Concerning the Great Elec-Trick

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

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

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

Halfway there.

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

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

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

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

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

Gonna need a lot more of these things.

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

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

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

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

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

Boris and Rishi Buy the Pyramids

For a brief moment Rishi Sunak, Britain's new prime minister, looked as if he might resist joining the rush over the cliff of climate catastrophism. Initially he decided not to attend the COP27 "climate change" summit in the former Israeli (now Egyptian) Sinai peninsula resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on implementing the U.N.-brokered plan to cut the world’s carbon emissions to Net-Zero by 2050. Then he said his mind was open to going. Finally he went.

My interpretation of his early reluctance was that he didn’t want “to be trapped into making commitments on Net-Zero that might later be inconvenient to his overall energy and budgetary policies.” If so, that was a very prudent judgment. And to be fair, the Prime Minister resisted a great deal of political and international pressure to stick to it. Then Boris Johnson, his predecessor, announced that he would be attending the climate jamboree. That proved to be the last snowflake that triggers the avalanche. Rishi felt he had to go.

Product of British colonialism fights climate imperialism in Africa.

Even on the day before he set off to Egypt, however, it became clear that his initial prudence was as amply justified as it has been brutally violated. Consider the back story of Britain’s finances. And pay attention because recent news stories may have given you the impression that the short unhappy episode of Liz Truss as prime minister was responsible for the dire straits of Britain’s fiscal situation that includes a budgetary “black hole” of 50 billion pounds, a proposed set of tax hikes amounting to 25 billon pounds, and spending cuts of about 35 billion pounds.

In reality both Ms. Truss and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, are entirely innocent of this Mother-of-All-Shortfalls. They were in office only about a month, and none of their proposed tax-and-spending changes were even introduced in that time. When they left office, they bequeathed to their successors the same exact inheritance of fiscal and monetary problems that they had inherited. Those problems in turn were the results of the massive expenditures on Covid-19 and the lockdown, of the stay-at-home rules that have shaped a workforce that today refuses to go to factory or office, and of the quantitative easing that built up a monetary backlog that is now emerging in rapid inflation and high interest rates.

And who is responsible for all those? No one more so than the former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unless you count his prime ministerial boss, Boris Johnson. They’re starting to look like a tag-team trying to win the race to insolvency before any other national team. And they have jointly taken a giant’s leap forward towards that result by their speeches and, yes, their commitments at the COP27 Summit.

BoJo: the damage he's done lives on.

Having pushed Rishi into going, Boris then gave a speech to the summit that pushed his former colleague further into massive financial transfers from the U.K. to developing countries. He did so by making the case that Britain was historically responsible for global warming because it had invented the industrial revolution:

The United Kingdom was one of, if not the first, industrialized nation. The first wisps of carbon came out of the factories and mills and foundries of the West Midlands 200 years ago. We started it all.

Historically speaking, that was nonsense. Even if you think that man-made carbon emissions are the sole cause of "climate change"—which is not the scientific consensus—Britain put extremely small amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for the first two hundred years of the industrial revolution. "Global warming" began in the 1970s, after the spread of modern industry around the world. Nor is it remotely true, as the leftist theory bizarrely embraced by Boris holds, that the industrial revolution was a privileged blight from which Britain and the early industrialized world derived all the benefits while the developing countries got none.

Quite the contrary. Among the benefits it brought to the whole world were modern medicine that eradicated entire diseases like smallpox and cured almost all the transmissible illnesses known to mankind; modern agricultural methods that ended famines and alleviated hunger and malnutrition; and new industries that lifted billions of people out of endemic poverty, increased living standards worldwide, and extended life expectancy well beyond “three score years and ten.” Any cost-benefit analysis that weighs those benefits against the costs of "climate change" would have to deliver a favorable verdict for the industrial revolution, which is why developing countries are all anxious to proceed with their own local versions of it.

Boris himself must have realized that he had just opened a Pandora’s Box full of prospective U.K.-financed transfer payments of incalculable expense to Africa and Asia. For he immediately tried to evade the responsibility he had just conceded by giving it a gloss of technology:

What we cannot do is make up for that in some kind of reparations. We simply do not have the financial resources. No country could. What we can do is help with the technology that can help to fix the problem.

But that realism was too late, as realism usually is for Boris. Leaders of the developing world were soon in full cry demanding the “implementation” of these and earlier promises from Western leaders. Negotiators for the U.K. and its G7 allies in the corridors and back rooms of COP27 were signaling that they were prepared to concede more money for “loss and damage” funds—a bureaucratic term of art now morphing from emergency disaster aid into reparations in disguise. And the bandwagon began to roll.

The Camp of the Saints awaits the West.

By the time that Rishi Sunak stood up to give his address only hours after Boris, he had conceded a moral responsibility to assist poorer countries to transition to a carbon-free world without actually using the word reparations. But he said that the U.K. would deliver its full pledge of 11.7 billion pounds from previous COP summits and—though vaguely—much more than that.

The bandwagon was picking up speed. But that's the purpose of COP climate summits. Once you’re at one, you can’t say nothing, and if you say something, it can’t be "no."

11.7 billion pounds too is an interesting figure—slightly more than one-fifth of the amount of money needed by the current U.K. Chancellor to fund the existing budgetary black hole in the nation’s finances. One doubts if the prime minister really wants people to remember it in ten days when the chancellor delivers his punitive tax-and-cut budgetary statement. That may explain why the government briefing of the U.K. press in Egypt, to judge from the next day’s headlines, switched from celebrating the U.K. taxpayer’s generosity at COP 27 to hailing an as yet uncompleted deal (originally embarked on by then-PM Liz Truss) for the U.K. to buy lots and lots of natural gas from the U.S. to keep Britain warm this coming winter.

As Rishi Sunak reflects on all this, he may remember uneasily an old WWII poster, revived for the Covid lockdown: Is your journey really necessary?

The Coming Struggle to Stay Warm

One of the first columns I wrote for The Pipeline almost three years ago employed the metaphor of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object to forecast the likely consequences of Green politics. The irresistible force was the imposition of a policy of Net-Zero carbon emissions upon the populations of the West, in particular those of Anglosphere, and the immovable object was the democratic electorates of these countries.

It might take time, I argued, but when the voters found that Green Deals and such meant higher energy prices, higher taxes, immiseration of the less well-off, and harshly puritan lifestyles for the rest of us, an almighty smash-up would ensue.

And so it has. Indeed, the smash-up has come sooner than I expected, namely this year, and it will almost certainly be harsher because the negative impact of Net-Zero has been aggravated by the Russo-Ukraine war and sanctions adopted by the U.S. and the E.U. in response to it.

To stop train, pull handle. But think first.

What I didn’t expect, however, is that the smash-up would take place in slow-motion. But that is what’s happening.

Almost wherever you look, there’s some not-very-important story that tips you off to a subterranean explosion whose full impact won’t be properly felt for a while. The effect is something like the delayed impact of depth charges or deadpan jokes.

Here, for instance, is the London Daily Telegraph telling us that the Brits will be wearing new styles of underwear this winter—and not because they’re hoping for a more exotic sex-life:

Households are stockpiling thermal underwear to avoid turning on the heating this winter as energy bills spiral. John Lewis, Britain’s biggest department store chain, said shoppers had rushed to buy warmer clothes in recent weeks, with sales of winter thermals having doubled last week compared to a week earlier. Sales of dressing gowns are up 76pc compared to last year.

That’s the precautionary principle reduced to the bare essentials. Like everyone else in the northern hemisphere, ordinary Brits are expecting a chilly winter this year because of the following factors (which didn't start with Mr. Putin’s war); Like most Western governments, the U.K. powers-that-be have neglected to invest enough in energy security because they quite consciously preferred to invest in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy. That is the orthodoxy of Net-Zero (sometimes enforced by treaties) in E.U. countries such as Germany, non-E.U. countries like Britain, and the U.S.

It’s a massive enterprise because until recently fossil fuels provided more than 85 percent of total energy to even the most technically advanced economies. In pursuit of this vision of a future of all-renewable energy, Germany has shut down almost all its nuclear power stations, keeps equivocating over whether the shut down the few remaining ones, and ends up relying on “dirty coal” now that cheap Russian energy is as unreliable as "renewables."

California, dreaming...

Over the Pond the Biden administration has been refusing to license oil-and-gas explorations on federal land with the embarrassing result that it has to import oil from Venezuela. And the U.K. government too has banned “fracking” that would exploit the nation's plentiful reserves of natural gas. As a result almost all of these countries are facing the risk of energy shortfalls to the point at which energy “blackouts” and rationing are seriously entertained by utilities and regulators if the winter is severe. California too.

Moreover, the costs of transitioning to renewables are not only high, they are rising. The International Energy Agency has just revised its estimate of the investment needed to limit global temperatures to meet the Net-Zero target under the Paris Accords upwards. That will now rise from the 390 billion dollars annually today to 1.3 trillion dollars a year between now and 2030. If met, those targets would eliminate emissions from the energy sector by 2035 in the advanced world and by 2040 in developing countries. But they are unlikely to be met. On present trends Net-Zero won’t be achieved until 2060—and present trends look too optimistic in the light of the present energy crisis.

The upshot of which is that almost all the West’s governments face slightly different versions of two serious problems: uncertain energy supplies, and existing high indebtedness.

Take energy supplies first. Germany is facing a serious crisis of its fundamental economic model in the post-Ukraine world, Its two foundations were exporting cars to China and importing cheap energy from Russia. For the foreseeable future, neither now looks like a reliable prospect or even a possible one. Berlin must now struggle to replace the Russian energy half-forbidden by the sanctions it supports diplomatically.

Artifacts of an ancient civilization, if Greens get their way.

Similarly, because Britain neglected nuclear investment—its target of 25 percent of energy from nuclear power stations will be reached in 2050!—the country is heavily dependent on imported natural gas which it needs to solve the renewables’ “intermittency problem”: there are days when the wind doesn’t blow nor the sun shine. As Andrew Stuttaford points out, that makes the earlier decision of the U.K. government to close down its biggest natural gas storage capacity an especially shortsighted one. Even the French, who sensibly went nuclear in a big way in the 1970s, now have to spend on repairs and modernization.

What of the second aspect of the crisis: overspending? Two sorts of spending need to be financed here—that for Net-Zero, and that to finance the energy security national governments have neglected. Unfortunately, however necessary they are, they come on top of the massive sums of money that the same governments have already spent during the Covid-19 pandemic on locking down their economies and paying their people to stay at home. That backlog of indebtedness explains why the financial markets are becoming nervous of lending money to governments that don’t make financial responsibility their top priority. Interest rates are rising again in response to rising inflation, and that's a problem for governments that want to borrow money.

We saw that very recently when the British government fell because the markets thought it was adopting a cavalier attitude to debt. That impression was both exaggerated--the U.K.’s national debt as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in Europe--and largely the result of rash but trivial political misjudgments by ex-Prime Minister Liz Truss and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. All the same, the market brought them down because they were planning to add to an already high total of government spending.

Long johns, here we come.

When that happens, every spending program becomes the enemy of every other program. If restoring energy security becomes a priority for governments, then spending on Net-Zero will—and should—come under pressure. After all, Britain's short financial crisis became a political one in part because it was leading to a rise in mortgage payments. Like rising sales of warm thermal underwear, rising mortgage payments are another symptom of the price that the Brits will be paying for ill-judged energy policies. Voters' shoes are beginning to pinch; the immovable object is beginning to stiffen.

Of course, the irresistible force (in the form of support for Net-Zero from an alliance of the establishment and radical Green anarchists) has neither vanished nor much diminished. At almost every stage it has objected to policies that looked likely to prioritize energy security over the transition to renewables. With the arrival of a new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, it has been flexing its muscles to warn him that it will tolerate no lifting of the ban on fracking that the doomed Liz Truss tried to bring about. Net-Zero is an obstruction to restoring the energy security that it undermined in the first place. The circle closes.

My impression is that Sunak is taking his time to assess what Leonid Brezhnev used to call “the correlation of forces.” On the one hand, he has said that he will keep the ban on fracking unless evidence appears that suggests it is not dangerous to the environment; on the other, he has decided not to attend the U.N.’s COP 27 Climate Summit on the grounds that, in effect, he’s got more important things to do in London. My translation: he doesn’t want to attend and be trapped into making commitments on Net-Zero that might later be inconvenient to his overall energy and budgetary policies.

He may also think that Winter when the snow falls and Britain’s bedrooms freeze will be time also when the irresistible force of Net-Zero becomes much less irresistible and the immovable object of voter resistance much more resistant. And irremovable.

Renewable-Energy Dodo Birds Galore

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

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

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

So proud in Oz they celebrate Invasion Day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Number of Cyclones Australian Region

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

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

The 'Green' War on the Irish Nation

Conor Fitzgerald is one of the rare Irish political and cultural commentators who is consistently worth a read, and his latest Substack post is no exception. It is a lyrical meditation on the place of fire and the hearth in the Irish imagination, in the wake of the government's declaration of war against fireplaces and burning peat, the nation's traditional method of heating homes. Here's Fitzgerald:

The fire is a glowing thread you follow that leads you back into Deep Ireland. Past your parents and your grandparents. They tried to get Irish peasantry to bake bread during the famine but no one had an oven, only a fire. The oldest bodies that can be found on this island are not buried in tombs but under metres of peat, and are often discovered by Bord Na Mona [the state entity which oversees peat bog harvesting]. If humanity can have a Collective Unconscious -- a library of primordial images that everyone recognises without ever having learned them -- I don’t see why there can’t be regional branches of that library. The Fire is the central Jungian achetype of the Irish Collective Unconscious.

"Which is a shame," Fitzgerald continues, "because in the present day, changes to planning laws mean that open fireplaces will increasingly be a thing of the past, nostalgia be damned." He explains that government regulations (bearing all the fingerprints of our old friend Eamon Ryan, Green party leader, environment minister, and anti-Irish zealot) mandate that all new buildings in Ireland will need to pass rigorous energy efficiency standards, which serves as a de facto ban on fireplaces. Moreover, he says, "[s]ales of existing houses will also depend on energy efficiency ratings, meaning that existing fireplaces will be sealed/ bricked up," while "[t]he commercial sale of turf is to be banned, and Bord Na Mona’s peat harvesting is also being wound down for environmental reasons."

For those of you who don't know the country, the smell of the turf fire is one of the principal things that let's you know not only that you're in Ireland, but that you're home. You don't smell it inside the home, but outside, where it functions as a beacon and a signifier, reminding you where you are and how lucky you are to be there. There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world.

Apart from the sentimental aspects of the story, there are notable practical issues with these arbitrary and destructive diktats. The first is that Ireland, like the rest of the world, is being crushed under unprecedented heating and energy rates. Ireland's Electricity Supply Board has just this month increased residential gas rates by nearly 40 percent. With the war in Ukraine still raging and likely to continuing roiling global energy markets for the foreseeable future, does it make any sense at all to restrict a tried-and-true method of heating homes, and one which was the only source of heating when many Irish dwellings were built? Eastern Europeans, who have been spending days lining up for rationed coal and stockpiling timber as winter approaches, would probably be grateful for a natural resource like peat.

The second is that Ireland is in the midst of a housing crisis. For a sense of its scale, Michael Brendan Dougherty recently wrote that "A few weeks ago, in a country of nearly 5 million people, there were only 716 available rental vacancies." There are several overlapping reasons for the shortage, including the slow recovery of the construction industry following the end of the Celtic Tiger; mass immigration and refugee resettlement (Ireland has accepted more than twice as many Ukrainian refugees as France, despite France's population being ten times that of Ireland); and land-use regulations that inflate the cost of buying and building on land.

The government's responses to the shortage have served to aggravate the problem. For example, Dougherty points to "subsidies for first time buyers, which are immediately priced into the market and recouped by owners as profits." For another, the Irish Green Building Council has declared that the nation must "limit home-building to just 21,000 units a year to meet climate targets." And now we have these regulations requiring "energy efficiency ratings" which will restrict peoples' ability to put their own homes on the market without plugging up their perfectly serviceable fireplace. This is madness.

Still, Fitzgerald's nostalgic appeal shouldn't be overwhelmed by these utilitarian considerations. Eamon Ryan—who only got his ministerial job because Ireland's two main parties needed a "partner" to hold their coalition together—and the government he dominates from a distinctly minority position as the leader of a party that got 7 percent of the vote in the last election are chipping away at "the people’s sense of orientation, uniqueness and familiarity and replacing it with nothing."

Eamon Ryan, "green" on the outside, red on the inside.

What Ryan is trying to do, and so far succeeding, is destroy Ireland as an independent nation-state with a long national history of suffering under foreign occupation and a culture worth preserving, being proud of, and fighting for. He is a tool of Brussels, and one of the most dangerous men in Irish history.

The word "nostalgia" refers to a "longing for home," and it is exactly this longing that has ensured Ireland's outsized influence on western culture. Due to the country's centuries of diaspora, Americans especially have tended to associate Ireland with home. John Ford's The Quiet Man -- where a taciturn American returns to his Irish birthplace to buy his parents' cottage and marry a beautiful, short-tempered red-head -- is a classic example. And that, in turn, has had an outsized influence on Ireland's gross domestic product. In 2019, the last full year before Covid-19 rocked the industry, tourism generated $14.81 billion for the Irish economy.

But how can that "longing for home" exist without hominess? How can Ireland's reputation for warmth survive without the hearth? How can Ireland sell nostalgia for their ancestors' "native peat," if burning peat is a thing of the past? In short, if the attacks on Irish distinctiveness discussed above and in our previous piece about the war on Irish cattle are allowed to continue, why would anyone want to go there?

These are questions the present government doesn't want you asking because, almost to a man, they hate their heritage, their culture, and their hard-won country. At least Gypo Nolan, the traitor in Liam O'Flaherty's novel and John Ford's classic 1935 film, had a reason for his treachery. What's Eamon Ryan's?

Upper-Class Twit of the Year Goes Green

The British member of parliament Jacob Rees-Mogg is a hero to a certain type of Anglosphere conservative for his Wodehousian mien, an anachronistic and aristocratic style which has led to his being nicknamed “the honourable member for the early 20th century.”

But Rees-Mogg's fan base will be sorry to see his recent Op-Ed in Britain's Leftist broadsheet The Guardian, of all places, embracing both green energy and "intelligent net-zero in which green energy will play the biggest role."

I’m proud to belong to a country that has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent since 1990, while growing the economy by over 70% in that time. It is in this light that we can achieve our commitments to net zero by 2050, as dark satanic mills are replaced by onshore and offshore windfarms.

Rees-Mogg goes on to tout government plans "to support low-cost finance to help householders with the upfront costs of solar installation" and "align onshore wind planning policy with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England." He claims the government "understand the strength of feeling that some people have about the impact of wind turbines in England" (one imagines that many Brits probably feel about them as William Blake's did of those "dark satanic mills" Rees-Mogg had referenced earlier) and claims their plans "will maintain local communities’ ability to contribute to proposals." "Contribute to" but not "block." It sounds like a lot of rural Brits will soon be railroaded.

Take a deep breath, Tories.

One can't help but wonder if this piece is at all connected to recent reports that Rees-Mogg's own mother is set to make a pretty penny on the development of a massive solar farm in the politician's own constituency? Perhaps he was trying to get ahead of accusations of hypocrisy on green matters, or maybe signaling his disagreement with the Truss government's stated intention of making such developments more difficult, potentially endangering his family's cash out. This is the theory of the politics site Guido Fawkes, which broke the story. Rees-Mogg is currently secretary of state for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy in that government, so he would have a real say in the implementation of such a proposal.

In any event, this is a disappointing endorsement for Rees-Mogg, and a foolish one at that. His jumping on the net-zero band-wagon will hurt Britain and make life worse for his constituents. No amount of archaic affectations are going to change that. Net-Zero insanity is part of what brought Boris Johnson low, and with Liz Truss stumbling badly right out of the gate, the Tories need all the help they can get not to get thoroughly annihilated in the next election.

But having triumphed beyond the expectations in 2019, winning seats in constituencies that hadn't voted for a Tory since the Norman invasion. Taking the bras off the debutantes indeed: expect them to give it all back and more no later than January 2025 or whenever the ultra-diverse Truss government collapses, whichever comes first.

As 'ESG' Falters, the Left Seeks to Rebrand

As Clarice Feldman has explained here at The Pipeline, the Wall Street enthusiasm for ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing is already starting to wane. Which means the greens will go back to the drawing board, and will bring it back again under a new name. ESG is mostly a cover for "climate change" and social-justice activism, and as such its real agenda is to divert private capital to politically-favored causes, such as “green” energy and disguised redistribution schemes benefitting favored client groups like Black Lives Matter.

Investment funds that follow the ESG mantra are suffering from sub-par investment returns, and suddenly fear shareholder lawsuits for failing their fiduciary duty to maximize returns. Moreover, the attempt to enshrine ESG by regulation through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is running into political opposition on Capitol Hill and appears vulnerable to legal challenge. Suddenly the biggest boosters of ESG investment, and especially de-investing in oil, natural gas, and coal production, are backtracking, with J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon telling Congress last week that cutting off credit to fossil-fuel production would be “the road to hell” for America. Late in the week the state of Louisiana announced that it was pulling all of its assets invested with BlackRock, one of the prime cheerleaders of ESG.

On the "road to hell."

ESG is likely to persist, however, on account of its unseriousness and malleability. Several traditional domestic oil producers, like heavy fracking user Diamondback Energy, have received high ESG ratings from the third-party gatekeepers of ESG seals of approval through the simple expedient of buying “carbon offsets” and pledging themselves to be fully carbon-neutral . . . someday. Think of it as the environmental version of St. Augustine’s famous intercessory petition, “Lord, make me chaste—but not yet.”

ESG should be regarded as the third iteration of the left’s attempt to co-opt corporate America, which they otherwise hate, under the banner of “corporate social responsibility” (or CSR). CSR attempts to blur the lines between shareholders and “stakeholders,” that is, self-appointed advocates who want businesses to serve some special “social” interest as defined by the advocacy groups. But such “stakeholders” have neither a tangible “stake” in the businesses they mau-mau, nor do they represent anyone but themselves.

Roll back the calendar about 20 years, before the term ESG was coined, and you find the same essential idea marching forward in the business community under the slogan “triple-bottom line” (or BBB). This was the hey-day of “sustainable development,” and it was proposed that in addition to the traditional accounting measures of profit-and-loss, businesses should formally include new accounting measures of “environmental and social performance.” Exactly what these accounting measures might be were never specified with any rigor.

"Sustainable" green heaven for you and for me.

Important voices in corporate America immediately rolled over for this flim-flam. PricewaterhouseCoopers published a “sustainability survey” of 140 major U.S. corporations, arguing that “companies that fail to become sustainable–that ignore the risks associated with ethics, governance and the ‘triple bottom line’ of economic, environmental and social issues–are courting disaster.” The triple bottom line, PwC concluded, “will increasingly be regarded as an important measure of value.”

The CEO of Monsanto at the time, Robert Shapiro, wrote that “We have to broaden our definition of environmental and ecological responsibility to include working toward ‘sustainable development'." This groveling did nothing to reduce the Left’s hatred of Monsanto, or prevent endless lawsuits against Monsanto for the sin of producing Roundup and other useful products.

Perhaps the most egregious corporate suck-up to the CSR/BBB nonsense was Enron which, it is conveniently forgotten today, was the environmental lobby’s favorite energy company right up to the moment it imploded partly because its fraud was based on the hope that it could dominate trading in artificial “markets” for greenhouse gas emissions credits. (Enron was a cheerleader for the Kyoto Protocol that the U.S. Senate had indicated it would never ratify.) In January 2001, a Bear Stearns analyst cited Enron’s planet-friendly orientation in concluding: “We believe that Enron should be compared to leading global companies like GE, Citigroup, Nokia, Microsoft, and Intel, and that its valuation reflects this eminence.” The Bear Stearns note predicted Enron’s stock was going to $90 a share, but in less than 12 months, Enron was bankrupt and its shares worth zero. (And we all know what happened to Bear Stearns.)

There was even a “Dow Jones Sustainability Index” (DJSI) formed in 1999 to track the performance initially of 300 supposed BBB companies, though a close look at its composition found that there was less than met the eye. The DJSI added and deleted companies on their list with surprising frequency, with criteria that confessed to being politicized. Its process of sustainability analysis included reviewing “media, press releases, articles, and stakeholder commentary written about a company over the past two years.” (Emphasis added.)

The DJSI still exists, even though there are now several ESG indices competing with it. Despite its flexible criteria, the DJSI lagged the Dow Jones Industrial Average significantly. Over the last decade it has achieved an annual return of 5.2 percent, while the DJIA has returned 15 percent per year, and the S&P 500 14.8 percent. There is no compelling statistical evidence to validate that “socially responsible” corporations are more profitable or are better investments than companies not on the green bandwagon.

The best commentary on “corporate social responsibility,” no matter how cleverly defined, still comes from Milton Friedman’s observation made sixty years ago in Capitalism and Freedom:

Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their shareholders as possible. This is a fundamentally subversive doctrine. If businessmen do have a social responsibility other than making maximum profits for stockholders, how are they to know what it is? Can self-selected private individuals decide what the social interest is?

You'll own nothing and be happy.

As we can see with this long-term perspective, “sustainable development” and the “triple-bottom line” gave way to “Net-Zero” and ESG, which are just like “sustainable development” in that their imprecision allows for lots of cheating and self-serving definitions by both government and the private sector alike. ESG will likely start to fade from public view, and eventually the left will come up with some new term replete with with its own jargon and imaginary concepts. And as before, craven and gullible business leaders will fall for it, and the cycle will repeat itself.

The Utter Folly of European 'Climate Policy'

Europeans will starve, go hungry and be jobless in large numbers unless the European Union and national politicians do an about-face on climate policy. The United States is not far behind, although has more tools to displace failed leaders than do people under the thumb of the European Union. This winter is but a taste of things to come.

An extensive analysis—50 points—of the folly of "climate policy" is found at wattsupwiththat.com; in sum it evinces there is no “climate emergency,” the goal of Net-Zero by 2050 is “delusional,” neither warranted, feasible, nor politically possible and would be so costly it would “drive a 33 percent average reduction in all government spending on health, housing, education, social welfare, police, climate adaptation, defense, social justice, etc.” As the measurable big decrease in global economic output during the pandemic lockdowns established, slashing living standards will not result in a “measurable decrease atmospheric CO2.” The only feasible means to phase out fossil fuels are technological advances, which means the shift cannot be mandated by government and of necessity the shift will be slow.

In any event, nothing the West can do changes the fact that during the next quarter century “over 80 percent of all increased global emissions” will occur in Asia. Moreover, for decades to come, “Asia, South America, and Africa “will represent over 90 percent of future increases in energy consumption.” Any effort must be global, not nation-by-nation. It’s simply not a first-world issue, and it’s irrational to pretend otherwise.

Women's work.

Also irrational is the pretense that we can limit energy use. We need it for everything and the demand is growing. It may be a surprise to learn that “Global smart phone production uses 15 percent more energy as the automotive industry.... the Cloud uses twice a much electricity worldwide as all of Japan.” This would surely set back on their heels the anti-fossil fuel crowd gathered everywhere in clothes manufactured from petroleum-based materials and coordinating their activities by iPhones, if only someone told them. 

In the meantime, this winter Europeans are getting to see first hand the folly of the "climate change" cult thinking of the European Union and its national leaders. They are already seeing food and energy shortages and the beginning of deindustrialization. In a series of tweets Alexander Stahel, CIO of a Swiss investment management firm, sets out a number of developments in various European countries, to flesh out what news summaries do not—the desperate near- and long-term consequences of Europe’s “gigantic structural” problem. Here are a few examples.

As prices increase, along with scarce food, limited transport options, and winter heating, it’s easy to see why unrest in Europe is growing. The Yellow Vests in France have been demonstrating against, inter alia, rising fuel costs and austerity measures for almost four years. (The most recent French complaint about the emissions mandates involve the E.U.’s ban on an insecticide needed to deal with a beetle that devastates mustard plants.)

In the Netherlands, farmers have been protesting and blocking roads with their tractors for almost three years because of proposals to limit industrial fodder and livestock production to lower emissions from the nitrogen cycle. More recently, protests have against energy shortages have cropped up in Belgium where thousands of people have been protesting against the huge rise in the cost of living, driving “rising food prices, startling energy bills and frustration with politicians and employers.”

And then there’s Italy, where conservative firebrand Giorgia Meloni is poised to occupy the prime minister’s office after the recent elections saw her Brothers of Italy party surge to power. Meloni is more concerned with battling Europe's coming energy crisis than she is with "climate change," and has called for the EU. member states to work together to solve the problem before the problem solves them: "We need a common solution at the European level to help firms and families," she said in a statement. "No member state can offer effective and long term solutions on its own." Meloni's position on "climate change" already has the Left terrified, and its slander machine going full blast:

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the neo-fascist, right-wing populist Brothers of Italy party, is poised to become Italy’s first woman prime minister. This is as much a victory for feminism as Margaret Thatcher’s premiership in the UK, which is to say that it is no victory at all. Meloni boasts the familiar spate of ultra-conservative views with a few terrifying twists: not only has she called Mussolini a “good politician,” she also aligns herself with the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory. While her fascist leanings and the threats her ascent poses to human rights have been widely discussed, Meloni’s stance on environmental issues has been left relatively uninterrogated... it seems that Italy’s next government will be pursuing the promise of nuclear power and leaning into domestic natural gas extraction. Renewable energy forms, like solar and wind, are decidedly absent from the agenda. Meloni’s party has also criticised the EU’s ban on combustion engine cars by 2035 as “a sensational own-goal” and is likely to support junior coalition partner Matteo Salvini’s call for an Italian referendum to overturn the decision.

Also women's work.

Ursula Von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, threatened the Meloni coalition with "consequences" if it “veers from democracy,” which is rather ironic as there’s nothing particularly democratic about the Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, both of which are self-perpetuating sclerotic bureaucracies. Her threat reminds that the Commission has called upon the Union’s council to suspend 7.5 billion Euros from Hungary for “corruption.” Poland has said it will oppose such sanctions and criticized Von der Leyen’s not so veiled threats as did several Italian political leaders.

I don’t know if the present energy crisis will be enough to lead more countries to exit the European Union, which has, as we saw with Brexit, lots of tools to rein in unwilling members from so doing, but it just might if the winter is cold enough and the E.U. continues its suicidal foolishness and arrogance.

'We Stand by the Modeling'

The Australian Labor Government, in office since May 23, is pinning its hopes and our very future on its plan: “Powering Australia.” Worried? Don’t be. It’s backed by modelling:

A Labor Government will close the yawning gap between our current Federal Government and our business community, agricultural sector and state governments when it comes to investing in the renewables that will power our future. Our plan will create 604,000 jobs, with 5 out of 6 new jobs to be created in the regions. It will spur $76 billion of investment. It will cut power bills for families and businesses by $275 a year for homes by 2025, compared to today.

Read all about it:

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Recently, Chris Bowen, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy; or, as I like to put it, the minister for a contradiction in terms, was asked about the predicted $275 reduction in power bills for families. What did “today” mean he was asked. Is it literally today, which successive tomorrows will soon enough become, or is it when the plan was published before the election. A good question. Since the election power bills have risen by about 15 to 20 percent; by, roughly speaking, $275.

Eventually, after much pressing, Bowen and the government stuck to the prediction. Apparently, the prediction fell out of modelling and there is no gainsaying modelling. Here’s Anthony Albanese (Albo), the Prime Minister, in Parliament on 6 September. Overlook the tortured syntax.

I've said absolutely consistently from this dispatch box… that we stand by the modelling that we did… And what the modelling showed was that with our plan, which includes Rewiring the Nation, making sure that you make the grid 21st-century ready, if you actually enable renewables to fit into the energy grid through the integrated systems plan that's been developed by the Australian Energy Market Operator then what you will do is promote investment in renewables, which are the cheapest form of energy.

Ah, “we stand by the modelling.” Statistical modelling of the future. Something for which failure is endemic. Psychics do better. Thus, no economics model predicted the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. Hysterical morbidity modelling of the virus armed authoritarians. Kept people locked away, masked, forcibly injected with experimental substances. And, as everyone should know but doesn’t, climate models have performed abjectly; e.g., in falsely predicting increases in extreme weather events. (See, for confirmation, this recent study in The European Physical Journal Plus.)

Some Australians prefer other models.

Models and complex reality occupy different universes. So why Albo’s touching faith in modelling renewables? To be clear. It’s not informed faith. It’s blind faith.

Once you set out your stall to achieve net-zero and announce the steps along the way, including an untenable promise to deliver 82 percent of electricity by renewables by 2030, realism is defenestrated. The imperative becomes how to make the infeasible feasible. Saviour required. Namely, modelling which says it can be done. Better still modelling which says it can be done more cheaply. What a turnup! Show me the wanted outcome (cheap and abundant green energy) and I’ll show you the model.

Mind you, the modelling itself might be logically sound. Assume nine times the current number of wind and solar farms are built on time. Assume rooftop solar grows by five times. Assume 10,000 kilometres of new transmission lines are built. Assume, sufficient recharging points are installed and that electric vehicles wholly replace gasoline-powered vehicles. Assume adequate ‘firming’ can be achieved via batteries, pumped hydro and green hydrogen. Assume a specific growth in energy efficiency. Assume carbon dioxide abatement makes up for greenhouse gas emissions which can’t be eliminated.

Basically, you have the integrated systems plan issued in June by the Australian Energy Market Operator. I reckon if these assumptions were plugged into any purpose-built model, the right answer, net-zero by 2050, would pop out. Any problem; fiddle with the assumptions. Plug in more wind farms for example. Assume greater energy efficiency. Pump up the average wind speed a little. Reduce future demand for power. Remember, in the end result, unless net zero pops out, you ain’t got nothing politically sellable.

Okay, but how do you make power cheaper? I admit, that part has me completely flummoxed; though not the prime minister, as I note below. Battery costs are rising. Materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel are getting progressively more expensive to extract. The costs of building Snowy 2, the only major pumped hydro project afoot in Australia, have sky rocketed by five times and counting. The costs of building transmission lines, still at a preliminary stage, have soared. To boot, no one wants wind and solar farms and transmission lines in their backyards. Maybe they can be paid off? Then there’s the dream of green hydrogen. Desalination plants to produce sufficient pure water; multiple electrolysis plants driven by huge wind and solar farms; plants to convert volatile hydrogen into ammonia for safe transport, and to change it back. At a guess, might cost a dollar or two.

Just pump up the average windspeed a little.

However, Australia’s prime minister occupies an uncomplicated world. As he says: “if you have a shift in the energy mix towards cheaper energy [renewables], as opposed to more expensive energy, then you lower energy prices.” Compelling modelling logic. To reiterate, cheaper energy is cheaper than more expensive energy. No wonder he became PM.

Alas, Australia’s make-believe modelling world is not reflective of real life elsewhere. In Germany, for example, electricity prices trended upwards during the 2010s, notwithstanding Energiewende. A study out of the University of Chicago shows that U.S. states which adopted “renewable portfolio standards” had higher electricity prices than those states which did not. As the authors point out, the higher prices likely reflect costs that renewables impose on the generation system due to their “intermittency” and “higher transmission costs.” Quite so. But this is mere prelude to the brave much greener world ahead.

According to EIA figures, wind and solar accounted for just 12 percent of electricity generation in the U.S. in 2021. Australia is higher at 22 percent. But, vitally, in both countries fossil fuel power is strongly in the mix—61 percent in the U.S. (plus 19 percent nuclear) and 72 percent in Australia. It can still backup intermittent sources of power. Watch out when the balance tips a little further. Coming to your neighbourhood fairly soon: unaffordable electricity, blackouts and, inevitably, authoritarian diktats. Verboten, home heating above 61°F. VIPs excepted of course. To everyone according to their needs.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Mourning

We’ve lost our beloved Queen and no amount of wishing is going to change that. And it’s what we all feared when her Platinum Jubilee was held at 70 years rather than 75. Judith (mummy) has been crying off and on since we got the news and I’ve done my best to keep from further upsetting her. I didn’t expect to find myself at my childhood home in St John’s Wood on this day but if I’m honest, I really did expect Elizabeth's reign to continue on forever. As Daddy said, we’ve known nothing else. She was queen when I was born in British Hong Kong and when my grandmother was said to have tucked a small framed photo of HRH into my pram.  

Daddy has taken Judith to tea nearly every day, which has stopped her from watching the telly nonstop, and bracing when she sees Camilla. In the end I’m sure she’ll come round but for now she won’t accept Charles as our sovereign. Given how many have rung to ask her to clarify the rule, I believe she’s not alone. Canada, which still has the queen on its currency, opposes Charles succeeding his mother by 67 percent. A rather inauspicious start for the prince who has so valiantly fought for our planet.

At your service, Ma'am.

Walking back from my first (and last) British Military Fitness Class I couldn’t help but notice a sea of brightly coloured cellophane. We were told it would not be the miles of flowers we saw at Diana’s death and that arrangements would be ‘sensitively moved’ to Green Park, but what they hadn’t addressed was the impact on our landfill. And in response I quickly organised tables with stewards to remove the plastic wrap so that the flowers could more easily be composted and replanted. I felt the queen would have wanted no less, and as we transition to a green-minded king, it was the thing to do. 

I would have volunteered myself but I’d promised to take over tea-duty with Judith for today. She was in black of course and immediately told me that her single brooch was in good taste— having been her mother’s. And again reminded me that, ‘Your grandmother and the Queen were of an age’. As if I could possibly be allowed to forget. She also warned me that she wouldn’t be able to eat a thing. A warning that became less credible after devouring two plates of sandwiches.

We didn’t see anyone she knew but then one rarely does. And I was sure everyone she knew was still ringing the house to discuss the title of Queen Consort and dashed hopes of a morganatic marriage. Yet somehow, this was not an appropriate topic for our tea. Or so she said. I wanted to keep her mind away from her sadness but not so far away as to have to hear what I knew was coming:

‘Now Jennifer’ she began.  UGH! I motioned for another glass of champagne. ‘You do understand that once King… Charles can no longer involve himself in all your pet green projects’.

‘I thought you were putting a stop to that’ I responded.

‘I just thought it right, that someone say something to you—to break the news’.

‘That the Queen has died?’ I asked.

Take my hand, Mum. It will be all right.

She found that remark uncalled for and perhaps she was right but she really could be a pain, and this outing was for her benefit. The last thing I wanted right now was to be sitting for tea when I’d learned mourners were now leaving Paddington bears and marmalade sandwiches WRAPPED IN PLASTIC for the queen.  

For a moment I wondered if Judith had read the note I penned to the new King Charles, urging him not to drop all of our good works, and to continue to be a defender of the planet, but in the end I think she was just trying to be a mother for a change.  In my letter to Charles I’d reminded him that he was possibly the most significant environmental figure of all time, and that he could not abandon Terra Carta… no matter anything! As prince he could act as a one-person NGO, but as king he would be constrained by the convention that the monarch should not interfere in the U.K.’s political decision-making, or take any overt political stance. I reminded him that the environment isn’t politics, it's life. 

Many people feel that as Prince, Charles overstepped the bounds of constitutional monarchy, including his blistering attack on corporate vested interests.  But it has always been understood that this freedom would end as soon as he took the crown. So I believe it is important that he re-brand his stance—not as one of advocacy, but one of responsibility. Less focus on agenda, and more on serving the best interests of the country.

God save the king.

I explained that we have evolved as a country, and in time I believe he will be able to continue his lobbying at the highest political level, as he has done rather effectively with his black spider letters. And as the Tories have always been the conservators of the land there should be no risk of his agenda being seen as partisan or political… simply important. During his confidential weekly meetings with the Prime Minister he will be able to air his concerns over the environment and world climate.

When I got home Daddy handed me the paper, the headline read: 'World leaders to travel to Funeral by bus, commercial plane'. Surely he could not be serious. This was a mistake. ‘NO!’ I shrieked. 

‘I thought you’d be happy to see this—it’s the green solution, smaller carbon footprint and all that’, Daddy said smirking.

Ugh! How does he not get this? Along with world leaders we are the ones saving the planet. We are the ones taking up this very important task. In the same way that failing corporations must pay more to attract top talent… we certainly should not be punished or dissuaded by making us fly commercial.