Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Protesting

With very little planning and a last-minute text to my parents, I hopped a flight from London City Airport to Washington D.C. The reason, of course…to save the planet! With no lounges open, and the risk of delayed takeoff, I thought I should at least grab a bottle of water, and so I did. Hello Boots… one Volvic please!  Only to be reminded that London had launched  something they are calling ‘Plastic Free City’.

They sold me the water alright, but it came with stares from all the really good people—each one of them making silent commentary, and staring at the offending bottle. You’d have thought I’d been going round the globe shoving plastic straws into the brains of dolphins.

Meanwhile, they kept flaunting their refillables like they were iced-out Rolexes. Oh knock it off! I wanted to scream. My entire life is dedicated to green pursuits but when it comes to placing the mouth of a bottle that I’m going to drink from, under the spigot of the community trough—I draw the line. Besides I can’t very well save the planet if I am sick.

Every litter bit helps!

The terminal was lined with bright blue water stations, and I walked to my gate with the gurgle-gurgle of people refilling all around me.  Luckily I had only thirty minutes before boarding and so I stuffed the contraband into my bag before choosing a spot in which to loiter. The airport was mobbed and every announcement was getting on my last nerve. Just then a text from my client…

‘Can we fix this?’ Followed by a picture of the detritus from the Glastonbury Climate Festival. It was disgusting—trash and abandoned tents everywhere. It looked worse than a San Francisco public park. 

‘What is it you WANT me to do?’ I texted back.  And before he could respond I texted: ‘Headed to DC…boarding now’.

I could see he was trying to text me something else but I powered down my phone before it came through. Having found my seat I tore off the plastic wrap from my quilt and put my headphones on. I placed the wrap within easy reach of the flight attendant but despite several passes she didn’t pick it up. Why is the whole world plastic-shaming me today?

When we arrived in D.C. our gate wasn’t ready and we had to be towed in. Another delay! I know that towing vs taxiing saves quite a bit of fuel but this delay defeats the purpose of flying from City Airport!

As soon as I powered on my phone the texts started rolling in. Apparently, if you sign up for even one protest they assume it’s your lifeblood and include you in every update. I only wanted the EPA protest. What a mess.

That's telling 'em!

My driver did his best to get me right where I needed to be but it was hopeless. Pride marches, GenX, and half a dozen abortion marches. Finally, I headed toward a group in green bandanas knowing this would be my group, but it was not. This was made readily clear by a “Viva la Vulva” sign. I stepped out of the throng and asked a woman why green for pro-abortion?

‘Marta tells us that the colour of nature was chosen because it signifies life’, she said.

Abortion means  life? I dared not ask. And who was Marta? Turns out Marta is the founder of Catholics for Choice, 'a nonprofit organization that lifts up the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom'. I squinted my eyes and walked away.  So far I had accomplished exactly nothing.

Then my phone rang. It was my father.  ‘OH HEY!’ I said, yelling into my iPhone.

‘Are you at a club?’ he asked.  

‘You bloody well know I am not at a club!’ I responded. I am in Washington, protesting the EPA ruling!'  

‘Well how’s that going?’ he asked.

‘I haven’t found them yet… this is all rather confusing. But I do have a question, I got a text about the Glastonbury Climate Festival… I see electric- car chargers in the middle of… nowhere. So how do they get powered?’ 

Diesel’, Daddy replied.  

Glastonbury '22: nobody tell Greta!

Diesel??’ I shrieked. ‘How does…?’ UGH! I knew he was stifling a laugh. 

‘Yes, as you said, all very confusing. Listen, sweetheart, do you really think protesting is a good use of your time…?'

‘How would I know?  ‘I haven’t even been able to even locate my protest'.’

‘Strange that, Marxists are generally so good at organisation’.

I didn’t have the strength to fight him. It was beginning to rain and I decided to keep quiet in case he had one more zinger in him.  FINALLY I could see my EPA group and I ran to catch up with them, only to ask myself why had I bothered? I was sweating under my trench, my shoes were soaked, we all looked stupid, I felt stupid—this was stupid.

‘You win, Daddy', I said into the phone. 'This was a dumb idea. I will schedule some meetings and ask my clients how I can be useful while I’m here’. 

‘Excellent', he said. 'And you might advocate for the continued operation of Line 5 up in Michigan —it's an essential  pipeline for Eastern Canada and the U.S.’ 

‘And they will listen to me because—why?’ I asked. 

‘Because you’re the voice of reason on this. It’s a win for everyone.  And you’re still advocating for the environment - just without the Marxist slant’.

‘And if it doesn’t work?’

‘Oh, just tell them they’re all going to freeze—they don’t even have enough energy to get through next year…’

‘I don’t think they want to hear that’. 

‘Oh I disagree, Jennifer. Fear-mongering is the only thing you green-niks understand'.

I hung up and looked around. The rain was pelting harder. Everybody looked miserable. And they wonder why I never bring anyone home!

Nationalize 'Big Oil'? Are You Crazy?

Since the Biden regime is busy reviving every bad idea from the late 1970s such as stagflation, the energy crisis, price controls, and weak foreign policy, it was inevitable that one of the worst ideas from that era is also trying to make a comeback: nationalizing “big oil.”

Back in the 1970s the proposal to nationalize the oil industry found support from some otherwise sober-minded figures such as Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, while today the idea is being flogged mostly by predictably radical figures such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and deep green climate alarmists, such as William S. Becker. But with President Joe Biden, surrounded in the White House by true believers in the climate mania, menacing the oil industry with demagogic charges of “profiteering,” it is not hard to see the idea gaining traction with the progressive left desperate to avoid electoral disaster in November.

And help us freeze to death.

Back in the 1970s, the premise behind nationalizing “big oil” was that the federal government could manage oil production better than private industry in the interest of consumers by stopping “profiteering” and smoothing out production epicycles. The proposal never got very far for the simple reason that most Americans didn’t think the same people who run the Post Office monopoly would be competent at running the oil industry. The record of foreign nations that have government-owned and run oil industries is pathetic. Consider for example the 75 percent decline of Venezuela’s oil production since Hugo Chavez expropriated private and foreign oil companies. The steady decline in production of Mexico’s ample oil reserves under Pemex finally prompted Mexico to open its oil industry to foreign private companies.

It is an unappreciated fact that over 90 percent of the world’s oil reserves are government-owned, rather than privately owned, and this contributes to instability in the long-wave oil price cycles. It is not the oil majors that manipulate oil for political reasons; it is governments. The world and the oil market would be better off if it privatized oil resources.

The argument today is quite different. Writing in The Hill, Becker deserves credit for being explicit: his purpose is nationalizing oil companies is to put them out of business: nationalizing the oil industry “would allow the government to manage the industry’s drawdown, a process the private sector is ignoring... The federal government typically nationalizes companies to save them. In this case, it must nationalize Big Oil to save us all from a future we don’t want.” Translation: the oil industry isn’t committing suicide fast enough to suit the environmental fundamentalists.

Windfall profits? What windfall profits?

To be sure, the major oil companies invited some of this with their ill-considered pledges to be “carbon-neutral” by 2050, no doubt thinking that the latest climate policy euphemism for “we don’t really mean it”—“net-zero emissions”—leaves plenty of wiggle room for creative emissions accounting. Rather than thinking they could appease the climate campaign with these virtue signals, they’d be better off straightforwardly defending their industry in the manner of Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services. Wright argues: “If you look at the bigger picture, our industry causes a dime of damage to the world and a dollar of benefit. The benefits versus the costs are enormously larger.” Or the oil industry could simply cite all of the official international government forecasts that conclude that the planet will still depend substantially on oil, natural gas, and coal in 2050.

The plight of Europe since the outbreak of the Ukraine War shows the folly of suppressing our own oil and gas sector and making ourselves wholly dependent again on foreign suppliers to fill the gap when “green” energy inevitably falls short of its extravagant (and extravagantly expensive) promises. Europe is already looking for face-saving ways to back away from its sanctions against Russian oil and gas while cranking up coal power, the most hated energy source. Germany faces a non-trivial possibility of running out of natural gas next winter. Meanwhile President Biden is groveling cap-in-hand before the oil sheiks of the Middle East, who may be no more inclined than Putin to help out the person who the day before, in the case of Saudi Arabia, labeled them human rights monsters. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize how much worse off the U.S. would be if we forcibly shut down our own oil companies.

"Fracking Damages Our Beer." OK, then!

To the contrary of claims that the oil industry is reaping “obscene” profits, we should entertain the proposition that the industry needs much bigger profits. It is tedious, but necessary for the slow learners on the left, to repeat some elementary facts about the oil industry. Its profit margin is close to the average for all manufacturing companies (and less than half the profit margin for tech companies like Apple), and often sees its profit margin collapse in the regular epicycles of global oil prices. Given that the Biden Administration and woke Wall Street have been constricting the oil industry’s access to capital, the industry is more reliant than ever on generating internal capital—not only for continued exploration and production, but for the investment necessary to develop new technologies that actually mitigates emissions, such as carbon sequestration or carbon air capture.

The oil majors, especially ExxonMobil and Chevron, did push back politely against Biden’s oil demagoguery. Chevron was the most candid: “Unfortunately, what we have seen since January 2021 are policies that send a message that the Administration aims to impose obstacles to our industry delivering energy resources the world needs.” If they really want to make progressive heads explode, they should follow up with the argument that they need larger profits.

THE COLUMN: Dead on Arrival

At the opening of the 1950 classic film noir, D.O.A., Edmund O'Brien strides purposefully into a big-city police station, proceeds down long, endless corridors, and finally arrives at a door marked Homicide Division. "I want to report a murder," he says to the head detective. "Who was murdered?" asks the cop. "I was," replies O'Brien.

In this, year two of the dreadful administration of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., we Americans know just how he feels. From the moment this blustering blowhard of a United States senator of no accomplishment from a meaningless state took office in January 2021, he has been busily poisoning the country for the simple reason that he can, he wants to, and there is no one to stop him.

The beneficiary of the hinkiest election in modern American history thanks to the illegal changes in balloting occasioned by the unnecessary Covid panic, and given the narrowest possible margins of control in both the House and the Senate, the superannuated chief executive has done everything in his power to show his contempt for the American people, to damage our patrimony, and make our lives increasingly miserable. 

And yet, like O'Brien, we're not quite dead yet, and still staggering around trying to catch our murderer before time runs out. Barring the hand of God, the first opportunity we'll have to put Biden out to pasture won't come until November 2024, and while the congressional elections this fall could possibly remove both houses of Congress from the geriatric clutches of the bibulous Nancy Pelosi and the baleful Chuck Schumer, that can only stanch but not stop the country's internal hemorrhaging. Like the hapless Frank Bigelow, desperately searching in his last hours for the psycho killer who poisoned him before the "luminous toxin" kills him, we're unsure whom to trust, with both friends and foes suspects alike. 

"This can't be happening," we think, but it is. Under the cloak of Covid "emergency"—the punitive lockdowns, the destruction of our education system, the loss of social contact, the delusion that our fellow humans were carriers of a deadly disease who needed to be shunned or even imprisoned—Americans' constitutional freedoms were summarily abrogated without a shot being fired, and we were consigned to effective house arrest (and worse in places like Australia and Canada). Our freedom of movement—essential to life in a country as large as the United States of America—was drastically curtailed and our transportation system deliberately wrecked. Meanwhile the "climate change" canard continued apace, and the push for electric vehicles was intensified, even as the nation's electric grid was tangibly collapsing.

Since Robinette took office, gas prices have more than doubled, part of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been emptied, our hard-won energy independence achieved during the Trump era has been frittered away, and we've been reduced to begging erstwhile enemies like the "kingdom" of Saudi Arabia to do the jobs Americans just can't be allowed to do. If this looks like a conspiracy to you, don't worry: it is. And one that the conspirators have been quite open about for decades. They're a suicide cult, hell-bent on killing us as well as themselves:

Analysis has now shown that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production, if allowed to run its course, would take us beyond the globally agreed goals of limiting warming to well below 2˚C and pursuing efforts to limit to 1.5˚C. The global carbon budgets associated with either temperature limit will be exhausted with current fossil fuel projects, and in fact some currently-operating fossil fuel projects will need to be retired early in order to have appropriately high chances of staying below even the 2˚C limit, let alone 1.5˚C.

Therefore, we, as over 400 civil society organizations from more than 60 countries, representing tens of millions around the world, call on world leaders to put an immediate halt to new fossil fuel development and pursue a just transition to renewable energy with a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry.

The first step in this effort is a simple one: Stop digging. No additional fossil fuel development, no exploration for new fossil fuels, no expansion of fossil fuel projects. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Just about every word in this screed is either a false premise or an outright lie. The notion of keeping global temperature increases to under 2℃ is purely arbitrary, while the idea of carbon being a pollutant is anti-humanism at its most pernicious, since we are carbon-based life forms who breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide—the very stuff of life for the green trees and fields the Left constantly celebrates, the concept of symbiosis being apparently beyond them. The unsightly forests of Brobdingnagian windmills currently uglifying landscapes around the world testify to the success of their monomania. 

Their blatantly dishonest attempts to link "climate" with weather, however, have had their intended effects on public opinion, pushed largely by propagandistic media outlets such as NPR and the New York Times, which has a whole "hub" devoted to the subject as well as a regular section on "climate and environment." It's important to note here that the Times's reach extends far beyond its direct readership, since its news judgment sets the table for every other media outlet in the country, while your tax dollars subsidize NPR's increasingly deracinated fixations on "climate change," race, and trannies. And naturally you know who's on board with the whole thing:

So those high prices for gasoline and the long, chaotic lines and canceled flights at the airports are not a bug, they're the lynchpin of the whole scheme, which is itself part and parcel of the entire Great Reset project (about which much more tomorrow; watch this space). In order for the Lords of Davos to control you they must first curtail and control your freedom of movement, and what better way to do that than to make the price of oil prohibitively expensive? First your cars stop moving, then the trucks that deliver almost everything of value, including food, to the stores. An inability to move freely and without government oversight will vanish as computers take over your automobiles and which, when they are fully electric, can be disabled at will. As they like to say: You'll own nothing, and you'll be happy
 
What better metaphor, then, for the parlous state of our national affairs than the sight of Biden on his keister after toppling off his bike over the weekend. This frail, thoroughly nasty man with some very peculiar tendencies and an immediate family that might best be described as Caligulan in its behavior, not only embarrassed himself but the country he pretends to lead. "I'm good," he said after his tumble, which may be his biggest and most brazen lie of them all.
 
In the the meantime, we keep rushing around in the dark, trying to figure out why this happening and who is doing it to us. We know the answer, but feel there's nothing we can do about it. Like Bigelow, we'd like to see the man in charge, but nobody is, not really. We can breathe and we can move, but we're not alive because we took that poison, and nothing can save us. We know who the psycho killer is, half our fellow countrymen voted for him, and the murder is taking place in full view from sea to shining sea.
 
Unless a miracle happens, we're D.O.A. and our final destination is dead ahead. 

Behold, the Biden Energy 'Brain Trust'

In an effort to redirect Americans' frustration about the price of gasoline and consumer prices that have hit a four-decade high, President Biden Wednesday sent a letter to seven oil refiners calling on them to produce more gasoline and diesel. It was an attempt by the administration to blame refiners for the economic conditions his energy policy has created. While absurd to suggest that refiners wouldn’t have already thought to increase production, the letter was more a publicity stunt than an earnest attempt to repair the damage his administration's policies have created.

President Biden began his effort to dismantle the oil and gas sector on his very first day in office with the now infamous cancellation of the XL pipeline, even though construction was already underway. By so doing, he single-handedly reduced future oil and gas supply. Had the pipeline been completed, it would have had the capacity to move nearly 830,000 barrels per day to refiners. That decision, so smugly made and celebrated by the administration back in January, 2021 was demonstrative of the cynical energy policy for which the American people are now paying.

So dedicated was the administration back then, to ushering America into the still-undefined "transition to a net-zero [carbon] future," that they neglected to have anyone on their team who had even a modicum of actual oil and gas experience. After all, if one is going to dismantle one system and construct a replacement, one needs the requisite understanding of how the first system functions in order to successfully design its replacement. The administration forgot to give a damn.

Understanding America’s energy sector, and its connection to the broader economy is essential for any administration's success, let alone an administration that exhibits so much hostility toward the oil and gas sector, and by extension toward the American people. Understanding the sector would have informed the leadership that following the environmental policy initiatives of old, white European Socialist bureaucrats was not going to work in America. America’s global dominance has been made possible because of the fossil fuel industry, not in spite of it.

By examining the team that President Biden chose to lead his 'energy transition' and related regulatory initiatives, the seemingly failed strategy begins to look quite different. Far from higher prices and inflation being proof of a failed energy policy, as many on Capitol Hill suggest, it turns out… this is the policy. The market reality with which Americans are living is precisely what the administration intended when President Biden entered office. He repeatedly and infamously described his intentions, promising he would “end” the oil and gas industry.

So fervent is the administration’s belief in the transition to a net zero future, one might mistake it for religious fanaticism. They have been willing to harm the economy and the economic lives of millions of Americans. Though gob-stopping in its darkness, this is the world they envision. This is what they intended all along.

Who are these people? Instead of being confused and frustrated, a review of the crew steering this ship actually brings clarity and understanding:

Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Energy Secretary
While presenting via video feed in May 2021 at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, only months after joining the administration, attendees were aghast at her stunning lack of knowledge about the sector she had been tasked to lead. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she had been the Attorney General of Michigan, and then governor until 2011, with a quick stint as a member of Barrack Obama’s transition team in 2009; she was unsurprisingly ill-suited for an industry-focused position. Between the cancellation of the XL pipeline 90 days prior to her speech, her incorrect use of industry vernacular and her disingenuous assurances that she was on a shared journey with the industry she would be working to dismantle, the audience was left deeply dissatisfied.

When asked Wednesday at what point do gas prices become unsustainable?" Granholm responded, "Yeah, I think the prices are unsustainable… there's not a quick fix. However, your point about also accelerating our progress toward clean energy is very, very important."

Lurching toward renewables with John Kerry.

John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
Perhaps best-known for his service in Vietnam, Kerry was also in the U.S. Senate for many years before serving as secretary of state under Barack Obama. Since then he has been jet-setting (via fossil-fuel powered jets) to Davos and other destinations in Europe speaking about the threat of fossil fuel to the planet.

Speaking at an event hosted by the University of Southern California's Center of Public Diplomacy last Friday, Kerry said that energy security concerns are  driving complaints that the U.S. needs to perform more domestic drilling and return to coal. Annoyed, he said that the U.S. "absolutely" does not need to drill for more oil and gas amid inflation and record-high gas prices.

Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor
Rounding off the energy triad is a former Obama-era EPA administrator.  Her role in the Biden administration was seen as a domestic counterpart to John Kerry's job on the international front. According to reports,  McCarthy was described as the chief architect of Obama's climate regulations, overseeing the drafting and passage of limits on what she referred to as, "planet-heating pollution" from power plants, vehicles and fossil fuel producers. Following a stint as a professor at Harvard University, she became the president and chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She recently defended censorship of news sites that deny "climate change" or other accepted orthodox pieties of the Left:

We have to get tighter, we have to get better at communicating, and frankly, the tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation. That’s what the fossil fuel companies pay for.

Like characters from a Mission Impossible movie, Biden’s energy sector leaders are true villains. They are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. energy sector and wish for a lower quality of life for us that they themselves have no intention of living. The question before the country now is simple: are we going to let them do it?

Boris in the Last Chance Saloon Again

Boris Johnson survived a vote of no confidence among Tory MPs by 211 to 148 votes earlier tonight and thus remains Leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. His share of the total vote amounts to fifty-nine per cent of the Tory Party in Parliament—a decisive victory in most circumstances—and the circumstances in this case are quite favorable to Boris. Under the party’s leadership rules, no further vote of no confidence can be lodged against him for another year.

On paper, therefore, Johnson is safe from a challenge until the middle of 2023, which will be eighteen months before Britain’s next general election has to be held. And the nearer the election, the more nervous MPs become about changing their party leader—or, worse, trying to change him and failing.

Yet immediately after the result was announced, most commentators and a good many anti-Johnson Tory rebels were declaring their belief that Johnson had simply not done well enough, would continue to face additional unrest, and was still at risk of being ousted as party leader well before a general election.

Of course, it was because the rebellion against Johnson had been plotted, nurtured, and pushed to last night’s no-confidence vote by more or less the same coalition of anti-Johnson Tories and media commentators that many Tory MPs had rallied to his support despite their serious misgivings about the apparently aimless drift of his administration.

The so-called “Partygate” mini-scandal had played out over months. Photographs showing Johnson and civil servants sharing a drink in Downing Street—apparently taken by someone inside—appeared on the front pages in a calculated succession of leaks about boozy government office parties during the Covid lockdown. Johnson was accused of breaking the rules he imposed on the whole country, and then of lying when he denied the accusations. An official report found that he had been present at only one party—a surprise birthday party for him that had interrupted a business meeting—but that partial exoneration only led to further charges of a “cover-up.”

This whole farrago of suspicion and accusation went on for all of 2022. With its relentless depiction of Johnson as a “serial liar,” it undoubtedly weakened him. At the same time it deeply angered Johnson loyalists who declared that the media must not be allowed to mount a “coup” against a democratically elected prime minister. It also caused bitter conflicts between Tory rebels and loyalists at Westminster. And it may even have won Johnson some support from Tory backbenchers otherwise disappointed by his record who felt that he didn’t deserve to fall before this campaign of personal destruction.

For the main threat to Johnson in last night’s vote is that the 148 dissidents who voted against him came from all wings of the Tory party, including some he thought he could rely on—Brexiteers, Tory traditionalists, free-market supporters, small business people, and the rest. They see a drift to statist and costly government programs, a failure to effectively oppose the take-over of important British institutions such as the British Museum and the National Trust by woke left-wing radicals, a taste for grandiose utopian enterprises such as Net-Zero which will impose huge energy costs on ordinary citizens until they have a fatal crash with reality, neither an ability nor an interest in controlling government spending, the breaking of explicit promises to control immigration, and the imposition of higher taxes in contravention of manifesto pledges.

It's a serious indictment. A former senior colleague, Lord (David) Frost, who had earlier resigned from Johnson’s cabinet because of the government’s “direction of travel,” tweeted in response to last night’s vote:

If the PM is to save his premiership and his government he should now take a different course - bring taxes down straightaway to tackle the cost of living crisis, take on public service reform, and establish an affordable and reliable energy policy for the long term.

Moreover, Johnson needs to embark on this conservative turn more or less immediately. His opponents are hoping that the Tories will lose two special by-elections coming up in a few weeks. Those elections are in safe Tory seats, and if the current opinion polls are correct, they will fall to the Opposition—and undoubtely set off a new round of demands for Boris’s departure by the media and internal Tory dissidents.

The smart money says he’ll go. So he will he probably stay. Here are a few random reasons why:

  1. Given the shellacking that Boris and the Tories have received this year, the opinion polls asking “which party will you support in the next election” aren’t that bad. The Tories are a mere four points behind Labour. Two-and-a-half years before an election need be called, that’s actually a favorable position—at least it is if he adopts policies that succeed.
  2. Boris is offering extraordinary international leadership in the Ukraine crisis. Not only does that justify Brexit because it shows what Britain freed from E.U. control can achieve independently, but also most Brits strongly support Ukraine and are proud of what Boris is doing. That will influence their opinion of him on domestic issues too.
  3. He’s still popular with the Tory faithful in the constituencies—unlike Theresa May in 2019, whose weak Brexit approach caused Tory associations to pass votes of no confidence in her and Tory voters to flee to Nigel Farage’s party in the European elections. And Boris's high standing with Tory activists is important to MPs because they're the people who will choose candidates next time.
  4. Margaret Thatcher resigned as Tory leader because her cabinet colleagues broke her will to fight when—in a long night of betrayals--one after another told her that she couldn’t win the next round of the leadership election. Boris’s will has not been broken or even much bruised by the opposition of colleagues. And it's hard to dispatch a prime minister who is absolutely determined to stay on.

The final reason is also the reason he won last night: Boris is a synonym for Brexit. He’s the reason why Brexit finally happened, and Brexit is the reason why the Remainers in the Tory party and in the wider political and media establishment hate Boris. They hope and believe that if they can get rid of Boris, they can reverse Brexit in time. And because the Leavers in the Tory party also believe that if Boris goes then Brexit may go as well, they therefore turned out to vote for him one last time.

One last time? Probably. Unless he delivers the other policies to make a post-Brexit Britain succeed too, he’ll bring down Brexit all by himself. In the end, everybody finally runs out of chances at the Last Chance Saloon.

Killer Carbon, Poisonous Humans

Environmentalism is, at heart, an anti-human movement. Its adherents do their best to hide this fact, but if you listen to them long enough, you can't help but discover it. Take, for instance, this New York Times article entitled, "Carbon Dioxide Levels Are Highest in Human History," which reports on the "relentless climb" of CO2 levels in the atmosphere, culminating last month in a new record for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They report that in 2021, 36.3 billion tons of carbon were released into the atmosphere, "the highest level in history."

What is to blame for this? "Power plants, vehicles, farms and other sources around the world continu[ing] to pump huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." So, us. Powering and heating our homes, driving our cars, producing food to nourish us and our families. Which is to say, we are the ones at fault, just for living. The author goes on to assert the following:

As the amount of carbon dioxide increases, the planet keeps warming, with effects like increased flooding, more extreme heat, drought and worsening wildfires that are already being experienced by millions of people worldwide. Average global temperatures are now about 1.1 degrees Celsius, or 2 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than in preindustrial times.

Nearly every statement in this paragraph is either false or hotly contested, and by authoritative sources.

For the claim of "increased flooding," even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose every document is held up as a sacred text by environmentalists, has said it has “low confidence in the human influence on the changes in high river flows on the global scale.” And Bjorn Lomborg has explained how arguments on this topic tend to rely on the increase in dollars worth of damage done by floods each year, which "say more about U.S. economic growth than they do about climate change." In fact, deaths from flooding and damage from flooding (measured as a percentage of G.D.P.) have both decreased significantly in the past century.

Save us from ourselves, Mother Gaia.

Similarly, Michael Shellenberger has demonstrated both that "worsening wildfires" are not a new phenomenon -- they were common in the 18th and 19th centuries -- and that, so far from their being the result of climate change, anti-climate change policies have made them worse. Even the idea that carbon dioxide is a major driver of temperature increases has been called into question, as has the idea that a 2 degree rise over preindustrial temperatures is particularly uncommon in human history. It is worth noting that these polemics never mention the Roman or Medieval Warming periods, times which produced tremendous civilizational flourishing.

Nor do they mention the beneficial aspects of carbon dioxide, including that recent decades have produced record crop yields worldwide, and that the kinds of emissions cuts envisioned by environmentalists would lead to widespread hunger among the world's poor. But none of this matters to them -- they believe that Mother Gaia is under attack, and they need to take out the aggressor. That is, us.

The NYT piece gives the game away when it discusses the need for the planet to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. This will require, it tells us, "sharp cuts" in emissions, which might slow the "rate of increase in carbon dioxide levels." Even better, "If emissions were completely eliminated," the curve would flatten (where have we heard that phrase before?), "the oceans and vegetation continued to absorb the existing carbon dioxide from the air," and after hundreds or thousands of years, the planet would heal.

Golly, what could bring about the complete elimination of human carbon emissions? The only thing this author can think of is the cessation of all human activity. These aren't the first environmentalists to indulge in these dark phantasies and they won't be the last. They hate themselves, they hate you, and they want us all to die. Treat them accordingly.

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. 

Chasing the Future by Slow Train

San Francisco in recent years has become an advance warning for the collapse of city government, urban life, and even of civilization itself. Now it seems that “a survey of electric vehicle (E.V.) charging stations in the San Francisco area has discovered that about one in four don’t work.” It’s no surprise, of course, that some of the urban infrastructure of San Francisco might not be in the best of shape.

At the same time, California used to think of itself until very recently as the future of America and even of the world—the harbinger of innovative technologies that will transform our lives for the better. It’s also the state that has the deepest-greenest consciousness in the U.S. There’s a “tension” between these two self-perceptions, as we’ll see, but they combine easily enough to make Californians the Americans most likely to lead the switch from petrol-driven to electric vehicles.

And the latest statistics confirm that. With only 10 percent of the nation’s cars, California now accounts for over 40 percent of all zero-emission cars in the U.S. As sales of E.V.s rise, however, there needs to be a matching increase in the number of electric charging stations to give the new model vehicles the juice to keep them on the road.

Gov. Newsom's got things well in hand.

As Yahoo News discovered, when researchers drove their E.V.s to hundreds of public charging stations in nine Bay Area counties, they found that 27.5 percent were unusable for one reason or another. Given the newness of the technology, the list of failings had an oddly familiar, almost domestic ring to it. The most common fault, at 7.2 percent of stations, was a payment system failure. Second was a charge initiation failure, at 6.4 percent, where charging either didn’t start after paying or stopped within two minutes. Around the same number had a problem with the screen — either totally blank, non-responsive or displaying an error message. Almost 5 percent of chargers had cables too short to reach the car, and a few had broken connectors or other trouble connecting with the cars.

Because a full tank of electricity goes less far than one of petrol, E.V. drivers often have to calculate pretty accurately how long a journey they can afford to take in time rather than money. If a quarter of charging stations aren’t working, they can be stranded unexpectedly. Hilly San Francisco has its own kinds of hazards for stranded drivers—ditto California’s endless series of spaghetti junctions—but only very rarely will they include the weather (earthquakes, more so).

What, however, of the great plains? Even for everyday driving tasks, people there are accustomed to going long distances through places where you wouldn’t want to be stranded on a cold day anyway, but in particular if you were driving an E.V. since they don’t work so well on cold days.

Consumer Reports has recently examined the performance of E.V.s in this regard. The experts they asked pointed to two problems: first that an E.V.’s battery power and range declines as the temperature falls, especially when it falls below zero Fahrenheit—not uncommon in large parts of the U.S. during the winter, from the Upper Midwest across to New England; second, even at somewhat warmer temperatures, the car’s internal heating arrangements draw electricity from the battery and decrease its range.

Pro tip: dress warm in the Dakotas!

How severe are these problems? Consumer Reports put two E.V.s through the following test last January in Connecticut: three different journeys, amounting to 64 miles in all, with the E.V.s allowed to cool down after the first two journeys so that they would need to reheat each time. What CR found was as follows:

The Nissan Leaf (with its base 40 kWh battery; a longer range version is set to go on sale later this year, Nissan has said) has an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 151-mile range. At the end of our 64-mile drive, the predicted range left was only 10 miles. Using the advertised range, the car should have traveled 141 miles before it was left with only 10. That’s more than double the anticipated loss in range.

The Tesla Model 3 has an EPA-estimated 310-mile range. At the end of that same 64 mile drive, it indicated there were 189 miles of predicted range. Put another way, the Model 3 used 121 miles worth of range in only 64 miles. That’s almost double the anticipated loss.

Now, these are early days in the development of E.V.s, and their development teams are very confident of finding ways to improve their performance on battery power and distance range as on much else. For the moment, however, EVs can’t travel very far in cold weather, and in wide open spaces they depend upon the availability of a large network charging stations (that actually work). That means the more thinly populated areas of the United States will need to expand their network of E.V. charging stations very considerably to make it worthwhile for local folks to buy E.V.s—which in turn means a vast program of electrification across the fruited plain.

To get some idea of what that means and will cost, let me quote a U.K. study by a distinguished British engineer, Mike Travers, who in The Hidden Costs of Net-Zero estimates that the cost of installing the E.V. charging points alone will be a considerable one—something on the order of £31 billion in the much smaller geographical area of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Travers goes on to estimate the impact not only of switching to electric cars but also of wider policies of decarbonizing, for instance, home heating, and concludes that the extra demand for electricity would overwhelm the existing system of electricity distribution and require massive infrastructure repair and development at a total bill of £410 billion. Adjusted for population and expressed in U.S. dollars, these figures become $201 billion, $2,665 billion, and just short of $20,000 per household. And for what?

These figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, but they give some idea of the magnitude of the costs of switching from petrol-driven cars to E.V.s in a few years—the Brits are being told to do so by 2035. And they don’t include all the government costs of subsidizing the switch over. In California they include grants to low-income families to purchase E.V.s from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Don't worry: the BAAQMD is here to help!

But what these government rules and subsidies are financing is not the switch from petrol to electricity itself—the evolution and spread of EVs is happening anyway—but its acceleration in response not to market forces but to the non-market instructions of the administrative state. Some of the early flaws and drawbacks of E.V.s would be solved and overcome anyway during the process of market expansion—in effect subsidized by the wealthy acting as pioneer consumers of new luxury products as they always have—while the price gradually comes down. Instead, governments are spending a great deal of money—and making us poorer in the process—in order to make something happen more quickly at the cost of making it happen inefficiently and less cheaply.

Do we really want our economic progress pioneered and charted by government which creates a Bay Area Air Quality Management District to finance the purchase of the latest luxury goods by the poor but can’t manage to maintain the charging stations that enable to all drivers to be sure of reaching their destinations?

Look who’s in the White House. Consider Gavin Newsom in the Golden State. Apparently we do.

Australians Go Walkabout on 'Climate Change'

Australia’s election is full of oddities and yet it has delivered a clear governing result. Labour will be the next Australian government either with a narrow overall majority or dependent on the parliamentary support of the Greens. Furthermore, it’s been carried into power largely on the back of green votes cast for several parties. And the pledge of the new prime minister, Anthony “Albo” Albanese, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent in 2030 and by the full net- zero in 2050—will be a politically unbreakable one, at least for a year or two. Indeed, though there are still some 14 seats where the winner is still to be decided, none of these governing certainties will change.

What, then, are the oddities? The main one is that Labour won despite both having its worst electoral performance since 1934 and getting the lowest vote for a government in Australian history. That paradox is explained mainly by the fact that the center-right Coalition of Liberal and National parties lost even more support, getting its worst result since Australia’s federation was formed in 1901.

Votes lost by the two main parties went to independents and smaller parties in large numbers. Three groups in particular did well: the Greens who currently look like rising from one to four parliamentary seats; two populist conservative parties that between them scored about 10 percent of the national vote but have so far won no seats; and as my colleague Peter Smith pointed out in an earlier election report,  some former Liberal votes in urban areas went to “so-called Teal candidates”—i.e., independents allegedly blending Liberal blue and Green in their party colors—who are in reality left-progressives on every issue but oh, so, Socially correct too.

At the latest count, an Australian friend tells me, the Liberals lost six upper-middle class traditionally safe seats to these candidates. They were exceptionally well-organized and well-financed by a sympathetic green billionaire, climate activist NGOs, and investors hoping for greater public funding for renewables. They drew support from upper-middle class women voters in particular. And they helped to unseat Liberals by picking up the despairing second preference votes of Labour voters in upper-middle-class urban areas.

There are similarities between this successful insurgent campaign and recent election results in the U.S. and Europe. Left progressives have become adept at exploiting technical opportunities in election law and organization to favor their own voting constituencies, to create new electoral coalitions on key issues such as climate change, and even to conjure up last-minute new political parties when existing Left parties have discredited themselves, as in some recent European elections. They can call on the deep pockets of high-tech billionaires with progressive views. And their conservative opponents—notably the GOP in 2020—have been left behind, sticking with traditional fund-raising and campaigning directed solely to the next election when the progressives are investing in NGOs and tax-exempt social organizations that stay around long term and change the political weather in local urban and suburban communities between as well as during election campaigns.

In reality, despite the legitimate headlines about a “Greenslide,” this Labour/Green victory was in large part a technical knock-out rather than a change of national sentiment. It even seems likely that the center-right Coalition will end up with a larger share of the national vote than Labour. Liberal and National parties did well outside the big cities where these new political technologies have not yet really penetrated.

Those rural, small town, and outer suburban votes—together with the working-class constituencies that the Liberals might go after seriously for the first time if they were sensible enough to follow Peter Smith's advice—could be the basis of a Liberal-National recovery on an electoral and social platform from any before. It would be a recovery rooted in a robust defense of free markets and a science-based civilization against the neo-medieval puritanism of the Green revolution.

Such a recovery would not lack issues. Labour will never be able to satisfy the demands of its Green allies for ever-larger cuts in people’s standard of living, let alone their aspirations for a better life for themselves and their children. The “Teals” will soon discover that their own social standing depends on an economy that their quasi-religious attitudes undermine. Labour voters will be surprised to discover that saving the world means making everything poorer, meaner, and hotter too as their air conditioning fails in the Australian climate. Altogether, the Labour/Green coalition will be rent with increasingly rancorous disputes as the result of a remarkably unfortunate historic accident.

Australia’s conversion to hard greenery is arriving at the very moment when responsible people everywhere are realizing that the costs of orthodox Green climate policy are economically destructive and that the Russo-Ukraine war makes them strategically dangerous too. To use language that should be familiar by now: Net-Zero is unsustainable. And they’ve just embraced it.

There's No Green Way of War

When last heard from, I was pointing out that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, though undoubtedly a monstrous crime by every decent standard, had produced one worthwhile consequence. It had forced the political leaders of the Western world to be much more realistic about their policies on energy. The first expression of this realism was the strategic decision of several European countries, above all Germany, to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas.

There’s been more talk than action on this front since February 24, with commitments followed by qualifications, but European governments now seem on the verge of agreeing upon a collective plan to substantially cut their demand for cheap Russian energy. That will have a massive impact on the world’s energy markets with innumerable secondary effects that we can only dimly foresee but which we will shortly be experiencing.

Among them, however, is that this decision will complicate even further what is the invasion’s second major consequence for energy policy—namely, it has made the legally-binding commitment by Western governments to a Net-Zero policy of reducing carbon emissions by 2050 completely unrealistic so that it will have to be substantially re-thought.

Governments aren’t good at rethinking bad policies even when they’re minor policies, and Net-Zero isn’t a minor policy. Once President Biden entered office, every government in the West had committed itself to Net-Zero policies and Boris Johnson had held a vast international conference to make that commitment as dramatic and as unsayable as possible.

In happier times: David Attenborough and Boris Johnson.

You see the problem. If you nail yourself to a sinking ship, you must learn not only how to swim but also how to remove nails from planks. That’s too embarrassing for modern Western governments to admit publicly. They want to combine—and camouflage—these two exercises with lectures on the unchangeable necessity of nails remaining in planks. Accordingly, as the priorities for energy policy change in order to resist Putin’s Russia, all the secondary policies that Net-Zero requires are trundled out to establish the falsehood that energy priorities remain unchanged and unchangeable. The result is what’s known as “cognitive dissonance” or following contradictory policies simultaneously.

Here, for instance, is a recent report from the Guardian via Yahoo News that Northern Irish farmers have been instructed to cull their herds by more than 500,000 cattle and 700,000 sheep to reduce methane emissions (from cow and sheep farts) in order to meet “legally binding climate targets” required for Net-Zero. You may have missed this news. Understandably. But you are more likely to have come across two much bigger current news stories.

The first is that Britain is fighting a major diplomatic war with the European Union over the Northern Ireland protocol that imposes an internal United Kingdom customs barrier in the Irish Sea damaging to, among others, Northern Irish farmers. The second is that the British people are facing a massive “cost of living” crisis as the bills for Covid, lockdown costs, and Net-Zero regulations cascade onto the U.K. Treasury which promptly passes them onto the voters in the form of higher taxes and soaring energy bills. Both these crises will now be made worse for British people, and in particular for the farmers in Northern Ireland, by the need to abide by Net-Zero policies even though they’ve been made irrelevant by the post-Ukraine energy re-think.

The farmers will face serious loss of income, the government will be mired in a political crisis, and the hard-pressed U.K. consumer will have to pay higher prices for beef and lamb—when he or she can find them that is, since the (quietly stated) aim of the policy is to get people to eat less meat by providing less of it in supermarkets. In practice many people will reduce other purchases in order to continue eating the same amounts of meat at considerably higher prices. The cost of living crisis will be aggravated, tax revenues will fall, and market signals will be replaced by administrative commands--with the usual results. A policy of making people poorer turns out to be quite expensive—as the next news story shows in spades.

In happier times: beef on the hoof.

Britain has a National Infrastructure Commission—not many people know that—which is looking at ways to fund the change from heating homes with gas boilers to doing so with ground-based electric heat pumps. It will offer the government its advice next year, but the NIC chairman, former Whitehall mandarin Sir John Armitt, has kindly given us a preview of how its collective mind is working.

He told the Daily Telegraph that a ban on new gas boilers would have to be imposed in order to force consumers to buy heat pumps instead. In his own mellifluous words:

 Why would you move to a heat pump at somewhere between £5-£15,000 as long as you can buy or exchange for a new gas boiler for £1,500? The only way that you can make such a significant shift is by saying, well, ‘from a particular date, you will not be able to buy a new gas boiler’.

Good question—and one that the political class answered some time ago in Whitehall but that the voters are really being asked for the first time. Not unfittingly therefore Sir John replied to himself as follows:.

As long as we hold 2050 net zero targets, close to our hearts, there is going to be a tension. Because to get to that point, it’s going to require very big long-term decisions which will cost money. And then at the same time, no politician wants voters on its back because the price of energy is going up. So yes, there is a tension, which requires a very honest debate and discussion. [My italics]

The most honest response to that is that the only people in Britain who seriously hold Net-Zero targets close to their hearts are senior civil servants and the kind of radical environmentalist protesters who glue themselves to the road and obstruct traffic in preference to rational argument. Government ministers used to be in that category, but the Russo-Ukraine war is forcing them to confront the facts of life and death and of politics too.

In energy policy the facts are that the West can’t afford to sustain Ukraine in its resistance to Russia by relying either on Russian supplies of oil and gas or on renewable energy sources such as wind and sun. Both are inherently unreliable. Inevitably, therefore, we will be later in switching to renewables, using fossil fuels for longer than we had planned, and looking for new sources of fossil fuels and employing new methods such as fracking to do so.

In short we will gradually abandon—or in the softer language of bureaucracy—extend the Net-Zero targets to a later date. That being so, why do we prevent people eating what they wish and force them to spend large sums on expensive heat pumps that—final piece of honesty—don’t actually warm their homes as well as the heaters they already have. It shouldn't cost so much money simply to save a government's face.