In Egypt, a Sharm El-Sheikdown

Some 200 grifters and blowhards are meeting this week at lovely Sharm-al-Sheik for COP27, a U.N. global warming conference in Egypt. Among the grifters is Venezuelan Marxist narco-dictator Nicolas Maduro. Among the notable attendees are American blowhards John F. Kerry and Al Gore, both of whom seem determined to destroy America’s strength and middle class, stoking exaggerated claims of environmental catastrophe from fossil-fuel emissions. This, while the two of them are each emitting more hot gases than almost anyone on the globe. The idea of this charade seems to be to stick the Western industrialized nations (us) for all the troubles in the Third World, which explains why the countries that emit the most fossil fuel emissions—China and India—don’t seem to be joining the party.

Aside from the slim, well-refuted science behind the claims that the CO2 has caused and will continue to increase, environmental disasters the record is clear that industrialization has led to marked improvements in lives all around the world, improvements made possible by increased capital which industrialization can generate. The site Human Progress tracks a number of indicia which establish that on a material basis the world has much improved, and if you look at the chart there, the number of deaths worldwide which can be attributed to natural disasters has very sharply decreased. So have deaths attributable to pollution.

Improvements in the lives of millions puts paid to the media and grifters' doom tales. World poverty has greatly decreased. From 2012 to 2013 global poverty fell by 130 million poor people. At the turn of this century the aim was to decrease it by half--instead by 2015 only 10 percent of the world’s population lived under the poverty line. China and India, the world’s biggest emission producers, led the way in the dramatic reduction of poverty. Do you suppose they will abandon their reliance on fossil fuels?

What, us worry?

The media plays along with scenes of Bangladeshis wading through flood waters and sob stories about Vanuatu sinking forever beneath the waves unless we all turn off our heat and air conditioning and instead bike from the suburbs to the cities. Unfortunately for them, the record does not bear this out.

Take the small low lying reef islands in the Pacific, like the media favorite Vanuatu. They aren’t sinking and CO2 emissions are not responsible for the islands' shifting sizes. Ocean swells seem to partially eroded some western shorelines but the coastlines grew on the leeward sides protected from the swells. Bjorn Lomberg reports a Vanuatan resident was not concerned about global warming there. She and her family wanted running water, a toilet, fixed electricity and a boat to make trips to the clinic faster and easier. She complained that the government taxed the residents but did nothing to provide these essential services.

And then there’s Pakistan, to take another failed state with its hands out. Jim Steele at wattsupwiththat details the complex dynamics that drive Pakistan’s monsoons and droughts. It’s not you. And it’s not “climate racism.” If there’s a human hand in this recurring weather crisis, put the blame  on “past corruption and ineptitude.” Natural causes are to blame for the rest: rapid transitions from El Nino to La Nina; and the seasonal shifts off the Intertropical Convergence Zone; when it goes northward it brings the wet season to India and Pakistan and when it retreats southward in winter these countries experience their dry season. Says Steele:

Rainfall over India does not provide any evidence of a global warming trend. Three major regions of India have declining rainfall while two have increasing trends, and when all the sub-divisions of these regions are examined, the majority show neither increasing nor deceasing trends.

He reminds us that the Himalayan ranges also play a part (as the mountains in America’s West do). Heavy rains stay on the Himalayan southside, but the northern side is extremely dry. The drumbeaters for "climate change" have argued that rising CO2 levels will make this variability worse. There is no evidence for this. In fact, “Pakistan’s floods contradicted such climate crisis claims.” Atmospheric circulation shifted the moisture, not the fact that halfway across the globe you drive a gas-fueled car.

Part of the fun of living in Pakistan.

There’s much more here demonstrating the weather changes in these regions of the globe are the product of the “earth’s natural oscillations” but there’s no money in acknowledging that, nor does it fuel narcissistic beliefs that we can control the weather. So what do the conferees in Sinai hope to achieve?

The most significant funders of the "climate change" crew are governmental. In essence, it is a form of first-world foreign aid groups helping poor third world countries pirate ever more funds from their own countries' near-boundless national treasuries. It is these largely government funded outfits that supply the content for the media’s obscuration of accurate science on weather.

Last year at the U.N.’s COP26 conference the richer countries blocked a proposal for a financing body to cover “loss and damage” to the Third World, opting instead for three more years of “dialogue”—i.e. conferences at nice places around the world. It’s unlikely this year's conference will settle the questions of liability or set binding compensation. It’s also unlikely in my view that in the face of a looming recession any Western nation will agree to do so this time. 

Perhaps aware of this, helpless Vanuatu is asking the International Court of Justice to rule that nations have a right to be protected from adverse climate impacts on order to strengthen their case. The evidence they can present in support of their position will be thin-to-none, especially if Chinese and Indian scientists weigh in.

You can’t fault failed states for trying to get us to bail them out, any more than you can blame students with expensive but useless college degrees from wanting to be excused from paying off their school loans, or failed states to want to be unburdened by unemployed and unemployable refugees from their mismanagement and corruption. But you can certainly blame the doomsayers for lying about “climate change” and political leaders for playing along even for a minute with this scam.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Mourning

We’ve lost our beloved Queen and no amount of wishing is going to change that. And it’s what we all feared when her Platinum Jubilee was held at 70 years rather than 75. Judith (mummy) has been crying off and on since we got the news and I’ve done my best to keep from further upsetting her. I didn’t expect to find myself at my childhood home in St John’s Wood on this day but if I’m honest, I really did expect Elizabeth's reign to continue on forever. As Daddy said, we’ve known nothing else. She was queen when I was born in British Hong Kong and when my grandmother was said to have tucked a small framed photo of HRH into my pram.  

Daddy has taken Judith to tea nearly every day, which has stopped her from watching the telly nonstop, and bracing when she sees Camilla. In the end I’m sure she’ll come round but for now she won’t accept Charles as our sovereign. Given how many have rung to ask her to clarify the rule, I believe she’s not alone. Canada, which still has the queen on its currency, opposes Charles succeeding his mother by 67 percent. A rather inauspicious start for the prince who has so valiantly fought for our planet.

At your service, Ma'am.

Walking back from my first (and last) British Military Fitness Class I couldn’t help but notice a sea of brightly coloured cellophane. We were told it would not be the miles of flowers we saw at Diana’s death and that arrangements would be ‘sensitively moved’ to Green Park, but what they hadn’t addressed was the impact on our landfill. And in response I quickly organised tables with stewards to remove the plastic wrap so that the flowers could more easily be composted and replanted. I felt the queen would have wanted no less, and as we transition to a green-minded king, it was the thing to do. 

I would have volunteered myself but I’d promised to take over tea-duty with Judith for today. She was in black of course and immediately told me that her single brooch was in good taste— having been her mother’s. And again reminded me that, ‘Your grandmother and the Queen were of an age’. As if I could possibly be allowed to forget. She also warned me that she wouldn’t be able to eat a thing. A warning that became less credible after devouring two plates of sandwiches.

We didn’t see anyone she knew but then one rarely does. And I was sure everyone she knew was still ringing the house to discuss the title of Queen Consort and dashed hopes of a morganatic marriage. Yet somehow, this was not an appropriate topic for our tea. Or so she said. I wanted to keep her mind away from her sadness but not so far away as to have to hear what I knew was coming:

‘Now Jennifer’ she began.  UGH! I motioned for another glass of champagne. ‘You do understand that once King… Charles can no longer involve himself in all your pet green projects’.

‘I thought you were putting a stop to that’ I responded.

‘I just thought it right, that someone say something to you—to break the news’.

‘That the Queen has died?’ I asked.

Take my hand, Mum. It will be all right.

She found that remark uncalled for and perhaps she was right but she really could be a pain, and this outing was for her benefit. The last thing I wanted right now was to be sitting for tea when I’d learned mourners were now leaving Paddington bears and marmalade sandwiches WRAPPED IN PLASTIC for the queen.  

For a moment I wondered if Judith had read the note I penned to the new King Charles, urging him not to drop all of our good works, and to continue to be a defender of the planet, but in the end I think she was just trying to be a mother for a change.  In my letter to Charles I’d reminded him that he was possibly the most significant environmental figure of all time, and that he could not abandon Terra Carta… no matter anything! As prince he could act as a one-person NGO, but as king he would be constrained by the convention that the monarch should not interfere in the U.K.’s political decision-making, or take any overt political stance. I reminded him that the environment isn’t politics, it's life. 

Many people feel that as Prince, Charles overstepped the bounds of constitutional monarchy, including his blistering attack on corporate vested interests.  But it has always been understood that this freedom would end as soon as he took the crown. So I believe it is important that he re-brand his stance—not as one of advocacy, but one of responsibility. Less focus on agenda, and more on serving the best interests of the country.

God save the king.

I explained that we have evolved as a country, and in time I believe he will be able to continue his lobbying at the highest political level, as he has done rather effectively with his black spider letters. And as the Tories have always been the conservators of the land there should be no risk of his agenda being seen as partisan or political… simply important. During his confidential weekly meetings with the Prime Minister he will be able to air his concerns over the environment and world climate.

When I got home Daddy handed me the paper, the headline read: 'World leaders to travel to Funeral by bus, commercial plane'. Surely he could not be serious. This was a mistake. ‘NO!’ I shrieked. 

‘I thought you’d be happy to see this—it’s the green solution, smaller carbon footprint and all that’, Daddy said smirking.

Ugh! How does he not get this? Along with world leaders we are the ones saving the planet. We are the ones taking up this very important task. In the same way that failing corporations must pay more to attract top talent… we certainly should not be punished or dissuaded by making us fly commercial. 

Drinking, Drowning From the Regulatory Firehose

Recently, I had occasion to speak with a friend who works for the E.P.A. He commented on the changes in his job under the current Administration using this phrase: “we’re being asked to drink from a firehose.” Within the context of the conversation, the meaning of his message was clear. It wasn’t a complaint as much as it was a compliment. Whereas the Trump administration had chocked down hard on the plumbing of environmental regulation, the Biden administration has opened the stopcocks as fully as possible. “Drinking from a firehose,” from my friend’s point of view, was a metaphorical way of saying that my friend would never lack for something to do under the Biden administration.

I do not begrudge my friend his choice of making a living, Nor do I begrudge him a particular world-view that may – in a particular opinion – place unintended and unearned weight on propositions I believe to be at least somewhat faulty. My friend may be right in part or in whole, just as I may be. My personal obligation as a member of the human community is to constantly and objectively re-assess what I believe to be the truth and to relate the truth as I understand it to be as clearly and concisely as possible, without resorting to personal animus, unless of course resorting to animus elicits a cheap laugh or two.

Broadly-speaking, Donald Trump’s political opponents in both politics and the press defined Trumpism’s attitude toward the entrenched bureaucratic class as both assault and battery. In the case of the government’s role in environmental protection, Democrats and their mainstream media allies essentially painted Trumpism in colors that were certainly not reliable shades of green, but were decidedly smears of a soiled, brownish hue. According to them, President Trump did not really want to restore some balance to the entirely worthy propositions of environmental protection and economic equity, which is essentially how he and his supporters defined their mission in these areas. Instead, the President’s opponents insisted that he was determined to sabotage the supposedly fragile purity of the environment in order to supposedly protect sordid, favored economic interests.

Trumpism, as seen by the Left.

When dealing with this and virtually any other part of what has become known as “the swamp” of the entrenched ruling class, the ultimate message of Trumpism is to say: “bureaucrats, know thy proper place!” Biden, or more likely Biden’s handlers, have replied with an angry, more defiant message: “Bureaucrats, assume Thy Rightful Place!”

What might appear at first blush to be roughly equivalent themes are, upon closer examination, not even closely related. The attempt to limit bureaucracy  to its most advantageous mode of behavior and no farther is simply about understanding the proper role of bureaucrats in an increasingly complex world. The attempt to make bureaucracy immune from censure is about surrendering the rights of the governed to the frozen, unemotional “wisdom” of a governing class. It's about further empowering power, not about monitoring the equitable and therefore wise distribution of power.

Truly representative government thrives from – nay, demands – challenge from within. This is common ground that bitterly-opposed political theorists like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were willing to cede to the other. Each was a towering figure who influenced and continues to influence the direction of this marvelous experiment of a nation in proportions that go far beyond the number of years they were citizens of it.

Adams foresaw a nation that relied upon centralized principles and authority. He believed that federalism (as then defined) was necessary to maintain a consistence of purpose that would in turn ensure its continued success. Jefferson foresaw a nation that relied upon decentralized thought and discovery. He believed that democratic-republicanism (as then defined) was a necessary perquisite to the survival of the Republic. What we now know as America remains essentially an amalgam of these contrary, yet complimentary, points of view.

What united Adams and Jefferson – until what was literally their mutual dying day: July 4, 1826 – was the revolutionary idea that it might be possible to create a system of governance that would allow the governed to retain some degree of power over those engaged in governing.

Adams tended toward the republican ideal of representative government, which demanded a certain standard of care among those privileged to represent its citizens. Jefferson tended toward the more purely democratic ideal of representative government that demanded no more of a representative than assurance that he or she continued to breathe. In hindsight, neither Adams nor Jefferson was wholly right, nor was wholly wrong. One can reach the peak of Everest via the Southern Col or the Northeast Ridge. Each has its perils. What really matters is getting to the summit, not how you got there. Though they chose different paths, Adams and Jefferson were united in their vision of their summit of representative government.

Ah, heaven on earth...

Our goal, as both the supervisors of our republic and those who are supervised by it, ought not to be so concerned whether the vision of Adams or Jefferson prevails almost two centuries after they've passed on. We should rather concern ourselves with the proposition that the intellectual heirs of both Adams and Jefferson have abdicated their responsibilities, turning over more and more power to faceless minions accountable to no one but themselves.

President Trump showed it was possible to drain at least some of the swamp, despite the fierce response that doing so elicited among many of the fierce creatures dwelling there. Sadly, the current administration seems to determined to refill it until we drown. We can, and we must, resist these denizens of the deep.

When Western Governments Help Putin

How does government work? If that’s the old joke rather than a serious question, the punch line goes: “Well, it doesn’t really.” If it’s a serious question, however, the reasons are that there are two governments and that one gets in the way of our seeing the other clearly.

Back in the 19th century, Walter Bagehot, a journalist on the Economist, realized this when he distinguished between two functions of the English government of his day: the “dignified” (the Monarchy, the Courts, etc.) and the “efficient” (the civil service, MPs in Parliament, etc.) The efficient side made and enforced laws and regulations, and the dignified side ensured that the people were overawed by how impressively they were governed. That essential division remains true except that whereas once MPs and Congressmen, presidents and prime ministers, were government workers on the “efficient” side of the table, today they have half-migrated to the “dignified” side of things.

They debate national issues and pass impressive laws on grounds of high principle, which we follow and which sometimes thrill us, but the laws they pass are full of gaps and aspirational hopes where concrete instructions and practical rules should really be. Written in invisible ink are the words: “fill in this passage, director” or “think of something suitable here, judge.”

World's greatest deliberative body in action.

To see how it works and why it’s a bad system, neither dignified nor efficient, consider what is now the most important issue of the day—how energy policy can be intelligently designed to enable us to provide cheap and reliable energy to the populations of Western countries while reducing our reliance on oil and gas from Russia in the aftermath of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

That’s a very big deal.

But look at how the “dignified” side of government has handled this challenge. Former Democrat presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, now President Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate, expressed his serious concern about the crisis, the people of Ukraine, democracy, the principles of international law at stake, and so on. He then went on:

But it [the war in Ukraine] could have a profound negative impact on the climate obviously. You have a war and obviously you’re going to have massive emissions consequences to the war. But equally importantly, you're going to lose people's focus, you're going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted and I think it could have a damaging impact.

He ended by hoping that President Putin would “help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate."

It’s not hard to poke fun at this as if Senator Kerry had made a foolish gaffe—which is probably what most people think. In reality Kerry’s words perfectly express what the West’s political elites have believed until recently and may still believe—that the long-term and uncertain risks of a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees above that of the early industrial period are an urgent threat to the West and the world at least as dangerous (and maybe more so) than Putin’s brutal murder of Ukraine and his assault on peace and international law. We therefore need to continue working with him, however distasteful or strategically unwise that may be. That belief now goes very deep into our societies—particularly among the higher-educated, both intelligentsia and lumpenintelligentsia.

Did someone say lumpenintelligentsia?

That said, there are signs that Putin’s actions have provoked a greater realism among government leaders in the dignified ranks on both sides of the Atlantic. There will at least be serious debates about energy policy, the climate, Western defense, and the links between them in the next few months. If the announcement of massive hikes in defense spending and severe economic sanctions on Russia by German chancellor Olaf Scholz to the Bundestag—described by British prime minister Boris Johnson as a speech of "world-historical' importance—is any guide, realistic changes may be attempted in policy too.

But what effect will those debates or policy changes have on the “efficient” sector of government as it interprets and applies the broad general principles of Kerry’s climate and energy policies in practice? I have a feeling that he has little to fear from their interpretations. The threat of Vladimir Putin will pass smoothly over their heads.

Let me give two examples, one Canadian, one from the U.S.

Under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must announce a carbon emissions reduction program by the end of March this year. He is currently consulting a universe of “stakeholders,” including Canada’s provincial governments, indigenous peoples, a net-zero advisory group, environmentalist NGOs, etc., etc., on how to achieve various priorities and commitments. These include mandating that fifty percent of cars and pick-up trucks sold in Canada will be zero-emission by 2030 and 100 percent of them by 2035; and placing the same mandate on heavy-duty vehicles by 2040. These mandates will require serious expenditures by government, industry, and private citizens that will be beyond the means of some.

But what stands out to Canadians is the commitment to cap “emissions from the oil and gas sector at current levels and require that they decline at the pace and scale needed to get to net zero by 2050.”

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change demands action!

Canada is the fifth largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Canada’s oil and gas industry employs 247,000 people and supports another 150,000 jobs. Its share of the country’s GDP is 6.4 percent. And all of these figures are probably rising because of the increase in the price of fossil fuels on the world market. Unless there is a dramatic scientific breakthrough that enables the industry to capture and store carbon from fossil fuels much more cheaply—and specific innovations cannot simply be conjured up by politicians—there is no way that this commitment can be met without huge and irreparable damage to the oil and gas industry and to Canadian living standards.

As for Canada’s contribution to the West’s need for cheap reliable energy in the darkness of the Russo-Ukraine war, Justin Trudeau risks doing for Putin in Canada what Angela Merkel did for Putin in Europe—namely, making his energy weapon against Ukraine and the West substantially more valuable and thus more threatening.

Now, the U.S. example: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. Last month FERC issued two new regulations that had the effect not of regulating energy transmission but of reducing it by increasing the obstacles to building natural gas infrastructure.

For instance, the FERC expanded its framework of what it takes into account when making infrastructure decisions in order to include broad and ill-defined subjects such as “environmental justice.” In addition to being the kind of cloudy idea that shouldn’t be in any legislation for any reason, such provisions are often inserted by activist congressional aides so that sympathetic agencies or judges can fill them with whatever the bureaucratic Blob wants but can’t get legislators to approve explicitly.

It also seems to be the case that the FERC went beyond its authority by including in a carbon-emission estimate for an infrastructure project those “indirect emissions” from industries upstream and downstream of it over which it has no regulatory authority. If so, not only was that illegitimate, but its would also greatly increase the risks and disincentives for companies and investors interested in the project by making it impossible to estimate costs, profits, or (more likely) losses.

Finally, the FERC announced that it will in future expand the number of those invited to comment on “market need” and future demand for gas to include third parties such as environmental and academic groups. These will undoubtedly include groups and “experts” who see no need or demand anywhere at any time for any fossil fuel, however clean, nor for nuclear, nor anything but “renewables”—and maybe not even them since Michael Moore among others has pointed out the heavy environmental costs of wind turbines when they grow old and rust.

All these devices are tactics in the political game of multiplying obstacles to the development of pipelines and other projects until potential investors and business in general depart in frustration and look for profit in a less hostile environment. It's a much more honest definition of "Greenmail" than the one aimed at corporate takeovers.

That at least was the opinion of one of FERC’s Commissioners, James Danley, who in dissent described the majority decision “contravene[ing] the purpose of the NGA which, as the Supreme Court has held, is to ‘encourage the orderly development of plentiful supplies of natural gas at reasonable prices.’”

Across the Pond, Russian state and industry helped to fund “Green” protest groups that used all these tactics to block the development of energy project in Western Europe which helps explain the continent's current dependence on gas supplies from President Putin.

In Canada and the U.S., we don’t leave helping Vladimir Putin to private enterprise. Government agencies do it for us.

The War on Cis-Normality

I avoided finding out what the term "cisgendered" meant for a long time, because I knew that it would annoy me. Unfortunately, I did find out eventually, and I wasn't wrong -- it did annoy me. If you're luckier than I am and you've managed to not know, well, you might want to stop reading here. But if you want to find out, there's no better definition than that of the late Norm Macdonald -- cisgendered is when, for instance, "You're born as a man, and you identify yourself as a man." Which is to say, Macdonald continued, "it's a way of marginalizing a normal person."

This is, of course, a pretty good encapsulation of modern ideological leftism. The leftist instinct is always to mock and belittle the interests and concerns of ordinary people, which they believe pale in comparison to their abstract utopian ideas. Worried about inflation making your food more expensive or the supply chain making it impossible to get your kids' new shoes? According to the White House, you're a fat cat suffering from "high class problems." Concerned about the increasingly racialized and sexualized content of your kids' education? Most likely you're a racist, and a domestic terrorist to boot. And on and on.

I thought of all of this while reading about Greta Thunberg's recent speech at the U.N.'s Youth4Climate summit. As Dan McTeague explains, in the course of her speech, Thunberg decided to crack a few jokes at the expense of those who aren't 100 percent on board with her proposed program of ending civilization as we know it:

Thunberg’s address.... mocked the concerns of older generations – concerns like whether people will have jobs. In a parody of a politician speaking on climate change Greta said, “When I say climate change what do you think of? I think of jobs.” And the room of youths laugh. Haha. Putting job security over climate change policies? What backward idiots those adults are, according to Greta.

McTeague goes on:

If Greta’s address at the Youth4Climate summit made one thing clear it is that no climate policy will ever be good enough for her. Indeed, it seems that Thunberg will only be content if all fossil fuel usage is immediately and completely eradicated. The climate kids want climate justice.

For Thunberg and her ilk, worrying about your job, about providing for your family, these are bourgeois concerns. And, like her French and Russian antecedents, she sees that the bourgeoisie -- normal people -- really do stand in the way of her utopia. Hopefully neither she nor her disciples ever acquire the kind of power that Citizen Robespierre or Comrade Stalin did to try to, you might say, overrule their concerns.

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.

'Climate Change' Charlatanism Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Professor Ole Humlum is a former Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard, Norway, and Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography, University of Oslo, Norway. He specializes in reporting and analyzing annual changes in the climate. I wrote about the professor’s work just over a year ago on this site. His report, published annually by the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, was moderately optimistic on climate changes in 2019, pointing out that some of them were for the better, some worse, but that overall there was no justification for the alarmist rhetoric of climate emergency. For instance, as I then wrote,

He points out  that new data on rising ocean temperatures raise interesting questions about the source of the heat. We can detect a great deal of heat rising from the bottom of the oceans. This obviously cannot be anything to do with human activity.

Since annual reports come out every year, his latest report on the world’s climate in 2020 has just been published. It covers the waterfront from Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation to Zonal Air Temperatures, and though most of it is addressed to technical specialists, it reaches some broad general conclusions that can be grasped by the layman. By and large these are a mix of moderate changes, long-term stability in main trends, and some trends getting worse but falling short of a climate emergency. Here, for instance, is his summing-up of changes in snow cover:

Variations in global snow-cover extent are driven by changes in the Northern Hemisphere, where most of the major land masses are located. Southern Hemisphere snow-cover extent is essentially controlled by the Antarctic ice sheet, and is therefore relatively stable. Northern Hemisphere average snow cover has also been stable since the advent of satellite observations, although local and regional inter-annual variations may be large. Considering seasonal changes in the Northern Hemisphere since 1979, autumn extent has been slightly increasing, mid-winter extent has been largely stable, and spring extent has been slightly decreasing. In 2020, Northern Hemisphere seasonal snow cover was somewhat below that of the preceding years.

And here is his account of storms and hurricanes in 2020:

The most recent data on numbers of global tropical storms and hurricane accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) are well within the range seen since 1970. In fact, the ACE data series displays a variable pattern over time, with a significant 3.6-year variation, but without any clear trend towards higher or lower values. A longer ACE series for the Atlantic Basin (since 1850), however, suggests a natural cycle of about 60 years' duration for tropical-storm and hurricane ACE. The number of hurricane landfalls in the continental United States remains within the normal range for the entire record since 1851. (My italics.)

Not easy reading, as you can see, but worthwhile because it records what actually happened to the climate in the last year. And that picture contrasts strongly with two things: the general impression of what happened to the climate given by the mainstream media, and the forecasts drawn from computer modelling in previous years of what would happen to the climate. Those two things generally reinforce each other almost as if the media reports those real climate events that reflect the media “narrative” and ignore or gloss over those that don’t. The truth rarely, if ever, catches up with the predictions in mainstream news reporting.

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Time and again the dates for which catastrophe was confidently predicted have passed without grave occurrences, as I wrote a year ago. No apologies are offered, and no signs given that the forecasters will be reconsidering the theories on which their forecasts either were based or by which they will in future be supported.

To be sure, that's a problem not confined to climate science. There’s a general crisis of “replication” or “reproducibility” in science as scientists themselves have been debating in the last decade. As Wikipedia sums it up:

A 2016 poll of 1,500 scientists conducted by Nature reported that 70 percent of them had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist's experiment (including 87 percent of chemists, 77 percent of biologists, 69 percent of physicists and engineers, 67 percent of medical researchers, 64 percent of earth and environmental scientists, and 62 percent of all others), while 50 percent had failed to reproduce one of their own experiments, and less than 20 percent had ever been contacted by another researcher unable to reproduce their work. Only a minority had ever attempted to publish a replication, and while 24 percent had been able to publish a successful replication, only 13 percent had published a failed replication, and several respondents that had published failed replications noted that editors and reviewers demanded that they play down comparisons with the original studies.

That’s bad enough. Worse, common sense suggests that the rate of failed replications will be higher in forecasting than in already performed physical experiments. To replication failure and prediction failure, however, we should probably add a third crisis—namely, impartiality failure on the part of the mainstream media—if we are to understand how bad things are.

The latest example of this is the media treatment of a new book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn't, and Why It Matters, by Steven Koonin, a physicist specializing in energy policy who served as an Under-Secretary for Energy for Science in the Obama administration. He doubts some of the claims allegedly accepted as valid by a “consensus" of scientists. Koonin has since come under fierce attack from those scientific reviewers who in turn doubt his own claims. That’s well and good—it’s how science is supposed to operate until experiments settle the argument conclusively--for the moment. In the meantime Koonin must fight his corner as best he can—as apparently he intends to do.

There ought to be a law!

What is objectionable is that social media should tilt an already tilted playing field so that its “fact-checkers” preface information about “Unsettled” with a kind of health warning that its statistics are unreliable and that the book itself “denialist” when in fact Koonin denies not climate warming but some arguments about its speed, extent, and whether we’re pursuing the right mix of mitigation and adaptation in dealing with it.  That’s a debate we need—and which we’re bound to have anyway because of the looming costs of Net-Zero.

Suppressing debate simply won’t work. And that’s likely to be demonstrated soon. Koonin has agreed to give the GWPF’s annual lecture in November in London. My guess is that the Foundation will have to hire a larger-than-usual hall to accommodate an audience drawn there by today’s equivalent of “Banned in Boston”—namely, “Not Available on Social Media.”

Black Monolith or Energy Black Hole?

Remember the famous scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey when the monolith first appears? The proto-humans all gather round and practically worship the thing as a god. The same sort of thing is going on in Hawaii as we speak, except the monolith is one giant freaking battery and the worshippers are not ignorant apes, but enviro-nuts, which are pretty much the same thing now that I think about it.

The Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) project is being built on eight acres of land in Kapolei on the island of Oahu. When complete, the giant battery will be capable of storing up to 565 megawatt hours of electricity and dispatching up to 185 megawatts. In other words, it can put 185 megawatts onto the Hawaii grid for up to three hours.

By law, all electricity generated in the state of Hawaii is supposed to be produced using 100 percent renewable fuels by the year 2045. The island’s lone coal-fired power plant, with a rated capacity of 203 MW, is due to be forcibly retired next year. Plus Power, the company developing KES, says the battery will enable the grid to operate reliably once the coal plant goes down for good: “The 2022 completion of the KES project will ensure that the AES coal-fired plant will end operations, supporting the state’s goal of shifting from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy generation.”

Average hourly demand in Hawaii is about 1,000 megawatts. That’s average demand, peak demand – which is what really matters when talking about grid stability – is considerably higher. But, for purposes of this analysis, we’ll use the average, which leads us to an important question: can a battery that can satisfy a little less than 20 percent of demand for a period of three hours replace a coal-fired power plant that has the capacity to satisfy 2- percent of demand more or less continuously?

The answer, which should be obvious to any high-school physics student, is no. A battery does not produce electricity, it’s just a place for electricity produced elsewhere to hang out for a while. In the case of the state of Hawaii, most of that electricity is, has been and will continue to be produced by burning oil. Roughly 65 to 70 percent of Hawaii’s electricity is generated by combustion of petroleum liquids according to data provided by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Funny, it doesn't look like a monolith.

About 17 percent of electricity was generated from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar. That’s not bad, but it’s not anything close to the 100 percent goal. Worse, it’s likely that the battery will be primarily charged using electricity produced by burning oil, not by using electricity generated from renewable sources. The problem is the bugaboo that always affects wind and solar: capacity factor.

Capacity factor is a measure of how much electricity a power generation asset produces compared to what it theoretically can produce. If a plant is rated at 100 megawatts, but generates on average 40 megawatts, we say its capacity factor is forty per cent. Most nukes operate at capacity factors in the high nineties. Coal fired base-load plants are generally in the eighties, sometimes the low nineties.

Wind and solar have crappy factors because, even in Hawaii, the sun don’t always shine and the winds don’t always blow. Solar panels don’t have much to do at night and their efficiency drops significantly on cloudy days. Wind turbines can’t operate in calms or near-calms and, perversely, also have to shut down if the wind is too strong.

The Descent of Man: Feeling good about feeling good.

Again using EIA data, we find that last year the combined capacity factor for wind and solar was about 27%. So, while the total capacity of all renewable generation assets on Hawaii, 746 megawatts, sounds impressive compared to average daily demand, those assets will only generate about 200 megawatts on average. And when they are generating electricity it makes a whole lot more sense to pack it on the grid than sending it on a short vacation to the battery. The only time the battery will be charged using renewables is during those rare instances where there is a significant excess of renewable power. Most of the time, it’ll be charged up courtesy of fossil-fuel combustion.

Of course the battery will make a fine story for those who don’t understand how electricity works and allow eco-nuts to feel good about themselves. Will it do much of anything to help Hawaii meet its 100 per cent renewables mandate? Nope.

The Injustice of 'Environmental Justice'

At its core, my day job as an environmental consultant to industry is about helping clients safely negotiate the rocks and shoals of an ever-more complex regulatory structure. The Biden administration, along with an increasing number of blue states, are adding yet another level of needless complexity to that structure, making so-called “environmental justice” a priority.

In practice, the idea of "environmental justice" has almost nothing to do with protecting low-income and minority communities from supposed exploitation by dirty, rotten scoundrel polluters, but instead ensures economic injustice by placing roadblocks to development in areas that have a disproportionate number of historically brownfield sites.

As we dive into this issue, it’s important for the reader to understand what a brownfield site is and how it came to be. Brownfield, as opposed to greenfield, sites refer to properties that are often contaminated by pollution from historical activities that occurred prior to the modern era of environmental regulation, which began under the Nixon administration in 1970.

Time's up, racist!

Consider my childhood home as a typical example. I grew up on the far southeast side of Chicago in a neighborhood called “Hegewisch” after its founder Adolph Hegewisch, who had hoped to duplicate the George Pullman ideal of a self-sustaining industrial community via his Rolling Stock Company.

That didn’t happen, neither for Adolph (his name is sometimes given as Achilles, or even Adolfo) nor for Pullman, but what did happen is that the burgeoning steel industry that emerged shortly after the turn of the last century pumped a lot of money and jobs into the southeast side of Chicago and northwest Indiana. Steel mills popped up like mushrooms, creating good-paying, secure jobs. Immigrants flooded in to fulfill the labor demand.

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated (legally, by the by) from Poland in the 1920s, hoping to cash in on the boom, and settled in Hegewisch. The steel industry on the Southeast Side of Chicago and Northwest Indiana was eventually deemed a vital national resource during the Cold War. Nike missile batteries ringed the area in to protect the mills from Soviet bombers. As kids, we all knew the location of the nearest fallout shelter in case the Soviets tried to take out the mills with nuclear missiles.

The growth of the steel industry from c. 1920 to 1980 on the southeast side of Chicago and northwest Indiana had absolutely nothing to do with taking advantage of an otherwise disadvantaged populace and labor force. It was quite the opposite. Business was booming and everyone was welcome to contribute. My father worked in the mills all his life. I and my three brothers who variously worked in the mills or had jobs supporting the mills benefited as well.

The bottom dropped out of the Chicago-area steel industry starting around 1980. There was no single cause one could point to, but rather a combination of events. These included: the rise of big labor, management’s willful ignorance when it came to recognizing how drastically lower labor rates in the Asian countries could undercut the American steel industry, management’s unwillingness to deploy new, more efficient technologies to offset the labor rate difference, and the new environmental movement’s demands to establish standards that were far more stringent than any standards that had been previously imposed.

American steel mills lost their competitive advantage and many went out of business throughout the latter half of the 20th century. On the southeast side of Chicago and northwest Indiana the carnage wiped out names that had previously been core employers: Republic Steel, Wisconsin Steel, Interlake, U.S. Steel South Works, Youngstown Steel and many others

The timing was significant. Big steel grew in the Midwest corridor during a time when nobody paid much attention to environmental standards. It shrank during a time when environmental standards began to emerge. Thus the area was full of properties that been the home of now shut-down and abandoned steel mills that also contained levels of pollutants in the soil and groundwater that were typical of the pre-environmental regulatory era, but unacceptable in the new era. This problem did not only involve the now-dormant mills, but included the many industries that grew up during boom times to support the mills: coke plants, landfills, railyards, etc.

Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Hegewisch.

As the jobs left and the depression-era generation that at one time made up most of Hegewisch’s populace began to die off, the neighborhood changed over time. What had been a middle class mostly Polish neighborhood morphed into a lower class, mostly Hispanic neighborhood. The neighborhood had aged and was surrounded by abandoned brownfields sites. Property values dropped, attracting lower-income families who could not afford homes in more affluent neighborhoods.

An area is designated as an "environmental justice" zone primarily based on two characteristics: income and ethnicity. A poor neighborhood with a large minority population is the ideal EJ zone and Hegewisch, along with some surrounding neighborhoods has been so designated.

Though the EJ designation is supposed to be protective, it’s actually quite damaging. The theory is that dirty rotten polluters would try to take advantage of vulnerable neighborhoods but for the EJ zone protection. The reality is that we live in an era of the most stringent environmental standards in the history of the industrial era. No facility being built in America today has anything near the potential to generate pollution or affect public health the way that the old rust belt plants built in the first part of the 20th century had.

So what an EJ zone does, in effect, is to serve as a red flag to anyone thinking of developing a new job-creating facility in or near such a neighborhood. Building in an EJ zone means jumping through many more regulatory hoops, risking being vilified by ignorant journalists and self-interested environmental NGOs. No one in my business, whose job it is to look out after our client’s best interests, would ever advise some one to develop a new project in an EJ zone.

Dirty rotten scoundrels polluting the Calumet River in Hegewisch.

Before leaving this story, let’s step back into my old neighborhood of Hegewisch. A metal recycling facility operated by General Iron received a permit to build a state-of-the-art plant in one of the old industrial parts of Hegewisch.

There are more than 300 metals-recycling plants, sometimes called “auto shredders,” across the United States. They are by far the most important and most economic form of recycling in the country. According to the Department of Commerce, the industry ranks 16th in terms of revenue nationally. More steel is now recovered through recycling in America than is produced in the blast furnaces at traditional steel mills, and the air pollution generated by recyclers is a tiny of fraction of what traditional integrated steel mills generate on a per ton of steel produced basis.

Add to this that, General Iron (not my client, if you’re wondering) permitted the plant with state of the art pollution controls, equipment most similar plants do not have. And, in addition to the jobs the facility would directly create, it would also create related jobs among the truckers, maintenance contractors and other services necessary to keep the plant going. All good stuff, right?

No. Not according to the mainstream media and environmental NGOs who have made the most outrageous claims about the danger the facility supposedly represents to my old neighborhood. Trusting those frauds and not really understanding the issues, some citizens banded together to form groups whose sole goal is to prevent the multi-million-dollar facility from opening. Some have even gone on hunger strikes.

It’s madness, but it’s the sort of madness that grows out of the noble-sounding, but utterly damaging concept of environmental justice. The next time a client asks me about building in an EJ area, I’ll have to point them no further than the General Iron fiasco to demonstrate how big a mistake that can be.

Joe Biden's Climate Nirvana -- and Ours

Since Washington was locked down on inauguration day, President Joe Biden was free to spend his first day in office signing stacks of Executive Orders rather than attending the more traditional inaugural parades and balls. The object of these orders was, of course, to undo as much as possible everything the outgoing president, Donald Trump, had accomplished over the past four years.

Executive actions on climate and energy unsurprisingly dominated the first day’s to-do list. Since getting the U.S. out of the Paris climate treaty was Trump’s most consequential deregulatory action, it was fitting that Biden’s first signature was on a letter notifying the U.N. that America would be rejoining it.

Next, he signed a lengthy executive order that, among much else, canceled the permit for the mostly-completed Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries. Canceling Keystone immediately threw up to 11,000 well-paid construction workers out of their jobs. The trades union leaders who had endorsed Biden expressed their outrage, but the fact is that most of their members voted for Trump.

You got what you voted for, America.

Biden also ordered all government departments “to immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis,” and directed that all deregulatory actions on fossil fuel energy use and production taken by the Trump administration be reviewed with an eye to suspending and rescinding them.

The order re-instated the application of the “social cost of carbon” (an entirely speculative and largely fanciful cost estimate of the impact of adding one ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere) in regulatory decision-making and abolished Trump reforms aimed at speeding up the environmental permitting processes that are routinely used to delay politically incorrect energy and natural resources projects to death. For example, major hardrock mining projects that take two to four years to permit in Canada or Australia routinely take over ten years in the U.S.

On January 27 the White House held a "Climate Day," which included a major speech by the new president. It began, "Today is 'Climate Day' at the White House and—which means that today is 'Jobs Day' at the White House." The speech focused on two selling points aimed at two uneasy partners in the Democratic Party coalition—trades unions and the Woke left.

It turns out that addressing the climate crisis requires creating “millions of good-paying union jobs” in building the new green infrastructure. One imagines that these jobs will be much better than those created by the free market because they will be guaranteed and subsidized by government.

At a press conference after Biden’s speech, John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, was asked about people losing their jobs in fossil fuel industries as a result of the administration’s agenda. Kerry’s reply was predictably tone deaf:

What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels.

Implied, but unacknowledged, was the fact that they first have to lose their jobs in order to access these "better choices."

Hitting Kerry in a bad place.

For the woke left, Biden offered something called "environmental justice." While it’s not clear exactly what the term means, the intended audience is a broad one:

With this executive order, environmental justice will be at the center of all we do addressing the disproportionate health and environmental and economic impacts on communities of color—so-called “fenceline communities”—especially those communities — brown, black, Native American, poor whites.

Several specific decisions were also announced during Climate Day, including a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and offshore areas (which account for nearly one-quarter of U.S. oil production).

In addition to these announcements, there was much speculation in the media about other planned actions. Most notably, the New York Times reported that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) was planning to take three to ten billion dollars out of their reserves meant for dealing with disasters such as  hurricanes and spend it on preparing for the impacts of "climate change." Possible projects include constructing sea walls to safeguard against rising sea levels (the current rate is between 7 and 14 inches per century).

But most importantly, Biden made it clear that the entire executive branch is going to be organized around addressing climate: "It’s a whole-of-government approach to put climate change at the center of our domestic, national security, and foreign policy." His executive order officially declares a "climate crisis." A climate office or program is being installed in every federal department and agency.

Or maybe it can.

All this activity requires a lot of new high-level staffing at the White House as well. In addition to Kerry, Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Obama and then president of a major environmental pressure group (the Natural Resources Defense Council, which had $173 million in income in 2018), has been named National Climate Advisor, with the same rank as the National Security Advisor.

McCarthy will be head of the White House Climate Policy Office and also oversee a National Climate Task Force. When Biden introduced McCarthy near the beginning of his Climate Day speech, he off-handedly let the cat out of the bag, saying “And Gina—you run everything, Gina."

The next step may be to declare a National Climate Emergency and invoke a wide range of special emergency authorities given to the president by Congress. This would allow the president to commandeer large parts of the economy not currently under government control.

It’s going to be a long, long way to climate nirvana, but we can next look forward to an undoubtedly scintillating international Climate Leaders’ Summit hosted by the United States. The White House has scheduled the summit for Earth Day, April 22, which appropriately would be the 151st birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the patron saint of national economic overhauls. No word, yet, on whether that's intentional.