Lord Percy and the Green Climateers

Skint and owing £1000, Lord Blackadder faces the wrath of the perverted Bishop of Bath and Wells and the fate of being buggered by a red-hot poker. Valiantly trying to save him by making gold, his incredibly dim-witted friend Lord Percy instead makes ‘pure green’. Not gold! Blackadder points out.

Think of Percy’s quest as a metaphor for the quest of today’s climate activists. Instead of gold, they’re after carbonless energy. Alchemy rethought through a climate prism. And, to boot, with a religiously-convicted single mindedness. Pure "green."

Consider the attitude of those working for the myriad of agencies in each western country dedicated to completely greening the production and consumption of energy. I’m not a mind reader, but in Australia I can’t spot doubt. Just group-think. No evidence of robust internal debate. None escapes into public view in any event. Presumably no one is hired who doesn’t fit the mould.

Catastropharians all -- skeptics shunned -- they’ve fixed on their fanciful quest without at all questioning its feasibility. Percy’s problem. Fortunately, Blackadder found another way. If sense is not soon restored, we might be stuck with pure green and, figuratively speaking, with Blackadder’s blazing nemesis.

One way to appreciate the infeasibility of decarbonisation is to lay bare the fantastical plans for its achievement; by whichever climate agency, in whichever country. Incidentally, this is not necessarily straightforward. Common to all plans are grand visions and longwinded bafflegab. Thus, I was unsurprised to learn of the length of New York’s Draft Scoping Plan to radically reduce emissions. All 330 pages plus appendices were released on December 20.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

Everything’s bigger in New York. So, Australia’s reports tend to be shorter but remain competitive in the visions and bafflegab stakes. Which brings me to Australia’s equivalent of the DSP, the Integrated System Plan (ISP) to transform the production and consumption of energy. This plan, released also in December, was issued by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO); the agency responsible for keeping the lights on.

The ISP is just ninety-nine pages long. Even so, I admit to not reading it all. Too little fortitude. However, the eight-page executive summary suffices to reveal its innards. Net-zero by 2050 is the goal of course but, to ease concern, we are told that power will remain “affordable, reliable and secure.” Take it to the bank. Every pie-in-the-sky plan to do away with fossil fuels contains the same placating, empty assurance.

The plan calls for ‘delivered electricity’ to nearly double by 2050; from 180 terawatt hours (TWh), to 330 TWh. Bear in mind, we are told, this electricity is needed “to replace much of the gas and petrol currently consumed in transport, industry, office and domestic use.” And this, seriously folks, without coal and natural gas which presently account for about 75 percent of electricity generation.

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

To stretch credulity even more, the forecast in the plan of how much electricity will be required by 2050 looks way too low. The economy will at least double in size over the next 28 years, under conservative assumptions about immigration and per-capita economic growth. But hold on. I'm assuming, naively perhaps, that people in 2050 are still enjoying unrationed heating and cooling, red meat, freedom of personal travel, and other dissolute pleasures.

And from unreality to beyond, the plan contemplates, without quantification, the need for even more additional electricity power to make hydrogen. Readers are referred to another AEMO report called 'Hydrogen Superpower'. Yep, Australia along with many other countries, intends to be a superpower in producing and exporting green hydrogen. Why the additional electricity? Well, to make green hydrogen, lots of electricity is lost in translation. How is all this extra electricity to be generated?

Note, excluding the hydrogen bit, by “a nine-fold increase in utility scale variable renewable capacity.” Meaning in common parlance, nine times the current number/size of wind and solar farms. Where will they be built?

Much of this resource will be built in renewable energy zones (REZs) that coordinate network and renewable investment, and foster a more holistic approach to regional employment, economic opportunity and community participation.

Blue-collar workers and their families can relax. Look forward to holistic experiences. Starry-eyed boys and girls with university degrees have the conn.

Also required, we’re told, is “a five-fold increase in distributed photovoltaics capacity [and] substantial growth in distributed storage.” To again interpret, this means many more solar panels on roofs, complemented with household battery storage. Are there enough bribable and/or willing roof owners?

I presume this hypothesised blanketing of land with turbines and solar panels has been fed into a computer model. Hence, I’ll gullibly take it as given that on a good day all of this wind and solar infrastructure, in the extremely improbable event it is ever built, together with existing hydro, would do the job. But then there’s night, and stormy days and nights, and windless days and nights.

According to the plan, three times the current amount of standby power, equal to 620GWh, will be required to underpin the system. Or to put it into plan-speak: “significant investment is required… to treble the firming capacity that can respond to a dispatch signal.”

Again, I have no informed view about the numbers being spat out. But just suppose the envisaged standby power is not enough. Modelling has been wrong before, I vaguely recall; and wind capricious. Result blackouts? Am I being vexatiously querulous?

And a little child shall lead them.

Apropos the wind- and sun-dependent state of South Australia over the Christmas to New Year week. Renewable energy hit a peak of 130 percent of demand, a trough of just 4 percent and everything in-between. Not unusual. Is that any basis for delivering dispatchable power, adults might once have asked? Ah, the old days, when common sense had a look in.

Where is the so-called firming to be sourced? Gas is in the mix but, as the plan says, “over time, its emissions will need to be offset, or natural gas will need to be replaced by net-zero carbon fuels such as green hydrogen or biogas.” These zealots are not for compromising.

What else is in the mix? Predominantly batteries and pumped hydro. Good luck in getting dams built to supply additional pumped hydro. Environmentalists detest new dams as much they detest coal and human fecundity. Finally, demand responses are brought into play to help manage peak loads. A euphemism for rationing supply.

Shambles ahead, from Sydney to New York. Indelicately speaking, I foresee the Bishop of Bath and Wells, poker in hand, ready to collect a debt.

The 'Climate Change' Casino—and the Risks Thereof

There's a lot of risk involved in "global warming." The first and most basic is whether it will occur at all according to the model put forward by the United Nations IPCC. The public can actually wager on whether it's unfolding as officially predicted. "Last week, MyBookie unveiled odds on global warming. Yes, you can bet on the Earth’s 2020 global land/ocean temperature index being greater than or less than 2019’s 0.99 degrees Celsius. Right now, the “no” is a surprising favorite at -700. A “yes” gets you +400."

A more sophisticated version of theory verification uses long-short equity funds.  "The concept is simple: Investment research turns up expected winners and losers, so why not bet on both? Take long positions in the winners as collateral to finance short positions in the losers." If climate change really exists then those who follow the model will do better than the deniers and one can make money wagering in contrasting pairs. According to an investor document seen by Bloomberg:

[Finance veteran] Carrasquillo and her former CPPIB colleague Savironi Chet have joined AllianceBernstein Holding to start a hedge fund called 1.5 Degrees, named after scientists’ warning that the Earth could warm by that much within the next two decades. The long/short equities fund is expected to start trading this quarter... '1.5 Degrees' aims to make high single digit returns by focusing on climate change opportunities and companies benefitting or losing out from events such as rising sea levels, shifting consumer preferences and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

You can't win if you don't play!

Still another approach is to utilize weather risk contracts of the sort traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to hedge against definite outcomes. "The use of derivative markets for hedging climate-related risk has been around for over 25 years... By indexing CME Weather futures and options, it makes it possible to trade weather in a way comparable to trading other index products such as stock indexes." (A hedge is an investment that is made with the intention of reducing the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Normally, a hedge consists of taking an offsetting or opposite position in a related security).

A more general measure of climate fear is the level of property and casualty insurance that people, not just activists, buy. Although McKinsey recommends buying insurance they can't even put a number on it. "McKinsey research shows that the value at stake from climate-induced hazards could, conservatively, increase from about 2 percent of global GDP to more than 4 percent of global GDP in 2050. And the risks associated with climate change are multiplying..."

This is disconcertingly vague. In the absence of definite projections so much insurance may be required to protect against the nebulous magnitudes of climate change that some observers fear the whole industry may collapse.

As companies and investors get to grips with the risks of rising global temperatures, climate stress testing is becoming more commonplace across many parts of the world — with eye-opening results for insurers. France’s central bank, for example, released the first results of its climate stress tests earlier in 2021: It found that natural disaster-related insurance claims could increase up to five-fold in the nation’s most affected regions. That would cause premiums to surge as much as 200 percent over 30 years.

In fact preparing against "global warming" creates other risks associated with wind and solar power under-production,  principally the higher likelihood of blackouts. To hedge against crippling outages, provision for keeping dirty fossil-fuel backup generator sets must be made. Moreover there are independent risks inherent to renewables themselves. They are often dependent on exotic material like rare earths (much of it controlled by China) without which green technology could rapidly grind to a halt. They can cause environmental damage by their operation. Solar panel arrays are toxic unless disposed of carefully and wind farms generate a continuous low-level hum that can cause multiple health problems including ruined sleep, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, depression, irritability, and panic episodes.

What risk? The science is settled!

Renewable energy devices are also prone to damage from weather events. Windmills are torn apart by high winds, acres of solar panels are toasted by brush fire.  The answer? Insure it. There is insurance against the sun not shining.  There is insurance against the wind not blowing. Would there were insurance against the public going broke. There is in a way: as Brits face a massive increase in energy bills, largely as a result of wind power shortfalls, Labour wants BP and Shell to pay for the no-show of renewables:

The UK government is coming under mounting pressure to increase taxes on oil and gas companies, including BP and Shell. The aim: to help British households cope with skyrocketing energy bills. The main opposition Labour Party this weekend called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose a windfall tax on companies pumping oil and gas from the North Sea, saying that the money raised could be used to cut roughly £200 ($272) from soaring household bills.

That there are risks everywhere is not surprising, except to those who regard the climate future as exact, settled science. Risk is in fact another way of expressing our lack of knowledge about the exact probability of each outcome of or whether we have actually anticipated all possible outcomes. Indeed it would be impossible to create all the bookie bets and insurance policies associated with risk management cited here were it not for the presence of uncertainty. A market for bets requires something which isn't completely known, hence the odds as an incentive to bet.

Far from being a sure thing, there is much that is unsettled about the way the earth's climate works. Although these knowledge gaps may be denied by governments and many in the media, they are tacitly admitted by the risk management instruments contrived to deal with them. These force us to quantify climate prediction in specifics that show up the uncertainties lurking behind the bureaucratic façade of infallibility. The official global warming forecasts are neither as definite nor precise as they are made out to be, and though officials have gone to great lengths to conceal doubt, they have not been able to hide risk, which is the shadow of doubt.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Boris?

Boris Johnson, who has dominated British politics since the middle of 2019, is now facing a possible ejection from office and the end of his political career for the sin of attending parties at Number Ten Downing Street during the period that his government was enforcing anti-Covid regulations that forbade ordinary citizens from attending not only parties but also funerals, marriages, and the bedsides of dying family members. This scandal, inevitably named party-gate, has aroused extraordinary public anger against Johnson because it crystallizes the widespread public feeling after two years of Covid lockdowns that “there’s one law for Them [i.e., the political class] and another law for Us."

That’s an especially damaging charge against him because until recently Boris was seen by a large slice of the British public, especially blue-collar Tories and Brexit supporters, as their defender against a remote and corrupt establishment. Not to mention that the charge comes at a time when Boris is losing popularity more generally because several groups in the broad conservative coalition oppose his other policies.

I dealt with his plight which is a serious one—and how he might succeed in keeping his job—in a recent article in National Review Online:

The odd truth is that although he helped to put together an election-winning coalition, he is now alienating all the major Tory factions one after another by his various policies: Thatcherites by his reckless over spending and abandonment of tax cuts; patriotic Tories by failing to counter the deracinated ideas of Wokeness conquering so many British institutions; younger and less affluent Tories by not tackling the unavailability of affordable housing effectively; small savers and investors by allowing inflation to revive; cautious pragmatic Tories by “big government” projects on an almost Napoleonic scale such as Net-Zero; even Brexiteers by the long-drawn-out negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol; and much else. (My emphasis).

That’s a formidable list of disasters, but the one that will spring out at The Pipeline readers is the reference to Net-Zero and more broadly to Boris’s passionate embrace of a radical, expensive, and life-altering program of left-wing environmentalism and global redistribution. He was the impresario of the COP26 U.N. conference at Glasgow that was meant to entrench Net-Zero as a legally-binding international obligation on the West. It failed in that, but he probably hopes to revive that campaign as soon as he can. Should global “lukewarmers” (i.e., those who think, like The Pipeline, that the costs of climate alarmist policies are heavier than the costs of climate change) want therefore to see Boris brought down over party-gate on the grounds that Net-Zero would perish with him?

Shrinking in stature by the day.

That’s a serious question because the fall of Boris would be a major international sensation and some of the commentary on it would cite Net-Zero as a contributory factor in his demise. Having made two recent visits to London, however, I would argue the opposite case on four grounds:

  1. If Boris fell, Net-Zero wouldn’t be brought down with him. Serious skepticism towards the policy is growing as people realize the extraordinary costs of moving rapidly from fossil fuels to renewables in both taxes and energy prices; the risks of relying on renewables when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind blow; and the futility of making enormous sacrifices in order to reduce the U.K.’s 1-2 percent of global carbon emissions when China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and other fossil fuel users and producers will be pumping out carbon with little or no change. I’ve had several recent conversations with economists and politicians who make these and other points. But they all accept that the U.K. establishment and all party leaderships have committed themselves so completely to the climate orthodoxy that turning around the tanker will be a slow business.
  2. Indeed, if Boris were to be forced to resign in the near future, all of the potential candidates to succeed him as prime minister and Tory leaders would almost certainly pledge their support for Net-Zero, giving it a new lease of political and intellectual life. That’s not likely to happen while Boris is in Downing Street. The Tory Party consensus on climate policies has been breaking down as its dire consequences became clearer. A new Tory backbench group has just been formed to support Net-Zero in response to the rise of the skeptical lukewarmers. More significantly, Boris’s great ally on Brexit, Lord (David) Frost has been describing Net-Zero as a policy that lacks realism or any connection to conservatism as commonly understood. As with Brexit, once the leadership’s policy was exposed to criticism and debate, it turned out to have less support than everyone believed—and the rebellion spread.
  3. More time is needed to accomplish this, however, and to develop and promote an alternative set of policies that would compete with climate alarmism at every level of society. Those policies are beginning to emerge: reviving nuclear power, using clean natural gas as a “bridge” fuel to a lower emissions world, legalizing fracking which would incidentally foster a Trump-style energy boom in parts of Britain that are currently “left behind,” and encouraging the market to search out new innovations with tax incentives rather than have Whitehall “picking winners.”
  4. And, finally, if Boris survives party-gate, he is as likely as any of the other contenders for the Tory top job to reverse course on Net-Zero and adopt a more realistic and prudent policy. Maybe more likely. Boris is highly flexible intellectually, as he showed on Brexit, and his radical-left environmentalism is already beginning to fail and to damage him as it fails. He won’t drive his car into the ditch for the sake of consistency. He also knows that one of the largest contradictions in his overall political strategy is that between Net-Zero and his policy of “levelling up” the North of England to the output and living standards of Middle England by infrastructure and transport developments. Levelling up implies a slower transition to a world without the fossil fuels that currently supply eighty percent of its energy. Finally, when Boris looks at the Tory factions in the parliamentary party, he can see that those most sympathetic to his kind of politics are also those most skeptical towards Net-Zero and the socialist hairshirt economics that it requires. He needs them as allies.

Fun while it lasted.

To sum up, a world in which the Government is urging voters to travel by bus, cut down on foreign vacations, eat less meat, and accept colder homes in the winter while ministers and CEOs travel by official cars and private planes to pleasant climates where they discuss the sacrifices that must be made to realize Net-Zero looks awfully like a world in which “there’s one law for Them and another law for Us.” Boris is acutely vulnerable to—and so most anxious to avoid—that suspicion at present.

My conclusion therefore is that climate realists should not be too keen on seeing Boris ousted any time soon. The argument is moving in our direction and Boris is losing the authority and perhaps the desire to halt or reverse that.

'Rumble thy Bellyful! Spit, Fire! Spout, Rain!'

In politics as in markets the tough question is not whether there’s going to be a crisis—believe me, there is—but when. Getting it right too soon or too late is to get it wrong. That remark could be about any kind of crisis, but in what follows I’m discussing the West’s crisis not over global warming but over the energy policies intended to solve it.

For the last two years The Pipeline has been predicting that the drive for a carbon-free world was certain to run into political trouble when the voting public began to realize that it would mean horrendous costs for them in higher taxes, bigger energy bills, electricity blackouts, and unpleasant life-style choices (i.e., no meat, fewer vacations abroad, and colder homes in winter).

What looms ahead, we’ve been warning, is an inevitable clash between the supposedly irresistible force of Net-Zero policies and the immovable object embodied in a democratic political system. It’s taken time for the crisis to arrive, but it began to hit the fan last fall when the wind across Western Europe failed to blow as strongly as its electricity grids needed; continued with the failure of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow around the same time; and is reaching its climax with the combination of cold weather, rising energy prices, and signs from Russian president Vladimir Putin that he might soon be turning off the gas pipelines which provide Western Europe with half its energy.

Blow winds blow. Or in this case, don't.

Here are two early signs that this is producing political second thoughts about climate change orthodoxy in European government circles:

  1. The European Commission proposes to declare that nuclear power is now a “green” and “sustainable” fuel and therefore eligible for various subsidies and investment incentives across the E.U. The Commission’s own technical experts oppose this judgment; it will be contested by several E.U. governments' and by the Greens in Germany’s new coalition government; but there is a good chance it will get through. That will not end the dispute, however, because the Commission’s proposal is a violation of one of the deepest commitments of both the environmentalist and climate emergency movements which until very recently have been growing in political clout. So watch what happens when the full E.U. council of ministers meets on this.
  2. Tory MPs have been pressing the U.K. Treasury to lighten the consumers’ burden of energy prices swollen by the levies imposed by the government on energy utilities to subsidize their switch from fossil fuels to “renewables” (i.e., wind and solar—neither of which have been very cooperative in Britain lately). In response to this pressure from their colleagues, other Tories (led by a former minister for science and universities) have founded a backbench committee to push the case for Net-Zero. They are likely to have the support of prime minister Boris Johnson who has made Net-Zero a flagship policy of his administration. But that policy is at odds with his other flagship policy of “leveling up” the Northern English constituencies the Tories won from Labour in 2019 with a massive (anti-Green) infrastructure building program. And as I outline in detail in National Review Online Boris is in deep trouble with almost all factions of his party because so many of his policies irritate them, Net Zero especially. A battle royal is looming in the Tory Party on it. It’s hard to forecast which side will come out on top.

That’s a huge change because almost all governments and parties in Europe pledged themselves to support tough carbon emissions reduction twenty years ago. How did they sustain this? In place of a democratic conversation between politicians and the voters in elections, the parties substituted a conversation between themselves, business, and what they called “civil society” which is a nice-sounding name for NGOs, which itself a synonym for pressure groups, usually in this context Green ones.

Ben Pile who’s that rare pollical animal—a climate-skeptical activist on the U.K. Right—points out that this common position deprived the voters of democratic choice over climate policy. But that common front can’t really be sustained when the voters start to get genuinely worried about whether they can pay the bills and taxes that the policy requires. Then you get what the sociologists call a "preference cascade" as the voters wise up and start protesting first the consequences, then the policy, in an impressive cascade as they realize that many others share their opinions.

Let the cascade begin!

That happened with Brexit. It’s happening now. It’s what’s supposed to happen in democracies. And it should logically be followed by a change of policy. Indeed, almost everywhere Net-Zero has been offered to the voters, they have rejected it—most recently in a Swiss referendum that asked them if they would pay higher taxes in order to meet Net-Zero targets. They voted no.

But the powerful economic and ideological interests that support climate alarmism have already set in place barriers to any change of mind by the voters. The first such barrier has been constructed by an alliance of capitalist fund managers and banking regulators—among them former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney—which seeks to compel investors to accept lower rates of return on their savings by, in effect, stopping the flow of funds to fossil-fuel companies. Their argument is that as fiduciary guardians and regulators respectively they have duty to protect these investments from the undue risks that fossil fuels represent. It is a ludicrous argument, exploded on this website a year ago, by among other arguments this knockdown refutation from economist John Cochrane:

Relative market demand for fossil vs. alternative energy is as easy or hard to forecast as anything else in the economy. Exxon bonds are factually safer, financially, than Tesla bonds, and easier to value. The main risk to fossil fuel companies is that regulators will destroy them, as the ECB proposes to do, a risk regulators themselves control. [My italics.]

And indeed, in the months since then, fossil fuels have strongly outperformed the market, owing ironically, at least in part, to the kind of policies that Carney and Bloomberg advocate, which have encouraged the European energy crisis and the corresponding sharp rise in demand for oil, gas, and even coal. It is probably too much to hope that the Green Grandees will now have second thoughts.

At about the same time, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, writing in the Daily Telegraph, was pointing to the second barrier to democratic re-thinking on climate: legal warriors are busily weaponizing international law, in particular human rights law, to obstruct democratic governments in their pursuit of policies to guarantee cheap and reliable energy supplies:

There has been a cascade of judgments based on the UN Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, or national constitutions. They are compelling governments to act faster than they had planned, or are capable of doing without resorting to revolutionary economic and social measures. [My italics.]

Mr. Evans-Pritchard is sympathetic to the aims of the climate legal warriors on the grounds that they represent the judgment of mankind expressed in the policies of more than a hundred governments. But do they really represent the judgment of mankind?  Or merely the convictions of passionate minorities who exploit the somnolence of most citizens in order to rig the rules of politics and law so that when the majority wakes up, it will be unable to express its conscious and deliberative second thoughts in the voting booth with any practical effect.

We may be about to discover that.

In the meantime, here’s a tip on how to deal with people who tell you that climate change is too important to be left to the voters in democratic elections. Ask this question:

“Okay, I’ll accept that on one condition: Tell me the policy so vital to the world’s well-being that you would accept the decision of a non-democratic junta of experts to carry out the opposite of the policy you want."

Ringing in the Climate Changes

It’s been an eventful year, and there are many candidates for the title of 2021’s most momentous event. But the winner has to be the failure of the U.N.’s Climate Change conference in Glasgow in November. That is in part because COP26—its formal title—was billed as the event that would save the world from an existential emergency crisis of global warming that would otherwise consume civilization in a massive conflagration. Or something like that.

If you bothered to read the fine print in the reports of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you would find that the situation was really not as dire as that. As is the way with such things, however, the press handouts (which are written by government and U.N. officials rather than by scientists) went straight to the “worst case” scenarios and proceeded to exaggerate them—as The Pipeline has demonstrated on numerous occasions. Then the media devoted its famous skepticism to suggesting that these doom-laden forecasts might well be rosy scenarios.

On top of this the British government—which was the main host of COP26—had arranged a massive propaganda barrage extolling the world-historical importance of the Conference and of Boris Johnson’s role in it. Its theme was that COP26 could not be allowed to fail, and the BBC told us this repeatedly.

Who are these masked men?

Alas, fail it did, not only in the predictable sense that it could not possibly reach its promised target of reducing the world’s carbon emissions to Net-Zero (compared to late 19th century levels) by 2050—that’s always been obvious—but in the much more embarrassing political sense that some of the most important countries at Glasgow more or less said so.

Admittedly, this was done with a kind of bureaucratic hocus-pocus: every pledge came with a get-out clause. Countries will meet next year to agree on more cuts to carbon emissions, but previous pledges haven’t been met, and these pledges won’t be legally binding. One such pledge was that coal was to be “phased out,” but when China and India objected, that became “phased down.” There was talk of a trillion-dollar-a-year fund to finance a switch by developing countries from fossil fuels to cleaner ones, but earlier pledges of a fund one-tenth of that amount have not been fulfilled. Richer countries will phase out subsidies to fossil fuels domestically but, ahem, no dates have been set for this.

Or as the BBC analysis observed wearily, most such pledges will have to be “self-policed.”

A heavy sense of déjà vu clings to these proceedings. It wasn’t the first failure of the U.N. “Kyoto process”—the 2009 Copenhagen conference had a similar outcome—but it was the most disappointing because it was meant to be the moment when the world not merely endorsed Net-Zero but also made it legally enforceable on nation-states. Its failure was therefore the collapse of a passionate delusion.

The Clown Prince of Net-Zero.

Or perhaps several delusions. There is the recurring belief among climate alarmists that developing countries like India and China will be prepared to give up the cheap energy that is the only way their populations will emerge from grinding poverty. That’s remarkably similar to the delusion that oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia will give up selling energy and so force their populations back into the grinding poverty from which they have only recently emerged. Neither group of countries (whatever they say at COP conferences) will plunge their countries into poverty merely to please Europe’s Green parties. And indeed they disappoint the climate alarmists at every COP.

Another delusion of climate alarmism is the following logic: if global warming is an existential emergency crisis for the world, then any solution to it must be a good one. But a solution that imposes heavier costs on the world than the costs of living with global warming is no solution at all. That’s what Net-Zero does. But attempting to replace fossil fuels—which now provide the world with about eighty-five per cent of its energy—with more expensive and less reliable energy sources is the opposite of a solution. It’s choosing to create a problem voluntarily. And as Net-Zero moves from the realm of rhetoric into that of real life, more and more people are realizing that.

That’s why the failure of COP26 has led to public lamentations by climate activists but also, more quietly, to governments looking for alternative energy policies that reduce emissions without crashing the economy and living standards. These usually turn out to be some mix of nuclear power, natural gas, and encouragement of technical innovation.

Michael Shellenberger  recently reported that Britain, France, and the Netherlands are reviving plans for nuclear power to be a larger part of the mix. Even in Germany, with powerful Green parties in its new left-wing government, “resistance is growing . . .  to closing nuclear plants, and a new YouGov poll finds that over half of Germans say nuclear should remain part of their nation’s climate policy.”

The way forward, again.

Not everyone is taking the failure of COP26 so sensibly, however. I am grateful to the newsletter of the Science and Environmental Policy Project SEPP for drawing my attention to one particular academic program at the University of Bern in Switzerland designed to make us take climate sustainability more seriously than we apparently want to do. It’s worth quoting at some length: Published in the journal Cortex, the abstract reads:

While many people acknowledge the urgency to drastically change our consumption patterns to mitigate climate change, most people fail to live sustainably. We hypothesized that a lack of sustainability stems from insufficient intergenerational mentalizing (i.e., taking the perspective of people in the future). To causally test our hypothesis, we applied high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation (HD-tDCS) to the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ). We tested participants twice (receiving stimulation at the TPJ or the vertex as control), while they engaged in a behavioral economic paradigm measuring sustainable decision-making, even if sustainability was costly. Indeed, excitatory anodal HD-tDCS increased sustainable decision-making, while inhibitory cathodal HD-tDCS had no effect . . . Shedding light on the neural basis of sustainability, our results could inspire targeted interventions tackling the TPJ and give neuroscientific support to theories on how to construct public campaigns addressing sustainability issues.

In short: we have ways of making you think sustainably.

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.

The Phony Climate War

President Biden is on record as saying that top Pentagon officials consider climate change to be the "greatest threat" to America’s national security in the coming years. Go figure. Military men mistaking hot days for onrushing barbarian hordes?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that some aging or retired military men (not all, I rush to say) go soft in the head, so to speak. And, if it isn’t universally acknowledged, it should be. I took a tour in Israel in November 2014, organised by Shurat HaDin. The tour had a military and intelligence bent. At one point we stood near the “Green Line” (the border in 1967, prior to the Six-Day War) at Alfei Menashe. Tel Aviv was a mere 16 km away as the crow or armoured shell flies. It’s obviously an indefensible border for Israel. A retired general was speaking to us. Wars don’t solve anything, he said.

Being a troublemaker, I queried, what about WWII? He was obviously annoyed with me and retorted that WWII was an exception. I just about resisted piping up with, how about the Six-Day War? What I took away is that you don’t necessarily want retired generals fighting your wars lest they’ve become deluded peacemakers in the face of implacable enemies or, worse, woke.

Talking of woke, General Mark Milley, struggling with his white rage, is not yet retired, sadly. David Morrison, chief of the Australian Army from 2011 to 2015, whose forte was diversity and inclusion, is retired, thankfully. Regrettably, neither stands out from the crowd these days among senior military men, former and current. Assertive masculinity has taken a bit of a hit among the top brass in Western armies in modern times. Colonel Jessup need not apply. For our survival, we can only hope that China is not slipping behind in the diversity, inclusion, and transgender-surgery stakes.

The forgoing is a bridge to my lack of surprise to find a new climate group popping up in Australia, populated mostly by former senior commanders in the army, navy and air force. Australian Security Leaders Climate Group (ASLCG) is its moniker. “Missing in Action” is the title of its first report, issued in September this year.

Who is missing in action? Why Australia; which, according to the report, “has repeatedly ignored the risks and is ill-prepared for the security implications of devastating climate impacts at home and in the Asia-Pacific.” Much hype follows; e.g., “responding to the climate threat is fundamental to the survival of the nation.” But it’s the lies rather than the rhetorical hyperbole which got my attention.

Maybe I’m old fashioned. Military types may turn into shadows of their former gung-ho selves; they may even become susceptible to wokeness and green Kool-Aid. I don’t expect them to speak with forked tongues. Yet there it was staring at me:

Today, unimaginable new climate extremes confront us: record-breaking droughts and floods, cruel heatwaves, unstoppable bushfires, broken infrastructure, and coastal inundation. Worse is expected to come.

A wild thought. If man-made catastrophic climate change is so compelling, why do they have to make up lies about it?

Loader Loading...
EAD Logo Taking too long?

Reload Reload document
| Open Open in new tab

I will take the ASLCG falsehoods in turn; mostly with reference to the experiences of the United States and Australia. I won’t turn to graphs and trends and the like. I’ll just pick out some teaching events. Events which might broaden the historical perspective of these born-again climate warriors; and, maybe, even deter them, and others like them, from telling porkies quite as brazenly as they seem inclined to do. First to droughts.

According to NOAA, “the 1930s ‘Dust Bowl’ drought remains the most significant drought – meteorological and agricultural – in the United States’ historical record.” According to National Museum Australia, “the ‘Federation Drought’ from 1895 to 1903 was the worst in Australia’s history, if measured by the enormous stock losses it caused [moreover] South-Eastern Australia experienced 27 drought years between 1788 and 1860, and at least 10 major droughts between 1860 and 2000.” From ten-a-penny droughts to flooding plains.

The Mississippi Flood of 1927 is “one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.” In Australia on 24 June 1852, “a catastrophic flood swept through the New South Wales town of Gundagai… The disaster is still the deadliest flood in Australia’s recorded history.” To heat waves...

The period from 1930 to 1936 brought some of the hottest summers recorded in the United States. “For the Upper Mississippi River Valley, the first few weeks of July 1936 provided the hottest temperatures of that period, including many all-time record highs.” Despite the Australian Bureau of Meteorology trying to scrub the inconvenient measurement from history, the highest temperature ever recorded in Australia was 51.7°C in Bourke, in outback NSW, on January 3, 1909. How much CO2 was around then?

G'day, mate!

On bushfires, I’ll stick with Australia. You will might recall that “Australia ablaze” set the Hollywood set abuzz during the 2019-20 Australian summer. Here’s Bjorn Lomborg: “Fires burned 10 percent of Australia's land surface on average every year in 20th century… this century 6 percent [and in] 2019-20 [less than] 4 percent.” Those pesky inconvenient facts again, undoing lies.

On broken infrastructure, let’s go to Galveston in 1900 and to the greatest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Evidently, former military men are in need of a history lesson and a geography lesson too when it comes to inundation. To wit, the plight of sinking Pacific Islands never fails to bring out the begging bowls at annual COPs. Inconveniently, recent research by the University of Auckland, “found atolls in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Maldives archipelago have grown up to eight percent in size over the past six decades, despite sea level rise.”

It's a case of never mind the truth when it comes to the phony climate war.  The retired military brass wants to see Australia “mobilising all the resources necessary to reach zero emissions as fast as possible.” Apparently, the cause is so flimsy that only propaganda will rally the troops. Incidentally, I haven’t nearly picked up all of the make-believe. Prime example: “In vulnerable countries, governments have collapsed and civil wars have erupted, forcefully displacing millions of people looking for a safe haven.” They must live in an alternative universe or in a Walter Mitty world. And to think, we might once have depended on them in time of a real war -- or will have to again.

Morrison Fiddles While Australia Burns

Do you ever make a promise that you know you won’t keep? Keep, discard? Discard, keep? I dare say you might, at least every New Year. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised that he’ll stick with Australia’s target set in the Paris Agreement of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent on 2005 levels by 2030. He knows he won’t keep it. Politicians don’t worry too much about that sort of thing. That’s why they’re politicians.

Developed countries made up their own targets as part of the Paris Agreement. Some, like the U.S. and Canada, anchored their targets to the base year of 1990. It’s a dog’s breakfast. Whatever target countries set in 2015, they were supposed to up the ante after five years. They didn’t and haven’t but have promised to consider doing so by the time next year’s Egyptian COP27 rolls around.

As it stands, Australia is seemingly on course to better its target. Therefore, Morrison, if he's still in office, will grab the costless kudos in Egypt of upping the target. He just won’t say so now. He wants to win the upcoming election. He’ll try to force the opposition Labor Party into making a bid of say 40 or 45 percent. Then, gotcha! You coal-mine closers and job killers. It’s the way he won last time. Why change a winning formula?

Re-election ho!

It’s all political theatre. Coal’s good one day, tomorrow belongs to net-zero. Electric cars will destroy motoring as we know it (election campaign 2019) to here’s a heap of government money ($250 million plus another $500 million of public and private money) to build public charging stations. Morrison plays the climate game like the fiddle it is. He doesn’t have a position on the climate at all. I doubt he’s thought about it and most certainly not read about it. He has position on keeping his job. And that cynicism carries over to Australia’s newly-released modelling of its net-zero plans.

A vainglorious quest to cool the planet has taken over all reason. The gains explored in the modelling have little to do with saving Australia or the planet from the incipient ravages of climate change. They have mostly do with warding off the ire of international financiers; who, in their wokeness, would take a dim view of Australian climate recalcitrance. They would punish us to the tune of from 100 to 300 basis points, according to Treasury mandarins. In turn, this would wreak havoc on investment and reduce living standards. And there’s more. Countries and their citizens would take umbrage, likely impose trade barriers: and, thus, buy less of our produce. Result: misery.

So, you see, the substantive gain from committing to net-zero, more properly, from announcing the commitment to net-zearo, is the avoidance of penalising international action. Australia will be part of a quite novel bootstraps movement which is likely to sweep all before it; China, India and other so-termed gigantic but still-developing nations excepted. Action designed to combat global warming will, in fact, be driven by the imperative to combat being singled out for not taking action to combat global warming. If you follow my drift.

Notice something about the climate plans of governments, whichever government. They all dance on the surface and hope no one queries the unseen details and consequences. Reading Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) might help.

Take electric cars. The Australian government wants 30 percent of all new cars sold by 2030 to be electric or hybrid. The aim is to have 1,000 public charging stations. Currently there are about 6,500 refuelling stations in Australia. Fewer per capita than in the U.S. or Canada, more than in the U.K. Geography and demography tell the tale. They also tell the tale whether you’re driving an internal-combustion vehicle or an electric one. One thousand public charging stations, if they’re ever built, scratch the surface. Whence comes the rest; who’ll foot the bill?

They say people will charge their cars overnight in their garages. Which people? Or is that rich people? When I drive around inner suburbs of Sydney, I see cars parked, packed, along every suburban street. When I return to my birthplace in Liverpool England, I see the same. It may come as a surprise to the rich and famous but not everyone has off-street parking let alone a garage. Where are they to charge their cars?

How is Mrs. Robinson to refuel her flattened-battery EV parked outside her home in order to get to work, ten miles away? She might just make it to her closest charging station five miles away. Wait in line, as others like her, as each vehicle in front of her takes about 30 minutes to recharge. She’ll be very late for work; that is, unless she rises at 4 am. Complain not, comrade citizen. You’re gonna get your mind right for the sake of the planet.

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.

Any plan or modelling of electric cars should set out the life cycle of a typical vehicle; it’s upstream, downstream, and side-stream implications and consequences. We can handle the truth. But I don’t think they know the truth or care about finding it. They certainly don’t include it in any modelling I’ve seen.

Electric cars are being foisted on populations to save the planet apparently. Why then doesn’t modelling show the human, environmental and extraction costs of mining sufficient rare earths in China and, say, Madagascar. Why doesn’t it evaluate the (internal and external) transport and manufacturing costs, the eventual disposal costs, and the costs of providing a refuelling network? The effects of scale on electricity generation? How about the fire-service costs of dealing with unextinguishable electric-vehicle fires?

The fundamental problem here is the replacement of the free market with crony capitalism, aka the Great Reset. Morrison says that we Australians will rely on technology and the market to deliver solutions. But it’s not the market, here or elsewhere. On one side is government, on the other packs of rent-seekers, snake-oil salesmen, and purveyors of boondoggles vile and various.

The free market goes down dead ends many times. The difference is that it quickly reverses course in the face of financial penalties. Government-subsidised and -funded dead ends can be very long and debilitating. And they will be.

Final thought. Wake in fright in the Anglosphere.  Biden, Trudeau, Johnson and Ardern are far worse than Morrison.

A Magic-Pudding Antipodean Plan to Reach Net-Zero

The Liberal and National Parties form Australia's current coalition government. As leader of the Nationals, the junior coalition partner, representing regional and rural areas, Barnaby Joyce is Australia’s deputy prime minister. He came to global attention, you may recall, in 2015 when he threatened to “euthanise” Johnny Depp’s illegal-alien dogs, Pistol and Boo, unless they were removed tout de suite back to California.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison needed Barnaby to bring the Nationals onboard the concept of net-zero. The supposedly right-of-centre Liberal politicians all now embrace climate change. Morrison himself has no philosophy except to be re-elected. Barnaby is a climate skeptic as are some of his party colleagues. But they voted, and pragmatism won the day.

Nirvana ahead! All aboard!

What does pragmatism look like? In this case, twelve Nationals against nine voting in their party room to keep the government together and heighten their chances of being returned to power when the federal election is held early next year. Was there any high principle or conviction involved? Hardly.

This is Barnaby just a little over a year ago: “prospects of getting out of that [party] room as leader [having agreed to net zero] would be zero.” And here he is a few days ago on October 25: “The party has clearly said that they are in favour of a goal of net zero by 2050. I am now absolutely onboard…”

What we have is the deputy prime minister of the country being personally opposed to the very centrepiece of government policy; a policy that will define the battle lines in the forthcoming election. He should resign you might think. Not if you like being deputy prime minister.

There is an excuse of sorts for all of this. Morrison needed to go to Glasgow promising net-zero or risk Australia's becoming an international pariah and suffering retribution from international capital markets. It’s expedient for the U.K., Europe, the United States, woke corporates, and billionaires to point the finger at Australia (less than 1.2 percent of global emissions). No good blaming much bigger fish: China, India, Russia. They’ll shrug it off or, worse, take umbrage. Better to pick a more compliant mark. Kick the cat, so to speak. And Boris Johnson repaid Australia’s redemptive compliance by calling it “heroic.” Morrison purred.

If he only had a brain.

My own view is why stop at net-zero? Go for broke, gross-zero. Anything is possible with Morrison’s costless plan. It won’t cost Australians a cent and will lead to higher incomes and more jobs, he promises. I don’t know why it wasn’t thought of before now. Years ago. And surely, logic says, if net-zero is so beneficial, gross zero would be even better?

The costless plan involves public spending of many billions of dollars; though, apparently, Australian taxpayers won’t be touched for the tab. It’s one of those magic-pudding plans (“The more you eats the more you gets”) which more than pays for itself. So, what is the plan?

Here it is below in a nutshell. It has to be in a nutshell. There are no costings or details.

First, the plan banks the fact that emissions are already 20 percent lower than in 2005. I don’t quite know how that works. Never mind, most of another 40 percent comes from green hydrogen. Australia’s former chief scientist, Alan Finkel, says that the export potential “is almost beyond imaginings.” He’s right, for once. It is beyond imaginings. It’s worthwhile to continually remind ourselves why coal, oil and gas, of which Australia has plenty of the first and third, are so good. It’s because they are the energy. Dense energy. They readily burn without much ado.

Green hydrogen is only energy once much more energy is expended making it into energy. To begin with, energy is required to purify copious quantities of water. To end with, energy is required to convert hydrogen to ammonia, for safe transportation, and to convert it back for use. In the middle is an energy intensive electrolysis process to isolate hydrogen from water. And all the while, solar farms and wind turbines occupying vast areas of land are needed to supply “clean” energy to make it all possible.

Quite apart from its sheer inefficiencies and costs, and assuming it can be done at all at scale, it poses untenable national-security problems. When all of your power plus fuel for transport is sourced from untold acreages of solar panels and wind turbines, the targets are expansive and unmistakable and the effect of them being hit is catastrophic.

Sitting ducks.

The hallmark of the plan, its electoral selling point, is net zero through "technology not taxes." Ergo, another 15 percent of the descent to net-zero is achieved by piggybacking on global technological developments, which are apparently afoot. Yes, I’m not quite sure what that means either. Another 10 percent comes from storing carbon in soils and plants and from buying offsets from abroad. The final 15 percent comes from unknown technological breakthroughs. Something will turn up. Not making this up. I’m essentially quoting from the plan, if not Mr Micawber his own good self.

The plan, of course, isn’t a plan at all; it’s a wish list. Hopes and dreams. Suspend disbelief, and you will be able to look forward to 2050 when there will be more than 100,000 more jobs than would otherwise exist. Each Australian will be $2,000 better off. Electricity bills will be lower than they are today. Australian exports will more than triple between 2020 and 2050, even though global demand for coal and gas will plummet.  Hydrogen will more than take up the slack. Warp-speed travel will also take Australians to the stars and beyond. I made that last bit up. It isn’t in the plan; unlike the rest of the faery tale.

All isn’t fantasy. Realism breaks through when it comes to methane. Australia is one of the few countries which has more cows and (many) more sheep than it has people. Awa’ to Glasgow and pressure on Australia to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent on 2020 levels by 2030. Apparently, Biden’s handlers are keen. Suspecting, I imagine, that Trump supporters eat lots of hamburgers.

Cows belch methane; as do sheep to a lesser extent. And there is little you can do about it apart from culling. Barnaby and his mates would never agree to that. Millions of disappeared animals is just too tangible. Best to remain in technological never-never land where nothing is remotely tangible. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain.

History's Most Expensive Alphonse and Gaston Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any resemblance to a crime scene is purely intentional.

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

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