Hypocrisy Parade at COP27

Bjorn Lomborg exposes the fake piety on display at IPCC Sharm El-Sheikh gathering in his Forbes article COP27:  A Parade Of Climate Hypocrisy. Excerpts in italics with my bolds

Every year, global climate summits feature a parade of hypocrisy, as the world’s elite arrive on private jets to lecture humanity on cutting carbon emissions. The current UN climate summit in Egypt offers more breathtaking hypocrisy than usual, because the world’s rich are zealously lecturing poor countries about the dangers of fossil fuels—after devouring massive amounts of new gas, coal, and oil.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up energy prices even further, wealthy countries have been scouring the world for new sources of energy. The United Kingdom vehemently denounced fossil fuels at the Glasgow climate summit just last year, but now plans to keep coal-fired plants available this winter instead of shutting almost all of them as previously planned. Thermal coal imports by the European Union from Australia, South Africa and Indonesia increased more than 11-fold. Meanwhile, a new trans-Saharan gas pipeline will allow Europe to tap directly into gas from Niger, Algeria and Nigeria; Germany is reopening shuttered coal power plants; and Italy is planning to import 40% more gas from northern Africa. And the United States is going cap-in-hand to Saudi Arabia to grovel for more oil production.

At the climate summit in Egypt, the leaders from these countries will somehow declare with straight faces that poor countries must avoid fossil fuel exploitation, for fear of worsening climate change. These very same rich countries will encourage the world’s poorest to focus instead on green energy alternatives like off-grid solar and wind energy. They’re already making the case. In a speech widely interpreted as being about Africa, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it would be “delusional” for countries to invest more in gas and oil exploration.

The hypocrisy is simply breathtaking. Every single rich country today became wealthy thanks to exploitation of fossil fuels. The world’s major development organizations—at the behest of wealthy countries—refuse to fund fossil fuel exploitation that poor countries could use to lift themselves out of poverty. What’s more, the elite prescription for the world’s poor—green energy—is incapable of transforming lives.

That’s because sun and wind power are useless when it is cloudy, night-time, or there is no wind. Off-grid solar power can provide a nice solar light, but typically can’t even power a family’s fridge or oven, let alone provide the power that communities need to run everything from farms to factories, the ultimate engines of growth.

A study in Tanzania found almost 90 percent of households given off-grid electricity just want to be hooked up to the national grid to receive fossil fuel access. The first rigorous test published on the impact of solar panels on the lives of poor people found they got a little bit more electricity—the ability to power a lamp during the day—but there was no measurable impact on their lives: they did not increase savings or spending, did not work more or start more businesses, and their children did not study more.

Moreover, solar panels and wind turbines are useless at tackling one of the main energy problems of the world’s poor. Nearly 2.5 billion people continue to suffer from indoor air pollution, burning dirty fuels like wood and dung to cook and keep warm. Solar panels don’t solve that problem because they are too weak to power clean stoves and heaters.

In contrast, grid electrification—which nearly everywhere means mostly fossil fuels—has significant positive impacts on household income, expenditure, and education. A study in Bangladesh showed that electrified households experienced a 21 percent average jump in income and a 1.5 percent reduction in poverty each and every year.

The biggest swindle of all is that rich world leaders have somehow managed to portray themselves as green evangelists, while more than three-quarters of their enormous primary energy production comes from fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. Less than 12 percent of their energy comes from renewables, with most from wood and hydro. Just 2.4% is solar and wind.

Compare this to Africa, which is the most renewable continent in the world, with half of its energy produced by renewables. But these renewables are almost entirely wood, straws, and dung, and they are really a testament to how little energy the continent has access to. Despite all the hype, the continent gets just 0.3% of its energy from solar and wind.

To solve global warming, rich countries must invest much more in research and development on better green technologies, from fusion, fission and second-generation biofuels to solar and wind with massive batteries. The crucial insight is to innovate their real cost down below fossil fuels. That way everyone will eventually switch. But telling the world’s poor to live with unreliable, expensive, weak power is an insult.

There is already pushback from the world’s developing countries, who see the hypocrisy for what it is: Egypt’s finance minister recently said that poor countries must not be “punished”, and warned that climate policy should not add to their suffering. That warning needs to be listened to. Europe is scouring the world for more fossil fuels because the continent needs them for its growth and prosperity. That same opportunity should not be withheld from the world’s poorest.

 

 

High Tech Detection of Voter Fraud

Jay Valentine writes an encouraging report at American Thinker Where Artificial Intelligence Can Expose Leftist Vote Fraud.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Artificial intelligence is an undefined term people throw around, scaring each other about impending doom. One reads stories about how A.I. applies facial recognition to end privacy. Other scares are about the government profiling people’s writing to find anonymous posters.

Our team has been applying artificial intelligence for over a decade.  There is zero intelligence in artificial intelligence. Zero.

A.I. is the concentration of massive computing power, integrating multiple data streams, really fast, to find subtle patterns or differences in those streams.

Here’s an example: when a customer calls an 800 number with a complaint, voice recognition instantly determines the person’s likely age. Or it can determine agitation. Or if that person speaks with a Spanish accent, it routes him to a Spanish language agent.  This makes for lots of data, hitting large processors, delivering insight, not intelligence.

A.I. is a technology game two can play. Remember those 2020 election voter rolls?

In early 2021, Sherriff David Clarke and Mike Lindell asked our team to load the Wisconsin voter rolls to find “anomalies.” You’ve read the stories about the 23,000 Wisconsin voters using the same phone number and thousands of voters with “codes” that cannot be read by traditional computers as their voter IDs. Our technology, Fractal Programming, found all that stuff for the Wisconsin voter team.

There was nothing “intelligent” in those data.  The only time we found anything coming close to the word “intelligent” was the lack of intelligence from secretaries of state, particularly Republicans.

There were the Alabama voters older than Genghis Khan, registered in 2020, who vote. There were the Missouri voters registered in the Branson hotel. There were the Texans who voted in person but their ballot later changed to absentee.

Remember that hapless Wisconsin voter whose voter ID was a single character, an apostrophe — such a small character that we thought it was a speck on our computer screen?

The original Wisconsin Fractal system grew almost overnight to a dozen or more states. What was supposed to be a limited proof of concept exploded into the largest election database in the world — and that was only for 12 or 15 states. We have the data for 25 more on deck.

We personally funded this growth.  We literally begged legacy election integrity organizations, advertising large voter databases, to use Fractal technology giving local integrity teams this unique compute power.  We offered them Fractal technology for free.  Crickets.

We learned that many legacy “voter integrity organizations” are all about raising tons of dough — zero interest in cleaning voter rolls.

With a dozen state voter integrity teams, we decided to do it ourselves.  Then something happened.

Election integrity teams are a stubborn lot.  Working from kitchen tables, in basements, holding meetings in coffee shops, using small computers and Excel, they share information, and the “intelligence” of what they find explodes.

When these citizen-investigators hit a wall, they don’t stop. They innovate. Their innovation discovered an analysis of voter rolls never before applied!

Snapshot analysis was invented.

Voter integrity teams in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan downloaded multiple copies of voter rolls from different dates.  They started, by hand, parsing millions of records to identify changes across snapshots. Did a voter change his name? If someone moved, where did he go?

This is the equivalent, almost, of trying to count the grains of sand in your flower pot. But they did it.  These teams, mostly very charming ladies, asked the Fractal guys if we could perform snapshot analysis — at scale. Think billions of records!

What could we say?

Fractal analysis took voter rolls, some with 15 million registered voters, and compared each with the same voter roll from a different date. Then we compared them with three subsequent snapshots, then ten. Now some states compare over 50.

There is no conventional technology that can economically deliver this type of computing.

Taking a file of 15 million records, with 40 attributes per record, and comparing every cell against every other cell, across 50 versions is a compute near impossibility. It would require a data center the size of a city block, take weeks, and cost millions of dollars.

The Fractal team and integrity groups are doing this, at scale —
on computers you can hold in your hand.

The result is a new type of data analysis never applied to voter rolls.

Our commercial customers began using snapshot analysis immediately to track changes in how customers modify behavior, across scores of attributes, over time. It became a marketing windfall!

Voter registration data came alive as inactive voters magically became active, for a few days, voted, becoming inactive again. Phantoms lived!

Our diligent voter integrity team pals have no constraints. Their passion is like your dog seeing a squirrel — you cannot restrain them!  These teams recognized that databases from Melissa and NCOA and purchased databases were wildly inaccurate. But that’s all they had.

They introduced property tax records as the source of truth for all things address-related.

You may say your house is a business because you work from your basement, but the tax-collector makes the call.  Comparing property tax records with county voter registration records showed how overwhelmingly out of date and inaccurate voter files really are. And government tax records prove it!

Teams will be publishing numbers (not names) of voters who reside in convenience stores, prisons, flower shops, and laundromats. Every single one is getting a challenge!

When the press challenges the source — they will get to see the county property tax records. Oops!  One election team already challenged over 30,000 possible “phantoms”! Now they can do it with tax records. No appeal there!

We are loading all 3,200 counties’ property tax records — public files — and comparing them with the voter registration records in every county. With snapshots, think trillions of records here.

This is Project Omega.

Project Omega is taking every relevant public database, Fractalizing it, and placing it into the hands of citizens. For the first time, citizens can perform real-time analysis of databases, in the multi-trillions of records, from their phone.

The real fun is that they can compare snapshots and watch identities, locations, registration numbers morph over time. It’s like a movie of your data.

The next time you think artificial intelligence is a bugaboo, remember that it is a game two can play.  And the good guys, citizens, are beginning to use it, at scale, now.

 

 

Climate Change is Ordinary and Cyclical, Not Catastrophic and Irreversible

 

Michael Baume writes at Spectator Climate change policy: a greater risk than climate change?.  Excerpts in italics with my bold. H/T John Ray

Pragmatism is belatedly beating carbon purity as the West seeks to survive the economic consequences of Russia’s monstrous Ukraine war. Only months after its Glasgow swearing of allegiance to the climate catechism that requires faith in scientifically untested computer-programmed prophesies, the West has seen the light – and the energy needed to power it.

    • By grabbing at the vilified, carbon-emitting economic lifeline of fossil fuels,
    • By rediscovering the energizing virtues of the spurned coal,
    • By embracing the scorned fracking in a desperate search for gas,
    • By re-opening the closed off-shore petroleum leases to keep industry working, and
    • By preferring ‘dangerous’ nuclear power to winters of freezing in the dark,

A severe dose of reality has slowed the West’s race to economic destruction. The two wheels of the climate change cart – the scientifically unprovable words ‘catastrophic’ and ‘irreversible’ – that is carrying the democratic world to economic subjugation under a Putin-Xi authoritarian axis, are looking increasingly wobbly.

These two words, the key to the climate debate, have never been
the subject of empirical, observed scientific proof.

There is little disagreement that there is climate change; the climate has always been changing. But ‘catastrophic’ and ‘irreversible’ (beyond a computer-generated ‘tipping point’) that occupy the central role as drivers of the claimed climate crisis, exist only in computer modelling of what many scientists, in good faith, believe to be the likely outcome of observable current trends. The dogma that ‘the science is settled’ on climate change requires a belief not in proven scientific facts but in the accuracy of scientists’ computer projections of the yet-to-be-demonstrated future consequences of observable facts.

So why should these scientists be believed? The traditional ‘scientific method’ of examining a theory provides the best, but by no means certain, prospect of believable outcomes. This involves surviving the ‘falsification’ principle of rigorous endeavours to refute the theory, so that the scientific consensus eventually accepts it as truth. That is the rock on which the climate change crisis rests. But as an article in last week’s Conversation noted, ‘even if scientists have repeatedly tried, but failed, to refute a given theory, the history of science suggests at some point in the future it may still turn out to be false when new evidence comes to light.’

After decades of steadily increasing support for the ‘climate crisis’ theory,
evidence to the contrary is raising its head.

This is in addition to the negative impact of repeated failures of a multitude of past official forecasts of impending climate disaster. Earlier this year, four leading Italian scientists from universities in Milan, Verona and Padua and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, published a review of historical climate data, finding no clear positive trend of extreme events and concluding that the current fear of a ‘climate emergency’ is not supported by the scientific data.

Fig. 6 Fraction of the global earth under drought conditions D0 (abnormally dry), D1 (moderate), D2 (severe), D3 (extreme) and D4 (exceptional)

This means, they said, that altering our priorities with negative effects ‘could prove deleterious to our ability to face the challenges of the future, (and) squandering natural and human resources’. Their paper, A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming, is a survey of recent research (mirroring the IPCC’s approach) that appeared in the European Physical Journal Plus. ‘Since its origins, the human species has been confronted with the negative effects of the climate; historical climatology has repeatedly used the concept of climate deterioration in order to explain negative effect of extreme events (mainly drought, diluvial phases and cold periods) on civilisation. Today, we are facing a warm phase and, for the first time, we have monitoring capabilities that enable us to objectively evaluate its effects’.

These show that, ‘On the basis of the observational data, the climate crisis that,
according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not yet evident.’

The scientists found that rainfall intensity and frequency was stationary in many parts of the world. Tropical hurricanes and cyclones showed little change over the long term, and the same is true of US tornadoes. Other meteorological categories including natural disasters, floods, droughts and ecosystem productivity showed no ‘clear positive trend of extreme events’. Regarding ecosystems, the scientists noted a considerable ‘greening’ of global plant biomass in recent decades caused by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Satellite data show ‘greening’ trends over most of the planet, increasing food yields and pushing back of deserts

But the scientists nevertheless believe there is a need for action on the climate: ‘We should work to minimise our impact on the planet and to minimise air and water pollution…. How the climate of the twenty-first century will play out is a topic of deep uncertainty. We need to increase our resiliency to whatever the future climate will present us

(But) we need to remind ourselves that addressing climate change is not an end in itself
and is not the only problem the world is facing.’

This cautionary note was echoed in a report quoted in the latest Weekend Australian from some of Australia’s most senior climate scientists led by UNSW Professor Andy Pitman. It warned that bank regulators, with little understanding of the uncertainty inherent in climate model projections, could cause ‘major systemic risk to the global financial system’ by their continued use.’ It is not science designed for the financial sector’, as physical climate models do not represent weather, so imposing a serious limitation in determining future climate risk for the financial sector. Yet Australia’s Reserve Bank will use network-derived climate scenarios in its internal analysis of climate-related risks. Most regulators, banks, insurers and investors are using projection-based scenarios ‘without fully accounting for uncertainty’.

This follows Pitman’s submission to APRA on its draft guidelines on climate risk that the corporate sector could be preparing for the financial costs of climate change based on misleading and flawed advice from the prudential regulator. ‘There is next to no capacity to provide advice to business on how the joint probability of multiple extreme weather events will change in the future.’

The only thing certain about climate science is uncertainty.

Bad Day for a Climate Alarmist

 

Trudeau Faces Real Opponent At Last

Newly elected Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greet each other as they gather in the House of Commons to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 15, 2022. PHOTO BY SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

John Iverson reports at National Post Canada Scaremongering about Poilievre could be the only move Trudeau has left.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Trudeau set the tone for the fall parliamentary session
when he ‘congratulated’ Poilievre on his victory last week

Pierre Poilievre and his team will be gratified by the first public opinion poll since he was elected Conservative leader, which gives his party a healthy five-point lead over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.  While there was no sign of a surge in support from voters — Abacus Data has the Conservatives at 35 per cent support, up one point from its last survey — neither was there a drop in approval from Canadians queasy at some of the new leader’s more controversial rhetorical flourishes.

(The poll puts the Liberals at 30 per cent; the NDP at 17; the BQ at nine and the People’s Party at four).

Trudeau set the tone for the fall parliamentary session when he “congratulated” Poilievre on his victory last week. He said Canadians need “responsible leadership,” a quality he said was lacking in a campaign that attacked “institutions that make our society fair, safe and free”; which said people could opt out of inflation by investing in cryptocurrencies; and that demeaned the vaccines “that saved millions of lives.”  Even in his address on the Queen’s death, the prime minister took a barely disguised dig at Poilievre, when he said global democratic institutions are being challenged by unnamed politicians.

It is a strategy that makes sense for a government that has little to boast about.

David Coletto at Abacus has previously divided the Canadian electorate into four segments

♦   progressive professionals (about 13 per cent of voters);
♦   the secure middle (roughly 40 per cent);
♦   anxious progressives (27 per cent), and
♦   anxious conservatives (20 per cent).

The first two groups are doing well and are happy with the status quo; the latter two feel the system is rigged against them and that they are unrepresented in power.

Poilievre has positioned himself as a disruptor who wants to overturn the status quo when it comes to climate change, pandemic politics and institutions like the Bank of Canada.  He has had huge success appealing to anxious conservatives, and apparently, some anxious progressives.

Coletto says that since he did his research more than a year ago, it is likely the number of anxious voters has grown, as inflation and interest rates have risen. Poilievre’s mission is to corral the votes of those “falling behind…who are hanging by a thread” — people who feel the future holds more threats than opportunity.

Faced with an NDP that seems more focused on identity politics than the fate of working Canadians, Poilievre may be kicking in a rotting door, particularly if he turns down the volume on less mainstream ideas like support for the trucker’s convoy.

Trudeau’s mission is to unite the majority of Canadians behind the idea that the new Conservative leader is a risk to their personal and financial security.   His problem is his own popularity deficit.
The Abacus poll shows Trudeau at near record-low approval ratings. Attacks on another politician generally only work when you are more credible than they are. If negative ads move into questionable territory, they can rebound, as happened when former prime minister Paul Martin’s team alleged that Stephen Harper wanted to increase the military’s presence in cities in 2005.
The Liberals have been in power for nearly seven years.  Trudeau’s success has been built on his own variation of populism — appealing to people’s hope and optimism by promising to provide the help and relief they need.   But it’s hard to be optimistic when the price of eggs is rising by 16 per cent a year.
Trudeau’s government is on the ropes and scaremongering about Poilievre will only work if it can address some of the economic and basic competency problems that have been plaguing it of late.

The new Conservative leader will reflect happily that if he can add a couple of points of support from Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party, he will be in majority government territory.

 

Court Again Refuses to Legislate Climate Policy

Climatists again fail to get a judge to order their program and thus bypass lawmaking by elected representatives. Denise Lavoie reports at The Virginian-Pilot Virginia judge dismisses youth climate change lawsuit.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

RICHMOND — A Virginia judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of 13 young people who claim that the state’s permitting of fossil fuel projects is exacerbating climate change and violating their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit public interest law firm, asked the court to declare portions of the Virginia Gas and Oil Act unconstitutional. It also seeks to find the state’s reliance on and promotion of fossil fuels violates the rights of the plaintiffs, who range in age from 10 to 19.

But Richmond Circuit Court Judge Clarence Jenkins Jr. granted the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that the complaint is barred by sovereign immunity.

That’s a legal doctrine that says a state cannot be sued without its consent. The state argued that sovereign immunity prohibited the plaintiffs’ claims because they sought to restrain the state from issuing permits for fossil fuel infrastructure and to interfere with governmental functions. The judge did not rule on the merits of the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.

The lawsuit is one of five filed by Our Children’s Trust in states around the country. Lawsuits in Hawaii and Utah are in the early stages, while a lawsuit it Montana is expected to go to trial next year. A federal lawsuit filed in Oregon in 2015 remains in litigation after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the plaintiffs last year. They have since asked to file a more narrow amended complaint and are awaiting a decision.

Jenkins ruled from the bench and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled again in the same court. Their attorney, Nathan Bellinger, said they will promptly appeal the ruling to the state Court of Appeals.

Ten of the plaintiffs — accompanied by their parents — listened in court as Bellinger said the state is knowingly contributing to the climate crisis by continuing to rely on fossil fuels as its main energy sources and polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gas emissions. He asked the judge to allow the case to proceed to trial.

The lawsuit alleges that climate change has contributed to health problems experienced by the plaintiffs, including asthma and heat exhaustion. Four of the plaintiffs have become ill after being bitten by ticks, a population that has increased due to climate change, Bellinger said.

It also claims that Virginia has violated the public trust doctrine, which says that the state has a duty to hold certain natural resources in trust.

“These courageous Virginia youths … are turning to the judiciary to protect their fundamental rights,” Bellinger argued in court.

Bellinger said the Virginia lawsuit is the first to leave out a request for an injunction to require the state to take certain actions or to submit a remedial plan. Instead, it asked only for a declaration that the continued permitting of fossil fuel projects violated the plaintiffs’ rights.

But attorneys for the state argued that the plaintiffs are attempting to usurp the role of the state legislature and impose their preferred energy and environmental policies on the state.

“Simply put, this action belongs two blocks over at the General Assembly and not before this court,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas Sanford.

After the court hearing, several of the plaintiffs spoke during a news conference where they held a large banner proclaiming, “Climate Justice in our Courts NOW!”

 

Footnote:  The thing about ticks was creative, and reminded me of this:

Alarmists: Global Warming Destroys Good Bugs and Multiplies Bad Bugs

 

 

Cal Shows How Politicians Short Electrical Grids

A new book provides a knowledgeable and deft analysis of how a state can ruin its supply of electrical power to the people.  Katherine Blunt has published California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas & Electric and What It Means for America’s Power Grid.  A review summary is provided at American Conservative Behind the ‘Grid Emergency’.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

A new book explains how California’s power system went so wrong.

Reporter Katherine Blunt of the Wall Street Journal was lucky in the timing of her new book, California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas & Electric and What It Means for America’s Power Grid. Within 24 hours of its release, California declared a “grid emergency” and customers were warned to avoid using major appliances or charging electric cars between 4 and 10 p.m. in order to avert blackouts. It was a clear sign that the dysfunction detailed in Blunt’s book is an ongoing concern.

How did we get here? Or, more accurately, how did we get here again?

Reading about the California energy crisis brings on déjà vu in those who remember the last one, which wracked the state in 2000 and 2001. That episode also involved rising prices and rolling blackouts. It led to the downfall of a governor, the shuttering of the California Power Exchange, the state’s privatized electricity marketplace, and the bankruptcy of the utility company that serves northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric.

Now PG&E is fresh out of bankruptcy proceedings again, for the second time in less than two decades. The deeper problems with its grid have not yet been fixed. Why can’t California keep the lights on?

The two electricity crises had different superficial causes but the fundamental problem in both cases was the same. The ideological commitments of politicians and regulators blinded them to the depredations of parasitic actors who extracted huge amounts of money from the system and introduced instability that ultimately led to disaster.

In 2000, the ideology was privatization and the predator was Enron. To introduce market forces into what had been regulated monopolies, California broke up its utilities and separated electricity generation and transmission in the 1990s. Instead of a free market and lower prices, Californians got price spikes caused by the manipulations of traders. Blunt quotes from recorded phone calls where Enron employees told plant operators, “We want you guys to get a little creative and come up with a reason to go down.” The plant went down, on the excuse of a turbine inspection, and the price of electricity shot up just as Enron wanted. These kinds of schemes were common.

This time, the ideology that has captured politicians and regulators is climate change. California has been more aggressive than any other state in setting renewable energy targets, currently aiming to be 60 percent reliant on renewables by 2030. Unfortunately for its ratepayers, these renewable energy suppliers rely on billions in subsidies and still cost more per kilowatt-hour than other forms of energy. Solar and wind power are also irregular compared to more old-fashioned power plants. The result has been unreliable electricity supply and some of the highest power prices in the nation.

Of the two energy crises, the current one is more severe than that of twenty years ago because of the added factor of wildfires. More than a hundred people died and more than a million acres burned in these fires. The Camp Fire of 2018, sparked by a downed PG&E transmission line, was the deadliest in the state’s history and practically wiped the town of Paradise off the map. The Dixie Fire of 2021 was the state’s largest, destroying a total area bigger than Rhode Island.

There are two competing explanations for why the electricity crisis was more destructive this time around. Climate change is the explanation that Governor Gavin Newsom favors, and which Blunt hints at. It argues that hotter temperatures and extreme weather are overtaxing the grid and making disasters more frequent.

The problem with climate change as an explanation, though, is that California’s grid is struggling to achieve basic service levels even without extreme weather. Back in May, when California energy officials warned of rolling blackouts later in the summer, they predicted shortfalls even in the absence of heat waves or wildfires. The current heat wave, which led to last week’s “grid emergency,” is merely aggravating a problem that existed already.

Moreover, Blunt documents in detail all the ways that wildfires were caused not by extreme weather but by PG&E’s negligence. The fire that destroyed the town of Paradise was caused by a worn down iron hook, originally purchased in 1919, that broke and shed sparks onto dry brush. When investigators sought records of how often that part of the line had been inspected, they found no files at all prior to 2001—not unusual given PG&E’s spotty recordkeeping. (When a gas line exploded in 2010 and investigators sought records of pipeline conditions across the system, a PG&E employee responded, “God knows what is underground.”) Records after 2001 showed inspectors viewing the hook from the air and from the ground, but no one had actually climbed the tower to see it up close.

This leads to the second explanation for why California is less able to cope with electricity problems today, which is that it is further along in its ongoing Third Worldization. What it means to be Third World has no precise definition but it has to do with losing the capacity to keep basic things functioning. Standards slip, fewer people every year remember how to maintain legacy systems, and eventually those systems collapse.

South Africa’s electricity supplier Eskom was named the best power company in the world in 2001. Twenty years later, the company is plagued by rampant blackouts (known euphemistically as “load shedding”) as well as internal corruption and rate evasion. Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa passed a new law allowing private companies to build their own power plants up to 100 megawatts (the previous limit was 1 MW). That was a solution for mining companies that were shuttering facilities where they could not count on regular power. Small businesses and residences already considered gas-powered generators a necessity for when load-shedding hits their neighborhood.

A telling episode in Blunt’s book is the search for a new CEO that PG&E undertook in 2016. One of the finalists was Nick Stavropoulos, who had performed an incredible feat in bringing the gas division up to industry standards after the 2010 San Bruno explosion, in the face of widespread employee demoralization after an unpopular CEO’s flat-footed reforms. Stavropoulos was going to work the same magic on the electricity division, which, if anything, needed it more.

Instead, the company went with a woman named Geisha Williams, born in Cuba, who became the first Latina to head a Fortune 500 company. Her resume was impressive on paper. On the other hand, a leaked email from a staffer at the California Public Utilities Commission referred to Williams as “senior vice president of bullshittery.” Stavropoulos was “bitterly disappointed” at being passed over, according to Blunt, and soon left the company. The board forced Williams to resign in 2019, as the company was on the brink of filing for bankruptcy.

California’s power brokers feel that they can focus on political goals, like diversity in C-suites and renewable energy targets, because they trust that the basic functioning of the system is guaranteed.

They take it for granted. But as the example of Eskom shows, this is not a safe assumption. A power grid works because people know how to make it work. If those people are sidelined or cast off, or if political priorities drown out their advice, the system can carry on out of sheer momentum for a while, even for years. But not forever.

Hope for Trudeau’s Exit

The conventional wisdom that Poilievre cannot win a national election is wearing thin. PHOTO BY JACQUES BOISSINOT /THE CANADIAN PRESS

The end of Trudeau’s regime in Canada can’t happen soon enough, but hope is on the horizon.  Joe Oliver writes at National Post Canada Liberals risk drowning in the Poilievre wave.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As the Conservative leadership campaign approaches what now seems certain to be Pierre Poilievre’s coronation, progressives are unnerved by the huge crowds of all ages he is attracting across the country, which point to an expanding Conservative base. Predictably, the Laurentian elite and their media loyalists have dissolved into full-blown derangement syndrome, while providing cover for Liberal missteps.

Intriguingly, they are less protective of an increasingly unpopular prime minister.

The conventional wisdom that Poilievre cannot win a national election is wearing thin. Inflation, which people intuitively understand was created and exacerbated by government profligacy, is the public’s top concern. There is also widespread frustration with the government’s maddening incompetence and multiple ministerial missteps: Omar Alghabra for the airport debacles, Marco Mendicino, for misleading Parliament about the Emergencies Act, Karina Gould for mind-boggling passport delays, Mélanie Joly for an official inexplicably attending a Russian diplomatic party, Ahmed Hussen and Pablo Rodriguez for the Marouf scandal, Chrystia Freeland for favouring out-of-control spending over growth.

The prime minister’s charisma has faded with his team’s eroding credibility. Moreover, even die-hard Liberals are disillusioned by his own divisive tactics, hypocritical virtue-signalling, inability to deliver on priorities, tarnished brand abroad and, perhaps most important for them, 50 per cent disapproval rating.

The government is notoriously selective about treating people differently depending on their race, ethnic group, gender identity, sexual preference, age or country of origin.

The most obvious case in point is that despite Laith Marouf’s appallingly bigoted and anti-semitic comments he was paid half a million public dollars to provide anti-racism advice. The absence of even elementary due diligence is inexcusable. Worse, it took over a month for the responsible minister to act and even longer for the prime minister to comment, no doubt in part because he did not want to own up to his ministry’s incompetence but perhaps also because Marouf hypocritically presented himself as a supposed ally in its core mission.

Had a racial minority or Aboriginal person been called a bag of feces or threatened with a bullet to the head the PM would quite rightly have expressed outrage, likely in minutes. He was appropriately quick off the mark when Chrystia Freeland was subject to unacceptable verbal harassment. Which makes the delayed reaction from the government and many in the media in the Marouf case even more disconcerting. The Jewish community is understandably disheartened by the blatant double standard. As a matter of basic decency, not to mention fundamental philosophical principle, governments should treat people equally and not discriminate based on twisted notions about identity or victimhood politics.

Pierre Poilievre clearly understands the widespread and growing anger about the disdain, condescension and snobbery a progressive elite have for working and lower middle-class Canadians. He empathizes with resentment about nanny-state intrusions, the politicization of science and the often bizarre ideas of left-wing ideologues, woke capitalists and “expert” academics. He agrees with people who rail against a government that allows faceless bureaucrats to infringe on their agency, curtail their freedom and damage their standard of living with heavy taxes and burdensome regulations.

Critics are torn between claiming Pierre Poilievre has no policies and denouncing these non-policies as extreme. He is decried as a populist because he seeks public support (as if the Liberal default position on just about everything is not to swing with public opinion). The “Trump North” label has failed to stick because he has been consistently pro-choice, supports gay marriage and favours immigration.

Liberals loath Pierre Poilievre because they fear he will dismantle excessive government intervention in society and the economy, reverse tax-and-spend policies, encourage natural resource development, defend free speech and genuine diversity of opinion, decry woke-ism, defund the CBC and undercut elite influence.

But it is Pierre Poilievre, not Justin Trudeau, who reflects mainstream Canadian thinking about fundamental issues. He believes profoundly in personal freedom and is proud of our history.

In contrast, Trudeau has called Canada systemically racist and guilty of genocide. He proclaimed it the world’s first “post-national” state and declared “There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada.” His far-left thinking manifests itself in a profligate government that creates more problems than it solves.

Trudeau’s cultish climate obsession has wrought enormous harm to jobs, growth, national unity and the economic prospects of Indigenous peoples. Yet it has not achieved a single national GHG target or impacted global warming even minutely — something that actually could be achieved if Canadian LNG replaced coal in energy-hungry Asia and Europe.

I expect Pierre Poilievre will reach out to his leadership rivals and their supporters the way Stephen Harper did as prime minister. He can easily do that without compromising conservative principles, policy priorities or authenticity. It would be the magnanimous and smart thing to do. He will then speak directly to Canadians about how he will represent their values and interests and pursue his vision for a prosperous, proud and fair country for everyone. No wonder Liberals are worried.

 

 

Bumpy US Road to EV Utopia

Bonner Cohen reveals land mines and pitfalls in the just signed climate law, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.  Converting the US auto fleet to Electric Vehicles (EVs) just got much harder, not to say impossible. His Daily Caller article is Why Democrats’ Road to EV Utopia Got a Whole Lot Bumpier. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Aside from the new taxes, handouts to the well-connected, and price controls on certain pharmaceuticals, the bill’s “climate” provisions contain a slew of incentives crafted to promote electric vehicles (EVs). But the Byzantine structure lawmakers erected to govern the transition to the EV green utopia guarantees that things will get a lot bumpier than Bette Davis’s character could ever have imagined.

Let’s start with the handouts to the EV industry. U.S. taxpayers have been subsidizing the purchase of EVs for years. Under the new law, those subsidies will be extended through 2032. But only EVs below a certain price will qualify for the tax credits, and only buyers whose income is below a certain level will be eligible to take advantage of them.

Before the new law took effect, buyers could receive tax credits of up to $7,500 only if an automaker had sold fewer than 200,000 EVs, a threshold Tesla and General Motors crossed years ago, and one that other manufacturers are rapidly approaching. Now, only new electric-powered SUVs, vans and trucks that cost less than $80,000 qualify for up to $7.500 in tax credits.

EVs eligible for the tax credits, however, must be assembled in North America and their battery components must come from the U.S. or a handful of friendly nations. And, by 2029, the law stipulates that 100% of battery components are to come from North America. This is where life gets interesting.

Geopolitical Consequences

“Today’s battery and mineral supply chains revolve around China,’ the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported in July. “China produces three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries and is home to 70% of production capacity for cathodes and 85% of anodes (both are key components of batteries). Over half of lithium, cobalt, and graphite processing and refining capacity is located in China.”

IEA projects that the global market for lithium will grow more than 40-fold by 2040, with demand for nickel, cobalt and graphite likely to be 25-times higher than it is today. Russia is home to about a fifth of the world’s high-grade nickel — a substance coveted by EV manufacturers for extending the range and power of batteries.

In other words, the raw materials essential to the EV transition are largely under the control of America’s geopolitical rivals. China and Russia are also the chief beneficiaries of the soaring costs of the commodities essential to power EVs. But the Schumer-Manchin bill seeks to shift the source of EV battery components to the U.S. or its allies.

Is this realistic? There is only one nickel mine in the U.S., and that Michigan operation is set to close in 2025. Two lithium mines have been proposed in Nevada, but they are encountering fierce resistance from tribal and environmental groups. On average, it takes 12 years for a mining project in the U.S. to clear all the permitting red tape and litigation before it can go into operation. Many projects never come to fruition.

As commodity prices increase, the prices of EVs — already higher than conventionally-powered vehicles — will rise accordingly. Most automakers have already announced plans to cease production of gas-powered vehicles by the middle of the next decade. They, too, will become more expensive as their numbers dwindle. Consumers, being force-fed EVs by government and automakers, will have to dig deeper and deeper.

The disruptions will go far beyond what people will have to pay for personal transportation. Ford just announced it is laying off 3,000 white-collar employees as part of the company’s transition to EVs. Blue-collar workers at Ford, and other automakers, will follow, because it takes fewer workers to assemble an EV (fewer parts) than a conventional vehicle.

Squeeze Play

Furthermore, the vast number of wind farms and solar arrays the Biden administration is planning for the country will require an enormous number of batteries to supply electricity when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Those batteries will compete with EV batteries for the expensive raw materials they need to function, opening the door to shortages and higher costs.

The consumer of modest means will be caught in a squeeze play,
struggling to pay soaring power bills while trying to afford a new, or used, car.

“Even with the tax credits, EVs are impractical and unaffordable for most low-income households,” says Donna Jackson, director of membership development for Project 21, a network of black conservatives. “The real message to the poor and minority communities is take the bus.”

Indeed, the Democrats’ dystopian Inflation Reduction Act will only exacerbate America’s energy woes and cause incalculable hardship for those who can afford it least, low-income, minority families.

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

Neo-Socialist Plan: High-Low, Two-Tier Society

Some socio-political scientists are starting to notice that today’s social engineering efforts are misleadingly described in terms of classical socialism or communism.  For example, Michael Anton writes at American Mind, Socialism and the Great Reset.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

It has become increasingly common to hear those on what we may call the conventional Right claim that the main threat facing the historic American nation and the American way of life is “socialism.” These warnings have grown with the rise of the so-called “Great Reset,” ostensibly a broad effort to reduce inequality, cool the planet (i.e., “address climate change”), and cure various social ills, all by decreasing alleged “overconsumption.” In other words, its mission is to persuade people, at least in the developed West, to accept lower standards of living in order to create a more just and “equitable” world. Since the conservative mind, not unreasonably, associates lower standards of living with “socialism,” many conservatives naturally intuit that the Great Reset must somehow be “socialist.”

I believe this fear is at least partly misplaced and that the warnings it gives rise to, however well-meaning, are counterproductive because they deflect attention from the truer, greater threat: specifically, the cabal of bankers, techies, corporate executives, politicians, senior bureaucrats, academics, and pundits who coalesce around the World Economic Forum and seek to change, reduce, restrict, and homogenize the Western way of life—but only for ordinary people.

Their own way of life, along with the wealth and power that define it,
they seek to entrench, augment, deepen, and extend.

This is why a strict or literal definition of “socialism”—public or government ownership and control of the means of production in order to equalize incomes and wealth across the population—is inapt to our situation. The Great Reset quietly but unmistakably redefines “socialism” to allow and even promote wealth and power concentration in certain hands. In the decisive sense, then, the West’s present economic system—really, its overarching regime—is the opposite of socialistic.

It is unnecessary for our purposes here to recount Marx’s and Engels’s distinctions between the various forms of socialism. Suffice it to say that, in their account, all of those varieties constitute cynical or at any rate inconsequential concessions to the lower classes, intended to stave off the emergence of full communism and to preserve ruling class status and privileges. The “socialism” with which we are most familiar today—high and progressive taxation, a generous welfare state, nationalization of key services such as health care, an expansive list of state-guaranteed “rights,” combined with the retention of private property and private ownership of most means of production—Marx and Engels deride as “bourgeois socialism,” i.e., not only not the real thing but fundamentally closer to bourgeois capitalism than to true socialism, much less communism.

Yet there are ways in which this regime might still be tentatively described as “socialist,” at least as it operates for those not members in good standing of the Davoisie. If the Great Reset is allowed to proceed as planned, wealth for all but the global overclass will be equalized, or at least reduced for the middle and increased for the bottom. Many of the means used to accomplish this goal will be “socialistic,” broadly understood.

Neo-Socialist Class Warfare is Top-Down

James B. Meigs takes this further, showing how energy policies driven by carbon reduction mandates illustrate the process for imposing a two-tier society upon developed societies.  The lengthy essay is worth reading, while I will provide here only excerpts expanding on the theme of this post.  The City Journal article is The Green War on Clean Energy:  Radical environmentalists fight against the very technologies that would cut carbon emissions. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Ted Nordhaus, founder of the eco-modernist Breakthrough Institute, is skeptical of the global climate-industrial complex” on display at COP26. “A climate movement less in thrall to fever dreams of apocalypse would focus more on balancing long-term emissions reductions with growth, development, and adaptation in the here and now,” he writes. The extremists of Extinction Rebellion and similar groups demand “system change,” by which they mean dismantling free markets, creating alternatives to existing democratic institutions, and deliberately reducing living standards through a process they call “degrowth.” The COP26 technocrats don’t advocate anything that radical, but they, too, envision a more centralized, less growth-oriented model for society. Under the COP26 paradigm, entire sectors of the economy—energy, transportation, manufacturing, housing—would undergo wrenching transformations.

According to this vision, markets are not adequate to manage the necessary transitions.

Instead, change must be driven through government regulation, supranational agreements between industry and NGOs, financial controls, and other top-down measures. Certain technologies—electric vehicles, say, or rooftop solar panels—must be heavily subsidized, while others—internal combustion engines, gas stoves—should be penalized or even banned. The use of fossil fuels should be curtailed by any means necessary, including pushing up prices by restricting drilling and pipeline construction. All policies must be geared to achieve “net-zero emissions” by 2050.

This is a staggeringly difficult goal, which would touch every aspect of modern life. Yet net-zero advocates too often reject or neglect the very policies most likely to help the world achieve it. As Nordhaus recently wrote in The Economist, the activist community “insists upon re-engineering the global economy without many of the technologies that most technical analyses conclude would be necessary, including nuclear energy, carbon capture and carbon removal.” In other words, green elites want to upend the lives of billions but show surprisingly little interest in whether their programs work. In some parts of the world, the climate lobby has already managed to enact policies that raise prices, hinder growth, and promote political instability—all while achieving only marginal reductions in emissions.

[See four-part series World of Hurt from Climate Policies]

The problem starts with the movement’s blanket opposition to fossil fuels. For example, most environmentalists viscerally oppose fracking and natural-gas pipelines. The Biden administration moved to curtail U.S. gas drilling within days of taking office (one reason U.S. gas prices have roughly tripled since Biden became president). But in fact, since natural gas emits nearly 50 percent less carbon dioxide than coal, it is one of our best tools to bring down emissions in the short term, while also benefiting the economy. Alex Trembath, deputy director of the Breakthrough Institute, writes: “The U.S. fracking boom of 2008 onward tempered inflation, created hundreds of thousands of jobs during the worst recession in a century, and, yes, reduced carbon emissions by displacing much dirtier coal-fired power.”

Eco-pragmatists like Trembath see natural gas as a “bridge fuel” that can ease the transition to lower-carbon energy sources. (Soon, carbon capture and storage [CCS] technology could make it feasible to harness the energy in gas while putting much less carbon into the atmosphere.) But most environmental activists argue that we must phase out natural gas as rapidly as possible, replacing it almost exclusively with wind and solar power. Wind and solar power can help reduce carbon emissions, as long as they are part of a mix of energy sources. But renewable-energy champions tend to gloss over the huge challenges of trying to power the grid primarily with such on-again, off-again energy sources.

Despite those obstacles, most green activists regard wind and solar power as something close to a climate panacea. So one would assume that environmental groups are lobbying hard to get these projects approved and built. Yet environmental activists often lead the way in opposing the construction of renewable-energy projects—especially when they’re slated to be built in their own backyards. In the U.S., environmental groups are currently fighting solar installations in Massachusetts, California, Nevada, Florida, and many other states. Wind-turbine farms face even more opposition: since 2015, more than 300 U.S. communities have rejected or restricted wind projects, according to a database maintained by energy author Robert Bryce.

Wind-power technologies kill thousands of birds yearly, like this red-tailed hawk. (C. M. BURGE/GETTY IMAGES)

The biggest roadblock that the green movement has thrown in front of cutting emissions is its long-standing opposition to nuclear energy.

Leading environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters, have been fighting nuclear power since the 1970s. “When you are in the environmental movement, you are just automatically anti certain things,” Zion Lights told me. “And nuclear power is the biggest bogeyman.”

But what if nuclear research and plant construction had continued to advance at the pace seen in the 1970s? One Australian researcher concluded: “Had the early rates continued, nuclear power could now be around 10 percent of its current cost.” That cheap, clean power would have made the use of coal—and, in many cases, even natural gas—unnecessary for power generation. In turn, this hypothetical nuclear revolution would have eliminated roughly five years’ worth of global emissions from fossil fuels and prevented more than 9 million deaths caused by air pollution. Most green activists today would see such numbers as nothing short of a miracle. Yet it was environmentalists who led the campaign to halt the rollout of the cleanest, and greenest, of all power sources.

Despite hints of progress, the nuclear industry remains in a vise: on one side, nuclear plants face pressure from activists and politicians; on the other, they are financially squeezed by renewable energy, which receives comparatively massive subsidies. Not surprisingly, U.S. nuclear facilities are closing at a rate of roughly one per year, with several plants likely to shut down over the next five years. And groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, have begun lobbying against regulatory approval for the next generation of designs, including small modular reactors and other concepts. Despite ample evidence that these advanced reactors will be dramatically safer than today’s (already quite safe) nuclear plants, UCS opposes them—partly because their small size and low risk “could facilitate placement of new reactors in BIPOC [black, indigenous, people of color] communities.” The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently pleased these critics when it rejected an application from Oklo Power—one of the most promising nuclear startups—to build a test version of the company’s groundbreaking micro-reactor.

In New York’s Hudson Valley, the environmental nonprofit Riverkeeper has an impressive history of protecting the Hudson River habitat. But it also spearheaded the campaign to close Indian Point, the nuclear plant that provided 25 percent of the electricity in the New York City region. Advocates for closing the plant promised that renewable energy would easily replace the power lost. In addition to new wind and solar projects, they pointed to a planned underground transmission line that would carry renewable hydro power from Quebec to the metro region. Then-governor Andrew Cuomo promised that the closure would result in “no new carbon emissions.”

Replacing Indian Point nuclear power plant would require wind farms on land the size of Albany County NY.

But when Indian Point shut down for good in April 2021, all the wind and solar facilities in New York State combined were producing less than a third of the power churned out by that single plant.

So, just as in other regions where nuclear plants have closed, grid operators turned to natural gas to fill the gap. Statewide grid-related CO2 emissions shot up by 15 percent. Analysts warned of potential blackouts. Electricity prices rose, too, jumping 50 percent for New York City residents. Then Riverkeeper executed a brazen maneuver: with Indian Point now closed, the organization began lobbying New York’s Public Service Commission against the proposed power line from Canada that it had previously supported. The group announced that it had “the courage to take a second hard look at this project.” Many clean-energy advocates were outraged. Jesse Jenkins, a respected energy analyst at Princeton, took to Twitter to say that he found it “incredibly frustrating to see environmental groups who allegedly see climate change as a ‘crisis’ regularly and actively opposing solutions.”

The list goes on. Time and again, climate visionaries propose sweeping transformations of our way of life in the name of reducing emissions. But then they fail to build—or even actively oppose—the infrastructure necessary to make that dream a reality.

Environmental radicals like the members of Extinction Rebellion might say that this is a good thing: our society is too rich, too energy-hungry; we must be taught a lesson in austerity. Even supposed moderates sometimes echo that message. Conservatives never forgot Obama energy secretary Steven Chu’s 2008 comment that “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Even as he tries to reassure Americans about today’s stratospheric gas prices, President Biden optimistically describes the price surge as part of the “incredible transition” away from fossil fuels.

Today’s economic and geopolitical crises may be an opportunity for climate activists to dial down the catastrophism and focus on policies that actually reduce carbon—without destroying our standard of living.

See Also Elites Escalate War Upon the Middle Class

Footnote (just for fun)

Electric Car Obsession

 

Times Square Billboard

World Economic Forum Urges Public To Eliminate Ownership Of Private Vehicles

The World Economic Forum is advocating for the abolition of “wasteful” private vehicle ownership for the planet’s greater good as the organization attempts to advance its “Great Reset” agenda and transform the world so that the average person will “own nothing.”

“We need a clean energy revolution, and we need it now,” states a WEF’s July 18 article titled, “3 circular economy approaches to reduce demand for critical metals.”

“But this transition from fossil fuels to renewables will need large supplies of critical metals such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, to name a few. Shortages of these critical minerals could raise the costs of clean energy technologies,” the forum continues.

The unelected globalist group recommends the public “go from owning to using” by implementing “vehicle sharing initiatives” to decrease mass reliance on critical metals.

“The average car or van in England is driven just 4% of the time. While most already have a personal phone, 39% of workers globally have employer-provided laptops and mobile phones. This is not at all resource efficient,” the WEF states. “More sharing can reduce ownership of idle equipment and thus material usage.”

The WEF recommends the public abandon use of the vehicles they own and instead opt to share a ride by “car sharing and links to an article published by Tree Hugger to that details what “car sharing” entails.

Banning private ownership in its entirety is essential, according to the WEF.

“A design process that focuses on fulfilling the underlying need instead of designing for product purchasing is fundamental to this transition,” the WEF continues. “This is the mindset needed to redesign cities to reduce private vehicles and other usages.”

Earlier this month, the WEF also published a position paper claiming gas prices must increase to save democracy.

Policies must be implemented to increase the prices of alternatives to green energy, the WEF argues in the July 11 article.

See Also The Illusion of Eco Cars

If That Tesla Battery Could Talk