Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Rome-ing

Roma mia Cara! I’m back in the Eternal City for a climate conference which starts tomorrow and I have to say Rome isn’t the worst place for it. Private planes land in the same airport as commercial planes so if you have staffers arriving they can meet your plane without too much fuss. This is much needed because Rome implemented an odd/even system that bans half of the cars from driving into the city center on particularly polluted days. 

The conference itself is a mess. In fairness it’s only their second annual ‘Renewable Meet’ but so far I’m not impressed. Whatever their goal -- they don’t have any of the heavy hitters of the climate world, and certainly none of my clients. If I didn’t know better I’d think they were just trying to make money using a green agenda as cover—also so many big mistakes. From the start, they hounded us about arbitrary deadlines and frankly my climate comrades don’t take well to being bossed around.

Our industry also hit a slump because Miss Puberty Blocker herself (Greta Thunberg) had a meltdown. And not like the original one where she hissed ‘How dare you!. This one involved her making an about-face on nuclear energy. First she was against, now she is for it —which makes us look like we are just making things up. But I guess that’s bound to happen with a 9th-grade education and parents who all but built the orange crate upon which she began her soft-shoe in the first place. Despite dubbing her ‘that Swedish Troll’ Daddy is quick to point out I must have empathy for a twenty-year-old whose autism disorder left her with no option but to hyper-focus on one thing since childhood. I guess I should be grateful she fixated on climate. 

Dr. Puberty Blocker wants action NOW.

I’m also grateful that the Italian scientist Nicola Scafetta isn’t here to needle us. He’s a climate denier who insists natural cycles in the solar system are responsible for most change, and that we are actually headed toward a cooling period. No matter what he says, substantially more scientists and studies have been funded to dispute his theories. But even without him, this conference was a flop. Sixty-six speakers, three days, no alcohol, and no parties. What were they thinking? If they were trying to compete with Davos it wasn’t happening.  And you just wonder how dreadful these academics' own lives must be if this was a break from that.

Wisely, I’d connected with Vespa for whom I’m promoting the new ‘Vespa Elettrica’. The sleekest electric and lithium-ion battery combo in the land. And $100 from every purchase goes to Africa for reasons I don’t understand, but the claim is we can somehow protect them from the next pandemic. More important, I am going to be filmed tearing through the streets of Rome at night with the wind in my hair and the words I AM VESPA POWERED BY BEAUTY flashing across my image. Anything for the cause.

We were between takes when I got a text from Daddy. I wanted to send him a snap of me on the Vespa but he wanted me to know that the Swedish Troll had been given an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki. ‘Is this a joke?’ I whispered.

‘Well, that remains to be seen’, Daddy said, ‘but she is indeed receiving a doctorate’.

‘In WHAT?? I shrieked. ‘Is that the next milepost in Sweden after ninth grade?’ 

‘Calm down, Kitten, before someone hears you—I just thought you should know.  And the doctorate is in theology.’

‘Theology!’ I yelled, stepping away from the crew, then lowering my voice, ‘Theology?? What is that… the study of God? Is she bleeding Joan of Arc now? No of course she isn’t… Joan of Arc died as a teenager.  This troll is already twenty!’

‘Jennifer!’ My father barked. ‘Get a hold of yourself. As little respect as I already have for your industry, this hardly qualifies as high drama’.

Nothing she won't do to save the planet.

Well of course he was right but I just wanted something to go as it should. And it just didn’t seem like we should reward someone who walked back her made-up predictions and got famous for looking like a waif. ‘Thank you, Daddy’. I said. ‘I’m sorry’. 

‘That’s better’, he said. ‘Listen, Why don’t you get yourself a nice glass of wine and a plate of pasta….’

‘No wine!’ I interrupted. ‘I’m driving! And also I wanted to surprise you with a replica of the picture of you and mummy here in Rome’.  

‘Well I promise to act surprised’. Daddy  said. Which made me laugh.

While I waited for the director to check the gate, I furiously scrolled on my phone… it was a joke. Eight honorary doctorates were being given, all of them professors or bishops except after Greta’s name it just said ‘activist’ where it should have said ‘gnome’. That was deeply unkind, and not very Cheltenham of me. I was ashamed and it occurred to me she was already too old to even finish high school or get any kind of a normal degree. So in a way this made up for having spent her time travelling by boat.

The director called a wrap and so I said my goodbyes and got someone to hop on the Vespa with me for a selfie. As the crew packed up their gear I looked around at the majesty that is Rome. Wow. It just never gets old. Regardless of the conference, I was so glad to be here. Glad to bask in the untold stories of those that came before me.

I looked up to a balcony and wondered if spectators had gathered there to watch the riderless horses when Via del Corso served as a racetrack. And then I thought about poor little Greta. Should I ever see her again I would teach her to ride horses. I could do that for her. And I would.

Much Ado About Nothing

The Biden Administration recently announced new plans to further regulate polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of chemicals generically known as PFAS. Such initiatives typically target pollutants that have been found in relatively high concentrations, especially when that pollutant is reactive. That is the case with chemicals like ethylene oxide, benzene, ozone, and a host of others. It's a bit different with PFAS. These are chemicals that are just barely detectable and are basically inert.

So why the fire drill? Are PFAS compounds a clear and present danger to the health and welfare of Americans? What is the best strategy to mitigate the PFAS threat to human health and the environment if they are? As important, how big of a threat are PFAS compounds to either?

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever get honest answers to those questions. The independent, rational, scientific traditions that encouraged critical thinking and informed disagreement is fading away in western civilization. In its place, we are increasingly subject to state-approved science formulated by armies of technocrats and administered by legions of bureaucrats. When the scientific method is eventually dead and buried, I have a suggestion for the epitaph to be engraved on its tombstone: “better safe than sorry.”

Those words concisely express the essence of the Precautionary Principle. The Precautionary Principle, in turn, is a bane of modern existence. It’s a societal plague that breeds cowardice, inhibits progress and encourages insularity in thought and in practice. It was probably inevitable that environmental organizations would eventually target these remarkable fluorinated compounds in another fit of excess caution.

It's all relative.

To a chemist, fluorine is one of the most remarkable elements on the periodic table. It forms incredibly strong bonds with other atoms, giving PFAS chemicals their unique characteristics and their resiliency. The last is especially troublesome to the E.P.A. and environmental groups who have dubbed PFAS “forever chemicals.” The implication being that once created they are impossible to get rid of. That’s not entirely accurate, but it must be admitted that getting rid of PFAS compounds does take a bit more work than your run of the mill waste product.

Should we not be concerned about these "forever chemicals"? There's two parts to that question. First, does having a particular chemical in your system for a long time necessarily harm your system? The answer to that depends on the chemical and the dose. It would be fair to call silicon dioxide, what we commonly call sand, a “forever chemical” every bit as much as PFAS. Absent willful and energetic processing, sand is sand and will remain sand. So do we worry if we ingest some sand into our system? If it's not much and it's in our gastrointestinal system the body recognizes it as a waste, something it has no use for, and will pass it through the GI tract and colon to be eliminated.

I am not a biologist. So I do not know if PFAS compounds bioaccumulate in the body in part or in whole. If they do they certainly don't accumulate in substantial amounts. We can say that because when people have conducted studies and found PFAS in the water, in the air, and in the soil they find it in concentrations that are in the parts per trillion or less levels.

A part per trillion is an incredibly small concentration. It is the equivalent of 1 drop of water in enough water to fill 20 Olympic sized swimming pools. Twenty or thirty years ago we didn't even have the technology that would allow us to look at these extremely low concentrations. Are concentrations that low a significant threat to human health and the environment? I cannot answer that question definitively, but I don't think anyone else can do so either.

When the E.P.A. and environmental groups talk about PFAS they inevitably choose verbs that allow them to hedge their bets. Verbs like “may” and “could” and “suggests.” As in: “research suggests that these compounds may be associated with – fill name of your favorite scary disease – and that these effects may be more serious among the elderly and newborn children.”

Definitive verbs are to be avoided at all costs. Verbs like will or does or demonstrates. It takes years of indoctrination by the technocrats and the bureaucrats before they'll move up to definitive verbs. At that point the war is over and the scientists have lost. There was a time when "climate change" was discussed as a potential threat, as a hypothesis worth examining, but not as a proven fact. We are well beyond that point today. Every politician, every journalist, every representative of an environmental NGO talks about "climate change" in terms of certainty. They assure us that the science is settled. The E.P.A.'s PFAS Strategic Road Map puts us well on the way to settling this rather dubious bit of science as well.

Dr. Thunberg demands change now.

I cannot assert that parts per trillion levels of these compounds are not a serious threat to human health and the environment. Nor can I assert they are. I doubt if there's any single scientist who can say one way or the other. I doubt there is anyone who can say pursuing this research is worth the cost compared to other priorities the E.P.A. might be pursuing. But I can predict the E.P.A. will follow its usual playbook: develop a large set of very restrictive rules, very expensive rules, whose cost will be justified by the theoretical reduction in the hospitalizations and death that will be assumed. Not proven. Assumed. That's what inevitably happens. At one point during the Obama administration E.P.A. director Lisa Jackson claimed so much savings from environmental regulations that we could have paid off the national debt had her numbers been accurate.

New rules are coming that will affect regulations covering water, covering land, covering the air, covering waste disposal, covering approval of new and existing chemicals. These rules will largely be developed by the technocrats and bureaucrats alone. Yes, once they're developed there will be comment periods and the various agencies will be flooded with comments. As a result of the comments there'll be a change here and a change there but really no substantive changes in direction. The rules are developed in an echo chamber where only cheerleaders are present. Only then are they presented to the public. No matter. Experience shows that what is finally approved will look much like whatever is first proposed.

It's possible this effort could become another bust like Alar, toxic mold, and endocrine disruptors. All of those crises du jour more or less went away after time. Maybe it will be the same with PFAS. But given the way that fantasies have materialized into so-called realities so quickly over the last few years I fear that massive investments in PFAS regulations, controls and clean-up will be a part of our lives for a long time to come.

Still the Only Thing We Have to Fear

On March 4, 1933 newly elected President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt made this famous declaration during his inaugural address: “…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself; nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” FDR had his faults, as all leaders do, but uttering those words to a nation terrified by hopelessness and dread was a shining moment in his career.

On February 20, 2023 The Pipeline's editor Michael Walsh wrote this: “…democracy does not "die in darkness." It dies in chaos, brought on by fear, engendered by uncertainty and birthed of instability…” While I’m not willing to suggest that Walsh's eloquence should move him to seek elected office, or to be regularly photographed grinning with a fancy cigarette holder clenched in his teeth, I do believe that his declaration is every bit as profound as Roosevelt’s was ninety years prior.

In 1933 Americans were terrified by enormous economic upheaval few citizens understood. The disaster seemed unsolvable to most. In 2023 Americans are terrified by rapid advances in technologies and the sciences that – to many – seem to create problems as equally dangerous and apparently unsolvable as the Great Depression did in 1933.

FDR: Fear itself.

This writer is not an expert on all technologies and all of science. We’ve advanced way to far for anyone to lay claim to being a modern-day Da Vinci. That said, this writer is an expert on the complex intersection of chemistry, environmental protection, risk evaluation, and public policy. In that world Walsh’s description holds true: all rational parts of that equation are dying in chaos, brought on by fear, engendered by uncertainty, and birthed of instability. Moreover, I firmly believe that is the case in many, likely most, other areas of scientific discipline when they intersect with public policy or popular trends. In this era of mass, instantaneous communication, nothing is guaranteed to attract more attention than communicating fear.

Consider how many people routinely purchase indoor “air purifiers” that are designed to remove air contaminants from indoor air by generating the most widely regulated air pollutant in America: ozone. Ozone is basically oxygen on steroids; three oxygen atoms bonded together rather than the usual two. The extra atom gives ozone some unique properties, among which is its ability to react with a variety of air contaminants and remove them from the air we breathe. So far so good, except for the fact that ozone is itself a highly regulated air contaminant. Reducing ozone in the air we breathe has been the focus of EPA and environmental group efforts for over fifty years.

The EPA has reduced the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone three times since the original Clean Air Act was promulgated. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all reduced the ozone standard, largely in response to environmental group claims that the preceding standard was not sufficiently protective of human health. There are mountains of regulations designed to reduced ozone formation. Vehicles have catalytic convertors largely to reduce ozone formation. If you live in an urban area, you pay for low vapor pressure gasoline in the summer months to reduce ozone formation. The push to reduce ozone formation affects the price we pay for electricity, natural gas, consumer goods, and a host of other areas.

Liberals have toyed with the ludicrous idea of banning natural gas-fired appliances, but none seems moved to grab this incredibly low-hanging fruit: Americans are routinely purchasing air-pollution generators in the name of improving air quality! It’s the sort of exploitation of fear and ignorance that would have amazed even Orwell.

Beware the O-Zone.

Ozone-generating air purifiers are just one example of the ignorance and hypocrisy that infects issues involving science and technology. Fire up your favorite search engine and try out the following queries: “manganese pollution,” “lead toxicity,” and “poly-aromatic hydrocarbons cancer risk.” You’ll find some dry, technically-accurate but boring as hell to read discussions involving those keywords published by government agencies and academics, and you’ll also find articles in which “experts” warn readers about the extreme danger associated with exposure to those compounds.

But how significant are these supposed dangers? Let’s start with manganese. Do you or a loved one take a multi-vitamin on a regular basis? Take a look at the ingredient list. Chances are you’ll find manganese listed among the minerals included.

This may give you pause. There are plenty of stories out there that describe manganese as a dangerous neuro-toxin. There are plenty of community leaders, political types, and environmental activists wringing their hands about the fate of the poor, innocent children exposed to this poison. So what the heck is it doing in your vitamins?

The answer is that manganese is an important and necessary micro-nutrient. Your body doesn’t need a lot of it, but it needs some of it. Chemicals are neither inherently toxic or non-toxic. The dose makes the poison, so it’s the amount one is exposed to and the route of exposure that ultimately matter. Good luck finding any member of the modern intelligentsia who understands, much less can explain, that simple fact.

Most everyone is aware of the dangers associated with ingesting lead. Less well known is that virtually every kitchen in the United States contains bowls and utensils that contain lead. For lead is a minor, but measurable, component of many grades of stainless steel—and whose kitchen doesn’t have a stainless item in it?

Does the amount of lead contained in stainless steel or how it is held within the lattice structure of the metal present any concerns about lead exposure? Not really, but don’t expect the fear-mongers to figure that out, even if they cared to do so.

Safety first.

And Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)? There’s plenty of literature talking about how these potentially toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds can be formed during the combustion of coal, oil or natural gas. True, so far as that goes, but in very tiny amounts that will expose the average citizen to concentrations so low they are hardly of concern.

On the other hand, the smoke from your campfire, the cloud coming from your charcoal grill and any smoked food you consume will contain much more PAH compounds than anything a power plant will expose you to. That doesn’t keep me from enjoying smoked and barbecue foods, but then I’m not a hypocrite.

If you’re reading this piece, most experts agree that you are probably alive. Other experts tell us that sometime in the future you will cease to be alive. In between then and now, do yourself a favor: enjoy life. One of the ways you can enjoy it best is by tuning out the sad, ignorant masters of exploitation and propaganda who dream up ways to try to control your behavior by exploiting your natural tendency to exercise extreme caution when facing fear itself.

Reality Bites as 'Greens' Embrace Nukes

It's beyond doubt that without nuclear power a nation cannot meet the current and foreseeable energy needs of its people without increasing CO2. If you listen to the environmentalist crowd either nuclear will kill you or CO2 will. It’s amusing in a way, since neither poses a significant risk to your health, and "green energy" — which is both unreliable and requires fossil fuel backups — do cause significant social and economic harm in the same way our Covid responses created real damage far in excess of their actual benefits.

Personally, I believe that we will ultimately get our energy from whichever sources can provide them reliably and at the lowest cost. In this respect it is amusing here on the sidelines to see one faction (the anti-nuclear power crowd) facing up to the other ("climate change" cultists). And the cause of the conflict is exacerbated by experience: Green energy sources, as predicted, proved insufficient to meet needs and were, as well, intermittent, which can be economically catastrophic. You simply cannot turn off countries in summer when the wind doesn’t blow or in winter when the wind blows so hard that turbines lose functionality. You cannot gather electricity from the sun when it isn’t shining.


And then there’s the Ukraine war which hammered home the foolishness of Europe's policy of relying on so-called renewables backed up by Russian oil and natural gas. It's left them with, at best, spiking gas and electricity prices, and at worst with actual energy shortages and general volatility.

It may be overly optimistic, but there are signs that the nuclear crowd are beginning to win out, something which Leftists like Ralph Nader (who nearly killed nuclear energy in the United States with his Critical Mass Energy Project), must have a hard time accepting. Indeed, it seems as if the rising cost of energy has forced people to reevaluate nuclear energy worldwide. Jenny Ping at Citi Research has demonstrated how significant and rapid has been this new attitude. Since the Ukraine conflict began a year ago, a survey of 100,000 voting-age citizens of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the U.K. showed that two-thirds of them are in favor of nuclear power. Germany’s government may be reluctant to revisit its decision to shut down its nuclear plants (though even there 41 percent of those surveyed favored changing course) but in France, Britain, Poland, and even Belgium, there was significant uptick in support for building new nuclear generating plants.

It's an ill wind that blows no good, and, in this case the war in Ukraine seems to have injected a bit of reality into the fantastical green dream. According to a recent article in Der Spiegel:

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has now accelerated this shift, calling into question many old certainties, or overturning them completely. Formerly staunch pacifists now support weapons deliveries. A Green Party economics minister is going on a gas-shopping spree to Qatar. The energy security that people took for granted for decades in Germany has been shaken ever since Russia cut gas deliveries and costs rose.

The result being that an old German dogma now seems to be crumbling: the rejection of nuclear energy. Concerns are either being put on the backburner or are evaporating. Radiation from nuclear waste? Safety risks? Danger of large-scale disasters? Who cares. Those are things you worry about when you have working heat. Electricity first, then ethics.

The dizzying change has the Greens fighting to keep from total rejection by voters and a majority are now taking the window dressing baby-step of agreeing to extending the life of those plants still in operation. At a minimum it’s likely that Germany will redo its laws to permit the continued operation of its three remaining nuclear facilities, of agreeing to extend the operating span of those plants not already shutdown. Let’s see, however, if this shift is enough to persuade the German government to refurbish and re-commission the three nuclear plants it forced to shut down in 2021. Its neighbors in Eastern Europe seem to be pressuring them to do just that.

Germany is not alone in suddenly noticing that there’s an uncomfortable conflict between wanting to reduce CO2 in energy production and opposing nuclear power. California’s Governor Gavin Newsom is seeking to extend its nuclear-generating plant in Diablo Canyon past 2025, when it is supposed to be decommissioned. That’s because his state has been energy starved by Green diktat. And three other states that followed California onto the anti-nuclear bandwagon — Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania — have all seen their CO2 output rise after shifting away from nuclear power. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, leader of the left-wing Squad of Congressional Harpies seems to be now ambivalent about nuclear energy. That is, of course, after supporting the shutdown of Indian Point in 2021, a plant that supplied New York City with 25 percent of its power.

Look who's changing her tune.

Still, even if we finally reached critical mass on voters wanting nuclear power there are some real obstacles after all these years of demonizing it. For one thing there’s now a real shortage of nuclear engineers and people who have the knowledge to construct and operate these plants. You surely can’t expect people to choose to become expert in an industry that's being killed off.

Worse, there’s the lengthy and absurd regulatory process for constructing nuclear plants, designed and exploited by America's environmentalist Marxist crowd. If you care to see how this works, here's a blow-by-blow from a plant in Georgia, the first American nuclear plant planned in decades. It first applied for permission in 2006. It bankrupted Westinghouse, cost 23 billion dollars and, largely as a result of regulatory actions, 14 years later it still has not gone into commercial production.

Still, whenever voters come to grips with reality, there’s some cause for celebration: thirteen EU member states have entered into a nuclear power pact to support construction of new plants and Japan is returning to service idled nuclear plants, extending the service time of existing ones and planning development of new generation ones.

Yet Another 'Disaster' That Actually Wasn't

The East Palestine, Ohio derailment “disaster” presents us with an interesting twist on the way that the public relations professionals exert control over both political parties. Usually, when there is a Republican president in office and something goes off the rails (pun intended) in the environmental world, Democrat media types quickly develop talking points designed to paint the party in power as indifferent and/or incompetent. The MSM, fulfilling its role as the primary public relations tool of the Democrat party, dutifully follows suit.

With East Palestine, the roles are reversed. Many in the Republican party have now assumed the hand-wringing role, no doubt following the instructions of their own PR professionals. (Note to J.D. Vance: it's not a "chemical rainbow," it's a petroleum sheen. Next time your car leaks a little hydraulic fluid and there's a rainstorm, you can enjoy watching one appear in your driveway.) I take little pleasure in pointing out the error of the party’s ways in this case, but err they did. The same, sadly, is true of Fox’s Tucker Carlson, who is usually a reliable and thoughtful source of commentary. He too got this one wrong.

The East Palestine derailment was no disaster. Disasters require multiple bodies, or extensive/expensive property damage, or long-term environmental harm, preferably all three. East Palestine includes none of those elements. The one thing East Palestine had that allows people to label it a disaster is ugly visuals. I get it. Everyday, non-technical people who don’t understand dispersion, or exposure, or risk see that big black cloud and think “that’s what disasters look like!”

Looks worse than it was.

Those politicians and journalists who tried to use the East Palestine derailment as a means to attack the Biden administration and its secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, played the same game as their Democrat counterparts regularly play. Their concern sounded sincere, but there was nothing of substance to be had in their declarations. It’s the political equivalent of Professor Harold Hill whipping up the citizens of River City against the evils of pool. I have no idea what qualifies Buttigieg to be in the cabinet, but using a train derailment to criticize the guy is the political equivalent of kicking a puppy, and a not very clever puppy at that.

There are facts about East Palestine that are true, but don’t actually matter. Toxic materials were present and some had been released into the environment. True, but immaterial. Burning off the contents of a tanker containing vinyl chloride released potentially toxic chemicals into the air. Also true, but also immaterial. Some potentially toxic chemicals could possibly seep into the water table, significantly affecting the quality of well-water that is used by some nearby residents. True again, but ultimately of no concern.

How can I make such claims? What makes me right and the vast majority of politicians and journalists wrong? The flip answer is this: I’m a chemist. They’re not. I’ve got 38 years experience dealing with atmospheric chemistry, dispersion modeling and risk evaluation. They don’t. Releasing potentially toxic chemicals into the environment does not necessarily mean that the environment will suffer, either in the long term or the short term. Generating potentially toxic pollutants and releasing them into the air does not necessarily put anybody in the public at risk. The toxicity of the chemical doesn’t matter. The amount of the chemical released doesn’t matter. The only things that ultimately matter are the following:

  1. What is the maximum dose of a chemical to which a person can be exposed and how does that dose compare to established (and quite conservative) public health guidelines?
  2. Can the chemical release cause actual, long-term damage to eco-systems or to natural resources that we depend on?

The chemically contaminated soil in East Palestine may be removed and replaced with clean fill. Alternately, it might be left in place for naturally-occurring bacteria to clean up, which they do quite well. The state and the feds will closely monitor the course of the spill to ensure that no one using wells drinks or uses contaminated water from them. It would not be a surprise to find the railroad hooking all well water users in the area up to city water. There will be no long-term environmental damage or danger to the local water supply if local officials and the railroad continue to do the right things.

The dispersion model says not to worry.

How about that ugly black cloud. Surely it put people at risk!? No, it didn’t. We have the tools to determine potential exposures to airborne pollutants to very high degree of accuracy in virtually any situation. Tried, tested, and true environmental tools called dispersion models enable us who are part of the environmental world to predict how plumes containing pollutants will behave upon being released to atmosphere.

The primary pollutant of concern generated by the vinyl chloride burn was hydrochloric acid. You may also know it as muriatic acid. Among other things, it does a great job of removing stains from concrete. The vast majority of the chlorine in vinyl chloride will form hydrochloric acid when burned. There are other, more toxic, chlorine compounds that can form during a burn, but the realities of chemistry means they will form in very small amounts that can be ignored.

I looked at emissions from the East Palestine burn using the most conservative dispersion model available, USEPA’s SCREEN3 model. It is designed to overestimate downwind exposures and we know it does just that because SCREEN3 results have been compared to real world measurement:

So let’s look at the plume generated by the East Palestine burn in those terms. As expected, the model predicts very high concentrations close to the burn, over 3,000 ppmv 100 meters away. That’s in the middle of the ugliest part of the cloud. There are also no people there. When you do a controlled burn you create an exclusion zone to keep everyone safe.

As the plume travels downwind, concentrations steadily drop. The exclusion zone during the burn was reported to be a one mile by two mile area downwind of the burn. That’s roughly 1,500 meters by 3,000 meters. At 1,500 meters the model predicts a peak concentration of 3.0 ppmv and at 3,000 meters the model predicts a peak concentration of 1.1 ppmv. Both values are far under the hydrochloric acid IDLH and comfortably under the OSHA PEL. The burn was ugly to see, but one is forced to conclude that the actual risk to people who followed orders to stay out of the exclusion zone was negligible. (If you want to see all my assumptions and calculations, use this link to download an Excel workbook that contains that information.)

Democrats who chant “follow the science” rarely do, especially when environmental issues are in play. How about we on the right use East Palestine as an opportunity to show them what following the science actually looks like, instead of playing their silly games?

Animal, Vegetable, or Whatever

With the Climate Cult demanding we stop eating grazing animals, transitioning ourselves to fake meat (and bugs) instead of real beef, in the name of preventing the climate from getting a degree or three warmer, causing us all to die in a few years, let’s discuss tradeoffs between digesting animal protein and vegetable matter.

Those who have spent much time around horses and cows know that they almost never stop eating if grass is within reach. A horse walking across a meadow will reach out to bite off a mouthful of grass if the rider allows it. Cows will grab mouthfuls of grass and go lie down in the shade under a tree to chew their cud, moving it from one stomach to another for hours.  Until they get up and wander off to fill their bellies again with more grass.

Grazing animals eat so much grass because vegetable matter has very little protein. Protein is what makes mammal muscle. It’s why Genghis Khan hunted and herded ruminants along his travels, and why his men defeated the local vegetarians wherever they went; they never lacked for milk or meat – animal protein – that made them stronger and gave them more endurance than those lacking in animal protein. In pre-mechanical combat, individual strength was all.

Does he look like a vegan to you?

It surprises, in the 21st Century, particularly among the Greens demanding solar power, that so many remain unaware that ruminants are solar energy storage systems. Solar power causes plant matter to grow; as plants grow, they turn that solar energy into matter. Grazers eat that solar energy converted to and stored as plant matter, processing it into muscle they then store and use to move around to live, work for us, make more ruminants, and to fertilize the ground wherever they go, nurturing more grass which, powered by sunlight, grows tall, storing more solar energy for another ruminant to store and make use of.

Humans consume this stored solar energy when eating beef, venison, rabbit, etc., allowing us to move, think, live, create. Animal manure and composted animal carcasses provide fertile soil to begin the cycle again as the sun enables new vegetable matter to grow and store yet more solar energy. In essence, animals we raise for food are organic solar batteries storing energy from the sun that we eventually use to grow, to live our lives, invent, explore, create, and procreate.

Grazing animals have digestion systems evolved and specialized to digest plant matter and turn it into useful protein. Humans, as omnivores, have different digestive systems, systems less-specialized for digesting plants. We process plant matter less efficiently than do ruminants simply because we also digest and process animal protein. The more specialized a digestive system, the more efficiently the plant matter consumed as food – stored solar energy – is turned into useful muscle, bone, skin, organs, etc. The less specialized, the less efficient.

Eating vegetable matter has certain physiological consequences. Again, if you’ve been around horses or cows, or read all the “bad” things about bovine burps and farts, you know that processing vegetable matter produces methane. If, for health reasons, you have altered your diet to consume more vegetables and fruits, you understand these consequences. If you’ve spent much indoor-time with vegetarians or their more aromatic cousins, vegans, none of this is news. We are not evolved to consume only plants.

Hilarious, right?

Scientists are working on altering feed to cause cows to create less methane, which is a good thing. But that’s a long process just beginning, and runs counter to the globalists demanding we eat fake, plant-based meat, or no meat at all to stop cows from destroying our world. But is our switching to vegetable matter really changing anything for the better?

Americans consume about 70 percent of their approximately 2,500 calories per day from plant matter, and 30 percent from animal matter. If we transitioned from 70 percent to 100 percent plant matter, an increase of 43 percent, it is logical to assume our methane output also would increase by 43 percent. Moving to a plant-based/fake meat diet would increase the human-expelled methane output of the United States from 332,000,000, to over 480,000,000 liters per day.

Removing the beef industry in America also would mean putting over a million Americans out of jobs and altering our health in unknown ways of unknown magnitude as we all stop digesting the food our digestive systems have evolved to digest, switching to digestive requirements for which we have not evolved.

Mr. Olympia he ain't.

Activities involving strength and endurance – from sports to military service to jogging or walking to stay fit – would decrease, further reducing the health of Americans, as well as our entertainment opportunities and ability to defend ourselves or our allies. To say nothing of the impact on industries as diverse as shoes, coats, and car seats, industries consuming leather and producing leather goods.

Does the road to reducing methane really run through rejection of animal protein?

Are White Plumbers Endangering Net-Zero in Britain?

The Telegraph reports on a growing concern (among whom? "Experts" of course!) that the U.K.'s surplus of Caucasian plumbers is endangering the country's ability to hit their net-zero targets, and thereby save the world from "climate change."

Plumbers have an image problem that may derail the Government’s net-zero ambitions, experts have warned. Replacing gas boilers and switching to heat pumps is a central tenet of the Government’s ambitions for the U.K. to be carbon neutral by 2050, and the installation will largely be done by upskilling current gas and oil boiler installers. But almost all plumbers are middle-aged white men close to retirement, a government report has found, raising concerns that there will not be enough competent installers to reach the Government’s goal of 600,000 heat pumps being installed every year by 2028.

The study, by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found that... “if the same recruitment practices and promotional activities continue within the sector, the pool of potential employees recruited to grow the sector may be restricted and the lack of diversity may persist.”... Mica May, co-director of Stopcocks Women Plumbers, told The Telegraph that the industry “is not presenting an attractive face” for prospective plumbers.... “Only when we have enough workers... who properly represent the wide variety of people in the U.K., will there be space for the innovation we need to meet net zero."

Some background: we've previously discussed the fact that three successive governments in Britain -- all ostensibly Conservative, mind you -- have committed to (and even passed legislation mandating) the U.K.'s achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. A central plank of this plan is a "20-fold increase in the number of heat pumps installed annually by 2028," despite the fact that less than 1 percent of British homes are currently heated with heat pumps, and for good reason -- they are roughly three times more expensive than the much more common gas boilers. We further noted that "They also take up a lot more space, are more expensive to operate, and work best in well-insulated houses -- not exactly Britain's strong suit." All of which is to say, the U.K.'s heat pump obsession is madness.

But this government report fretting about the racial make-up of the plumbers needed to install the new equipment is next-level lunacy. It has all the earmarks of a social panic -- around both race and the environment -- especially in a country whose population is 80 percent Caucasian, and much less ethnically diverse (contra the national self-image presented by the BBC) than the United States.

Plumbing is one of the great cornerstones of civilization, and the work of plumbers is nothing short of heroic. The dearth of young men entering the profession in the U.K. is concerning, as it is here in the U.S. And these so-called "experts" aren't wrong to suggest that that pumping up the numbers will likely require combatting existing prejudices.

But it is the content of those prejudices which they are confused about. Young people on both sides of the pond have been force-fed propaganda about the necessity of receiving university educations for their entire lives. These programs are, generally, pointless at best and destructive at worst. Much better to challenge young people to consider training for noble, and often well-remunerated blue collar jobs such as plumbing instead. Mike Rowe, host of the TV show Dirty Jobs, has been making this case for years, and would be a worthy model.

The inability to engage the issue outside of liberal pieties is a sign of intersectional brain worm. Consequently, their push to change the face of plumbing to "properly represent the wide variety of people in the U.K." will fail just as surely as their heat-pump scheme and their net-zero plan itself. It couldn't happen to a nicergroup of people.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Hustling

Business attire—my derrière! I wasn’t even through my first morning news story when I was assaulted by the media’s growing obsession with the number of working girls who have descended upon Davos for our annual conference. The press changed from citing ‘hundreds’ yesterday to ‘hundreds and hundreds of high-class’ prostitutes today. And the story isn’t going to die anytime soon. With very few details the piece is likely written by someone who doesn’t have official press credentials or access to attendees. But the girls of course (unnamed) agreed to be interviewed and imagine themselves to be stealthily dressed in ‘business attire’. Please! All I could think of was Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny telling her boyfriend…‘Oh, yeah, you blend’.

If last year’s unofficial theme was Africa, this year it’s commerce—the old-fashioned kind. But what do you expect at an event that draws more billionaires and CEO’s than any other? Still… they were annoying. And I was never more grateful to don my high-level credentials badge and wave it around like the mark of distinction it truly is! As to status, we are divided into seven tiers—it’s quite the caste system and to give you a frame of reference, in previous years Donald Trump was listed as tier 1 (head of state), his daughter Ivanka as 7 (functional staff) and his poor excuse for a son-in-law, Jared-4 (sub ministerial).

He's got the whole world on his bum.

On top of that, there are various other hierarchical distinctions all denoted by colour and design. Inexplicably someone thought it wise to give journalists a level two badge (for access) but under closer scrutiny the lack of a hologram, (and their crepe-soled shoes) outs them as the enemy. Also everyone is aware that angry reporters are hounding the CEO of Pfizer with questions about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine that his company disseminated, and from which he personally made millions. Purportedly those were un-credentialed reporters who stalked him outside the secure perimeter but still, rather scary for those of us who consider Davos our safe space. 

I was just going through my calendar when the phone rang, and I tipped my coffee cup into my lap. UGH! So much to deal with on top of not having an assistant this year. The reason, of course, is all the extra rooms being taken up by the now well-documented invasion of the body snatchers. It was, of course, my father. Swapping my now coffee-stained hotel robe for the clean one hanging in the bathroom, I picked up: 

'Jennifer, have you seen the keys to my roadster.'

‘They aren’t in the car?’ I asked.

‘Clearly not’. He huffed. ‘Any thoughts whatsoever?’

‘Can you try the counter in my bathroom? The front pocket of my rucksack?’ Over the phone I could hear daddy clomping up the steps of my childhood home in St John’s Wood. I felt bad but he knows my Tesla is in California. ‘OH WAIT…I drove to Canary Wharf!’ I said, ‘Look in a small pink quilted-bag in my closet’ I said.

‘Wait…you DROVE to Canary Wharf? When the brand new Jubilee Line runs every five minutes and takes you right there in less time? Daddy asked, incredulous. '

Yeah, she blends.

Daddy, please! I’m at Davos!’ I said.

‘Of course you are’. He said. ‘How’s it going?'

‘Well not great’ I said, ‘I don’t have an assistant and I got stuck in an ecosystem discussion… I mean it said ecosystem but it was about an EU-wide healthcare ecosystem’.

‘Which will end global warming?’

‘No Daddy, it sounds like an expanded network to track vaccines and tests, but it will save money’.

‘Fascinating. Nothing like creating a massive new agency to save money’.

‘Well… it will also hold our x-rays and things’ I said, quickly wishing I hadn’t. Yes, the number of times I’d found myself in Anacapri wondering when my last cat scan was—was never. 'So, Daddy, any suggestions before you go?’

‘Yes. Maybe ship your car here if you’re never going back to California’.

UGH! He knows I don’t want to talk about that. I refused to engage and waited.

‘I have one idea…’ he said, ‘Why not be a jobs creator, a true innovator, why not find an assistant among the ranks of those leggy Russians who are likely free during the day anyway?’ 

Why is this man smiling?

This wasn’t the worst idea actually. They all had access badges. And hotel rooms! But obviously—no. ‘Anything else?’ I asked.

‘Well, given the level of clients you generally attract, why not help out that poor Albert Bourla, the press won’t let up on his worthless vaccine, it seems he’s ambushed every time he returns to his hotel. But he can very well sleep in his plane and its parked in an even more secure area. Heck he can even finish up his meetings there’.

It was genius actually. And a perfect solution to his problem. I would suggest it and more. Finally something to look forward to instead of another day of endless panels, whilst waiting for the parties to start.

I hated being grumpy but the mood was different this year… less urgency, more part of a process. And the larger media outlets were only quoting the VIP’s with whom they’d struck deals in exchange for attendance at their events. It was kind of like going to the Golden Globes, the powers that be already knew which stars and scripts they were going to fête, so from the ramp-up to the telecast, the pecking order was already decided down to the last detail. From seating placement, to who was getting Gregory Arlt to do their make-up, no one drove past the congratulatory billboards along the route to the Beverly Hilton wondering if they would go home with an award or not.

This of course wasn’t bad news for me. My clients were always the A-listers in the ecosphere. It’s why Daddy called my biggest client ‘The Green Baron’ and why there was no Greta sideshow on my watch. But the Pfizer CEO was not yet my client and this was about to change. Question was, where to find him while he was in stealth mode?

Aha! That was it. Those other stealth-savvy attendees would know. Oh hello girls! Have I got a job for you.

The 'Climate Emergency' Is Not Our Problem

Responses to the fantasy of a “climate emergency” grow crazier each year. It becomes more difficult to separate government programs from money laundering to the green lobby in it for themselves. International non-governmental organizations also have decided, somehow – and not through any popular vote or initiative – to collect and spend other people’s money (otherwise known as “other people’s labor”) in ways with which those other people may not agree and may not be happy, or willing, to support. The latest tyrannical idea, the "Fifteen Minute city," imprisoning us all within 15 minutes of our homes, is gaining favor amongst Western intelligentsia and will be coming to us (not to them!) soon.

Late in 2022, the U.N. decided that industrial, capitalistic (Western) nations must spend a few trillion dollars more, per year, bailing out poorer nations, many, if not most, of which reject both industrialization and capitalism. Which is why they are poor. President Biden offered Indonesia $20 billion for the climate scam. Why? To close their coal plants because the “rising” seas may become problematic. Even if that is true, why does that mean they need the fruits of our labor? America giving Indonesia money is just our providing labor and moving that labor to them with money, right? I don't work for Indonesia.

Happy New Year from Indonesia!

Let’s look at the numbers: Indonesia is a G20 member nation, with a Quality of Life score of 96.85, ranking #75 on their scale. While this is below the United States (#19), Indonesia outranks America in Safety (54:52) and Cost of Living Index (32:70); Indonesia is a bit safer and has a far lower cost of living than America. With a working age (15-64) population of 189,363,580, (12/2022), Indonesia’s GDP is 15th-highest in the world, at $1.05 trillion USD, or $5,545 per person of working age. America’s GDP is highest in the world, at $20.89 trillion, with a working age population of 214,685,514, or $97,305 per person of working age.

Indonesia has 54,716 km of coastline. Evidently rising seas mean the United States needs to pay for some remediation. But if that’s the case, Canada, the nation with the world’s longest coastline at 243,042 km, would also need our aid. If Indonesia needs $365,524 per km of coastline, wouldn’t Canada need the same per km, or $88.9 billion?

Indonesia has 5,123 people per kilometer of coastline; Canada only 159. Indonesia, with 32 times as many people per kilometer of coastline, should be able to remediate the “problem” much more easily with their own labor than Canada with theirs.

None of this makes any sense when you get down to facts, even if the climate scam were real. Because we are being asked – demanded – to subsidize third world countries, it makes sense to look at their history and cultures: It now is our money they are spending, the results of the labor, education, and culture of our men and women, money we earn for our children, not those of some other country to be decided by some unaccountable, usually corrupt bureaucrats not of our choosing.

If we want to talk about rising seas, let's look at the Netherlands. They’ve been dealing with sea levels for some time while becoming the world's second-largest food exporter, something their 'green lobby' is about to end at an unknown cost in global starvation. Their culture allows them to deal with sea levels not in spite of, but because of their history and culture.

The Dutch know how to do it.

If we want to talk about living near a river or on a small island – move. The idea of upending modernity because a few, or a few million people don’t want to move would be comedic even if the Klimate Kult were correct—if we didn’t have politicians demanding we cover the cost.

Perhaps it makes sense to some to demonize modernity as the source of wealth one is demanding in order to subsidize those not participating in the amazing wealth-generating machine that pulled millions of people out of poverty over the past century, and to demand it be replaced with a non-capitalist system that has proven only to generate poverty and death. Isn’t that just eating the seed corn while burning down the farm? Yet that is exactly what is being proposed by the U.N. and the various “Green lobbies.”

The Industrial Revolution and the wealth it has created have occurred because we taught ourselves to fish. The U.N. is a democratic body in which all nations, rich and poor, successful and unsuccessful, vote to be given a fish. If those nations ever want to be independent and not require subsidy, they must learn to fish. Giving them fish, in the form of foreign aid, has been enormously destructive. Calling it “climate aid” will not change the outcomes.

“Aid” has in many places actually destroyed the possibility for sustained economic growth by driving local producers, especially farmers, out of business. Such was the case in Micronesia, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, Haiti, Guatemala, Kenya, and many other places.

Some experts believe that food “aid” to India “may have been responsible for millions of Indians starving” Other studies have shown that malnutrition in Bangladesh actually rose as food aid to that country increased. In practically every case, the influx of “aid” has been immediately followed by the emergence of a massive, unproductive, parasitic government bureaucracy whose very existence undercuts the recipients’ ability for sustained economic growth.

If our largess has been used so sub-optimally by receiving regimes, how are we to know that this new demand for another few trillion dollars will not be so abused, as well?

It makes sense to teach them to fish, which we have been doing for some time. Since 1960, America, alone, has distributed to other nations in foreign aid well over $1.5 trillion in non-Department of Defense aid. At some point, enough must be deemed enough. Will sending $20 billion more to Indonesia, or $2 trillion more to the U.N. be enough? How will we know? How will they?

How does the scam end… ever?

Best of 2022: 'The "Green" War on the Irish Nation' by Tom Finnerty

The year of Our Lord 2022 has been a good one for us here at The Pipeline, which has seen the launch of our weekly Substack column; the release of our first book, Against the Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra the New World Order; and the publication of a lot of excellent content from our wonderful group of contributors. As the year comes to its close, we thought we would spotlight some of our best work, chosen from our most clicked articles.

The 'Green' War on the Irish Nation

Tom Finnerty, 28 October, 2022

Conor Fitzgerald is one of the rare Irish political and cultural commentators who is consistently worth a read, and his latest Substack post is no exception. It is a lyrical meditation on the place of fire and the hearth in the Irish imagination, in the wake of the government's declaration of war against fireplaces and burning peat, the nation's traditional method of heating homes. Here's Fitzgerald:

The fire is a glowing thread you follow that leads you back into Deep Ireland. Past your parents and your grandparents. They tried to get Irish peasantry to bake bread during the famine but no one had an oven, only a fire. The oldest bodies that can be found on this island are not buried in tombs but under metres of peat, and are often discovered by Bord Na Mona [the state entity which oversees peat bog harvesting]. If humanity can have a Collective Unconscious -- a library of primordial images that everyone recognises without ever having learned them -- I don’t see why there can’t be regional branches of that library. The Fire is the central Jungian achetype of the Irish Collective Unconscious.

"Which is a shame," Fitzgerald continues, "because in the present day, changes to planning laws mean that open fireplaces will increasingly be a thing of the past, nostalgia be damned." He explains that government regulations (bearing all the fingerprints of our old friend Eamon Ryan, Green party leader, environment minister, and anti-Irish zealot) mandate that all new buildings in Ireland will need to pass rigorous energy efficiency standards, which serves as a de facto ban on fireplaces. Moreover, he says, "[s]ales of existing houses will also depend on energy efficiency ratings, meaning that existing fireplaces will be sealed/ bricked up," while "[t]he commercial sale of turf is to be banned, and Bord Na Mona’s peat harvesting is also being wound down for environmental reasons."

For those of you who don't know the country, the smell of the turf fire is one of the principal things that let's you know not only that you're in Ireland, but that you're home. You don't smell it inside the home, but outside, where it functions as a beacon and a signifier, reminding you where you are and how lucky you are to be there. There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

Apart from the sentimental aspects of the story, there are notable practical issues with these arbitrary and destructive diktats. The first is that Ireland, like the rest of the world, is being crushed under unprecedented heating and energy rates. Ireland's Electricity Supply Board has just this month increased residential gas rates by nearly 40 percent. With the war in Ukraine still raging and likely to continuing roiling global energy markets for the foreseeable future, does it make any sense at all to restrict a tried-and-true method of heating homes, and one which was the only source of heating when many Irish dwellings were built? Eastern Europeans, who have been spending days lining up for rationed coal and stockpiling timber as winter approaches, would probably be grateful for a natural resource like peat...