Huge: EPA Loses–America Wins

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 2019, the Trump administration repealed the CPP and replaced it with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which gave states discretion to set standards and gave power plants flexibility in complying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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ruling WEST VIRGINIA v. EPA

Background  Supremes to Review EPA Authority Over GHGs

Footnote from CO2 Coalition

EPA loses – America Wins

Victory for citizens and businesses alike

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

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

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

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

This is why we fight.

Statement on the ruling by CO2 Coalition Chair William Happer:

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

A Rational Climate Policy

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

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

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

♦  Climate change is real, but not an emergency.

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

♦  We must transition to a diversified energy platform.

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

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

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

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

Preamble

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Guiding Vision for the Future

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

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

CLINTEL’s proposal consists of three main elements:

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

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

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

2. Transforming green electrons into green molecules

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

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

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

3. Hybrid applications

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

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

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

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

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

Footnote:  US Republicans Get Behind a Six-Point Plan

ClearPath Action

♦  Leverage American Innovation

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

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

♦  Modernize Permitting

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

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

♦  Bring American Industry Back

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

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

♦  Unleash American Resource Independence

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

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

♦  Make Our Communities More Resilient

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

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

♦  Use Natural Solutions

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

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

How to FLICC Off Climate Alarms

John Ridgway has provided an excellent framework for skeptics to examine and respond to claims from believers in global warming/climate change.  His essay at Climate Scepticism is Deconstructing Scepticism: The True FLICC.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added comments.

Overview

I have modified slightly the FLICC components to serve as a list of actions making up a skeptical approach to an alarmist claim.  IOW this is a checklist for applying critical intelligence to alarmist discourse in the public arena. The Summary can be stated thusly:

♦  Follow the Data
Find and follow the data and facts to where they lead

♦  Look for full risk profile
Look for a complete assessment of risks and costs from proposed policies

♦  Interrogate causal claims
Inquire into claimed cause-effect relationships

♦  Compile contrary explanations
Construct an organized view of contradictory evidence to the theory

♦  Confront cultural bias
Challenge attempts to promote consensus story with flimsy coincidence

A Case In Point

John Ridgway illustrates how this method works in a comment:

No sooner have I’ve pressed the publish button, and the BBC comes out with the perfect example of what I have been writing about:  Climate change: Rising sea levels threaten 200,000 England properties

It tells of a group of experts theorizing that 200,000 coastal properties are soon to be lost due to climate change. Indeed, it “is already happening” as far as Happisburg on the Norfolk coast is concerned. Coastal erosion is indeed a problem there.

But did the experts take into account that the data shows no acceleration of erosion over the last 2000 years? No.

Have they acknowledge the fact that erosion on the East coast is a legacy of glaciation? No.

[For the US example of this claim, see my post Sea Level Scare Machine]

The FLICC Framework

Below is Ridgway’s text regarding this thought process, followed by a synopsis of his discussion of the five elements. Text is in italics with my bolds.

As part of the anthropogenic climate change debate, and when discussing the proposed plans for transition to Net Zero, efforts have been made to analyse the thinking that underpins the typical sceptic’s position. These analyses have universally presupposed that such scepticism stubbornly persists in the face of overwhelming evidence, as reflected in the widespread use of the term ‘denier’. Consequently, they are based upon taxonomies of flawed reasoning and methods of deception and misinformation.1 

However, by taking such a prejudicial approach, the analyses have invariably failed to acknowledge the ideological, philosophical and psychological bases for sceptical thinking. The following taxonomy redresses that failing and, as a result, offers a more pertinent analysis that avoids the worst excesses of opinionated philippic. The taxonomy identifies a basic set of ideologies and attitudes that feature prominently in the typical climate change sceptic’s case. For my taxonomy I have chosen the acronym FLICC:2

  • Follow data but distrust judgement and speculation

     i.e. value empirical evidence over theory and conjecture.

  • Look for the full risk profile

      i.e. when considering the management of risks and uncertainties, demand that those associated        with mitigating and preventative measures are also taken into account.

  • Interrogate causal arguments

      i.e. demand that both necessity and sufficiency form the basis of a causal analysis.

  • Contrariness

      i.e. distrust consensus as an indicator of epistemological value.

  • Cultural awareness

       i.e. never underestimate the extent to which a society can fabricate a truth for its own purposes.

All of the above have a long and legitimate history outside the field of climate science. The suggestion that they are not being applied in good faith by climate change sceptics falls beyond the remit of taxonomical analysis and strays into the territory of propaganda and ad hominem.

The five ideologies and attitudes of climate change scepticism introduced above are now discussed in greater detail.

Following the data

Above all else, the sceptical approach is characterized by a reluctance to draw conclusions from a given body of evidence. When it comes to evidence supporting the idea of a ‘climate crisis’, such reluctance is judged by many to be pathological and indicative of motivated reasoning. Cognitive scientists use the term ‘conservative belief revision’ to refer to an undue reluctance to update beliefs in accordance with a new body of evidence. More precisely, when the individual retains the view that events have a random pattern, thereby downplaying the possibility of a causative factor, the term used is ‘slothful induction’. Either way, the presupposition is that the individual is committing a logical fallacy resulting from cognitive bias.

However, far from being a pathology of thinking, such reluctance has its legitimate foundations in Pyrrhonian philosophy and, when properly understood, it can be seen as an important thinking strategy.3 Conservative belief revision and slothful induction can indeed lead to false conclusions but, more importantly, the error most commonly encountered when making decisions under uncertainty (and the one with the greatest potential for damage) is to downplay unknown and possibly random factors and instead construct a narrative that overstates and prejudges causation. This tendency is central to the human condition and it lies at the heart of our failure to foresee the unexpected – this is the truly important cognitive bias that the sceptic seeks to avoid.

The empirical sceptic is cognisant of evidence and allows the formulation of theories but treats them with considerable caution due to the many ways in which such theories often entail unwarranted presupposition.

The drivers behind this problem are the propensity of the human mind to seek patterns, to construct narratives that hide complexities, to over-emphasise the causative role played by human agents and to under-emphasise the role played by external and possibly random factors. Ultimately, it is a problem regarding the comprehension of uncertainty — we comprehend in a manner that has served us well in evolutionary terms but has left us vulnerable to unprecedented, high consequence events.

It is often said that a true sceptic is one who is prepared to accept the prevailing theory once the evidence is ‘overwhelming’. The climate change sceptic’s reluctance to do so is taken as an indication that he or she is not a true sceptic. However, we see here that true scepticism lies in the willingness to challenge the idea that the evidence is overwhelming – it only seems overwhelming to those who fail to recognise the ‘theorizing disease’ and lack the resolve to resist it. Secondly, there cannot be a climate change sceptic alive who is not painfully aware of the humiliation handed out to those who resist the theorizing.

In practice, the theorizing and the narratives that trouble the empirical sceptic take many forms. It can be seen in:

♦  over-dependence upon mathematical models for which the tuning owes more to art than science.

♦  readiness to treat the output of such models as data resulting from experiment, rather than the hypotheses they are.

♦  lack of regard for ontological uncertainty (i.e. the unknown unknowns which, due to their very nature, the models do not address).

♦  emergence of story-telling as a primary weapon in the armoury of extreme weather event attribution.

♦  willingness to commit trillions of pounds to courses of action that are predicated upon Representative Concentration Pathways and economic models that are the ‘theorizing disease’ writ large.

♦  contributions of the myriad of activists who seek to portray the issues in a narrative form laden with social justice and other ethical considerations.

♦  imaginative but simplistic portrayals of climate change sceptics and their motives; portrayals that are drawing categorical conclusions that cannot possibly be justified given the ‘evidence’ offered. And;

♦  any narrative that turns out to be unfounded when one follows the data.

Climate change may have its basis in science and data, but this basis has long since been overtaken by a plethora of theorizing and causal narrative that sometimes appears to have taken on a life of its own. Is this what settled science is supposed to look like?

Looking for the full risk profile

Almost as fundamental as the sceptic’s resistance to theorizing and narrative is his or her appreciation that the management of anthropogenic warming (particularly the transition to Net Zero) is an undertaking beset with risk and uncertainty. This concern reflects a fundamental principle of risk management: proposed actions to tackle a risk are often in themselves problematic and so a full risk analysis is not complete until it can be confirmed that the net risk will decrease following the actions proposed.7

Firstly, the narrative of existential risk is rejected on the grounds of empirical scepticism (the evidence for an existential threat is not overwhelming, it is underwhelming).

Secondly, even if the narrative is accepted, it has not been reliably demonstrated that the proposal for Net Zero transition is free from existential or extreme risks.

Indeed, given the dominant role played by the ‘theorizing disease’ and how it lies behind our inability to envisage the unprecedented high consequence event, there is every reason to believe that the proposals for Net Zero transition should be equally subject to the precautionary principle. The fact that they are not is indicative of a double standard being applied. The argument seems to run as follows: There is no uncertainty regarding the physical risk posed by climate change, but if there were it would only add to the imperative for action. There is also no uncertainty regarding the transition risk, but if there were it could be ignored because one can only apply the precautionary principle once!

This is precisely the sort of inconsistency one encounters when uncertainties are rationalised away in order to support the favoured narrative.

The upshot of this double standard is that the activists appear to be proceeding with two very different risk management frameworks depending upon whether physical or transition risk is being considered. As a result, risks associated with renewable energy security, the environmental damage associated with proposals to reduce carbon emissions and the potentially catastrophic effects of the inevitable global economic shock are all played down or explained away.

Looking for the full risk profile is a basic of risk management practice. The fact that it is seen as a ploy used only by those wishing to oppose the management of anthropogenic climate change is both odd and worrying. It is indeed important to the sceptic, but it should be important to everyone.

Interrogating causal arguments

For many years we have been told that anthropogenic climate change will make bad things happen. These dire predictions were supposed to galvanize the world into action but that didn’t happen, no doubt partly due to the extent to which such predictions repeatedly failed to come true (as, for example, with the predictions of the disappearance of Arctic sea ice).  .  .This is one good reason for the empirical sceptic to distrust the narrative,8 but an even better one lies in the very concept of causation.

A major purpose of narrative is to reduce complexity so that the ‘truth’ can shine through. This is particularly the case with causal narratives. We all want executive summaries and sound bites such as ‘Y happened because of X’. But very few of us are interested in examining exactly what we mean by such statements – very few except, of course, for the empirical sceptics. In a messy world in which many factors may be at play, the more pertinent questions are:

♦  To what extent was X necessary for Y to happen?
♦  To what extent was X sufficient for Y to happen?

The vast majority of the extreme weather event attribution narrative is focused upon the first question and very little attention is paid to the second; at least not in the many press bulletins issued. Basically, we are told that the event was virtually impossible without climate change, but very little is said regarding whether climate change on its own was enough.

This problem of oversimplification is even more worrying once one starts to examine consequential damages whilst failing to take into account man-made failings such as those that exacerbate the impacts of floods and forest fires.9   The oversimplification of causal narrative is not restricted to weather-related events, of course. Climate change, we are told, is wreaking havoc with the flora and fauna and many species are dying out as a result. However, when such claims are examined more closely,10 it is invariably the case that climate change has been lumped in with a number of other factors that are destroying habitat.

When climate change sceptics point this out they are, of course, accused of cherry-picking. The truth, however, is that their insistence that the extended causal narrative of necessity and sufficiency should be respected is nothing more than the consequence of following the data and looking for the full risk profile.

Contrariness

The climate change debate is all about making decisions under uncertainty, so it is little surprise that gaining consensus is seen as centrally important. Uncertainty is reduced when the evidence is overwhelming and it is tempting to believe that the high level of consensus amongst climate scientists surely points towards there being overwhelming evidence. If one accepts this logic then the sceptic’s refusal to accept the consensus is just another manifestation of his or her denial.

Except, of course, an empirical sceptic would not accept this logic. Consensus does not result from a simple examination of concordant evidence, it is instead the fruit of the tendentious theorizing and simplifying narrative that the empirical sceptic intuitively distrusts. As explained above, there are a number of drivers that cause such theories and narratives to entail unwarranted presupposition, and it is naïve to believe that scientists are immune to such drivers.

However, the fact remains that consensus on beliefs is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for presuming that these beliefs constitute shared knowledge. It is only when a consensus on beliefs is uncoerced, uniquely heterogeneous and large, that a shared knowledge provides the best explanation of a given consensus.11 The notion that a scientific consensus can be trusted because scientists are permanently seeking to challenge accepted views is simplistic at best.

It is actually far from obvious that in climate science the conditions have been met for consensus to be a reliable indicator of shared knowledge.

Contrariness simply comes with the territory of being an empirical sceptic. The evidence of consensus is there to be seen, but the amount of theorizing and narrative required for its genesis, together with the social dimension to consensus generation, are enough for the empirical sceptic to treat the whole matter of consensus with a great deal of caution.

Cultural awareness

There has been a great deal said already regarding the culture wars surrounding issues such as the threat posed by anthropogenic climate change. Most of the concerns are directed at the sceptic, who for reasons never properly explained is deemed to be the instigator of the conflict. However, it is the sceptic who chooses to point out that the value-laden arguments offered by climate activists are best understood as part of a wider cultural movement in which rationality is subordinate to in-group versus outgroup dynamics.

Psychological, ethical and spiritual needs lie at the heart of the development of culture and so the adoption of the climate change phenomenon in service of these needs has to be seen as essentially a cultural power play. The dangers of uncritically accepting the fruits of theorizing and narrative are only the beginning of the empirical sceptic’s concerns. Beyond that is the concern that the direction the debate is taking is not even a matter of empiricism – data analysis has little to offer when so much depends upon whether the phenomenon is subsequently to be described as warming or heating. It is for this reason that much of the sceptic’s attention is directed towards the manner in which the science features in our culture rather than the science itself. Such are our psychological, ethical and spiritual needs, that we must not underestimate the extent to which ostensibly scientific output can be moulded in their service.

Conclusions

Taxonomies of thinking should not be treated too seriously. Whilst I hope that I have offered here a welcome antidote to the diatribe that often masquerades as a scholarly appraisal of climate change scepticism, it remains the case that the form that scepticism takes will be unique to the individual. I could not hope to cover all aspects of climate change scepticism in the limited space available to me, but it remains my belief that there are unifying principles that can be identified.

Central to these is the concept of the empirical sceptic and the need to understand that there are sound reasons to treat theorizing and simplifying narratives with extreme caution. The empirical sceptic resists the temptation to theorize, preferring instead to keep an open mind on the interpretation of the evidence. This is far from being self-serving denialism; it is instead a self-denying servitude to the data.

That said, I cannot believe that there would be any activist who, upon reading this account, would see a reason to modify their opinions regarding the bad faith and irrationality that lies behind scepticism. This, unfortunately, is only to be expected given that such opinions are themselves the result of theorizing and simplifying narrative.

Footnote:

While the above focuses on climate alarmism, there are many other social and political initiatives that are theory-driven, suffering from inadequate attention to analysis by empirical sceptics.  One has only to note corporate and governmental programs based on Critical Race or Gender theories.  In addition, COVID policies in advanced nations ignored the required full risk profiling, as well as overturning decades of epidemiological knowledge in favor of models and experimental gene therapies proposed by Big Pharma.

 

 

Finland’s Self-imposed Climate Lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

See Also Dutch Judges Dictate Energy Policy

See Also Climate Tyranny By Way of Criminal Law

 

 

 

Climate-Change ‘Solutions’ Way Worse Than the Problem

Wonder Land: Democrats have wrecked the cities and the border. Why would climate policy be any different? Images: Zuma Press/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly  Link to video is below

https://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/v3/iframe.html?guid=5D0A20A9-75C5-4506-B1B1-9EC96ABBBEE9

Jason De Sena Trennert writes at WSJ Opinion Climate-Change ‘Solutions’ That Are Worse Than the Problem.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images H/T John Ray (here)

The political assault on fossil fuels comes at the expense
of the poor, peace, and the environment.

If you can afford a Tesla, you probably find it hard to imagine that there are some 3.5 billion people on Earth who have no reasonably reliable access to electricity. Even less obvious may be the way rich countries’ pursuit of carbon neutrality at almost any cost limits economic opportunities for the world’s poor and poses serious geopolitical risks to the West.

Anyone on an investment committee has likely spent untold amounts of time discussing ways to mitigate the impact of climate change, but they’ve likely never heard anyone state one simple and incontrovertible fact: The widespread exploration and production of fossil fuels that started in Titusville, Pa., not quite 170 years ago, has done more to benefit the lives of ordinary people than any other technological advance in history.

Before fossil fuels, people relied on burning biomass, such as timber or manure, which was a far dirtier and much less efficient source of energy. Fossil fuels let people heat their homes in the winter, reducing the risk of death from exposure. Fossil-fuel-based fertilizers greatly increased crop yields, reducing starvation and malnutrition. Before the advent of the automobile, the ability for many people to venture far from their hometown was an unfathomable dream. Oil- and coal-burning transportation opened up access to education, commerce, professional opportunities, and vital services such as medicine. There has been, and remains, a strong correlation between the use of fossil fuels and life expectancy.

Limiting the availability of fossil fuels in the name of climate activism would cut off many of the world’s poor from these benefits. Climate activists worry about a potential “existential crisis” decades down the road, but poor people, really poor people, face an existential crisis every day. Even for those who aren’t among humanity’s most unfortunate, rising energy prices force serious economic trade-offs. Purposely eschewing America and Europe’s own natural resources increases costs to consumers, raises the cost of doing business, and limits economic growth. Viewed with this in mind, the debate over emissions seems like an upper-class problem.

If Chinese belligerence and increasing authoritarianism over the past two years have taught us anything, it is that no amount of trade and international cooperation will instill what are generally considered to be Western values in other civilizations who have no real desire to adopt them. Trusting China to do anything other than what is directly in its own best interests, especially when it comes to the trade-offs between economic development and climate issues, would seem to be in direct conflict with history and common sense—and it poses serious geopolitical risks to the international democratic order. The war in Ukraine has emphasized how leaving European and American fossil fuels in the ground can put the West at the will of dictators, increasing the risk of atrocities, war or even the use of weapons of mass destruction.

An easing of regulations on drilling in the U.S. and easier regulations on liquefied natural gas exports to flood the global market with oil and natural gas would do far more than any sanctions to stop Vladimir Putin’s barbarism.

The climate-change solutions the West is pursuing also pose a danger to the environment. The lodestar of the environmental movement today appears to be electric vehicles. One would be hard-pressed to find a product more dependent on resources from extractive materials. An electric car requires almost four times as much copper as an automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. The widely accepted goal of having 30% of the world’s vehicle sales be electric by 2030 would require enormous investments in mining industries that are decidedly not eco-friendly.

And whatever emission cuts America and Europe manage to make by forcing electric vehicles and other inefficient technology on consumers will be negated by emissions from other nations. Regimes like Russia and China won’t put aside their geopolitical ambitions for climate activism; developing countries like India won’t sacrifice economic development and their peoples’ well-being in the hope it’ll slow global warming.

Sadly, environmentalism has grown into a secular religion
in which reasonable debate is regarded as heresy.

But if politicians and voters can approach climate change with an open mind, they’ll see that economic growth is likely to solve the issue without heavy-handed government intervention. History has shown that free markets produce incredible leaps in human ingenuity. The greater access the world has to all sorts of energy sources, the faster humanity will discover new technologies that are more environmentally friendly. Rationing fossil fuels would only retard the process of decreasing carbon emissions and cost lives in the process.

Resources:  Four Part Series of infographics World of Hurt From Climate Policies

 

Climate & Covid Year in Review

Dave Barry provides at Miami Herald his usual droll witty take on events Dave Barry’s Year in Review: Wait, wasn’t 2021 supposed to be better than 2020?.  Some excerpts in italics along with my added comments and images.

Year in review 2021

Fortunately in 2021, we followed the Science, which decided that the coronavirus does not observe floor arrows. On the other hand, the Science could not make up its mind about masks, especially in restaurants. Should everybody in the restaurant wear them? Should only the staff wear them? Should people who are standing up wear them, but not people who are sitting down, which would seem to suggest that the virus can also enter our bodies via our butts? We still don’t know, and we can’t wait to find out what the Science will come up with for us next.

Anyway, our point is not that 2021 was massively better than 2020. Our point is that at least it was different. A variant, so to speak. And like any year, it had both highs and lows.

No, we take that back. It was pretty much all lows, as we will see when we review the key events of 2021, starting in…

January 2021

The spotlight now shifts to incoming President Joe Biden, who takes the oath of office in front of a festive throng of 25,000 National Guard troops. The national healing begins quickly as Americans, exhausted from years of division and strife, join together in exchanging memes of Bernie Sanders attending the inauguration wearing distinctive mittens and the facial expression of a man having his prostate examined by a hostile sea urchin.

Bjorn Lomborg:  Joe Biden will rejoin the Paris climate agreement soon after being inaugurated as president of the United States. Climate change, according to Biden, is “an existential threat” to the nation, and to combat it, he proposes to spend $500 billion each year on climate policies — the equivalent of $1,500 per person.

For Americans, President Barack Obama’s Paris promises carried a price tag of nearly $200 billion a year. But Biden has vowed to go much further, with a promise of net-zero by 2050. There is only one nation that has done an independent cost estimate of net-zero, namely New Zealand. The Kiwis found the average best-case cost is 16 percent of GDP, or a US cost of more than $5 trillion a year by mid-century.

These figures are unsustainable. Moreover, the US and other developed countries can achieve very little on their own. Imagine if Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries stopped all their emissions today and never bounced back. This would be utterly devastating economically yet would reduce global warming by the end of the century by less than 0.8 degrees.

There is a smarter way: investing a lot more in green-energy ­research and development. As Bill Gates says, “We’re short about two dozen great innovations” to fix climate. If we could innovate the price of green energy below fossil fuels, everyone would switch, eventually fixing climate change.

Joe Biden’s climate agenda is all about creating a crisis — not actually fixing one

February 2021

A massive ice storm blasts much of the nation, taking an especially brutal toll on Texas, where record-setting cold temperatures knock out power to large areas and wreak devastating havoc upon millions of cells in the brain of Sen. Ted Cruz, who, despite being (Just ask him!) the smartest person on the planet, decides this would be a good time to dash off to Cancun. Meanwhile the management of the Texas power grid is harshly criticized by members of Congress who could not personally reset a home circuit breaker without the help of at least four consultants and a pollster.

The Mars rover Perseverance collects scientific evidence proving that Mars is mostly dirt. AP

In the month’s most positive news, the NASA rover “Perseverance,” after traveling 293 million miles through space, lands safely on the surface of Mars. Technically it was supposed to land on Venus, but as a NASA spokesperson observes, “a planet is a planet.” The rover sends back breathtaking video revealing that Mars has an environment consisting — as scientists have long suspected — of dirt.

March 2021

Congressional Democrats pass the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief package, which will cost $1.9 trillion, which the United States will pay for by selling baked goods to foreign nations. In a prime-time address after signing the bill, President Biden says there is “a good chance” that Americans will be able to gather together “by July the Fourth.” He does not specify which one.

Three hundred years ago, Vivaldi wrote “The Four Seasons.” It portrays the natural world, from birdsong to summer storms.  But the warming climate could radically alter the natural world by 2050, so a new version of “The Four Seasons” has been altered, too.

“We really wanted to walk that line between being too ridiculously catastrophic and kind of meaningfully changing this to make it sound what we think it might feel like to live in that time,” says Tim Devine of AKQA.

The design agency partnered with composers and scientists to develop an algorithm that translates projected environmental changes into musical changes. It allows them to create localized versions for any place where the piece is performed.

In the version played by Australia’s Sydney Symphony Orchestra, missing notes reflect declining bird populations, and the summer storm is more intense and prolonged.

April 2021

There is some welcome news on the COVID-19 front as the CDC declares that it is not necessary to wear a face mask “provided that you are fully vaccinated, and you are outdoors, and you are part of a small gathering, and everybody in this gathering has also been fully vaccinated, and all of you periodically, as a precaution, emit little whimpers of terror.” The CDC adds that “we, personally, plan to spend the next five to ten years locked in our bedroom.”

President Biden, in his first speech to Congress, promotes his infrastructure plan, which would cost $2.3 trillion, and his American Families plan, which would cost $1.8 trillion, with both plans to be funded by what the president describes as a “really big car wash.”

May 2021

The CDC further relaxes its COVID-19 guidelines in response to new scientific data showing that a lot of people have stopped paying attention to CDC guidelines. At this point these are the known facts about the pandemic in America:

— Many Americans have been vaccinated but continue to act as though they have not.

— Many other Americans have not been vaccinated but act as though they have.

— Many of those who got vaccinated hate Donald Trump, who considers the vaccines to be one of his greatest achievements.

— Many who refuse to get vaccinated love Donald Trump.

What do these facts tell us? They tell us that we, as a nation, are insane. But we knew that.

See Four Myths Drove Covid Madness

Myth: Sars-CV2 is a new virus and we have no defense.
Fact: Sars-CV2 has not been scientifically established as a virus.
Myth: Testing positive for Sars-CV2 makes you a disease case and a spreader.
Fact: PCR tests say nothing about you being ill or infectious.
Myth: Millions of people have died from Covid19.
Fact: Life expectancy is the same before and after Covid19.
Myth: Wearing masks prevents viral infection.
Fact: Evidence shows masks are symbolic, not effective.
June 2021

President Biden goes to Europe to participate in an important and historic photo opportunity with the other leaders of the G7 economic powers, which are Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Google, Facebook and Mattress Giant. In a formal joint statement issued after the meeting, the leaders declare that everybody had, quote, “a nice time.” Biden also meets with Queen Elizabeth II, who has met with every U.S. president since we started having them.

July 2021

COVID-19, which we thought was almost over — this is like the eighth or ninth time we have thought this — appears to be surging again in certain areas because of the “Delta Variant,” which gets its name from the fact that it is spread primarily by fraternities. The problem is that many Americans have declined to be vaccinated, despite the efforts of pro-vaccine voices to change the minds of the skeptics by informing them that they are stupid idiots, which is usually a persuasive argument. In response to the surge, the CDC issues new guidelines urging Americans to “do the opposite of whatever we said in our previous guidelines, not that anyone is paying attention.”

In the month’s most upbeat story, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos pioneer a new era in billionaire leisure travel by going up in private suborbital spacecraft. The two flights are radically different: Branson’s takes off in New Mexico and returns to earth in New Mexico; whereas Bezos takes off in Texas and comes down in Texas. Space enthusiasts say these missions will pave the way toward a future in which ordinary people with millions of spare dollars will be able to travel from one part of a state to a completely different part of that state while wearing matching outfits.

Athletes in the scaled-back Tokyo Olympics compete in the two-person flag-wave event. Koji Ito AP

In Tokyo, the pandemic-delayed 2020 Olympic games (motto: “Later, Smaller, Sadder”) finally get underway with the majestic Nasal Swab of Nations. This is followed by the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic Torch, which for safety reasons is a small vanilla-scented bath candle that is immediately extinguished to prevent it from attracting crowds. Let the games begin!

August 2021

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is similar to a soccer riot, but not as organized. Shekib Rahmani AP

American forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan, a country that, thanks to 20 years of our involvement, has been transformed — at a cost of many lives and more than $2 trillion — from a brutal, primitive undemocratic society into a brutal, primitive undemocratic society with a whole lot of abandoned American military hardware lying around. Most Americans agree that we have accomplished our mission, which is the same mission that the Russians had in Afghanistan before us, and the British had before them; namely, to get the hell out of Afghanistan.

The Biden administration, noting that the president has more than 140 years of experience reading Teleprompter statements about foreign policy, assures everyone that it has a Sound Exit Plan allowing for Every Possible Contingency, and insists that the withdrawal is going well. This assessment is confirmed by observers on the ground, particularly Jen Psaki, with the ground in her case being the White House Press Briefing Room. Observers who are actually in Kabul paint a somewhat darker picture of the withdrawal, more along the lines of what would have happened if the Hindenburg had crashed into the Titanic during a soccer riot.

Meanwhile global climate change continues to be a big concern as scientists release disturbing satellite images showing that the Antarctic ice sheet, for the first time in thousands of years, has developed a Dairy Queen.

September 2021

Massive leftist backlash against Ivermectin Explained

Treatment protocols with HCQ or Ivermectin + nutritional supplements fill the the need for early home treatment.

Connor Harris explains in his City Journal article Try a Dose of Skepticism.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Ivermectin may or may not work against Covid-19, but media coverage of the drug has been sneering, inaccurate—and revealing.

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” read a recent viral tweet warning readers away from using a certain medication to treat Covid-19. The tone of affectedly folksy condescension would be expected from any of thousands of Twitter-addicted progressive journalists, but less so from the official account of the United States Food and Drug Administration. Perhaps even more surprising, the tweet linked to a warning advising readers not to take a drug, ivermectin, that has been used in humans for decades and is a standard Covid-19 treatment in much of the world.

The media’s recent reporting on ivermectin is a fitting sequel to their reporting on hydroxychloroquine near the beginning of the pandemic—but not, as received opinion would have it, because both are tales of red-state yokels duped into taking poisonous phony remedies. As in the earlier case, media coverage of ivermectin exemplifies how the liberal political class’s bias, and its confusion of respect for science with blind trust in a scientific establishment, impairs their skepticism and their capacity to appraise complex scientific questions.  See Why the Leftist Backlash Against Ivermectin

October 2021

Speaking of threats: American military and intelligence officials express concern over reports that China has tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile, although a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson states that it was “probably a bat.”

In other disturbing developments, Facebook suffers a worldwide outage lasting several harrowing hours, during which billions of people are forced to obtain all of their misinformation from Twitter. Later in the month Facebook Chief Execudroid Mark Zuckerberg announces that, to better reflect Facebook’s vision for the future, the parent company is changing its name to the Washington Redskins.

One of the year’s celebrity space travelers is William Shatner, 90, whose suborbital voyage lasts 10 minutes, including two bathroom breaks. Mario Tama TNS

But there is also inspiring news in October, provided by 90-year-old actor William Shatner, who boards a Blue Origin suborbital capsule and successfully travels from one part of Texas to another part of Texas in a subhistoric mission lasting 10 minutes, including two bathroom stops.

November 2021

Biden heads to Glasgow, a city located in Scotland or possibly Wales, to participate in COP26, a 190-nation conference on climate change attended by 30,000 political leaders, diplomats, bureaucrats, experts, spokespersons, observers, aides, minions, private-jet pilots and of course Leonardo DiCaprio. After an incalculable number of catered meals and lengthy impassioned speeches making the points that (1) the climate crisis is real, (2) this is an emergency, (3) the time for action is NOW, (4) we cannot afford to wait ONE DAY longer, and (5) WE ARE NOT KIDDING AROUND THIS IS SERIOUS DAMMIT, the participating nations hammer out a historic agreement declaring, in no uncertain terms, that they will definitely, no excuses this time, gather next year for another conference, which, in a clear indication of progress, will be named “COP27.” Take that, climate change!

On the economic front, the Biden administration, seeking to counteract the steep rise in gasoline prices, orders the Energy Department to release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Within minutes a dozen towns in east Texas are flattened by an oil wave estimated to be 200 feet high. “Apparently,” states a red-faced department spokesperson, “you’re supposed to release the oil into a pipeline.”

Meanwhile, in response to a global shortage of maple syrup, the Quebec Maple Syrup Producers announce that they are releasing 50 million pounds of syrup from their strategic reserve. You probably think we are making this item up, but we are not.

As the month draws to a close, anxiety mounts worldwide over yet another coronavirus variant, called “omicron,” which we are pretty sure is also the name of one of the lesser villains in “Avengers: Endgame.” Everyone — government officials, medical authorities and the news media — assures the public that while the new variant is a cause for concern, there is no reason to panic because OHMIGOD THEY’RE BANNING TRAVEL FROM AFRICA THE STOCK MARKET IS CRASHING THE VACCINES MIGHT NOT WORK WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE POSSIBLY AS SOON AS THE MONTH OF …

December 2021

… which begins with the nations of the world united in a heartwarming humanitarian effort to make sure that omicron stays in the other nations of the world. The U.S. government considers tough new restrictions on international travelers, including requiring their planes to circle the airport for seven days before landing, but eventually settles on a compromise under which the planes will be allowed to land, but the passengers must remain in the airport eating prepackaged kiosk sandwiches until, in the words of a CDC spokesperson, “all of their germs are dead.”

President Biden, in a reassuring address to the nation on his strategy for dealing with a potential winter coronavirus surge, urges Americans to “do what it says on the teleprompter.”

In a historic video summit, President Biden and President Putin discuss the issue of how the “mute” button works. Adam Schultz AP

Meanwhile the news media, performing their vital, constitutionally protected function of terrifying the public, run story after story documenting the relentless advance of omicron, with headlines like “First Omicron Case Reported in Japan,” “Omicron Now Reported In California,” “Omicron Heading Your Way,” “OMICRON IS IN YOUR ATTIC RIGHT NOW,” etc.

The big economic story continues to be inflation, which is the worst it has been for decades, with the hardest-hit victims being low-income consumers and major college-football programs, which are being forced to pay tens of millions of dollars to obtain the services of even mediocre head coaches. In another disturbing economic development, the Federal Reserve Board issues a formal statement admitting that it has no earthly idea what a “bitcoin” is, and it’s pretty sure nobody else does either.

Elsewhere abroad, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reports that a prestigious Saudi beauty pageant for camels, with $66 million in prize money, disqualified over 40 contestants because they received Botox injections, facelifts and other artificial touch-ups. We are not making this item up.

In sports, Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires, raising the possibility of a work stoppage next season, not that anyone would notice, inasmuch as the average professional baseball game this season lasted as long as the gestation period of a yak, but with less action.

In holiday-season news, travel in the Midwest is snarled when the U.S. Department of Agriculture, seeking to alleviate a shortage of Christmas hams, releases 17 million head of pig from the Strategic Pork Reserve, blocking every major road into and out of Iowa and causing the region to smell, in the words of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, “even worse than usual.”

Finally, mercifully, the troubled year nears its conclusion. As the nation prepares to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the mood is subdued and thoughtful. People are still getting drunk and throwing up, but they’re doing this in a subdued and thoughtful manner. Because nobody knows what 2022 will bring. Will it suck as much as this year? Will it suck more? Or will it suck a LOT more? These appear to be our choices.

OK, so that’s not very hopeful. But don’t let it stop you from ringing in 2022 on a festive note. For one night, forget about the bad things. Be festive, party hard, and, in the words of Dr. Anthony Fauci, “lower your mask before you throw up.”

Two sides of the same coin.

 

COP Ignorants Pushing Wrong Agenda

Some reflections by Dick Storm at his blog Glascow, COP-26 Eltists and Special Interests Promote China First, America Last.  Why?  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Because savvy engineers were not successful in educating the public and politicians on the true facts.

Well, that is at least one reason we have such a mess of energy policy now.

Once a “War on Carbon”, Has now Morphed into a “War on Freedom”, “War on our Rights”, “War on Capitalism” and an assault on much of What “We the People” Have Worked Hard For. The clowns in Scotland are spending our tax dollars and restricting our freedoms as best they can. Essentially putting China and the rest of the world first, America last. All on our dime.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

America has been a leader by example in reducing carbon. The U.S.A. has reduced our carbon emissions by over 50% since 2005. How? By releasing the power of free markets and American innovation. At the end of President Trump’s term, America was energy independent. He did that in four years only to have Joe Biden reverse his policies.

The War on Fossil Fuels is not new and the intentions have always been to raise energy costs so that “Green Power” will become competitive. Yes, the intentions of President Biden, John Kerry, Al Gore and the rest of the Green Extremists (Reminder, the War on Coal started in the Clinton-Gore Administration. Obama just continued and accellerated anti American energy policies Clinton-Gore began) The war on carbon is intended to make Exploration, Development, Production and use of oil, gas, coal and even nuclear, more expensive and harder to use.

All of this as the world’s people still depend on Fossil Fuels and nuclear together for almost 90% of our total energy. How can our leaders be so ignorant and insensitive? Well, back in the 1990’s when bill Clinton started the “War on Coal”, I did my best to educate the public and the students of public schools and several Colleges on energy and electricity generation. I am proud of my efforts, small as they seem in the grand scheme of things. There is still a need for Energy Engineers to become active in PR for Energy!

Series on World of Hurt from Climate Policies

In support of such educational efforts, here are a series of four posts showing how wrong-headed are climate policies which are actually anti-energy and anti-human. Below are links to articles providing numerous charts exposing how hurtful are these policies, along with one example for each theme.

World of Hurt from Climate Policies-Part 1

This is a beginning post toward infographics exposing the damaging effects of Climate Policies upon the lives of ordinary people.  And all of the pain is for naught in fighting against global warming/climate change, as shown clearly in the image at bottom.  This post presents graphics to illustrate the first of four themes:

  • Zero Carbon Means Killing Real Jobs with Promises of Green Jobs
  • Reducing Carbon Emissions Means High Cost Energy Imports and Social Degradation
  • 100% Renewable Energy Means Sourcing Rare Metals Off-Planet
  • Leave it in the Ground Means Perpetual Poverty

Part 1: Zero Carbon will Decimate US Workforce

EID (Energy in Depth) atudy shows renewable energy transition pushed by climate activists will result in a net 3.8 million lost jobs.

World of Hurt from Climate Policies-Part 2

Part 2: California Exemplifies Ruination from Self-imposed Climate Policies

By blocking domestic production through permit denials, California is playing a shell game with emissions. Overall use of petroleum products has held steady but shifted from energy produced within the state – where the industry is subject to U.S. environmental regulations and supports local workers and companies – to overseas.

California isn’t reducing its dependence on oil; it’s just adding a higher carbon footprint to get it.

World of Hurt from Climate Policies-Part 3

Part 3: Wind and Solar Infrastructure Consumes Rare Metals Far Beyond World Supplies

This graph shows the annual metal demand for the six most critical metals, compared to the annual production. The dotted line represents present-day annual production.  

Conclusions
 Future annual critical metal demands of the energy transition surpass the total annual critical metal production.
• An exponential growth in renewable energy production capacity is not possible with present-day technologies and annual metal production. As an illustration: in 2050, the annual need for Indium (only for solar panel application) will exceed the present-day annual global production twelvefold.

World of Hurt from Climate Policies-Part 4

Part 4 The War Against Carbon Emissions Diminishes Efforts to Lift People Out of Poverty

How Climate Policies Keep People Poor

Note that the vision for 100% access to electric power was put forward by the African Development Bank in 2016.  (Above slides come from The Bank Group’s Strategy for The New Deal on Energy for Africa 2016 – 2025).  Instead of making finances available for such a plan, an International Cabal organized to deny any support for coal, the most available and inexpensive way to electrify Africa.

This is an organized campaign to deny coal-fired power anywhere in the world, despite coal being the starting point in the development pathway for every modern society, and currently the success model for Asia, and China in particular.

 

 

David Hay Explains “Greenflation”

A two part series at Evergreen financial advisers analyses the market effects of the intensified push for “green” energy.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  The two posts are:

Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations?
David Hay / October 8, 2021
As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition. Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.

Green Energy: A Bubble in Unrealistic Expectations, Part II
David Hay / October 15, 2021
This is part two of our discourse regarding green energy and its profound – and somewhat misunderstood – impact on the global economy. In this issue, we specifically home in on China and how that country’s immense power needs are affecting the energy ecosystem at large.

Part I Green Bubble Summary:
  • BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary.
  • Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity.
  • To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting.
  • Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil.
  • It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure. Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays.
  • I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal.
  • In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined.
  • China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future.

In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year. This is an unprecedented development. However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article: “Energy companies are in a bind. The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production. But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.”

Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies. One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley. Its title asked the provocative question: “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”

Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined. Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China. As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted.

Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way): “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC). The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’ Say again? If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?”

Part II Green Bubble Summary:
  • About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles.
  • Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.
  • The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket.
  • This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices.
  • Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area.
  • The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen.
  • It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy.
  • If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.

Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions. This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion. Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates.

Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion. Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light. Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them. For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion.

Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high. Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.

Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament. Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario. Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe. Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).

Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.

If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about. This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s. On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now—even before winter sets in.

When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select?

 

Climate Crisis Consultancy Race $$$

Consultants Race

Terence Corcoran writes at Financial Post Let the carbon consultancy games begin! Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

How does one avoid hell on earth? Who ya gonna call? Send in the consultants

After the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “sobering reading” and a “wake-up call” for the world’s politicians heading into the 26th Congress of the Parties (COP26), which is schedule to take place in Glasgow in November. Johnson, of course, did not intend his comments to be taken literally.

The IPCC report, formally titled “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” runs to 3,949 pages and contains approximately three million unreadable words from the deepest bowels of United Nations climate science that, if attempted, would induce readers to dip into the cabinet and ultimately leave them in the opposite condition, being neither sober nor awake.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the report a “code red” for humanity. I had to look up the meaning of “Code Red,” which turns out to have been the title of a 2020 blast from the heavy metal group AC/DC, with the opening lyrics:

Loading up the battery
Raising up insanity
Feeling like the old-time blues …
Don’t mess with fate
Hard fight, rough night
Dead in your sight
Fire light, a fire bright
Fire in the night

Maybe Guterres is hipper than we thought.  Not that it matters, since the dense content of the report, or even its 42-page “Summary for Policymakers,”  . . . is in fact irrelevant; the message is in the message carried by the media, which is that urgent action is needed at this “critical time,” to fight a crisis that requires a radical reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the grave consequences of global warming.

Time Is Running Short To Avert ‘Hell On Earth,’ screamed a headline in the Financial Times.

How does one avoid hell on earth? Who ya gonna call? Send in the consultants.

The IPCC report was instantly seized upon by one sector of the economy that has been hyping itself up for one of the greatest money-making bonanzas of all time. Global consultancies — from big-names such as PwC, Deloitte, E&Y and KPMG, to the scores of less famous law firms and institutes — see the climate business as a profit-making bonanza.

At PwC’s United Kingdom office, the consultancy’s global sustainability and climate change leader instantly issued a response to the IPCC report that pumped up the firm’s net-zero agenda. Emma Cox urged all large businesses to engage with the IPCC’s monstrosity of a report. “For companies with a global footprint, the report provides the most detailed analysis of where and how your operations, supply chains and markets are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” she said.

The report actually does none of the above, but Cox continued: “Climate science should remain the hard basis for all decision making and target setting. In parallel, it must be used to inform and instigate a strong policy response to close the remaining ambition gap to keep the Paris Agreement objectives alive.”

How do corporations go about making climate science the basis for “all” decision making and target setting? No doubt PwC has an answer, as does Deloitte. A recent article on Deloitte’s website warned that the net-zero carbon target requires an urgency that exceeds previous industrial revolutions: “What’s needed is a more holistic system of systems approach that unlocks critical opportunities in the transition to a low-carbon economy by working at the intersection of emerging low-carbon initiatives.”

When consultants sound like UN bureaucrats, you know something is up.

The leadership at another global giant, KPMG, has created a management team called KPMG IMPACT that’s dedicated to pursuing the UN’s sustainability development goals, which is essentially a leftist takeover of world governance.

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In a report issued last November, the KPMG IMPACT team made its sales pitch to corporate executives and managers: “Business is not only a critical player in achieving the net zero goal; it is also at risk from the physical effects of the climate crisis and the economic impacts of transitioning to a net zero economy.”

The world’s corporate executives, managers and directors are ultimately caught between 3,949 pages of incomprehensible and speculative IPCC science pumped up by the media, and the exhortatory offerings of consultants eager to capitalize on IPCC climate alarmism.

And so, the great consultants’ Olympic are underway, a multi-year marathon competition among firms, legal teams and sustainability gurus to cash in on the promoted fears of hell on earth if corporations do not get behind net-zero with detailed planning, strategies and policy — and big dollars.

On your mark! Get set! Call your consultant!

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Punishing Climate Policies to Fix What’s Not Broken

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Ben Pile writes at Spiked Climate policy, not climate change, poses the biggest risk to our daily lives.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Firstly, Ben provides evidence for a reasonable person to conclude the weather and climate is doing nothing out of the ordinary.  Drawing on this year’s UK State of the Climate report:

But how significant are these changes really? Take, for example, the claim that the UK’s temperatures have increased. Leaving aside the possibility that land-use change thanks to the UK’s economic development might influence temperatures, the report offers this chart depicting 140 years of anomalies in UK and global annual temperatures:

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Though the chart clearly shows that UK temperatures have risen, there is substantial year-to-year variability – far greater in the UK than for the world as a whole – that might make us wonder how impactful this extra warmth really is.

The point is shown more clearly by the report’s chart which shows temperature anomalies in each season:

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Over the past 370 years, winters appear to have become substantially warmer. Really what this means is that they have become substantially less cold, rather than actually warm. Autumn and spring also seem to have become milder, whereas the summer has warmed the least.

What’s more, each season shows remarkable changes over the decades and even centuries – showing large-scale change was occurring long before manmade climate change became an issue. The temperature changes of the 1990s are not unprecedented in their degree or speed.

Pile goes on to discuss the absence of facts for other claims regarding precipitation, storms, heatwaves. etc.  Then comes the meat of his argument.

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Climate is Not the Problem:  It’s the so-called “solutions”

But the climate, again, is not the real issue here. An even more uncomfortable truth for environmentalists is that cheap, abundant and easy-to-use energy – ie, gas – has done and could continue to do far more to keep older and infirm people alive in the winter than milder weather ever could. In other words, fossil fuels save lives.

It is climate policy not climate change that wants to deny people the right to heat or cool their homes cheaply and efficiently. Just look at the exorbitant costs to households of Boris’s planned boiler ban. The weather itself does not play any significant role in daily life in historically wealthy, industrialised and liberal societies.

This fact is seen even more clearly in that other preoccupation of climate doomsayers: floods. The environmentalist argument is that warmer air carries more water, and so rainfall events have become more intense, leading to more flash flooding in particular. ‘The higher global warming, the more rainfall’, climate academic Friederike Otto told the Independent, in an article which tried to pin blame for the recent floods in Germany on climate change.

Floods certainly are disruptive. Unsurprisingly, this captures the news media’s attention. But proving a link to climate change is much harder than the media have made out. The most recent IPCC report, for instance, has ‘low confidence’ in the claim ‘that anthropogenic climate change has affected the frequency and the magnitude of floods’. Meanwhile, it has ‘high confidence’ that ‘streamflow trends since 1950 are not statistically significant in most of the world’s largest rivers’. Similarly, other research suggests that there is little evidence of flash floods getting worse in the UK.

What causes floods, then? In the recent case of the tragic floods in Germany, flood warnings were ignored by civil planners and politicians.

Floods in Britain are rarely fatal. But when horrendous flooding does occur, it should be seen as a result not of an altered climate, but of engineering, planning and policy failures. As the nearly three-centuries-long record in the Met Office’s possession clearly shows, various parts of the UK, from time to time, suffer periods of intense rainfall, causing floods. Any urban or infrastructure design that fails to take account of the likelihood of flooding makes flooding inevitable.

In other words, flooding is a manmade event – but not one caused by climate change. There is no such thing as a ‘natural disaster’ in a country as wealthy as the UK. Even if adverse weather events are made ‘more likely’ or even ‘more intense’ by CO2 emissions in the future, as the Met Office report argues, we already know what kind of policies and infrastructure we need to deal with this. There is no excuse for not building this infrastructure: warmer, wetter, colder and drier conditions all existed in the past, and so will likely appear again in the future. What’s past is prologue.

Ironically, it is environmentalism that makes the climate actually dangerous.

Green austerity will deny people the resources and technology they need and deserve to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. And it is environmentalism, with its promise to make the weather ‘safe’ and unchanging if we follow its agenda, that is selling us false hope. That is a much greater threat than climate change or extreme weather could ever be.

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See also my series World of Hurt from Climate Policies