This Just in, From Acronymia

Recently, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued one of its working group reports contributing to the Sixth Assessment Report on the current state of the world’s climate. Or in keeping with the fashion for acronyms in global governance, the UN’s IPCC issued the AR6-WG1 of its AR6, but an SFP or Summary for Policy-Makers is also available.

Enjoy!

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Though full of scientific findings, these U.N. reports are a bastard child of science and politics rather than a strictly scientific document. The wording of almost every paragraph in them has to be approved by the 190 signatory governments. In the past governments have insisted on significant changes in the treaty so that it justified the climate change policies they had already adopted.

Such political pressures will be especially intense this year since in less than two months the U.K. and the city of Glasgow will be hosting the world’s governments for COP26 which stands for the 26th U.N. Conference of the Parties that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (Or UNFCCC.) Governments need a report that makes a strong case for the admittedly extreme policies of Net-Zero they have already adopted.

Have they got it? That’s not quite clear.

We're still doomed, maybe, kind of.

The report itself is a hefty 4,000-page document, and even its SFP is heavy going at 41 pages, which means that the major news analyses that came out on publication day are a tribute to the intellectual powers and speed-reading of the world’s journalists. Or maybe not. As my colleague Tom Finnerty suggested when he listed the various attempts of blue-chip media to match the tabloids in generating fear and anxiety, they wrung more horror from its pages than was really there:

"The Latest IPCC Report Is a Catastrophe" says The Atlantic. "IPCC report’s verdict on climate crimes of humanity: guilty as hell" is The Guardian's headline. Here's USA Today: "Code red for humanity."

As is often the case, however, the tabloids were more accurate in conveying the report’s overall thrust. Writing in the New York Post, Bjorn Lomborg, the moderate Danish climate realist, pointed out that the report was more even-handed than in previous years. It leveled no charges of crimes against humanity, and it balanced the damages caused by climate change with its less-known advantages:

Since the heat dome in June, there has been a lot of writing about more heat deaths. And the IPCC confirms that climate change indeed has increased heatwaves. However, the report equally firmly, if virtually unacknowledged, tells us that global warming means “the frequency and intensity of cold extremes have decreased.”

This matters because globally, many more people die from cold than from heat. A new study in the highly respected journal Lancet shows that about half a million people die from heat per year, but 4.5 million people die from cold.

As temperatures have increased over the past two decades, that has caused an extra 116,000 heat deaths each year. This, of course, fits the narrative and is what we have heard over and over again. But it turns out that because global warming has also reduced cold waves, we now see 283,000 fewer cold deaths.

You don’t hear this, but so far climate change saves 166,000 lives each year.

That’s an important point with a wider application. We know from Lomborg’s own writings (among other sources) that the number of deaths and injuries from all extreme weather events, involving both heat and cold, have fallen dramatically over a long period even when the extreme weather events themselves have risen in number.

Promises, promises.

The reason is that people build defenses against such weather and adapt to the risk of it or their insurance companies charge higher premiums if they insist on ignoring the risk. If global warming is now helping to reduce deaths from cold—in effect it’s assisting people to adapt—then the cost-benefit analysis of policies to combat climate change becomes much more complicated.

Of course, the headline conclusion of the IPCC report that provides the governments at COP26 with justification for Net-Zero is that global temperatures are continuing to rise—indeed, rising even faster than we previously thought. But as the science editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum, Dr. David Whitehouse, points out, there seems to be a conflict between that conclusion and the U.K. Meteorological Office’s global temperature data base.

His review of the Met’s data for this century shows that global temperatures have barely changed since the last IPCC report in 2014. What we see instead in Dr. Whitehouse’s words is “a long hiatus (2002 – 2014) that was acknowledged by the IPCC (but later denied by some scientists), an intense multi-phased El Nino event and its aftermath (2015 -2020) and now a recent decline to levels where they were when the IPCC published its last report.”

That conflict shouldn’t happen since the actual data on global temperatures should be the bedrock of any theory of global warming. He concludes:

So when you read the new IPCC report and take in the alarmist headlines it will undoubtedly generate, bear in mind that since its previous report in 2014 global temperatures have barely changed, and have declined from their El Nino-inspired peak of a few years ago.

If global warming is not rising as much as the IPCC forecasts suggest, then its consequences, including costs, are presumably not rising as much either. More complexity there for any cost-benefit analysis to handle, and therefore more reason to look at the costs of combatting climate change. After all, if the costs of climate change and the costs of halting or reversing climate change are both high, we need to know how close they are to each other, since that knowledge is vital to choosing the right mix of policies.

We just need to gaze at the data some more.

What then are the costs of Net-Zero? They're high, we know, and they’re getting higher. Just how high we're about to find out.

Two days before the IPCC report was published, London’s official Information Tribunal instructed the parliamentary Committee on Climate Change to publish the calculations behind its advice to Parliament that the U.K. economy could be decarbonized at modest cost. That’s a big deal because it was the CCC’s advice that was the basis of the decision by MPs to adopt the U.K.’s Net-Zero target in 2019.

Two paragraphs from the Tribunal's report will establish the high importance of this decision:

  • 247. We find that there is an extremely strong public interest in enabling scrutiny of the data, models and calculations which underpin the CCC’s conclusion that the a net-zero target could be met at an annual resource cost of up to 1-2 percent of GDP to 2050 (see p 12 of the NZR).
  • 248. This is a very significant sum of public money. It has an impact on everyone in the country. Further the NZR recommendations led to almost immediate legislative change to enact the net zero target which will have significant impact on almost every area of the lives of everyone in the United Kingdom over the next 30 years.

The case to compel this disclosure, was brought by Andrew Montford, deputy director of the GWPF, which issued the following statement after the court’s decision:

The ruling, which dismisses almost all of the CCC’s arguments, comes after a two-year battle to obtain the cost calculations. Extraordinarily, the CCC’s case centred around a claim that it had erased and overwritten the relevant information by the time of the FOI request, just six weeks after the publication of the Net Zero report, and indeed changed and lost it further subsequent to the request.

If that is so, MPs acted on information that understated the costs of one of the most important policy decisions they will ever make. That said, it’s fair to add that no one really believed the Committee’s estimates. What might force a reconsideration of policy, however, is if the Committee’s underestimate of Net-Zero’s costs turns out to be outlandishly low.

The Information Tribunal has given the CCC thirty-five days to produce the calculations. The COP26 Glasgow conference takes place eighty-five days later on the November the 1st. Fasten your seat belt, Jimmy, it’s gonna to be a bumpy night.

Boris Hits the Ground, Not Running

Between now and October 31,  connoisseurs of political embarrassment will be licking their lips and looking forward to a veritable feast as the British government prepares to host the 2021 U.N. Climate Change conference in Glasgow (or COP26 in bureaucratese.) Their enjoyment may be even more thrilling in the twelve days following the end of October when the conference wends its slow way through a vast program of policy pledges to keep the global mean temperature to within a 1.5 degree increase above its pre-industrial level—and, more enticingly, another vaster program of how to make the pledges reality

You might say: “So what’s new?” These pledges have been made time and again in the years since the climate change game was launched in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s. After all, this is the 26th U.N. climate change conference, and the other 25 were about exactly the same topic. Even though one or two of them were pronounced failures—for instance, the Copenhagen Summit conference in 2009—most ended with mutual congratulations and “doubles all round.” But these pledges have not been redeemed by actions. As the latest report of the U.N.’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to argue, the effects of climate change have continued to worsen.

Oh, shut up.

Boris Johnson’s “Conservative” government, in addition to hosting the conference, governs the nation that has made the boldest promises to cut emissions. To be fair, it has so far lived up to these promises better than most (though some U.K. emissions have been “exported” to other countries which now emit on behalf of U.K. corporations that make carbon-heavy investments abroad and sell the products back in the U.K. And Boris had hoped to bask in a green spotlight on a U.N. stage in Glasgow as the man leading Britain and the world into the broad carbon-free sunlit uplands of which legend speaks.

That is now looking less likely.

There’s always been a logical gap in the green case for a full-scale policy of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Policy-makers simplistically assumed that if too many carbon emissions were the problem, then the solution must be requiring fewer carbon emissions—an approach known as mitigation. Simple, neat, an obvious solution.

But there’s more to solving problems than simply reversing their cause. Here are two alternatives to mitigation:

  1. In order to put out a fire, the fire brigade doesn’t search for its causes. It pours water on it. Can we find some technology, logically unrelated to rising emissions, that blocks their ill effects in much the same way? Such technical “fixes” exist, but they’re unpopular with environmentalists and the U.N. which prefer solutions that regulate capitalism and re-distribute income.
  2. Another approach would be to adapt to rising emissions. People will do that anyway. If they think that floods threaten them, they will devise better methods of flood protection as the Dutch have done for centuries. Or they may simply move elsewhere.

People adapt to risks and dangers as follows. They try to establish which solution is the least costly and most effective one, and having done that, they then ask if that solution is less costly and more habitable than living with the problem, here rising emissions.

And that’s the big problem. The costs of mitigation—Net-Zero carbon emissions by 2050—are enormous both financially and in terms of reduced lifestyles (eating less meat, no flying, higher electricity prices, switching to costlier and less efficient home heating, etc., etc.) They are certain to be deeply and unavoidably unpopular; voters rarely vote to make themselves poorer in democratic elections. It’s the classical problem of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. How did it happen?

Scylla, meet Charybdis.

Policy-makers committed themselves to arranging a clash between the voters and international treaties, and they did so quite deliberately. They calculated they would get rewards for green virtue at the time, but that later when the clash came, they could plead that their hands were tied by “legally-binding” obligations. No worries. The voters would swallow it.

But now the witching hour has arrived, and at a most inconvenient moment. With less than two months to go before the Greenbeanfeast in Glasgow, governments are beginning to reject the obligations they had imposed upon themselves and the voters when they saw the price tag electorally.

Two such inevitable betrayals of the global “consensus” on Net Zero occurred in the last ten days. Internationally, a meeting of G20 energy and environmental ministers failed to agree a date on which they would phase out the use of coal—not surprisingly, since coal is the original source of most of the electricity that is supposed to replace it. Without such a universal pledge, however, the COP26 conference will not be able to achieve the promised agreement on limiting global warming to 1.5C as even the U.K. minister responsible for the policy conceded. Such an agreement, said Alok Sharma, would now be “extremely difficult.”

Nor will Boris Johnson be able to shuffle the responsibility for this ecological backsliding onto the G20. In the same two-week period, Whitehall leaked the story that the government would probably push back the regulation banning the sale of gas boilers and heaters from 2035 to 2040. Hydrogen boilers and air-source heat pumps cost £14,000 and £11,000 more than the gas boilers they will be mandated to replace. Which means that some gas boilers would still be in use in 2050. That would itself a serious setback for Britain’s Net-Zero promises and for Boris personally on the eve of COP26.

And it is unlikely to be the last retreat. As the U.K. media speculated:

It comes amid a mounting backlash over the spiralling cost of Mr Johnson's so-called green revolution, with Government insiders fearful that the proposals could add another £400billion on top of the enormous sums accrued during the Covid pandemic.

As Hamlet points out, moreover, when troubles come, they come not in single spies but in battalions. To add to the government’s troubles in this matter, Mr Johnson’s Downing Street press spokesman, Allegra Stratton, upon being asked by The Independent what ordinary citizens could do to prevent global warming, she suggested first that they might put their dirty dishes into the dishwasher without rinsing them first, and then upon more mature consideration, she added:

'What can they do?', they can do many things. They can join Greenpeace, they can join the Green Party, they can join the Tory Party.

Understandably, that was too tempting for a Green party leader, Jonathan Bartley, to ignore. He welcomed Stratton's comments and told The Independent:

After decades of inaction from both the Conservatives and Labour, we would absolutely agree with the government that joining the Green Party is the best thing people can do to help tackle climate change. As we witness the Conservatives waste time talking about loading dishwashers and fantasy projects such as Jet Zero [Mr. Johnson’s prediction of carbon-free airlines], it is reassuring to see that they do understand it is only the Greens who can bring about the real change that is needed if we are to prevent climate catastrophe.

And the sad point is that Mr Bartley is quite right. Anyone who wants to pursue the unachievable target of Net-Zero by 2050, destroying the U.K. economy after it has finally recovered from Covid-19, would be well advised to vote for an amiable fanatic like Mr Bartley rather than for an impulsive risk-taker like Boris Johnson who ultimately has the commonsense and self-interest to pull out of crash dive before it hits the environment. Because if he doesn’t yet know it, Boris hasn’t got an ejector seat on this particular voyage.

Four Kuestions for Klimate Kultists

The Kult of the Warmers™ insists that the Earth is getting hotter. And that this is a problem. They aren’t sure why it’s a problem. Or why (and here, here, here) it’s getting hotter. If, in fact, it is getting hotter (or cooler?). But they demand to re-arrange our entire global economy “to stop earth from getting hotter.”

Whoever is running President Biden has issued an Executive Order to take away from Americans 30 percent of America and “conserve” it to stop what is not going on:

…report to the Task Force within 90 days of the date of this order recommending steps that the United States should take … to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.

If the Warmists are correct, what’s the problem? Scientists are looking for habitable planets with an average temperature 5° (C) hotter than earth for a reason. If the ideal planet is 5° (C) warmer, we are panicking over an increase of 3.2° (C), because…? If the follow-the-scientists are correct, “…higher temperatures than currently existing on Earth seem to be more favorable,” and "Essentially, it would be slightly older, bigger, warmer and wetter than Earth." (Emphasis mine).

Now pay attention, kids.

Four questions.

  1. What evidence shows the Earth is getting hotter?

There isn’t any. This is a politico-religio fantasy lacking factual support. No temperature data set supports a warming earth. The data they use constantly are altered, both in the current time (to show it is hotter than it is) and in the past time (to show it was cooler than it was). This allows Warmists to insist that the curve is steepening and… we’re all going to die. Probably in twelve years.

One credible datapoint of warming does exist. Cities are heat islands. This makes sense both from the standpoint of human density (offices, apartments, suburbs) and human activity (manufacturing, distribution, riots, data centers, transportation of millions of people). Remove metros from the averages and we actually may have global cooling:

Since consistent record-keeping began in 1895, the average temperature in the United States has increased by 1.3 to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 to 1.1° Celsius).

But…

City regions can typically have air temperatures warmer than surrounding rural environments by anywhere from 1 to 15 degrees F.

If the national median temperature has increased 1.6° F, and if cities have increased (median) 7.5° F, simple arithmetic would say the rest of the country (world?) may well be cooling.

If solar radiation occurs in conjunction with water availability, summer conditions cause strong surface urban heat island intensities due to high rates of evaporative cooling in surrounding rural areas. The rural areas grow cooler by a few degrees, while the urban area … grows much warmer.

If this brings to mind the 1974 Time magazine article, “Another Ice Age?” or the 1975 Newsweek piece, “The Cooling World,” welcome to the club.

Perhaps only our SUVs are preventing Snowball Earth? If it is only the warming cities keeping us from being squashed under two miles of ice – buy another Suburban. Please.

Warmer or colder?

  1. What are their suggestions to reverse said warming?

Well, they have quite a few. Not that they actually believe in any of them. If they did, you’d see them following their own suggestions. Al The-Earth-Has-A-Temperature Gore would not live in a mansion and use more energy than 21 average families and Barack The-Rise-of-the-Oceans-Began-to-Slow Obama would not buy a $15 million mansion on a tiny, low, flat Atlantic island.

  1. Why is working to stop warming a positive good?

The Kultists say it will help the economy. But it won’t. It will create lots of good-paying “green” jobs. Actually, there is less evidence of this than of warming – so, no. (Here's the real answer.) We can move on to more modern technology – like electric cars. Umm…. Doesn’t seem like it… 

  1. What are the reasons they say that warming is bad?

Well.. they say we’ll have more and more violent storms. The IPCC itself refutes this:

There is low confidence that any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity are robust…

They say we’ll have less food. Not true.  That the global coffee crop will collapse. Nope.  That more people will die of heat than of cold. Uh-uh. That the oceans are rising and will flood-out billions of people.

Let’s look at that last one for a moment. This has been a driver of the Warmists for decades. Ever since the now-thoroughly-debunked “Hockey Stick” fable and pictographs first were told around a campfire.

Liar, liar, hair on fire.

Just under half-a-billion people live within two vertical meters of sea level. If the oceans were to rise two meters via melting ice caps or major storms pushing before them a huge surge, these people would be flooded out. Ergo, we must stop the rise of the seas!

But, wait! One of the same major governmental agencies coloring outside its lines to sell us global warming (NASA - I’m still looking for “oceans” or “warming” in the words “National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” but I digress) now tells us that the moon … wobbles. (Yes, this is the same cohort looking for a planet that is warmer…)

For those who missed elementary school this might be news, but for the rest of us: The moon always has wobbled. It’s what happens when 704 quintillion tons of rock collide with 6 sextillion tons of rock, blasting off a sixth of the combined volume to coalesce into 80 quintillion tons of rock a quarter of a million miles away with no outside force acting to slow the wobble, and a few massive, constantly-moving items (Sun, Jupiter, Earth) tugging in ever-different directions acting on it to increase the wobble.

If the wobble increases, the tides magnify and... coastal flooding occurs.

If moon wobble is going to flood the coastal plains regardless of how many Chevy Suburbans we buy, how many gasoline vs electric vehicles transport us, how many cubic miles of the earth we tear up while strip-mining rare earth elements to make solar panels with which we virtue-signal one another for a few years before throwing these toxic things into in a landfill, and of how many 300-foot-tall bird Cuisinarts (573,000 chopped birds annually in the USA) we install Not-In-My-Backyard… what then?

I don’t know what then. Call Bekins? But deep down in the quiet recesses of my mind I see generations of new protestors demanding we “Stop The Wobble!” We can call them “Wobblies.”

As the man said – everything old is new again.

Investing 'Ethically'? Prepare to Lose Your Shirt

It’s starting to look as if the world is emerging, albeit slowly and reluctantly, from the utopian dream of halting and reversing climate change by policies based on almost exclusively on mitigation rather than on adaptation. These two approaches have always been the practical choice between real-world alternatives. A mixture of the two leaning mainly towards adaptation is probably the best approach since the costs of mitigation—as in achieving Net-Zero carbon emissions—are huge and its benefits either modest or unachievable.

For reasons outside the scope of this short commentary, however, the world’s governments and global agencies have placed all their money on the mitigation approach. I write carelessly “their money.” It is, of course, other people’s money. And we are gradually discovering just how much of other people’s money they are investing in climate change mitigation. Prepare to be shocked.

Recently the Financial Times reported as follows:

Thirty of the world’s biggest asset managers, which collectively oversee $9tn, have set a goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions across their investment portfolios by 2050 in a move expected to have huge ramifications for businesses globally. The group, which includes Fidelity International, Legal & General Investment Management, Schroders, UBS Asset Management, M&G, Wellington Management and DWS, said they would work with their clients to cut emissions across their investments.

That attracted the attention of National Review’s Andrew Stuttaford (full disclosure: an old friend) who devoted his regular weekly column on finance to examining how and why Wall Street decided to plunge so wholeheartedly into green ink investments. It’s a real humdinger of a column because it solves a financial mystery.

Nowhere to go but down.

After all, the purpose of investment institutions is to deliver the best return on the money that they are lent by savers and pensioners. If an investment house says that it intends to make mitigating climate change one of its main aims, it’s also telling you that your money will be getting a lower rate of return than it otherwise might. That’s a clear betrayal of the fiduciary duty that agents owe to their principals—unless they level with them and admit the likely loss.

That’s exactly what happens with other ESG funds, and I’ve no doubt that this admission will appear in the middle of the voluminous fine print which warns purchasers that socially conscious investments are likely to perform less well than the average. At the same time all the great and the good of the financial, political, and regulatory world from Al Gore to Mike Bloomberg to Mark Carney are bent on assuring nervous investors that they are making a prudent decision in going green.

Their argument boils down to claiming that any investor risks from green investments are trivial compared to the risks of investing in fossil fuels which are likely to prove unprofitable investments in a world moving towards Net-Zero and which might make those companies vulnerable to expensive lawsuits and regulatory restrictions.

The fallacies embedded in that argument were challenged by me in February last year in the first column I wrote for The Pipeline—which was a criticism of Mark Carney’s strident advocacy of strong measure of financial regulation to direct investors into the “right” green companies.

Yet if these climate forecasts are either exaggerated or simply uncertain [as they are], what is the test which would tell us with some reliability that the market demand for fossil fuels is likely to fall along with the value of companies that extract them. It cannot be the additional stress tests or capital requirements that regulators may want the banks to impose on energy companies, for then the regulators would be using their own interventions as the justification for intervening. As yet, however, non-official market participants can’t seem to see spontaneous causes for this threat to the energy sector.

But my tentative point is made more vividly and powerfully by the economist John Cochrane (quoted by Stuttaford) in an address to the European Central Bank in a reply to one of its senior executives:

Let me quote from ECB executive board member Isabel Schnabel’s recent speech. I don’t mean to pick on her, but she expresses the climate agenda very well, and her speech bears the ECB imprimatur. She recommends that,

‘First, as prudential supervisor, we have an obligation to protect the safety and soundness of the banking sector. This includes making sure that banks properly assess the risks from carbon-intensive exposures. . . .’

Let me point out the unclothed emperor: climate change does not pose any financial risk at the one-, five-, or even ten-year horizon at which one can conceivably assess the risk to bank assets. Repeating the contrary in speeches does not make it so. Risk means variance, unforeseen events. We know exactly where the climate is going in the next five to ten years. Hurricanes and floods, though influenced by climate change, are well modeled for the next five to ten years. Advanced economies and financial systems are remarkably impervious to weather. Relative market demand for fossil vs. alternative energy is as easy or hard to forecast as anything else in the economy. Exxon bonds are factually safer, financially, than Tesla bonds, and easier to value. The main risk to fossil fuel companies is that regulators will destroy them, as the ECB proposes to do, a risk regulators themselves control. (My italics.)

“A risk regulators themselves control.” I hesitate to accuse a former governor of the Bank of England, a former Vice President of the United States, and a former Mayor of New York of financial legerdemain, but I think there are laws against stock manipulation of that kind—though I doubt legislators ever envisaged fraud on the scale of nine trillion dollars.

My own advice to investors and pension fund managers is to fight shy of the “watermelon investments” recommended by the great and good. They are written in Green ink today, Red ink tomorrow.

Consider tobacco companies instead. They survived the legal and regulatory onslaught, and today they’re nice little earners.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Spacing

Oh sure…“Bag the big client,” they said, “Jenny… think of all the good you can do!” and “Run with the big dogs,” they told me, but no one tells you what goes up must come down!

Whatever I imagined, this has been a colossal flop! Here I was planning how to best spend millions of dollars of goodwill only to find we are guilty of the biggest carbon footprint in the history of ever. I mean, this falls somewhere between the atom bomb and the Hindenburg! And all in pursuit of hedonism.

I for one don’t have a problem with hedonism but my client has put himself out there as some sort of social and eco-justice warrior—the arbiter of all that is good and moral, and well… right about now, the hypocrisy is suffocating. And the press didn’t miss a beat.

Space oddity.

First there was “meet the dong rocket” and a lot of dick jokes, which then expanded into “he’s obviously compensating for something.” And yes, in the publicity leading up to the launch we stressed that the rocket’s design, while not original, was safe and less expensive than some sleeker designs.

But late into the evening my phone just would not stop, ding—ding—ding until I just had to shut it off. When I finally turned it on again there were four messages from the space cowboy himself. “Do you see what they are writing about me?” he snarled. But my phone was still blowing up which made a response impossible. 

By the time my breakfast arrived 186,000 people had called for him to stay in space and another petition put it a bit more strongly saying “Do not allow him to return to earth.” Can you even imagine? Embarking on a journey and while you’re away the world asks that you not return? This was bad. And I didn’t know how to fix it. Not since I’d been sacked by the self-help author’s husband had I been this short of breath. There was no time for yoga, and no one to pinch a Xanax from either.

I didn’t want to call Daddy because I could hear him snickering from across the Atlantic. "Ego more like it," he said when finally I did call.

"So it’s not as bad as the Hindenburg?"

"Not at all," he assured me. That was accidental. This is more in the vein of… oh I don’t know… the Kuwaiti oil fires. Because Saddam knew the war was over and he squandered the resources just because he could: "Ego."

'Really, Daddy, Can it really be as bad as all that?"

(ding-ding-ding)

"No, of course not, baby girl. There’s no risk of tarcrete hardening and killing all the livestock. You just have a pious client who lords his virtue over others, while treating the planet like he’s China."

Daddy was right and I knew it. I stared at the lamp by my bedside while blood rushed to my temples. I was defeated. "Cheer up!" he advised. "It seems you're the only one of his employees he pays well." And with that, he rang off.

The morning opinions were an absolute indictment of the man, and he was guilty as charged. The collusion between big tech and big media, de-platforming Parler, censoring books, killing small business, destroying the environment, crony capitalism… and yet his revenues were up 44 percent.

The plain truth was lockdowns had gifted him a cool $108 billion in revenues. Some clever PR was not going to sugarcoat this. It was time to get my game face on and do my job.

In the car on the way over to the launch site, I googled to see if Richard Branson had borne such wrath but who was I kidding? There was no comparison, and Branson could charm the pants off of Marcus Aurelius. Still reading the Twitter feed on my phone, I applied some lip gloss with my finger and wiped the excess on the carpet between the seat and the car door. Darn, we’re already here. I got out—big smile, and greeted my client by saying, "Seems a good day for it." I didn’t know if it was or not but it seemed the thing to say.

I also don’t know what I was expecting from today, but there was a very casual air about the whole thing. Or maybe everyone was just playing at looking cool. I tweeted, I stood where I was told, I tweeted some more, and the moment was upon us. No astronauts' wives in coordinated shoes and bags, just those of us who had a job to do, or some other connection to the launch and then—whoosh! I didn’t breathe. No one did. I think we were half expecting a big explosion, but I’m glad to report that did not happen.

Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar.

I followed as best as I could on my phone and wondered if there was something else I should be doing. All I could think about was the tremendous amount of energy being expelled and wondered what the carbon offset could possibly be. I needn’t have worried as a congressional representative had just tweeted about implementing a space tax to do just that—thus giving way to exposure of his not paying his fair share of taxes, or wages, or infrastructure. It was the same argument lobbed against every sitting oligarch since the beginning of time. But in this case, I couldn’t help but feel it was deserved.

We had talked about his press conference and landing speech—heck I’d written three versions for him, and a pre-taped segment in the event of his death. But he forgot all of that and his swagger rose to the surface. He was so proud of himself, and yes, he bloody well should have been… but admitting he’d managed this on the backs of those he underpaid and overworked, was not the note to play.

I received a ‘?’ text from Daddy, and Judith followed with: "Was that your idea? Not everyone can deliver jokes you know. I should know, I’m one of those people."

Loads of negative rants came pouring in on my phone and disingenuous claims that they would never want to go to space… that the money could be used for so many better pursuits, like hunger and world peace. Well, yes, but baloney I thought. It’s the moon—or nearly. Of course you would go. It was same class division that had been going on since the beginning of time.

Just then Daddy texted, "Í’m very proud of you."

"For crossing over to the dark side?" I texted back.

"No. For doing your job," he wrote. "It's all progress… the money he amassed, the energy I create, the engineers who spend both… it’s all progress. And only a fool would argue that doing absolutely nothing is the path forward."

He was right. And if the last two months had taught me anything, it was that man did not get to the top of the food chain to eat bugs.

Feral Hogs Cause Global Warming!

The left had a lot of fun a few years back making fun of a man named Willie McNabb who commented on a tweet about gun control that he needed his AR-15 to protect his kids from the mass of wild hogs which traipsed across his property, near where his children played.

The tweet went viral, and a quick glance through the thousands of mocking replies and retweets will show you the standard response, which boiled down to disbelief that this could be a real problem, and lots of speculation that this yokel was going to eventually shoot his kids.

Well, here's some vindication for Mr. McNabb -- there has recently been more widespread acknowledgement of the fact that wild hogs are a horribly invasive species, and are now present in forty-eight states (up from twenty-seven since the turn of the century). They are potentially dangerous to humans, really dangerous to non-invasive species, and they cause between $1.5 and $2.5 billion worth of damage to crops in the United States every year.

Moreover -- and here's where lefties might really start to pay attention -- they have also been accused of contributing to rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere and having a negative impact on the climate.

According to a new study published Monday in Global Change Biology, wild pigs around the world are releasing the equivalent of 1.1 million cars’ worth of carbon dioxide each year—just from digging around in the dirt.

This, the study explains, is because dirt stores a great deal of carbon, but wild hogs search for food by rooting around in the dirt, using their snouts and tusks as little shovels to disturb often-untouched patches of soil.

According to the models O’Bryan and his colleagues developed, wild pigs are uprooting anywhere between almost 14,000 square miles (36,214 square kilometers) to 47,690 square miles (123,517 square kilometers) in their non-native habitats. And all this digging has serious consequences for the carbon dioxide stored in soil. Around 5.37 million tons of carbon dioxide each year are released due to wild pig activities....

Scientists have called wild pigs, or Sus scrofa, “one of the most prolific invasive mammals on Earth.” ... their population ranges between 6 to 7 million in the U.S., and experts say managing this big group of pigs might mean a mass killing of between 60 percent to 80 percent of them... The new findings show their impact on the climate is one more reason to end feral hogs’ reign of terror.

Reign of terror is right! To save our crops, the climate, and our children, I hereby propose to you, dear leftists, a truce. If you guys ease up on your anti-legal gun ownership furor, we'll round up a few hundred thousand gun nuts to thin out the wild hog menace by the expert recommended "60 percent to 80 percent." We will even divvy up the bacon so that you all don't have to worry about hog bodies laying about.

Then, once we've bought us all some climatic wiggle room, you can stop bellyaching about gas guzzlers and electric vehicle mandates at least until there are a million more cars on the road than their are today.

Deal's on the table, take it or leave it.

Mother Gaia Likes it Hot

If you've noticed that the greens are in an especially reverent mood of late, it is because the holiest months of their neo-pagan religion are now upon us. What we call summer is referred to semi-officially in their calendar as "Air Conditioning Antipathy Season," and it is traditionally celebrated with the proliferation of various and sundry bits of anti-A/C propaganda whose object is to berate the unenlightened among us for preferring not to be roasted alive from June through August.

Time Magazine recently released a perfect example of this pious genre. Written by Eric Dean Wilson, author of the unpleasant sounding "After Cooling: On Freon, Global Warming, and the Terrible Cost of Comfort," the piece begins by mentioning the heatwave that hit the Pacific Northwest last month, with temperatures far exceeding 100ºF and department stores predictably running out of A/C units.

"Unfortunately," Wilson asserts, dutifully, "air-conditioning is part of what’s causing the unusual heatwave in the first place." He then walks us through the supposedly disreputable history of air conditioning, which he says contributed to socio-economic divides (because it was initially prohibitively expensive), was a marker of structural racism (because southern whites got it first), and, more recently, contributed to a near environmental calamity, namely the depletion of the ozone layer which was related to the use of chlorofluorocarbons as refrigerants.

One of the reasons folks used to go to the movies. (YouTube)

The article is strange reading for outsiders, as is often the case with religious texts. The race and class references seem awkwardly inserted, perhaps to appease other factions within their broad church. But there are some difficult-to-comprehend passages even within the purely environmental sections.

For instance, you'd think the fact that CFCs were banned in 1987 and have been largely replaced by the much more environmentally friendly hydrofluorocarbons (or HFCs) would be a relief for Wilson, but you'd be wrong. While HFCs don't deplete the ozone layer they still contribute to global warming, he says, as does air conditioning generally, simply because it uses energy.

But if "thou shalt avoid excess energy" is just part of their decalogue, air conditioning is an odd target. As Megan McArdle explained in Bloomberg a while back," Americans still expend much more energy heating their homes than cooling them." This might seem surprising, but it makes sense upon reflection:

The difference between the average temperature outside and the temperature that is comfortable inside is generally only 10 to 20 degrees in most of America, for most of the summer. On the other hand, in January, the residents of Rochester, New York... need to get the temperature up from an average low of 18 degrees (-8 Celsius) to at least 60 or 65. That takes a lot of energy.

Heating homes often seems natural in a way cooling them does not, but this is illogical. Both extremes can (and do) kill people every year. Moreover, McArdle points out that one of the environmental benefits of air conditioning is that it has enabled Americans to progressively move in the direction of the sunbelt, where heating needs in winter are minimal, meaning that less energy overall is used in regulating temperature.

In any event, Wilson's own solution to the  "problem" suggested in his piece is not for his co-religionists to move south, but rather to drastically reduce the amount of A/C used by both elect and reprobate alike. This he would apparently accomplish by banning home air conditioners and having us all become "more comfortable with discomfort." If A/C is allowed to remain legal, it should be available only at "public cooling centers" where, presumably, rich and poor alike can gather joyfully together to gather together to avoid the scorching heat.

If you can't take the heat...

This seems about as realistic to me as the idea that there was a soul-saving spaceship following the comet Hale–Bopp -- how well would those public cooling centers have worked in, for instance, Portland, Ore., when the mercury hit 112º? More than likely people would have rioted to get in and to stay in.

But I guess that (apocryphal) St. Thomas Aquinas line holds true here -- "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." Happy A/C Antipathy season to our devout readers.

The Church of Global Warming Will Now Come to Order

Intercessional prayers at my local Anglican church never fail include asking for God’s help in tackling climate change. Suppose I was to ask those expressing concern about climate change whether their concern was related to increased water vapour in the atmosphere, caused by warming engendered by CO2 emissions from burning hydrocarbons fuels; and which, in turn, markedly multiplied the initial warming effect of CO2. If I were ever to ask this question, the odds are that I would get a blank look.

Understandably, people have little knowledge of climate science. And when I say people, I include most politicians, media commentators, Greta Thunberg, Prince Charles, David Attenborough even and, being brutally honest, me too.

Poor sods like me are easily bamboozled by science. The IPCC brigade know that. You might recall “the science is settled” catchcry being used to quell dissent among the hoi polloi. However, such a contradiction in terms proved to be too laughable to survive and it’s now never heard. Nevertheless, to put it mildly, debate is not encouraged. Scientists in institutional settings risk being cancelled for questioning any aspect of the received wisdom. Best to be retired before voicing a discordant opinion.

So we're all agreed then?

The problem is that climate science is no longer in the backroom; delving into esoterica remote from the everyday lives of people in the street. The catholic church stuck too long with Ptolemy’s geocentric theory of the solar system. But, really, did this matter much for trade and commerce? No, it didn’t. That doesn’t apply in this case. In this case, science is in process, through the agency of governments, of upturning the world. And we are told not to ask awkward questions.

After a while, I thought, let them have their theory. The important thing is what’s being done about it. If they would support nuclear energy, then let’s swallow hard and go along with it. For example, you can easily come away with that point of view from reading Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never. It is a grave mistake.

We are not dealing with rationale beings. For instance, consider AOC and her fellow supporters of the Green New Deal. To them, climate change is a gateway to a brave new world. And that’s not to a world of efficient, affordable, zero-emission nuclear energy. That’s anathema to them. They want to remake society into an inclusive (white men excepted), equitable, diverse, green, nirvana. In reality it would be a Marxist-like hellhole but, hey, they have the best of intentions. Hmm? I wonder. Did Stalin have good intentions?

Our calculations are irrefutable!

For us there is no option. We must go back to the beginning and do “violence” to their inviolable scientific premise. With this in mind, I was attracted to a recent essay I might otherwise have put into the too-hard basket. By Christopher Monckton, it was put up on the site Watts Up With That?

Albeit colourful, Monckton’s a clever guy. Saw him speak in Sydney maybe fifteen or so years ago. I believe, at the time, he described global warming as a monstrous hoax. I don’t think he’s changed his mind. But to his essay. I can’t warrant its worth. I can say, with approval, that it tackles the science. I found it interesting. This is his thesis in summary point form for easy digestion.

In a nutshell, Monckton’s claim is that all of the heat of the earth is complicit in generating feedback warming not just the 8.5 K down to greenhouse gasses. It would explain why model predictions have overegged anthropogenic warming and markedly overshot actual temperatures. Does he have a point? I might have mentioned. Science is not my forte. However, I do believe that science is the turf on which the battle must be reengaged and fought.

Global warming alarmism is like a deep-rooted infection. You’re not going to cure it by trying to make its manifestation more benign. As we speak, parasite upon parasite is gnawing on the supine body-politic of our peerless civilization.

That's the ticket!

Want evidence of these parasites? Look at gargantuan wind turbines, at massive solar farms, at electric cars, at zillions of lithium batteries, at pumped-hydro ventures, at green hydrogen escapades. And what about replacing gas for heating tens of millions of European homes with wind and solar driven electric heat pumps supplementing geo-thermal energy extracted, say, from flooded disused underground coal mines. What could be simpler?

Parasitical boondoggles one and all. Sucking on the taxpayer teat. None able to stand on its own two feet in the marketplace. They will enfeeble us and eventually may lead, one way or another, to our demise.

The received scientific wisdom is wrong. We know that because all of its predictions have been wrong. Normally that would have been sufficient to down the theory. Not this time. Vested interest is at play among institutional scientists, politicians and the aforementioned commercial parasites.

Vested interest is powerful. Some churchmen and papal-court astronomers kept Ptolemaic theory on life support. But it eventually succumbed. Got to keep on. Truth will out. And hopefully, before it is too late.

Whom to Believe: Big Brother or Your Lying Eyes?

Professor emeritus Ivan Kennedy, faculty of science at Sydney University, tells me he has been doing some work on the effect of turbulence engendered by wind turbines. Among other things, he hypothesizes that this may have a drying effect extending beyond the immediate area. The outcomes: a fall in the productivity of arable land and more water vapour in the atmosphere.

You’ll note, I said, he hypothesizes. Importantly, he also points out that his theory is testable using technology such as ground-based sensors and satellites. Being a scientist of the old school, he doesn’t rush to conclusions even provisional ones. Greenies are not nearly so constrained; operating comfortably in fact-free zones.

As an exercise, let me take each of the two hypothesized outcomes in turn and see where they lead. You will see that they lead realists (putting modesty aside) like us, and greenies in diametrically opposite directions.

Let us suppose there is a measurable fall in the moisture in agricultural land surrounding wind farms. Our take: build fewer wind turbines near agricultural land. (Build none at all actually but you get my drift.) Their take: climate change is causing droughts. Build more turbines.

Build fewer, senor. No, Sancho, build more.

Water vapour is by far the dominant greenhouse gas. Suppose it is found that the uplift of water vapour is greater, the nearer are turbines to bodies of water; those, particularly, in seas or close to irrigated areas. Our take: build fewer turbines close to water. Theirs, CO2 is causing the oceans to warm. Hence more water vapour. Build more turbines.

The bitter or delicious irony, depending where you stand, is that the more deleterious effects turbines have on the natural world, the more must be built to counter such effects. Wind turbines, and solar panels too, are bulletproof. They both make lots of money for powerful people and big businesses and, not least, for China. And they appeal to the gullible; who, at whatever cost to reason and the public purse, see them combatting the imminent imaginary climate Armageddon.

Even despoiling landscapes and seascapes hardly rates a mention now that Prince Phillip is not around to express his displeasure in his own blunt way. In case you've missed it, Prince Charles is not a chip of the old block. Mind you, that aside, alarms have been raised about the enormous quantity of materials and energy required for the manufacture of turbines and solar panels; for their use of rare earths; their relatively short life spans; and the problem of their disposal. Really? Among whom?

OK, only among those who deal in facts. In other words, not among the much vaster number of people, including government ministers and their apparatchiks throughout the Western world, who deal in fancies. Among the minority who deal in facts is Mark Mills, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. If you haven’t already, it is well worth while keying in to his presentation on February 9, 2021 to the U.S. House Energy Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. Here’s just a taste:

As Mills explains, while the minerals required are there, digging them up will be daunting and pricey. Count among the costs: environmental degradation; increased threats to the West’s national security in view of China’s dominance in many of the supply chains; the use of child labour in countries not so sensitive to human rights; the massive amounts of energy required to mine, transport and process these exotic minerals; and, the bottom line, the demise of reliable and affordable hydrocarbon power.

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On hearing all of this, the Democrat members of the subcommittee, including the chairman Paul Tonko (NY), recanted and became RE-skeptics overnight. I’m fabulising. Inconvenient facts don’t impact dullards or zealots.

Prof. Kennedy’s hypothesis might be true. So what? It would just sit atop of the existing enormous pile of inconvenient facts. Rafe Champion, another friend fond of facts, continually pesters Australian politicians, all 837 of them in this over-governed land, about the inconstancy of wind. No wind no power, he says. Follow up tricky question: if it takes 1,000 turbines to power a particular town when the wind is blowing, how many turbines does it take when the wind isn’t blowing? Alas, arithmetic isn’t the strong suit of the political class; except, that is, when counting prospective votes.

It took exquisite torture on the part of O’Brien to convince Winston Smith that two plus two equals five. Childs play for greenies. To wit, when the wind stops blowing a big battery can take over, they claim, with the conviction of megalomaniacs.

One of the biggest lithium battery installations in the world at Hornsdale in South Australia can reportedly deliver 194 MW for an hour. Though electricity usage has spiked above 4,000MW, South Australia (pop. 1.8 million) generally uses from 1,000MW to 2,500MW depending on the time of day and season. Ergo, the battery would generally run out in 12 to 5 minutes if required to take over.

Mind you, as deluded as they are, look at us. We persist in using logic, facts and figures. Might as well babble for all the influence we have. And then again, what else is there to do? We are condemned, Sisyphus-like, to make the same arguments over and over again. Captors, as we are, of reality.

The one saving: real life is our pal. As the paranoid delusions and lies increasingly hit the road they’ll be undone. For example, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining that illustrative town I mentioned will last ten minutes or so on batteries before the lights go out. QED.

Godzilla vs. King Kong

Late last month during a multi-day interview with a Chinese virologist and researcher who is in hiding in the U.S, I had a revelation about how the largest institutional banks feign having principles, while they avoid actually being principled. While the country is being beaten about the head with a counter-factual accusation that the two greatest threats to America are systemic racism and climate change, there exist actual geo-political and economic threats that require real leadership and genuine principle.

I had driven to the secure location to meet the doctor and followed extensive protocols to ensure her safety. What Dr. Li-meng Yan reveals about the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese military’s malevolent misdeeds surrounding the release of the SARS CoV-2 virus left me pondering how reason has been replaced by such rhetoric.

COVID-19 is an "unrestricted bioweapon" that slipped from a Wuhan facility. This claim was according to a Chinese virologist who fled to the United States after claiming that China covered up the coronavirus epidemic. Dr. Li Meng-Yan, a whistleblower, claims that a trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci's emails backs up her assertions. In an interview with Newsmax, the Chinese whistleblower said she had emailed Dr. Anthony Fauci about her theory and "discovery."

The messages - obtained through the Freedom of Information Act - implied that the White House virus expert knows the possibility of the virus being manufactured. However, The Sun claimed Fauci downplayed it publicly. 

Dr. Li said that Fauci's emails revealed on Tuesday by Buzzfeed and the Washington Post show he knew about the Chinese tinkering with viruses to make them more lethal. "Frankly, there is a lot of useful information there [Fauci's emails]," she said in The Sun's report. "He knows all these things," she insisted of Fauci in a New York Post report.

Ground Zero.

So how has "climate change" superseded Covid-19 as an existential crisis, as Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, in his annual ‘letter to CEOs’, thinks it has? China’s continued cunning and sinister shenanigans, in all their variations, have been conspicuously overlooked; instead of identifying the Chinese Communist Party, and all its many tentacles, as the greatest existential threat of our time, Fink posits a counter-factual. China after all makes money for BlackRock  through investments. Having actual corporate values guided by principle does not.

Dr. Yan, a medical doctor and published researcher who specializes in immunology and vaccine development, and is an independent coronavirus expert, was forced to flee Hong Kong last year because she declared that the SARS CoV-2 virus had been engineered in a lab and that it indeed had gain-of-function characteristics -- in other words, it was weaponized expressly to increase virulence in humans. While  more will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead about Dr. Yan’s knowledge of these events, it is clear that Larry Fink may need to spend a bit more time using the BlackRock’s annual RAND Corporation subscription. In his letter to CEO’s he writes,

I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis – such a stark reminder of our fragility – that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives. It has reminded us how the biggest crises, whether medical or environmental, demand a global and ambitious response.

In the past year, people have seen the mounting physical toll of climate change in fires, droughts, flooding and hurricanes. They have begun to see the direct financial impact as energy companies take billions in climate-related write-downs on stranded assets and regulators focus on climate risk in the global financial system. They are also increasingly focused on the significant economic opportunity that the transition will create, as well as how to execute it in a just and fair manner. No issue ranks higher than climate change on our clients’ lists of priorities. They ask us about it nearly every day.

How Fink jumped from a pandemic to climate change being a global threat while overlooking China as the global threat that demands a global and ambitious response, requires the flexibility of a Shabari submissive.

Enter the oil and gas industry. Under the false narrative of "climate change" representing an existential threat, oil and gas is described as the industry most responsible for said climate change. Neuter the industry and climate change disappears is the contrived narrative espoused by the politicians and their corporate collaborators.

To date, the oil and gas industry has been slow to counter punch. Instead of its  being the cause of climate change, the oil and gas industry has single-handedly led the reduction of American emissions to levels lower than defined in the Paris Climate Accord. By producing inexpensive, reliable, and abundant energy safely and without political objectives, the oil and gas industry has fueled global economic activity and improved lives of people throughout the world.

By contrast, in the skinny jean-wearing world Fink envisions, the economic vitality fueled by the oil and gas industry is blunted, and only a few are permitted to economically benefit. Every aspect of life in this brave new "Great Reset" world becomes more expensive, more confiscatory, and more Socialist if the climate change narrative is left unrebutted. Enter China.

China’s record of environmental degradation and abuse is well known and well documented. With 1.4 billion people, many living in utter poverty, a manufacturing sector whose carbon emissions are suffocating, and largely unregulated, and a Party that controls society via a digital surveillance state the Chinese people refer to as the "Great Wall," China is the actual existential global threat, not the climate change bogey man.

Tomorrow belongs to us.

Since 2012 when Xi Jinping began his tenure as party General Secretary (he became President the following year), more than 2 million Uyghurs have been sent to Mao-style "re-education" camps. At these camps, estimated to number more than thousand, Muslim Uyghurs have been abused, tortured, sexually assaulted, forcibly sterilized, and even killed. But climate change is the real threat?

Beyond environmental degradation, human rights abuses and corruption, the Chinese practice censorship with the help of tech companies, manipulate currency markets, steal intellectual property, have militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea, and most recently, according to Dr. Yan, have used unrestricted novel bioweapons, intended to harm people and to arrest economic activity around the world in their stated pursuit of world dominance by 2035. But institutional racism and climate change are the problem?