In London, the G7 vs. Humanity

The assembly of clowns, charlatans, and senile old men pretending to be President of the United States are about to deliver themselves of a malignant mouse and call it progress:

G7 leaders were on Sunday urged to take urgent action to secure the future of the planet, as they finalised new conservation and emissions targets to curb climate change, and wrapped up a three-day summit where revived Western unity has been on show.

Veteran environmentalist and broadcaster David Attenborough told the gathering of the world’s richest nations the natural world was “greatly diminished” and inequality was widespread. “The question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?” he said.

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade — in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations — are the most important in human history.”

With all due respect to Sir David, bunkum.

What's got into Boris Johnson? Apparently his brush with Covid-19 has permanently addled his pate and he is now all but indistinguishable from your average lefty climate nut. And don't be fooled by the "building back greener" trope -- if "green energy" were real, we'd have been using it long since. Instead, it's just more toffish nonsense from the Davos crowd, part of the Great Reset they have in store for us.

Enjoy your friend green cicada and bat-butt soup while you have the chance -- things will get much, much worse.

 

Deus lo Vult -- but Whose God?

Fighting on multiple fronts often ends badly. Not always. Israel fought on three fronts in the Six-Day War and won but then there was no survivable fallback option. Maybe that was the pivotal factor. In any event, this isn’t about warfare in the usual sense. However, it is about survival. Survival of our way of life and the forces which threaten it.

There are many foundational features of our Western way of life. The centrality of the traditional family. National cohesiveness. Trust as a default. Free market forces. Numbers of individual freedoms. A lot to undo. Time and chance cometh even to Marxists and their ilk.

Take over schools and colleges and teach children that their sex is matter of choice; that family settings are equivalent however structured; that the contrary opinions of others are hateful; and, if white, that they suffer from racial animus consciously or not and, if of colour, that they’re victims. Promote equity, diversity and inclusion at the workplace. In other words, ennoble the old prejudice of valuing appearance over competence. And the job is half done.

1099: where is Godfrey of Bouillon when we need him?

Enter climate change alarmism. Little in common you might think with wokeism. True at one level. At another, both strike at our way of life. Cheap, reliable and abundant energy is key to progress and prosperity. Costly, unreliable and intermittent energy will make us poorer. If only that were the end of it. Impoverishing changes can’t be foisted onto societies without accompanying coercion. Such is the scale of the changes envisaged that only overwhelming force will do it. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

The inroads of renewable energy and electric cars is miniscule as of now. But imagine: everyone is made to drive electric cars; to rid their homes of all heating besides electric; to insulate their homes; and, inevitably, to economise on, and regularly shut down, their power usage. Little or no meat, more nut burgers, complemented with insect pie, if you want to get really green (around the gills). Those in charge will need to devise ways of making people and businesses obey. Free market forces on both the supply and demand side will be so compromised as to be unrecognisable.

Then comes chance, delivering the coup de grâce. To wit, Covid-19 and, its disciple, Covid-fearmongering. It could not have been better timed if it had been planned. Klaus Schwab and his billionaire fellow travellers filled a straight flush. The Great Reset (unveiled in May 2020) was off and running. Australia, The Lucky Country, is a case study into a possible dismal, unlucky, future.

From Bastard to Conqueror in 1066: never underestimate the enemy.

As I write in early June, the entire Australian state of Victoria is in its fourth lockdown after just a handful of positive tests. People hundreds of miles from the scene have been ordered to stay close to their abodes and mask up. Yet only three people are in hospital; only nineteen in the whole of Australia. None in ICUs. No-one has died of the virus this year.

In Australia, eradication is the name of the game. What this means is that the virus, unlike any virus heretofore known to man, must behave. For, if it keeps misbehaving and escaping from one of those quarantine hotels, which leak like sieves, lockdowns will be never-ending. Remember, along with North Korea, Australia shares the distinction of preventing its citizens from leaving; lest they want to return.

Greg Sheridan is a sensible and sober foreign affairs journalist. Sadly, he is one of many who’ve been struck with Covid derangement syndrome. This is a taste of his writing; this time in the Australian newspaper on June 3: “But this cunning, adaptive and supremely successful virus is by no means beaten yet... And if we ever do get to that possibly mythical land beyond Covid…”

Putting Covid behind us, you see, is akin to reaching Camelot. Pause here. There is a threatening truth in that. A $200 million 500-bed quarantine centre is to be built close to a Melbourne airport. It’s Australia; it will take a longish time to build. Most everyone will have been vaccinated. Those flying in will most definitely have been vaccinated. Those in the know obviously know something that we don’t.

Having had more infections, most countries don’t suffer from delusions of eradication. Nevertheless, it would be extremely hopeful to expect a return to reason any time soon. I suspect that the world will be tangling gormlessly with Covid or son-of-Covid for some time to come. Vaccine-resistant strains will keep on popping up. Sheridan notes that of the people infected in Victoria several of them had been vaccinated. He says that the strain called Kappa is more probably more vaccine-resistant than Delta. Can anyone keep up with this increasing menu of virulent strains?

If it were only a morbidity with less outreach; like heart disease or malaria, as examples, which kill many more people. But alas, no, Covid is striking out at some of our foundational freedoms. Freedom of movement. Freedom of assembly. Freedom from enforced medical treatment. Freedom to worship. Freedom of speech – promote Ivermectin if you dare. Freedom from discrimination.

Alesia, 46 BC: are we Vercingetorix, or Caesar?

A fellow at my gym said to me, OK don’t have the jab but don’t take up a hospital bed if you get sick. This wouldn’t be said of someone with the flu or someone whose lifestyle contributes to their sickness or makes them prone to accidents. Here’s another Australian newspaper journalist, Peter van Onselen (June 5): “Most [getting seriously ill or dying] will be anti-vaxxers who arguably get what they deserve.”

Fascism creeps down from governments to apparatchiks to journalists to woke corporations to the police to scolds on the street. And once it takes hold, will it ever really go away? Might I  be more optimistic if I lived, say, in Florida or South Carolina? I’m not sure. Can any jurisdiction hold out indefinitely against vax passports? Their citizens won’t be able to travel and move freely. “Papers please” will likely become part of the new world-wide normal.

Add it together. What do you see? I see the Great Reset or one of its possible manifestations. Big government, loss of freedoms, loss of family values, loss of social cohesion, loss of trust. Bear in mind, this anti-Enlightenment prospective leaves out the cultural dislocation which is arising from mass controlled (and uncontrolled) immigration, particularly from the Islamic world. I didn’t want to get too depressive. It’s bleak.

But not time to give up. Backs against the wall nowhere to go. Truth on our side. An empire of lies on the other.

Black Monolith or Energy Black Hole?

Remember the famous scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey when the monolith first appears? The proto-humans all gather round and practically worship the thing as a god. The same sort of thing is going on in Hawaii as we speak, except the monolith is one giant freaking battery and the worshippers are not ignorant apes, but enviro-nuts, which are pretty much the same thing now that I think about it.

The Kapolei Energy Storage (KES) project is being built on eight acres of land in Kapolei on the island of Oahu. When complete, the giant battery will be capable of storing up to 565 megawatt hours of electricity and dispatching up to 185 megawatts. In other words, it can put 185 megawatts onto the Hawaii grid for up to three hours.

By law, all electricity generated in the state of Hawaii is supposed to be produced using 100 percent renewable fuels by the year 2045. The island’s lone coal-fired power plant, with a rated capacity of 203 MW, is due to be forcibly retired next year. Plus Power, the company developing KES, says the battery will enable the grid to operate reliably once the coal plant goes down for good: “The 2022 completion of the KES project will ensure that the AES coal-fired plant will end operations, supporting the state’s goal of shifting from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy generation.”

Average hourly demand in Hawaii is about 1,000 megawatts. That’s average demand, peak demand – which is what really matters when talking about grid stability – is considerably higher. But, for purposes of this analysis, we’ll use the average, which leads us to an important question: can a battery that can satisfy a little less than 20 percent of demand for a period of three hours replace a coal-fired power plant that has the capacity to satisfy 2- percent of demand more or less continuously?

The answer, which should be obvious to any high-school physics student, is no. A battery does not produce electricity, it’s just a place for electricity produced elsewhere to hang out for a while. In the case of the state of Hawaii, most of that electricity is, has been and will continue to be produced by burning oil. Roughly 65 to 70 percent of Hawaii’s electricity is generated by combustion of petroleum liquids according to data provided by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Funny, it doesn't look like a monolith.

About 17 percent of electricity was generated from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar. That’s not bad, but it’s not anything close to the 100 percent goal. Worse, it’s likely that the battery will be primarily charged using electricity produced by burning oil, not by using electricity generated from renewable sources. The problem is the bugaboo that always affects wind and solar: capacity factor.

Capacity factor is a measure of how much electricity a power generation asset produces compared to what it theoretically can produce. If a plant is rated at 100 megawatts, but generates on average 40 megawatts, we say its capacity factor is forty per cent. Most nukes operate at capacity factors in the high nineties. Coal fired base-load plants are generally in the eighties, sometimes the low nineties.

Wind and solar have crappy factors because, even in Hawaii, the sun don’t always shine and the winds don’t always blow. Solar panels don’t have much to do at night and their efficiency drops significantly on cloudy days. Wind turbines can’t operate in calms or near-calms and, perversely, also have to shut down if the wind is too strong.

The Descent of Man: Feeling good about feeling good.

Again using EIA data, we find that last year the combined capacity factor for wind and solar was about 27%. So, while the total capacity of all renewable generation assets on Hawaii, 746 megawatts, sounds impressive compared to average daily demand, those assets will only generate about 200 megawatts on average. And when they are generating electricity it makes a whole lot more sense to pack it on the grid than sending it on a short vacation to the battery. The only time the battery will be charged using renewables is during those rare instances where there is a significant excess of renewable power. Most of the time, it’ll be charged up courtesy of fossil-fuel combustion.

Of course the battery will make a fine story for those who don’t understand how electricity works and allow eco-nuts to feel good about themselves. Will it do much of anything to help Hawaii meet its 100 per cent renewables mandate? Nope.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Zooming

I would scream but I assume that’s frowned upon in Paradise. I’m still working from the Bahamas but the crowds have thinned, and I’ve had enough of working by Zoom because everything I put together on the virtual platform has fallen apart virtually overnight.

I had ‘inked the deal’ to get beautifully packaged cricket and sago worm snacks into the swag bags at the Golden Globes (no small feat I might add!). Only to find the entire Golden Globes show has cancelled. Yes, cancelled! And not even postponed due to the dreaded Covid but actually cancelled. They cancelled themselves over purported ‘lack of diversity’ and I’ve now just had it. Must we all become zebras or kill ourselves?

It’s not like I didn’t do my research before spending time on this. The Golden Globes are run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is by any definition… pretty diverse! I mean… it's ALL FOREIGNERS. But on top of that it is made up of 90 international journalists from 55 different countries. The whole of Africa has only 54 countries, and trust me, it’s not terribly diverse.

When I got the news about the death of the Globes I almost fell off my chair because EVEN I KNOW it’s a pay-for-play scheme, so why get all moralistic now? The whole point is for the 1% of the 1 percent to preen for the cameras in borrowed diamonds on a magic red carpet.

Digging a little deeper I read that the L.A. Times complained about “a widespread culture of schmoozing”. Really? This is a complaint? The actual raison d’être for the HFPA was to get access (and gossip) about Hollywood. I’m hopping mad.

That's not Singapore!

So with a glut of crispy bug snacks, I went back to my own green roots… straight back to the World Economic Forum, knowing surely I could find a receptive audience for freeze-dried crickets only to find they cancelled themselves too—yet again. Initially, there was the annual January meeting in Davos, which then became Singapore in May, and was pushed back to Singapore in August, only to now be pushed back to who-knows-when in 2022. I expected more from my fellow environmentalists, who well understand how few years we have left to save the planet.

This was a crushing blow and I was sad for the whole rest of the day. I just didn’t see how the top social, business, and government leaders couldn’t figure this out. Or why Bill Gates all on his own couldn’t have managed the vaccines for Singapore given how important the WEF is to him. Separate from all that, we mostly all arrive by private plane anyway, so how are we risking anyone else’s life?

I took a cleansing breath and moved to the terrace with my laptop. I’d been working on a collaboration with Well Health-Safety—a company that, for a fee, provides a literal seal for businesses to put on their front door so that people can feel safe going inside. On the face of it, I like it, but I need to dive deeper, given that my last two projects just blew up in my face. I really really, really, don’t want to call Daddy for his input so I’m trying to look at it as he would. The first thing that jumped out at me was “World-renowned scientists, public health specialists… and celebrities.” CELEBRITIES? Ugh! This is looking like the merger of The Golden Globes and the World Economic Forum.

“Hello Jennifer,” my father said after picking up my call. “How is Paradise?”

“Mostly wonderful.” I said, hoping he wouldn’t ask about the WEF. “So I’m just looking at doing a collaboration with a company called “WELL Health-Safety.”

“Healthcare?”

“No, Well Health-Safety”

“OSHA?”

“No Daddy, it’s a company that provides certification seals to retailers and restaurants… so that people can feel safe going inside."

“People are afraid of buildings? I wasn’t aware. Or do you mean like when the IRA planted a bomb inside Harrods?”

“Not that either,” I replied. “it’s standards in cleaning and protection.”

“Ah, Germs! Protection from germs. Would have been great to get one of those seals before Covid!”

I did not reply. This was Daddy. Always too quick on the uptake, he began again, “Is it like our Trading Standards? he asked.

“No, it’s not the government, it’s a private company that gives training, and suggestions… and seals.”

“Gives or charges?” he asked.

That ought to do it.

I rang off knowing this was going to be slog. My research led me to something similar in the states called the Better Business Bureau which according to this article sounds just like a racket. You pay for protection and as soon as you stop paying they take away their seal of approval. They don’t actually refund money to consumers if something goes wrong so what was the point?

I called Daddy back and asked if he thought this sounded like the mob. He said ‘perhaps’ but also ‘a lot like Greenpeace… who somehow gave China environmental awards and accolades but beats up on the US’. I didn’t want to hear that about Greenpeace (my fellow green comrades) but I knew this to be true. I also found that the BBB gave Disneyland (a non-joiner) a D-minus. Would Well-Health declare Disney to be unclean if they didn’t pay?

It seemed to me that this newly formed organisation had capitalised on people’s post-Covid fears and that did not make me happy. I could however make a very strong argument in favour of any business that is trying to do all it can to make their customers feel safe, and concluded that had to go hand-in-hand with best practices, so I decided to go ahead with them.

And I have Daddy’s friend, a Chinese engineer, to thank for this. He had once explained to me that jade has no intrinsic value, it was only worth what you can get someone to pay for it, but that Chinese people believe that if they pay more, it is worth more, and for that reason it is. Who would have guessed I’d be looking to the Chinese for a green solution to my green solution. And I’m feeling rather Well (health) about it.

Enemies of the People: Bill Gates

Beware the Triumvirate of Fear

Bad news everybody: turns out we’re going to die. Everyone of us. No exceptions. Sorry to have to break it to you this way, but I’m a “rip the bandage off as quickly as possible” kind of guy.

Not sure of the exact dates of demise of course, but despite all of our valiant efforts over the last fifteen months, death has not been eradicated. You survived infection after catching the Covid vaccine? That’s great. You’re still going to die. You want to keep wearing your mask for the rest of your life? Terrific. The important thing to remember is that the phrase “the rest of your life” always ends in a full stop.

It’s ironic, but the healthier a society and the more a society is successful in identifying and minimizing risk, the more risk-averse society becomes.

Happy rest of your lives, snowflakes!

America is now at a point where millions of its citizens are not only willing to sacrifice many of the joys of life in hopes of extending existence by a few years, most of this group firmly believes that everyone else should be morally and legally obligated to share their fearful, neurotic views.

Risk and living – truly living – are intertwined. Attempting to lead a risk-free life is not living, it’s mere existence, reducing what should be an adventure into panic-room level exercise in survival. As a general rule, most Americans have grown ever worse at reasonably assessing and responding to risk issues. Fear among average American citizens seems to grow in inverse proportion to our increasing ability to identify and manage risks.

There is no shortage of self-interested organizations and corporations willing and able to advance narratives that exploit the current climate of fear. Environmental NGOs can’t wait to paint the slightest potential hazard in apocalyptic terms. With few exceptions, politicians of all stripes willingly accept such narratives, sensing the votes that come along with going along. The vast majority of journalists, with little to no personal understanding of foundational technical issues are naturally inclined to support whichever position the left adopts and insists upon.

This trio of special interests are thus able to create “realities” that are detached from reality. In general, the more technically advanced the topic, the more emboldened the triumvirate of fear feels emboldened to push their particular agendas.

Looking for salvation in all the wrong place.

We’ve just undergone fifteen months of risk-avoidance on overdrive. It will be some time before sober, credible sources who do not have an agenda will provide accurate assessments of how well prevention-of-transmittal measures balance out against the societal and economic costs of those policies. I truly do not know how that valuation will come out. However, I am certain that anyone attempting to define that valuation at this point is engaged in speculation, not science.

Were we needlessly and overly cautious? As I said, we can’t be sure at this this point. My speculation: probably, but that’s water under the dam. Time to move on. Moving on means accepting victory, rejecting an eternal state of emergency and emergency powers, and starting to address the risk/reward proposition in rational terms again.

From everything I can discern and based on what the CDC is now saying, if you have either: 1) survived Covid infection, or 2) had one of the vaccines, you’re good to go mask-free in public. Surely certain businesses like restaurants and airlines will continue to require masks for a while and that’s just fine. In a free society, everyone can choose or not choose to wear masks in privately-held venues and suffer the consequences if their preference doesn’t align with venue policy. This is analogous to how we can choose or not choose to wear shirts and shoes while expecting service in a convenience store. The markets will figure it out in the long run.

The point is that the “big-mask” era is drawing to a close and we will finally be able to shout “Free at last! Free at last!” once more. What comes next is up to us.

Stepping Up, or Stepping Back?

Of all the environmental topics I write about, the one I almost never write about is "climate change." The topic has beaten to death over thirty years and frankly it bores me. Like Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway, the one thing I cannot abide is boredom.

However, President Biden, or possibly his puppeteers, recently felt obliged to say it was time for America to “step up” to fight climate change. Folks of my persuasion would have preferred that the president asked his audience to “step back” instead. Specifically, he could have asked them to step back and consider all the things the United States has done to tilt at this particular windmill.

We’ve made massive reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions over the last twenty years. We’ve shut down scores of coal-fired power plants. We destabilized the grid in many parts of the country by relying on inherently unreliable sources of power to a degree that makes sane electrical engineers weep. Oh, by the way, we have not only allowed unreliable sources of power to threaten grid reliability, we subsidized the people who built them!

Apocalypse now!

What's more, we got rid of the incandescent light bulb, which of course resulted in a massive drop in electrical demand all across the country. (If you’re a liberal and you happen to read this, that last sentence is what we on the right call “sarcasm” – it’s part of something known as a “sense of humor”).

We drive electric cars, we have greenhouse gas trading programs, we’ve got state mandates, we’ve got municipal mandates, we’ve got corporate initiatives and we’ve got half the population spending 98 percent of their waking day worrying about a problem that the other half doesn’t believe exists and that we can’t possibly solve even if it did. Can we get some credit? Just a little, maybe?

There is one thing of which a writer who chooses to write about climate change can be absolutely certain: nothing he or she says is going to change anyone’s mind. The last person to change his mind about "climate change" was a small town shopkeeper in rural Kentucky back in 2007.

With that in mind, let me just make a couple of general observations about climate change that the reader may find interesting.

First, I don’t believe it is any coincidence that global warming fears began to “heat up” about the time the Cold War ended. Up through 1991 everyone was worried, more or less, about the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. But while everyone was worried, nobody does worry like the left. They’re in love with it. And, no surprise, the problem that caused them to wring their hands about nuclear weapons was – wait for it – America! But for our evil, war-mongering, imperialistic selves, the world would not have to suffer under this shadow of doom. The hysteria reached its peak when Reagan was elected, with liberals and journalists wailing that the Gipper would hit the "nukem" button immediately after taking the oath of office.

Then this terrible thing happened to the Left: the Cold War ended. Worse, from their perspective, we won! You’ve got millions of Americans who pretty much hate America, who have spent literally decades engaged in self-loathing and fear-mongering, sure that crazy conservatives were going to wipe out all life on earth unless they somehow could be made to see the light. So if it wasn't "climate change" now, it would be  something else. The issue really doesn’t matter, so long as the modern liberal can demonstrate his or her moral superiority whilst showing how all of us on the right are knuckle-dragging cretins who can’t be trusted to cross the street, much less run a country.

It's unbear-able!

Observation two: there are three sets of people involved in what should be a climate-change debate, but is in fact an environmental shoe-throwing contest. Set one is actual, accredited climatologists who understand the myriad of factors that influence climate – which, if I have to say it, include a whole lot of things beyond carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. This group includes accredited climatologists like Gavin Schmidt on what I call “the alarmist” side, and accredited climatologists like Roy Spencer on what the other side calls “the denier” side.

Alarmists like Schmidt know that folks like Spencer are every bit as qualified as they are to opine on climate change. I doubt if any serious alarmist climatologist buys what the left’s PR professionals routinely pumps out to smear “denier” climatologists: that they have sinister motives! They lie and know they lie! They are religious fanatics! They’re beholden to Big Energy!

Rather, I believe that the alarmists have fallen victim to that classic failing of academia: hubris. They have fallen in love with their hypothesis. They are so invested in it that they can’t imagine possibly turning back, much less actually doing so. They’ve chosen their hill to die on and if doing so means turning a blind eye to professional colleagues getting crapped on by media-relations types, congressional staffers, and ignorant journalists, well that’s just the price one has to pay. The end justifies the means.

Set two is slightly larger: it involves two subsets. The first is the group of people who are not expert climatologists, but who are good enough scientists to digest most – not all – of the arguments about actual science that we can find and make reasonable judgments on the worth of those arguments. That includes many chemists (including me and my two chemist brothers), physicists, statisticians, meteorologists, etc.  We’re not fluent in the climatologist’s language, but we understand enough of it to offer an educated opinion.

Unfortunately, this group also includes wanna-be second-level “experts," of whom Al Gore is the ultimate example. These are folks who pretend that they are qualified to decipher and comment on expert opinions, but who are actually about pushing the liberal agenda by using "climate change" as an excuse. When we on the right talk about liberals using "climate change" to promote socialism, this is who we mean.  They are the type of "scientists" who've been a bane on science since "consensus" demanded that ground-breaking pioneers like Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo and Lemaître who dared to question orthodoxy be demonized. Consensus defenders are and have always been scientists so sure of their own infallibility that they can justify scorn in order to dismiss any idea that might possibly undermine their own theories.

Don't confuse me with facts.

Set three? Everybody else. The ultimate decision makers, unfortunately. When young, every generation believes that it’s discovered the mistakes their parents made. I know I did. In some cases one actually does, but in many others one finds later in life that the old-timers actually got a lot of things right. The trend right now, as I see it, is that more and more of the younger generation will chose to lock onto the fraudulent snake-oil salesmen and will tip public policy in their favor. They may eventually figure out they've been had, but by then it will be too late.

The Injustice of 'Environmental Justice'

At its core, my day job as an environmental consultant to industry is about helping clients safely negotiate the rocks and shoals of an ever-more complex regulatory structure. The Biden administration, along with an increasing number of blue states, are adding yet another level of needless complexity to that structure, making so-called “environmental justice” a priority.

In practice, the idea of "environmental justice" has almost nothing to do with protecting low-income and minority communities from supposed exploitation by dirty, rotten scoundrel polluters, but instead ensures economic injustice by placing roadblocks to development in areas that have a disproportionate number of historically brownfield sites.

As we dive into this issue, it’s important for the reader to understand what a brownfield site is and how it came to be. Brownfield, as opposed to greenfield, sites refer to properties that are often contaminated by pollution from historical activities that occurred prior to the modern era of environmental regulation, which began under the Nixon administration in 1970.

Time's up, racist!

Consider my childhood home as a typical example. I grew up on the far southeast side of Chicago in a neighborhood called “Hegewisch” after its founder Adolph Hegewisch, who had hoped to duplicate the George Pullman ideal of a self-sustaining industrial community via his Rolling Stock Company.

That didn’t happen, neither for Adolph (his name is sometimes given as Achilles, or even Adolfo) nor for Pullman, but what did happen is that the burgeoning steel industry that emerged shortly after the turn of the last century pumped a lot of money and jobs into the southeast side of Chicago and northwest Indiana. Steel mills popped up like mushrooms, creating good-paying, secure jobs. Immigrants flooded in to fulfill the labor demand.

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated (legally, by the by) from Poland in the 1920s, hoping to cash in on the boom, and settled in Hegewisch. The steel industry on the Southeast Side of Chicago and Northwest Indiana was eventually deemed a vital national resource during the Cold War. Nike missile batteries ringed the area in to protect the mills from Soviet bombers. As kids, we all knew the location of the nearest fallout shelter in case the Soviets tried to take out the mills with nuclear missiles.

The growth of the steel industry from c. 1920 to 1980 on the southeast side of Chicago and northwest Indiana had absolutely nothing to do with taking advantage of an otherwise disadvantaged populace and labor force. It was quite the opposite. Business was booming and everyone was welcome to contribute. My father worked in the mills all his life. I and my three brothers who variously worked in the mills or had jobs supporting the mills benefited as well.

The bottom dropped out of the Chicago-area steel industry starting around 1980. There was no single cause one could point to, but rather a combination of events. These included: the rise of big labor, management’s willful ignorance when it came to recognizing how drastically lower labor rates in the Asian countries could undercut the American steel industry, management’s unwillingness to deploy new, more efficient technologies to offset the labor rate difference, and the new environmental movement’s demands to establish standards that were far more stringent than any standards that had been previously imposed.

American steel mills lost their competitive advantage and many went out of business throughout the latter half of the 20th century. On the southeast side of Chicago and northwest Indiana the carnage wiped out names that had previously been core employers: Republic Steel, Wisconsin Steel, Interlake, U.S. Steel South Works, Youngstown Steel and many others

The timing was significant. Big steel grew in the Midwest corridor during a time when nobody paid much attention to environmental standards. It shrank during a time when environmental standards began to emerge. Thus the area was full of properties that been the home of now shut-down and abandoned steel mills that also contained levels of pollutants in the soil and groundwater that were typical of the pre-environmental regulatory era, but unacceptable in the new era. This problem did not only involve the now-dormant mills, but included the many industries that grew up during boom times to support the mills: coke plants, landfills, railyards, etc.

Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Hegewisch.

As the jobs left and the depression-era generation that at one time made up most of Hegewisch’s populace began to die off, the neighborhood changed over time. What had been a middle class mostly Polish neighborhood morphed into a lower class, mostly Hispanic neighborhood. The neighborhood had aged and was surrounded by abandoned brownfields sites. Property values dropped, attracting lower-income families who could not afford homes in more affluent neighborhoods.

An area is designated as an "environmental justice" zone primarily based on two characteristics: income and ethnicity. A poor neighborhood with a large minority population is the ideal EJ zone and Hegewisch, along with some surrounding neighborhoods has been so designated.

Though the EJ designation is supposed to be protective, it’s actually quite damaging. The theory is that dirty rotten polluters would try to take advantage of vulnerable neighborhoods but for the EJ zone protection. The reality is that we live in an era of the most stringent environmental standards in the history of the industrial era. No facility being built in America today has anything near the potential to generate pollution or affect public health the way that the old rust belt plants built in the first part of the 20th century had.

So what an EJ zone does, in effect, is to serve as a red flag to anyone thinking of developing a new job-creating facility in or near such a neighborhood. Building in an EJ zone means jumping through many more regulatory hoops, risking being vilified by ignorant journalists and self-interested environmental NGOs. No one in my business, whose job it is to look out after our client’s best interests, would ever advise some one to develop a new project in an EJ zone.

Dirty rotten scoundrels polluting the Calumet River in Hegewisch.

Before leaving this story, let’s step back into my old neighborhood of Hegewisch. A metal recycling facility operated by General Iron received a permit to build a state-of-the-art plant in one of the old industrial parts of Hegewisch.

There are more than 300 metals-recycling plants, sometimes called “auto shredders,” across the United States. They are by far the most important and most economic form of recycling in the country. According to the Department of Commerce, the industry ranks 16th in terms of revenue nationally. More steel is now recovered through recycling in America than is produced in the blast furnaces at traditional steel mills, and the air pollution generated by recyclers is a tiny of fraction of what traditional integrated steel mills generate on a per ton of steel produced basis.

Add to this that, General Iron (not my client, if you’re wondering) permitted the plant with state of the art pollution controls, equipment most similar plants do not have. And, in addition to the jobs the facility would directly create, it would also create related jobs among the truckers, maintenance contractors and other services necessary to keep the plant going. All good stuff, right?

No. Not according to the mainstream media and environmental NGOs who have made the most outrageous claims about the danger the facility supposedly represents to my old neighborhood. Trusting those frauds and not really understanding the issues, some citizens banded together to form groups whose sole goal is to prevent the multi-million-dollar facility from opening. Some have even gone on hunger strikes.

It’s madness, but it’s the sort of madness that grows out of the noble-sounding, but utterly damaging concept of environmental justice. The next time a client asks me about building in an EJ area, I’ll have to point them no further than the General Iron fiasco to demonstrate how big a mistake that can be.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Hardworking

Happy Easter from the Bahamas where I’m still working very hard. Not everyone who left the pandemic to take advantage of the Bahamas pro-business work environment is really all that focused on work—but I certainly am. I’ve made the determination about others based on the fact that they are having breakfast at 11—about the time I’m finishing up. 

Thanks to Instagram I’ve found out I have several more friends visiting here than I’d ever dreamed possible, and they are mad-posting and hashtagging.  All day long it’s ding-ding—#lyford #albanyyacht #catcayyacht #eleuthra… ding, #pandemic ding-ding.

In the interest of work, (and despite looking so tanned and rested), I’ve decided not to post until I have at least three new clients. Or maybe one really juicy new client.  My focus, since I now have time to focus, is going to be to search out only the clients whose sensibilities are most closely aligned with mine. 

All work and no play, that's productivity.

Daddy said if I made self-sufficiency my priority I’d find I’m aligned with a great many but I know he’s just being daddy. It’s easy for him to say… I think engineering focuses one’s thinking in such a way that you are really too science-minded to think about meaningful change. 

Earlier in the week I had a little hiccup… with such an influx of visitors and corresponding drain on the internet, I wasn’t getting my emails. Especially in the late afternoons when kids who should be swimming or in school are mad-gaming. The internet provider suggested I opt-out of using Wi-Fi and hard-wire my computer to the router— and which is so like a service provider to just make up some excuse as to why you can’t have what you clearly understood you were paying for. Plus it defeats the whole purpose of coming here to work. Luckily the yacht clubs are selling international hotspots so I can now work from wherever is most conducive to my productivity.

I had received a query from a global environmental movement that had “nearly” one hundred academics enrolled in fighting global warming. My first thought was how near to one hundred are you? Near enough to just recruit a couple more to make it an even hundred?  Which would have been my suggestion to them once we started working together. Further details explained that they “hoped” to rally worldwide support. Again…can you really not assert (with confidence) something so vague as “worldwide support”? They were going to need every bit of help they could get. 

I was however impressed with their aim to using “nonviolent civil disobedience” to achieve their goals. But on second thought, the word “aim” scared me. And after some research it seemed aim was indeed the right word, as they’d blockaded five bridges in London as a protest. Technically this qualified as non-violent but it had the makings of a wholly man-made disaster. 

Just now I was missing my rather bad-tempered client who’d made a killing in the cosmetic device industry, and whose presentation for the Audubon Society I’d painstakingly crafted just prior to being sacked.  

Nonviolence was definitely the way to go, but try telling that to Greenpeace who’d made a name by insinuating themselves between a Russian whaler and a whale just in time to witness and film the gruesome death of said whale and sell the footage to the news media. In years to come Greenpeace would continue to sell their goodness until they became a $336 million a year multinational behemoth. Some questioned the integrity of these donations when China’s abysmal environmental record dropped off of Greenpeace’s radar. 

As an avid environmentalist I have to care that we don’t look or act crazy, and in this way we can achieve greater results not to mention greater trust from the public. In the end what saved the whales from extinction was greed. With ever increasing demand for whale oil, man looked for alternatives and soon after creating petroleum, production from one petroleum well outpaced what a whaling expedition could garner in four years. This is of course all stuff I learned as a kid, but now as an adult I continue fighting both the evil destroyers of our planet and the movements that delegitimise those of us who are doing truly good work.  

I was feeling rather down that this briefly promising client had evaporated as quickly as they’d arrived so I rang my father in London to see if he had any ideas. He nudged me again toward the grub worm food factory he had suggested last week but even he knew I wasn’t having it.  And then he dropped the bomb saying, 

“Some of your friends had a good go of it on Thursday.” 

My friends?” I asked, not knowing what he was referring to. 

“Spraying fake oil on the Bank of England to win friends and influence enemies,” he said. 

Ah, environment nutters, he meant. “Friends” was his loving jibe. 

“Fake oil?” I asked.

“Pond scum if you must know. Pond scum and guar gum is what they used. Pity none of the news media seized on that…I thought Pond Scum Protestors had a nice ring to it.”  

April Fools, protecting the planet. (Sky News)

What could I say? These were my people in a fashion, and they were dragging us all down.

“Listen…” he continued, I’ve got to run but let me send you the link, they sure need help.” He was nearly chortling before saying goodbye. 

It was both embarrassing and tragic. After pond-scumming the bank, they’d gone on to demand the Bank of England “make banks integrate climate risks."

Firstly I don’t think they meant to say "integrate risks" and second, asking banks to regulate themselves, is, I am sure, also not what they meant but something banks would be all too-willing to agree to do. 

Oh, and they were dressed like jesters. Actual jesters. If the visual was not bad enough, the historical association was that of fools, who existed to entertain the Crown.  

Ding-ding. Instagram calling.

In the Union Halls, Strange Bedfellows

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. At what point to labor unions finally figure out that the Democrat Party is not their friend, that modern Democrats are anti-capitalist, anti-working class socialists of at least the limousine-liberal variety, and that members of the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition are simply not to be trusted with vital matters of public policy, especially at election time?

Such reflections arise after reading this Politico story, in which once again the blind and the gullible have fallen for Joe Biden & His Media Robinettes:

Biden's green energy plans clash with pledge to create union jobs

President Joe Biden touted his $2 trillion infrastructure plan as a "once-in-a-generation" effort to tackle climate change while creating millions of "good paying jobs." Some unions warn that it may ultimately cost a lot of jobs, too.

Labor groups, echoed by Republicans in Congress, are cautioning that Biden's plan to hitch the jobs recovery to massive green energy investment could backfire because of the quality of employment it will create and the economic devastation it could cause on rural communities.

The president's push to decarbonize the economy will mean eliminating the kind of steady, fixed-location jobs that come with coal mines or fossil fuel power plants. The Biden plan would require the construction of vast numbers of solar, wind and battery projects, along with potentially new pipelines for carbon dioxide and hydrogen. But construction jobs are temporary and require mobility, and once those projects are complete, they'll need few workers to maintain them and keep them operating.

"The jobs that he talked about yesterday were construction jobs," said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America, a day after the Biden speech. "We're not seeing anything concrete that our members can look at and say, 'OK, that's where I'm gonna fit in.'"

Well, how about that! The chimera of "clean energy" should always be read as "bogus energy," not to mention "no jobs." One of the lies behind the claims of "renewable" energy is the implication that such energy will always be readily available and will take next to no effort to extract from Mother Gaia. The wind blows and the sun shines most every day, right? And once your solar panels and scenery-disfiguring windmills are up and running, presto!

It's witchcraft...

No more brutal rape of the virgin Earth. No more big sweaty men with dirty paws and grimy fingernails laboring in claustrophobic coal mines or broiling in the west Texas oilfield. Why, this is energy that even the most fastidious Ivy League poetaster can be proud of: just flip a light switch and you're good to go. Why, you can even plug in your electric car as you would a toaster and know that while your muffin is browning up the Earth has begun healing.

The complaints underscore the difficulty Biden will have in pursuing his two most ambitious goals: reviving the labor market by generating millions of jobs for unions — which traditionally thrive in old-line industries — and transforming the U.S. into a clean economy where electric vehicles and battery storage replace coal, natural gas and oil as energy sources.

Difficulty? Impossibility is more like it. There aren't "millions of jobs" lurking in "green" technology, except may in dumping the wind turbines at the bottom of the Marianas Trench when civilized people finally wake up to the environmental destruction they've created in the name of... preventing environmental destruction.

Environmentalists defend the plan as a necessary move away from old technologies to battle climate change. And others say Biden's plan does include tax incentives for manufacturing and a vision for developing a supply chain that could provide the kind of blue-collar, high-skill jobs that used to be in power plants.

Note the operative words in bold. Any story that includes the word "could" in a context of advocacy is lying to you: the word should be "won't."

While unions are strongly supportive of the administration's pro-labor stance, they worry that the end-goal — if not executed properly — could have devastating effects on their members. “From our perspective, if the jobs aren't there when the mine closes, this plan fails," Smith said. "There's a very large disconnect between what the aspirations are here and what's going to end up actually happening on the ground.”

Biden fought to bring white, blue-collar workers back into the Democratic fold after the party lost them to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, and the administration is seeking to prove that this can be both the most pro-labor and anti-carbon presidency in history. But the reality may prove troublesome.

Ya think? Oh well, sin -- or vote -- in haste, repent at leisure. And learn to code, because unless traditional sources of energy production survive, union members will be looking for new jobs in the great green near-future.