The 'Climate Change' Casino—and the Risks Thereof

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What risk? The science is settled!

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

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

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

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

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Electrifying

Oh California what are you doing to me? I don’t like that I’m getting caught in what is obviously a war between Elon Musk and Governor Newsom, and in the meantime our planet suffers.

Truth be told, I’ve been away from my home in Los Angeles for a bit. Okay, pretty much since the beginning of the pandemic, but they’ve not made it easy for me. In early 2020 there was the confusion of different quarantine rules for different counties (some of them forced and scary), but mostly it was the very unpleasant phone call to Los Angeles County who said, ‘It will be up to the officer’ so I decided not to leave the airport terminal and hopped a plane to Hawaii.

But today I’m finding that owning (and neglecting) my Tesla is kind of a lot of work. In the first few months when I couldn’t get back to the States anyway I shut off notifications on my phone. Yes, I know that was dumb but who needs to be reminded that you are helpless and failing on a daily basis? And in two month’s time my car ran completely dry. So even when I got someone to go there, it was in ‘hibernation', and he couldn’t even open the door.

And optional accessory.

The second attempt to ‘wake up’ the vehicle required the combined efforts of my housekeeper, a neighbour’s ‘guy’, and the mobile Tesla person. This too was a flop because my housekeeper ditched me despite having cashed four months-worth of checks to look after things. It’s possible she was mad because I refused to pay her in cash ‘like the other ladies’ but I can’t afford to break the law, and I really do think $25/hour in cash is extortion for unskilled labour. Which reminds me to get the number of a housekeeper from one of my friends who moved to Florida.

Nonetheless, I texted my father for advice and he wrote back: ‘Sorry J, in a meeting, try Steven Henkes’.

Who is Steven Henkes? I called daddy’s secretary who assured me she had no such person in his contacts and promised to ask him the minute he was free. Five minutes later she sent an email titled ‘Steven Henkes’. With the note: ’Might this help?’ Attached was a BBC piece detailing Henkes’ dismissal from Tesla and his filed complaint that Tesla solar panels were known to catch fire, and that the company had failed to notify the public or shareholders. UGH.

The only reason I’m on this tack today is because a lot has happened separate from general electric-vehicle anxiety. Planet-friendly was always going to be my choice even if it meant a few hiccups, but I didn’t bargain on the war between Elon Musk and Herr Newsom. First, there was the issue of asking us not to charge our cars, which didn’t sit well with anyone. It was one thing to ask us to run laundry and dishwashing machines in the evening, well after our housekeepers had gone home, but then the request not to even charge our cars due to drain on California’s power grid, was seen a shot across the bow. 

I for one didn’t see this coming. Even with California’s commitment to ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 it became apparent to everyone that California didn’t value the business or personal tax revenues of the richest man in the world. And so Musk moved his Tesla headquarters out of California and into Texas, citing ‘overtaxation’. Musk even said California was no longer the land of opportunity that it once was. I would have wanted to work on his messaging but I didn’t need my father’s input to tell me he was telling the truth; suddenly, 2035 was looking further away than ever. 

Austin or bust.

I really didn’t think he'd do it because it meant so much upheaval, billions of dollars in taxes just to leave, and he risked upsetting his largest customer base, but customers get pretty testy when there’s no product to buy. And what was the man to do when on top of its draconian taxes, California was determined to win the Covid standoff? 

Then last week California proposed new net metering rules to include a ‘grid access’ fee, in addition to the fees we already pay, which will add $50-$80/month to the electric bill. If they go ahead with it, (and what do they have to lose at this point?) it will be the highest solar fee anywhere in the country, including states hostile to renewable energy. AND they propose to change the rules for customers who have already signed contracts and purchased a solar system.

My phone rang… it was my father calling me back—‘How may I be of service?’ he asked.

‘Well… I don’t want you to denigrate my choice to buy an electronic car, but…’

‘OK. Excellent choice then.’

UGH! ‘Daddy,’ I began, ‘I just need advice on keeping my car.’

‘I see. Well…excellent choice to purchase, bad choice to keep. Is that helpful?’

‘No. Not helpful! I just don’t know what to do because I will need a car when I return to California.’

‘Which you haven’t wanted to do for nearly two years now.’

‘But I will return.’

Something like this, more or less, but cheaper.

‘… As you keep saying. But may I remind you, that house… which your mother and I were happy to buy for you… is entirely set up for that very car. I believe you told us it was an investment, by which I assume you meant a good investment. But as I recall the powerwall was $10,000, the solar panels were $30,000 and I calculated seventeen years to recoup this investment, or more like twenty-five when you calculate the decline of energy from the panels over the years. But that was assuming you were allowed to charge your car, and that they didn’t renege on the original agreement that categorically violates basic principles of fairness.’

Of course I wanted to scream, but I decided to just keep quiet until he said something else.

‘So as I understand your question, you want to know what to do with a car, for which a house was designed, in a land you no longer wish to remain. Is that putting too fine a point on it?’

‘I expect to return.’ I insisted, calmly.

Now he was silent. It was a standoff. I didn’t want to talk and he knew it.

'Jennifer, I can’t advise you. You alone know what is going to work for you, and since you’ve been living everywhere but there for the last two years, I see no reason to rush to a decision.’

Wow. He really wasn’t going to help.

‘Sweetheart, take your time. Everyone has been finessed into this green push. Even your beloved California had to pay neighbouring states to take their excess solar lest they blow out their own power grid. Germany can’t afford to convert electricity to methane, France spent $33 billion on a solar farce, and even my own petroleum industry spent a billion on advertising and lobbying for climate-related ventures. And speaking of lobbying, think about whether or not you need to keep a base of operations there just to impress your tree-hugging clients’.

My industry is not a farce. And I wanted to say this to him but I was afraid I couldn’t make a good point just now. And why did he have to be so nice when he really did tell me so? As I’d decided against the train, I rented a car and will have plenty of time to think about it all as I drive to the Cotswolds.

From Secret Passages to Burning Bushes

In November last year, a paper was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It describes a geological "secret passage," located nearly 62 miles (100 km) below Earth's surface. Researchers think it allows a flow of mantle materials to travel from beneath the Galápagos Islands to beneath Panama. It may offer an explanation for why rocks from Earth's mantle have been found more than 1,000 miles from where they originated. What's significant about the secret passage is that until now, no one knew it even existed.

Such revelations are increasingly common. They deepen our understanding of things considered to be already understood or reveal things where little is understood. Whether revelations in physics, cosmology, or math and computer science, these discoveries have led society to develop technologically, economically, and even socially in an exceptionally brief period of time. Making new discoveries reminds us that we don’t always know as much about things as we think we do.

What lies beneath?

Enter climate change. It has been ascribed the pejorative cause for so many circumstances and events with a certitude that defies scientific reality? How has climate change made its way into corporate investing strategies and board room battles? How has it become the nagging cry from those in politics around the world, who seek to use it as a tool for greater control over every part of our lives?How has climate change become a religion for some while becoming a punch line for others?

At a time when we understand how much we still don’t know about so many things, how has this single narrative become the culprit for every foul weather event, thawed acre of tundra or fuzzy creature wandering in a forest too close to human populations? Climate change it seems, is the grim reaper of the 21st century. It is so predictable that it's become… boring.

As 2022 opens, perhaps a quick dip into climate change calamities of the past will remind us that from secret passages to burning bushes, climate change isn’t the cause of everything.

Star(fish) Power
Beginning in 2013, starfish began dying on a scale not previously seen. The starfish fell apart… with pieces of their arms walking away, or their bodies disintegrating into mushy piles. With no understanding of what was causing these deaths, climate activists quickly snatched up the opportunity to assert that they knew the mush-inducing mess was caused by climate change. The assertion, after all, is the proof. It requires no more than a non-profit newsletter to make the claim and NPR to report on the newsletter and…boom… case closed.

"What we think is that the warm water anomalies made these starfish more susceptible to the disease that was already out there," says Joe Gaydos, the science director at the University of California, Davis' SeaDoc Society and one author of a study out today in the journal Science Advances.

He and co-authors analyzed data collected by scuba divers and found that divers were less likely to see living sea stars when the water temperatures were abnormally high. "To think that warmer water temperature itself can cause animals to get disease quicker, or make them more susceptible, it's kind of a like a one-two punch," Gaydos says. "It's a little nerve-wracking."

RIP. Gotta be climate change.

But what of the truth? It turned out to be a virus.

Eventually dubbed "Sea Star Wasting Syndrome," the phenomenon caused a massive die-off of multiple species of starfish stretching from Mexico to Alaska. Tissue samples of sick and healthy starfish were ultimately analyzed by a team of international experts. They sought all the possible pathogens associated with diseased starfish. The research team then conducted DNA sequencing of the viruses and compared them to all the other known viruses. Once they had identified a leading candidate, they tested it by injecting the densovirus into healthy starfish in an aquarium. Then they watched to see if the disease took hold. And sure enough it did. The virus killed the starfish in the aquarium the same way it had been killing them in nature.

The die-off was also linked with an increase in urchin population and a reduction in kelp, according to a study published in Science Advances. In other words, there was more going on than merely the vague, all-encompassing, "climate change" theory. Thankfully, scientific inquiry won out over political postulating and the actual cause was ascertained. Spoiler…it wasn’t climate change.

Burning Bushes
Wildfires are a well-understood aspect of living in the western United States. But so too are forest-management practices. Fail to manage forests and wildfires will be more frequent and more devastating. But like flies to honey, the media rallies around the "climate change" narrative without a scintilla of interest in understanding the real causes of wild land fires.

According to the U.S. Department of Interior, as many as 85 percent of wild land fires in the U.S. are caused by humans. That’s right, humans, not climate change. Human-caused fires result from unattended camp fires, the burning of debris, downed power lines, negligently discarded cigarettes, sparks from vehicles or equipment and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 15 percent are started by lightning or lava.

Definitely climate change.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, more than 7.6 million acres burned in the U.S. in 2021 due to wildfires. That's about 2.6 million fewer acres than in 2020. California's Dixie fire was the largest 2021 wildfire, burning more than 960,000 acres and destroying more than 1,300 homes and buildings before being contained. Activists asserted that drought, caused by climate change, was the reason the fire had started. However, just recently Cal Fire said investigators have determined that a tree contacting Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines caused the Dixie Fire. Proper forest management -- the kind California used to be able to do in its sleep -- likely would have prevented the destruction.

The 2020 fire season was no different. The 7,000-acre El Dorado fire, was started by electronic equipment that malfunctioned at a "gender-reveal" party. That particular fire was reported in the media as being the result of climate change. Other fires throughout the state that year were started by lightening. California’s poor forest management practices allowed all of the fires to grow out of control, not climate change. Worth remembering to never blame on climate change that which can be explained by general governmental incompetence or ideologically-driven political messaging.

Build Back Biden

Want to know why gas prices are so high? The Daily Signalthe publication of the Heritage Foundation, has prepared this short video to explain it all for you.

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden revoked the Keystone XL pipeline permit via Executive Order 13990. With the stroke of a pen, Biden canceled a project that would have boosted U.S. gross domestic product by more than $3 billion, carried 830,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada to the United States, and directly and indirectly provided up to 26,000 jobs—11,000 of which were instantly lost.

Climate czar John Kerry lent a sympathetic voice to the plight of the newly laid-off workers: “Go to work to make the solar panels.”

At least there's no more mean tweets!

Coal is King, Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Higher Prices? Ho Ho Ho, Yes

During a recent White House briefing, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was asked by a reporter how much oil is consumed on a daily basis in the U.S. She was outlining Biden’s strategy to release of 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Reserves. By adding to the national supply of oil, goes their thinking, "adequate supply" can be maintained amid global shortages and increasing gas prices. However, there are a couple problems with their ill-conceived strategy.

Granholm was  unable to answer the reporter’s question, instead insisting that she would need to check the number. What everyone already knew is that the amount the administration is seeking to release from the U.S. Strategic Reserves represents about 2.6 days of added supply… hardly a game changer in a supply constrained market.

It will take a lot more than a press conference and a paltry 50 million barrels of oil to repair the economic damage brought upon America by this administration’s policies. Joe Biden’s policies have been devised to create oil and gas shortages, thus ensuring higher prices for consumers, and moving toward parity with wind and solar sources. It is a strategy the Left has been working on for years, and one they unleashed upon this country within hours of taking office. It is the reason America is now experiencing inflation, supply chain pressures, and economic malaise.

Dress warm this winter!

Charged with regulating the oil and gas industry, the depth of Granholm’s ignorance about how the industry she regulates works, is surpassed only by her lack of understanding of the economics of oil and gas. Up until the Biden administration's war on the oil and gas industry, the men and woman of the industry have achieved countless efficiencies through technological innovation that have repeatedly overcome industry challenges and difficult market conditions. Reliable, inexpensive energy after all is the backbone of any robust modern economy.

Granholm's jaw-flapping was further punctuated by her attempt to blame the oil and gas industry for supply shortages that her administration has worked hard to create. Asserting that oil and gas companies are simply trying to make lots of money, Granholm revealed the second problem with her strategy.

The supply and demand curve is one of the most basic concepts in economics. Almost immediately upon entering office, the administration and its surrogates began working to disassemble the infrastructure that until their arrival had delivered inexpensive energy to all corners of the country and overseas. Offering up "climate change" and institutional racism as the cornerstones of their destructive strategy, the administration has diligently worked to increase the price of oil and gas by attempting to remove the systems in place that inexpensively distribute oil and gas. Consider their impact in less than one year.

Hope they don't fart.

But the administration went even further. They engaged multiple other agencies to harangue businesses outside the oil and gas industry. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration -- part of Pete Buttigieg's crack Department of Transportation -- will push utilities and gas companies to "fix" leaks in natural gas distribution lines. The Department of Agriculture will be forcing farmers and ranchers to reduce methane emissions from manure, and the Department of Energy recently launched a program to force the adoption of heat pumps and induction stoves to reduce the need for natural gas inside homes and apartments. The Bureau of Land Management is planning to charge companies royalties for any gas that is vented or flared on public lands. One need not be an economist to understand that the heavy-handed regulatory maneuvering being undertaken by this administration will increase the price of oil and gas, and just about everything else.

So while Secretary Granholm touts the need for less expensive gas, perhaps the most obvious place to look is inside her own administration. Repeatedly devising plans, and launching initiatives intended to hamper the markets and diminish economic activity, will deliver higher prices to all. Merry Christmas America.

The New Buzzword: 'Climate 'Resilience'

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

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

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

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

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

Old whines in new bottles.

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

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

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

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

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

"Resilience" is the solution.

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

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

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

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

History's Most Expensive Alphonse and Gaston Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any resemblance to a crime scene is purely intentional.

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

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

'Don't Choose Extinction'

The United Nations has just released this video to scare small children and other living things about the "dangers" of fossil fuels, the use of which will lead to "climate change" and the end of the world as we know it. We don't want to go the way of the dinosaurs now, do we?

The T-Rex, by the way, is voiced by Jack Black.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Choppering

No sooner had I sold the idea to buy an airport, build a hub, and provide a huge cash infusion to a beloved estate, than my client decided he needed to come in and see what his money had bought. I tried explaining that as yet, there was nothing to actually SEE but he wouldn’t be put off, and informed me of his arrival. I also had no luck pointing out there was well… no helipad here and no one would welcome his simply dropping in. Or that the deal hinged on our promise to invest in, rather than detract from, the land. I said it all but I’m pretty sure he hung up before I got to any of it.

Not good. I texted that I would pull out every stop to try to get permission for him to land at the airport but he texted back simply ‘House.’ Surely he didn’t mean…oh Lord, he did mean. Extra not good.

I hadn’t seen anyone at Burghley House all day, but I didn’t think I could count on them just not turning up. I rang the estate agent to ask for a recommendation of an hotel in the event he planned to stay the night but in truth, I was just buying cover. I knew all the best hotel options, and the less desirable, and everything in between having come here for years with my parents for the annual horse trials. I thought having a reservation might go a long way toward explaining if anyone returned to find me with a group of strangers in a house that isn’t open to the public. My own invitation to stay had been an accommodation because I had been an Olympic equestrienne and had become somewhat known to them throughout the years. And thankfully I’d secured a whopping endowment so they really couldn’t kick. But it’s just not the position one wants to be in when claiming commitment to the land and preservationist pursuits. I wanted to call Daddy but he’d already said, give that Green Baron an inch and he’ll take a mile.

Making new friends everywhere.

I had no idea how to calculate the Baron's flying time but I googled “distance as the crow flies” and it was a hit. Go figure. I ran about as fast as I could round the back to try to figure out where he could land and do the least damage. Logically the area that is used for parking during events would work but I had no way of knowing if his pilot had ever been here and the grass had entirely grown back during the last two years of Covid lockdowns so it wouldn’t be easy to spot.

This was hopeless. What was I? A flag boy? He wasn’t going to land where I chose any more than he was going to land at an airport. I turned in a circle as one does when one is lost and when I stopped I was surrounded by half a dozen Special Branch cars and more officers walking toward me carrying guns.

My phone rang and I gladly took it holding up the universal just a minute boys, sign. Turns out Prince Charles… as in H.R.H Prince Charles was coming as well. But of course he was. They knew each other from the World Economic Forum in Davos. Of all the nights for me to not be hosting a bug party. When the Special Branch Police handed my phone back to me, I texted Daddy saying, ‘Be available by text. IMPORTANT!!!’ and also sent him a surreptitious picture I’d snapped showing an officer from the waist down.

We were off to carbon-loaded start. My boss arriving by helicopter, H.R.H in his Aston Martin and more than a dozen police vehicles to ensure the Prince’s safety even though no one (including me) knew he was coming. He immediately started on about how his 51-year-old car ran on wine and cheese and I wondered if he thought me a fool. When I first embraced the care of our planet the promise I made myself was to be informed, not getting behind organisations like Greenpeace who take money from the worst offenders and then give them a free pass—or worse yet, a commendation. And of course my plan was not to be flying private to an event where I would then talk about saving the planet.

And it runs on wine and cheese!

What I knew about biofuels is they are only ever a very small percentage of corn, or in this case “wine and cheese”, and the best we could hope for is 15 percent biofuels to 85 percent petroleum. And even then, it was a substantial blow to efficiency so it was really not worth contributing to global hunger by making the poorest compete for expensive corn now sold for fuel. Clever angle though… instead of depriving the lowliest of their corn HRH Charles could claim to be depriving the elites of their excess wine and cheese.

I texted my father to see if there had been any update on the matter and his response was: ‘Think of the pigs, Jenny. Their food of choice is corn!’

‘Fuel, daddy. FUEL! Any updates on efficiency?’

‘Oh absolutely. The entire method is flawed. It assumes that carbon pollution from biofuels is eventually absorbed, but energy crops were responsible for additional plant growth that absorbed only 37 per cent of biofuel pollution, leaving most of it in the atmosphere, where it traps heat. So it's making the problem worse. That is your big concern isn’t it? A toasty planet?’

‘So it’s definitive?’ I asked.

‘No of course not. That study was done in the U.S. They will claim that conditions are altogether different in Europe, even though you all like to bang on about one ecosphere.’

‘So… net-net?’

‘Mummy would be so disappointed to hear our little girl is confronting the Prince about taking corn from the mouths of peasants… it’s just so bourgeois.’

‘Ugh daddy. NOT HELPING!’ I texted back.

‘Flatter the old chap, tell him Bravo! Burning up wine and cheese—way to really stick it to the French!’ 

I stopped texting and rang him. ‘Yes, Jennifer.’ He answered and I spoke: ‘Daddy!’ I said half-whispering. 'I’m certainly NOT going to confront him, I just don’t want to argue in favour of something if I’m wrong.’

‘Well there you have it,' he said. ‘Let your Green Baron say all the wrong things. Then you can fix it later and bill him in the process. It’s all very capitalistic in the end. You just take credit for securing the money for the land… that was all you and there’s no argument against it.’

So I was a capitalist now? I slumped against a wall not knowing what to ask next.

‘Darling, ring me back if you need but according to the news someone bloody fool's just landed a helicopter in Thorpe Wood Nature Preserve.’