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.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Beefing

As it is the year of Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee, and I’m of an age, Judith (mummy) flatly insisted that I host something of my own for London Hat Week. SNORE! I thought of hopping a plane back to my home in Los Angeles but as Daddy pointed out… it wasn’t that much of an ask. 

Of course he was right, but I can tell you I had no interest in gathering up what would amount to an evening of shrill bursts and the too-loud chatter from the daughters of her friends along with a few of my school chums lumped-in to keep me from blowing my brains out. Alcohol was a must. As was limiting the total number. I agreed to the Calvary Club because it would tickle the heart of the grandfather I never met, and because every fashionable venue was booked. 

I decided to impose a green-spin on things and asked that everyone recycle/reuse a previously worn hat rather than buy new. The idea came to me in the dressing room at Harvey Nicks whilst standing among a literal mountain of discards and trying to decide between Carolina Herrera and Huishan Zhang. 

Sometimes a girl's just gotta eat.

With dress in hand, I walked into Hélène Darroze to get a plate of pasta, only to be told they were booked. They weren’t. It was early and they knew me here, except everyone who knew me wasn’t in yet, so I had to put up with the indignity of having their ‘concept’ explained to me by the twenty-something who, more than anything, sounded as though she was trying to convince herself. 

In our three Michelin-star restaurant, each dish is grounded in seasonal produce sourced from the farmers, makers and growers carefully chosen by Hélène. And every menu is a reflection of your personal tastes, as our chefs transform your selected ingredients into original works of culinary art. Pierre Yovanovitch’s cocooning interior sets the perfect tone for this intimate dining experience. Blush shades, curved lines, and deep velvet and leather seating reflect the restaurant’s warm, approachable ethos. A blue blown-glass chandelier and exposed wooden tabletops add a bold, contemporary edge. Almost every element is custom-made, once again placing craftsmanship in the limelight.

Defeated, I walked into the bar where I ordered Iberico ham, and a vegetarian club. If one arrives early enough one generally avoids the pre-theatre throng of tourists whom the management is happy to fleece with trendy cocktails costing upwards of £100. It is for this reason I didn’t flinch when I heard the gentleman to my left introduce himself. Mind you his accent sounded decidedly West County when he said, ‘Vegetarian? You should get the meat while you can!’ 

As he was paying his bill (and ostensibly leaving) I assumed it was safe to respond. But I knew what he was getting at…farmers from Norway to New Zealand were either paying taxes on livestock burps, or being asked to kill their herds in the name of saving our planet. I held up my hand and said ‘Before you get started I’m an environmentalist’. 

‘Of course you are,’ he said. 'The ham should have tipped me off’. 

‘Excuse me,’ I said, ‘I’m also a vegetarian…mostly.  But greenhouse gases are killing our planet!’

‘Well, we don’t agree on this’ he said, ‘but if you’re prepared to pay £400 for a pound for ham, you likely won’t mind when beef costs the same’.

Dearer every day.

‘If you’ll excuse me…’ I said, fishing a vibrating phone out of my bag and stepping away from the bar. It was my father, wanting to know if I was coming home for dinner.  

‘OMG you called in the nick of time!’ I said, ‘I was just getting lectured by some stranger who doesn’t understand why we MUST eliminate much of the livestock if we have any hope of lessening greenhouse gases’. 

‘Not a love match I take it?’ I ignored him.  

‘ANYWAY’ I continued, ‘I found a dress for the thing mummy is making me do and in addition to requiring no new hats, I…’ 

‘Excuse me Jennifer…’ he pounced,  ‘You do understand it is in fact—Hat Week?’ 

‘Yes, I’m borrowing something of Judith’s’.

‘And for the others who don’t have a mother whose shopping habits would supply the V&A?’

Again I ignored him. UGH! People would just have to manage. The man at the bar had gone and so I walked back to my seat and waited for Daddy to say something. And say he did! 

‘Jennifer…’ He began in the softest tone, ‘I fear you’ve lost the point of the exercise. It is Hat Week. It is not Green Week, it is not Earth Day. You are hosting an event at a club that predates the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the Ford Model T. It also happens to be the year of the Queen’s Jubilee, and although her own son is your fellow green-nik, I can promise you this is neither the time nor the place. You will not be serving bugs, you will not be composting, and you will not be asking everyone to bring their own tin cups. Do you understand me?’

Gulp. ‘Of course I do’.  I said, and downed the rest of my champagne. 

‘After this event,’ he continued ‘you may go back to flying around the world in your design to save the planet. You may schedule whole tours to Sri Lanka to ask people how freeing it is to have only thirty percent of the food they previously enjoyed, and just how much they are enjoying that near-perfect ESG score that toppled their country. You can even go to Canada and convince farmers that a fertiliser ban is a win-win for those who want to spend less time harvesting and more time on yoga, but this week my dear, in your new dress and your mother’s repurposed hat, you will keep your eco-battle to yourself’.

All we needed was Bono and Greta.

Obviously he meant it. I wondered if he’d change his mind if I got Leo DiCaprio to come but I said nothing.

The event was a small disaster. Not enough of my friends, and I was clearly out-flanked by the enemy—the new crop of twenty-somethings. They knew of me and flattered themselves that they understood the challenges facing the planet but they were the worst kind of informed. They knew Bono, they knew Greta, they knew about my glamorous bug parties and they knew about the near-death incident with the composter.

It only took half an hour before the all-too familiar rise and fall of their high-pitched voices became the steady soundtrack for the evening. They’d also taken the ‘repurpose’ directive as an excuse to don any old hat that might be better suited to sifting rice in the Mekong Delta. The overall look was comical, with me, the elder, looking every bit the finishing-school instructor who needed to be put out to pasture.

This would not do. At their age I was already a lock for the Olympic Equestrian Team and had a firm understanding of the larger scheme. I led the auction of our hats for charity which finally managed to coax the men out from an ante-room. I was followed by the twenty-somethings who tugged at their too-short dresses and fiddled with their over-processed hair whilst saying nothing terribly bright. Alas. Not so easy as it looks I wanted to say. Just then my phone buzzed… it was a text from Leo. It read:

‘Sorry I couldn’t make it Doll,…raincheck?’

Oh how I wanted to share the text!  But I stopped myself. I would savour it. I would invite these girls back when I had Leo. And I would serve them bugs

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Davosing

Hello Davos at long last! It feels a little weird—being here in summer, and also like the prom date who's been stood up four times. but Davos is on, and there are 1,500 private planes here to prove it. I’d hired an assistant named Mila for the conference because I couldn’t very well be seen setting up my own meetings or trying to get myself into parties. I had several invites already but you never really do know which ones will be the hot ticket until you get here.  I’d also set her to the task of sorting out a driver.

A summer conference meant summer clothes, and I refused to be clomping around in wedge-sandals just because modern pavement hadn’t met old Europe. This is among the things Americans find particularly galling and I am starting to agree with them. Hotels never advertise the abysmal water pressure, the inability to use a hairdryer in bathroom, or the two children’s beds shoved together and presented as a king. 

I walked through the Partner’s Lounge after checking in with hospitality and could see there were very few women, in addition to a thousand fewer attendees than in previous years. It was hard to know if the drop-off in attendance was rising anti-elitist sentiment, or Putin's war in Ukraine, but many of the A-listers weren’t coming at all. Not Biden, or Boris, or Macron, or Prince Charles or even Greta. And not even Jamie Dimon, which was a double blow because Jamie’s always liked me, and it meant no JP Morgan Chase-hosted suite. Boo! In its geographic place this year is the Covid testing area, to which we all had to submit upon arrival.

Welcome to the World Environmental Forum.

Mila arrived on foot, and with a local bus map mumbling something about Line 4 (Flüelastrasse). Bus? This wasn’t going well. I was going to have to skip the second half of Xi Jinping to get ready for the India Today party.  It’s just as well, it was hard for me not to focus on the singular-plural mismatch by Xi’s translator. Also I wasn’t happy Klaus opened with Xi. I know we are the World Economic Forum but let’s be honest, the environment is our focus and I won’t give China any credit in that department. Detractors may find us duplicitous (we really should be called the World Environmental Forum) but they don’t grasp how important it is to do our fine work by any means necessary.

India Today went all out for the party, even if it wasn’t terribly exclusive. India itself had the biggest presence at the conference and they wanted to make sure everyone knew it. They had a hundred CEOs and a dozen government leaders. They insist its ‘India’s Century’, that they have the talent pool, and that they played a critical role in vaccinations. Did they? I seem to only remember Donald Trump saying he personally saved two million lives with his vaccine. But tonight I am to accept that India contributed the most. Maybe. But the planet is my passion and as for India… it was #2 on my environmental offender list, and I didn’t have a #3.  

Also missing from this year’s conference were every single one of my clients. It was just as well because the theme seemed to be bullseyes on the billionaires. And I was having a tough time squaring this because everyone that I work with is committed to zero carbon emissions and doing what they can to save our planet.

Day two came both bright and early. Perhaps one too many Mumbai Mules. The last I remembered was a back-and-forth between California’s Darrell Issa and England’s Nick Clegg.  I don’t know anything about Mr Issa but the most interesting thing about Nick is his wife and he turned up without her. Separate from that, I’ll never understand why he thought it smart to tell GQ he had bedded ‘not more than thirty women’ but I think he will always be remembered for his failed attempt to reform the House of Lords. All of this escaped Mr Issa, an American congressman who used to chair something called ‘The Oversight Committee’. That kept me laughing most of the night. 

Klaus Schwab

And the winner is...

Today I get my Schwab Foundation Award! I wanted to wear an asymmetrical Armani knit but I was afraid it wouldn’t photograph well so I opted for a sustainable label. No sooner had I stepped off the stage, I was rushed by a pre-pubescent prat sporting the dreaded orange (press) badge. UGH! He wasn’t here to congratulate me either. He launched into a rant against Barclays (the presenter of the awards). Seriously? How dare you! I’m the bug hostess, and my efforts may just make the difference between saving the planet and not! Plus I was kind of hoping I might parlay this into a stakeholder position with Barclays. ‘By the way, Barclays—you idiot—just set aside £17m for a sustainable impact programme’, I said, moving away from him. ‘…and they provide menopause support to retain their top talent!’

I think the last bit shocked him but he yelled back, ’Barclays' renewable energy banking chief has served on the board of the Sierra Club!’ 

‘Well yay Barclays!’ I retorted, really trying to lose him this time. Why is everybody so cranky post-Covid?

He wouldn't stop. ‘But the Sierra Club has been killing off nuclear plants around the U.S., while taking money from renewable energy companies. Turns out it’s a very lucrative business’. 

UGH! He had me and I knew it. Nuclear is by far the safest way to make reliable electricity and its particulate matter is insignificant compared to the particulate matter from fossil-and biomass-burning homes, cars, and power plants, which kill more than eight million people a year. I said nothing and left the room. It was day three and I was sure to let security know one of the orange tags had slipped through and harassed me. Orange Man Bad! as the saying goes.

I decided to interview a few folks myself, to discuss the things I wished to discuss and was heading straight for Henry Kissinger when Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of UNAIDS thrust herself into my mic. Oh Lord. Keep it light I thought, as she jumped right in. ‘Extreme inequality is out of control, it’s undermining our economies, and fueling crime’, she said. 

‘Thank you’.  I said. I'd heard her speak earlier. She thought if anyone has any more than another, it qualified as inequality and someone was cheating. ‘We don't want countries to simply come to Davos, we want them to put the burden on companies and rich people'. She used the example that in 1970 the top  tax rates were around 62 percent and that today they've been 'negotiated down by rich people’. 

‘Do you know I work with poultry workers in the richest country  in the world?  The United States?  And the poultry worker I spoke to has to wear diapers because she is not allowed to go to the bathroom.  These companies pay their CEOs well and cheat workers down the line’. 

Of course I didn’t know any of this, nor did I believe it,  but she wouldn't shut up so I googled it on my phone to find that the average salary of a poultry worker is $29,000 a year or about $14.10 per hour. No mention if that included diapers. ‘Do you know that $170 billion of profits, every single year, does not  get taxed? Think about that, $170 billion a year that is not given to others to support themselves', she banged on.

No diapers and 14 bucks an hour too!

There was no point explaining to her that all profits were not owed to someone else, and that if every country that came to Davos was forced into 'the burden of high taxation' no one would come here. This she called inequality. And  she went on about how 'jobs were not enough… people need dignified jobs'.  Fascinating really. This woman from Uganda, now making a quarter of a million dollars a year, was telling me that American jobs were not dignified--enough. And failure to hand over profits was stealing.  'Not dignified enough',  she insisted.  

I wanted to ask if she knew there were nearly ten million slaves in Africa but I did not.  But more than that, I wanted her to shut up. Apparently she had checked with the IMF and they told her, companies could afford to pay more. And in her mind that translated to must. This she explained, would fight climate change because apparently with more money, the first thing people  do is become passionate about their carbon footprint.

I tried to interject, and eventually I said:  'As I haven’t the occupational garments of those poultry women… I really must excuse myself.’ Suddenly, I was thankful for Mila and her bus schedule. 

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Panelling

Without much research I agreed to participate in a women’s environmental conference earlier this week.  I made only two conditions…I would not talk about my clients, nor would I sit in front of an image of the product 'Fit Pit Love'. Turns out one of the conference sponsors is a company called The Green Woman (not sure what they were thinking), and they actually have a product called ‘Fit Pit Love’.  It’s exactly what you would think it would be—a deodorant—except it’s made out of coconut oil, and beyond that I don’t want to know.

Separately, it was an impressive panel that included female mayors from many cities, including the Mayor of Rome whom I’d met once before and would enjoy connecting with again.  Going over the articles on the other participants, I quickly became confused as to why when women join together to save the planet, it becomes feminism-green. I mean—why feminism at all? And why do we have to be so angry? We can’t very well save the planet if we all get cancer.

Along with the pile of articles, they sent over a lot of swag—lots of low-tech balms and natural products in recycled gift wrap. I was about to throw the lot of it in the bin when I spied an Aspinal’s box. YAY! Scarf? French wallet? No. It was a Social Responsibility Diary and it was clear to me it had replaced the much-coveted Aspinal Social Diary that they stopped making a few years back.  Mummy had called several times, hoping to persuade them to publish it again but eventually she gave up.  This wasn’t going to make her happy either. It had no social events whatsoever, only pseudo holidays like Whale Shark Day and Vulture Awareness Day. Really Aspinal? This is your customer base? Women sporting crocodile bags with a concern for vultures?

Have you kissed a whale shark today?

I rang downstairs for some lunch and decided to watch an episode of Ab Fab to get my mind off of this. If anything, I hoped to bring a breath of fresh air to the conference, some sun to go with their moon, and some balanced discourse to their rants. I’m always going to work tirelessly to save our beloved planet but we can’t be seen as harridans if we expect anyone to listen to us. Otherwise we looked like the grown-up versions of what Daddy calls ‘that Swedish troll’. I decided too, I should give him a ring, just to see if I might be missing anything and luckily he picked up. 

‘Hello Jennifer, how’s Marbella?’

‘It’s great, just having lunch, but I might be leaving soon to be on a panel.’ I said. 

‘A solar panel?’ 

‘No Daddy! An actual panel!’

‘So not the ones you have deteriorating on your house in California.’

I decided to let that comment go and began again. ‘So it’s an all-woman panel, and I’ll just be talking about what I love—the planet.’

‘Do you think that's a good idea just now? Women talking about their fantasy version of the world when there’s a war on?’

UGH! I hadn’t thought about that. ‘Do you think I need to cancel? I asked.

‘Goodness no.  There’s not a chance you could offend anyone watching. That’s what you green-niks do isn’t it? Just go around expecting everyone to see things as you do?’

‘Not exactly, Daddy.  You know I’m trying to be the voice of reason while saving the planet.’

‘Do I? Last I heard you were grousing about Davos being cancelled… you know… the event where everyone flies in on a private plane to discuss climate change?’

‘Yes, I’m very clear you’re not a fan, but please try to think about all the good they do.’

‘Yes, well… that should keep me busy well into my old age.’ He laughed and rang off. 

Vultures, vultures everywhere.

I arrived at the conference and the scene was pretty tense. It was as if we were needing to decide the sentence of a very guilty man. Maybe I was too relaxed, having spent the last week at the Marbella Club, so I said my hellos and took my seat on the dais.

The first question was directed at me: ‘Given your recent setback at Swanscombe are you happy that in the end the peninsula is going back to nature?”

‘Hello and thank you for that question' I replied. 'No I am not in the least happy with the setback, I signed on to see that the project was managed in the most responsible manner possible, but to your point, the peninsula is not “going back to nature”. Clean-up is needed. Responsible clean-up. And abandoned mills don’t just become wetlands if left alone.’ 

She interrupted, ‘But surely that doesn’t necessitate building an amusement park on the preserve.’

‘OK, as a point of reference it is not a “preserve", it is a toxic dump, and the beauty of the project is that what is currently harming the ecosphere will now be funded by the developer, and repurposed for many to enjoy. Thank you for your question.’

My phone buzzed. It was a thumbs up from my father.  Oh boy. If he was happy, I wasn’t doing well with this crowd. The next question was also directed at me: ‘How will you be utilising the research and analysis that shows dyslexia could help humans adapt to climate change?’

What?? My phone buzzed again, it was my father again. “WEF asserts Dyslexia fights climate change’. Before I could respond she fired again: ‘As a supporter of the World Economic Forum do you deny that people with dyslexia could use their higher-level strengths to tackle climate change?’ 

How could I deny it? I didn’t even know what the hell she was talking about.  No text from my father either. Ugh. Then— a single text from Daddy: ‘Klaus does!’

It's all about "complementary cognition," you see.

WUT? UGH. I took a deep breath and began again. ‘Thank you for your question, but if I may, and before we delve too deeply into research trends, I just want to say I would like to ask all of you, to dedicate a moment of complete silence, to pray, or to meditate for peace, and for the souls of those who have already been killed, and for those who may be killed in the Ukraine'.

I was wracked with guilt. Not because I didn’t care about the Ukraine, I did. A great deal. But I felt bad that I’d used it at a time when I was also in a pickle. We took a break and I read the article on dyslexia and climate change. It was insanity—worse than insanity. I asked for my coat and texted my driver. They were going to think I was too upset over the war but I couldn’t help that. Anyway the whole venue stank of coconut and hemp and it was making me sick. The planet was going to have to wait for another day.  And Klaus was going to get a phone call in the morning. 

The Noble Lie of 'Global Warming'

The foundation of the environmentalist movement is, essentially, a carrot and a stick. The carrot is a global paradise, with worldwide temperature increases halted at less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Which is to say, victory for their movement and the human race. The stick is, well, the kind of worldwide devastation for the planet and humanity predicted in David Wallace-Wells' hysterical 2019 book The Uninhabitable Earth. Victory, they might say, for oil barons, car owners, people with more than one child, and anyone else who hates Mother Gaia.

But what if the carrot were to disappear? That is a possibility which Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic's resident climate worry wart (or one of many) has had to come to grips with in the wake of the most recent report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has just  published a piece examining the report's findings entitled "The 1.5-Degree Goal Is All But Dead." Most notable, he says, is that while the I.P.C.C. believes that it is still "technically feasible" for humanity to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees, that goal "is now, in practice, probably impossible to achieve."

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

These are chilling words for environmentalists, but Meyer confesses that 1.5 degrees was always an aspiration goal. It might even be worth admitting that it was far-fetched from the outset. Despite being "enshrined in international law" (make of that what you will) via the Paris Climate Agreement, and inspiring an earlier I.P.C.C. report which "detailed the dire famines, droughts, and disasters that would accompany even that level of warming," Meyer explains that "achieving 1.5 degrees has never seemed particularly likely." That's because doing so would require "the world [replacing] its energy system at an unprecedented pace" and to succeed at a project of decarbonization which, he says, borders on the "fantastic, the miraculous." Skeptics have often accused climate change partisans of indulging in magical thinking. Meyer concedes that description is basically accurate.

So even when the original reports predicting disaster if 1.5 degrees were not achieved, the goal was nearly impossible. But human civilization has continued on existing in the years since. Carbon emissions have continued and, despite the hundreds of billions of dollars raised and spent by environmentalist groups, fossil-fuel capacity has continued to grow as well. Says Meyer:

The world can emit as much carbon dioxide as it produced during the 2010s—about 400 gigatons—before it uses up the rest of its 1.5-degree budget, the new report finds. But the world’s existing fossil-fuel infrastructure, as already built and financed, would generate another 660 to 850 gigatons of emissions.

So in what sense is 1.5 degrees still "technically feasible"? He explains, "Meeting the goal will require taking coal, oil, and natural-gas capacity offline before it was designed to shut down." That is, ushering in a new stone age.

It is interesting that Meyer doesn't quite despair. When Michael Moore accepted that the environmentalist movement was built on magical thinking and lies, he leaned in to the new stone age -- and the mass extinction which would necessarily accompany it -- as the only way to save the planet. But Meyer actually defends 1.5 C as a noble lie and motivator:

It inspired a new round of global climate concern. The aggressive climate action of the past few years—Greta Thunberg’s protests, Wall Street’s calls for corporate sustainability, even Europe’s Green Deal—would have been unimaginable without the 1.5-degree report.

He closes the piece with a note of concern that the loss of 1.5 C as a target might be dispiriting to some environmentalist groups which have built their branding and institutional strategies around it. Meyer quotes an I.P.C.C. member who suggests a rhetorical shift to 1.6 C, or even "well below 2 degrees Celsius." Look for that to be adjusted in a few years.

Meanwhile, in the real world, sea levels are fairly stable and sea ice is expanding. The climate is changing, yes, but never quite in the way or within the timeframe that the I.P.C.C. worshippers claim. Here's hoping that this disappointment will inspire a few perspective Greta Thunberg's to wake up and smell the CO2. It's glorious.

Practical Solutions to Pretend Problems

Let us assume, for the space of at least one column, that your not-so-humble correspondent agrees with the proposition that mankind’s increasing use of fossil fuels has released an unhealthy amount of heat trapping compounds into the atmosphere – primarily in the form of carbon dioxide.

People from Al Gore to Leonardo DiCaprio to Greta Thunberg cry that we are in the midst of a “climate crisis.” A few years ago AOC declared that we had only twelve years left to fix the “crisis” or else mankind was doomed. Just about every Democrat, and a disturbing number of Republicans, accept this point of view.

I don’t agree that we are in the midst of a “climate crisis,” along with millions of fellow scientists and a great many non-scientists. But let’s assume – for the sake of argument – that we’re all wrong. Let’s put aside our personal risk assessment and say that the “climate crisis” is real, that the world is in grave danger and that if we don’t do something to reduce carbon dioxide emissions substantially and immediately, there will be hell to pay. How would we react?

Apocalypse soon. Maybe. Some day.

If this is truly a “crisis”, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to solve it? If a fire breaks out in your home, you do everything you can to put it out as quickly as possible. You grab a fire extinguisher. You turn on a garden hose. You use a rug to smother the flames. Etc.

You don’t do nothing. Sure, you can call the fire department, but if there are actual things you can do to mitigate the damage before firefighters arrive, without putting your life in danger, you do them. Using the fire extinguisher, or garden hose, or rug might result in some property damage that you will have to clean up later, but so what? Better cleaning up a mess than rebuilding your home once it’s a charred pile of rubble.

Were the climate crisis as bad as Al, Leo, Greta et al. assure us it is, wouldn’t you think they would do anything and everything to combat it? There a lot of actions individuals can take and a lot of programs that politicians can advocate that could have and still can make massive reductions in fossil fuel use. They are easy and unlike most actions that "climate change" alarmists demand of us, they are not costly to average citizens.

You rarely, if ever, hear about these alternatives in the Mainstream Media or among politicians who buy into the “climate crisis” narrative. The universal message on the Left (and all messages on the Left these days are universal – dissenters will be cancelled) is that all energy generation moving forward must be “renewable” and thus “sustainable." Practical and achievable are not features at issue.

Their formula involves a mix of wind power, which is unreliable; solar power, which is spectacularly unreliable outside of a very limited number of locations; and large-scale battery-storage, which has moved from the realm of “insanely impractical and expensive” to “crazily unreasonable and costly” after decades of research.

Not there when you need it.

Maybe there are other things we could do that could meaningfully reduce carbon dioxide emissions? Maybe some of those things are a lot less expensive than the windmill-solar -battery approach? Maybe they’re even practical? Let’s consider a couple of practical actions that alarmists could have and still can advocate if they truly believe that the “climate crisis” is real.

Like most of my fellow boomers, I grew up without air conditioning. Yes, those 100 + degree days in July and August sucked, but we got through them. People can deal with heat. If every member of the Sierra Club, every liberal celebrity and every Democrat pledged never to use air conditioning again, the savings in energy and the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the United States would be huge. So, why aren’t they taking this hit to save the planet?

In general, most fossil fuel generated power is produced using one of two thermodynamic “cycles”: the Rankine Cycle, which uses the heat generated by combustion of a fossil fuel to turn water into steam, which then spins a turbine to generate power, and the Brayton Cycle, which uses the expansion of gas to directly spin a turbine to generate power.

A boiler uses the Rankine Cycle. Burning a fuel such as coal or natural gas creates heat. That heat is transferred to pipes through which flows liquid water. The liquid water is vaporized to steam, under pressure. The steam then carries enough energy to spin a turbine that produces power.

Gas turbines, like jet engines, use the Brayton Cycle. Burning a fuel such as natural gas or kerosene makes the fuel expand in volume significantly. This expansion produces enough energy to directly spin a turbine that generates energy.

Kids today...

Both the Rankine Cycle and the Brayton Cycle are about 30 -35 percent efficient. That is, for every 100 units of energy you put into the system, you get about 1/3 the energy back in the form of useful power. But, that math changes when you combine the two cycles. There are plants in the U.S. that burn natural gas to generate power through the Brayton Cycle, and then use the heat of the expanded gases to spin a turbine generator. This heat is used to generate steam from liquid water, which spins another turbine, effectively taking advantage of the Rankine Cycle.

A plant that uses a the Brayton Cycle to spin a turbine directly and the Rankine Cycle to spin a steam turbine is called a “combined-cycle plant.” This type of plant is about twice as efficient as any other type of fossil-fueled power plant. An administration that seriously wanted to reduce domestic fossil fuel use would have subsidized and advanced reliable combined-cycle power plants rather than shoving unreliable, expensive, “sustainable” forms of power generation like wind and solar down our throats.

But, we know that the “Climate Crisis” charlatans are not even close to serious about their messaging. If they were, they would have introduced the two simple concepts above into the discussion. If they were, they would have also talked about the roles of Red China and nuclear power in any energy discussion—ideas we’ll discuss in a future column.

Vladimir Putin: Energy Realist

Here's Michael Shellenberger with a simple equation which undergirds everything we're seeing in Ukraine right now and which will inform everything that happens once the war is over:

Putin knows that Europe produces 3.6 million barrels of oil a day but uses 15 million barrels of oil a day. Putin knows that Europe produces 230 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year but uses 560 billion cubic meters. He knows that Europe uses 950 million tons of coal a year but produces half that. The former KGB agent knows Russia produces 11 million barrels of oil per day but only uses 3.4 million. He knows Russia now produces over 700 billion cubic meters of gas a year but only uses around 400 billion. Russia mines 800 million tons of coal each year but uses 300. That’s how Russia ends up supplying about 20 percent of Europe’s oil, 40 percent of its gas, and 20 percent of its coal. The math is simple. A child could do it. The reason Europe didn’t have a muscular deterrent threat to prevent Russian aggression—and in fact prevented the U.S. from getting allies to do more—is that it needs Putin’s oil and gas.

He's right that a child could follow the math here. What's sad is that our leaders can't seem to. Shellenberger goes on at length about how the nations of the west have gone all in on a "delusional" environmentalist ideology which "insists that it’s just a matter of will and money to switch to all-renewables" and calls for rapid "'degrowth' of the economy" in order to avoid a "looming human 'extinction'" that's never going to come. Meanwhile, "Vladimir Putin made his moves":

While Putin expanded Russia’s oil production, expanded natural gas production, and then doubled nuclear energy production to allow more exports of its precious gas, Europe, led by Germany, shut down its nuclear power plants, closed gas fields, and refused to develop more through advanced methods like fracking. The numbers tell the story best. In 2016, 30 percent of the natural gas consumed by the European Union came from Russia. In 2018, that figure jumped to 40 percent. By 2020, it was nearly 44 percent, and by early 2021, it was nearly 47 percent.

We've said before that America likes to buy green, fuzzy feelings from China when we purchase the solar panels they've built using energy generated by coal power plants. Russia has done much the same for Europe. They enjoyed being on Team Thunberg and having the adulation of right-thinking people all over the world. But they also liked charging their iPhones and having heat in the winter. Crazy old Uncle Vlad let them have both.

Shellenberger's solutions to this problem are pretty straightforward, and you should make it a point to read the whole piece to find out what they are. But when you do, despair, because the chance that our leaders give them a try is essentially non-existent. Doing so would make Greta mad, and they can't have that.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Partygating

Annabel has transformed her country house into a glittering wonderland for my birthday celebration, there are fairy lights and flowers as far as the eye can see. I would say she really shouldn’t have done, but with England finally emerging from Covid restrictions, we all need a celebration, and the prettier the better.

She’s calling the party ‘It’s just wine and cheese’ as a play on the very naughty lockdown-busting parties at No. 10 which exposed Boris and Carrie’s bacchanalia, now officially dubbed #partygate. And swiftly followed by a Labour MP calling Boris out for being ‘surrounded by alcohol, food, and people wearing tinsel’.

Normally I’d be on their side but Boris, (who daddy claims was never liked by anybody) is not doing himself any favours being joined by third wife Carrie, who it is rumoured ‘cuts dead anyone who isn’t useful to her’. My frustration with the newly-minted Mrs Johnson is the pall she casts on those of us who are truly committed to saving the planet.

Perfect spot for a wine and cheese party.

Apparently when she’s not furiously texting 25 missives per hour to her PM hubby, or seeing anyone who threatens her sacked, she finds time to be a senior advisor to Oceana, a charity dedicated to protecting the oceans. What she obviously doesn’t realise is that when one puts oneself forth as a beacon of righteousness, and a caretaker of the planet; there is a responsibility not to be smugly sanctimonious or hypocritical.

I texted my father to ask if he felt I was being too harsh and he rang me right back: ‘Maybe not too harsh but why do you green-niks seem to use wine and cheese as the excuse for everything? Prince Charles also tried to excuse his grossly inefficient car by claiming it too ran on excess wine and cheese’.

I had forgotten that… Ugh. But I continued, ‘I just mean, is it too much to think she shouldn’t put herself out as a climate activist if she’s going to make us look bad?’

‘I think she’s showing real team spirit—like most of your clients, circumnavigating the globe in private jets to talk about saving it. That is what you do isn’t it?

I was quiet.

‘Listen… ’ he continued, ‘Forgive the tinsel and frankly forgive the gold wallpaper—£840 a roll isn’t exactly Ceaușescu territory’.

'She bought gold wallpaper?’ I asked.

‘Well, eventually, yes. But first she tried to get taxpayers to pay for it, and then some scheme with a private donor before Boris finally shelled out the £14k. But give the girl credit—she did get us to pay for her gold iPad, which was £538. Her email explains it was for ‘a special advisor’.

Double ugh.

‘Now if you ask your mother,’ he continued…

OMG there’s more?

‘Mummy’s more put off by the fact that Miss Symonds made the Queen uncomfortable by sharing a room with Boris at Balmoral whilst still an unmarried couple. But in truth, only Carrie was unmarried, Boris was married—just not to her.’

‘So I’m not off base to say she makes us all look bad—yes?’

‘Well, OK, yes, but I think that little troll with the braids shouting “how dare you-how dare you” was really a low point’.

Daddy had a point. ‘So I take a stand against her?’ I asked.

‘An actual stand? Jennifer, you’re not really going to vilify the gal who made Boris do a volte-face on climate change are you? He’s one of you now… fully committed even though that same set of facts initially lead him to say that climate concern is “without foundation”.'

Umm… no. I was not going to take down the girl pouring green into the ear of our PM. Still, I felt this was bad for her to be using the planet as her platform to promote herself, and being a huge hypocrite. But save that for another day… it’s my birthday!

As always Annabel gets the best people to come, and such an interesting range. She introduced me as single-handedly saving our planet, and also rather surprisingly… spilled the beans about my biggest client following with ‘But mum’s the word on that.’ Gotta be the wine and cheese talking.

One person who remembered me from my equestrian days, said; ’So… environment, way cool. And you must be thrilled that your colleague is right there at No. 10'.

Life's a beach when you're PM.

WOT? Had she been reading my mind? I downed my glass of champagne and moved to chat with someone else—a gentleman who only met me today as the birthday girl and via Annabel’s introduction. He introduced himself as James and squired me to a slightly less crowded corner before leaning in as though telling me some state secret…

’Just a quick note about the current Mrs. Boris… look out', he said. I wanted to say too late for that…she’s invading my birthday! But I asked, exactly what for?

‘Just as a sort of birthday present… I’m telling you don’t join forces. They might well be sent packing after all'.

And with that, he began to tell me much more than Daddy had done. Apparently Mrs. PM had given her friends the secure passcode to enter No. 10 when popping over for tea or to play draughts, or as turned out to be the case… to snoop around in Boris’ office where in fact, some classified documents had gone missing. This was bigger than tinsel.

She is also known to be heard whispering in the background of Zoom calls, telling Boris what to do when she disagrees. And when it suits, physically taking his phone and sending directives out to anyone and everyone… often taking positions of which he is entirely unaware. Only to find himself insisting the next day in meetings that he has taken no such position. And even then to return home at day’s end, and be instructed to call back and completely reverse his position again.

What to do with all of this information? I am not sure… right now it’s my #partygate.

Merry Christmas from Greta Thunberg!

Just in time for Christmas, everybody's favorite censorious elf, courtesy of the Babylon Bee:

Can a Senator Karen doll be far behind?

The Shape of Things to Come

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

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

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

Look who's here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who needs heat?

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

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