Biden’s War on American Energy

From  zerohedge America’s energy policies, specifically those centered around oil and gas, are “bat shit crazy” and the Biden administration is doing nothing but creating “turmoil” in the oil markets, according to geologist and fossil fuel expert Dr. Marc J. Defant. More on Dr. Defant’s credentials at the end.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

How did Biden’s policies impact the lower production of oil and gas?

By 2019, due primarily to fracking, the US became the number one producer of oil and gas in the world. In fact, we became a net exporter of oil and gas.

Prior to Biden entering office, oil production of oil shales reached over 12 million B/D. but fell more than 1 million B/D during 2021. During this time, Russia became the world’s largest exporter of oil which helped fund their war effort in the Ukraine.

Social Cost of Carbon

Under Obama, the government came up with a dollar value called the social cost of carbon. It is supposedly an estimate by the government as to the environmental damage from everything from rising sea level to wildfires and floods from the release of one ton of carbon dioxide via fossil fuel burning. But scientists are still completely uncertain about the direct impact the burning of fossils fuels may have on the environment. I hope this causes you to suspect the number may be related to magic.

But that never stopped the Obama administration from coming up with a solid amount of $57. Trump reduced the number to $7, but Biden revised the number to $51. The number is important because it gave the Biden administration the leverage to restrict oil and gas production based on supposed environmental and economic threats from greenhouse gasses (i.e., reduce permitting on federal lands).

As might be expected, gas-producing states fought back by challenging the social cost of carbon in court, and a judge issued an injunction preventing the administration from using the metric. But rather than submit to the judge’s ruling, the Biden administration simply decided to stop new permits on federal lands blaming the judge for the action – sigh. But Biden has been slow-walking permitting since he became President. He is the only President in 20 years not to have an onshore lease sale in a given year (2021).

Intentional Destruction of American Energy Production

We should not be surprised by Biden’s actions. During his campaign he promised to end drilling on federal lands to fight climate change. As much as 25% of oil and gas production comes from federal lands.

Finally in November of last year, the Department of the Interior, which is required by law to have quarterly lease sales, opened its first Gulf of Mexico oil lease auction which generated $190 million from oil companies. But alas, a green Obama-appointed judge vacated the auction after [environmentalists] Earthjustice out of San Francisco sued.

The ruling effectively ended new drilling in the Gulf, where some of the world’s environmentally friendly oil resides.

There are some state representatives that claim the Biden administration went ahead with the auction knowing full well it would be vacated. As you might imagine, the Department of the Interior will need a great deal of time to review the environmental impact of drilling in the Gulf (wink wink).

Bloomberg reported that an oil executive mused:

“Biden is signaling that his environmental goals trump energy security and consumer prices… that’s not lost on public companies or banks they rely on.”

Ultimately, investment in the oil industry increases when roadblocks to making a return on investment are removed. Biden’s actions have scared off many potential investors further reducing oil production. Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s oft repeated statement that 9.000 leases have been permitted is at the very least disingenuous considering the impediments to drilling the Biden administration has created.

Intentional Constriction of American Energy Supply

Psaki frequently claims that the Keystone XL Pipeline has no impact on oil prices because it will take two years to complete (only one year now if they had not shut it down). But Psaki is undermining (purposely in my opinion) the importance of the supply chain.

For example, the oil that would come through the pipeline has to be shipped by train. Recent train crashes demonstrate the danger of transporting oil via this method. And it obviously costs a lot more to ship via rail. But in a real head scratcher, Biden waved sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany. Why is this acceptable, but the XL is not? Russian oil is notoriously dirty (high sulfur content).

One would think Biden would be doing everything he could to send American oil and gas to Europe rather than making them more dependent on Russian oil.

Ultimately, the Biden administration has intentionally raised significant barriers in permitting supply of oil to the US. Infrastructure is extremely important to the supply of cheap and clean oil to the American economy.

The production of oil and gas in America is highly regulated – it’s the cleanest in the world both in lack of contaminants like sulfur which pollute and the way the industry protects against leaks.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia created fears about the future of oil supplies which, in turn, pushed oil prices to record highs. And although the US buys less than 10 percent of its oil from Russia, Biden’s decision to stop buying oil from Russia, created more turmoil in the markets.

But perhaps the most irrational decision ever made by a President is Biden’s pursuit of [the] Iranian (and Venezuelan) nuclear deal to get access to Iran’s oil. They are the foremost sponsor of terrorism in the world and yet we are willing to sign a very one-sided treaty with them to gain oil which is extremely dirty (high sulfur).

We will pay them just as Obama did, with the helicopter carrying billions of dollars. And those payments will make it easier to develop delivery systems once they finally develop a nuclear bomb. On top of this, we are helping them build an nuclear power plant that will give them clean energy but not us.

Finally, I ask you to remember, gasoline prices were rising quickly way before the war in Ukraine broke out not only due to Biden’s interference in our oil production but also the inflation caused by his huge spending bills. Now we are going to buy oil from Iran instead of enabling our own industry to supply America’s needs. It is the very definition of “bat-shit crazy.”

Dr. Marc J. Defant is a professor of geology/geochemistry at the University of South Florida. He worked for Schlumberger Well Services and Shell Oil for three years, with two years at Shell working as an exploration geologist.  He has also been Editor of Geology and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research. Dr. Defant was also invited by the Chinese Government to be a keynote speaker at a symposium on the continental crust and has given invited talks at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Universitè de Bretagne (Brest, France), University of California at Los Angeles, University of Georgia and Tennessee, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, as well as many others.

 

 

In Celebration of Our Warm Climate

Legacy and social media keep up a constant drumbeat of warnings about a degree or two of planetary warming without any historical context for considering the significance of the alternative.  A poem of Robert Frost comes to mind as some applicable wisdom:

The diagram at the top shows how grateful we should be for living in today’s climate instead of a glacial icehouse. (H/T Raymond Inauen)  For most of its history Earth has been frozen rather than the mostly green place it is today.  And the reference is to the extent of the North American ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).

For further context consider that geologists refer to our time as a “Severe Icehouse World”, among the various conditions in earth’s history, as diagramed by paleo climatologist Christopher Scotese. Referring to the Global Mean Temperatures, it appears after many decades, we are slowly rising to “Icehouse World”, which would seem to be a good thing.

Instead of fear mongering over a bit of warming, we should celebrate our good fortune, and do our best for humanity and the biosphere.  Matthew Ridley takes it from there in a previous post.

Background from previous post The Goodness of Global Warming

LAI refers to Leaf Area Index.

As noted in other posts here, warming comes and goes and a cooling period may now be ensuing. See No Global Warming, Chilly January Land and Sea.  Matt Ridley provides a concise and clear argument to celebrate any warming that comes to our world in his Spiked article Why global warming is good for us.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Climate change is creating a greener, safer planet.

Global warming is real. It is also – so far – mostly beneficial. This startling fact is kept from the public by a determined effort on the part of alarmists and their media allies who are determined to use the language of crisis and emergency. The goal of Net Zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is controversial enough as a policy because of the pain it is causing. But what if that pain is all to prevent something that is not doing net harm?

The biggest benefit of emissions is global greening, the increase year after year of green vegetation on the land surface of the planet. Forests grow more thickly, grasslands more richly and scrub more rapidly. This has been measured using satellites and on-the-ground recording of plant-growth rates. It is happening in all habitats, from tundra to rainforest. In the four decades since 1982, as Bjorn Lomborg points out, NASA data show that global greening has added 618,000 square kilometres of extra green leaves each year, equivalent to three Great Britains. You read that right: every year there’s more greenery on the planet to the extent of three Britains. I bet Greta Thunberg did not tell you that.

The cause of this greening? Although tree planting, natural reforestation, slightly longer growing seasons and a bit more rain all contribute, the big cause is something else. All studies agree that by far the largest contributor to global greening – responsible for roughly half the effect – is the extra carbon dioxide in the air. In 40 years, the proportion of the atmosphere that is CO2 has gone from 0.034 per cent to 0.041 per cent. That may seem a small change but, with more ‘food’ in the air, plants don’t need to lose as much water through their pores (‘stomata’) to acquire a given amount of carbon. So dry areas, like the Sahel region of Africa, are seeing some of the biggest improvements in greenery. Since this is one of the poorest places on the planet, it is good news that there is more food for people, goats and wildlife.

But because good news is no news, green pressure groups and environmental correspondents in the media prefer to ignore global greening. Astonishingly, it merited no mentions on the BBC’s recent Green Planet series, despite the name. Or, if it is mentioned, the media point to studies suggesting greening may soon cease. These studies are based on questionable models, not data (because data show the effect continuing at the same pace). On the very few occasions when the BBC has mentioned global greening it is always accompanied by a health warning in case any viewer might glimpse a silver lining to climate change – for example, ‘extra foliage helps slow climate change, but researchers warn this will be offset by rising temperatures’.

Another bit of good news is on deaths. We’re against them, right? A recent study shows that rising temperatures have resulted in half a million fewer deaths in Britain over the past two decades. That is because cold weather kills about ’20 times as many people as hot weather’, according to the study, which analyses ‘over 74million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries’. This is especially true in a temperate place like Britain, where summer days are rarely hot enough to kill. So global warming and the unrelated phenomenon of urban warming relative to rural areas, caused by the retention of heat by buildings plus energy use, are both preventing premature deaths on a huge scale.

Summer temperatures in the US are changing at half the rate of winter temperatures and daytimes are warming 20 per cent slower than nighttimes. A similar pattern is seen in most countries. Tropical nations are mostly experiencing very slow, almost undetectable daytime warming (outside cities), while Arctic nations are seeing quite rapid change, especially in winter and at night. Alarmists love to talk about polar amplification of average climate change, but they usually omit its inevitable flip side: that tropical temperatures (where most poor people live) are changing more slowly than the average.

My Mind is Made Up, Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts. H/T Bjorn Lomborg, WUWT

But are we not told to expect more volatile weather as a result of climate change? It is certainly assumed that we should. Yet there’s no evidence to suggest weather volatility is increasing and no good theory to suggest it will. The decreasing temperature differential between the tropics and the Arctic may actually diminish the volatility of weather a little.

Indeed, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) repeatedly confirms, there is no clear pattern of storms growing in either frequency or ferocity, droughts are decreasing slightly and floods are getting worse only where land-use changes (like deforestation or building houses on flood plains) create a problem. Globally, deaths from droughts, floods and storms are down by about 98 per cent over the past 100 years – not because weather is less dangerous but because shelter, transport and communication (which are mostly the products of the fossil-fuel economy) have dramatically improved people’s ability to survive such natural disasters.

The effect of today’s warming (and greening) on farming is, on average, positive: crops can be grown farther north and for longer seasons and rainfall is slightly heavier in dry regions. We are feeding over seven billion people today much more easily than we fed three billion in the 1960s, and from a similar acreage of farmland. Global cereal production is on course to break its record this year, for the sixth time in 10 years.

Nature, too, will do generally better in a warming world. There are more species in warmer climates, so more new birds and insects are arriving to breed in southern England than are disappearing from northern Scotland. Warmer means wetter, too: 9,000 years ago, when the climate was warmer than today, the Sahara was green. Alarmists like to imply that concern about climate change goes hand in hand with concern about nature generally. But this is belied by the evidence. Climate policies often harm wildlife: biofuels compete for land with agriculture, eroding the benefits of improved agricultural productivity and increasing pressure on wild land; wind farms kill birds and bats; and the reckless planting of alien sitka spruce trees turns diverse moorland into dark monoculture.

Meanwhile, real environmental issues are ignored or neglected because of the obsession with climate. With the help of local volunteers I have been fighting to protect the red squirrel in Northumberland for years. The government does literally nothing to help us, while it pours money into grants for studying the most far-fetched and minuscule possible climate-change impacts. Invasive alien species are the main cause of species extinction worldwide (like grey squirrels driving the red to the margins), whereas climate change has yet to be shown to have caused a single species to die out altogether anywhere.

Of course, climate change does and will bring problems as well as benefits. Rapid sea-level rise could be catastrophic. But whereas the sea level shot up between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago, rising by about 60 metres in two millennia, or roughly three metres per century, today the change is nine times slower: three millimetres a year, or a foot per century, and with not much sign of acceleration. Countries like the Netherlands and Vietnam show that it is possible to gain land from the sea even in a world where sea levels are rising. The land area of the planet is actually increasing, not shrinking, thanks to siltation and reclamation.

Environmentalists don’t get donations or invitations to appear on the telly if they say moderate things. To stand up and pronounce that ‘climate change is real and needs to be tackled, but it’s not happening very fast and other environmental issues are more urgent’ would be about as popular as an MP in Oliver Cromwell’s parliament declaring, ‘The evidence for God is looking a bit weak, and I’m not so very sure that fornication really is a sin’. And I speak as someone who has made several speeches on climate in parliament.

No wonder we don’t hear about the good news on climate change.

 

 

Federal Climatists Target US Personal Pension Funds

The green tentacles of global warming/climate change activism are closing in on personal retirement funds. Rupert Darwall writes at Tennessee Star The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Rising inflation threatens the value of Americans’ retirement savings. Now the Biden administration is finalizing a rule to loosen safeguards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) that protect private retirement savings. The new rule, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” stems from President Biden’s May 20, 2021, Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, which directed senior White House advisers to develop a strategy for financing the administration’s net-zero climate goals, including the use of private savings.

Predictably, Wall Street is cheering the prospect of undoing ERISA safeguards. According to one analysis, 97% of comment letters support the proposal. But as I show in my RealClear Foundation report The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around, it’s the remaining three percent that should give the Department of Labor (DOL) cause to rethink its deeply flawed approach.

Under ERISA, retirement savings must be invested for the exclusive purpose of providing retirement benefits.

The May 2021 executive order illustrates the very danger that ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule is designed to guard against. To achieve the goals set out in the order, DOL is instructed to “suspend, revise or rescind” two Trump-era rules designed to uphold ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule.

The stratagem adopted by DOL to carry this out is breathtaking in its audacity. The effect of the rule—if finalized as proposed—is to embed ESG investing in retirement plans and nullify the clear, unambiguous intent of ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule. It’s audacious—and it’s high risk. In December, GOP senators Pat Toomey, Mike Crapo, Richard Burr, and Tim Scott warned the Secretary of Labor, Martin Walsh, against the proposed rule’s use of “inchoate” ESG terminology and reminded him that in 2020, DOL had been convinced by its review of public comments that the term is “not a clear or helpful lexicon for a regulatory standard.”

ESG—environmental, social, and governance—investing embodies two incompatible propositions.

The first is that investing should be about more than financial returns and have regard to wider societal concerns. In a January 2022 interview with Barron’s, Amy Domini, who cofounded KLD Research & Analytics in 1984, objected to rules that require investing based solely on economic value. “We have got to get rid of this concept of economic value,” Domini told Barron’s. “I don’t care if I’ve got an extra 50 bucks in my pocket if it’s dangerous to walk down the sidewalk, or if my grandson has leukemia because the water system is so polluted.”

The second ESG proposition contradicts the first. Far from sacrificing financial returns, ESG investing boosts them. “Our investment conviction,” BlackRock states in its comment letter to DOL, “is that incorporating sustainability-related factors—which are often characterized and grouped into ESG categories—can provide better risk-adjusted returns to investors over the long-term” (emphasis added).

BlackRock’s corporate strategy is to market ESG-style investment products to millennials, who, BlackRock believes, are less interested in financial returns than boomers. In his 2019 letter to CEOs, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink cited a survey of millennials. When asked what the primary purpose of businesses should be, 63% more said “improving society” than said “generating profit.” Three years later, in his 2022 letter to CEOs, Fink was pivoting away from ESG and undercutting BlackRock’s special pleading to DOL. “Make no mistake,” Fink wrote, “the fair pursuit of profit is still what animates markets; and long-term profitability is the measure by which markets will ultimately determine your company’s success.”

According to Jonathan Berry, DOL’s former Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy under the previous administration, career staff at DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) initiated secretive private meetings after the November 2020 election to build support and find cause to overturn the 2020 rules. Who were these parties? In its comment letter on the proposed rule, BlackRock lets the cat out of the bag in praising DOL for its “thoughtful analysis of the challenges presented by the 2020 rules” and for incorporating feedback from a “wide range of stakeholders.”

The outcome was a DOL press release on March 10, 2021, announcing the nonenforcement of the two 2020 rules. “These rules have created a perception that fiduciaries are at risk if they include any environmental, social and governance factors in the financial evaluation of plan investments,” said Ali Khawar, EBSA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. In fact, references to ESG had been removed from the text of the 2020 Financial Factors rule. Far from ruling out consideration of any ESG factor, its preamble accepted that “ESG considerations may present issues of material business risk or opportunities.” Why hasn’t DOL issued a FAQ and held a public meeting to dispel misperceptions about the 2020 rule?

Because the White House has instructed DOL to nix the rule.

The proposal also seeks to rewrite the December 2020 DOL rule on proxy voting in order to push fiduciaries to outsource their voting to the proxy-advisory duopoly of Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass, Lewis and their bias in support of ESG-type goals in proxy votes. Furthermore, the proposed replacement rule doesn’t tackle the vexed issue of “empty voting,” when, for example, the likes of three big index-tracker providers vote proxies in respect of shares that they don’t have an economic interest in. Shouldn’t DOL be clarifying that ERISA fiduciaries have a duty to investigate the voting policies of firms to which they delegate voting authority?, asks RealClear Foundation senior fellow Bernard Sharfman and Manhattan Institute’s James Copland.

Failure to do so, they suggest, could constitute grounds for a legal challenge under the Administrative Procedure Act.

In their letter to Secretary Walsh, the four GOP senators also invoke the specter of the rule having its fate decided by the courts. “The use of such [ESG] terminology in the proposal is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act,” the senators warn. As drafted, the proposed rule would invert the primacy of statute law over executive-agency rulemaking.

It would also fundamentally alter the nature of American capitalism, corralling capital for political ends, enabled by multitrillion-dollar investment advisers eyeing the prospect of higher fees.

Will the rule of law prevail?

 

The Goodness of Global Warming

LAI refers to Leaf Area Index.

As noted in other posts here, warming comes and goes and a cooling period may now be ensuing. See No Global Warming, Chilly January Land and Sea.  Matt Ridley provides a concise and clear argument to celebrate any warming that comes to our world in his Spiked article Why global warming is good for us.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Climate change is creating a greener, safer planet.

Global warming is real. It is also – so far – mostly beneficial. This startling fact is kept from the public by a determined effort on the part of alarmists and their media allies who are determined to use the language of crisis and emergency. The goal of Net Zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is controversial enough as a policy because of the pain it is causing. But what if that pain is all to prevent something that is not doing net harm?

The biggest benefit of emissions is global greening, the increase year after year of green vegetation on the land surface of the planet. Forests grow more thickly, grasslands more richly and scrub more rapidly. This has been measured using satellites and on-the-ground recording of plant-growth rates. It is happening in all habitats, from tundra to rainforest. In the four decades since 1982, as Bjorn Lomborg points out, NASA data show that global greening has added 618,000 square kilometres of extra green leaves each year, equivalent to three Great Britains. You read that right: every year there’s more greenery on the planet to the extent of three Britains. I bet Greta Thunberg did not tell you that.

The cause of this greening? Although tree planting, natural reforestation, slightly longer growing seasons and a bit more rain all contribute, the big cause is something else. All studies agree that by far the largest contributor to global greening – responsible for roughly half the effect – is the extra carbon dioxide in the air. In 40 years, the proportion of the atmosphere that is CO2 has gone from 0.034 per cent to 0.041 per cent. That may seem a small change but, with more ‘food’ in the air, plants don’t need to lose as much water through their pores (‘stomata’) to acquire a given amount of carbon. So dry areas, like the Sahel region of Africa, are seeing some of the biggest improvements in greenery. Since this is one of the poorest places on the planet, it is good news that there is more food for people, goats and wildlife.

But because good news is no news, green pressure groups and environmental correspondents in the media prefer to ignore global greening. Astonishingly, it merited no mentions on the BBC’s recent Green Planet series, despite the name. Or, if it is mentioned, the media point to studies suggesting greening may soon cease. These studies are based on questionable models, not data (because data show the effect continuing at the same pace). On the very few occasions when the BBC has mentioned global greening it is always accompanied by a health warning in case any viewer might glimpse a silver lining to climate change – for example, ‘extra foliage helps slow climate change, but researchers warn this will be offset by rising temperatures’.

Another bit of good news is on deaths. We’re against them, right? A recent study shows that rising temperatures have resulted in half a million fewer deaths in Britain over the past two decades. That is because cold weather kills about ’20 times as many people as hot weather’, according to the study, which analyses ‘over 74million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries’. This is especially true in a temperate place like Britain, where summer days are rarely hot enough to kill. So global warming and the unrelated phenomenon of urban warming relative to rural areas, caused by the retention of heat by buildings plus energy use, are both preventing premature deaths on a huge scale.

Summer temperatures in the US are changing at half the rate of winter temperatures and daytimes are warming 20 per cent slower than nighttimes. A similar pattern is seen in most countries. Tropical nations are mostly experiencing very slow, almost undetectable daytime warming (outside cities), while Arctic nations are seeing quite rapid change, especially in winter and at night. Alarmists love to talk about polar amplification of average climate change, but they usually omit its inevitable flip side: that tropical temperatures (where most poor people live) are changing more slowly than the average.

My Mind is Made Up, Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts. H/T Bjorn Lomborg, WUWT

But are we not told to expect more volatile weather as a result of climate change? It is certainly assumed that we should. Yet there’s no evidence to suggest weather volatility is increasing and no good theory to suggest it will. The decreasing temperature differential between the tropics and the Arctic may actually diminish the volatility of weather a little.

Indeed, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) repeatedly confirms, there is no clear pattern of storms growing in either frequency or ferocity, droughts are decreasing slightly and floods are getting worse only where land-use changes (like deforestation or building houses on flood plains) create a problem. Globally, deaths from droughts, floods and storms are down by about 98 per cent over the past 100 years – not because weather is less dangerous but because shelter, transport and communication (which are mostly the products of the fossil-fuel economy) have dramatically improved people’s ability to survive such natural disasters.

The effect of today’s warming (and greening) on farming is, on average, positive: crops can be grown farther north and for longer seasons and rainfall is slightly heavier in dry regions. We are feeding over seven billion people today much more easily than we fed three billion in the 1960s, and from a similar acreage of farmland. Global cereal production is on course to break its record this year, for the sixth time in 10 years.

Nature, too, will do generally better in a warming world. There are more species in warmer climates, so more new birds and insects are arriving to breed in southern England than are disappearing from northern Scotland. Warmer means wetter, too: 9,000 years ago, when the climate was warmer than today, the Sahara was green. Alarmists like to imply that concern about climate change goes hand in hand with concern about nature generally. But this is belied by the evidence. Climate policies often harm wildlife: biofuels compete for land with agriculture, eroding the benefits of improved agricultural productivity and increasing pressure on wild land; wind farms kill birds and bats; and the reckless planting of alien sitka spruce trees turns diverse moorland into dark monoculture.

Meanwhile, real environmental issues are ignored or neglected because of the obsession with climate. With the help of local volunteers I have been fighting to protect the red squirrel in Northumberland for years. The government does literally nothing to help us, while it pours money into grants for studying the most far-fetched and minuscule possible climate-change impacts. Invasive alien species are the main cause of species extinction worldwide (like grey squirrels driving the red to the margins), whereas climate change has yet to be shown to have caused a single species to die out altogether anywhere.

Of course, climate change does and will bring problems as well as benefits. Rapid sea-level rise could be catastrophic. But whereas the sea level shot up between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago, rising by about 60 metres in two millennia, or roughly three metres per century, today the change is nine times slower: three millimetres a year, or a foot per century, and with not much sign of acceleration. Countries like the Netherlands and Vietnam show that it is possible to gain land from the sea even in a world where sea levels are rising. The land area of the planet is actually increasing, not shrinking, thanks to siltation and reclamation.

Environmentalists don’t get donations or invitations to appear on the telly if they say moderate things. To stand up and pronounce that ‘climate change is real and needs to be tackled, but it’s not happening very fast and other environmental issues are more urgent’ would be about as popular as an MP in Oliver Cromwell’s parliament declaring, ‘The evidence for God is looking a bit weak, and I’m not so very sure that fornication really is a sin’. And I speak as someone who has made several speeches on climate in parliament.

No wonder we don’t hear about the good news on climate change.

 

 

US Federal Court Rules Against Social Cost of Carbon

Following a Biden Executive Order, in April 2021 several states went to Louisiana District Court to stop implementation of Social Cost of Carbon with respect to federal regulations.  The Memorandum Ruling regarding that case is State of Louisiana et al Versus Joseph R. Biden Jr. et al.  The Plaintiff States are Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T Francis Menton

The Issues

The Plaintiff States seek injunctive and declaratory relief on three grounds. First, they assert that the SC-GHG Estimates violate the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) as a substantive rule that did not undergo the requisite notice-and-comment process. See 5 U.S.C. § 553.

Second, the Plaintiff States claim that President Biden, through EO 13990, and the IWG lack the authority to enforce the estimates as they are substantively unlawful under the APA and contravene existing law. See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A)–(C).

Third, the Plaintiff States maintain that the Government Defendants acted beyond any congressional authority by basing regulatory policy upon global considerations.

The Plaintiff States request a preliminary injunction:
(1) ordering Defendants to disregard the SC-GHG Estimates and prohibiting them from adopting, employing, treating as binding, or relying upon the work product of the Interagency Working Group (“IWG”);
(2) enjoining Defendants from independently relying upon the IWG’s methodology considering global effects, discount rates, and time horizons; and
(3) ordering Defendants to return to the guidance of Circular A-4, explained infra, in conducting regulatory analysis.

To be clear, the Court is ruling only on the actions of the federal agencies and whether the agencies, by implementing the estimates and considering global effects— violate the APA and whether President Biden upon signing EO 13990, violated the separations of powers clause of the United States Constitution. The Court has the authority to enjoin federal agencies from implementing a rule—mandated by an executive order or not—that violates the APA or violates the separation of powers clause. Importantly, the Court is not opining as to the scientific issues regarding greenhouse gas emissions, their effects on the environment, or whether they contribute to global warming.

The Findings

The Court is persuaded that the Biden Administration’s agencies are using the SCGHG. The Court finds that the Plaintiff States have established injury-in-fact.

Plaintiff States argue that the SC-GHG Estimates “affect[] the states’ ‘quasi-sovereign’ interests by imposing substantial pressure on them to change their” practices and laws to remain in compliance with federal standards. Id. at 153. The Court finds that the Plaintiff States also have standing as they are entitled to special solicitude in the standing inquiry.

The Court finds that EO 13990 contradicts Congress’ intent regarding legislative rulemaking by mandating consideration of the global effects. The Court further finds that the President lacks power to promulgate fundamentally transformative legislative rules in Case 2:21-cv-01074-JDC-KK Document 98 Filed 02/11/22 Page 33 of 44 PageID #: 4175 Page 34 of 44 areas of vast political, social, and economic importance, thus, the issuance of EO 13990 violates the major questions doctrine.

The Court finds that EO 13990 was promulgated without complying with the APA’s notice and comment requirements.

The Plaintiff States thus argue that they have demonstrated multiple independently sufficient grounds to vacate the SC-GHG Estimate and therefore have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits. The Court agrees and finds that the Plaintiff States have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits.

Plaintiff States have sufficiently identified the kinds of harms to support injunctive relief. Moreover, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States have made a clear showing of an injury-in-fact, and that such injury “cannot be undone through monetary remedies,” Louisiana v. Biden, 2021 WL 2446010, at *21 (W.D. La. June 15, 2021), such that they need immediate relief now, lest they be unable to ever obtain meaningful judicial relief in the future.

The Court finds that the balance of the injuries weighs substantially in favor of the Plaintiff States.

The Court agrees that the public interest and balance of equities weigh heavily in favor of granting a preliminary injunction.

CONCLUSION For the reasons set forth herein above, the Motion for Preliminary Injunction will be granted in its entirety.

Comment from Manhattan Contrarian

On taking office, the Trump administration took steps to neutralize the SCC, so that not much has been heard from it for a while. But Biden’s EO 13990 caused the Obama-era version to get re-instated. The Biden people claim that they are working on further tweaks to the regulations, but meanwhile a large group of Republican-led states went ahead and commenced litigation.

With a regulatory initiative obviously intended to force a gigantic transformation of the economy without statutory basis, the Biden people defended against the Complaint using every shuck and jive and technicality known to man. The SCC rules were not “final” because the administration was still working on a few more tweaks (and then a few more, and then a few more); the state plaintiffs lacked “standing” because the harm was to citizens rather than the state itself; and so forth. The court was having none of it.

The heart of the court’s decision is its determination that the SCC falls under the Supreme Court’s “major questions doctrine,” under which the bureaucracy cannot on its own authority impose “new obligations of vast economic and political significance” unless Congress “speaks clearly.” The states had identified some 83 pending projects involving something in the range of $447 and $561 billion dollars as affected by the SCC rule. That impressed the court as easily within the concept of “major questions.”

We are at the beginning of what could be a very long battle. The bureaucracy has many ways to wear down its opponents. For example, a permit can simply be delayed indefinitely, without any reason being stated, as occurred for example with the Keystone XL pipeline. But at least here battle lines have finally been drawn.

Net Zero Makes Zero Sense

A pumpjack works just south of Cutbank Lake, near Wembley, Alta. Canada should withdraw from all international agreements on global warming, writes Rex Murphy. PHOTO BY RANDY VANDERVEEN/POSTMEDIA NEWS

Rex Murphy writes at National Post: Why is it Canada’s ‘duty’ to destroy its economy and Confederation in the pursuit of net zero? Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

The Liberals’ obsession with global warming is the most absurd fixation of any government since Sir John A. set us up as a country

Sometimes the best questions are the ones not being asked.  In the Canadian political arena there are a couple or more in that category.

I’ll go to the biggest one right off the bat: Why and how has the “goal” of getting to net-zero emissions become such a doctrine?

Another way of phrasing the same question is: What’s so wrong, what’s so defective in our current energy system that the Liberal government has pledged, as its absolute priority, to replace it?

Having a secure and tested energy system is a very big deal for any nation, but having a secure and tested energy supply is the quintessential necessity for a vast northern country — really vast — that is also the home of a wealthy, modern economy.

A subsidiary question is: Does the government of a Confederation have the right, the legislative competence to declare the central industry of one of the provinces within that Confederation outmoded? And on that premise make it a national policy to destroy the economic well-being of that province?

And on that question, if one steps back just a minute, is it not amazing, incredible even, that shutting down the industrial base of an entire province is declared as the Number one priority, one laden with moral as well as political content by those in Ottawa who have elevated it to national policy — and this is accepted as normal or acceptable or yes, even noble in the context of “our fight against global warming?”

Is it really acceptable in our Confederation to single out one province to bear the majority weight and economic devastation of this “fight?”

The real and overriding question, however, is why does Canada, or more accurately, why does the government of Canada profess we have a “duty” to the world to work towards eradicating the energy supply and system that we already have, that has mostly served us well, that has brought fortune and security to the nation?

Why is the energy future of Canada under the ethos and edicts of the United Nations’ IPCC?

What is this world we have a “duty” towards? Should we ransack our current energy platform because we have a duty to — say, Russia? Or, more tellingly, does Canada have a moral obligation to shut down the oilsands, antagonize all of Alberta (and jeopardize the national economy with its futuristic visions of a “great transition”), because we have a “duty” towards China? Were we to ask the leaders of the great country of India, who are very much not on side with this same IPCC, whether Canada has an obligation, a “duty” to Delhi to shut down Fort McMurray, they would probably throw up their hands in astonishment that the question is even being put to them.

This “duty” that I insist on keeping in quotation marks, as far as I can tell is one self-declared and self-imposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and flows from his obsessive conviction that he — along with previous adviser Gerry Butts, climate crusader/previous environment minister Catherine McKenna, and previous Greenpeace activist/current environment minister Steven Guilbeault — must be a “leader” in the holy war against global warming.

On substance, Canada can do nothing substantial about global warming. Cancelling the economy of Calgary will not stop the disappearance of the glaciers, lower the sea levels off the Maldives, or rescue one skinny polar bear off a well-photographed ice-floe.

You may have noticed Canada has stalled its economy for over two years and has likely seen the immiseration of thousands of small businesses, restaurants and services. We have also piled on gargantuan deficits and debt — they are both at historic levels. We are seeing wealth-destroying inflation at levels unseen since the early ’90s.

We’re still in this mismanaged and liberty-choking COVID crisis playing havoc with the economy.

So there is another not-much-asked question: Is the current state of Canada one in which the government, by fiat, with the assent of every political party, should conduct the greatest re-engineering of the fundamentals of the nation’s most essential and fundamental industry?

The summary question is: Why are we on this useless, damaging crusade?

I know it’s very much in opposition to the current liturgy to put the question, but why does Canada have any special or even routine obligation to the “world” — or more precisely the mandarins who gather in Paris and Rio and Glasgow — to wreck our working economy in pursuit of some wild notion that this country can function on a forest of windmills (parts from China) and glazed hectares of solar panels?

The global-warming obsession of this current government is the most absurd and senseless fixation of any government since Sir John A. set us up as a country.

The greatest part of that absurdity is how easily all bend to it, all speak the pious words of “net zero” as if they were summoning a genie, as our deluded leaders prate in foreign capitals about the brave new world they are about to call into being.

The same leaders who can’t manage a payroll system, dig a few wells and provide clean water, who shut down Parliament but party abroad with maskless faces laughing at jokes — of which I suspect we are the butt.

They do not have the intellectual competence to engineer this “transition.” As a minority government they do not have the mandate either.

Yet witness the ease with which the press, academia and all who might be regarded as “thought leaders” — a dubious category at the best of times, but dismal at the present — are all abundantly, fervidly on board.

Canada has no “duty” to the world in this farcical pursuit of “net zero” and we will gravely injure our county if we don’t desist. And, once again I caution, we will drive a wedge in Confederation if a policy that treats Alberta as a scapegoat and forces it to carry the burden of an Ottawa obsession, is not abandoned.

Conclusion: Canada should take itself out of all international agreements on global warming.

 

Pushback on Corrosive Energy Idiocy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chair: Without objection.

Donalds: Thank you Madam Chair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I yield the floor.

 

Brits Run Con Game at Glasgow COP

Doomsday was predicted but failed to happen at midnight.

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

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

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

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

Actually, India is increasing emissions, not reducing them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trudeau: Let’s Limit How Far You can Drive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnote:  See also Uh Oh Canada

 

 

Climatist Insurrection Enters New Phase

Previously the insurrection by climate anti-fossil fuel acitvists took the form of sabotaging oil and gas infrastructure, led notably by the “valve turners”, who were arrested and mostly let off the hook in a series of high profile trials.  This phase broke down after numerous states enacted serious penalties for attacks on energy projects and infrastructure. Also, with the Biden administration climatists hoped for swift federal action to shut down oil and gas production and supply. See Securing Pipelines Against Disrupters

Disappointed with lack of progress on their “leave it in the ground” agenda, activists are now attempting to occupy federal buildings to intimidate public officials into action.  This could be a precursor of more insurrection events far more serious than anything happening on Jan.6, 2021.

Michael Austin reports at The Western Journal  ‘Insurrection’? Climate Change Protesters Attempt to Storm Interior Department Building.  H/T John Ray.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Jan. 6 Capitol incursion was not an insurrection, as many left-wing politicians and pundits have claimed.  Sure, some of those present during the incursion were rioters who broke the law. They should be punished accordingly.

 On Thursday, Oct. 14,  a large group of climate change protesters tried to enter the Department of the Interior, according to Ellie Silverman, a reporter for The Washington Post.

“Climate protesters are now rallying outside the Department of the Interior. They’re trying to get inside but police are blocking the entrance. I can see a few Indigenous women through the doorway who are sitting on the floor inside the building and linking arms,” Silverman tweeted.

She further noted that “protesters are remaining on the steps and won’t move out of the doorway where several police are blocking passage into the building.”

If these activists happened to be conservatives protesting against vaccine mandates or Bidenflation, the media would be covering it ad nauseam.

Panicky headlines declaring the return of the Jan. 6 “insurrectionists” would spread like wildfire across social media.

But instead, since the protesters happen to be supporting a cause backed by the establishment elite, the media has remained largely silent.

P.S. I don’t think of these protesters or those at the capital 6/1/21 as “insurrectionists.” But if that is the term used to imprison 6/1/21 participants and remove their civil rights, then it should also be applied here. We do not know whether these disturbances will evolve into riots like those in Portland where the Federal Courthouse was vandalized by insurrectionists, never held accountable.