Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Hailing

London is filled with Americans. Nearly everywhere I turn I hear them as they shuttle between Harrods and Fortnum’s. I think they booked when the pound was down but frankly it’s nice to hear chatter that doesn’t involve a litany of complaints about the royal family when we are all clearly counting on King Charles to be the green-king he is poised to be. They do, however, ask about the future of Harry and Andrew—as if we know more than they can read in their papers. But the main thing I am noticing… they are taking up all the ride-hailing cars (Uber and Lyft). My wait time has increased exponentially, which has me grumbling on occasion.

‘Take my car!’ Daddy’s voice boomed from his study when he heard me complaining to my app, ‘You seem to think it’s a Zipcar anyway’, he muttered in half voice.

It’s not that often that I take his car! But of course he’s frustrated with me as I have a car, (and a house and a charging station) all set up in California but I just don’t feel like being there at the moment. Too scary, too depressing. So I called back, ‘Uber is an electric fleet, Daddy!’ Which elicited no response. Hmm.

Waiting for me back home in L.A.

I went outside to wait for my ride which wasn’t an electric one by the way. I looked up to see Daddy waving from his front-facing window. The car also wasn’t cool per my app settings either. Or quiet. In fact he had the windows open and some music playing. And he was on the phone. Then some small chat about where to take me (he wasn’t quite sure) and so he pulled over while three electric black cabs zoomed past.

I sorted the driver out, asked him to pull up the windows and sank back into my seat to research further. Seems one third of all London taxis are now electric, to only 13 percent of Uber’s fleet. More than double. Ugh! As I kept scrolling it became clear that asking to close the windows didn’t also clue the driver in to turning on the AC. Much in the same way that taking a job as a driver didn’t clue him in to the use of deodorant, so I quickly asked him to re-open the windows with me taking responsibility and apologising—so very British of me.

My destination was one of those labyrinthine sections of London which requires knowing where it is in order to reach it by car. I got dropped off where it clearly wasn’t.  With ankle straps cutting in on both of my legs and a permanent scuff on my new Mach & Mach heels I wasn’t in the best of moods for anyone’s art showing.

‘Looks like you need a drink’ the gallery girl said, and led me over to a group already sipping on champagne. ‘You missed the artist’ I was told by a gentleman who looked as though he had raided Gianni Agnelli’s closet.

‘Oh…well my driver…’ I said.

‘Driver? Sack him’, the gentleman said.

‘Well, he’s not exactly my… I mean, I took an Uber’, I said. 

‘Uber? WHY?’ he shot back.

‘Why?? Because I was hoping to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and…’ 

‘My dear… they are the mob! They pushed in, breaking every rule and once they got a market share—well THEN they said the people need us, and we have to stay’.

Waves of the future?

I hadn’t been prepared to defend Uber as 'not the mob'.  Environmental arguments I could make… this was something else. I made my way to the other end of the gallery and when I saw people slipping out for dinner I did the same.

I walked a couple of blocks to where I thought an Uber could find me but two drivers cancelled so I gave up and walked to Cecconi’s. It was mobbed. Not unlike their restaurant in West Hollywood but of course there, they knew me. I put on my best California accent but it was lost on the Italian hostess. Finally I just explained that I didn’t have a reservation, that I was a regular in West Hollywood, where we don’t walk except when hiking and certainly not in braided silver sandals, and would she please let me order a plate of pasta at the bar. She did, and I rewarded her with a Hollywood-style tip.

I was tired when finally I returned home and I didn’t have time to read so many conflicting facts so I asked Daddy to help me make the case for carbon pricing. ‘The conflict is that you are trying to make an argument for the wrong side’, he said.

'My SIDE is the environment, as you very well know, and therefore I have to be in favour of carbon pricing’. 

‘I see’, he said, ‘And there may be a time you can do that but at the moment… decarbonisation is a costly goal. And one nobody wants to pay for’.

‘I thought of that’, I said, ‘so instead of high visibility projects, we subsidise private sector, grant concessions, offer tax rebates… it’s a win-win'.

‘Uh, no Jennifer, it’s a lose-lose. You offer spreading the pain so that everyone pays. You can impose whatever you wish but the public still pays a price—whether in higher taxes, lower amenities, or a degraded environment, which is what you have now—congestion fees, higher fares, lesser service, and roads clogged up with ride-hails’.

‘It sounds bad—but then we just need more regulation.’

‘You HAD regulation—you had regulated black cabs, but then Uber bucked regulations, and now you have a choice of something that is not more affordable, or safer, or greener. And once they put the black cabs out of business do you imagine they will work cheaper out of the goodness of their hearts?’

‘So what now?’ I asked.

‘Well China has a plan. They are regulating their ride-hail services by taking over their apps… they erase out-of-favor companies from their maps, they lock dissidents from their cars, they control all routes… And voila! It’s a green choice!’

'Daddy!’

‘No matter… your plan is to tax people for not using mass transit, correct? So you’ll end up subsidising something that no one uses. Kind of like the bike lanes we have now.’

All this, plus Covid-free!

I was defeated. I knew the bike lanes were leading to more congestion and more pollution. And ride-hailing was proving to be worse for the environment than driving one’s own car. I opened my laptop to see if the cabbies union had an argument. Nada. Why was this?  Seems their union argued against them… claiming ‘drivers matter’ (as in all drivers matter) which meant a larger pool of members, more power in numbers, and as for the mob comment… they really had muscled in. I was nowhere.

I emerged from my pensive funk when I heard my father putting ice in the drinks trolley. ‘G&T?’ he asked.

‘Yes, please, and question… what to do? I’ve got nothing’.

‘Actually you’ve got another Greenpeace—'

‘—whom I abandoned because they were doing more harm than good'.

‘Precisely’. 

The penny dropped. 'So the black cab is my cause?’

‘Well', he said, raising a glass, 'there’s always organised crime’.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

On Tuesdays the garbage is collected in my neighborhood. Local apartment buildings make sure to put out their trash early. So when I walk my dog, we often pass large masses of see-through plastic trash bags, with their neatly sorted plastic contents, washed and bundled to be recycled. My neighbors are quite fastidious, as are their building superintendents. The effort to recycle takes significant time and effort, and no one skimps on it.

Different trucks pick up different types of trash, and take it to different places, naturally. This is expensive. But New York City has mandated recycling, to be environmentally correct, and help save the planet by re-using juice containers, water bottles, and all the rest of the plastic that holds stuff we want. But what if it turned out that this effort is entirely in vain? That it is a charade? A religious ritual to expiate the sin of consuming things in a wealthy, modern society?

It's great to feel great!

As a matter of fact, it does turn out that all this effort and expense amounts to nothing, environmentally. In a widely circulated paper released on October 24th, no less an authority on environmentalism than radical Greenpeace announced that recycling plastic is a total sham, of tiny value. There is no such thing as recycling most of that plastic.

U.S. households generated an estimated 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021, only 2.4 million tons of which was recycled. The report also finds that no type of plastic packaging in the U.S. meets the definition of recyclable used by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy (EMF NPE) Initiative. Plastic recycling was estimated to have declined to about 5–6% in 2021, down from a high of 9.5% in 2014 and 8.7% in 2018. At that time, the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled even though much of it was burned or dumped.

The report finds that actual plastic recycling is down from a 2014 high of 9.5 percent to a 2021 low of 5-6 percent. Most of that plastic is “recycled” in China, and other poor Asian countries, to which we export it, at great cost. We pay them to recycle it, and we have no idea what they actually do with it. In fact, Greenpeace reports, most of it is dumped, though it is “counted” as recycled. For a lot less taxpayer money we could put it in landfills right here.

This long overdue, honest discussion of just what happens to this expensive garbage notes that the reason for these realities, is that most plastic is simply not recyclable. Lisa Ramsden, Greenpeace’s head of plastics, writes, “But the data is clear: practically speaking, most plastic is just not recyclable.” More specifically, the report tells us: “Mechanical and chemical recycling of plastic waste has largely failed and will always fail because plastic waste is: (1) extremely difficult to collect, (2) virtually impossible to sort for recycling, (3) environmentally harmful to reprocess, (4) often made of and contaminated by toxic materials, and (5) not economical to recycle.”

One wonders how long it will take the environmental consortium of do-gooders and politicians to fess up to this reality? When will school children cease being indoctrinated about the magic of plastic recycling? When will homeowners be absolved of having to separate their trash?

Get 'em while they're young.

Of course, Greenpeace wants us to switch to some other approach. But the point is, we have been lied to, and snookered into washing throwaway bottles that end up in third world dumps, for going on three decades now. This exercise has literally cost us hundreds of billions of dollars for pure virtue signaling. Knowing this, how seriously can you take the next demand?

The next demand, as it happens, is to give up using plastic. Ms. Ramsden exhorts us, “We are at a decision point on plastic pollution. It is time for corporations to turn off the plastic tap. Instead of continuing to greenwash and mislead the American public, industry should stand on the right side of history this November and support an ambitious Global Plastics Treaty that will finally end the age of plastic by significantly decreasing production and increasing refill and reuse.”

In the world that normal people inhabit, plastic containers and wrapping are valuable because they're so very useful. Being able to grab a plastic bottle of water—and to throw it out when you’ve finished with it—is a major convenience. Having grocery stores wrap vegetables and meat in cellophane allows consumers to see what they’re buying, and to transport and store them without leakage. These are not small benefits.

When New Yorkers were forced to give up plastic bags for paper or cloth at stores, the cost was steep. Both paper and cloth, it turns out, are more expensive to manufacture, and leave a larger “carbon footprint,” than the thin plastic formerly in use. Cloth bags, which are theoretically reusable, become vectors for bacteria because no one ever washes them. The plastic bottles that our drugstore items come in—what will replace that? Glass? For better or worse, we depend on plastic for many things.

Meanwhile, we await the next round of truth telling from enviros, about what else they’re making us do that is meaningless. Covid masks, anyone? 

Concerning the Great Elec-Trick

The next time you hear about a proposed measure that promises to lower greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons per year, consider the following response: “so what?” Many of us grow up thinking that “millions” represents a massive amount of whatever it is we’re counting. The tyranny of millions is a powerful tool when placed in the hands of the PR professionals who push climate change and other environmentally driven agendas.

Replacing incandescent lightbulbs in the United States with LEDs and other technologies that were more energy efficient was supposed to fight climate change by reducing electrical consumption and thus reducing the amount of fossil-fuel electricity generated and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel combustion. I doubt the actual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with this program was in the millions on a net basis, since incandescent bulbs generated measurable and useful heat the LEDs do not. But it really doesn’t matter, because when you’re dealing with emissions in the billions of tons per year, a million tons here or there is hardly a blip on the radar.

We’re at the same point with the latest panacea: electric vehicles. Like LED light-bulbs, electrics will save the planet, at least according to dopey reporters and politicians. It’s a toss up whether electric vehicles are a net environmental benefit, however one feels about the "climate change" issue. You have to draw some pretty small boxes in order to make the case.  One box must encompass the electric vehicle alone, specifically its lack of a tailpipe. Without a tailpipe environmentalists can congratulate themselves for not directly introducing any air pollutants into the environment whilst cruising about town. The fact that the ultimate source of the energy involves a lot of fossil fuel combustion seems not to matter, or at least not nearly so much as it mattered during the Great Light Bulb Reformation.

Halfway there.

Nor does the tiny box consider all of the other environmental consequences associate with going electric. This includes items such as the cost of mining and refining the metals needed to make high capacity batteries, the amount of energy needed to do so, and the difficulty of disposing of the batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.

Embracing electric vehicles also necessitates a fanatical belief that unilateral action by America can significantly influence the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We cannot. Moving to electric vehicles, as it appears we are determined to do, will have no measurable effect on global greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve reduced so much that further reductions hardly matter. The future use of fossil fuels and the effect of their use on the environment is a discussion that involves China and India alone. Everyone else is merely a bystander.

For example, the once sane state of California recently passed a law that will ban the sale of gasoline powered vehicles within its borders starting in 2035. The California Air Resources Board praised the measure, saying “the proposal will substantially reduce air pollutants that threaten public health and cause climate change.” What exactly constitutes “substantial” reductions? After poking about the Energy Information Administration (EIA) a bit, it appears that making California all electric is pretty inconsequential from an environmental point of view, even if it can be done, which is very doubtful.

The law does not outlaw driving gasoline powered vehicles in the state, it merely bans their sales within the state. Like most draconian measures it’s unlikely that the ban will do much to change the mix of vehicles on the road, it will merely shift where people who chose to drive gasoline powered vehicles purchase them. Automobile dealerships in Oregon, Nevada and Arizona ought to send thank you notes to Sacramento.

While recognizing the implausibility of eliminating use of the internal combustion engine in California, it’s interesting to examine what would happen if such a thing were possible. First of all, California would need to come up with more power – a lot more power. According to EIA data the state consumes about 2,625 trillion Btu of energy annually producing electricity. Motor vehicles consume an additional 1,465 trillion Btu of energy from gasoline. If one is not using gasoline, the energy has to come from somewhere. The 1,465 trillion Btu represents around 21,000 megawatts of electrical generating capacity that would have to be added to the grid. That’s about as much energy as a mid-sized state like Illinois requires on a typical summer day.

Gonna need a lot more of these things.

Currently, wind and solar power represent about 20 percent of California’s energy portfolio, generating about 7,000 megawatts on average. If all the additional electrical demand is to be met by wind and solar, they would have to quadruple that portion of their portfolio. Possible? Maybe. Expensive? More and more eyesores? More and more bird strikes? More and more rolling blackouts? You bet.

Would the woke "sustainable" fantasy save planet Earth? Ignoring the fact that building and operating all those windmills and solar farms involves the use of fossil fuels, and also ignoring the fact that you’d have to have fossil-fired backup power because neither wind nor sunlight are reliable energy sources, you get a theoretical carbon dioxide emissions reduction of about 24 million tons per year.

Sure, 24 million tons sounds like a big number, but it’s really not. That’s about as much China emits every 12 hours. Or to look at it another way, given that global carbon dioxide emissions are about 36 billion tons per year, California’s fantasy would reduce that number by about 0.03 percent.

The simple fact is that if you really think we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s all about China. America could reduce her greenhouse gas emissions to zero and the amount of carbon dioxide would still continue to increase based on China’s past and projected rate of growth. Did you know, for example, that last year world wide coal consumption hit an all-time high? That didn’t happen because of coal-fired power plants in the United States. Our coal fired generation capacity continues to dwindle. The bulk of the coal is going to China and, to a lesser extent, India.

But we are talking California, so solving a make-believe problem using a pretend solution shouldn’t surprise anyone. As far as environmental policies go, California remains Fantasyland, and Tinkerbell rules.

Rishi Sunak: the Worm Turns

Writing a few days ago on Britain's new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, this author expressed some hope that his decision to reimpose a nationwide ban on fracking (a ban which Sunak had opposed when standing for leader, it should be noted), "was merely Sunak recognizing the reality on the ground, which is that fracking isn't particularly popular among elected MPs," and suggested this objectively bad decision would be offset by other, saner resource sector tweaks. Sunak himself argued that the platform the party was elected on in 2019 promised a fracking ban, and he felt bound to respect that. Fair enough.

But now Sunak has deflated those hopes. After saying on several occasions that he had no intention of attending this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (known as COP27), Sunak has once again changed course, and while spouted hackneyed warmist jibberish to boot:

Sure, Rishi, all of human prosperity depends upon the rich-and-powerful flying their private jets to Egypt to sit around in air conditioned rooms talking about how important you all are.

Sunak's elevation has been widely touted as a return to "grown-up" governance. But, as the British journalist Ben Sixsmith points out in a piece about Sunak, to call a major politician "a grown-up" is to damn him with faint praise. "Grown-up" in politics, Sixsmith argues, is a codeword for someone who makes journalists feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They invariably wear nice suits, have sensible haircuts, and speak fluidly and confidently when a microphone is in their face. What they say is of little importance.

This writer is less certain on that last point. To me, the title "grown-up" is bestowed by the media upon those who have promised not to offend elite sensibilities on any important topic. It isn't a partisan designation -- there are plenty of ostensibly right-of-center figures who have been so complimented, with George Bush the elder, John McCain, and Mitt Romney being standouts in this category. Of course, it is worth mentioning that ultimately losing elections is what allowed those three to maintain their "grown-up" status.

This is something Rishi should probably take note of as he begins his Green-ward turn. Meanwhile, his change-of-heart is winning praise from all of the wrong people in British life. For instance:

Funny how the Strange New Respect a move like this inspires can't even sustain itself for the life of an entire tweet.

The Coming Struggle to Stay Warm

One of the first columns I wrote for The Pipeline almost three years ago employed the metaphor of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object to forecast the likely consequences of Green politics. The irresistible force was the imposition of a policy of Net-Zero carbon emissions upon the populations of the West, in particular those of Anglosphere, and the immovable object was the democratic electorates of these countries.

It might take time, I argued, but when the voters found that Green Deals and such meant higher energy prices, higher taxes, immiseration of the less well-off, and harshly puritan lifestyles for the rest of us, an almighty smash-up would ensue.

And so it has. Indeed, the smash-up has come sooner than I expected, namely this year, and it will almost certainly be harsher because the negative impact of Net-Zero has been aggravated by the Russo-Ukraine war and sanctions adopted by the U.S. and the E.U. in response to it.

To stop train, pull handle. But think first.

What I didn’t expect, however, is that the smash-up would take place in slow-motion. But that is what’s happening.

Almost wherever you look, there’s some not-very-important story that tips you off to a subterranean explosion whose full impact won’t be properly felt for a while. The effect is something like the delayed impact of depth charges or deadpan jokes.

Here, for instance, is the London Daily Telegraph telling us that the Brits will be wearing new styles of underwear this winter—and not because they’re hoping for a more exotic sex-life:

Households are stockpiling thermal underwear to avoid turning on the heating this winter as energy bills spiral. John Lewis, Britain’s biggest department store chain, said shoppers had rushed to buy warmer clothes in recent weeks, with sales of winter thermals having doubled last week compared to a week earlier. Sales of dressing gowns are up 76pc compared to last year.

That’s the precautionary principle reduced to the bare essentials. Like everyone else in the northern hemisphere, ordinary Brits are expecting a chilly winter this year because of the following factors (which didn't start with Mr. Putin’s war); Like most Western governments, the U.K. powers-that-be have neglected to invest enough in energy security because they quite consciously preferred to invest in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy. That is the orthodoxy of Net-Zero (sometimes enforced by treaties) in E.U. countries such as Germany, non-E.U. countries like Britain, and the U.S.

It’s a massive enterprise because until recently fossil fuels provided more than 85 percent of total energy to even the most technically advanced economies. In pursuit of this vision of a future of all-renewable energy, Germany has shut down almost all its nuclear power stations, keeps equivocating over whether the shut down the few remaining ones, and ends up relying on “dirty coal” now that cheap Russian energy is as unreliable as "renewables."

California, dreaming...

Over the Pond the Biden administration has been refusing to license oil-and-gas explorations on federal land with the embarrassing result that it has to import oil from Venezuela. And the U.K. government too has banned “fracking” that would exploit the nation's plentiful reserves of natural gas. As a result almost all of these countries are facing the risk of energy shortfalls to the point at which energy “blackouts” and rationing are seriously entertained by utilities and regulators if the winter is severe. California too.

Moreover, the costs of transitioning to renewables are not only high, they are rising. The International Energy Agency has just revised its estimate of the investment needed to limit global temperatures to meet the Net-Zero target under the Paris Accords upwards. That will now rise from the 390 billion dollars annually today to 1.3 trillion dollars a year between now and 2030. If met, those targets would eliminate emissions from the energy sector by 2035 in the advanced world and by 2040 in developing countries. But they are unlikely to be met. On present trends Net-Zero won’t be achieved until 2060—and present trends look too optimistic in the light of the present energy crisis.

The upshot of which is that almost all the West’s governments face slightly different versions of two serious problems: uncertain energy supplies, and existing high indebtedness.

Take energy supplies first. Germany is facing a serious crisis of its fundamental economic model in the post-Ukraine world, Its two foundations were exporting cars to China and importing cheap energy from Russia. For the foreseeable future, neither now looks like a reliable prospect or even a possible one. Berlin must now struggle to replace the Russian energy half-forbidden by the sanctions it supports diplomatically.

Artifacts of an ancient civilization, if Greens get their way.

Similarly, because Britain neglected nuclear investment—its target of 25 percent of energy from nuclear power stations will be reached in 2050!—the country is heavily dependent on imported natural gas which it needs to solve the renewables’ “intermittency problem”: there are days when the wind doesn’t blow nor the sun shine. As Andrew Stuttaford points out, that makes the earlier decision of the U.K. government to close down its biggest natural gas storage capacity an especially shortsighted one. Even the French, who sensibly went nuclear in a big way in the 1970s, now have to spend on repairs and modernization.

What of the second aspect of the crisis: overspending? Two sorts of spending need to be financed here—that for Net-Zero, and that to finance the energy security national governments have neglected. Unfortunately, however necessary they are, they come on top of the massive sums of money that the same governments have already spent during the Covid-19 pandemic on locking down their economies and paying their people to stay at home. That backlog of indebtedness explains why the financial markets are becoming nervous of lending money to governments that don’t make financial responsibility their top priority. Interest rates are rising again in response to rising inflation, and that's a problem for governments that want to borrow money.

We saw that very recently when the British government fell because the markets thought it was adopting a cavalier attitude to debt. That impression was both exaggerated--the U.K.’s national debt as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in Europe--and largely the result of rash but trivial political misjudgments by ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. All the same, the market brought them down because they were planning to add to an already high total of government spending.

Long johns, here we come.

When that happens, every spending program becomes the enemy of every other program. If restoring energy security becomes a priority for governments, then spending on Net-Zero will—and should—come under pressure. After all, Britain's short financial crisis became a political one in part because it was leading to a rise in mortgage payments. Like rising sales of warm thermal underwear, rising mortgage payments are another symptom of the price that the Brits will be paying for ill-judged energy policies. Voters' shoes are beginning to pinch; the immovable object is beginning to stiffen.

Of course, the irresistible force (in the form of support for Net-Zero from an alliance of the establishment and radical Green anarchists) has neither vanished nor much diminished. At almost every stage it has objected to policies that looked likely to prioritize energy security over the transition to renewables. With the arrival of a new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, it has been flexing its muscles to warn him that it will tolerate no lifting of the ban on fracking that the doomed Liz Truss tried to bring about. Net-Zero is an obstruction to restoring the energy security that it undermined in the first place. The circle closes.

My impression is that Sunak is taking his time to assess what Leonid Brezhnev used to call “the correlation of forces.” On the one hand, he has said that he will keep the ban on fracking unless evidence appears that suggests it is not dangerous to the environment; on the other, he has decided not to attend the U.N.’s COP 27 Climate Summit on the grounds that, in effect, he’s got more important things to do in London. My translation: he doesn’t want to attend and be trapped into making commitments on Net-Zero that might later be inconvenient to his overall energy and budgetary policies.

He may also think that Winter when the snow falls and Britain’s bedrooms freeze will be time also when the irresistible force of Net-Zero becomes much less irresistible and the immovable object of voter resistance much more resistant. And irremovable.

The 'Green' War on the Irish Nation

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.

The second is that Ireland is in the midst of a housing crisis. For a sense of its scale, Michael Brendan Dougherty recently wrote that "A few weeks ago, in a country of nearly 5 million people, there were only 716 available rental vacancies." There are several overlapping reasons for the shortage, including the slow recovery of the construction industry following the end of the Celtic Tiger; mass immigration and refugee resettlement (Ireland has accepted more than twice as many Ukrainian refugees as France, despite France's population being ten times that of Ireland); and land-use regulations that inflate the cost of buying and building on land.

The government's responses to the shortage have served to aggravate the problem. For example, Dougherty points to "subsidies for first time buyers, which are immediately priced into the market and recouped by owners as profits." For another, the Irish Green Building Council has declared that the nation must "limit home-building to just 21,000 units a year to meet climate targets." And now we have these regulations requiring "energy efficiency ratings" which will restrict peoples' ability to put their own homes on the market without plugging up their perfectly serviceable fireplace. This is madness.

Still, Fitzgerald's nostalgic appeal shouldn't be overwhelmed by these utilitarian considerations. Eamon Ryan—who only got his ministerial job because Ireland's two main parties needed a "partner" to hold their coalition together—and the government he dominates from a distinctly minority position as the leader of a party that got 7 percent of the vote in the last election are chipping away at "the people’s sense of orientation, uniqueness and familiarity and replacing it with nothing."

Eamon Ryan, "green" on the outside, red on the inside.

What Ryan is trying to do, and so far succeeding, is destroy Ireland as an independent nation-state with a long national history of suffering under foreign occupation and a culture worth preserving, being proud of, and fighting for. He is a tool of Brussels, and one of the most dangerous men in Irish history.

The word "nostalgia" refers to a "longing for home," and it is exactly this longing that has ensured Ireland's outsized influence on western culture. Due to the country's centuries of diaspora, Americans especially have tended to associate Ireland with home. John Ford's The Quiet Man -- where a taciturn American returns to his Irish birthplace to buy his parents' cottage and marry a beautiful, short-tempered red-head -- is a classic example. And that, in turn, has had an outsized influence on Ireland's gross domestic product. In 2019, the last full year before Covid-19 rocked the industry, tourism generated $14.81 billion for the Irish economy.

But how can that "longing for home" exist without hominess? How can Ireland's reputation for warmth survive without the hearth? How can Ireland sell nostalgia for their ancestors' "native peat," if burning peat is a thing of the past? In short, if the attacks on Irish distinctiveness discussed above and in our previous piece about the war on Irish cattle are allowed to continue, why would anyone want to go there?

These are questions the present government doesn't want you asking because, almost to a man, they hate their heritage, their culture, and their hard-won country. At least Gypo Nolan, the traitor in Liam O'Flaherty's novel and John Ford's classic 1935 film, had a reason for his treachery. What's Eamon Ryan's?

America 2022: Threat Level, Critical

When threats reach a scale that cannot readily be processed, lethargy sets in. People begin to reject investigating calamities so big they cannot understand them, problems so large and so broad that even admitting their existence collapses the senses, and with them any idea, plan, or nascent strategy of dealing with the threat. It is far easier to just accept whatever it is the "experts" are saying and go along with the crowd.

People give up and accept whatever they are told by those holding the threat over their heads. They pretend it will all be over soon, and jump on the collectivist virtue bandwagon, the bandwagon that crushed 100,000,000 human beings last century. Because these issues are so big, and our reliance on experts so complete, we wind up in messes like the ones in which we find ourselves today. When individual status is based on getting along, critical thinking vanishes and society goes along, regardless of the consequences.

Hi! My name's Herbert.

We have at least three of these threats hanging over our heads across the West today as the Baby Boomer “Summer of Love” Marcusian cohort of 1967 ages off history’s stage. Having as their life’s goal the destruction of America, the evil half of the Boomers will not go gently into that good night. Their aging explains the acceleration of the attacks on our freedom and our families of the past several years, and why these attacks on what we and millennia of our common forebears see as fundamental rights will continue to accelerate.

The three principal threats we face now are: the hoax of "climate change"; the manmade bioweapon of Covid-19 and its accompanying, perhaps even more lethal "vaccine"; and virulent, Democrat racism being used to attack both private and public sectors of society, our education, and the military. All are existential threats to freedoms and liberties that only exist in the West, and against which these threats have been created to extinguish.

These made-up crises have one goal, a goal that is a threat so big most seem unable or unwilling to process it: the destruction of the Western middle class: our liberty, freedom, prosperity and the futures of our children, Covid was a bad flu to older people and a minor flu to younger, there is no “anthro” in "climate change," and America is the least-racist society in history. Marxism is the goal of Western elites; they have neither time nor interest in those of us making the world go. We are today's Kulaks. Our mere presence is anathema to them, mucking-up their plans and authoritarian demands.

Each of these crises is based on a lie. Take "climate change." Even the U.N. is honest about its goal:

We redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore.

The middle class wants freedom, liberty, law and to live our lives with the fruit of our own labor. The rulers cannot have this, just as they cannot have us point out that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Brix have no clothes and that their “vaccine” for a pathogen that escaped from their labs is increasing infection rates wherever it goes, or that not one single un-corrupted global temperature data set supports the fantasy of “Climate Change.”

We are not going to agree that 2+2=5. Ever. They cannot allow this. Getting us to say “five” is behind these crises, as it is behind the most-expensive-and-under-prosecuted riots in our history, behind the idiocy of the unnecessary war in Ukraine, and behind the coming Ukraine-war-driven destruction of global food supplies and of the dollar as the global reserve currency. Think inflation is bad now?

The Netherlands and Canada seem intent on replicating the Holodomor, and it's coming next to America. Predictably millions will die at the hands of collectivist leadership, just as the last time. Leftists never learn; more accurately, they learn to kill better next time. Stalin only murdered 34-49 million people in the 1930s; 30 years later, Mao murdered 80,000,000. What will be the Reaper’s toll from Davos Man?

Against the Great Reset

Read it and prepare for the worst.

As for Covid? Requiring a “vaccine” that, somehow, was patented ten days after the Covid genome was sequenced for the first time, a “vaccine” that prevents neither infection nor transmission, but that global data show reduces natural immunity across-the-board, that may be killing in huge numbers, and that destroys fertility, would seem to normal people to be counterproductive: 2+2=4, always and forever.

Those not starved to-death in the Third World by our rulers via ineffective and "more harm than good" Covid lockdowns and by the destruction of global food supplies for "climate change" amelioration will be far more docile than those of us in the West who, uniquely among global cultures, outlawed forced labor centuries ago. Which is why they are vaxxing us, and not them.

A fourth crisis, in fact, exists. Yet another threat so big that just conceptualizing it is problematic. And that is the fact of these elites, rulers and governments, themselves.

We will never give them their “5.” In America, we will not give them trucker strikes and manure sprays. Perhaps America’s destroyers will not give us our very own Holodomor because, we, alone among nations, have the ability, the means and the temperament to fight back.

In the face of the largest communist empire in history—so far—an empire dedicated to destroying family, religion, freedom, liberty, law, prosperity – sound familiar? – one man stood firm. He wrote:

I dare hope that all the peoples who have lived through communism will understand that communism is to blame for the bitter pages of their history.

And:

When one is already on the edge of the grave, why not resist?

That man was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who knew a thing or two or four about communism.

What does 2+2 equal in your calculations?

 

 

We've Met the Enemy, and He's a Flaming Idiot

Before Roger Federer’s final tennis match at London's O2 Arena recently, an "environmentalist" ran onto the court and set his arm on fire, apparently to protest the private jets some of the competitors had taken to the event. The New York Times' understated report hints at the humor of what happened next: "The protester appeared to immediately regret the decision to set fire to himself, and quickly put out the flames with his left hand while a small fire burned on the court next to him."

As protests go, this one was pretty underwhelming. Thich Quang Duc he ain't. And its effect on "climate change" was negligible, except for the added carbon in the atmosphere from his flaming forearm.

'Save the Planet? Are You Effing Kidding Me?

Here's a video that's worth a watch, from back when comedians didn't all read from the same tired script. George Carlin was one of the greatest standup comics of all time and, like so many of the best, he was at heart an anarchic libertarian—which of course today would make him a right-wing nut. Enjoy!

"I'm tired of bleeping Earth day, I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists. White bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there not enough bicycle paths. Besides, they don't care about the planet... There is nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are BLEEP! The planet isn't going anywhere. We are."

'We Stand by the Modeling'

The Australian Labor Government, in office since May 23, is pinning its hopes and our very future on its plan: “Powering Australia.” Worried? Don’t be. It’s backed by modelling:

A Labor Government will close the yawning gap between our current Federal Government and our business community, agricultural sector and state governments when it comes to investing in the renewables that will power our future. Our plan will create 604,000 jobs, with 5 out of 6 new jobs to be created in the regions. It will spur $76 billion of investment. It will cut power bills for families and businesses by $275 a year for homes by 2025, compared to today.

Read all about it:

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Recently, Chris Bowen, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy; or, as I like to put it, the minister for a contradiction in terms, was asked about the predicted $275 reduction in power bills for families. What did “today” mean he was asked. Is it literally today, which successive tomorrows will soon enough become, or is it when the plan was published before the election. A good question. Since the election power bills have risen by about 15 to 20 percent; by, roughly speaking, $275.

Eventually, after much pressing, Bowen and the government stuck to the prediction. Apparently, the prediction fell out of modelling and there is no gainsaying modelling. Here’s Anthony Albanese (Albo), the Prime Minister, in Parliament on 6 September. Overlook the tortured syntax.

I've said absolutely consistently from this dispatch box… that we stand by the modelling that we did… And what the modelling showed was that with our plan, which includes Rewiring the Nation, making sure that you make the grid 21st-century ready, if you actually enable renewables to fit into the energy grid through the integrated systems plan that's been developed by the Australian Energy Market Operator then what you will do is promote investment in renewables, which are the cheapest form of energy.

Ah, “we stand by the modelling.” Statistical modelling of the future. Something for which failure is endemic. Psychics do better. Thus, no economics model predicted the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. Hysterical morbidity modelling of the virus armed authoritarians. Kept people locked away, masked, forcibly injected with experimental substances. And, as everyone should know but doesn’t, climate models have performed abjectly; e.g., in falsely predicting increases in extreme weather events. (See, for confirmation, this recent study in The European Physical Journal Plus.)

Some Australians prefer other models.

Models and complex reality occupy different universes. So why Albo’s touching faith in modelling renewables? To be clear. It’s not informed faith. It’s blind faith.

Once you set out your stall to achieve net-zero and announce the steps along the way, including an untenable promise to deliver 82 percent of electricity by renewables by 2030, realism is defenestrated. The imperative becomes how to make the infeasible feasible. Saviour required. Namely, modelling which says it can be done. Better still modelling which says it can be done more cheaply. What a turnup! Show me the wanted outcome (cheap and abundant green energy) and I’ll show you the model.

Mind you, the modelling itself might be logically sound. Assume nine times the current number of wind and solar farms are built on time. Assume rooftop solar grows by five times. Assume 10,000 kilometres of new transmission lines are built. Assume, sufficient recharging points are installed and that electric vehicles wholly replace gasoline-powered vehicles. Assume adequate ‘firming’ can be achieved via batteries, pumped hydro and green hydrogen. Assume a specific growth in energy efficiency. Assume carbon dioxide abatement makes up for greenhouse gas emissions which can’t be eliminated.

Basically, you have the integrated systems plan issued in June by the Australian Energy Market Operator. I reckon if these assumptions were plugged into any purpose-built model, the right answer, net-zero by 2050, would pop out. Any problem; fiddle with the assumptions. Plug in more wind farms for example. Assume greater energy efficiency. Pump up the average wind speed a little. Reduce future demand for power. Remember, in the end result, unless net zero pops out, you ain’t got nothing politically sellable.

Okay, but how do you make power cheaper? I admit, that part has me completely flummoxed; though not the prime minister, as I note below. Battery costs are rising. Materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel are getting progressively more expensive to extract. The costs of building Snowy 2, the only major pumped hydro project afoot in Australia, have sky rocketed by five times and counting. The costs of building transmission lines, still at a preliminary stage, have soared. To boot, no one wants wind and solar farms and transmission lines in their backyards. Maybe they can be paid off? Then there’s the dream of green hydrogen. Desalination plants to produce sufficient pure water; multiple electrolysis plants driven by huge wind and solar farms; plants to convert volatile hydrogen into ammonia for safe transport, and to change it back. At a guess, might cost a dollar or two.

Just pump up the average windspeed a little.

However, Australia’s prime minister occupies an uncomplicated world. As he says: “if you have a shift in the energy mix towards cheaper energy [renewables], as opposed to more expensive energy, then you lower energy prices.” Compelling modelling logic. To reiterate, cheaper energy is cheaper than more expensive energy. No wonder he became PM.

Alas, Australia’s make-believe modelling world is not reflective of real life elsewhere. In Germany, for example, electricity prices trended upwards during the 2010s, notwithstanding Energiewende. A study out of the University of Chicago shows that U.S. states which adopted “renewable portfolio standards” had higher electricity prices than those states which did not. As the authors point out, the higher prices likely reflect costs that renewables impose on the generation system due to their “intermittency” and “higher transmission costs.” Quite so. But this is mere prelude to the brave much greener world ahead.

According to EIA figures, wind and solar accounted for just 12 percent of electricity generation in the U.S. in 2021. Australia is higher at 22 percent. But, vitally, in both countries fossil fuel power is strongly in the mix—61 percent in the U.S. (plus 19 percent nuclear) and 72 percent in Australia. It can still backup intermittent sources of power. Watch out when the balance tips a little further. Coming to your neighbourhood fairly soon: unaffordable electricity, blackouts and, inevitably, authoritarian diktats. Verboten, home heating above 61°F. VIPs excepted of course. To everyone according to their needs.