial Stability Climate Committee (FSCC) to identify, assess, and address climate-related risks to financial stability.

“We looked and there is nothing here” is not going to go down well. It’s hard to publish papers and get jobs as climate and finance researchers these days if you come up with the “wrong” answers.

New Zealand Study Confirms Financial System Safety from Climate Change

A commenter at the blog provided a link to another recent NZ study Climate Change and the risk to Financial Stability.  Reality or overreaction? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Reserve Bank is not alone in suggesting that climate change could represent some kind of existential threat to the financial system. Over recent years a number of central banks, supervisors and international financial institutions have made claims that global warming poses a serious risk to financial stability. The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a club of central banks and supervisors, is pushing a more coordinated international approach. Further, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has identified financial stability as one of the two major economic risks in its recent Climate Change Risk Assessment report.

At first sight it is difficult to understand what is driving the Reserve Bank’s concern. The physical risks from climate change to the New Zealand economy are small, and over the period up to 2100 the benefits of a warmer climate may well exceed the costs. While there will be some impacts as the economy adapts to a zero carbon future, economies have always been changing and, with some exceptions, financial systems have been able to accommodate those changes. To cite an obvious example, the US substantially shifted from horse to motorized transport in the space of 20 years, without any one being in charge or worrying about systemic risk to the financial system.

As the physical effects of climate change are slow-moving and relatively predictable over relevant time horizons, we should expect the financial systems to adapt to this changing world, and readily accommodate the impacts of climate events such as a slowly rising sea levels and the occasional stronger storms.

The issue we address in this report is whether climate change is such an exception to this benign adaptation picture, that central banks and supervisors need to respond to the ‘challenge’ with some urgency. Or is this just a case of the Reserve Bank wanting to be seen to be ‘relevant’ and getting into the action in what is one of the biggest issues of our time?

The main purpose of this report is to assess the papers on the Bank’s list and other relevant documents on the impact of climate change on financial systems. We have also focused on climate change risk disclosures, which have become a flavour of the month in regulatory quarters, and are set to become mandatory for larger New Zealand institutions.

The focus of our analysis is on the banking sector, which is the core of the New Zealand financial system. We have paid less attention to risks to the insurance sector because it is generally accepted it can readily manage climate risks by adjusting its exposures and pricing.

Our conclusions are very clear. We have reviewed a large number of documents and despite the best efforts of many supervisors none have been able to come up with convincing evidence that climate change represents a threat, let alone a systemic threat. For example a very recent full scale stress test for France found that the transition costs to a zero carbon economy would at most be four or five basis points and that it did not matter whether the transition was early or late. The physical risks from climate change were so slight that they could not be analysed.

We did find a disturbing pattern of exaggerations and misrepresentations. For example the Bank of England instructed banks, when stress testing, to assume that all river flooding defences would be removed, in an effort to inflate the costs of future flooding events. The United Nations Environment Programme used climate change assumptions for 2100 to assess financial system impacts for 2025 and 2045.

Climate change does not represent some kind of existential threat to the New Zealand financial system.

The Governnor is over-reacting. This climate change ‘hysteria’ is mostly noise, but it might have some efficiency costs for the system, which could be avoided if a more measured approach is taken. The Reserve Bank’s role should be to correct and hose down ill-informed responses, not to create them.

Footnote:

Background from John H. Cochrane writing on central banks mistaken preoccupation with global warming/climate change at post Deception: Climate Financial Risk

Also Cochrane’s remarks at European Central Bank’s Conference on Monetary Policy. Synopsis at post Bankers Should Mind Their Own Business, not the Climate

 

 

King Coal is Dead. Long Live the King!

You’ve heard the pronouncements:  “Coal Is Dead and Oil Is Next.”  “Glasgow is the Death Knell for the Coal Industry” (Boris Johnson).  “Coal is declining sharply, as financiers and insurance companies abandon the industry” (Yale360) “Parties to accelerate efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power” (COP26 agreement). The unspoken reality is the opposite:  Demonizing coal has increased coal consumption.  MISH explains in his article The Big Green Push to Get Rid of Coal Had the Opposite Effect.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

An alleged big win to eliminate coal turned into a bust and then some.

Investors Pushing Mining Giants to Quit Coal is Backfiring

Bloomberg has an interesting story on how Environmentalists Pushing Mining Giants to Quit Coal has backfired.

It was supposed to be a big win for climate activists: another of the world’s most powerful mining companies had caved to investor demands that it stop digging up coal.

Instead, Anglo American Plc’s exit from coal has become a case study for unintended consequences, transforming mines that were scheduled for eventual closure into the engine room for a growth-hungry coal business.

And while it’s a particularly stark example, it’s not the only one. When rival BHP Group was struggling to sell an Australian colliery this year, the company surprised investors by applying to extend mining at the site by another two decades — an apparent attempt to sweeten its appeal to potential buyers.

Now, after years of lobbying blue-chip companies to stop mining the most-polluting fuel, there’s a growing unease among climate activists and some investors that the policy many of them championed could lead to more coal being produced for longer.

BHP may end up holding on to the Australian mine it was battling to sell, Bloomberg reported last week. Earlier this year, Glencore Plc sounded out a major climate investor group before announcing it would increase its ownership of a big Colombian coal mine, according to people familiar with the matter.

India now burns more coal than Europe and the U.S combined and miners are betting on rising demand over the next decade from countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia, although pollution concerns and cheaper alternatives threaten to derail those plans.

Tough to Eliminate Coal

The push to abandon coal made selling the mines difficult. So companies chose to extend their life.

Developing countries that invested in coal-powered electrical plants that have many years of useful life want reparations to develop new plants.

New wind and solar plants are cheaper but unreliable. And they are not cheaper than plants already built.

Moreover, wind can die for days and solar has on average 12 hours a day of outages.

This places additional capital investment requirements for countries to build energy storage facilities.

China alone is currently building or planning coal power plants that are the equivalent of six times Germany’s entire coal burning capacity.

It’s tough to get rid of coal when you build more coal plants than you retire.

Trudeau: Let’s Limit How Far You can Drive

Brad Salzberg writes Trudeau Considers Restricting Distance of Vehicle Travel For Canadian Citizens.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

During the recent COP26 summit, Justin Trudeau hosted a carbon pricing conference showcasing Canada’s carbon policy. He referred to it as “one of the most stringent and ambitious in the world.”

In terms of a domestic carbon program, no emission reduction mandates had thus far been established beyond an agreement between Alberta and Ottawa to limit output at 100 megatonnes per year. Canada emits roughly 730 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. The Trudeau government has now mandated a specific 100-megatonne reduction for our oil and gas sector by the year 2030.

This in itself is not a surprise. What should make the ears of Canadians perk up is one of the proposed restrictions to accomplish the goal. Among other current considerations in the Liberal government’s proposal, we discover the following, as reported by the Calgary Sun this week:

“Limit personal consumption of hydrocarbons by individual Canadians, in terms of allowable miles travelled by motor vehicle, train or air.”

My, my– Canada is certainly filled with surprises these days. Last week delivered another zinger:
“Deliberately coughing at someone during the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a criminal assault.”

Applying our math skills, that’s two examples of unprecedented forms of draconian social measures in the past two weeks. Not that mainstream media will present it as such. In both cases, the information was ever-so-casually tucked into news articles on a larger theme.Let us understand the potential what is being proposed. There may come a time when the distance Canadians can travel in their vehicles includes a hard cap on mileage. Not only would this apply to their personal vehicle, but also to the time they spend idly reading a newspaper while riding a bus.

All of which conjures up a collective yawn from legacy media. As a result, they will likely never juxtapose this “progressive” policy with what Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms has to say about the matter.

6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right:

to move to and take up residence in any province; and
to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

What would occur in a case where Charter-based mobility rights were violated by Trudeau’s restriction on distance of travel?

A simple question it is. The answer, of course, is nothing at all. Just as it applies to current Charter breaches that result from Covid mandates.

Result: a loss of personal freedom. Predicted extend of exposure from establishment media? Nothing.

Witness as Canada continues to morph into a reasonable facsimile of authoritarian nations of the world.

Footnote:  See also Uh Oh Canada