'Greens' Win a Victory But Will Likely Lose the War

The United States Supreme Court this week declined to hear a challenge by oil and gas companies seeking to overturn rulings in two lawsuits, both filed by state and local governments seeking billions of dollars because energy company products supposedly caused, or made worse, devastating “climate change."

This is being reported as a victory for the environmental lobby, but those reports are misleading for a variety of reasons. Among them is that "climate” wasn’t actually at issue before the Court in this case. This was a jurisdictional question. The oil and gas companies were hoping to remove the matters to federal court given how the purported rationale — global "climate change" —unsubtly suggests this is not well-suited for resolution by, say, a county superior court in Maryland. 

Meanwhile, after having stumbled in the federal courts, these litigious, progressively-led government plaintiffs view state courts as their best hope to obtain the demanded riches in disgorged revenues, to pay for politicians’ agendas that legislatures won’t fund through direct taxation.

Don't get hysterical.

The Court’s decision to not intervene dealt the oil companies a setback, at least for the time being. This was in fact the second time the Court has dealt with what are now two-dozen such cases in a nationally coordinated climate-litigation campaign. The first case, on a somewhat similar if even more arcane procedural question, did go to argument and the companies prevailed. More cases will make it to the Court in the near future, but these should be viewed as the pre-game warmups. Because inevitably the problem the environmentalists are going to run into is the merits of the cases themselves.

Indeed, this veritable tsunami of state-court lawfare began with demands in the name of companies purportedly causing “climate nuisance.” After setbacks in federal courts in California and New York (the latter affirmed on appeal), as well as a drubbing in New York state court in the first case filed, the plaintiffs adapted. They claim now that, upon further reflection, their demands for billions of dollars from the same parties and citing the very same behavior are really matters of state consumer protection laws, with which the federal courts should not trouble themselves. And so, the campaign of vexatious multi-state litigation to bring their targets “to the table,” to negotiate their way out of the assault and provide the plaintiffs with a “sustainable funding stream,” continues.

There is no doubt this is what is going on. A party whom I assisted in its amicus curiae brief on the previous trip to SCOTUS, Energy Policy Advocates, points out that while the principals do not advertise this — in fact they go to great lengths to obscure it — they also have nonetheless openly, repeatedly admitted it.

Equally farcical is the newfound claim that these claims are not about global this or greenhouse that, at all — which were obvious elements of the claims that led federal judges to declare the issue belongs in federal courts. Now, we are told that was all a misunderstanding.

Yet no change in branding or rhetoric can alter that this is a demonstrably coordinated national campaign to litigate purely local concerns. Further aggravating the pretense, this anti-energy campaign managed out of New York and California is quietly financed by Hollywood through charitable foundations giving “grants” to, and otherwise paying, the plaintiffs’ lawyers. Who nonetheless have been awarded “contingency fee” contracts by progressive politicians to file the suits. It is for just such circumstances, where plaintiffs seem to be playing political odds and hoping for local sympathy, that our system has longstanding doctrine that federal courts are appropriate fora to guard against a legitimate fear of state court bias and other abuse.

In addition to rebranding after losing the first few rounds and realizing that a federal judge might keep the case and even — gasp — take testimony on “the science,” the climate industry had another trick up its sleeve. Immediately, a curious proliferation of briefings arranged for federal and then state and local judges appeared on the calendars of august judicial education organizations. One email obtained by Energy Policy Advocates paraphrases a federal judge on the D.C. Circuit, who is heavily involved in these seminars, as having asked about “counteracting arguments from nonbelievers.” The nerve!

These continue, including several this spring, and appear to be less briefings than indoctrination sessions, featuring plaintiff’s witnesses from past trials and advocates with a history of filing friend-of-the-court briefs in support of “climate action.”

Lemme explain to you how this works...

All of which is all to say that this climate litigation industry is multi-faceted. Other unsavory details include the infamous play by Michael Bloomberg to staff state attorneys general with donor-provided activist attorneys to push his climate agenda, including through filing their own climate suits against industry.

Other donors had a similar idea of providing staff, but to "enhance" congressional investigations. During the previous Congress, the House Oversight Committee pitched in, launching a “year-long investigation” of the defendants. Subcommittee Chair Ro Khanna (D-CA) first boasted that this was guided by former Hill staffers-turned- donor-provided consultants. That was before he denied it. Such behavior is, after all, an ethics violation. Still, it is noteworthy that the donors themselves believed that they were underwriting enhanced congressional oversight through the group Khanna enlisted.

So all seems to be fair in the weaponization of government investigations against political opponents and litigation targets, including subpoenaing them and, we now know, turning over the fruits of that effort to the plaintiffs’ bar. Still, none of it seems to inspire confidence among the plaintiffs. Recently, the campaign to herd these industry targets “to the table” has invoked the prospect of charging energy executives with “climate homicide.” The very extremity of this suggests that they believe their current litigation strategy will likely not prevail.

Clearly, the Supreme Court is going to see a lot of these climate litigants in the future. At its next opportunity, here’s hoping the Court decides to at least place the this current lot of “climate” prosecutions firmly under federal jurisdiction which, we have seen, will also put an end to it. Then it will be on to the next innovation in climate lawfare.

Don't Cede a Thing to the 'Climate' Scaremongers

Talking to a conservative friend the other day. OK, I admit it. Outside of church, I only have conservative friends. I’ve ditched any others or they’ve ditched me. Can’t do too much about wet Anglican churchgoers, they come with the territory. Anyway, he said, what’s wrong with a bit of warming. Surely that’s a good thing? It is indeed. For a start, many more people die of cold than of heat. But I noted that my friend talked about warming without at all identifying the source of this warming. It could be inferred, and reasonably in context of the current hype, that he was talking about warming generated by man-made CO2. Implicitly ceding part of the premise of climate hysterics.

Another friend ups the ante in ceding the premise. He has disengaged from debating the science and solely focuses on the ineffective and ruinous things being done to combat "climate change." Perforce, this takes the debate to the fashionable idea of using small-scale nuclear power plants, aka small modular reactors (SMRs).

SMRs provide reliable power. As required, they can be linked up. And they can be located close to where power is needed. Marvelous, to be sure; as are motorized wheelchairs for elderly people who have difficulty walking. But such chairs are redundantly expensive if you can, in fact, walk without difficulty. Equally, SMRs are redundantly expensive if coal, oil or natural gas is readily, conveniently, and cheaply available. That’s certainly the case in Australia, as it is the United States and Canada.

SMRs -- it's that simple.

Ergo, SMRS are better than sliced bread if you are in short supply of accessible and affordable hydrocarbons. Otherwise, if the market were to let rip, you’d probably find investors in SMRs going to pastures unendowed with close-by coal, oil, or gas. Unless, that is, man-made CO2 emissions are actually, after all, a serious problem. Then, of course, SMRs come into their own.

At this point, implicitly ceded is not only that a "climate-change" emergency is underway, but that man-made CO2 is the primary cause. Best not to go there. Best not to provide a scintilla of support for a highly tenuous scientific hypothesis primarily promoted on the public stage by assorted oddballs and know-nothings. By honorary doctor of theology Greta Thunberg, by Prince (now King) Charles, by Al Gore, John Kerry, Tim Flannery (worth a mention for predicting in 2007 that Australia's since overflowing dams would never fill again), by the U.N.'s António Guterres, by Leonardo DiCaprio and the Hollywood set, and by public broadcasters and TV weathermen, etc.

It appears to have got hotter since 1850. John Christie and Roy Spencer, scientists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, reliable skeptics both, compile temperature data sourced from NOAA satellites. Since the beginning of 1979 and the beginning of 2023 (44 years), a trend line through this data shows a rise of 0.6⁰C. The longest running surface data, HADCRUT data from the Met Office Hadley Centre in the U.K., shows a trend rise in temperature from 1850 until the end of 1978 (128 years) of 0.36⁰C. Accepting this data at face value, two things stand out:

First, the global temperature has risen since the end of the Little Ice Age. Second, the rise has become somewhat more acute since around 1980. Industrial CO2 emissions began to rise more sharply from the 1950s onwards; a trend which has continued. Hence the alarmist hypothesis. And if you think there is much more to the hypothesis than imperfect linear correlation and imaginative extrapolation, think again. If there were more to it, the various IPCC predictive models would not produce such wildly divergent outcomes. And so?

And so there is no merit in conceding anything but that the planet has warmed since 1850 and, seemingly, at a somewhat faster rate in more recent decades. And that the measured level of CO2 in the atmosphere has also increased, beneficially greening the planet. Beyond that lies politicized conjecture.

Dan Peña’s metaphorical flourish that man-made CO2 is a “fart in the wind,” might, possibly, be a bridge too far. However, there is no compelling evidence that the increase in CO2, however caused, is the main factor in increasing global temperatures. And even if it were, scientists William Wijngaarden and Will Happer make the solid case that its warming effect progressively peters out; and that from here on its effect will be next to nothing.

A short piece by Professor Richard Lindzen written in 2009, “Resisting Climate Hysteria,” stands the test of time. An excerpt:

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth… The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations... only about a third of the warming is associated with the greenhouse effect, and, quite possibly, not all of even this really small warming is due to man… Climate alarmists [say] that some of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past decade. Given that we are in a relatively warm period, this is not surprising, but it says nothing about trends.

I saw Lindzen interviewed only a few weeks ago. He hasn’t changed his mind. Our minds should be equally resolute. Don’t cede the premise. Man-made CO2 is bringing the planet undone. Really? A revolving door of patently bogus doom-laden predictions is not evidence; except, that is, of the prevalence of scaremongery as an avenue for acquiring ill-gotten loot and power.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Orienting

‘Après is so passé’, and now it’s all about how you’re getting where you’re getting so bonjour Orient Express! Tomorrow I’m meeting friends at Coerchevel where I am going to ski and eat everything! Taking the train made so much sense especially when I am paying carbon offsets for flying anyway. I’m all for conserving but boat travel á la Greta is just not an option for most of us. 

Speaking of most of us… the entire environmental industry is still reeling from John Kerry’s remark after taking a private jet to a climate conference and saying, ‘It’s the only choice for somebody like me’. I mean, UGH! Why couldn’t he just shut up? But blab he did and now it’s putting all of us under a microscope. It’s so unfair because carbon offsets are not even mandatory and yet we pay! 

Thieves like us.

But enough of that because it’s not every day one takes the Orient Express, and you can bet I’m making a big deal of it by being photographed the minute I arrive. Thankfully we (me and all of my besties) reserved Courchevel early on, because Leysin had only a small patch of artificial snow and Gstaad only had 16 of 70 trails open. How embarrassing! 

I was halfway through my first bottle of Veuve Clicquot when I overheard two bright young things talking about whole swaths of yellowed grass on the Vaud Alps where they’d just left. Even the sound of it was distasteful. Of course I felt for the poor darlings but why would you even say such a thing out loud? And yet one went on about having found no decent skiing on the East Coast. Ah—Americans! And they were clearly idiots. Anyone following Davos knew they had to offer alpine bike trails to provide an activity on a snowless Christmas Day. 

I had just one bit of work to do and that was to figure out what (if anything) was to be done about the U.S. subsidy for electric vehicle batteries. Truth is I’d worked damned hard to see that each new battery built in the U.S. would be subsidised by 35 percent—which was accomplished, so I really didn’t understand the problem. Oh how I didn’t want to call my father but who else does one call when your opening line is I know I did a fabulous job so what’s the problem?

Maybe I’d ask the Americans. They were so loud I would easily find an opening. ‘Cheers!’ I began, lifting my champagne coupe. ‘I couldn’t help but detect a sight American accent (I lied) but you look so very European’ (a double lie). But they just began a repeat of the no-snow on the east coast and yellow alps story… I sipped my champagne and listened. 

‘Surely due to climate…?’ I baited. But no takers. A bit more small talk… mention of my own Tesla back in California, and then I tried ‘Such wonderful news that the U.S. is soon going to lead the world in Electric Vehicle production…?’ They didn’t care one bit. If the car was cheaper, they were happy, and they mentioned something about damage to the environment from used EV batteries.

No snow in Kitz, either.

I had to call my father. ‘Before you start…I have just one question’ I said. 

‘Before I start?’ Daddy asked. ‘I was just going to comment how clear and carbon-free your voice sounded from the train’.

Of course he had to get one in… ‘No, I think that’s from three bottles of champagne’, I lied again. ‘What I’m asking is how can it possibly be a bad thing if the subsidised battery program is a bigger success than our wildest dreams?

‘Define success’, Daddy said.

‘Well, 35 percent of every EV battery manufactured in the U.S. is going to be publicly funded… lower prices—more electric vehicles. It’s a win-win! AND the program is turning out to be four times more popular with manufacturers than imagined so… EXTRA WIN!’

‘Well, three things I would point out’ Daddy began, ‘if electricity for charging wasn’t itself fossil-fuelled, and if the discarded batteries didn’t present an environmental nightmare then… MAYBE WIN. Except with four times the success you now have four times the fossil-fuelled electricity being used. And don’t forget that your beloved California asked EV drivers not to charge when the power grid was overtaxed. Imagine four times the overtaxing’.

‘Oh blast, Daddy! When you put it that way—I get it, but most people don’t care. They just want cheaper gas, and we will find some way to make clean power eventually’.

‘Eventually? How fascinating’. He scolded. ‘And you had cheaper gas until you shut down my pipeline’. I knew he was right but I didn’t know what to say.

The good old days?

‘And if your program is four times more “successful” as you say, Jennifer, it just got four times more expensive. You have to understand the money crunchers determined this would cost taxpayers $30 billion over ten years, but last year alone manufacturers claimed $73 billion. Add to that all the foreign manufacturers that will show up with their eco-hands out and it is at least $140 billion’.

‘Okay, Daddy but if it just costs more…’

‘Jennifer don’t say just! And more isn’t better! It means taxpayers were tricked into a program that now costs four times more, but the obvious problem is that you and your fellow green-niks go on thinking that if it has even a possibility of helping the environment then it must be good. I just pointed out to you how it is not a bit better, and where I really lose my patience is when you imagine this has some value. Don’t assume that everyone agrees with you, but even if, it meant less carbon, which I’ve just pointed out it does not, IDEAS, unless monetised, have no intrinsic value! What you have is nothing. It’s less than nothing. It is taking money for actually nothing. How do you not see that? Honestly Jennifer, It’s worse than Denmark claiming to be renewable when they are entirely subsidised’. 

‘Okay, Okay. I hear you. Now what?’

‘Well for you and yours it IS a win-win. Your clients can claim to care, and have their businesses subsidised’.

This hadn’t gone well. I went back to the bar to consider another bottle of champagne. The bright young things were asking to be seated for dinner and by the looks of things the bartender was relieved. I wanted to text Daddy to say something but I didn’t know what. It can’t be easy for a geophysical engineer to have a daughter like me. As I was thinking of what to say I got a text from him:

‘I do hope you haven't forgotten that General Motors recalled all 141,000 of their Chevy Bolts'.

On second thought, maybe I am exactly what he deserves. 

Down With 'Divestment,' Up with Freedom

The Canadian organization InvestNow does a lot of valuable work countering the extremely pernicious divestment movement, whose object is to pressure banks and other large institutions not to invest in the resource sector. This would enable them to eventually achieve their environmentalist goals by non-political means, so as to prevent regular people, voters, from having any say in a massive, harmful, and mandated alteration to their lives and livelihoods.

For a taste of what InvestNow stands for, here is a selection from their resolution:

We consider divestment movements pushing for the divesting of Canadian resource company assets to be irresponsible and against the interests of shareholders, and Canadians at large. We believe divestment movements should be actively opposed and we are committed to speaking out against them. We hereby encourage others in the resource sectors and the broader investment community in Canada to do the same.

Moreover, they contend that investment in Canadian oil and gas is "good of the economy, the environment, shareholders and everyday Canadians.”

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For their latest project, they've filed shareholder proposals at three of Canada's biggest banks – TD, the Bank of Montreal, and CIBC – asking them to commit to investing in Canadian oil and natural gas and to review their investment policies to ensure that none has "the effect of encouraging divestment from the sector." From their press release:

“It’s time for the banks to stop their demonization of and attack on the oil and gas sector,” said InvestNow Executive Director Gina Pappano. “Attacking the oil and gas sector means attacking the industry that fuels every other industry. It means threatening the livelihoods not just of the hundreds of thousands across Canada who work in the sector, but the millions – that is all of us — who depend on it in so many ways. Energy from hydrocarbons enables virtually everything we do. Encouraging divestment – directly or indirectly – means putting our economy at risk. And it means the growing demand for oil and gas around the world will be met by other, less responsible, less environmentally friendly, suppliers.” The adherence to anti-oil and gas investment policies like Net Zero suggest that the banks think that oil and gas extraction, development and use are not of essential value. “This couldn’t be more wrong,” said Pappano.

These proposals will come to a vote next month at the banks' annual general meetings. Lets hope that those banks' shareholders – perhaps having noticed some of the financial shakiness south of the border – will vote for sanity and against ideology.

Trudeau's 'Just Transition' is All Hot Air

A recent poll has found that 84 percent of Canadians have no idea what Justin Trudeau's so-called "Just Transition" plan is, despite its being a key plank of his Liberal Party's governing program. And it's hard to blame them, because for all of the times Trudeau and his entourage have repeated the words, "Just Transition," they're generally careful to avoid specifics.

Of course, there's a reason for that. "Just Transition" is an attempt to address what the government has referred to as the “uneven impact across sectors, occupations and regions," of its climate policies, which, the Liberals acknowledge, will "create significant labour market disruptions.” Which is to say, it is the government's plan to ensure that the millions of men and women who work in the nation's enormous resource sector—nearly 15 percent of the nation's work force—will, if all goes according to plan, be unemployed. However, what if those workers were simply shifted into another sector?! Namely the "renewable" resource sector. Magically, you'd have a bunch of oil and gas workers performing green jobs instead, and everyone would be happy!

Do you believe in magic?

The idea of giving "green" jobs to oil and gas workers goes back at least to the Paris Climate conference of 2015, and even American liberals have flirted with it. Biden Administration "climate czar" John Kerry was widely and justly mocked for insisting that American oil and gas workers who lose their jobs can just go learn to make solar panels. Of course, the idea was typical Leftist wishful thinking—the vast majority of the world's solar panels are manufactured in China, and those jobs aren't relocating to the U.S. At least not until solar panel manufacturers are allowed to pay comparable wages in Texas and Oklahoma as they do in Xinjiang, an impossible outcome thanks to the 13th Amendment.

Canada has some history with similar plans at government planned employment shifts, which were mentioned in a devastating Auditor General's report on "Just Transition" last year. The first related to the federally imposed moratorium on the cod fishery off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1992, which led to a 15 percent jump in unemployment in the province. The government passed several major pieces of legislation meant to "transition" those affected to other fields, but though a lot of money was spent, the programs were ultimately ineffective. Consequently, the province's population dropped by 10 percent in under a decade.

The second example mentioned is more recent: the still-ongoing phase-out of coal power plants in Canada, and the attempts to transition those workers into other positions. Ultimately, Ottawa just told those workers to collect unemployment. When that money turned out to be insufficient for their needs, their home provinces had to kick in some more. As Don Braid explained, "much of the federal project money was aimed at diversifying local economies but had little to do with the coal workers. In Alberta and Saskatchewan, 83 percent of funding went directly to municipalities."

The Secretary for Hot Air.

Meanwhile, the Auditor General pointed out that the Trudeau government couldn't even say how, or if, the program did what it was supposed to do: "The agencies could not demonstrate how the funded projects met the objective to support a transition to a low‑carbon economy for affected workers and communities.” Keep in mind -- this coal transition thus far has affected just 1,100 workers. The full "Just Transition" plan is supposed to directly affect nearly 3 million! Consequently, the Auditor General proclaimed the following:

Overall, we found that Natural Resources Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada were not prepared to support a just transition to a low‑carbon economy for workers and communities.

So Canadians are confused about the content of "Just Transition" because there is no content. Just a lot of expensive bureaucratic nonsense which will leave the country generally, and resource workers specifically, much worse off. In other words, par for the course for the Trudeau government.

Germany Comes to Grips with Reality

Germany has long been a bugbear of ours at The Pipeline, because it has spent more than a decade pursuing the most utopian approach to the environment in the developed world. Dubbed die Energiewende (meaning "the energy transition/turning point"), this series of policies and regulations has been ordered toward getting that nation of 83 million people off of all traditional energy sources (oil, natural gas, even nuclear), and completely replacing them with so-called "renewables," and in a much shorter time span than any other similarly disposed country.

That being the case, you will imagine our surprise at seeing reports of the surprisingly hard line that Germany's ruling coalition government — which includes that nation's Green Party — has begun taking against environmentalist protestors. The center of this crackdown has been the tiny, uninhabited hamlet of Lützerath in western Germany, whose handful of structures had been scheduled to be demolished as a nearby coal mine expanded into the area. Unfortunately for all involved, before this plan could be executed Lützerath became a cause célèbre for environmental activists from Deutschland and beyond. A few thousand of them (though the exact numbers are disputed) occupied the area, refusing to leave for well over a year. According to a particularly melodramatic report in the New York Times,

The activists... prepared themselves to defend the half dozen houses and farmyards with their bodies. They barricaded themselves in a complex of barns and other structures. They erected and occupied tall watchtowers. They carved out a tunnel network. They nested in the branches of 100-year-old trees.

As you can imagine, the increasing media attention eventually attracted everyone's favorite environmentalist publicity hound:

(Thunberg was eventually arrested, though the arrest appears to have been staged for propaganda purposes.)

Eventually the authorities had enough and decided to move in. Here is more from the NY Times:

The fight for Lützerath was long, but the end, when it finally came, was quick. In a matter of days this past week, more than 1,000 police officers cleared out the hundreds of climate activists who had sworn to protect the small village, once home to 90 people but no church, which was scheduled to be razed as part of a sprawling open-pit coal mine in western Germany.... For years, environmental activists had hoped to forestall the fate of Lützerath — possibly the last of hundreds of villages in Germany to fall to open-pit mining since World War II. For a while, it seemed that the activists would succeed.

That report's lyrical tone, which makes it sound like they're describing the Fall of Berlin, is ridiculous, although typical of the Times' overwrought, dishonest ideological bent. But the above also serves to downplay the clashes between activists and the police, which became intense at times, judging by footage on the ground:

(The headline above reads: "Attack on the police. The so-called 'friendly' protest in Lützerath.")

These are shocking images, especially since just a short time ago the combatants in this conflict were natural allies. For years now the German government has been working on behalf of these activists to create artificial energy scarcity, with the expectation that wind and solar would step in and fill the void. That had the unintended (though foreseeable) consequence of increasing the country's addiction to Russian natural gas. When the war in Ukraine (and the still-unexplained sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines) forced them to go another direction, they had no choice but to lean on domestically produced (and carbon intensive) coal. Even the Green Party can see that they can't afford to give that up now.

Which is to say, they've been forced to accept the fact that they've painted themselves into a corner and now they're stuck. Perhaps this will teach them a lesson about the dangers of utopian thinking. But chances are, once the war ends and energy markets stabilize a bit they'll get right back to driving the country into the ground. And, as history shows, utopian thinking is what Germans do best, and most dangerously.

Who's Afraid of a Gigaton?

The Global Carbon Project, a cohort of self-anointed “experts” intent on proving that the Klimate Kult fiction through which they generate their funding is real, tracks carbon output across nations and creates a carbon “budget” of what they feel is allowable for humanity. When tracked against economic output, the report, "CO2 emissions have been flat for a decade,” is fascinating. It proves that what our elites are doing is exactly the opposite of what they’d be doing if they believed the green agenda were needed, let alone critical. How dare they?

Using gigatons of CO2, by nation, the GCP provides a metric of this “pollution” by country with the obvious intent of shaming the miscreants other than not-Green China and not-Green India into reducing their output of the CO2 that is a fundamental requirement for life on earth. Red China is allowed by those preening themselves over greenhouse gasses (GHG) to skip the entire Paris “agreement” and just not worry about CO2 output. The same CO2 measurements are the primary focus of the Green Inquisition to bash the U.S.A. for ours. Let’s look at the numbers:

Not-green China, a command economy under communist rule, the economic model preferred by our elites and to which our ruling class has been shipping all our jobs and prosperity for decades, generated in 2021, per this report, 11.5 gigatons of CO2, while creating an economic output of $17,734,000,000,000, or emitting 1.3 pounds of CO2 per dollar of economic output. America, a (semi-)free market, capitalist economy under ostensibly democratic governance, generated in 2021, 5.0 GTon of CO2, while creating an economic output of $22,196,000,000,000, emitting 0.45 pounds of CO2 per dollar of economic output.

In other words, America generates 288 percent of the economic output of China while emitting 43 percent of China’s CO2. Six times the economic output per Gton of CO2. If the political establishment pushing green actually were pushing green and de-carbonization, they’d recognize that a higher standard of living at a lower CO2 cost (i.e. a more efficient and productive use of energy) is being attained under our political-economic model than under that of Red China.


If our self-proclaimed “green” elites actually believed in “Climate Change” and were concerned about CO2 emissions, not only would we not be offshoring our manufacturing and prosperity and future, our elites would be making the pitch to all the world to move their manufacturing to America, and to move the entire planet to a capitalist free-market economy as this model provably provides more economic output per GTon of CO2 than any other, higher living standards than any other model in human history, and reduces carbonization along the way.

How to do this is not to sign-on to a global minimum tax, but to allow all countries to compete for industry – and jobs and living standards – using tax and market policies anathema to our rulers but liberty-generating for the global middle classes the WEF/Davos crowd is trying to annihilate, while reducing CO2 impact for all.

No one wants to decrease their living standards. This is why immigrants are flocking to America rather than to China or Mexico. If the world wants to decrease GHG and “Global Warming,” and to not reduce living standards, we need to move industry to the country and economic system with the highest GDP per ton of CO2: the United States, and to return to a free-market economy so derided by globalist elites.

The upsides of moving industry back to, or to, America are two. If, against all current and historical data, the earth is being heated by human-emitted GHG, we can reduce the CO2 output while simultaneously increasing global economic production - and so global standards of living. If, as the data actually show, the earth is entering a cooling period, then we will have the necessary industry here to at least keep us warm.

Plus, the working class grows wealthier, which history shows leads to a higher level of concern about the environment.

The point here isn’t that CO2 is increasing or decreasing, that the planet is warming, cooling or in stasis. The point is that the elites, the same ones telling us we must reduce our energy usage to pre-industrial levels, are acting against – not just ignoring, but acting against – what they insist be done. Which means they don't believe it, either.

What they insist on is contributing to the increase of GHG and, per their models, to the global warming about which they only pretend to care as a control device over our liberty and prosperity, the destruction of which is their actual goal.

We aren’t talking about private jets or big houses or multiple houses or extravagances those of us working and providing them their wealth cannot afford due to the policies of these same rulers. We’re talking about the facts on the ground: moving industry to a command economy increases rather than decreases GHG emission per economic unit of measure. Reducing GHG while keeping or increasing global living standards means moving jobs and industry back to a free-market economy and away from command economies.

More than any other report, this GCP report ought to convince everyone paying attention that the U.N. is not kidding in its statement of their goal for the entire climate change hoax. As noted by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Brussels, in 2015, the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

“Changing the economic model” that has done more than any other in history to reduce poverty and improve global standards of living and, not coincidentally, to reduce greenhouse gasses better than any other, is the goal of our elites.

Their goal with “Climate Change” has nothing to do with saving the planet. Adding this report to the actions of our greenies proves that they are intent on adding to the global carbon output and increasing climate change while reducing our prosperity; as noted here early and often, to destroy the global Middle Classes.

These are the facts as presented by the GCP, an instrument of the Klimate Kult seemingly oblivious as to what its data show.

This has nothing to do with climate. It never has. It never will.

The 'Energy Transition' Will Be Delayed a Bit

Perhaps the most scandalous aspect of environmental ideology is that its religious fervor for the Malthusian apocalypse requires its high priests to ignore data and science. The actual monitoring data for core environmental problems such as air and water quality, deforestation, and other genuine problems show that most environmental problems are improving all around the world, most conspicuously in prosperous nations that have market economies, embrace technological innovation, and protect property rights and the rule of law.

Presenting these data, from credible sources as various as Human Progress, Our World in Data, or Environmental Progress, or figures such as Bjorn Lomborg or Matt Ridley (to name just two), sends environmentalists into a rage of denunciation. For environmentalists, good news is bad news, akin to depriving a fundamentalist fire-and-brimstone preacher of original sin.

This is true even of the grand-daddy of all environmental scares: "climate change." The latest official “consensus” scientific estimates of climate change have been backing away from the most dire climate disaster predictions of a decade ago, though the media never notice, and the relentless climate campaign won’t admit it.

Malthus: Doomed, I tell you, doomed.

It is not just more congenial, but essential, that environmentalism suppresses all data that does not support the urgency of their latest disaster scenarios. The most scandalous example came this week with news that BP (formerly British Petroleum) is weighing whether to discontinue its annual “Statistical Review of World Energy.” This fabulously useful report, which BP has published for 71 years, provides detailed trend data for every country in the world in downloadable spreadsheets, enabling analysts to conduct independent analysis easily, often noting findings that BP omits to highlight in its own write-up. Surprise: BP’s data turns out to be uncongenial to the renewable energy cheerleaders. Therein lies a tale.

Why would BP think of abandoning this well-regarded report, which can’t be a huge expense or labor for a multinational of its size and expertise? The Reuters report that broke this story hints at the problem:

The report has been seen by some BP executives as detrimental to the company's new direction, sources told Reuters... "Put simply, it (Statistical Review) is bad PR," one company source said. The company has in recent years also cut its ties with several oil and gas associations and has sought to raise its profile as a clean energy provider.

Why would a detailed, data-rich report on actual energy trends be “bad PR” for a major oil company? Back in 2000, BP formally rebranded its company initials to stand for “Beyond Petroleum,” accompanied with a $200 million ad campaign conceived by Ogilvy and Mather, featuring splashy public pledges to "go green" to fight climate change. In the immediate term this meant becoming predominantly a natural gas company and phasing out of oil exploration and production along with new investments in wind and solar power.

BP quietly abandoned the “Beyond Petroleum” rebranding after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 made a mockery of its virtue-signaling pretensions. It also quietly sold off its money-losing wind and solar power divisions, and suddenly returned to expanding oil and gas production.

But BP lately has returned to the fold of climate hysterics, and is once again pledging to become carbon-neutral by 2050 if not sooner, and a full partner in the “energy transition” that is the fever dream of the climate campaign. And that’s where the Statistical Review of World Energy becomes an inconvenience and PR problem: BP’s data show that the “energy transition” isn’t happening. While we are inundated with headlines and advocacy group celebrations of the rapid growth of “renewable energy,” the data show that hydrocarbon energy—especially coal—has been increasing more than renewable energy for the last decade.

Meanwhile, a mountain of energy lies right beneath your feet.

In 2021, BP’s figures show global coal use grew by 6.3 percent, while oil consumption increased 6.1 percent, and global greenhouse gas emissions rose 5.9 percent. Coal accounted for 51 percent of total new electricity generation around the world, and coal even grew in the U.S., after falling (irony alert!) during the Trump administration.

The data for 2022 (BP’s report comes out every year in June) are likely to be even more dismal for the greens, as the disruption of the world’s energy supply has exposed the green energy fantasy. Coal use everywhere is soaring. Right now Germany has a higher electricity carbon footprint than coal-heavy Poland, which is wisely resisted the romantic nonsense of the greens. No wonder the climate campaigners would like to see this bad news suppressed.

The return to energy reality the Ukrainian War has prompted merely sped up the inevitable consequences of green energy diktats by a decade. Suppressing the data demonstrating this reality isn’t going to change that. If BP dumps their annual report to appease their in-house climate campaigners, hopefully a more clear-headed energy company such as Liberty Energy will want to take it over.

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.

Dumb and Dumber, To

Must be the passing years. More things irritate me. For example, the chap at my club’s gym the other day who spent some ninety percent of his time poring over his smart phone. People still wearing masks outside. Then there was the (retired) bishop at my church who had the straightforward job of delivering the sermon at a memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth. On the throne for seventy years, she had kept her views on political matters to herself. The bishop couldn’t manage it for fifteen minutes. Unmistakably congratulating the new King Charles for his former princely far-sighted views on the environment (go figure), and then clearly signaling his own support for the monarchy, about which there is a lively debate within Australia.

Now I happen to think that Prince Charles’s views on the environment were inane, while agreeing with the bishop that the monarchy has served Australia well. However, whether I agree or disagree is beside the point. The pulpit is for preaching the gospel; and, in this special case, to honour the Queen’s life. It is not for political posturing. Unfortunately, unlike the late Queen, many churchmen are incapable of keeping fittingly shtum. And climate change, in particular, excites their appetites to be heard and seen being virtuous (apropos Matthew 6:5) at whatever cost to Christian good fellowship.

No gas emitted!

From discordance to discourse. I was to be at lunch recently with someone who works within the renewable energy industry (everyone has to earn a living) and yet retains a balanced outlook. We discussed hydrogen harmoniously. Why not. He made the logical point that while blue hydrogen made of natural gas, with CO2 sequestrated, must by definition result in more expensive power than using natural gas directly, green hydrogen faces no such inherent limitation. Thus, conceivably, the price per kilowatt hour of electricity generated using green hydrogen could eventually fall below the corresponding price using natural gas. At the same time, he acknowledged the size of the task and the possibility that it might prove to be infeasible. Indeed, it might.

Cheap green hydrogen. That’s the goal of mining billionaire Andrew Forest in Australia. He’s not alone. He’s part of a global pursuit for a stash of loot; akin to It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, if you want to strike a movie parallel. In the movie, if you recall, there was the possibility of only one winner, such was the level of avarice among the competitors. There could be more than one winner in the green-hydrogen stakes. But pointedly not all nations can be the leading exporter of green hydrogen and surely only very few can be among leading exporters. I suspect that a fallacy of composition is afoot. The world isn’t big enough. Be that as it may, notwithstanding the geographical limitations of the world, Australia, according to its governing powers, is on track to be a leader, if not the leader.

Yet, unaccountably, when that esteemed body, the World Economic Forum identified six likely leading candidates for producing green hydrogen, Australia was missing. There was China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Come on guys. Where’s Australia? A mere afterthought, as it happens. Appended among Chile, Namibia and Morocco, et al.

But surely, that can’t be right? It was only in September this year that an international conference on green hydrogen was held in Australia’s so-called Sunshine State. Plenty of sun and wide-open spaces in Queensland to plant solar and wind farms in order to power electrolysis; lots of water up north too. Also, I misspoke, pardon my slip. It wasn’t a mere “conference” but a “summit” no less. Hydrogen Connect Summit, it was called. Henry Kissinger comes to mind. There you have it. Australia is surely at the epicentre of the green hydrogen revolution.

Suitable for a "green energy" summit.

Not so fast. I searched. Quickly found summits everywhere; not a conference in sight. The FT [Financial Times] Hydrogen Summit in London in June; the World Hydrogen Energy Summit in India, coming in October; the World Hydrogen Summit in the Netherlands in May; the Asia-Pacific Hydrogen Summit in December 2021; the Hydrogen Shot Summit, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy in August/September 2021. No doubt there’s more.

All appear to be part of a chronological series of summits; more planned for 2023. "Summit," as presently defined in the dictionary, is clearly inadequate to encompass the modern-day renewable-energy world. Need a new twist. Let’s say, meetings of government apparatchiks and rent-seekers; particularly in the cause of obtaining taxpayer handouts to fund a fanciful green-hydrogen future.

It's hard to get reliable evidence on relative costs and prices of different hues of hydrogen. There is much noise and vested interest. I prefer to rely on those with a current stake in the game. Santos is Australia’s largest producer of natural gas. Here is its CEO Kevin Gallagher at a conference in June:

If we look at current prices in Australia, hydrogen made in Moomba from natural gas with carbon capture and storage would be about $14 per gigajoule before transport. Green hydrogen made at Port Kembla would be at least $38 per gigajoule before transport – a price Australian manufacturers could not pay.

This price differential quoted by Gallagher is in line with other estimates (e.g., an EIA estimate) which suggest that green hydrogen costs about three times that of blue hydrogen. Now those favouring green hydrogen claim that its cost will fall steeply over time as a result of technological breakthroughs and scale. The first is nothing more than wishful thinking. The second, debatable; when producing green hydrogen at scale is the essence of its predicament. But we’re missing something. We’re comparing dumb with dumberer.

In the ten years from 2011-12 to 2020-21, thus leaving aside this year’s artificial spike, wholesale natural gas prices in Sydney averaged a little over A$6 per gigajoule. Why pay $14 for blue, never mind $38 for green, when you can have it au naturel for single-digit dollars; and especially so, if drilling and fracking were undemonized? That’s the question lost to your average bishop and prince who are gung-ho for green and damn the cost to the hoi polloi.