From Secret Passages to Burning Bushes

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

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

What lies beneath?

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP. Gotta be climate change.

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely climate change.

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

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

The Shape of Things to Come

Our rulers have recently completed another greendoggle on foreign shores, flying in on their private jets to congratulate one another on their plans to deprive us of liberty and property; life, too, if they’re all up for it. How much easier it would be for them if we all just died.

The primary job of any politician is communication. Communications nowadays are instantaneous and global. No reason exists for this gathering to disgorge thousand of metric tons of GHG to gather to communicate about excess GHG. If our entire $20 trillion economy can work from home and on video-calls for well over a year, these few penny-ante taxpayer-and-corruption-funded millionaires can, too.

If they must get together, if drinking maskless and telling happy lies and sitting around watching the same old PowerPoint presentations they heard last year and the year before (which can be emailed to them) are critical to their well-being, well – again, as comms are global (and if they absolutely refuse to videoconference) they can take the train, or a ship and then a train, all of which emit less GHG per passenger than Gulfstreams and Lears and Cessnas and 85-car motorcades. The longer they are in-transit, the less harm they are to the productive middle classes. If they want to extend these ridiculous and childish meets to 24 x 7 x 365, who are we to complain? As long as they are out of our hair and pocketbooks.

Look who's here.

If Congress wanted to pass a useful bill and work seriously on revitalizing friendships with our European “allies,” and do the world a favor, they could strip the citizenship from Uncle Joe while he’s gone, sell Air Force-1 to the French in exchange for screwing them on the Aussie sub deal, and purchase an abandoned castle somewhere in the U.K. for President Brandon to live out his daze.

But – they seem to think they know best, so let’s take a brief look at some of the scare stories in the media being drummed-up by our betters, and the reality behind them. After all, if we’re going to have our liberty and property taken-away extra-judicially, it’s a good idea to understand the problems causing our unprecedented loss of freedom by those who would rule us without our permission. Normally when people are asked to sacrifice, there’s a good reason for them to comply. Invasion, Global War, stuff like that. So let’s take a quick look at some of the things for which our sacrifice (is it a “sacrifice” when it’s not voluntary?) is demanded.

Arguably the biggest problem of Baby Boomers in government (other than they’re not retiring and just going away to prattle amongst themselves and stop damaging the rest of us) is that they have this childish idea that nothing changes – ever. That everything has been the way it has been over their pampered, safe, wealthy lives enriched by the Industrial Revolution they now demand to reverse;  that the world they see through Disney’s lens is the real world. For the rest of us to listen to them is absurd. Seas rise, mountains slump and volcanoes volcano.

Here in the real world, actual data show none of the “ills” with which our betters were entertaining one another in vodka-fueled stories around the Glasgow campfire at COP26. The Lancet, in fact, (via the WSJ) a journal the elite rely on when it tells stories they like, reports that, no, we’re not all going to die from the heat in 12 years.

The Lancet published what is arguably the largest study ever to examine excess mortality associated with temperature. The study’s authors, 68 scientists representing universities and research institutes in 33 countries spanning all regions of the world, came to two clear conclusions: cold temperatures contribute to far more deaths each year than warmer temperatures, and deaths associated with extreme temperatures, hot or cold, are declining. Referencing data on more than 130 million deaths from 43 countries, located in five continents they found that 5,083,173 deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures per year, with most of these excess deaths tied to cold temperatures.

Maybe our betters are complaining that we aren’t dying fast enough? Perhaps we’re reading the entire global warming fantasy incorrectly and they want us to get colder so we can die more quickly?

Who needs heat?

It’s also what those searching for extra-terrestrial life are saying by looking for an off-world home that is five degrees C warmer than earth for optimal conditions for human life. And, of course, all food plants thrive at warmer temperatures and increased CO2, thus allowing the poor to be fed. I guess the elites don’t really care about the poor.

I’m with 'em – let’s find a warmer place and ship Davos Man there. Better for them. Better for us. Less hot air, too.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Mad Hatting

I’m back in Old Blighty where we seem to want to party like it’s 1999. Judith (mummy) asked me to come back because she’s afraid of the stupid new Covid variant—of which there are three cases and no deaths. So I appeased her, but truth be told, I’d had enough of Silicon Valley and their oppressive mask-wearing. Plus Californians are living in abject fear because their state is going to hell in a handbasket. And they’re in full denial over Florida’s bragging rights. They’ve thrown a wobbly, but if lockdown really happens I’m headed straight back to Lyford Cay. It won’t be another spate of take-away curries and skulking off to underground parties from my childhood home.

When I arrived I found Daddy sadly away, so I let myself be dragged to a Mad Hatter Party. Rather early on I got separated from my friends, and found myself recognised as ‘the bug hostess.’ I guess I should be flattered but sometimes even talking about it gets me rather queasy. I took a big gulp of my ‘million dollar cocktail’ and tried to change the subject. Now outed as an eco-warrior, I was being asked about Bill Gates’ plan to blacken the sky. Like I know? ’He’s not really a client of mine,’ I said to a girl with a Viking ship on her head, and anyway why do I have to be responsible for him?

"Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter. Which, luckily, I am."

‘But you do know him…’ She pressed.

‘I don’t !’ I insisted. ‘I mean…he comes to the WEF and sure—I’ve met him but…’

‘TELL !’ She squealed, ‘Did you go to his daughter’s wedding?’ Seriously? This was getting nuts. I almost wanted to tell her who my real client was and I excused myself under the guise of needing the loo. Moments later I was bombarded again. This time she had a friend with her and it was rapid-fire from the two of them --

But he wants to obscure the sun, right?

Why does he own more farmland than anyone else in the States?

Why does he want to vaccinate all of Africa?

What about the fake meat—does it really grow in a lab?

Are you dating him—?

‘Excuse me.’ I said, this time making no excuse and getting far away from them. It seemed they knew more about Mr Gates than I did and I just didn’t want to be talking about my job when it wasn’t my job. And certainly not about a client that wasn’t my client. How childish they were! I pushed through until I found a quiet place to make a call.

‘Yes, Jennifer.’ Daddy answered. ‘How’s mummy?’

‘Dunno exactly. I’m at a Mad Hatter party.

‘How mad exactly?’ he asked.

‘Reasonably so… they seem to think that just because I care about the planet and attend the World Economic Forum in Davos that I personally know every big climate enthusiast, including Bill Gates.’

‘Well don’t you?’

‘Daddy!’

‘It’s a fair question, poppet.’

‘Not at a party it isn’t.’

‘Ah. Only green during bankers hours are we? Sorry, that was unkind. How was California?’

‘I was in Northern California… I flew in with my client. But I wanted to ask what you know about Bill Gates and shooting calcium into the atmosphere to block the sun.’

He thought for a moment. ‘Is it calcium now? Originally it was sulphur. Either way it’s reason for concern.’

‘Why exactly?’ I asked, not wanting to face this party uninformed. 

‘Think, Jennifer. It’s the whole atmosphere we’re talking about. There are still pieces of the very first atom bomb in every corner of the atmosphere… I think you call it the ecosphere, but don’t you imagine we’d have done something to remove them if we could? Add to that nothing they say rings true, it’s more double-speak than even your green-science allows.’

‘But what if…?’

‘If what? If they’re right? Einstein was right—the atom bomb worked as intended. But would we sign up for that a second time? Not likely. And to what end? Most of Europe’s gone fascist again anyway. Sweetheart, I’m surprised at you. And to solve what problem exactly? The possibility of lowering the temperature of a planet by two degrees? It’s not going to happen. Even they admit it could make things worse than having done nothing.’

‘Worse isn’t good.’ I said. Ugh.

Bear in mind it was not that many years ago you were begging me to buy land on the equator because your science reader told you we were headed toward an ice age.’

‘Daddy— I was a kid!’

‘Yes a kid quoting science. And now without any additional proof, you are convinced of the polar opposite. And likely part of the team who also—without much more knowledge or education, will install the deciders. Why do you think they brought in Prince Charles instead of MIT?’

Did somebody mention Prince Charles?

Double ugh. Daddy was right about that. Neither me, nor my client, nor Bill Gates nor Klaus Schwab, nor Prince Charles for that matter, had any science or engineering cred. This was embarrassing. He was right calling them space cowboys and I felt like an idiot.

With the sun rising over this party our host came round with sausage rolls and Alka-Seltzer. I watched the reaction of the fizzy tabs in water. Calcium bicarbonate—stable until plunked into the water. The dramatic change made me shiver because SCoPEx -- the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment at Harvard -- had argued that calcium was stable… and the ideal compound to be jettisoned into space.

I realised too, I’d missed the obvious. They just want to be the ones in charge. They want to tinker and manipulate because when you’re playing chess games with God, you can afford the really big toys. This wasn’t what I’d signed up for. This wasn’t about the planet. I looked round and remembered the Mad Hatter’s words to Alice: ‘People who don't think shouldn’t talk."

Make sure of it Alice, make very sure.

History's Most Expensive Alphonse and Gaston Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any resemblance to a crime scene is purely intentional.

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

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

The Real Energy Crisis

Instead of handing out treats for Halloween on October 31, the Biden Administration and the green industrial complex supporting it are lining up the tricks to commit America to a green future that looks bleak, and promises more hardship here, particularly for seniors and the poor, just as in Europe.

Even the climate-cheerleading The Economist nods to reality.

The switch from coal to renewable energy has left Europe, and especially Britain, vulnerable to a natural-gas supply panic that at one point this week had sent spot prices up by over 60 percent. …[M]ake no mistake, the deeper forces behind the shortage economy are not going away and politicians could easily end up with dangerously wrong-headed policies. … [G]overnments… may have to meet shortages by relaxing emissions targets and lurching back to dirtier sources of energy. Governments will therefore have to plan carefully to cope with the higher energy costs and slower growth that will result from eliminating emissions. Pretending that decarbonisation will result in a miraculous economic boom is bound to lead to disappointment.

As a direct result of bad policy choices, this is the real “climate crisis.” We can only hope the Economist is correct about the possible political “backlash.” The question is whether that comes too late.

To the rescue?

With dire warning signs out of Europe over a feared cold winter amid record-low fossil fuel supplies due to green mandates, and a green energy infrastructure unable to meet demand, green-industrial complex voices are already pre-butting assignment of responsibility saying, whatever you do, blame “anything but the greens.”

Of course, if you’ve ever had, or even been, teenagers, you know that a chorus of voices piping up in early October that “December’s not my fault” is a good sign that December is their fault. During California’s 2020 rolling blackouts, Governor Gavin Newsome “pointed to California’s shift to renewable resources as part of the reason for the supply shortage. ‘Shutting down polluting gas power plants as created gaps in the state’s energy supply,’ he said.”  And while he is apparently still committed to a “green” future, Newsome said, “we cannot sacrifice reliability.” Too late.

Anyone truly surprised by the perils created by politicians has not been paying attention. Enron executives predicted this in 1999, as they organized and funded what has become the climate industry. One internal email noted, “more than any other U.S. corporation [Enron] has helped legitimize the case of apocalyptic climate change and today is carrying the Kyoto flag more than any other U.S. corporation.….” Another, however, acknowledged that this politicization of energy markets posed great systemic risks such as what we are seeing unfold today:

Maybe Enron can dodge the macro problem and have our micro benefits, but then again I have to think that a politicized international energy market for any reason will create as much or more downside than upside.

Although Enron is long gone, the harms visited on the U.S. and global economies by its agenda continue. And with climate activists embedded throughout the government in key energy and climate roles, there is even less regard at present for the need for public support or political legitimacy.

The Washington Post reports,

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan says he’s willing to wield broad regulatory power to enact President Biden’s climate agenda if Congress fails to pass meaningful climate legislation. Regan says his agency will issue a robust greenhouse gas rule for power plants, a stringent methane rule for oil and gas infrastructure, and sweeping emissions standards for new cars, regardless of Congress's actions.

Similarly, White House aide Gina McCarthy repeated the line from the Obama-Biden EPA when it comes to imposing the climate agenda: “The Biden administration will use its ‘regulatory authority’ to act on climate change if it can’t get Congress to” pass its desired legislative agenda.

Don't cross the Queens...

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey even promised a Michael Bloomberg group that, if it gave her privately funded attorneys to be embedded in her office, she would use them to enforce “the long-term commitments set forth… in the Paris Agreement.” Those were supposedly voluntary, we were told, in order to keep the U.S. Senate from voting on the pact.

Those promises are about to be made more painful. On October 29, keep an eye on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the Biden Environmental Protection Agency is expected to roll over in a sue-and-settle lawsuit, State of New York et al. v. EPA. In a filing due that day, EPA is likely to announce plans to issue new ozone National Air Ambient Quality Standards (NAAQS), seemingly obscure but in fact “Biden’s back door climate plan,” as the main vehicle to impose this “climate” agenda.

History suggests this also will re-run an Obama Year 1 move to obtain praise at and energize the Rome G20 meeting the next day, and climate pact talks in Glasgow beginning two days later. At both, Biden is expected to deepen President Obama’s GHG emission-reduction promises based on the Clean Power Plan, tossed out by the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA.

None of these moves has popular support or political legitimacy. It will take until the end of Biden’s term to conclude their legality. History also shows that is enough time to destroy communities as industry redirects investment decisions. Already we see, with the unfolding energy crisis, how these plans increase costs, and reduce energy security and reliability. That’s the real “climate crisis.”

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Choppering

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

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

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

Making new friends everywhere.

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

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

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

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

And it runs on wine and cheese!

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

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

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

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

‘So it’s definitive?’ I asked.

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

‘So… net-net?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality Bites the Green Movement

Thomas Friedman had a very strange column -- even for him! -- in the New York Times recently entitled “A Scary Energy Winter Is Coming. Don’t Blame the Greens.” The headline captures pretty well what Friedman obviously wanted to say, namely that the exploding energy prices we are already beginning to see, and the shortages that Europe, especially, is bracing for, are not the fault of the environmentalist movement. But Friedman seemed to struggle making any kind of a case to that effect. Perhaps that's because there is none -- environmentalism really is at the heart of the matter, if not the whole of it. So he just sort of talks around the problem, and his ramblings are ultimately rather revelatory.

Friedman begins by fretting that the mounting crisis will, 1- "[M]ake Vladimir Putin the king of Europe," 2- Empower Iran to build atomic weapons, and 3- (apparently worst of all) cause blackouts in the U.K. during the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, embarrassing the all-in-on-wind government of Boris Johnson. Friedman is very aware of how bad things are shaping up to be:

Natural gas and coal prices in Europe and Asia just hit their highest levels on record, oil prices in America hit a seven-year high, and U.S. gasoline prices are up $1 a gallon from last year.

He's concerned about predictions that this might be an especially brutal winter, and quotes with alarm a recent newsletter by market analyst Bill Blain who said simply, “This winter [in Great Britain and Europe] people are going to die of cold." But then Friedman articulates the thought which seems to central to his foreboding: If these concerns are realized, he says, "I fear we’ll see a populist backlash to the whole climate/green movement."

I'm glad he's got his priorities straight.

Tom Friedman, green as ever.

This type of thinking is so typical of the environmentalist approach to the real world problems that arise from the relentless pursuit of their ideological goals. Governments around the world have been giving way to their pressure for years, mandating the transition to unreliable energy sources and creating increasingly onerous regulatory hurdles the traditional resource industry must meet.

But then the wind stopped blowing and the sun didn't shine enough and scaled-back production meant the oil and gas companies didn't have enough product in storage. At which point Friedman & Co. say, not 'We screwed up,' but 'The populists are going to say we screwed up!' It's never the Green movement's fault.

Now, perhaps I'm being unfair to Friedman -- he does suggest that developed nations have attempted to transition to renewables too quickly, and criticizes the clearly foolish decision of the Merkel government in Germany to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by next year ("an overreaction to the Fukushima nuclear accident," he explains). Even so, his solution to the current problem includes "a carbon tax in every major industrial economy" and using nuclear power and natural gas as a bridge to wind and solar power. Sounds like just more of the same to me.

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!

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

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.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Waiting

Just when you thought you’d seen it all… 2021 brings fuel shortages in the most developed nation in the world. I wouldn’t have believed it myself but my new client has me hopping to various locales, and today that has me absolutely stopped on the runway at Reagan National Airport. What would dear Ronnie have to say on the subject? 

One assumes he’d find someone to sack. But these days no one is to blame, and the airlines in particular have the insidious practice of pretending that things just happen upon them. They never have any idea that an aircraft that leaves very late is also going to arrive late. Of course they could simply look up into the sky and see if the bloody plane is not en route…then there should be no surprise when it doesn’t pull into the gate as scheduled. But surprised they are. Every. Single. Time.

And they pretend not to know they are short an entire crew until… oh gosh, did they really not turn up? Passengers have to check-in, but crew? Apparently there is no system in place until— like the thief that skips bail -- they don’t turn up. And today the excuse was that they did not have sufficient fuel to fly the thirty-five-minute flight from Washington D.C. to New York. Honestly…

Up, up, and away... maybe.

I can tell you this never happens to me—this confusion about how gas is expended or how to get more. I never go to my garage to then be utterly surprised that there is no fuel in my car. And when I hire staff, I have them arrive well before the guests. A shocking practice I know. But oh the reveal… as first time fliers gasp, and the eyes of seasoned passengers glaze over.

Is it any wonder so many would-be actors end up as cabin crew? It must take years of Meisner acting technique to convincingly utter the sentence that begins with "unfortunately." Perhaps I should try this…  just say unfortunately as an excuse for absolutely anything. Unfortunately I was applying lipstick while driving and… were you very fond of that child? 

And just now…unfortunately… (although we are already on board and strapped in) we just found out we haven’t any fuel. This is unfortunate? Like a surprise? Even as a teen I would never have the nerve to call Daddy and say… unfortunately I ran out of petrol -- your car is in Chelsea.

But today, (despite having a dreaded window seat) I am calm—knowing I have a whole eight hours to get where I need to be. No worries on my end, I will wait in silence and pen mean letters in my head that I will never send as they refuel—and off we will be. But, unfortunately, that is not what happened. Minutes turned into hours and we began to feel it indeed unfortunate that they had closed the door to the aircraft and no one was allowed to get off. At two hours and eleven minutes (eleven minutes past the legal allowable detainment) Captain Unfortunate told us that ‘by law’ they have to let us off and he would be opening the door… however, he added, if you get off the aircraft you will not be going to New York with us. What cheek.

This must be what hell feels like.

For the lucky few who were missing their flights—the choice was obvious, and an exit made sense. But (unfortunately) I had to show up for work. And Captain Unfortunate now became Captain Storyteller saying ‘Gosh folks…’ (a phrase that makes me immediately suspicious) ‘I’ve read about this happening but apparently (apparently??) there are not enough employees to fuel the aircraft and we have to wait our turn.’ Of course no explanation as to why said employee wasn’t summoned during the last two unfortunate hours, but the captain assured us that we were fourth in line for refuelling. And at which point I just had to call daddy.

‘Yes, Jennifer,’ he answered. But I had to make him wait because the captain was now telling us that weather would lead to a further delay even once we were fuelled. I opened my radar app… nothing going on in New York. Nothing at all.

‘Are you on an airplane?’

‘Yes, I am, and…’

‘Increasing your carbon footprint in service of your green client?’

‘It’s commercial and I’m paying a carbon offset.'

‘And your client?’

‘He’s uh… on his plane,’ I conceded, and crunched on the last of the ice from my G&T. ‘Thing is, Daddy, I was wondering is there a fuel shortage sufficient to delay a major airline at a major airport? Everything I found online says it is due to the Colonial Pipeline hack, which was already three months ago… and nothing mentioning the shutdown of the Keystone Pipeline… So is that the real reason?’

‘Ah, yes, the Keystone… To be clear, you know who shut that down don’t you? [of course I knew] It was your green president.’ He gloated.

‘Yes, daddy, my green president," I offered, (as if all environmentalists knew one another) ‘But is that the reason?’ I asked.

Now they tell me.

‘It is not.’ He said. ‘Stopping Keystone XL doesn’t keep Canadian crude from getting to market it just means that it is transported by less safe, and far less green methods—like rail and truck.’

‘So it really is a labour shortage?’ I asked, perhaps too loud for the other seven passengers in first class.

‘I couldn’t say. But we both know refuelling is not a highly skilled profession. I’ve done it, Patrick has done it. It’s even likely that in wartime Queen Elizabeth has done it. No… I’d say follow the money. It’s that thing you green-niks are forever going on about…profits and greed. Only here it likely applies."

How does he always manage to hand me my own hat? We were now at the four-hour mark and having finished my entire bottle of water and a second G&T, I was feeling woozy without any food and went into my carry-on to fish out a protein bar. When the pilot announced they would ‘in fact’ be allowing us off the aircraft but to stay close to the gate. Why couldn’t we have stayed close to the gate four hours ago?

I went straightaway to the burger bar I’d passed prior to boarding. I was first off, and fourth in line, and luckily the manager was railing on his staff to move things along. With order in hand, I deftly made my way to the club lounge to sit out the rest of the wait and book a hotel just in case, and YES I KNOW—no outside food allowed in the lounge, but I had a crafted a very curt answer if they had any intention of stopping me because truth be told, they had long stopped serving any real food in the clubs… ‘because of Covid’. Which, fortunately, is the other universal excuse when ‘unfortunately’ just won’t do.

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.