The 'Climate Change' Casino—and the Risks Thereof

There's a lot of risk involved in "global warming." The first and most basic is whether it will occur at all according to the model put forward by the United Nations IPCC. The public can actually wager on whether it's unfolding as officially predicted. "Last week, MyBookie unveiled odds on global warming. Yes, you can bet on the Earth’s 2020 global land/ocean temperature index being greater than or less than 2019’s 0.99 degrees Celsius. Right now, the “no” is a surprising favorite at -700. A “yes” gets you +400."

A more sophisticated version of theory verification uses long-short equity funds.  "The concept is simple: Investment research turns up expected winners and losers, so why not bet on both? Take long positions in the winners as collateral to finance short positions in the losers." If climate change really exists then those who follow the model will do better than the deniers and one can make money wagering in contrasting pairs. According to an investor document seen by Bloomberg:

[Finance veteran] Carrasquillo and her former CPPIB colleague Savironi Chet have joined AllianceBernstein Holding to start a hedge fund called 1.5 Degrees, named after scientists’ warning that the Earth could warm by that much within the next two decades. The long/short equities fund is expected to start trading this quarter... '1.5 Degrees' aims to make high single digit returns by focusing on climate change opportunities and companies benefitting or losing out from events such as rising sea levels, shifting consumer preferences and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

You can't win if you don't play!

Still another approach is to utilize weather risk contracts of the sort traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to hedge against definite outcomes. "The use of derivative markets for hedging climate-related risk has been around for over 25 years... By indexing CME Weather futures and options, it makes it possible to trade weather in a way comparable to trading other index products such as stock indexes." (A hedge is an investment that is made with the intention of reducing the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Normally, a hedge consists of taking an offsetting or opposite position in a related security).

A more general measure of climate fear is the level of property and casualty insurance that people, not just activists, buy. Although McKinsey recommends buying insurance they can't even put a number on it. "McKinsey research shows that the value at stake from climate-induced hazards could, conservatively, increase from about 2 percent of global GDP to more than 4 percent of global GDP in 2050. And the risks associated with climate change are multiplying..."

This is disconcertingly vague. In the absence of definite projections so much insurance may be required to protect against the nebulous magnitudes of climate change that some observers fear the whole industry may collapse.

As companies and investors get to grips with the risks of rising global temperatures, climate stress testing is becoming more commonplace across many parts of the world — with eye-opening results for insurers. France’s central bank, for example, released the first results of its climate stress tests earlier in 2021: It found that natural disaster-related insurance claims could increase up to five-fold in the nation’s most affected regions. That would cause premiums to surge as much as 200 percent over 30 years.

In fact preparing against "global warming" creates other risks associated with wind and solar power under-production,  principally the higher likelihood of blackouts. To hedge against crippling outages, provision for keeping dirty fossil-fuel backup generator sets must be made. Moreover there are independent risks inherent to renewables themselves. They are often dependent on exotic material like rare earths (much of it controlled by China) without which green technology could rapidly grind to a halt. They can cause environmental damage by their operation. Solar panel arrays are toxic unless disposed of carefully and wind farms generate a continuous low-level hum that can cause multiple health problems including ruined sleep, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, depression, irritability, and panic episodes.

What risk? The science is settled!

Renewable energy devices are also prone to damage from weather events. Windmills are torn apart by high winds, acres of solar panels are toasted by brush fire.  The answer? Insure it. There is insurance against the sun not shining.  There is insurance against the wind not blowing. Would there were insurance against the public going broke. There is in a way: as Brits face a massive increase in energy bills, largely as a result of wind power shortfalls, Labour wants BP and Shell to pay for the no-show of renewables:

The UK government is coming under mounting pressure to increase taxes on oil and gas companies, including BP and Shell. The aim: to help British households cope with skyrocketing energy bills. The main opposition Labour Party this weekend called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose a windfall tax on companies pumping oil and gas from the North Sea, saying that the money raised could be used to cut roughly £200 ($272) from soaring household bills.

That there are risks everywhere is not surprising, except to those who regard the climate future as exact, settled science. Risk is in fact another way of expressing our lack of knowledge about the exact probability of each outcome of or whether we have actually anticipated all possible outcomes. Indeed it would be impossible to create all the bookie bets and insurance policies associated with risk management cited here were it not for the presence of uncertainty. A market for bets requires something which isn't completely known, hence the odds as an incentive to bet.

Far from being a sure thing, there is much that is unsettled about the way the earth's climate works. Although these knowledge gaps may be denied by governments and many in the media, they are tacitly admitted by the risk management instruments contrived to deal with them. These force us to quantify climate prediction in specifics that show up the uncertainties lurking behind the bureaucratic façade of infallibility. The official global warming forecasts are neither as definite nor precise as they are made out to be, and though officials have gone to great lengths to conceal doubt, they have not been able to hide risk, which is the shadow of doubt.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Boris?

Boris Johnson, who has dominated British politics since the middle of 2019, is now facing a possible ejection from office and the end of his political career for the sin of attending parties at Number Ten Downing Street during the period that his government was enforcing anti-Covid regulations that forbade ordinary citizens from attending not only parties but also funerals, marriages, and the bedsides of dying family members. This scandal, inevitably named party-gate, has aroused extraordinary public anger against Johnson because it crystallizes the widespread public feeling after two years of Covid lockdowns that “there’s one law for Them [i.e., the political class] and another law for Us."

That’s an especially damaging charge against him because until recently Boris was seen by a large slice of the British public, especially blue-collar Tories and Brexit supporters, as their defender against a remote and corrupt establishment. Not to mention that the charge comes at a time when Boris is losing popularity more generally because several groups in the broad conservative coalition oppose his other policies.

I dealt with his plight which is a serious one—and how he might succeed in keeping his job—in a recent article in National Review Online:

The odd truth is that although he helped to put together an election-winning coalition, he is now alienating all the major Tory factions one after another by his various policies: Thatcherites by his reckless over spending and abandonment of tax cuts; patriotic Tories by failing to counter the deracinated ideas of Wokeness conquering so many British institutions; younger and less affluent Tories by not tackling the unavailability of affordable housing effectively; small savers and investors by allowing inflation to revive; cautious pragmatic Tories by “big government” projects on an almost Napoleonic scale such as Net-Zero; even Brexiteers by the long-drawn-out negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol; and much else. (My emphasis).

That’s a formidable list of disasters, but the one that will spring out at The Pipeline readers is the reference to Net-Zero and more broadly to Boris’s passionate embrace of a radical, expensive, and life-altering program of left-wing environmentalism and global redistribution. He was the impresario of the COP26 U.N. conference at Glasgow that was meant to entrench Net-Zero as a legally-binding international obligation on the West. It failed in that, but he probably hopes to revive that campaign as soon as he can. Should global “lukewarmers” (i.e., those who think, like The Pipeline, that the costs of climate alarmist policies are heavier than the costs of climate change) want therefore to see Boris brought down over party-gate on the grounds that Net-Zero would perish with him?

Shrinking in stature by the day.

That’s a serious question because the fall of Boris would be a major international sensation and some of the commentary on it would cite Net-Zero as a contributory factor in his demise. Having made two recent visits to London, however, I would argue the opposite case on four grounds:

  1. If Boris fell, Net-Zero wouldn’t be brought down with him. Serious skepticism towards the policy is growing as people realize the extraordinary costs of moving rapidly from fossil fuels to renewables in both taxes and energy prices; the risks of relying on renewables when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind blow; and the futility of making enormous sacrifices in order to reduce the U.K.’s 1-2 percent of global carbon emissions when China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and other fossil fuel users and producers will be pumping out carbon with little or no change. I’ve had several recent conversations with economists and politicians who make these and other points. But they all accept that the U.K. establishment and all party leaderships have committed themselves so completely to the climate orthodoxy that turning around the tanker will be a slow business.
  2. Indeed, if Boris were to be forced to resign in the near future, all of the potential candidates to succeed him as prime minister and Tory leaders would almost certainly pledge their support for Net-Zero, giving it a new lease of political and intellectual life. That’s not likely to happen while Boris is in Downing Street. The Tory Party consensus on climate policies has been breaking down as its dire consequences became clearer. A new Tory backbench group has just been formed to support Net-Zero in response to the rise of the skeptical lukewarmers. More significantly, Boris’s great ally on Brexit, Lord (David) Frost has been describing Net-Zero as a policy that lacks realism or any connection to conservatism as commonly understood. As with Brexit, once the leadership’s policy was exposed to criticism and debate, it turned out to have less support than everyone believed—and the rebellion spread.
  3. More time is needed to accomplish this, however, and to develop and promote an alternative set of policies that would compete with climate alarmism at every level of society. Those policies are beginning to emerge: reviving nuclear power, using clean natural gas as a “bridge” fuel to a lower emissions world, legalizing fracking which would incidentally foster a Trump-style energy boom in parts of Britain that are currently “left behind,” and encouraging the market to search out new innovations with tax incentives rather than have Whitehall “picking winners.”
  4. And, finally, if Boris survives party-gate, he is as likely as any of the other contenders for the Tory top job to reverse course on Net-Zero and adopt a more realistic and prudent policy. Maybe more likely. Boris is highly flexible intellectually, as he showed on Brexit, and his radical-left environmentalism is already beginning to fail and to damage him as it fails. He won’t drive his car into the ditch for the sake of consistency. He also knows that one of the largest contradictions in his overall political strategy is that between Net-Zero and his policy of “levelling up” the North of England to the output and living standards of Middle England by infrastructure and transport developments. Levelling up implies a slower transition to a world without the fossil fuels that currently supply eighty percent of its energy. Finally, when Boris looks at the Tory factions in the parliamentary party, he can see that those most sympathetic to his kind of politics are also those most skeptical towards Net-Zero and the socialist hairshirt economics that it requires. He needs them as allies.

Fun while it lasted.

To sum up, a world in which the Government is urging voters to travel by bus, cut down on foreign vacations, eat less meat, and accept colder homes in the winter while ministers and CEOs travel by official cars and private planes to pleasant climates where they discuss the sacrifices that must be made to realize Net-Zero looks awfully like a world in which “there’s one law for Them and another law for Us.” Boris is acutely vulnerable to—and so most anxious to avoid—that suspicion at present.

My conclusion therefore is that climate realists should not be too keen on seeing Boris ousted any time soon. The argument is moving in our direction and Boris is losing the authority and perhaps the desire to halt or reverse that.

Coal is King, Again

To save the world from carbon dioxide emissions that they claim will heat us to a crisp, the environmentalists have targeted “fossil fuels” -- coal, petroleum (oil), natural gas, oil shales, bitumens, and tar sands and heavy oils. This was after they and their political puppets pretty much killed nuclear-powered electrical production, the  cleanest source of energy production, by  making new construction impossible and reducing existing capacity.

Of all the fossil fuels, natural gas releases the least amount of CO2, but it remains a target here and in Europe. Its major source is Russia, and thanks to rising demand, the cost has risen precipitously this winter just when Europe has it greatest need for it.

European power climbed to a fresh record as France faces a winter crunch, spurring the region’s top aluminum smelter to curb output. Electricity for delivery next year surged as much as 6.4 percent to an all-time high in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market. France, which usually exports power, will need to suck up supplies from neighboring countries to keep the lights on as severe nuclear outages curb generation in the coldest months of the year. The crunch is so severe that it’s forcing factories to curb output or shut down altogether.

The consequence for the world of Western governments’ fanciful energy views and absurd policy proscriptions is that coal, almost pure carbon, which when utilized emits not only carbon but also “sulfur dioxides, particulates, and nitrogen oxides” is being used in record amounts. While new technology can reduce these emissions somewhat, coal remains the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. One cannot escape laughing at the irony—according to the International Energy agency (IEA) after all the government mucking about on greening energy production, coal production is set to hit an all-time high. Large Asian nations (mostly China and India) need it and gas shortages in Europe are revving up coal demand.

 Germany has had to rely on coal and nuclear power for electricity generation throughout 2021. This meant the contribution of coal and nuclear power for energy production reached 40 percent this year, compared to 35 percent in 2020, with renewables accounting for 41 percent compared to 44 percent last year. At present, Germany is planning to end nuclear power production by the end of 2022 and phase out coal by 2030. Even the U.K., which pledged to end coal production a year earlier than anticipated by 2024, had to fire up coal plants in September to meet electricity demand in the face of gas shortages and surging prices. During this time, coal contributed 3 percent of national power, rather than the average 2.2 percent. This was following a landmark period of time in which the U.K. run coal-free for three days in August.

It seems that private investment will be needed to get industry to convert more rapidly to non-coal sources in the absence of substantial government financial incentives to do so. I’d consider that a crap shoot for any investor. Who knows what bright ideas governments will dream up next to muck up energy  production and supplies? And why should anyone assume that this time with even more private money down that rathole, "renewables" will fill the void of burgeoning energy demand?

On the contrary, the only bright spot on the energy horizon I’ve seen this week is a report that fifteen states are rebelling against banks which are refusing financing to fossil fuel producers. Together these states have $600 billion in assets they pledge to take elsewhere unless the banks relent.  It’s a nice  counter-play to the Biden administration’s pressuring Wall Street to refuse financial backing for fossil fuel producers.

The Perils of Consensus: Beware 'Climate Change'

Many today believe that the globe is heating up and that something must be done to prevent a looming apocalypse. Carbon is ravaging the planet and fossil fuels must be replaced by wind and solar. The science is apparently settled. Yet predictions of global devastation have predictably failed for as many years as we can remember. Wind and solar are prohibitively costly, land defiling, and almost entirely unreliable, as every significant study has shown.

Important books by top-tier scientific investigators like Bruce Bunker (The Mythology of Global Warming), Rupert Darwall (Green Tyranny), Bjorn Lomborg (False Alarm), Michael Shellenberger (Apocalypse Never), and John Casey (Dark Winter) credibly put paid to the accepted narrative of rising seas and falling skies—though such books seem to have gone unread. Here in Vancouver, BC, winter came early this year, with temperatures clearly falling—we were bundling up in October; yet, it is difficult to get people merely to observe and assess for themselves, given sensationalist and misleading news reports to the contrary.

Consensus is always moot, regardless of how many people adhere to a general theory or a global assumption, as Charles Mackay has definitively shown in his classic study Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds and Eric Hoffer has laid out for us in The True Believer, an analysis of mass movements and the dynamics of fanaticism. It’s hard not to get swept along when we are told every day by our news anchors, newspaper editors, digital platforms, elected politicians and “science guys,” who have their own agenda of profit and power, that flood, fire and hurricane are our imminent future, that icebergs are melting by the minute and polar bears are starving, that Pacific islands are sinking, and that millions of people are about to starve. The overwhelming consensus of our experts and authorities cannot be accidental or wrong, can it?

But consensus is a funny thing. It can change unpredictably, very much like our weather reports. Paradigms tend to shift rapidly. Not so long ago, we might recall, we were all getting ready to freeze. As I indicated in a previous article for The Pipeline, in 1971 the Global Ecology network forecast the “continued rapid cooling of the earth.” In 1975 the New York Times brooded that the earth “may be headed for another ice age.” In the March 1975 issue of Science, we were informed that “the approach of a full-blown 10,000-year ice age [was] a real possibility,” and in the July 1975 issue of National Wildlife, C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization warned that “the cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.” (Much of this information can be found in a provocative Forbes article by Gary Sutton).

Turn the calendar page and we are all getting ready to bake. As Robertas Bakula explains in The American Institute for Economic Research, dodgy statistics, ideological zealotry and partisan massaging of data work to falsely establish that “the scientific consensus on the human origins of climate change is beyond doubt.” Nothing could be further from the truth. He continues: “Thus it is not surprising to see an array of messiahs, from honestly concerned activists to self-righteous politicians, gather in their congregations, prophesize doomsday, and come up with their genocidal plans to banish all evil, that is, reliable energy.” 

Coming to a planet near you.

The original consensus may have been closer to the truth. Climatologist Kenneth Tapping of the National Research Council of Canada concluded in 2008 that sunspot activity, the driver of global temperatures, had diminished to the point of presaging the onset of colder winters and widespread cooling. Global warming was a temporary phenomenon. A decade later, The Science Times reported that it would appear the earth is indeed cooling, signaled by “a surprisingly long period of very low sunspot activity.” A decreasing number of sunspots is crucial, leading to changing climate cycles and declining temperatures.  

Such events were experienced during a period known as the Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) and earlier during the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715), established from data based on carbon-14 content in tree rings. Both minima were synonymous with the Little Ice Age (1350-1850).

As Brian Fagan writes in The Little Ice Age, evidence for the period derives from radiocarbon dating of dead plant material collected from beneath the ice caps of Greenland and the Arctic. In the words of Historical Climatology, “growing seasons shortened, food shortages spread, economies unraveled, and rebellions and revolutions were quick to follow.” This suggests the time may now have come for political caution and scientific revaluation of the warming hypothesis. As the journal Phys.Org observes, “The sun is now on track to have the lowest recorded sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750.”

Further corroboration is provided by Arnab Rai Choudhuri’s fascinating study Nature’s Third Cycle, which explains the daunting complexities of “solar dynamo theory” and “meridional  circulation inside the sun’s convection zone,” furnishing evidence for drastically reduced sunspot activity and the prospect of cooling summers and harsh winters to come. Although “precise theoretical calculations are hardly possible in climate science,” Choudhury remarks, we seem to be heading toward a cryogenic future, utterly unprepared to adopt contingency plans to adjust to and cope with colder temperatures and its attendant miseries—a condition that Choudhuri calls “the verdict from the Sun-God.”

Old and busted: "global warming."

The debate will continue to rage. The science is quite definitely “unsettled,” as Steven Koonin, a moderate among climatologists, tells us in his book of that title. In his just released Hot Talk, Cold Science, Fred Singer believes that “modest warming is likely to occur in the century ahead,” and that it should be welcomed. Carbon is our friend.

Brian Fagan, whose knowledge of the Little Ice Age is unquestionable, is a true believer in global warming and the advent or “record-breaking heat, mild winters [and] Category 5 Hurricanes.” Unlike Singer, he stresses that global warming must be mitigated. Energy and Technology scientist Peter Taylor’s Chill: A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory, which appeared ten years before Fagan’s volume, is a penetrating antidote to Fagan’s consensus thinking.

The prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, for its part, vigorously disagrees with both Singer and Fagan. “Our main message,” it proclaims, “is that global climate is moving in a direction that makes abrupt climate change more probable… and the consequences of ignoring this may be large. For those of us living around the edge of the N. Atlantic Ocean, we may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur.” Resistance to the prevailing narrative of thermogenic catastrophism is growing. 

In its November 23 edition, The Epoch Times reports on an interview with British scientist Valentina Zharkova, a member of the department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University, who foresees “the onset of a grand solar minimum between 2020 and 2053 [that could] reduce global temperatures by up to 1 degree Celsius.” Zharkova warns that “governments in the Northern Hemisphere should prepare their citizens for a sharp downturn in temperatures during the next several decades.” She also believes that some scientists involved in promoting global warming are aware of the prospect of terrestrial cooling, but want to profit from green technology “as soon as possible, because they will be exposed very quickly.”

Into the sunny uplands of Green! Maybe.

Admittedly, the dilemma of consensuality is not easily resolved. One can only go with the best evidence available after diligent inquiry and honest appraisal, aided by a certain saving skepticism. As Peter Taylor advises, “I would urge these people uneducated in science to trust their ability to think for themselves and to use this material to open up discussion and further study.” Whenever one hears the word “consensus” in the news or on any Internet site, a warning light should flash where the idea bulb is presumably located.

In the present circumstance of cold fury and heated controversy, the global cooling hypothesis is well attested by reputable scientists who do not depend on academic approval and government grants serving to promote a political ideology—and who are regularly censored as iconoclasts and purveyors of “misinformation” by social media and the influential digital platforms, generally a sign that a maverick truth is being deliberately suppressed. However unsettled the issue remains, they are worth attending to.

Partiya Lenina, Sila Narodnaya!

The Biden-Harris regime’s embattled nominee to oversee the banking system is a dishonest small-c communist who aspires to nationalize Americans’ bank accounts, crush the energy sector, and deindustrialize the world’s largest economy by creating a mammoth new bureaucracy to implement aspects of both the Green New Deal and the Great Reset. What could possibly go wrong?

She's not alone. Plenty of Democrats share Comptroller of the Currency nominee Saule Tarikhovna Omarova’s view that the economy is a plaything to be manipulated for political ends.

Fortunately for your wallet, five of the more survival-savvy Democrats –including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Mark Warner of Virginia— are reportedly defecting from Comrade Omarova’s camp, so it seems unlikely she will survive the confirmation process. Republicans have also vigorously criticized her nomination and the regime is fighting back.

Of course, anonymous comments fed to friendly reporters are often the best way to disseminate smears. In that vein, Bloomberg News reported that an unidentified “White House official said the attacks on Omarova, a Cornell law professor who has been sharply critical of big banks and cryptocurrencies, were so unfair that they smacked of the red-baiting smears leveled by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s.” Except McCarthy was right, though that is a discussion for another day.

Even if the nomination craters, these retrograde Soviet-era policies will live on because they enjoy significant support in Democrat circles, academia, and in the halls of government.

Omarova shares the Leftist regime’s antipathy to American energy independence and said she wants the coal, oil, and natural gas industries to die. “A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to probably go bankrupt in short order – at least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change,” she said.

The White House formally sent the nomination to the Senate on Nov. 2 but unveiled the pick two months ago, hyping the demographic boxes she checked – as if her sex and skin color might make her a better commissar. “If confirmed, Omarova will be the first woman and person of color to serve as Comptroller,” the Sept. 23 announcement stated. Omarova was born in Kazakhstan and is a graduate of Moscow State University. A Cornell law professor, she holds a J.D. from Northwestern University in Chicago and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She was also arrested for shoplifting from a T.J. Maxx store in Madison in 1995.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, supervises some 1,125 national banks, federal savings associations and federal branches and associations of foreign banks, representing $14.9 trillion in assets, or 65 percent of all U.S. commercial banking assets.

Omarova, 55, claims to be a capitalist –even an anti-communist in her youth— but her recent writings tell a different story. At a Senate confirmation hearing Nov. 18, Omarova portrayed herself in prepared testimony as someone who learned firsthand about the dangers of all-powerful government, saying she grew up “under a totalitarian regime presiding over a failing economy.”

Druzhby Narodnov, Nadyozhny Oplot!

In her charm offensive, Omarova said she was raised by her grandmother “who was orphaned and barely escaped death when, in the 1920s, Stalin sent her entire family to Siberia.” Their crime was “that they were educated Kazakhs who did not join the Party.”

These issues are deeply personal to me. Having grown up in an oppressive state-run system, with no free enterprise and no economic opportunity for people like me, I have a unique appreciation for our dynamic and diverse markets. It is what made my life and success possible, and for that I am forever grateful. Every American family should have the same opportunities that my family has had.

Despite giving lip service to freedom, Omarova supports the abolition of deposit-based banking and imposing a totalitarian banking architecture that would put private deposits in the hands of the government. Put another way, she supports communism, except perhaps for all the messy murders of people deemed obstacles to progress like her grandmother’s relatives.

In “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy,” published in Vanderbilt Law Review in October 2020, Omarova argued for the abolition of the current banking system. “After decades of rising inequality, systemic instability, and relentless concentration of economic power, ordinary Americans are demanding a greater say in the distribution and use of financial resources,” she wrote.

She urged that all bank deposits be transferred into “FedAccounts” at the Federal Reserve, a move that would kill off banks funded by deposits. “The Fed’s entire balance sheet should be redesigned to operate as … the ‘People’s Ledger’: the ultimate public platform for both modulating and allocating the flow of sovereign credit and money in the national economy.”

In a draft paper published in July, “The ‘Franchise’ View of the Corporation: Purpose, Personality, Public Policy,” Omarova proposed that corporate charters be issued subject to pledges from the companies that they serve government-approved purposes. This is needed to curb “serious societal harms caused by contemporary corporations’ pursuit of their perfectly lawful business activities—rising inequality, exploitative labor practices, environmental degradation, erosion of democratic process, to name a few…”

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Not willing to allow a crisis to go to waste, Omarova also urged in an August 2020 white paper titled “The Climate Case for a National Investment Authority,” that the “economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic” be used for “a speedy and deliberate move to a massive infrastructure-led rebuilding and ‘greening’ of the U.S. economy.” Such an authority would pursue “the long-term goals of sustainability and decarbonization.” This is the essence of the so-called Great Reset being proposed by the Davos elite led by Klaus Schwab and others.

The Green New Deal movement “has successfully propelled this programmatic vision of an environmentally clean, just, and equitable future to the top of the national policy agenda. The Democratic Party is responding to this enthusiasm accordingly.” Omarova has also proposed the creation of a multi-trillion-dollar National Investment Authority (NIA), “a public entity that would design, execute, and finance a comprehensive nationwide program of environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive growth and revival.”

Drawing on the experience of the New Deal era’s logrolling, hopelessly corrupt Reconstruction Finance Corporation that the Eisenhower administration wisely dismantled, the NIA, she wrote, “offers a novel institutional solution to multiple organizational, financial, and operational challenges associated with an ambitious national project to combat climate change." The United States, she wrote, needs “to shoulder its share of the decarbonization load”:

Estimates of the amount of global investment in clean energy required to meet climate targets between now and 2050 range from about $1 trillion to over $3 trillion annually. The NIA will step into this gap and use innovative financing tools to mobilize and boost the flow of public and private capital into socially beneficial ‘green’ infrastructures.

So much for Omarova’s claimed “deeply personal” commitment to free enterprise and economic opportunity. Actions speak louder than words, so cue the marching bands:

The New Buzzword: 'Climate 'Resilience'

These are the two buried headlines regarding the just-signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (aka "the $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill"). The first story nobody is talking about is the curious migration of climate nomenclature from “climate change” to “climate resilience.

The second story nobody is talking about is the $270 billion that has been earmarked for so-called “climate resilience”. We might refer to it as "pork" or "subsidies", but the fact is that it's money being thrown at the same con artists behind the climate movement.

We must not dismiss the change in terminology.  Climate “change” has always been a vague term that can be challenged by opponents, usually by pointing out that the “change” in Earth’s temperature is not significant enough to warrant hysteria.  Congress and the Climate Alarmists have gotten progressively craftier in the use of language.  Here’s how “resilience” is officially defined in Section 11103.(4) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

The term `resilience', with respect to a project, means a project with the ability to anticipate, prepare for, or adapt to conditions or withstand, respond to, or recover rapidly from disruptions, including the ability-to resist hazards or withstand impacts from weather events and natural disasters; or to reduce the magnitude or duration of impacts of a disruptive weather event or natural disaster on a project; and to have the absorptive capacity, adaptive capacity, and recoverability to decrease project vulnerability to weather events or other natural disasters.

This is insidiously brilliant.  By simultaneously using a more specific term, it permits the government to actually broaden the arenas to which grants can be made.  The bill does not contain language that limits or further defines these terms, which means just about anything goes as long as it can be related to making any form of infrastructure more “resilient.”

Old whines in new bottles.

When one digs into the specifics of Section 11405 of the bill, which is subtitled “The Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation program' or the "PROTECT program," it mostly involves anything having to do with roads, water, and drainage.  The language again demonstrates how it’s a big giveaway to the climate alarmists, because “eligible activities” for the grants include increasing “the resilience of surface transportation infrastructure from the impacts of changing conditions, such as sea level rise [and] flooding…”

Sixteen approved activities are listed, but the seventeenth is where things become a free-for-all, because “any other protective features, including natural infrastructure, as determined by the Secretary” are included.  That is, the money goes to wherever the Biden Administration wants it to go.

Here’s where some of rest of the billions are going.

Yet this goes beyond just improving highways. The government specifies that grants will be given to reduce or shift highway use to off-peak travel times, institute more toll roads, more of those pointless HOV lanes, and increase the cost of parking.  Also, just as you may have heard, there will be grants offered to development systems for “congestion pricing.”  The minimum grant in this portion of the bill is ten million dollars. But don’t worry, any projects approved “may include mitigation measures to deal with any potential adverse financial effects on low-income drivers.”

Not detailed enough?  It gets worse.  These assessments should then be compared to those assessments done in low-income and disadvantaged communities for the sake of “equity.”  Once all that is done, the heat island hot spots will be presumably cooled down by the installation of – ready? – “cool pavement.”  What is “cool pavement”?  That which has a reflective surface with higher reflectivity to decrease its surface temperature. Reflectivity is also known as “albedo” which naturally relates to climate change…. er…. I mean, climate resilience.

"Resilience" is the solution.

If one checks out the usual suspects in the world of climate change, it’s easy to see that they all supported the bill.  What’s distressing is that 13 Republicans also supported the bill.  Several of them claimed that by voting for this bill, it would hamstring the Democrats from getting the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill passed.  Fat chance.

As usual, a little research demonstrates why some of these politicians actually voted for the bill.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania was the top recipient of donations from transportation unions.  Rep. Don Bacon’s district in Nebraska includes one of the designated alternative fuel corridors mentioned above. Marathon Energy, a natural gas supplier, was the top donor to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York’s 11th District. Th the list goes on and on.

The good news is that any other hogs who wants to get into this line of work should have job security for a very long time.  There’s plenty of money sloshing around the pig sties.  It just happens to belong to the rest of us.

History's Most Expensive Alphonse and Gaston Conference

In many ways the Cop26 conference resembles the poison cup scene in the 1987 movie Princess Bride. In the setup two full wine goblets are presented to the hero and villain, one containing normal vintage but the other laced with “iocaine powder," an undetectable but thoroughly deadly poison. Knowing this, neither wants to be the first to drink, at least without figuring out which cup is spiked.

At Cop26 the nations are presented with a cup said to be full of planet-saving potion that will be wonderful for you in the long run but there is a chance -- nobody knows how big a chance -- that your economy might die of fuel scarcity in the meantime. The participants are hesitant to go first unless they are compensated for the risk.

"African nations and a group called the Like-Minded Developing Countries, which includes China, India and Indonesia" want at least $1.3 trillion to go first. But the Western countries are unwilling to ante up, having been unable to reach an earlier $100 billion target to begin with and being broke to boot. “We’re not feeling particularly capable now,” said one European official. “It’s really not the right time.”

In fact there could hardly be a worse time. The climate change conference is being held and pledges elicited to cut back on petroleum products just when the entire globe is reeling from a desperate 'fossil fuel' shortage that is causing inflation and hardship everywhere, even in the West. It's worst in the Third World.

“It’s humiliating,” said Ms. Matos, 41. “Sometimes I just want to cry… I buy gas to cook and then I can’t afford food, or if I buy food then I don’t have money to buy soap.” She said she can’t even afford the butcher shop’s leftover bags of bones.

But European politicians are also wary. "In France, the People the Climate Summit Forgot" are seething, writes the NYT. "Three years ago, Montargis became a center of the Yellow Vest social uprising, an angry protest movement over an increase in gasoline taxes... The uprising was rooted in a class divide that exposed the resentment of many working-class people, whose livelihoods are threatened by the clean-energy transition, against the metropolitan elites, especially in Paris, who can afford electric cars and can bicycle to work, unlike those in the countryside."

Nor were optics improved by  "the global elite arriving at Glasgow via 400 private jets... [which] created such a shortage of parking slots that some were obliged to fly the extra 50-70km to Prestwick and Edinburgh just to park."

The result, as with the movie poison goblet scene, has been an eyeball to eyeball standoff that has slowed Cop26 to a near-halt. "UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on leaders and delegates to just "get on and do it" as the COP26 climate talks appear to have stalled," says CNN. That sounds like an exhortation to suicide. Left-wing Greek politician Yanis Varoufakis actually concludes that COP26 is doomed, and the hollow promise of ‘net zero’ is to blame.

Any resemblance to a crime scene is purely intentional.

Whoever is to blame the next move in the drama is probably up to the engineers rather than the politicians. They are working to create safe, modular nuclear power stations that can further produce bottled hydrogen fuel for reasons not necessarily driven by the U.N. model. Freed from the Cop26 scheme engineers can innovate on the basis of utility, cost and local measurable salubriousness -- that is, on merits -- without reference to some political mandate. They might get nukes not windmills in this calculus but they will get something that works.

Only engineers and entrepreneurs, not ideological activists, can provide an escape from the Cop26 poison cup trap that's making everyone poorer and solving nothing. Don't drink it unless you've developed an immunity to energy poverty poisoning.

In Glasgow, 'Climate' Doom and Gloom Loom

One more last chance. That's what former vice president and failed presidential candidate Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., has just given the world unless it hops to and destroys the "fossil fuel" industry, eliminates oil and gas, and replaces all our current technology with a "green" alternative that -- like the Covid-19 vaccines -- has absolutely been proven not work. But that won't stop Al "Release my second chakra" Gore from continuing to profit from his lucrative snake oil business. In case you've forgotten what an unpersuasive salesman looks like, here's Gore with his latest Dire Warning: "Lets Get Real."

With the same desperate urgency that Dr. Anthony Fauci is pushing his useless vaccine mandates, Gore continues to insist we have to fight "climate change" RIGHT NOW. "Cop26," by the way is the fraudsters' jargon for the U.N. climate-change  "Conference of the Parties," which opens in Glasgow, Scotland tomorrow, and is now celebrating its 26th year of scarifying women and small children with the threat of the End of the World.

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In order to further their destructive propaganda, the backers of this ongoing hoax have produced a new video, in which various POCs from around the technologically dysfuncational Third World "have a conversation" with the fat cats and climate destroying white people of the First World -- always excepting secular saints like Gore, of course! -- about our wayward ways. And when the left says "have a conversation," you know what they really mean is "deliver a lecture."

It takes a heart of stone not to laugh at this crude attempt to manipulate emotions and guilt-trip the intended audience -- which you can be sure does not include the peasants of China, India, or elsewhere in the community of major "polluting" nations. But as long as the pushers of this codswallop and twaddle can enlist halfwits such as Britain's Prince Charles and Boris Johnson, not to mention America's President Brandon, the fawning media will give them a platform. After all, what press hack doesn't love a good scary story that takes place on Halloween?

It's criminal, of course, but as long as it's for "the planet," who cares? As the distinguished urban futurist Joel Kotkin points out, your partly assuaged conscience comes at the expense of the same folks featured above in the video:

Few things in life are as predictable as the rhetoric of climate change summits like this coming week's in Glasgow. Over the next week, you will hear again and again that the planet is dying and that climate change will cause mass dislocations and starvation. The end is nigh, the UN has told us, and only green house gas reducing penance can save us.

We have been hearing this now for decades, with each global confab upping the ante, insisting that with the inevitable denouement"not enough" is being done and what we need is to get more militant. And this despite whatever progress has been made.

The climate industrial complex, as economist Bjorn Lonborg has aptly called the climate doomsday crowd, has persuaded the media to indulge consistent exaggeration and predictions that link virtually any weather event— droughts, floods , hurricanes or heavy rains—directly to human caused climate change. As President Obama's undersecretary of energy for science, physicist Steve Koonin, pointed out, the most widely reported projections reflect only highly improbable worse case scenarios based on such things as ever growing coal usage and no significant technological improvement.

For some greensthe current energy shortages plaguing the U.S., China and Europe reflect progress towards a glorious net-zero emissions era. Climate activists see in the draconian pandemic lockdowns "test run"for future social control, and the middle and working class have reason to fear the policies adopted by this elite. The "great reset" adopted by the Davos crowd identified squashing social mobility and limiting prosperity as perquisites for environmental salvation.

At some point, people will start to push back against this gross misuse of science and fear mongering. Medieval-like immiseration justified by apocalyptic theology should not define humanity's inevitable trajectory.

"Should not" is right, but you can bet they'll keep trying until they get the kind of pushback they can't ignore. The modern, punitive Left cannot be happy until everyone else is as bitter, petty, and miserable as they are, although nowhere near as rich. This means you. And they can't wait.

The Real Energy Crisis

Instead of handing out treats for Halloween on October 31, the Biden Administration and the green industrial complex supporting it are lining up the tricks to commit America to a green future that looks bleak, and promises more hardship here, particularly for seniors and the poor, just as in Europe.

Even the climate-cheerleading The Economist nods to reality.

The switch from coal to renewable energy has left Europe, and especially Britain, vulnerable to a natural-gas supply panic that at one point this week had sent spot prices up by over 60 percent. …[M]ake no mistake, the deeper forces behind the shortage economy are not going away and politicians could easily end up with dangerously wrong-headed policies. … [G]overnments… may have to meet shortages by relaxing emissions targets and lurching back to dirtier sources of energy. Governments will therefore have to plan carefully to cope with the higher energy costs and slower growth that will result from eliminating emissions. Pretending that decarbonisation will result in a miraculous economic boom is bound to lead to disappointment.

As a direct result of bad policy choices, this is the real “climate crisis.” We can only hope the Economist is correct about the possible political “backlash.” The question is whether that comes too late.

To the rescue?

With dire warning signs out of Europe over a feared cold winter amid record-low fossil fuel supplies due to green mandates, and a green energy infrastructure unable to meet demand, green-industrial complex voices are already pre-butting assignment of responsibility saying, whatever you do, blame “anything but the greens.”

Of course, if you’ve ever had, or even been, teenagers, you know that a chorus of voices piping up in early October that “December’s not my fault” is a good sign that December is their fault. During California’s 2020 rolling blackouts, Governor Gavin Newsome “pointed to California’s shift to renewable resources as part of the reason for the supply shortage. ‘Shutting down polluting gas power plants as created gaps in the state’s energy supply,’ he said.”  And while he is apparently still committed to a “green” future, Newsome said, “we cannot sacrifice reliability.” Too late.

Anyone truly surprised by the perils created by politicians has not been paying attention. Enron executives predicted this in 1999, as they organized and funded what has become the climate industry. One internal email noted, “more than any other U.S. corporation [Enron] has helped legitimize the case of apocalyptic climate change and today is carrying the Kyoto flag more than any other U.S. corporation.….” Another, however, acknowledged that this politicization of energy markets posed great systemic risks such as what we are seeing unfold today:

Maybe Enron can dodge the macro problem and have our micro benefits, but then again I have to think that a politicized international energy market for any reason will create as much or more downside than upside.

Although Enron is long gone, the harms visited on the U.S. and global economies by its agenda continue. And with climate activists embedded throughout the government in key energy and climate roles, there is even less regard at present for the need for public support or political legitimacy.

The Washington Post reports,

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan says he’s willing to wield broad regulatory power to enact President Biden’s climate agenda if Congress fails to pass meaningful climate legislation. Regan says his agency will issue a robust greenhouse gas rule for power plants, a stringent methane rule for oil and gas infrastructure, and sweeping emissions standards for new cars, regardless of Congress's actions.

Similarly, White House aide Gina McCarthy repeated the line from the Obama-Biden EPA when it comes to imposing the climate agenda: “The Biden administration will use its ‘regulatory authority’ to act on climate change if it can’t get Congress to” pass its desired legislative agenda.

Don't cross the Queens...

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey even promised a Michael Bloomberg group that, if it gave her privately funded attorneys to be embedded in her office, she would use them to enforce “the long-term commitments set forth… in the Paris Agreement.” Those were supposedly voluntary, we were told, in order to keep the U.S. Senate from voting on the pact.

Those promises are about to be made more painful. On October 29, keep an eye on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the Biden Environmental Protection Agency is expected to roll over in a sue-and-settle lawsuit, State of New York et al. v. EPA. In a filing due that day, EPA is likely to announce plans to issue new ozone National Air Ambient Quality Standards (NAAQS), seemingly obscure but in fact “Biden’s back door climate plan,” as the main vehicle to impose this “climate” agenda.

History suggests this also will re-run an Obama Year 1 move to obtain praise at and energize the Rome G20 meeting the next day, and climate pact talks in Glasgow beginning two days later. At both, Biden is expected to deepen President Obama’s GHG emission-reduction promises based on the Clean Power Plan, tossed out by the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA.

None of these moves has popular support or political legitimacy. It will take until the end of Biden’s term to conclude their legality. History also shows that is enough time to destroy communities as industry redirects investment decisions. Already we see, with the unfolding energy crisis, how these plans increase costs, and reduce energy security and reliability. That’s the real “climate crisis.”

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Eventing

I’m back in Jolly old England as I’m meant to be setting up a mega-conference for the client that Daddy has mockingly dubbed ‘The Green Baron’. ‘Baron’ because we’ve reached tera-cap status and ‘green’ because we are working to be carbon neutral by 2040. He thinks it’s all rather hilarious. Daddy is indeed proud of me for landing such a client, but also reminded me that the company’s carbon footprint just breached 60 million metric tonnes.

Travel from the states back to the UK was a bit of a mess and I don’t think I should make it known—but with all the inspection of my vaccine status, and latest PCR tests, the customs agent didn’t even crack open my passport. My sad, dark blue post-Brexit booklet just lay under his nose until he scooped up the lot of it and handed it back to me. And so many questions as to whether I had a headache or had felt ill in any way... I really felt I should have been given a lolly as my doctor used to do. The most ridiculous bit is they won’t give you a seat until you are cleared by the medical inquest. So while I can feel sure that no one on the plane has a headache—a valid visa cannot be assured. And it all feels very much like school… being told at the last minute where I am to sit. It’s not such a big deal when one has her own pod but for the people on the other side of the curtain… well, boo.

The flight was pleasant enough but once we landed—the party was over. Heathrow is not nearly as empty as it was a year ago and the line for people who were transiting was madness. And what was the point? They were already in the building. I had weighed the prospect of taking the train to Peterborough but decided not to bill for the four hours it would take by rail versus under two in a town car. Hard to know which gesture my client would appreciate though.

Home sweet temporary home.

And just like that, I was back in the glorious England of my childhood. I’m well-familiar with Burghley House, having come here so many times as a girl with my parents to watch the annual Burghley House Horse Trials, and then much later as a competitor. The house itself is probably the finest example of an Elizabethan prodigy house but this is the first time I’ve actually stayed here. It’s not open for guests and my previous forays had been as part of a tour, or as a party guest in connection with the horse trials and my Olympic participation.

It was here, on the grounds of the estate that I learned to be truly brave and attacking in competition. It is the world’s greatest five- star equestrian event and the ultimate goal for every rider in the world. But as a Briton, one genuinely feels they are fighting for queen and country. Sadly this year, and last, queen and country shut us down for the dreaded Covid, which never made any sense to me as it’s an outdoor event and the horses are regularly treated with Ivremectin. A colossal loss of revenue for all involved, but now an opportunity for us.

Right off it became clear that nearby lodging was going to pose some logistical complexities. Specifically loads of buses and private cars to ferry people to the various events, and that was after we’d all made our way from London. I could feel the green meter ticking but I was determined to make this work and reminded myself that it would provide less impact and congestion than the annual event. Especially given we wouldn’t be bringing in horses. OK, granted the non-horse bit was entirely lame but I did feel the need to craft arguments in support of our green conscience. And with that I began to second-guess my suggestion of Burghley House in the first place. The property, however, was doing all it could to sell me on the idea so I could in turn sell it to my boss. What I needed was an inducement. Or divine inspiration.

This must be Heaven.

I walked down the corridor to stare up at Verrio’s Mouth of Hell and then onto his masterpiece… Heaven, which was both magnificent and grotesque. The fat-bottomed gods and goddesses, while magnificent, gave no clues except to seemingly say, please don’t bring a bunch of loud Americans to fix their gaze upon every bare baroque breast and penis. Noticing a lion that had been clubbed to death, I went back to my room to ring my father.

He greeted me with, ‘Congratulations!’

‘Thank you Daddy’ I said, ‘but you knew I landed this job months ago.’

‘Indeed, but since then you’ve eclipsed both big tobacco and big oil in lobbying expenditure—nearly doubled actually.’

‘Well that is big news.’ I said, steeling myself for what was coming next. ‘Listen, Daddy, I’m here in Burghley House…’

‘OUR Burghley House?’

‘Yes, one and the same, and I’m trying to find a way to bring a huge event here without… well, you know.’

‘Why not invite that sickly little Swede? You could call the event…HOW DARE YOU!’

‘I’m serious, Daddy! I feel awful. I’m nearly in tears. I walked the grounds and I honestly don’t want to bring one more human to this celestial place.’

‘Then ask your boss to write them a check for £100M… if you’re serious that is. That should offset your carbon guilt.’

‘A hundred million quid?? He’d never…’

‘Ah but he will. Because soon enough he will have his eye on Cambridge City Airport, which is slated to close to build several thousand homes. Which of course is madness because more homes would mean more goods needed, thus creating a need for an even larger shipping hub. And if he hasn’t realised this, you should suggest it to him—along with your carbon guilt money.’

I was gobsmacked. He had solved my problem— but had he?

‘Listen, Jennifer—I have to figure out what your mother’s got up to but we’ll be home later,’ he said and rang off.

I now felt guiltier than ever. But I was a genius… stuff the homes somewhere, and build a mega-hub—which clearly we need. And a whopping check for the estate. Best not call it carbon guilt money though...