Remember the famous scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey when the monolith first appears? The proto-humans all gather round and practically worship the thing as a god. The same sort of thing is going on in Hawaii as we speak, except the monolith is one giant freaking battery and the worshippers are not ignorant apes, but enviro-nuts, which are pretty much the same thing now that I think about it.
The Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) project is being built on eight acres of land in Kapolei on the island of Oahu. When complete, the giant battery will be capable of storing up to 565 megawatt hours of electricity and dispatching up to 185 megawatts. In other words, it can put 185 megawatts onto the Hawaii grid for up to three hours.
By law, all electricity generated in the state of Hawaii is supposed to be produced using 100 percent renewable fuels by the year 2045. The island’s lone coal-fired power plant, with a rated capacity of 203 MW, is due to be forcibly retired next year. Plus Power, the company developing KES, says the battery will enable the grid to operate reliably once the coal plant goes down for good: “The 2022 completion of the KES project will ensure that the AES coal-fired plant will end operations, supporting the state’s goal of shifting from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy generation.”
Average hourly demand in Hawaii is about 1,000 megawatts. That’s average demand, peak demand – which is what really matters when talking about grid stability – is considerably higher. But, for purposes of this analysis, we’ll use the average, which leads us to an important question: can a battery that can satisfy a little less than 20 percent of demand for a period of three hours replace a coal-fired power plant that has the capacity to satisfy 2- percent of demand more or less continuously?
The answer, which should be obvious to any high-school physics student, is no. A battery does not produce electricity, it’s just a place for electricity produced elsewhere to hang out for a while. In the case of the state of Hawaii, most of that electricity is, has been and will continue to be produced by burning oil. Roughly 65 to 70 percent of Hawaii’s electricity is generated by combustion of petroleum liquids according to data provided by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Funny, it doesn't look like a monolith.
About 17 percent of electricity was generated from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar. That’s not bad, but it’s not anything close to the 100 percent goal. Worse, it’s likely that the battery will be primarily charged using electricity produced by burning oil, not by using electricity generated from renewable sources. The problem is the bugaboo that always affects wind and solar: capacity factor.
Capacity factor is a measure of how much electricity a power generation asset produces compared to what it theoretically can produce. If a plant is rated at 100 megawatts, but generates on average 40 megawatts, we say its capacity factor is forty per cent. Most nukes operate at capacity factors in the high nineties. Coal fired base-load plants are generally in the eighties, sometimes the low nineties.
Wind and solar have crappy factors because, even in Hawaii, the sun don’t always shine and the winds don’t always blow. Solar panels don’t have much to do at night and their efficiency drops significantly on cloudy days. Wind turbines can’t operate in calms or near-calms and, perversely, also have to shut down if the wind is too strong.
The Descent of Man: Feeling good about feeling good.
Again using EIA data, we find that last year the combined capacity factor for wind and solar was about 27%. So, while the total capacity of all renewable generation assets on Hawaii, 746 megawatts, sounds impressive compared to average daily demand, those assets will only generate about 200 megawatts on average. And when they are generating electricity it makes a whole lot more sense to pack it on the grid than sending it on a short vacation to the battery. The only time the battery will be charged using renewables is during those rare instances where there is a significant excess of renewable power. Most of the time, it’ll be charged up courtesy of fossil-fuel combustion.
Of course the battery will make a fine story for those who don’t understand how electricity works and allow eco-nuts to feel good about themselves. Will it do much of anything to help Hawaii meet its 100 per cent renewables mandate? Nope.
The Fake News of 'Beyond Coal'
When one happens to be a scientist with an expertise in environmental issues like yours truly, one has the opportunity to digest a disturbing number of misleading, eye-rolling headlines in the mainstream media as heavily-biased journalists vainly attempt to present accurate information about environmental issues.
Even by that ridiculously low bar, the headline that appeared in the May 5 edition of the Chicago Tribune rates as the most misleading, unscientific and mindlessly hysterical that I have ever seen. A major metropolitan newspaper in the United States actually printed the following:
Burning natural gas is now more dangerous than coal.
Pollution from natural gas is now responsible for more deaths and greater health costs than coal in Illinois, according to a new study highlighting another hazard of burning fossil fuels that are scrambling the planet's climate.
Researchers at Harvard University found that a shift away from coal during the past decade saved thousands of lives and dramatically reduced health impacts from breathing particulate matter, commonly known as soot. But the numbers declined only slightly for gas, another fossil fuel that by 2017 accounted for the greatest health risks.
About half the deaths from soot exposure that year can be attributed to the state's reliance on gas to heat homes and businesses, the study found. Coal is more deadly only when used to generate electricity.
The alarming findings raise questions about whether Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposed transition to a zero-carbon economy would move fast enough in phasing out the use of gas—not only to blunt the impacts of climate change but also to ensure Illinoisans breathe clean air.
The term “fake news” hardly covers it. This is “farcical news,” “fanciful news,” “delusional news,” etc. Yeah, journalists are not scientists. I get it. But, how sad it is to consider there is not one editor at the Trib who might have enough passing knowledge to think something like “that really doesn’t sound right, maybe we should take a second look.”
The essence of the Trib’s story, written by staff enviro-propagandist Michael Hawthorne, may be summarized thus:
1) burning natural gas has increasingly displaced coal combustion in order to generate electricity,
2) Americans should be concerned about the amounts of fine particulate, also known as Particulate Matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 microns, (aka: PM-2.5) generated through fossil fuel combustion of any kind, and
3) the total amount of PM-2.5 generated by combustion of natural gas to generate electricity now exceeds the amount of PM-2.5 generated by combustion of coal to generate electricity.
Hawthorne does not actually use the accepted environmental terms “fine particulate” and “PM-2.5” in his story. Instead, he calls fine particulate “soot.” Certainly, that’s a much more appealing term to someone attempting to create a narrative, but it has little to do with reality. When you call in a chimney sweep to remove actual soot from your fireplace, almost none of the black gunk he or she will brush off is anything close to 2.5 microns in aerodynamic diameter.
Anyway, the problem with this particular narrative is the same one that always occurs when people with an agenda attempt to dragoon science into supporting their political agenda: they use that portion of the science that helps them and ignore (willingly or ignorantly) any of the science that disproves their premise.
I can accept that the amount of PM-2.5 generated though the combustion of natural gas now exceeds the amount of PM-2.5 generated by through the combustion of coal. At least theoretically. The amount of PM-2.5 generated by the combustion of natural gas is relatively so tiny that it is very, very difficult to accurately measure using accepted EPA test methods. In the enviro-biz, one errs on the side of caution, meaning that PM-2.5 emission rates attributed to natural gas are likely inflated.
Doesn’t really matter though, since the amount of PM-2.5 emissions that can be tied to electrical generation of any kind is trivial. Based on the last verified National Emissions Inventory (NEI) of 2017, the total amount of PM-2.5 emissions generated across America was 5,706,842 tons/year. Of that, EPA attributed 107,270 tons/year of fine-particulate emissions to fossil fuel combustion used to generate electricity. That’s less than 2 percent of all national PM-2.5 emissions.
Wondering about the biggest source of PM-2.5 emissions? Glad you asked. The 2017 NEI attributes 4,188,615 tons/year of PM-2.5 emissions to “Miscellaneous Sources.” That’s a shade over 73 percent of the total. Miscellaneous sources are non-industrial, non-transportation related sources of all kinds. In this case, the vast majority of miscellaneous sources consist of wildfires – many of which are the result of pitifully irresponsible forest management in blue states like California – and natural erosion.
Back in the nineties and early 2000s, environmental NGOs like the Sierra Club were all-in supporting natural gas. They recognized that natural gas combustion was inherently cleaner than coal combustion and that the amount of greenhouse gas produced using natural gas was far lower than that amount of greenhouse gas produced using coal on a per megawatt generated basis. They gleefully accepted donations from natural gas producers in order fund initiatives like the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.
Chesapeake Energy, the nation’s second largest natural gas producer, was a big Sierra Club supporter back then, presumably because Chesapeake executives hoped that going “beyond coal” would help their bottom line. They didn’t have the foresight to see that once the enviros actually went beyond coal, natural gas would be the next target of opportunity. I’ve been told by people I trust that several Chesapeake shareholders were something less than pleased when the Sierra Club pivoted from being a natural gas supporter to a natural gas opponent, which is where they and most of their fellow environmental NGOs remain today. In the business of environmental advocacy, as is the case with any other big business, one has to follow the money.
It’s a disappointing story, but I fear that Chesapeake will be far from the last company to jump at the bait when an environmental NGO offers them absolution in return for thirty pieces of silver.
Stepping Up, or Stepping Back?
Of all the environmental topics I write about, the one I almost never write about is "climate change." The topic has beaten to death over thirty years and frankly it bores me. Like Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway, the one thing I cannot abide is boredom.
However, President Biden, or possibly his puppeteers, recently felt obliged to say it was time for America to “step up” to fight climate change. Folks of my persuasion would have preferred that the president asked his audience to “step back” instead. Specifically, he could have asked them to step back and consider all the things the United States has done to tilt at this particular windmill.
We’ve made massive reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions over the last twenty years. We’ve shut down scores of coal-fired power plants. We destabilized the grid in many parts of the country by relying on inherently unreliable sources of power to a degree that makes sane electrical engineers weep. Oh, by the way, we have not only allowed unreliable sources of power to threaten grid reliability, we subsidized the people who built them!
What's more, we got rid of the incandescent light bulb, which of course resulted in a massive drop in electrical demand all across the country. (If you’re a liberal and you happen to read this, that last sentence is what we on the right call “sarcasm” – it’s part of something known as a “sense of humor”).
We drive electric cars, we have greenhouse gas trading programs, we’ve got state mandates, we’ve got municipal mandates, we’ve got corporate initiatives and we’ve got half the population spending 98 percent of their waking day worrying about a problem that the other half doesn’t believe exists and that we can’t possibly solve even if it did. Can we get some credit? Just a little, maybe?
There is one thing of which a writer who chooses to write about climate change can be absolutely certain: nothing he or she says is going to change anyone’s mind. The last person to change his mind about "climate change" was a small town shopkeeper in rural Kentucky back in 2007.
With that in mind, let me just make a couple of general observations about climate change that the reader may find interesting.
First, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that global warming fears began to “heat up” about the time the Cold War ended. Up through 1991 everyone was worried, more or less, about the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. But while everyone was worried, nobody does worry like the left. They’re in love with it. And, no surprise, the problem that caused them to wring their hands about nuclear weapons was – wait for it – America! But for our evil, war-mongering, imperialistic selves, the world would not have to suffer under this shadow of doom. The hysteria reached its peak when Reagan was elected, with liberals and journalists wailing that the Gipper would hit the "nukem" button immediately after taking the oath of office.
Then this terrible thing happened to the Left: the Cold War ended. Worse, from their perspective, we won! You’ve got millions of Americans who pretty much hate America, who have spent literally decades engaged in self-loathing and fear-mongering, sure that crazy conservatives were going to wipe out all life on earth unless they somehow could be made to see the light. So if it wasn't "climate change" now, it would be something else. The issue really doesn’t matter, so long as the modern liberal can demonstrate his or her moral superiority whilst showing how all of us on the right are knuckle-dragging cretins who can’t be trusted to cross the street, much less run a country.
Observation two: there are three sets of people involved in what should be a climate-change debate, but is in fact an environmental shoe-throwing contest. Set one is actual, accredited climatologists who understand the myriad of factors that influence climate – which, if I have to say it, include a whole lot of things beyond carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. This group includes accredited climatologists like Gavin Schmidt on what I call “the alarmist” side, and accredited climatologists like Roy Spencer on what the other side calls “the denier” side.
Alarmists like Schmidt know that folks like Spencer are every bit as qualified as they are to opine on climate change. I doubt if any serious alarmist climatologist buys what the left’s PR professionals routinely pumps out to smear “denier” climatologists: that they have sinister motives! They lie and know they lie! They are religious fanatics! They’re beholden to Big Energy!
Rather, I believe that the alarmists have fallen victim to that classic failing of academia: hubris. They have fallen in love with their hypothesis. They are so invested in it that they can’t imagine possibly turning back, much less actually doing so. They’ve chosen their hill to die on and if doing so means turning a blind eye to professional colleagues getting crapped on by media-relations types, congressional staffers, and ignorant journalists, well that’s just the price one has to pay. The end justifies the means.
Set two is slightly larger: it involves two subsets. The first is the group of people who are not expert climatologists, but who are good enough scientists to digest most – not all – of the arguments about actual science that we can find and make reasonable judgments on the worth of those arguments. That includes many chemists (including me and my two chemist brothers), physicists, statisticians, meteorologists, etc. We’re not fluent in the climatologist’s language, but we understand enough of it to offer an educated opinion.
Unfortunately, this group also includes wanna-be second-level “experts," of whom Al Gore is the ultimate example. These are folks who pretend that they are qualified to decipher and comment on expert opinions, but who are actually about pushing the liberal agenda by using "climate change" as an excuse. When we on the right talk about liberals using "climate change" to promote socialism, this is who we mean. They are the type of "scientists" who've been a bane on science since "consensus" demanded that ground-breaking pioneers like Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo and Lemaître who dared to question orthodoxy be demonized. Consensus defenders are and have always been scientists so sure of their own infallibility that they can justify scorn in order to dismiss any idea that might possibly undermine their own theories.
Don't confuse me with facts.
Set three? Everybody else. The ultimate decision makers, unfortunately. When young, every generation believes that it’s discovered the mistakes their parents made. I know I did. In some cases one actually does, but in many others one finds later in life that the old-timers actually got a lot of things right. The trend right now, as I see it, is that more and more of the younger generation will chose to lock onto the fraudulent snake-oil salesmen and will tip public policy in their favor. They may eventually figure out they've been had, but by then it will be too late.
What is 'Stakeholder Capitalism'? Part Two
As we saw in Part One, Klaus Schwab, the principal architect of the "Great Reset," contends that international organizations have been “too remote and impersonal for most people,” too opaque for “individual stakeholders to relate to.” The response, therefore, “must be to implement decision-making processes to include all of their stakeholders.” How is this to be done?
Somehow or other, all stakeholders will be included in a “consultative stage,” which seems more than a little farfetched. The “paperwork” would be endless and consensus difficult to achieve. And even if agreement were possible, it could easily be ignored by a supervisory committee. Yet, “stakeholder engagement in government” and “coordination on a global level” are presented as eminently feasible propositions, though their utopian shadow is scarcely to be disguised or dismissed.
Of course, it all sounds benevolent, commiserative and enlightened; we are assured that “companies, governments, international organizations and civil society can reinvent themselves” to the advantage of all. What could go wrong?
I've got yours, Jack.
In some respects, the stakeholder blueprint reads like an update of Tommaso Campanella’s 17th century visionary treatiseCity of the Sun (predicated on Thomas More’s Utopia) in which private property and wealth disparities are expunged, citizens have no possessions, advanced technology is on display, and a cenacle of officials presides over just distribution of goods and chattels.
Ernest Callenbach’s Green pastoral Ecotopia lurks behind Schwab’s bucolic program as well. There is also more than a whiff of Plato’s ideal city-state as developed in The Republic, with its three social classes comprising the Commons (craftsmen, merchants, etc.), the Auxiliaries (police), and the Guardians (rulers, from which the Philosopher-King is selected). One remembers that these are all fictions with almost no purchase on reality.
Indeed, to my mind, the project resembles an elevated, mandarin version of Portland’s CHAZ—Capital Hill Administration Zone—ruled not by gun-toting thugs but by a platoon of sophisticated oligarchs who think—or pretend—they can fence out the world of practical politics, high finance, competitive passion, the profit motive and, in brief, unreconstructed human nature. The fallen world will be replaced by an Arcadian substitute governed by a council of prebendary sages. Once the fictive paradigm is transferred to the world of practical affairs, we have a recipe for unintended consequences of the worst sort.
For the system Schwab is proposing, as should be obvious, can neither be created nor maintained in the absence of rigid and authoritarian control by the helmers of a global fiefdom, as Joel Kotkin warns in The Coming of Neo-Feudalism. One recalls the Juvenalian maxim: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? As for the “stakeholders” among the common people, they will irrevocably find themselves occupying serf-like status, dependent on Big Government, subject to constant surveillance, rendered largely sedentary, and generally deprived of agency.
"Stakeholder Capitalism" ultimately favors neither labor, small business, the middle class nor an open, free market economy. Politically, it is Karl Marx redivivus, whose “dictatorship of the proletariat,” elaborated in his seminal The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850, leads inevitably to the dictatorship of a privileged elite, as history has decisively shown. Milovan Djilas’ The New Class and Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies are essential reading here. Culturally, it is Antonio Gramsci released from his cell to sherpa the long march through the institutions. Herbert Marcuse’s “repressive tolerance” is the name of the game. Clearly, the only stakeholder who will benefit from the Reset is the manorial elect of politicians, technocrats and the super-wealthy.
To give Schwab his due, he writes well. The prose is clean, his facts, though selective, are cleverly arrayed, and his claims, though outrageous, appear to attest to a modest and empathetic sensibility. He is a formidable adversary.
The reader must remain alert to Schwab’s sources and the historical context from which his argument arises: the mix of Fascist practice, that is, the intimate alliance between business and government, or syndical corporatism—as Cardiff University historian Kevin Passmore points out, the word “totalitarianism” was invented by Italian fascists—and Communist theory, the putative erasure of class distinctions and the emergence of an egalitarian society in which the state controls all property, resources and wealth.
Democratic capitalism is a deeply flawed system which nevertheless yields better social and economic results than any other. Moreover, it is always subject to improvement over the historical continuum. What Churchill said of democracy applies to its economic offspring, free-market capitalism. In a speech on Nov. 11, 1947, he reminded the U.K.’s House of Commons that “many forms of Government have beentried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” This is vintage Churchillian wisdom, which is sorely lacking in all world-utopian schemes like Schwab’s.
Those who suspect that “stakeholder capitalism” is a euphemism for a nefarious plot using climate change and COVID as pretexts to capture the levers of power, shut down the functional energy sector and replace it with a futuristic iteration of techno-primitivism, kill small business, reduce the population to a condition of civil subservience, eliminate the free market, crash the economy and Reset to Zero may not be wide of the mark. Caveat emptor.
The Tower of Babel Rises Again
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
-- Proverbs 16:18
Although human society, generally speaking, has undergone massive cultural, political, scientific and technological changes over the millennia, the structure of the human psyche has remained stable. The moral code of the Judeo-Christian West, honored more in the breach than the observance, is still intact, however occluded. The deadly vices and the cardinal virtues remain in place. The personality types are similar.
The myths, stories, characters and admonitions we read in the Hebrew Bible are as relevant today as they were in the 15th Century BC, in particular the familiar tale of the Tower of Babel. (Genesis 11:1-9.) The story is known to everyone. After the flood, a wandering people found a plain in the land of Shinar where they settled, and said “let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” It did not go well for the over-reachers. The Lord came down, as the passage reads, confounded their language, and “scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.”
The Tower of Babel, a word-play for Babylon, mocks the grandiose plans and brazen presumption of megalomaniac personalities. The Book of Daniel, written thirteen centuries after Genesis, takes up the same theme. King Nebuchadnezzer, who gloried in his regal splendor, built “the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty.” The city that rose on the alluvial plain—in actuality, the plain of Shinar—was meant as a tribute to his authority and grandeur. He was shortly reduced for his self-exaltation to the condition of “the beasts of the field,” until his reason returned to him and he awakened to the folly of his pride.
What's past is prologue.
The biblical account of human hubris, dismissed as a mere fable, is a warning we have failed to heed. Here the wisdom of the prophet Habbakuk would apply: “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” (Habbakuk 2:1.) The tower in question is a watchtower, a vantage point from which one detects and renounces the conceit associated with that other Tower.
The point is, of course, that there are mysteries we should not tamper with, that exceed our powers of understanding and control. While extending our reach to acquire knowledge, to plumb the Creation, and to harness nature to our benefit, there are limitations to human pride and impetuosity we would do well to acknowledge. It is a fine line but an irreversible one that should not be crossed. What may be a mortal sin in a theological view of life may be regarded as an unforgiving error in a secular world.
Man does with dangerous curiosity These unfathon’d wonders try: With fancied rules and arbitrary laws Matter and motion he restrains; And studies lines and fictious circles draws: Then with imagin’d sovereignty Lord of his new hypothesis he reigns.
-- Matthew Prior, On Exodus III
In our present moment, Green technology fetish is a typical example of so transgressive a blunder. A quasi-scientific fiction of how reliable energy can be generated in an environmentally friendly way, it is worse than a mere fantasy. It is an intervention into the forces of nature that leads to the destruction of the environment, the production of noxious substances, the uprooting of economies from their productive base, and the near-impossibility of safe and efficient re-cycling.
Wind turbines rise like micro-installments of the Tower of Babel, promising to exploit the weather in ways that have proven ineffective and, in fact, harmful. They are “technological, financial, and ecological scams,” distorting the landscape, causing hecatombs of avian and insect life, producing prodigious amounts of radioactive wasteand neurological hazards like ILFN (Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise). The acoustic signature of wind turbine noise can be profound; moreover, as Australian acoustical engineer Steven Cooperconfirms, the signal pulsations occur across entire frequencies, and are not just limited to the infra-sound region. Indeed, the only windmills worth tilting against are wind turbines. One needs a revitalized and success-oriented Alonso Quixano the Good, aka Don Quixote, to eviscerate a public mirage, Green energy, whose reason for existence is predicated on faulty and deceptive computer models.
Wanted: a modern man of la Mancha.
Michael Crichton was right when he urged in State of Fearthat we need “more people working in the field, in the actual environment, and fewer people behind computer screens.” Once again, he writes, “the measures being urged have little basis in fact or science. Once again, groups with other agendas are hiding behind a movement that appears high-minded. Once again, claims of moral superiority are used to justify extreme actions.” Green is a theory without adequate basis in reality. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a prepossession advanced by the extortionate and the ignorant, who divide the “territory” between them.
An equally if not more destructive foray into the structural complexities of the natural environment involves the project to reduce global warming—the most hypothetical of theoretical constructs—by tampering with stratospheric chemistry. Bill Gates, our contemporary Nebuchadnezzer, has advanced a preposterous and dangerousbioengineeringplanto spray tons ofcalcium carbonate (CaCO3) dust into space to dim the sun’s rays.
This is a prelude to disaster, an intervention of the worst kind, and a telling instance of the obtuseness and naiveté of the supposedly super-brilliant. Though generally favorable to Gate’s solar engineering venture,Forbesreminds us that such science comes with unpredictable risks and that a “[m]ajor disruption of global climate could bring unintended consequences”—drought, crop failure and famine.
In this respect, Gates resembles Obama’s Energy czar John Holdren, who absurdlyproposedlast-resort interventionist options, such as “shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays”—an atmoforming scheme that would unleash a geoengineered climate debacle. One recalls, too, the loony 1975 IPCCproposal to spread black carbon (soot) across the ice fields to absorb the heat of the sun and so reduce global cooling.
Another no less destructive intervention into the complexities of nature, in this case human biology, entails what is euphemistically called “gender confirmation surgery,” especially with regard to young children encouraged to “transition.” Turning males into females and vice versa is considered by many—rightly, I believe—as an abomination, an intrusive manipulation of biologically established sexual identity that will often lead to a lifelong condition of traumatic dysphoria. Some regard this as a violation of a Divine dispensation, others as crime against nature and a psychological travesty. Whatever perspective we may adopt on the issue, the mission to permanently reorder or denormalize the givens of genetic and physiological codes and structures is a form of meddling with the parameters of life that almost inevitably issues in misery and confusion.
Still another infringement of natural law involves the introduction of so-called vaccines to combat the coronavirus infection. As I have written in a previous article for The Pipeline, they are not “vaccines” as we understand them. They are experimental mRNA strands injected into and systematically altering a person’s genetic code, and may severely exacerbate the degree of suffering we are seeing. Global Research makes no bones about this. The mRNA “vaccines” made by Pfizer and Moderna “are a dangerously new exotic creature…that actively hijack[s] your genes and reprograms them.” Dr. Tal Zaks, chief medical officer at Moderna Inc., admits that “We are actually hijacking the software of life.”
Adverse consequences abound: facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), blood clotting, anaphylaxis, and even death. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, there have been as of February 26, 2021, 25,212 recorded adverse advents and 1,265 deaths. These are conservative estimates since less than 1% of all vaccine injuries and deaths are reported to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System), a passive, government funded database that relies on voluntary submissions.
It is cold comfort indeed that the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has informed clients that “Policyholders should rest assured that nothing has changed in the claims-paying process as a result of Covid-19 vaccinations.” That alone tells us what we need to know.
We should keep in mind that Covid is a digital virus, constructed from a computer database generating a genomic sequence. The vaccine was not based on “an actual isolated sample of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” Neither its long- nor short-term safety and effectiveness is assured. Global Research points out that these “vaccines” are really operating systems installed not in computers but in our bodies. Approximately 15 countries to date have suspended the AstraZeneca vaccine. (The AstraZeneca product has not yet been approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.)
Of course it's safe -- why do you ask?
The prognosis is sobering. Once we have reached the inflexion point of re-engineering the sky, scrambling sexual differentiation and re-mapping the genetic code, we will have crossed the line of no return, and the Tower of Hubris we have raised will crumble before us. We will never be the same. As the Bible warns, we will scatter in disarray, we will babble in futile recriminations, victims of an overweening arrogance that has breached the natural limits of our tenure on this planet.
Will our reason return to us and will we awaken to the folly of our pride, as happened providentially to the Babylonian tyrant? “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee,” the prophet rebukes the self-important, “thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.” (Obadiah 1:3). One need not be a believer to take the exhortation to heart.
Fighting the Climate War, One Fad at a Time
Behind my desk is a framed picture of an article in Newsweek dated April 28, 1975. The cooling world, it is titled. “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects,” it is reported. Fortunately, nothing was done, e.g., “covering arctic sea ice with soot,” otherwise what a pickle we’d now be in, what with global warming and all.
Global cooling was forecast to cause “an increase in extremes of weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases.” There it is. Whatever the climate does we should expect the worst.
Australian palaeontologist and climate alarmist, Tim Flannery expected the worst in 2007. Droughts were in his crystal ball. “Even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems,” he said. Late March 2021 in the states of New South Wales and Queensland, rain galore, floods, dams overflowing. Of course, things will change, droughts will recur in the land “of droughts and flooding plains;” as the Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar put it, way back in a wiser age before Flannery was born. And they’ll be met with water restrictions and, among Christians, prayers for rain.
It would help if there were more and bigger dams, but these are hard to build. They are hard to build, in case you don’t know, because the habitats of rare species would be lost or Aboriginal cave drawings or other sights of significance submerged. As it turns out, these barriers to dam building apply more or less everywhere it makes sense to build large-scale dams. Sometimes I think we might as well designate the whole of Australia as a national park-cum-untouchable Aboriginal sacred site and be done with it.
Warragamba Dam is the primary water source for Sydney. It was finished in 1960 when Sydney’s population was not much over two million. Sydney’s population is now over five million and, surprise-surprise, during droughts water storage runs seriously low. A plan to increase the capacity of the dam by increasing its height is stalled. No surprise there either.
As an aside, isn’t it somewhat churlish to keep on praying for rain during droughts when we’re persistently recalcitrant in harvesting water? My Anglican minister points out that those suffering during droughts still need our prayers, whatever the circumstances. I take his point, yet I suspect most Anglican churchgoers are green-hued and therefore to some extent complicit in the suffering. It’s a conundrum, but enough of that.
Don’t for a minute think that the “record-breaking” rains (they are not by the way) in NSW and Queensland will dent Flannery’s (hysterical) conviction. It would take momentous contradictory events to disturb any part of the conviction among alarmists that we face imminent catastrophic climate change. It comes down to the philosophy of science.
To be honest, I don’t find the philosophy of science to be a riveting subject. But it seems to me that the history of science in the past half century has shown that Thomas Kuhn’s insights rather than Karl Popper’s best encompass the scientific method in practice. Scientists clearly move in crowds; albeit with the odd, shunned, ‘eccentric’ voices on the periphery. The prevailing scientific paradigm, as Kuhn describes it, bounds inquiry. That is, until whatever is the stubbornly-held paradigm is completely overwhelmed by contradictory events.
Incidentally, J K Galbraith (in The Affluent Society) used the term “conventional wisdom” to describe, more or less, the same phenomenon in the social sciences and in all walks of life.
We only have to be right this week.
I dare say many climate scientists were investigating global cooling when it was fashionable, as they are now almost all investigating global warming. I doubt many are subjecting the hypothesis of CO2-caused warming to stress testing. They are not Popperians, busying away trying to falsify the paradigm which guides their research. No, I suggest, they simply accept it as true and work within its bounds. And maybe that is the way science has generally proceeded.
Climate sceptics often charge that a scientific consensus is a contradiction in terms. But is that true? On reflection, I don’t think it is. I have read that a consensus has developed within quantum theory which leaves those on the outside at risk of being shunned. I understand that Galileo had less trouble with Urban VIII, the Pope at the time, than he had with the scientists of the day who had the ear of the Pope. At question is how to break through a consensus?
I will take my lead from Sun Tzu in The Art of War. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles” (3,18). Many of those who believe climate alarmists to be wrong don’t seem to know their enemy. They tend to think that logical counter-arguments will carry weight. They won’t. All such counter arguments strike at the paradigm (a walled city). That simply won’t work. It’s akin to infidels questioning the likelihood that the Archangel Gabriel spoke to Muhammed in a cave. It will carry no weight among Islamists.
What to do against a strong enemy? “The worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities,” says Sun Tzu (3,3). “Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots” (6,23). In this case, the vulnerable spot is the practical means of countering CO2 emissions. Clearly today’s renewable energy doesn’t and won’t ever work. Not even Michael Moore (Planet of the Humans) defends it. So, what will work? Right now, only nuclear can deliver sufficient dispatchable power, whenever and wherever it is required, without producing CO2 emissions. That is the turf on which the battle can be fought and won.
If indeed man-made CO2 is on the brink of causing catastrophic warming, then we need to move speedily. There is no time for endless research on renewables or hydrogen. Only nuclear is available in the limited time we have left. Might even be able to get David Attenborough to buy into this, in view of his current angst.
Of course, battles will remain. Electric vehicles, farm animal emissions etc. But at least we might be rid of ugly wind and solar farms and the costly, intermittent and unreliable power they bring. True we lose cheap and dependable fossil-fuel power. However, consolingly, it will not be lost to the world. We can depend upon China and India to keep on burning the black stuff.
Climate Changes. Always Has, Always Will
Since reliable climate records exist only for the past two or three centuries, figuring out what the environment was like before that time is an inexact science. There's some empirical data that can be examined, but even that can only be accurately interpreted when cross-referenced with the historical record -- diaries, works of art, etc. For instance, we partly know about the period known as the Little Ice Age because of the descriptions of the frigid weather of New England as described by the Puritans when they arrived in Massachusetts Bay in June of 1629. Suffice it to say, they weren't used to seeing ice flows in the ocean in the middle of summer.
Along these same lines, Suzannah Lipscomb has written an article detailing the bizarre climatic irregularities of that same era. It's an illuminating read at a time like ours when every environmental event -- blizzards, tornados, forest fires, hurricanes, heavy rain, droughts -- is blamed on "climate change."
In February 1540 rainfall effectively ceased, falling only six times in London between then and September. It was not only exceptionally dry but warm: it is probable that the highest daily temperatures were warmer than 2003 (the warmest year for centuries).... Edward Hall noted that the drought dried up wells and small rivers, while the Thames was so shallow that “saltwater flowed above London Bridge,” polluting the water supply and contributing to the dysentery and cholera, which killed people in their thousands. In Rome, no rain fell in nine months; in Paris, the Seine ran dry. Grapes withered on the vine and fruit rotted on trees. Even the small respite of autumn and winter was followed by a second warm spring and another blisteringly hot summer. Forests began to die until, in late 1541, rain fell and fell. 1542 was a year of widespread flooding.
Just a few decades later, there was incessant rain and years-long dampness across Europe, coupled with extremely low temperatures, with predictable results -- four harvests in that ten year period were complete failures, causing widespread famine. Shortly after that, in the "Great Frost" of 1607-1608, England grew so cold that "the trunks of large trees split open, and the Thames froze so solidly that people sold beer and played football on it." A frozen Thames meant no ships entering the port of London, with disastrous economic results, and related civil unrest.
In the end, Lipscomb transitions to a discussion of how this history is relevant today because "the slowly unfolding disaster of global warming means extreme weather events." This is unfortunate, since she had just been discussing the unpredictable nature of the earth's climate. She even admitted that "the warmest year for centuries" was 2003, almost twenty years ago! But overall, it's a valuable read, and bears out an observation of our contributor Christopher Horner, who said "[C]limate changes – it always has, it always will. Of course, saying “climate changes” makes one a “climate change denier.” Go figure."
When 'Inclusive' Capitalism Becomes Socialism
Capitalism is not the answer to human suffering. At the same time, it is the only economic system which allows individual freedom to flourish; it produces unrivalled prosperity; and, as Michael Novak perceptively says in the 1991 edition of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, “it is the most practical hope of the world’s poor: no magic wand, but the best hope.”
Not content, some very rich people, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope, among others, want capitalism to do more. Enter “inclusive capitalism” and its more recent stablemate “stakeholder capitalism.”
It was May 2014. A conference called “Making Capitalism More Inclusive” was held in London. Inclusive capitalism is a concept developed in 2012 by the Henry Jackson Society - a British think tank of classical-liberal persuasion. It started well enough with the principal objective being to engender more ethical behaviour in business practices. The excesses surrounding the recession of 2009/10 were fresh in mind. Unfortunately, it has gone rapidly downhill since.
The aforementioned conference was opened by Prince Charles and featured Bill Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Mark Carney and Lawrence Summers. Hardly a conservative or classical liberal in sight. Three conferences have followed: in London in June 2015, in New York in October 2016 and back in London in March 2018. Presumably, Covid has prevented holding a more recent conference. No matter. Those behind inclusive capitalism co-opted the Pope to keep the pot simmering.
Money makes the world go 'round.
As the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) puts it, Pope Francis has become the “moral guide to inclusive capitalism.” ‘The Council for Inclusive Capitalism (the Council), with the Vatican onboard, was launched on December 8 last year. Earlier in the year, in May, The Great Reset was unveiled at Davos. “Stakeholder capitalism” became the watchword; encompassing the same grand idea as inclusive capitalism.
So, to my theme: What’s it all about or, in other words, what do ‘they’ want; and why is the whole thing a crock or, more politely, misconceived?
This is Mark Carney, the then Governor of the Bank of England, at the 2014 conference to which I referred: “Inclusive capitalism is fundamentally about delivering a basic social contract comprised of relative equality of outcomes, equality of opportunity, and fairness across generations.” Hard to believe coming from a central banker? He’s Canadian.
This is easier to believe. Justin Welby, participating in the 2015 conference, outlining his aspirations for capitalism: “A generosity of spirit that doesn’t always seek the greatest return…that meets the needs of the poor and the excluded and the suffering.”
To add waffle to waffle, the Council’s mission is to “harness the private sector to create a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system.” Understandably, sustainability is featured. After all, the Pope urges us to listen to “the cry of the earth.” Hmm? Smacking too much of paganism? Perish the thought.
Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, expanded on the term stakeholder capitalism in February this year. He identified two primary stakeholders. One is the planet (no, not kidding); the other is everyone, wherever they live. The respective wellbeing of both stakeholders is the objective. Though, Schwab notes, “people are social animals and their absolute well-being is less important than their relative well-being.” Got that. You and your neighbour each having ten dollars is better than him having fifteen and you only twelve.
How the idea of levelling down translates to those participating at Davos and at inclusive capitalism forums is beyond me. Note this description in UCA News of those calling the shots at inclusive capitalism: “a group of individuals and institutions with more than $10.5 trillion in assets and companies with a combined market capitalization of more than $2 trillion.” They are the woke big end of town. A race apart from the small and medium-sized businesses which make up the bulk of market economies. Their self-appointed mission: to rescue the world by reimagining capitalism.
They are discomforted by the prevailing state of affairs. They want a world within which all existing species survive and thrive, the oceans cease rising, the earth cools and each and every person everywhere enjoys a liveable income and state of the art medical attention.
Leaving aside a slight qualm I have about the earth cooling; the aims are fine. I sometimes daydream about winning a lottery. That fantasy is fine too. To take saving the poor and saving planet earth in turn.
Capitalism makes much of the world prosperous. Part of that is entrepreneurs and businesses striving to earn profits by vigorously competing with each other. Part is prices guiding resources into their best commercial use while informing and rationing demand. Part is not ensuring fair outcomes. Capitalism cannot be moulded into a generous outreach to the poor and disadvantaged. It simply won’t work. It is an idea contradictory at its core.
It's easy if you try. Scary, too.
As for lifting those in poor countries out of poverty, how about advising them to adopt Judeo-Christian institutions and values; the institutions and values that have underpinned economic progress in western countries and in other countries which have tried them. Call them what you like, of course, to make them universally palatable.
I will guess. That advice will never come out of Davos or the Council. Yet, when all is said and done, parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, property rights, free speech and freedom from fear, the absence of systematic nepotism, cronyism and corruption and, vitally, mutual trust, tell the tale of progress; not pie-in-the-sky reimagining of capitalism.
From the unattainable to the unachievable describes the segue from saving the poor to saving the planet. Here’s a thought. What is the ideal state of the planet? Roaming ruminants, sans people, perhaps. Short of that green-dream nirvana wouldn’t it be nice, for example, to get CO2 down to pre-industrial levels? Or would it?
A friend of mine, Ivan Kennedy, emeritus professor of agriculture at Sydney University, tells me that we are now effectively addicted to higher levels of CO2. He estimates that if CO2 were to return to pre-industrial levels it would reduce the photosynthesis of cereal crops by more than 20 percent. This would likely cause famine, malnutrition and death, particularly among the world’s poorest. Something on which the Pope and Archbishop might cogitate.
On the Left, an Era of Fascist Magical Thinking
The genius of the Left's success in achieving their favored policy positions is found in their favorite tactic: first, posit a counter-factual and, second, act on it as if it were true -- with maximum governmental force.
Examples abound: that men can transform themselves into biological women by simply wishing it to happen, and then can be protected -- nay, favored -- by a raft of new laws designed for their "protection." That the real women are offtimes physically damaged by this malignant fantasy matters not one bit. After all, "rights" are more important that reality.
The mass hysteria over the nearly non-existent threat of Covid-19 to the great mass of humanity is another. Yes, Covid has been hell on morbidly obese people over the age of 85 (just about any illness is), but to shut down the world's economies and, worse, political freedoms in order to protect "the most vulnerable among us" (in one of the Left's favorite simpering phrases), was not only insane, it was evil.
Now, as the Phantom Covid Menace fades, the Left has turned back to its real target -- the energy industry, which it magically holds responsible for another non-existent threat, "climate change." Naturally, the most clarion calls to effectively outlaw and bankrupt the oil and gas business comes from a state basically founded upon the principle of the internal combustion engine, California:
To save the planet from climate change, gas guzzlers have to die
The numbers paint a daunting picture. In 2019, consumers worldwide bought 64 million new personal cars and 27 million new commercial motor vehicles, a paltry 2.1 million of which were electric-powered. Climate scientists tell us that we have less than a decade to make meaningful reductions in carbon emissions — including those from internal combustion engines — if we have any hope of staving off the worst effects of global warming.
Yet manufacturers are still making, and consumers are still buying, overwhelming numbers of vehicles that will, on average, continue to spew carbon into the atmosphere for a dozen years after they first leave the lot. That means new cars bought this year will still be on the road well into the 2030s — long after the point when we should have slashed emissions. Like we said, a daunting picture.
And what's the solution to this non-existent problem, which is argued from authority without the slightest acknowledgement that the harum-scarum of "climate change" is almost entirely politically motivated, much like letting male fighters crush women's skulls and quarantining healthy people in order to "protect" them while destroying their lives and livelihoods? Government force, of course:
What will it take to throttle back the gas burners and expand exponentially the number of vehicles that run on electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or other non-fossil energy sources? Political will,strong government thumbs on the scale to favor zero-emission vehicles over gas burners (an all-out ban on their production and sale is likely too radical for the world, but it would certainly help), and increased spending on developing and producing clean energy sources, battery technologies and charging capabilities.
The constant push for fascism from our corrupt, lickspittle media, such as the Los Angeles Times cited above, only exacerbates the situation. Without the media-driven madness surrounding the Wuhan flu, few ever would have noticed it. Without the airy-fairy theory of "global warming," most sane people would have gone about their lives completely unaffected by the madness of others.
And, really, who would buy an electric car, except as a virtue-signalling status symbol? Only at gunpoint, I suspect.
The Attack on Energy is an Attack on You
Two goals exist in the attack on energy by the Left. By focusing on their secondary goal (the environment), Democrats accelerate toward their primary goal: destroying the global middle class. This is the demand of the Great Reset and the politicians they own in the western democracies.
Killing energy kills the middle class, the foundation of global democracies that arose through and via the Industrial Revolution, the cornerstone of which was using energy resources (coal, oil, water) more productively than ever before.
Without a middle class, the only possible society remaining is a post-modern serfdom, living and working where, how, at what and for a labor price our betters command. The advance of Big Tech is being encouraged no longer to better our lives, but to better surveil us and to increase the homogenizing of work, speech, thought and culture as demanded by a literal handful of unelected, unaccountable billionaires who think because they’re rich they must be smart (they’re not), and that what they think is “right."
This is the story of tyrants throughout history. And, like all tyrants, these, too, are enemies of people, families, nations, cultures and progress.
As we move farther into the Information Age, what happens to those not able or willing to move into a career that entails staring at a screen all day? What happens when the work of anyone (other than a parasitical politician or indolent bureaucrat) can be offshored to anyone, anywhere on the planet?
Labor needs traditionally have been a community or a national question. The Resetters reject these needs and desires, so intent are they upon forcing us to do their bidding.
This is not a jeremiad against technical progress or a rejection of living standards that unquestionably have advanced due to the digital revolution. It is a demand that those who have most profited from these advances are not allowed, undemocratically, to use their profits to destroy the middle class.
As a culture progresses in resource productivity (food, water, energy, labor) this increased productivity allows that society to create a cohort that pursues specialization, education, travel, art, literature and leisure – the things that make life more than a short, brutal, hungry trudge from cradle to grave. The more productively a society can use resources, the more the living standards of that society increase across all socioeconomic classes.
No petite bourgeoisie wanted here, buddy.
The entire world benefits from the Western middle classes: the wealthy who invest in and benefit from their education, inventions and work, the leisure industries in which they participate, and the benefits a now-wealthier society can distribute to the less-well-off.
But that need for a middle class remains until the need for labor itself is vanquished, as long as we require food, water, shelter, clothing and energy, i.e., as long as people exist. The need for those with skills lacked by the rest of us, indeed, increases: fewer of us every generation can run a water main, repair an electrical problem in our home, or harvest our own food. If advancing technology means one worker can do what ten once did, the need for that one is more, not less, critical. If one of ten no longer can work, the other nine can supply the labor. If one of one no longer can work, who is going to repair your oven?
Trade encouraged by a world shrinking due to industrialized transportation productivity has encouraged lower-skill occupations to migrate to toward what we call the “First World.” This has provided their populations with jobs through which they could advance their standards of education and living, bettering humanity as a whole. As these populations advanced, lower-skill work travelled to less-advanced nations. Wholesale removal of work from Western middle classes for reasons of labor costs alone, however, causes nothing but destruction.
Paying workers in other countries less money to do jobs that have been relocated from the First World specifically to reduce labor costs, cannot help but reduce living standards of the First World. This decelerates all progress globally, including environmental progress and the support of benefits for the poor.
It is a simple fact that a First World country must pay First World wages… or it can’t be a First World country.
Marching for "migrants' rights" in Paris.
The plain fact is this: Western “leaders” no longer value the living standards of their populations. This is past-evident in the intentional failure of education and the offshoring of jobs over the past two generations. Reduced living standards are their goal.
At some point – the point we've likely already reached – either we retain manufacturing and energy production jobs rather than shipping them to less-advanced countries at a lower price, or those who can’t “learn to code” become a detriment to society in the eyes of the “leaders” of that society. Then what?
But the leadership wielding the knives slitting the throats of the middle class couldn’t care less about warming or the environment. They know warming isn’t real; they aren’t stupid. They can read charts and data. Their lack of care for the environment is proven by imposing strict environmental regulations on energy production, while ignoring countries with zero environmental regulations, such as Russia or Nigeria. They also know pretending to care about the environment is a useful tool to use in the destruction of dissent from their rule.
The entire drive to reduce energy consumption (not theirs, of course), to embrace socialism and Progressivism and the tyrannical Great Reset, is fostered by those who know the terrible harm it will cause to the people of the world… and simply do not care.