Concerning the Great Elec-Trick

The next time you hear about a proposed measure that promises to lower greenhouse gas emissions by millions of tons per year, consider the following response: “so what?” Many of us grow up thinking that “millions” represents a massive amount of whatever it is we’re counting. The tyranny of millions is a powerful tool when placed in the hands of the PR professionals who push climate change and other environmentally driven agendas.

Replacing incandescent lightbulbs in the United States with LEDs and other technologies that were more energy efficient was supposed to fight climate change by reducing electrical consumption and thus reducing the amount of fossil-fuel electricity generated and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel combustion. I doubt the actual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with this program was in the millions on a net basis, since incandescent bulbs generated measurable and useful heat the LEDs do not. But it really doesn’t matter, because when you’re dealing with emissions in the billions of tons per year, a million tons here or there is hardly a blip on the radar.

We’re at the same point with the latest panacea: electric vehicles. Like LED light-bulbs, electrics will save the planet, at least according to dopey reporters and politicians. It’s a toss up whether electric vehicles are a net environmental benefit, however one feels about the "climate change" issue. You have to draw some pretty small boxes in order to make the case.  One box must encompass the electric vehicle alone, specifically its lack of a tailpipe. Without a tailpipe environmentalists can congratulate themselves for not directly introducing any air pollutants into the environment whilst cruising about town. The fact that the ultimate source of the energy involves a lot of fossil fuel combustion seems not to matter, or at least not nearly so much as it mattered during the Great Light Bulb Reformation.

Halfway there.

Nor does the tiny box consider all of the other environmental consequences associate with going electric. This includes items such as the cost of mining and refining the metals needed to make high capacity batteries, the amount of energy needed to do so, and the difficulty of disposing of the batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.

Embracing electric vehicles also necessitates a fanatical belief that unilateral action by America can significantly influence the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We cannot. Moving to electric vehicles, as it appears we are determined to do, will have no measurable effect on global greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve reduced so much that further reductions hardly matter. The future use of fossil fuels and the effect of their use on the environment is a discussion that involves China and India alone. Everyone else is merely a bystander.

For example, the once sane state of California recently passed a law that will ban the sale of gasoline powered vehicles within its borders starting in 2035. The California Air Resources Board praised the measure, saying “the proposal will substantially reduce air pollutants that threaten public health and cause climate change.” What exactly constitutes “substantial” reductions? After poking about the Energy Information Administration (EIA) a bit, it appears that making California all electric is pretty inconsequential from an environmental point of view, even if it can be done, which is very doubtful.

The law does not outlaw driving gasoline powered vehicles in the state, it merely bans their sales within the state. Like most draconian measures it’s unlikely that the ban will do much to change the mix of vehicles on the road, it will merely shift where people who chose to drive gasoline powered vehicles purchase them. Automobile dealerships in Oregon, Nevada and Arizona ought to send thank you notes to Sacramento.

While recognizing the implausibility of eliminating use of the internal combustion engine in California, it’s interesting to examine what would happen if such a thing were possible. First of all, California would need to come up with more power – a lot more power. According to EIA data the state consumes about 2,625 trillion Btu of energy annually producing electricity. Motor vehicles consume an additional 1,465 trillion Btu of energy from gasoline. If one is not using gasoline, the energy has to come from somewhere. The 1,465 trillion Btu represents around 21,000 megawatts of electrical generating capacity that would have to be added to the grid. That’s about as much energy as a mid-sized state like Illinois requires on a typical summer day.

Gonna need a lot more of these things.

Currently, wind and solar power represent about 20 percent of California’s energy portfolio, generating about 7,000 megawatts on average. If all the additional electrical demand is to be met by wind and solar, they would have to quadruple that portion of their portfolio. Possible? Maybe. Expensive? More and more eyesores? More and more bird strikes? More and more rolling blackouts? You bet.

Would the woke "sustainable" fantasy save planet Earth? Ignoring the fact that building and operating all those windmills and solar farms involves the use of fossil fuels, and also ignoring the fact that you’d have to have fossil-fired backup power because neither wind nor sunlight are reliable energy sources, you get a theoretical carbon dioxide emissions reduction of about 24 million tons per year.

Sure, 24 million tons sounds like a big number, but it’s really not. That’s about as much China emits every 12 hours. Or to look at it another way, given that global carbon dioxide emissions are about 36 billion tons per year, California’s fantasy would reduce that number by about 0.03 percent.

The simple fact is that if you really think we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s all about China. America could reduce her greenhouse gas emissions to zero and the amount of carbon dioxide would still continue to increase based on China’s past and projected rate of growth. Did you know, for example, that last year world wide coal consumption hit an all-time high? That didn’t happen because of coal-fired power plants in the United States. Our coal fired generation capacity continues to dwindle. The bulk of the coal is going to China and, to a lesser extent, India.

But we are talking California, so solving a make-believe problem using a pretend solution shouldn’t surprise anyone. As far as environmental policies go, California remains Fantasyland, and Tinkerbell rules.

The Great 'Global Warming' Hoax Refuses to Die

Insistence not only that the earth is getting warmer due to the actions of mankind, but that this will or even can result in catastrophic warming, permeates Western governments, media, entertainment, corporations and academia. This is an increasingly expensive hoax. The “follow the science” crowd, scientists dependent on government largess for grant funding and elites on trend-following for status, refuses to accept actual science, so the average voter, educated only by a biased media, continues to go along with it and insist all others do, as well.

The facts are, Earth has not warmed since 1997. More CO2 is expelled each year, yet no warming has resulted. This is partly due to the fact that the greenhouse theory is nonsense.

Detailed information on air temperature and CO2 levels disproves that a rise in CO2 will cause a rise in temperature. The core samples from EPICA Dome C ice core on the Antarctic Plateau establish that temperature rises first and CO2 level follow in a lagging manner.

Sure it can.

If the Greenhouse theory were correct (it's not), CO2 would drive temperature. In fact, the opposite is the case. It may well be that CO2, the bogeyman of the Klimate Kult, the gas we are closing factories, starving and unemploying people, and shuttering economies to reduce, is the same gas responsible for the cooling of the past few decades.

A recent study by the Naval Research Laboratory showed “the biggest contraction in the thermosphere in at least 43 years.” The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, announced that the thermosphere shrank by thirty percent because of a sharp drop in radiation from the sun. Whatever the media and future historians call the coming solar minimum, it may indeed be very cold.

It might be that terminating fertilizer production and natural gas in the name of fighting a man-made "global warming" that doesn’t exist will ensure that farmers on an already-cooling Earth produce even less food, ensuring even greater starvation.

NASA’s forecast for the next solar cycle (25) reveals it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. Perhaps this will not be as deep as the Maunder Minimum or the Dalton Minimum. Perhaps. Earth’s oceans store most of the planet’s heat. They may be cooling. As the oceans cool, the air circulating above them, and drawing heat from them – which is how hurricanes are formed – will begin to cool. Next thing you know, Amazon is out of ice skates and hot chocolate.

Better yet, just go home.

How do we know the oceans are cooling? NASA sensors. "A map of heat change at depths of 500 meters (top) showed an unrealistically widespread and dramatic cooling of the entire Atlantic Ocean." Along with altering our global temperature data sets to meet the needs of the political establishment, however, NASA is altering the ocean temperature readings, as well: "When the errors had been corrected, the global-scale cooling trend disappeared."

Earth experiences a 100,000-year ice age cycle (an ice-covered earth is far more “normal” than a temperate earth), a 2,200 – 2,400-year climate cycle, a 200-year “Bicentennial Cycle,” a 40-year “Relational Cycle,” and an 11-year “Schwabe Cycle.” (Dark Winter, Casey, 2014). Each of these alters the global climate. Each of these has immeasurably more impact on Earth’s climate than the internal combustion engine or electricity generation or your natural gas stove.

If we “Follow the science,” it may well be that we need to begin moving toward technologies and behaviors that warm the earth. Or at least stop trying to cool it. No one stops an advancing glacier.

Renewable-Energy Dodo Birds Galore

Understatement is passé among Australian Climateers. For example, from a recent (October 12) editorial in the Australian Financial Review.

The country is the sunniest, windiest, and most spacious place in the world to develop renewables... The world, which until recently saw Australia as a carbon foot-dragger, will beat a path to the door of Australian renewable technology, with renewable markets such as the U.S. now heavily subsidised and receptive.

No logical tour de force here. It’s not immediately clear how being the "sunniest, windiest and most spacious" means that the U.S. and other countries will beat a path to acquire Australian technology. In any event, is the premise true? Australia is spacious alright but then so is the United States, Canada, China, India, Russia and Africa. And Africa as a continent is sunnier than is Australia. Windy? Maybe, but there are plenty of windy places around the world; tiny Ireland, whence much of the Australian population originates, is very windy. Therefore what?

So proud in Oz they celebrate Invasion Day.

Never mind; whoever wrote the editorial has a completely overblown sense of Australia’s role in the unfolding renewable energy tragedy. It is not an outlying view. It is widely shared by assorted politicians, corporate bigwigs, union heavyweights, and many others among the great and good.

In my previous piece for The Pipeline, I wrote that the premier of Queensland apparently believes that her state of 5.3 million people will become the renewable-energy capital of the world. The same world that journalists now believe will be beating a path to Australia’s door to beg for our world-beating renewable energy technology. It’s destiny in waiting. Down Under on top. The Earth’s axis shifted 180 degrees. Too good to be true? Yes, of course it is. At the same time, Australia is not alone in aspiring to leadership. It is one of a crowd.

Australia’s Climate Council, a so-claimed “independent, evidence-based organisation on climate science,” lists eleven countries which are “leading the charge on renewable energy.” Namely, Sweden, Costa Rica, Scotland, Iceland, Germany, Uruguay, Denmark, China, Morocco, New Zealand, and Norway. China being on the list might lessen its credibility in your eyes. If that is the case and you don’t like my list, I can find others.

However, sadly, as for this list, Australia is (incomprehensibly) missing as is the United States; this, despite Houston describing itself as “the renewable energy capital of the world.” And, not so fast Houston, it’s not so long ago that Boris Johnson had plans “to make the U.K. the world leader in green energy.” And, hold on, South Africa’s is becoming a leader too...

"Who's the windiest of them all?" asked Greta.

As the Dodo says in Alice in Wonderland, "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes."

How many countries, states and cities plan to become the world’s renewable energy super power? At a guess, a sizeable number. All jostling to be top dog in the quixotic and crippling quest to reduce CO2 emissions to net-zero and, thereby, cool the planet and prevent devastating weather events. A destructive irony is unfolding. As the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere currently stands, neither increases nor reductions in emissions will have any material effect on the temperature.

Well-credentialed scientists like William Wijngaarden and Will Happer make the compelling case that most greenhouse warming from CO2 has occurred once it reaches a concentration in the atmosphere of 20 parts per million. And, that by the time it reaches 280 ppm, as in as in pre-industrial times, almost all warming has occurred. Thus, leaving only a small amount of warming for the runup to 400 ppm, where we are now roughly, and none worth speaking of northwards from here. The sound and fury, the massive upheavals, the blackouts, the trillions of dollars spent, Greta’s anguish, all for a big fat nothing.

Let us take stock. Here is what is known, rather than what is hysterically predicted ad nauseum. The modest warming since pre-industrial times has not simply been benign but extremely beneficial. A warmer world, a greener world, a more productive and prosperous world. Who would ever want to go back? That is all very well, some might say, but what about those devastating weather events? Well, in fact, lucky us, they are simply not happening; no matter how much alarmists claim otherwise. For an illustration, I will leave it to that previously esteemed, now woke, Australian body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

No significant global trends have been detected in the frequency of tropical cyclones to date, and no significant trends in the total numbers of tropical cyclones, or in the occurrence of the most intense tropical cyclone, have been found in the Australian region.” (24 December 2020)

Don’t want to be picky but au contraire: there is indeed a trend. Just not the trend the CSIRO expected to find.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a chart of cyclones in the Australian region from 1970-71 onwards. However, for some inexplicable reason, best known to the BOM, the chart stops at 2016/17. Not to worry. I have updated it -- up to the 2021/22 cyclone season. And, unless my eyes deceive me, I perceive a distinct downward trend. And it looks significant to me.

Number of Cyclones Australian Region

How about the intensity of cyclones? Might be fewer but the claim by the climateers is that they will be more severe. The yearly number of severe cyclones averaged 5.6 in the first half of the period from 1970/71 to 1995/96; versus just 4.0 in the second half from 1996/97 to 2021/22. So, a downward trend overall and, also, in the number of severe cyclones. I can only assume that mild global warming, aka "catastrophic anthropogenic climate change," must be contributing to more clement weather. Hurrah! Must come as relief to Greta, David Attenborough, King Charles III, and John Kerry?

Hmm no, unfortunately. Facts and evidence count for little. Momentum is with the madness. Revved up by countries falling over themselves to claim leadership in the renewable-energy stakes. Prognosis: negative.

Charles' Choice: 'Climate Change' or the Crown

Within hours of of her passing, Politico published a lengthy obituary of Queen Elizabeth II entitled "The Short, Unhappy Life of Elizabeth Windsor." That title is meant to surprise -- Queen Elizabeth was 96 years old when she died. She lived to see the births of several of her great-grandchildren. We should, all of us, be grateful to live for such a "short" time.

But the point is that, while her life as Queen was long, her own, personal life lasted for just a few of those years. She was only 10 when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated, leaving her father king and her the heir apparent. After her 1947 wedding, Elizabeth was able to live as herself again for a few short years in Malta, where her husband Philip served as a naval officer. But her father's early death in 1952 changed all that -- for the next 70 years, Elizabeth II took center stage and Elizabeth Windsor, a woman with interests, opinions, preferences, had hardly any public existence at all.

The triumph of Gloriana, 1953.

Of course, this was the key to her success as a monarch. While those who knew her well describe the Queen as a close follower of politics and world events, and she had clear favorites in the political realm—she was quite close to the Labour leaders Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, while her relationship to the Conservative Margaret Thatcher was reportedly frosty—Elizabeth was conscious of the supra-political nature of her role.

And in the world we live in, where every movie we watch, magazine we read, and friendship we attempt to maintain is sucked down into the morass of politics, that is a rare and precious thing. The Queen's success at remaining above the fray is precisely why, in our acrimonious age, her subjects continued to love her.

Which is why there is reason for concern about her son, King Charles III. We all know of his green enthusiasms, the environmentalist causes he's championed as the heir apparent, from solar panels, to electric cars, to biomass. We all laughed when he gushed about his Aston Martin running on wine and cheese. We were a bit more perturbed on the numerous occasions when he broke into his Henry V-meets-Klaus Schwab imitation, saying things like, "We need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector, with trillions at its disposal. We have to put ourselves on... a warlike footing,” and when he sympathized with the extremists from Extinction Rebellion. But many of his countrymen—certainly most of this author's British and Canadian friends—held out hope that, when the time came, he would follow his mother's example and disappear beneath the crown.

For those people, now his subjects, recent reports have been disappointing. Details are hard to come by—the focus in Britain remains on the departed Queen—but the BBC has reported that Charles's confidants say he has no intention of backing down on "climate change." And the politics website Guido Fawkes has heard that the King made it a point to emphasize his dedication to "the protection of the climate and the planet" on a phone call with French president Emmanuel Macron.

Queen Elizabeth, 1926-2022.

In his first address as king, Charles reflected upon the life of his mother, and said "I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation." But, as the Queen well understood, the "constitutional principles" to which he refers include the apolitical nature of the monarchy. Those principles were, of course, established on the blood of Englishmen over the course of the English Civil War, a conflict which saw the present king's predecessor, Charles I, executed for his refusal to accept the primacy of parliament in the political affairs of the nation. After the original Charles's death, the monarchy was dissolved and British Commonwealth was ruled by the murderous Puritan dictator, Oliver Cromwell.

Those events should serve as a warning to the new King Charles. The institution he now presides over finds itself in a tenuous position. If he isn't careful, as his mother was, it could all come tumbling down.

Two Years On, Covid Origins Still a 'Mystery'

Covid-19 is a virus with a questionable origin. No “intermediate” animal host or  “progenitor” animal species has been found after more than a year of looking, per the World Health Organization:

The trouble with this hypothesis is that Chinese researchers have not succeeded in finding a “direct progenitor” of this virus in any animal they’ve looked at. Liang said China had tested 50,000 animal specimens, including 1,100 bats in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. But no luck: a matching virus still hasn’t been found.

And,

But research has already forced China to abandon its original tale that the virus leaped from wild animals to a human at the Huanan Seafood market in December.

Zero-Covid or bust!

According to the chairman of a recent Lancet-sponsored origin study, Covid-19 “was an accidental release ‘out of US lab biotechnology’.” Covid has a “genetic footprint that has never been observed in nature.” The oft-discussed, but perhaps not-quite-smoking gun of the Furin Cleavage Site (FCS) has been investigated thoroughly without a solid conclusion,

The reverse complement sequence present in SARS-CoV-2 may occur randomly but other possibilities must be considered. Recombination in an intermediate host is an unlikely explanation. Single stranded RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 utilize negative strand RNA templates in infected cells, which might lead through copy choice recombination with a negative sense SARS-CoV-2 RNA to the integration of the MSH3 negative strand, including the FCS, into the viral genome. In any case, the presence of the 19-nucleotide long RNA sequence including the FCS with 100% identity to the reverse complement of the MSH3 mRNA is highly unusual and requires further investigations.

Yet, further investigation of Covid’s origin has been blocked at every turn and valuable data has been hidden by the U.S.  government at the request of Communist China. Even “Dr Fauci now says he's "not convinced" the virus originated naturally.”

What about the “vaccine”? The U.S. government funded a Chinese Communist Party military scientist who patented a vaccine just five weeks after China first announce human-to-human transmission of Covid-19, and just a few months before the patentee “mysteriously” died.

“This is something we have never seen achieved before, raising the question of whether this work may have started much ­earlier,” Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky from Flinders University told the paper.

Although Western governments reacted to this “novel” virus as though it was an extinction level viral strain delivered to earth by an unmanned research satellite, in fact, its lethality seems confined to those already past their actuarial table life expectancy with the added disadvantage of more than a  few comorbidities. Were the deaths of these people tragic? Of course. Did the reactions of nearly all Western governments make the situations worse? Of course. The imposed lockdowns not only were violations of millennia-old rights across Western Civilization, they were totally ineffective at stopping the virus. Added to that, these lockdowns may have caused as many as 170,000 excess deaths in America, alone, per the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Schwab and Xi, got us up a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

But – perhaps not enough people died to please the WEF/Davosie Great Reset Gang intent on using Covid to winnow the pesky Middle Class continually demanding liberty, freedom and the Rule of Law – the current definition of “Far Right Extremism,” for those not paying attention.

These meddlesome deplorables gave the world Trump (gone), Boris (gone), Abe (really gone), and insist that the self-government and liberty we view as our birthright within Western civilization be prioritized over the selfish wishes of our new rising authoritarian class now owning most housing in America, the most farmland in America, as well as the Congress, the administration and most of the courts. We deplorables—believers in America, the Dream and the futures of our children—are not acceptable to the Western P\political establishment or the corporations that have captured it.

Our elites demand depopulation and Marxism and are determined to get it. The Klimate Kult is admittedly and proudly redistributing our freedom to people lacking the sense or inclination to pursue the rule of law and capitalism, with a stated intent to convert the West to communism. Communism has no middle class. For our elites to achieve their goal of communism they must rid the West of our middle class. Notice they are not vaxxing the hell out of the Third World.

Was the virus less lethal than planned, not lethal enough to cause the desired depopulation? Were those young people not at risk from Covid forced to inject an experimental vaccine thanks to the government's overreaction to a pathogen similar to a bad flu clearly has been? And were the immediately-patented “vaccines” and the never-before-used-on-humans mRNA technology simply to increase the body count both directly and through hugely decreased fertility once everyone had chosen, or was directed at the cost of their jobs or school or church, to inject? Let’s look at Sweden.

Is the evidence against this theory any weaker than any other evidence in the long-running mystery that is the attack on the West via climate, ESG, and, now a non-vaccinating “vaccine” to a virus that seems daily to be gaining more plausibility as an invention of these same elites? The West is under attack from within by its own mandarins. They won’t stop voluntarily.

Killing the Eagles with 'Climate Change' Malice Aforethought

“Headache!” I called quietly as I threw the saddle on the buckskin I’d be riding that day, calling out to ensure the wrangler saddling her horse next to me in the 4:30 a.m. high-mountain blackness knew a stirrup was on its way over and down and not to rise up suddenly into its bone, leather and steel. Saddled, bridled, jacketed and mounted, six of us rode up a gravel road walled-in by a black forest of tall pines, our way lit only by starlight and the occasional spark struck by the shoe of a horse against the stones. The Bighorn Mountains were all around us as the sun touched first the distant, snowy peaks. We were 8,300 feet up in the Rockies of western Wyoming.

I took my group of riders up over a forested ridge and out one of our more spectacular trails. An hour into our ride, emerging from the forest into the morning sun, we paused to let the horses blow. We looked across a wide valley and down on a high meadow. Behind us the sun-dappled ground and leaves and trees of the forest as the day rose. Below and to our right a few beaver ponds greened-up the area, watering it for elk, deer, badgers and other animals and plants.

Wind River range: enjoy the view while it lasts.

Straight before us the valley dropped off for miles and thousands of feet. Tens of miles away and across that valley the Wind River range rose, blue with distance, snow-capped beneath late-morning puffball clouds on a serene and sunny day. In the bright blue sky above, golden eagles circled riding thermals while prospecting for their next meal or just soaring over the land in their limitless freedom.

If there is more beautiful country in the lower 48, more varied wildlife and greater opportunity to experience it than in the Rocky Mountains of western Wyoming, I’m not aware of it. But it’s the eagles that draw attention. High, regal, effortlessly gliding, circling above us, having long-ago conquered the skies in a way man never will.

And being destroyed by wind “farms,” in which wind energy companies get “kill” permits to destroy these amazing raptors using the wind highways they have used for hundreds of thousands of years only suddenly to encounter instant, unknowable death. Male, female, young, old they are killed by the incredible blunt force of a 12-ton blade moving at over 100 mph. Force = Mass times Acceleration. You do the math. For a kilowatt. For a company profiting on tax dollars devoted to an energy form civilization left-behind centuries ago, and that could not have powered our progress to today, nor keep us warm, alive, fed and producing, as Germans are about to discover. Yesterday Solyndra, today ES Windpower, Inc. Tomorrow? Who will destroy our environment with our tax dollars tomorrow?

Federal wildlife officials are pushing wind companies to enroll in a permitting program that allows them to kill eagles if the deaths are offset.

Sudden death in the skies, to save the planet.

Look up in the sky at an eagle circling, rising, falling. In your mind’s eye, or here if you don’t live where they soar effortlessly across the land. “If deaths are offset?” What kind of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo for the slaughter of these magnificent birds is that? How do you “offset” a dead eagle? With a check? A tear? A carbon credit? How do you offset hundreds of them?

Nationwide, 34 permits in place last year authorized companies to “take” 170 golden eagles — meaning that many birds could be killed by turbines or lost through impacts on nests or habitat.

Were those “kill permits” abused? Of course they were.

In April, a Florida-based power company pleaded guilty in federal court in Wyoming to criminal violations of wildlife protection laws after its wind turbines killed more than 100 golden eagles in eight states. It was the third conviction of a major wind company for killing eagles in a decade.

Golden eagles are “on the edge,”

The rush to build wind farms to combat climate change is colliding with preservation of one of the U.S. West’s most spectacular predators — the golden eagle — as the species teeters on the edge of decline.

And not just in Wyoming.

The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that on average, more than 20 golden eagles are probably killed each year among the wind turbines of San Gorgonio Pass, out of an estimated 120 golden eagle deaths annually at wind farms across California.

It is not just Golden Eagles being destroyed by these wind farms. It’s the Amazon Rain Forest, the “Lungs of the Planet,” the largest carbon sink on earth. For these blades increasingly are made of fiberglass-wrapped balsa wood from the Amazon. And that’s a problem.

As the international commitment to renewable energy has grown in recent years, the increase in wind farms has triggered a huge demand for balsa wood, leaving a trail of deforestation in its wake…

The balseros bring alcohol, drugs and prostitution, and pollute the extraction sites with plastics, cans, machinery, gasoline and oil spills. They abandon used chains from their chainsaws. They eat the turtles and chase away the parrots, toucans and other birds that feed on the flowers of the balsa trees. The breakdown of ecosystems by illegal deforestation has profound impacts on the balance of local flora and fauna, which will never recover.

Killing their birds, too.

Cutting down a large balsa tree affects ecosystems. Its canopy shelters plants that now dry up under the scorching sun of the equator. Birds that feed on balsa flowers no longer sing as they used to; parrots have now gone in search of new homes; tapirs and sajinos (wild boar of the jungle) are now exposed, leading to an increase in illegal hunting.

Wyoming: where eagles dare to fly and die.

We are not just cutting down Balsa trees in the Amazon for wind. Scotland just felled fourteen million trees to make way for wind farms. A German-owned plant in Texas is producing 578,000 tons of wood pellets to ship to Germany to burn for heat and fuel, a practice even older, even more outmoded, even more damaging to the environment than pretending wind can power a modern economy. If one wants to reduce atmospheric carbon, felling millions of trees that perform carbon capture—and then burning them—seems counterintuitive.

The problem is ignorance. No, not of the environment. But of energy and climate itself. One hopes against hope that the ridiculous canard that “97 percent of all scientists agree!” can be put to rest with the news this week that 99.99 percent of all scientists who agreed that the universe was created by the Big Bang were wrong. Of course, they followed millennia of 100 percent of all scientists agreeing that the sun orbited the earth.

At some point, perhaps sooner than we think, today’s nonsensical hysteria on climate will be replaced by some other nonsensical hysteria designed to keep politicians in power and spending our money while reducing our freedoms. The thousands of eagles still will be dead. Their progeny never will have existed. We all will be the poorer for it.

Inside the Dishonest 'Inflation Reduction Act'

Democrats and environmentalists who are the Democrats’ core constituency are celebrating the climate provisions of the misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act,” signed into law yesterday by President Joe Biden, like it was V-J Day. Paul Krugman led the hyperbole parade with a column arguing that Democrats may have “saved Civilization” with the bill. This is a peculiar scene, as both the politics and policy substance of the bill fall far short of the hosannahs it is currently receiving. Below the surface, hard core greens are grumbling that the bill is a disappointment, with threats to disrupt its implementation. What’s going on here?

Before analyzing the substance of the climate portions of the bill, the political aspects should be recognized. First, there has never been a piece of energy or environmental legislation of this scale that wasn’t the product of extensive committee hearings, scholarly analysis, and floor debate that usually took months if not a year or more to complete, and always resulted in a bill that was able to achieve some bipartisan support, this ensuring its durability.

But the IRA was cobbled together in secret and in haste by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia’s Democratic senator Joe Manchin. More likely the bill is being celebrated because it is thought to have saved Democrats, who equate their existence with civilization itself, from electoral rout in November. Both the partisan process of the bill’s passage and the lack of a regular lawmaking process suggest the bill’s stability and longevity may be limited. A future Republican Congress and/or administration may well cut it back.

Ask Joe Manchin.

If you had proposed the climate portion of the bill to Democrats when Biden first took office last year, the environmental left would have erupted in outrage because it fell so far short of the designs of their beloved “Green New Deal.” In fact the price tag for the entire IRA is only about half of what Manchin proposed to Schumer in July of last year—an offer that the left scorned and raged about at the time. Now they have settled for half of a half a loaf while acting like they acquired the whole bakery. So desperate were Democrats to pass something—anything—they can point to as a “significant accomplishment” that this history is conveniently forgotten. Bernie Sanders is about the only leading progressive who has been candid about this.

On the substance of the bill, there are some prospective changes that further confuse the scene. The bill does represent a break with the previous demands of climate orthodoxy to impose a carbon tax and/or a cumbersome regulatory scheme on the electricity sector (though there is mischievous language in the law that may allow an opening for EPA regulation, as Chris Horner has pointed out here at The Pipeline).

It also purports to include support for reviving nuclear power, reducing—though not removing—the chokehold on some domestic fossil fuel production, and a “promise” of regulatory reform to come, which Manchin somehow neglected to get in writing, much less demanding a vote for regulatory reform before voting for the IRA. The heart of this bill is simply massive subsidies for wind and solar power and electric cars to the tune of $370 billion over the next decade. And everyone is rolling over for the talking point that these subsidies will enable the U.S. to achieve its “net-zero” ambitions by 2050, and its intermediate 2030 emissions reduction target under the Paris Accord.

Are these grandiose predictions realistic? Leaving aside the crucial defect of the intermittency of wind and solar power along with the necessity of vastly expanding our electrical grid to accommodate more “renewables,” there are reasons to doubt these promises. A traditional congressional markup process that included public hearings and expert analysis might have revealed some of the tradeoffs and wishful thinking behind the bill. The Los Angeles Times reported: “Princeton University researchers estimate that zeroing out U.S. carbon emissions by 2050 could require installing solar panels and wind turbines across more than 225,000 square miles, an area much bigger than California.” Anyone think the country is down for that much land defaced with windmills and solar panels?

Things of beauty and joys forever.

The idea of “net-zero” arose when it became evident that achieving literally no carbon emissions by 2050 was ridiculous if not impossible, and thus the “net” part of “net-zero” will allow for lots of cheating, though the cheats will be called “offsets,” or “carbon sequestration,” which, despite 20 years and billions in research funding has yet to show carbon can be sequestered at scale and an a reasonable cost.

To reach the 2030 emissions reduction target, the rate of decarbonization in our energy sector will have to more than double, from about 4.5 percent a year since 2005 (thanks mostly to natural gas replacing coal rather than any effect of windmills) to more than 11 percent, according to the careful calculations of Roger Pielke Jr: “Is it possible that U.S. electricity emissions decrease by 70 percent by 2031? Sure, it is possible. Is it likely? No, in my view, not remotely. If the IRA emissions-reductions projections are indeed oversold, then it will be interesting to see responses, especially among climate advocates who may feel that they were duped.”

Environmentalist disappointment and subsequent outrage is destined to appear again regardless for two reasons. First, environmentalists can’t live without the frisson of apocalyptic doom, so they will have to resume the nonstop messaging of climate doom regardless of the results of the IRA. Second and more importantly, environmentalists are quietly lining up to make sure the implementation of the IRA’s climate provisions fail.

Hope for the worst, root for the worser.

Yes, you heard that right. The adults in the room where climate policy is made have come to understand that the regulatory roadblocks environmentalists rely on to block pipelines, new oil refineries, and drilling on public land can also be used by grassroots groups in the states and localities to block the necessary infrastructure to enable wind and solar power to make any real impact on our electricity supply. The promise to reform environmental the permitting process, especially for a natural gas pipeline in West Virginia, was a large factor in getting Sen. Manchin back to the table. But as soon as the IRA passed, environmentalists vowed to stop any changes to environmental regulation, except for wind and solar power. It is unlikely that such narrowly tailored change can pass, and it wouldn’t reach the powers of state public utility regulators who guard their prerogatives jealously against federal encroachment.

Beyond these central problems are the closely related difficulties of electric cars and the resource supply chains necessary for scaling up the magical batteries that the newest fever dream of the climate campaign is relying upon. That will need to be discussed separately in a sequel.

About That 'Inflation Reduction Act...'

That “Inflation Reduction Act” just passed by Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives? The one with a projected spending orgy of yet another $740 billion and Potemkin revenue projections? Naturally, it’s worse than you think.

First is the lack of any sincere effort at pretense that this was much more than dishonest re-branding failed left-liberal big government proposals, of which 87,000 new IRS employees is the most eye-popping. New York Times columnist economist Paul Krugman rakishly opened this column with the confessory, “[t]he Inflation Reduction Act, which is mainly a climate change bill with a side helping of health reform…”

Ah, yes. The long-stalled “climate” legislation. No support for something? Just call it whatever the public do support. Expect annual Free Beer and Apple Pie Acts. It’s not like there’s a crisis of confidence in institutions. Just lie, baby! Fighting inflation, one dishonest abandonment of republican principles at a time.

It's a climate act! A tax hike! Health care!

So, no, it isn’t just a tax and spending bill. The “Inflation Reduction Act” — also sold as deficit reduction — will neither lower inflation nor the deficit but, in addition to containing much of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” spending, it also holds 40 pages of amendments to the Clean Air Act (CAA).

You may have heard Sen. Ted Cruz saying that the bill overturns the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in West Virginia v. EPA, which finally drove a stake in the Obama climate-change regulations via the CAA. That’s a bit oversold. Which is not to say the provisions are not problematic and possibly very much so.

Consider Sec. 60107 of the reconciliation bill (page 678), which adds a “Sec. 135: Low Emissions Electricity Program.” Very ‘AOC’. And to pull this off, it sails in under the spending flag, $17 million for a few thisses and $17 million for a few thats. But in the back, piloting this cruise, is a section that reads, “$18,000,000 to ensure that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are achieved through use of the existing authorities of this Act.”

Oh. And which authorities might those be, because… don’t we keep hearing about federal courts throwing out claims that the Clean Air Act is a global warming law? Doesn’t say. Which itself is clever, though hopefully in the end too clever by half. This stunt has two most-likely objectives, first being to dent the armor of folks like Supreme Court justices Roberts and Gorsuch and many litigants and amici in the seemingly never-ending stream of climate litigation saying: look, whenever Congress has specifically considered actually regulating greenhouse gases through the CAA it has rejected the proposal.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

In West Virginia, SCOTUS gutted yet another attempt to use one provision this way, while clearing its throat for the next round by placing a “Major Questions Doctrine” front and center: Do not claim that some provision of a given law provides you with the authority for massive economic disruption like greenhouse gas reduction regulations unless you can point to Congress saying that’s what you’re to do.

The purpose of the "Inflation Reduction Act," now heading to Joe Biden's desk for signing, is to arm litigants hostile to the energy industries to claim Congress has said, "oh, just use those authorities we provided over there." See? Purportedly a post-West Virginia v. the EPA affirmation by Congress that, yes, the Clean Air Act provides authority to reduce GHGs, so this (choose your claimed authority) is what they were referring to. Which it isn't. No matter what the Democrats say:

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

The Senate parliamentarian did strike a companion provision as improperly legislating in a budget bill. That language stood out for having dared to specify certain CAA provisions. The subtler gambit, unfortunately, seems to have gone unnoticed. In fact, it will now buttress defense of those ideas for “backdoor climate plans” using various provisions of the Clean Air Act not heretofore deployed by the climate crowd as possible vehicles to re-engineer the U.S. economy by pretending such measures are consistent with congressional intent. It’s so obvious they didn’t even need to specify what that authority is!

Rather, its purpose is to toss a rhetorical crutch to all manner of activists, whether seated on the bench, in newsrooms, or lurking in pressure groups to decry the trustworthy talking point that Congress has always spit the climate bit and so the latest expansive interpretation of some little-used statutory provision into a global warming roadmap is, supposedly, no longer far-fetched.

Which is to say this is less designed to “overturn” West Virginia, than the implications of that spectacular win, in prepration for the climate complex’s next stab at claiming Congress has already adopted a global warming regulatory regime, while still avoiding any supposed statutory authority. It is pretty aggressively mischievous, subtly eroding a key premise, and recurring theme of the climate opposition, that Congress never authorized any of these programs to be greenhouse gases reduction programs. Which it didn’t.

I for one do not see any of the six justices in the West Virginia majority rolling over for such tricks and saying ah well, that changes things and turns out Congress had settled its debate on the GHG issue. I do however see the D.C Circuit court, which will hear the case first, doing just that.

So, this cynical mischief isn’t, ahem, the end of the world. But it is a very unwelcome development. And an even worse sign of what our republic has come.

Where's the Beef?

Where IS the beef? Prices may very well be keeping it out of your refrigerator and inflation has something to do with that. But there’s another factor in play, involving where the beef was before it hit the grocer’s shelves. The meat packing industry has consolidated in recent decades to the point where four companies control about 85 percent of the market. Pretty much everyone agrees that’s a problem, but bipartisanship only goes so far. The difference between Republicans and Democrats on this issue involves what to do about it.

Republicans urge President Biden to use the tools he has and enforce existing anti-trust legislation like the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Clayton Act. Unlike President Trump, whose Department of Justice did indeed investigate Big Beef, Biden has carefully limited himself to criticism while taking no substantive action. He, or whoever comes up his talking points, is smart enough to know that five dollars per pound for ground beef is a bit exorbitant for most Americans. Don’t let those crocodile tears fool you though. The climate change crowd is cheering the trend and if there is one constituency that Dems are careful never to offend, it’s climate change alarmists.

And, yes, I'd love a burger, thanks.

The big four meat packers in the United States are: Cargill, Tyson Foods, JBS SA and the National Beef Packing Company. The first two are American-owned and the latter two are Brazilian. Consolidation in the industry started in the late seventies, when the big four controlled about twenty five percent of the market. The industry was robust and decentralized back then, including many small shops (plants that process less than 500 head per week) scattered about the country.

Today, the small meat packer has all but disappeared in the United States. In their place, the Big Four have relied upon mega packing plants that can process thousands of head per day. In most industries, larger plants benefit from economies of scale, driving prices down. In the weird world of meat packing, it hasn’t worked that way, prompting just about everyone to suspect that if it smells like price fixing, it probably is price fixing.

Weirder still is that the prices that the Big Four pay to American ranchers for cattle has and continues to drop. Increasing imports of cheap beef from countries like Canada and New Zealand drives cattle prices down and gives the American rancher with little choice but to accept contracts with the Big Four that ties the rancher to under-valued pricing. So we have the unique situation of an industry in which the price of the raw material (cattle) drops, but price of the product (beef) heads in the other direction. One doesn’t require a degree in economics to understand that the increasing spread is making somebody a lot of money.

Reacting to the President’s criticism of the meat-packing industry, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem agreed with the President’s view of the problem, but was critical of his unwillingness to take concrete action to address it. Appearing on Hannity, a visibly frustrated Noem said:

He's willing to go out there and spend more money and pursue other ideas and not just do the basic job of government, and that's to make sure you're implementing the laws correctly, you're making sure people are following the rules, and his Department of Justice has every single tool to make sure that people aren't attacked under the situation that they're in today.

What causes a politician like Biden to talk the talk, but refuse to walk the walk? These days the answers are almost always either “sexism," “racism,” or “global warming.” Since we are not yet aware of people who choose to identify as bovines (but we of course defend their right to do so) the answer, by default, is indeed global warming. Again.

More than twenty years ago I wrote a tongue in cheek column describing the EPA’s comprehensive catalog of data with respect to cow flatulence. They have data classifying the gas-passing abilities of cattle by breed, by diet, by location and God only Knows what else. I started to speculate on how that data was acquired and by whom, before deciding that some things are better off unknown. And I jokingly observed that if were classifying cow farts, what’s next? Are we going to start regulating them?

Cow farts: who wants the job?

It was all great fun, but it was all unwittingly prescient. If the Dems can’t quite bring themselves to pass a bill regulating bovine flatulence – probably out of fear that the ensuing Kamala Harris giggle fit would force the session into the wee hours – they do the next best thing. They look the other way as Big Beef happily makes their product more and more expensive, reducing consumption, but who really cares so long as those beautiful margins continue to grow? Dems get what they want, fewer cows cutting the cheese and the Big Four getting some very happy shareholders. It is, from the Democrat perspective, a win/win.

For the record, according to the latest EPA Greenhouse Gas report, methane emissions from American cows contribute about 6,800,000 tonnes per year of methane to the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to about 170,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Sounds like a lot, until one realizes that annual worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions average about 50,000,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gas per year. Thus, Bessie and Elsie and their pals on American farms account for a little more than 0.3 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Does reducing that tiny fraction to a slightly tinier fraction justify five dollar plus per pound hamburger? Joe Biden seems to think so. But then when you regularly shake hands with invisible people, you can pretty much believe anything.

THE COLUMN: 'These Boots Were Made for Walking' *UPDATED*

If you think the Republicans are going to clean up in the fall Congressional elections, taking back both the House of Representatives and the Senate, with a clear shot to unseating Joe Biden or Your Name Here in 2024, think again. Yesterday, in a triumphal special session, the Senate passed the "Inflation Reduction Act" (stop laughing), with the otherwise useless vice president, Kamala Harris, casting the tie-breaker in favor of the rebranded mo' betta version of the recently deceased "Build Back Better" boondoggle. This time around, there was no Joe Manchin the Third or Krysten Sinema to put their fingers in the dikes and hold back Brandon's flood tide, both of them having sold out in exchange for some particular local fillips. In a 50-50 upper chamber, with the House in the bag, that's all the Democrats needed, 

The bill will do nothing about inflation, of course. Prices will continue their upward spiral, and supermarket shelves will increasingly resemble similar establishments in the Soviet Union c. 1985. But who cares? What counts is how the media spins the vote, and the answer is: a big win for the ice-cream gobbler and chief Covid patient—fully vaxxed and boosted!—now emerging hale and hearty from the White House basement and getting ready head back to Delaware for some much-needed R&R. There's nothing the Democrat-Media Complex loves more than a comeback story. And for that Joe Biden can thank Manchin and Sinema. 

Let's start with Manchin, former governor and now apparently senator-for-life from West Virginia. Having replaced John McCain as the phoniest man in the Senate, Manchin has enjoyed playing footsie with Mitch McConnell while he does his "conservative" fan dance for the rubes back home in Hootin' Holler, W. Va., a half-assed state that was gerrymandered out of rump counties of Ol' Virginny during the Civil War and hasn't amounted to a hill of beans since. Surrounded on the north by Federal powerhouses Ohio and Pennsylvania and bordered by two slave states that stayed in the Union, Kentucky and Maryland, in 1863 it chose the better part of valor and skedaddled away from the Confederacy as quickly as it could. The gutless Manchin is its perfect embodiment:

Sinema, the latest model of "maverick" from Arizona, meanwhile got... well, let's let the New York Times tell us what she got:

To win Ms. Sinema’s support, Democratic leaders agreed to drop a $14 billion tax increase on some wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives that she had opposed, change the structure of a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations, and include drought money to benefit Arizona... Ms. Sinema had been the final holdout on the package after Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, struck a deal with top Democrats last week that resurrected a plan that had appeared to have collapsed.

Ah, but when the stakes are this high there's always another palm that can be greased, another side deal to be made. This was Manchin's -- and the headline on the Times story informs the honorable gentleman from Hind Teat, W.Va., just how much his courage is appreciated and how much good will they'll show him in 2024 when he runs for re-election:

Manchin’s Donors Include Pipeline Giants That Win in His Climate Deal

After years of spirited opposition from environmental activists, the Mountain Valley Pipeline — a 304-mile gas pipeline cutting through the Appalachian Mountains — was behind schedule, over budget and beset with lawsuits. As recently as February, one of its developers, NextEra Energy, warned that the many legal and regulatory obstacles meant there was “a very low probability of pipeline completion.” Then came Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and his hold on the Democrats’ climate agenda.

Mr. Manchin’s recent surprise agreement to back the Biden administration’s historic climate legislation came about in part because the senator was promised something in return: not only support for the pipeline in his home state, but also expedited approval for pipelines and other infrastructure nationwide, as part of a wider set of concessions to fossil fuels.

It was a big win for a pipeline industry that, in recent years, has quietly become one of Mr. Manchin’s biggest financial supporters.

The pride of Hootin' Holler.

The Wall Street Journal put the boot in: "Republicans thought that by supporting giant infrastructure and computer-chip bills, the West Virginian might stop a partisan spending bill. GOP Senators now look like tourists who paid $300 from LaGuardia for a taxi to their Manhattan hotel."

The package will be confirmed in the House just as soon as speaker Nancy Pelosi gets back from her super top-secret mission to start a shooting war with China for no good reason. One of the surprise bon-bons embedded in this farrago is a huge budget boost for everybody's favorite federal agency, the IRS

Under the Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), the agency would receive $80 billion in funding to hire as many as 87,000 additional employees. The increase would more than double the size of the IRS workforce, which currently has 78,661 full-time staffers, according to federal data.

The additional IRS funding is integral to the Democrats' reconciliation package. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found the hiring of new IRS agents would result in more than $200 billion in additional revenue for the federal government over the next decade. More than half of that funding is specifically earmarked for "enforcement," meaning tax audits and other responsibilities such as "digital asset monitoring." That would make the IRS one of the largest federal agencies. 

How did the GOP, which thought it had Joe Biden and the Democrats right where they wanted them just a couple of weeks ago, get into such a pickle? And why are things only going to get worse, right up to the moment when they fail to take back the Senate and under-perform in the House? Nate Silver weighs in: 

As was the case when we launched the forecast a month ago, the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s midterm model still rates the battle for control of the Senate as a “toss-up.” But within that category there’s been modest, but consistent movement toward Democrats. Their chances of winning the Senate now stand at 55 percent. That’s up from 47 percent from forecast launch on June 30. It’s also up from 40 percent in a retroactive forecast dated back to June 1.

Silver's right about the Senate: does anybody really think the carpetbagging  Cleveland-born Turkish Muslim. Dr. Mehmet Oz, who voted in the 2018 Turkish elections, and the washed-up football player Herschel Walker are going to win? Oz is running at least ten points behind a guy who just had a stroke, while Walker will face Warnock, a man with almost as many skeletons in his closet as Walker has. Trump has backed both Oz and Walker; after all, he's seen a lot of them on TV. Meanwhile, in Ohio, J.D. Vance is doing his best to blow what should be a gimme, and currently trails his Democrat opponent, congressman Tim Ryan, by four points.

All that matters, people.

So how did we get here? Two names immediately come to mind: Mitch McConnell, one of the leaders of the geriatric mafia in Congress, and Donald Trump. McConnell, supposedly the canny old tortoise who's always outwitting the Democrat hares, spent most of his time as Senate majority leader obstructing Trump, getting the three Supreme Court justices through by nuking the filibuster for Court appointments, but not much else. The time to have retired this careerist testudo and his corrupt Taiwanese-born wife was in 2014, when it was clear the GOP was going to take the Senate with or without him. But no: McConnell, who turns 81 in February, was left in place to continue warming the seat he's held for the former slave state of Kentucky since 1984.

And then there's Trump, at whose feet we can justly lay the 50-50 Senate that followed in the wake of his loss in 2020 and its disgraceful aftermath in January 2021. Going into the fall elections, both Georgia senate seats were held by the GOP: David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who were opposed by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Loeffler, a wealthy housewife appointed to fill out retired senator Johnny Isakson's term, looked like a sure loser from the start, while Purdue -- another plutocrat --  at least had the advantage of genuine incumbency, even if it was only one term. All the GOP had to do was win one of them and they would retain control of the Senate. 

But no. As luck would have it, both elections went to runoffs, which were duly held on Jan. 5, with the "stolen election" hysteria approaching its height the following day. In the intervening weeks Georgia had been a special focus of Trump's ire, and president decided to make two Republican state officials -- Gov. Brian Kemp and secretary of state Brad Raffensberger -- his principal enemies. Unsurprisingly, in this overheated atmosphere, both Perdue and Loeffler lost and thus the Senate was tied.

Which left Harris as the deciding vote in yesterday's passage of a bill we will all live to regret for a very long time. Those boots, bought so dearly in 2020, were made for walking, and they just walked all over you. 

UPDATED: And, just like that, it's no longer an "inflation reduction" bill. It's a "climate, tax, and health care package." Suckers!!