Meanwhile, Down Under...

Things are going from bad to worse in Melbourne and in wider Victoria state in Australia. I haven’t done the survey but it is credibly reported that as of 23 September, Melbourne has suffered more days of lockdown than has any other city on earth. In a marvelous piece of theatre construction workers were informed that vaccination was to become a ticket to work.  Objecting to the weakness of their own union (the CFMEU) in the face of this unconscionable mandate some hundreds demonstrated and wreaked damage on the CFMEU’s Melbourne office front.

In a fit of pique, El Duce Dan Andrews, the Victoria premier, closed down the whole construction industry in Victoria for two weeks. The result: tens of thousands of building workers unemployed with nothing to do but demonstrate. Proof positive of what has become widely known. Dan is not only a communist but a very stupid one.

On 22 September building workers occupied the steps of a shrine in Melbourne dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in WWI. The press was onto this. “Absolutely disgusting” read the headline in The Australian, the only not-so-left newspaper in the land. Only one or two conservative voices pointed out that demanding freedom on the steps of a shrine commemorating those who fought and died for freedom was not so inappropriate.

Notice the tone of most media reporting. When what the press should focus on is the brutality of Victorian police charging up the steps firing rubber bullets at building workers (not neo-Nazis by the way) who were simply standing there calling for freedom. You may have seen the same in Venezuela. Truly we are seeing how tenuous is freedom.

In echoes of the ban on drones filming Haitian illegal aliens gathering under the International Bridge in Texas, the Victorian police banned news-gathering helicopters flying above the demonstrations. The aptly black-shirted police commissioner relented under pressure; yet still demands that approval for flights be sought and any videos obtained be delayed for an hour before being broadcast. A police state has arrived; though its extent depends on where you live, now that Australia has been Balkanised.

Effectively, Australia has reverted to its pre-1901 colonial status, where each state formed a self-governing colony under the British Crown. Over the past eighteen months states, particularly Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, have mostly closed their borders to both international  and domestic travellers; and, also, even to returning citizens of their own states from other parts of Australia, unless they are sharpish before the gates shut at twelve-hours’ notice.

Depressingly, according polls, Dan still seems to have the majority support of Victorians. Those old 1930s films of dictators being cheered on by adoring crowds don’t seem forced, do they. Better not pin our hopes on the sanity of crowds.

Trudeau Holds On and Other Election Notes

Just an update on yesterday's election in Canada, where the vote count is still ongoing, but the result is more or less determined -- it looks like it will be a Liberal minority government... just like last time. It is, in fact, hard to overstate how like last time it is:

Two quick notes to follow-up on my election article this past weekend.

First, it's nice to see the enviro-activist Tory insiders I mentioned --  Ken Boessenkool, Mark Cameron, and Howard Anglin -- wind up with egg on their faces. Their solution to the outcome of the 2019 election, when the CPC picked up the vast majority of seats west of Ontario, winning the national popular vote but losing overall, was to encourage the party to "Go Green," with the intention of flipping seats in the Greater Toronto Area. Well, the Conservatives went all in on their advice, and even so it looks like the Liberals have once again swept the GTA. Nice work, fellas.

Second, as Holly Doan points out, current estimates peg turnout at less than 59 percent of eligible voters, lowest in Canadian history and about 8 percent lower than the 2019 election. Some of this is Covid anxiety of course, but even so, this suggests a dispirited electorate, unhappy with the options available to them. Not that we should be surprised by this -- The Toronto Star reported a few days ago that Conservative campaigns were seeing a notable lack of enthusiasm, especially in Ontario, where some ridings were unable to attract more than a handful of volunteers. For all of the belly-aching about the populist People's Party of Canada splitting the vote and tipping right-of-center seats to the Liberals, had the CPC given voters a reason to go to the polls for them, they could probably have sent Trudeau packing.

In my piece I suggested an approach or two that might have been successful -- namely really representing the views of their base rather than running from them and pushing back on the Liberals' environmental policies for the pain they cause the average Canadian. This approach might still work in the future, especially as Trudeau's policies continue to damage the economy and slow recovery, post-Covid. But I don't think Erin O'Toole is capable of making that case.

My advice to the Tories would be: give old Erin the boot, tear the party down to the studs (a different kind of Great Reset, if you will), and start over by playing to your strengths. It isn't like you've got much to lose.

Well, It Certainly Does Suck

Boondoggles on top of boondoggles. That's all I could think while reading this piece at The Daily Mail, with the following headline: "World’s biggest 'carbon-sucking' machine is switched on in Iceland: $15 million device will capture 4,000 tons  of CO2 per year and could help 'reverse climate change.'"

The world's biggest carbon-sucking machine, billed as a tool to reduce climate change, has been switched on in Iceland. The $15 million (£10.8 million) 'direct air capture' (DAC) machine, created by Zurich-based company Climeworks, launched on Wednesday at the Hellisheiði Power Station, Iceland. Called Orca, it will capture 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year as part of efforts to reduce levels of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere – equivalent to the annual emissions from about 790 cars.

Seven hundred and ninety cars, eh? So we just need to build about 400,000 of these things to cover the roughly 300 million cars we have in the United States! And at $15 million a pop, we'd only have to double our national debt, more or less, to pay for them.

But how can we get bogged down with dollars and cents like this when the fate of the planet is on the line?! Just hand over the check book and let the experts go to work. It's an emergency, dammit! That's certainly the position of the guys who sell these things. "The cost per ton of Orca is perhaps less important than what we will learn," said Climeworks CEO, Jan Wurzbacher.

The company stressed the importance of climate capture following 'unprecedented extreme weather events' that have dominated the news headlines this year. It referred to the recent UN climate panel report – dubbed 'a code red for humanity' – which said global warming had caused an unparalleled melting of glaciers and was close to spiralling out of control. 'The report further confirms that it is crucial to reduce our emissions drastically and remove unavoidable and historic carbon dioxide emissions from the air permanently,' said Climeworks.

Of course, it doesn't take much effort to refute the claims Wurzbacher and others are making. For one thing, as we covered at the time, the IPCC report, despite some heated rhetoric (for which they're famous) was rather less dire than the frenzied headlines would have you believe. For another, the "unprecedented extreme weather events" aren't so unprecedented, and they only seem more frequent and extreme because of the twenty-four hour news cycle and the ubiquity of social media.

So, while I do sort of admire the chutzpah of Mr. Wurzbacher & Co., I think we'd all be better off if they moved on to new scam.

Renewables: Is There Anything They Can't Do?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Natural gas and electricity markets were already surging in Europe when a fresh catalyst emerged: The wind in the stormy North Sea stopped blowing. The sudden slowdown in wind-driven electricity production off the coast of the U.K. in recent weeks whipsawed through regional energy markets. Gas and coal-fired electricity plants were called in to make up the shortfall from wind. Natural-gas prices, already boosted by the pandemic recovery and a lack of fuel in storage caverns and tanks, hit all-time highs. Thermal coal, long shunned for its carbon emissions, has emerged from a long price slump as utilities are forced to turn on backup power sources.

The episode underscored the precarious state the region’s energy markets face heading into the long European winter. The electricity price shock was most acute in the U.K., which has leaned on wind farms to eradicate net carbon emissions by 2050. Prices for carbon credits, which electricity producers need to burn fossil fuels, are at records, too... At their peak, U.K. electricity prices had more than doubled in September and were almost seven times as high as at the same point in 2020. Power markets also jumped in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

So the transition to so-called renewable energy has really been raking European energy markets over the coals. Literally, in fact, as coal-fired power plants are having to increase production to meet energy demands. And it's making Russia into a one nation OPEC, the only country in the region with an excess of natural gas which will happily export it.... for some significant diplomatic concessions.

Quite the bind the E.U. finds itself in. Perhaps they might consider changing course, accepting that shutting down their natural gas and nuclear power plants, not to mention banning fracking, is a mistake?

Doesn't sound like it! Reuters -- "Record high power prices in European Union countries show the bloc must wean itself off fossil fuels and speed up the transition to green energy, the EU's top climate change official said on Tuesday." That official -- first vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, who has appeared in these pages before, always singing the same one-note tune -- argues that, in fact, it is because they haven't transitioned quickly enough that things are so bad! "Had we had the Green Deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependence on fossil fuels and on natural gas," he said.

Never mind that the transition itself helped create the shortage by causing a shortage of the fuels that, for the foreseeable future, the continent continues to run on. That, and the fact that the wind doesn't always blow and the sun sometimes fails to shine.

Anyway, you heard it from Frans first -- renewable energy causes problems that can only be solved by... more renewable energy. Is there anything it can't do?

EV Dreamin'

Michael Lynch has a good, unbiased piece at Forbes which tries to cut through the disinformation about Electric Vehicles and discern what their prospects over the next several years actually are. Spoiler alert: he's not overly optimistic.

Of course, the data necessary to make that kind of a projection is fairly hard to come by, in part because of the still-evolving technology and in part because the number of EVs actually on the road is so small, skewing sample sizes. But Lynch points out that the sample sizes are actually smaller than we previously thought -- he mentions a recent paper which concludes that right now EVs are principally being used as secondary vehicles for people who also own internal combustion cars. The EVs on the road are averaging about 6000 miles per year, less than half of the overall vehicle average, suggesting that they are mainly used for commuting, rather than longer drives.

This, Lynch says, must be factored into how we discuss the cost of these cars --

[It] means that the cost per mile is much higher for EVs than most estimates, because most of the costs are for the vehicles, not the fuel, and applying it over 40% as many the miles as a conventional vehicle more than doubles the cost per mile.

He also points to two recent papers which analyze the tendency of EV drivers to switch back to internal combustion vehicles. It turns out that roughly half of them do so eventually, complaining most often of their limited range and the dearth of charging stations. For Lynch, this could be grounds for hope for the industry -- the former problem might be corrected by technological advances and the latter by government investment. But problems like the cost of battery replacement and resale value are just over the horizon for EVs, as few owners have had them long enough for either to become an issue. If those issues begin piling up before the still-theoretical range bolstering battery tech breakthroughs, it's easy to imagine the bottom falling out on Electric Cars.

Another reason for skepticism -- the studies which found that about 50 percent of EV owners eventually switch back to traditional engines showed that that number was actually somewhat depressed by data from California, where the figure is closer to 20 percent. Why so low in the Golden State? The theory is that it is at least in part because Left Coasters are more environmentally conscious, though it might have something to do with the fact that, though Californians spend a lot of time in the car coming to and from work every day, that has more to do with traffic than distance. In Middle America, where things are more spread out and commutes are longer, the range of EVs is likely a bigger issue. Which means its probably a bad idea to bet big on Ford's new electric pick-up truck.

With all that in mind, Lynch's verdict is that Electric Vehicles will remain a niche product rather than a market-dominant one.

Does that mean that our elites, who are so certain of their success that they're constantly announcing absurd plans to phase out internal combustion engines before the next full moon, will have to change course? Well, they're not known for admitting mistakes. But even so, their mandates can't alter reality.

Gaia Akbar?

"Know thy enemy," said Sun Tzu, and this is a lesson the Taliban have apparently taken to heart. And they've had ample time to get to know us during their twenty years interregnum as rulers of Afghanistan, as we milled about in their country for no apparent reason. In that time the key thing they've learned seems to be that we are a nation of suckers.

What else are we to think when, for instance, Taliban spokesmen are out there assuring the world that they've learned the error of their ways, and now that they're back, they are planning on building a more inclusive society and will make it a point to respect women's rights. Of course, they did add the notable qualifier “in accordance with Islamic law,” which might explain the reports we're already seeing of women being killed for not wearing the burqa. You've got to assume the country's only all-girl boarding school made the right decision when it closed up shop and moved to Rwanda. The Taliban's understanding of Islamic law has never been particularly open-minded about women learning things.

Spokesmen also said they would not infringe upon freedom of speech and promised to issue an amnesty for all Afghans who worked for Western governments in Afghanistan over the past two decades. Suffice it to say, I have my doubts that these promises will be kept.

Still, I couldn't help but laugh at the chutzpah of this pledge, reported by The Daily Mail, "The Taliban has vowed to tackle climate change... as part of the terror group's attempt to rebrand itself and modernise." Said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a member of the Taliban's Cultural Commission (yes, it is startling that such a thing exists):

We believe the world has a unique opportunity of rapprochement and coming together to tackle the challenges not only facing us but the entire humanity. These challenges ranging from world security and climate change need the collective efforts of all, and cannot be achieved if we exclude or ignore an entire people who have been devastated by imposed wars for the past four decades.

Tackle climate change?! Mail columnist Jack Newman speculates that they might be intending to accomplish this "by taking Afghanistan back to the Middle Ages," which, to be fair, is more or less the long-term vision of hardcore western environmentalists as well.

You might be saying to yourself that no one in the west is dumb enough to believe this, but I'm not so sure. After all, we're constantly being told how responsible and forward thinking Chairman Xi is whenever he says anything about climate change, even while China's new coal power plant capacity alone outstripped the rest of the world by 300 percent in 2020.

The Taliban are betting that if they say the right things, eventually we will just let them do whatever they like. Maybe they know us a lot better than we're willing to admit.

Of Coin Flips and 'Climate Change'

Heads I win, tails you lose. That might as well be the motto of the left these days, and not least of its Green flank.

For instance, it has become a commonplace that whenever anyone anywhere jokes during winter that global warming sounds nice right about now, for leftist condemnation to come in hot and heavy. As Eric Felton reminds us, when Donald Trump tossed off a one-liner to that effect during a speech on a frigid day in 2019, he was bitterly mocked by environmentalists. Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale's project on climate change communication (yes, such a thing does exist) said that the then-president's comment was "scientifically ridiculous and demonstrably false," adding,

There is a fundamental difference in scale between what weather is and what climate is. What's going on in one small corner of the world at a given moment does not reflect what's going on with the planet.

Good to know. But its hard not to notice that whenever it suits their purposes Greens will unreflectively sling bowls of hot, steamy, anecdata with the best of them. Have you noticed that you hear more about hurricanes during hurricane season these days? Climate change! Still wearing shortsleeves on Halloween? Climate change! Catch the news about that big tornado down south? Climate change!

As noted college drop-out and rich guy Derek Jeter said at Davos a few years ago, "[W]e’re seeing more and more natural disasters each year... Something has to be causing it.” Something other than the 24 hour news cycle and the rise of social media, I think he means.

Felton has a helpful evaluation of this summer's hottest example of this observation bias, the heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest which saw temperatures consistently exceeding 100ºF. In a piece for RealClear Investigations, he discusses an organization called World Weather Attribution, "a group organized not just to attribute extreme weather events to climate change, but to do so quickly." While the heatwave was still ongoing, WWA put out a statement claiming that they'd analyzed the data and that the extreme weather would have been “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.”

Considering their mission statement, it's hard to label this conclusion a shocker. But their claim of scientific objectivity gave cover to virtually every mainstream media outlet to confidently report that the heat was attributable to climate change. So saith the science!

Science!

Or saidth -- until a climatologist named Cliff Mass took the time to actually look through the data himself and came to an entirely different conclusion. Mass happens to be an expert in the weather of the Pacific Northwest -- he has actually written a book entitled 'The Weather of the Pacific Northwest' -- and his own weather models accurately predicted the heatwave.

According to Felton, Mass's modeling suggested that "global warming might have been responsible for two degrees of the near 40-degree anomaly. With or without climate change, Mass wrote, the region 'still would have experienced the most severe heat wave of the past century'." In short, the true culprit was the environmentalist movement's least favorite -- “natural variability.”

Mass made it a point to call out the shoddiness of World Weather Attribution's analysis, and they responded to his critique, saying that his report was "misleading and incorrect." But Felton notes that, after the release of Mass's study, WWA's statements on the topic were much more cautious and equivocating.

Let us all be inspired by their belated humility. Caution is king, at least where climate science is concerned. Better to be cautious than embarrassed when someone comes along and checks your work.

'I Am Covid, Destroyer of Oz'

Curfews, the army on the streets, extra police powers, rubber bullets. Mogadishu? No, it's Australia. Though, to be fair, rubber bullets have been confined so far to Melbourne. Apparently, those protesting lockdowns got a bit unruly. Bring out the Stormtroopers. And note, so far to August 21, there have been only 978 reported deaths from Covid-19, while since the first Covid death in March 2020 well over 200,000 Australians have died, publicly unmourned, from other causes. Perspective defenestrated.

Australia right now is a poster child for how western civilisation and all we hold dear can quickly go down the gurgler. What do we most hold dear? Our freedoms. Make those freedoms privileges, dispensed at will and whim by government. See people go along with it. Welcome to the servile state. True some people, relatively few in number, do protest. But hefty fines, jail time and, if necessary, rubber bullets will keep dissidents in check. It worked in East Germany, didn’t it?

I will digress for a purpose. Don’t want to get into Jane Fonda’s head. It’s probably a tangle of leftism in there which is best to avoid. I will say that she is the best looking eighty-three-year-old I’ve ever seen. So, unless she has a Doriana Gray portrait in the backroom, I can’t help but feel that her motives have been and are good. Misguided and bad are not synonymous. And even those who are misguided can be occasionally right. And so has she been.

As she rightly said, Covid is a gift to the Left. Whether it’s God’s gift we can argue about. Though, as a Christian, I do believe in predestination, hence it’s not unreasonable to assume that Covid is serving some celestial purpose. Personally, I doubt that purpose is to produce an earthly communist nirvana. At the same time, there is little doubt that those on the left feel a Chris-Matthews-type thrill going up their legs when surveying the havoc which Covid is bringing down on Western civilisation.

After all, if your objective is to remake civilisation in the image of a Marxist utopia, you first have to tear down what’s there. And that means undoing individual freedoms, before the presumed interests of the collective can be put in their place.

Been there, done that.

Ironically, the freedoms of Western civilisation can be more easily taken away because of the prosperity which those very freedoms have underpinned. People can be locked away and businesses closed down yet still everybody can be well fed. Well-fed citizens are less prone to rebellion.

Marx and Engels might have been right after all. Communism, aka The Great Reset, aka Inclusive or Cooperative or "Woke" capitalism, aka “building back fairer and better,” will potentially supersede free-market capitalism on the back of the material riches that individual freedoms have wrought. Hope not, but that’s the way it feels right now as I contemplate the outdoor mask mandate, which comes into effect right now, to supplement rules which restrict me from travelling not more than 5 kms from home and to one essential shopping trip each day. Talking to other people is largely verboten.

One of my sons-in-law runs a carpet repair business. He has established rules which he hopes will allow him to continue to earn a living. For example, customers can make arrangements to leave their keys in a particular spot so that the repairers can enter and do the job while the occupants either leave home or ensconce themselves in another room. Being contactless is the key to survival in this brave new world.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the strata committee of the apartment building where I live in Sydney has just announced that renovations to two apartments cannot resume because zero contact between workers and residents in common areas can’t be guaranteed. Imagine the effect of this abundance of playing it safe across all apartment buildings – on electricians, plumbers, tradesmen generally, never mind the anguish of those living in apartments with half-renovated kitchens and bathrooms.

Not too close!

Mind you, the nervousness of our strata committee might be justified. “Special powers” have been given to the New South Wales police force “to lockdown apartment buildings while health assesses the Covid risk [and] to declare a residential premise a Covid-risk premise and require all people to present to police during compliance checks.”

Like the "Delta variant," the madness spreads. From health bureaucrats, to politicians, to the media, to the police, to strata committees, and of course, to scolds on the streets. Hard to remember what it was like in the B.C. (Before Covid) era. “Yes son, we didn’t wear masks then and we used to mix with and talk freely to other people. It was all very unhealthy. Now the government keeps us safe.”

A caveat. Might be feeling too down Down Under. Here there is no countervailing view of any weight. All political leaders are as one. No Red states. No Ron DeSantis. Maybe we have to rely yet again on America to save western civilisation and put this nightmare behind us?

Norwegians Love Oil & Gas

Among the best television programs of the past decade or two is the Norwegian geopolitical thriller Occupied. It tells the story of a near future, where an extremist Green party is swept into power in Norway on a pledge to ban oil and gas extraction. Fulfilling this promise provokes an energy crisis throughout Europe, leading the E.U. to deputize Russia to enter Norway, under not-so-subtle threats of violence, to get production started again. Once that has been accomplished, however, the Russians aren't too keen on leaving, and the Norwegian government soon becomes a Quisling regime whose prevailing preoccupation is keeping Russia happy, while patriots (and eventually the military) begin an I.R.A.-like campaign against it and, especially, against the Russkies.

Don't let the climate stuff put you off (it quickly falls by the wayside) -- Occupied is a brilliant show which explores questions of sovereignty and nationalism, and with more nuance than any other popular production I've yet encountered. But even with environmentalism being a comparatively minor aspect of the show, I was interested to read that the environmentalist fervor which put the greens into power in the first place is not particularly realistic.

Sure, Norwegians have an affinity for electric cars -- they own more E.V.s per capita than any other nationality -- but they are also quite fond of their resource industry. This is likely due to the fact that their oil and natural gas has made them the richest nation in Scandinavia, with the second highest GDP per capita in all of Europe. Oil and gas comprise more than 40 percent of Norway's exports and almost 20 percent of GDP. One thing that Scandinavia-loving American lefties will never tell you is that Norway's generous welfare system is utterly dependent upon its resource wealth -- almost a third of all government revenue comes from oil and gas. And this has given the nation a strong sense of economic independence -- it's not for nothing that Norway has twice voted down proposals to join the E.U. They can't have Brussels attempting to regulate their most important industry out of existence.

Which is to say that, even though the Conservative coalition which has been governing Norway since 2014 looks likely to fall in next month's general election, popular sentiment is such that the nominally environmentalist Labor Party will likely find it extremely difficult to turn off the taps.

That IPCC Report: Much Ado About Nothing

On Monday the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its newest assessment report, the sixth in a series of comprehensive reviews of climate science. It was clever of them to release it during the dog days of August, when newsworthy events are few and far between and journalists, desperate for content, think nothing of submitting hysterical think pieces about multi-thousand page documents they haven't read.

And that's exactly what's happened -- a quick look around the internet will bring you face to face with the trashiest clickbait headlines, even from supposedly sober and respectable outlets: "The Latest IPCC Report Is a Catastrophe" says The Atlantic. "IPCC report’s verdict on climate crimes of humanity: guilty as hell" is The Guardian's headline. Here's USA Today: "Code red for humanity"

The Wall Street Journal stands out among major publications, first, for admitting that they haven't yet had time to read the almost 4,000-page report, and second, for pointing out that, if the document's summary for policy makers is to be believed, then "the report doesn’t tell us much that’s new since its last report in 2013, and some of that is less dire."

The editors patiently walk through the claims causing the most combustibility among headline writers. For instance:

"It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land,” says the report in its lead conclusion. But no one denies that the climate has been warming, and no one serious argues that humans play no role. How could eight billion people not? Adding the adjective “unequivocal” adds emphasis but not context.

A good point, since "unequivocal" got a lot of attention:

The WSJ also breaks down the IPCC's actual projected temperature changes:

The report says the Earth has warmed by 1.1 degree Celsius since the last half of the 19th century, which is 0.1 degree warmer than its last estimate. This is not apocalyptic. The five-alarm headlines arise from the predictions of future temperature increases.... Yet the report’s estimate of “climate sensitivity”—its response to a doubling of CO2—has moderated at the top end. The likely sensitivity range, says the report, is 2.5 to 4 degrees Celsius higher than in the late 1800s. The likely range was 1.5 to 4.5 in the 2013 report.

Of course, they also point out how reliant all of these projections are on climate models, and suggest reading former Obama administration science advisor Steven Koonin for an illuminating take on the flaws of such models. The gist of it is that there are so many unknowns being factored into these models as if they were facts that their conclusions are questionable at best. As Ross McKitrick explains in a review of Koonin's book,

All the shortcuts would not be a problem if in the end they could accurately predict the climate. But... the models on average do poorly at reproducing the 20th century warming pattern, even though modelers can look at the answer and tune the models to try and reproduce it. They don’t warm enough from 1910 to 1940 and they warm too much after 1980. Both errors point to the likelihood that they depend too much on sensitivity to carbon dioxide and don’t account for long-term natural variations.

If they can't accurately account for the temperatures of the past hundred years, why on earth should we bet our lives and livelihoods on their ability to project the next hundred?

Which is really to say that blame for all of the hysteria rests with the IPCC itself. It's long been famous for issuing lengthy bad-to-worst-case-scenario reports which are then distilled into hyperbolic summaries in the hope of getting picked up by journalists. Mission accomplished. But that doesn't mean we need to pay attention.