Beware of Dunkelflautes

A couple of right-thinking blokes, Douglas Pollock and Bill Ponton, have gone to some lengths to show the limitations of wind power using arithmetic and algebra. Though, to be fair, Ponton’s exercise is also founded on empiricism using the experience of wind power in the U.K. Personally, I find my arithmetic and algebra easy to understand but other people’s extremely difficult and extremely tedious. Unless I’ve slept particularly well the night before, I am prone to nodding off. A point which is not made entirely idly, as I will explain.

Pollock's analysis, which I covered here in The Pipeline, purports to demonstrate that wind turbines cannot deliver a greater percentage of the power required by a grid than is their ratio of average output to plated capacity. Thus, if turbines on average produce 30 percent of their plated capacity (a good approximation to experience) then they will only be able to provide 30 percent of electricity required by the grid. Clearly this is wrong and takes no account of overbuilding. Nevertheless, it does point to the need for expensive overbuilding. And considerable overbuilding to get the percentage up. Over to Ponton.

Ponton’s analysis (“The Cost of Increasing Wind Power Capacity: A Reality Check”) is far more sophisticated than is Pollock’s. He models the successive doubling of wind power capacity in the U.K.; finding that the incremental increase in electricity generated progressively falls. And towards a limit of providing at most 53 percent of the grid’s needs. It also gets very costly to get anywhere near that, as he shows.

Out of gas.

Are the analyses of Pollock and Ponton useful? Yes and no. Yes, they underscore the limitations of wind power. On the other hand, assumptions plague them both. Pollock abstracts from the possibility of overbuilding turbines. Ponton assumes that gas peaking must operate for a minimum period of time, thus reducing the power outflow from wind. Why he makes this crucial modelling assumption he simply doesn’t make clear. Which brings me to the general question of clarity.

Both analyses are hard to grasp. Hence my reference to induced slumber. They are opaque. Opaqueness is a real problem when you’re competing against a regime that deals in misdirection. Misdirection is its forte.

Claims that renewable energy is the cheapest source of power, might shame Tokyo Rose or Lord Haw-Haw. How about announcements of the installation of a similar megawatt-hour battery as the coal power station being closed down. One lasts an hour; the other operates continuously. They are not nearly the same. But they’re made to sound the same. Grid scale battery storage is perhaps the biggest con since Charles Ponzi entrapped gullible investors. And then there’s the electrification of everything and net-zero. Bigger illusions than anything Harry Houdini could have ever devised.

You can’t compete with this labyrinth of deceit by putting up opaque models. You’ll be ignored and brushed aside by the climate cultists. And you will confuse and confound the populace. It must be kept simple, stupid. My forte.

One simple approach covered here and elsewhere by my friend Rafe Champion, consists of three interrelated self-evidently true propositions. The first is that a modern economy needs an adequate level of continuous power. The second is that wind and solar provide only intermittent power. The third follows from the first two. Storage is required to bridge gaps when wind and solar are providing insufficient and, at times, little or no power at all. Pumped-hydro storage is hard to find and extremely costly to build. Batteries simply can’t bridge gaps beyond a short time.

There’s debate about their frequency and extent, but dunkelflautes most certainly happen and most everywhere. No wind to speak of and dark skies. Take the state of New South Wales (NSW) where I live. According to the Australian Energy Regulator, it consumed 67.5 terawatt hours of power in 2021-22. That comes down to 7,700 megawatts per hour.

The biggest battery in the southern hemisphere is the so-called “big battery” in the Australian state of Victoria. It cost A$160 million and has a capacity of 450 MW hours of storage. Let us suppose a dunkelflaute brownout of a mere 8 hours in NSW. Needed is 8 times 7,700 MWh to provide sufficient power. This equals 53,900 MWh. Or, 120 big batteries at a cost of around A$19 billion. It’s a joke of course.

In theory, it should work...

To go back to the three propositions. They are simple and straightforward and unchallengeable. The man and woman in the street can understand them. Nothing about them is contentious. They are even accepted by those wedded to renewable energy.

Of course there is debate about the potential mitigation of shifting power from one place where its windy to another where it’s not, and about the likelihood of extensive and long-lasting wind droughts. Nevertheless, no one can dismiss the possibility of widespread dunkelflautes occurring. That’s why the Australian government, for example, is sinking billions into a forlorn effort to build the pumped-hydro project Snow 2.0; and is torn asunder by a coincident hatred of “polluting” natural gas while acknowledging its essential role in firming renewable energy. Cognitive dissonance in full display, courtesy of dunkelflautes.

Let’s not be convoluted or algebraic. Let’s be simple. We need power every minute of every day. The sun and wind can’t deliver that. Sometimes they deliver nothing at all. How are we going to bridge the gap? And, how impossibly much will it cost? Aye, there's the rub, as usual.

Recycling Renewables: 'A Black Eye for Green Energy'

CBS News recently aired a surprisingly informative segment on the huge amount of waste produced by the so-called "renewable" energy industry every year. What do you want to bet that few mainstream news viewers have ever heard of this before? Chances are the in-studio host isn't alone when he says, towards the end of the clip that he "had no idea, or even thought about what happens when [solar panels and wind turbines] age out."

The segment ran under the heading "Renewable energy growth brings mounting waste challenge," and quickly made clear that "challenge" is an understatement:

Driven primarily by wind and solar power, renewable energy sources surpassed coal for electricity generation in the United States last year, marking a significant milestone. However, as the industry expands, a new problem emerges: what to do with the mounting waste generated by worn-out solar panels and wind turbine blades. More than 90 percent of discarded solar panels end up in landfills. By 2030, the retired panels are estimated to cover an area equivalent to about 3,000 football fields.

They spoke to the CEO of a company called We Recycle Solar about what he calls "a 'tsunami' of impending solar waste," driven in part by the first few waves of solar panels coming to the end of their 25-30 year lifespan, but also by people replacing their solar panels far too early in response to "advancements in solar panel technology and new government incentives." Some of the panels he's trying to recycle are only three of four years old, which suggests that installing them in the first place was more about keeping up with the latest fashion than about the environment.

And then there's wind turbines. The CBS segment showed a quarry in Missouri filled with "decommissioned wind turbines and nearly 200-foot long blades, chopped into several pieces." They explain that by 2050 the wind industry is expected to "produce more than 47 million tons of blade waste each year." As the camera pans out to show a massive landfill filled with wind turbine detritus which a bulldozer is in the process of burying, they describe it as "a black eye for green energy."

Now, strictly speaking CBS has framed this as a story about the few people who are working away at solving this difficult problem. One woman, for instance, works for a company which shred blades and sell the remains to cement companies to burn as a fuel for their kilns, a replacement for coal. They claim that cuts the kilns' carbon emissions by "nearly 30 percent." Because of course they say that. How else are they going to secure government contracts for chopping them up?

Even so, the report is a tacit admission that there is something wrong with "green" energy, that it is at least as harmful to the environment as the energy sources it seeks to replace. Consequently, it is surprising that it even aired. Because the Left really doesn't like it when their partisans are forced to confront, ahem, inconvenient truths about their ideology. That's why they were so enraged when Michael Moore's documentary, Planet of the Humans, came out three years ago and exposed the scams at the heart of the wind-and-solar industry.

So watch the report, post it on social media, and E-Mail it to your aging hippie uncle and your eco-nut niece. Chances are you won't see its likes again.

The Great Texas Power Two-Step

Nothing better demonstrates the absurd results of reducing fossil fuel production while promoting alternative energy than the events in Texas this week, as reported by the Wall Street Journal editors. Texas and the federal government have been massively subsidizing alternative energy at the cost of conventional fuel producers. So much so that conventional fuel producers cannot compete on pricing with subsidized alternative energy resources:

Federal tax credits have encouraged an oversupply of wind power, which Lone Star State Republicans assisted last decade by charging rate payers $7 billion to build thousands of miles of transmission lines from West Texas and the Panhandle to big cities. Solar and wind supply about 30 percent of Texas power on average but sometimes can produce more than half.

Wind generators pocket a tax credit for every kilowatt hour they produce no matter if the grid needs it. A surfeit of wind is increasingly driving wholesale power prices negative—i.e., generators have to pay to offload their power. Wind producers can still make money because of the tax credits, but fossil-fuel plants that provide baseload power can’t.

These government funded sources are, of course, not reliable, and in February, 2021 there was a massive week-long blackout. The state Senate, faced with the reality of renewables—that they may be "renewable" but they are not reliable-- has come up with several plans. These include:

  1. Subsidizing gas generators to backstop renewables. But these would run only in emergencies, which would be extremely inefficient. If they ran full time, however, they’d be competing unfairly with existing gas generators. Moreover, Texans would be paying twice for this notion—once in taxes to cover the estimated $10 billion dollar funding of these generators and again in planned increases to consumers.
  2. Creating financial incentives to “peaker” gas plants that could ramp up as demand increased. Of course, this is nonsensical economically as it would cost three times as much as a baseload gas plant that runs 85-90 percent of the time.

In sum , trying to deal with the inefficiencies in energy production created by government subsidies will only create more inefficiencies. The problem, of course, is the market distortions caused by government subsidies. I expect other states will be faced with the same problem and the same impetus to create even more inefficiencies in energy production should they, like Texas, try to “level the playing field” in a desperate effort to keep the lights on.

How much longer will taxpayers and consumers be willing to endure this costly idiocy?

If 'Green' is Cheaper, Why Are Electric Rates Soaring?

The levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) from coal was quoted at between 8 and 9 cents per kWh in 2011 by Australia’s Productivity Commission. Wind was double that at about 18 cents and solar much higher at about 45 cents. Since then electricity prices have soared and, abracadabra, the facts have shifted. Now wind and solar provide the cheapest power. I know this because Anthony Albanese, Australia’s prime minister, keeps saying so. A question springs to mind.

Why, if renewable energy is cheaper, are electricity prices across numbers of countries positively correlated with the penetration of renewables in power generation? The LCOE of alternative sources of power is supposed to bring capital costs, the useful life of assets, and the relative efficiencies of the technologies being employed, to a common basis. However, the calculations are full of art; subject to the imagination of whoever is doing the calculating. In other words, you can drive a truck through them. And this is particularly the case with technologies like wind and solar which are intermittent, intrinsically unreliable, and variously distant from the grid. How do you bring into account the need for long high-voltage transmission lines, for overbuilding, and for 100 percent backup? A short answer: you don’t.

In a deception worthy of the greatest illusionists, the costs attendant on the intermittency and unreliability of renewable energy are not sheeted home to those providing such energy. When taxpayers aren’t picking up the bill, the costs find their way into electricity prices. Hence the positive correlation between electricity prices and the penetration of renewables. It’s not hard to connect the dots.

Nasty, brutish, and short is more like it.

However, connecting dots is not appealing to politicians, activists, or boondogglers when it undermines their obsessive agenda or revenue stream. So their answer to rising electricity prices is a doubling down on installing more renewal energy and demolishing more coal power stations. This, they say, against all available evidence, will bring electricity prices down. Hard to believe, yet there it is.

Are they  gaslighting us? Not really. They mostly believe it or see too much disadvantage in not believing it. They’re deluded monomaniacs or opportunists. And, be alarmed, they’re in charge. Worth mentioning, just in case you’re also deluded and think that everything will turn out fine.

Renewable energy is insidious. It creeps up on the rich estates of traditional energy generation; a subsidized wind turbine and solar panel at a time. It takes time to run down rich estates. At first, it’s not noticeable. Coal and gas are adept and filling gaps. Decades can go by and have. Then it starts kicking in. The variable costs of wind and sun on sunny windy days fall very low. Coal, providing the cheapest energy in normal times, can’t compete. Can’t be switched on and off according to the vagaries of the weather. Eventually coal power is put out of business. Then the fun begins.

If a country is lucky enough to have lots of hydro and nuclear power (the latter banned by law in Australia, ironically, the third biggest producer and exporter of uranium) then the denouement is delayed. But there is a critical degree of penetration of wind and solar – which will differ country by country – which guarantees the onset of blackouts and, perforce, authoritarian responses by governments. Enforced power rationing will become commonplace. How long before Justin Trudeau and his ilk (to shift focus to Trudeau because he has form) will see cutting power as the way to deter dissent?

Blackout at Energy/Australia Stadium. Expect many more.

Australia is very close to the critical point of serial blackouts. The federal government intends bringing the contribution of renewables to a staggering 82 percent of electricity generation by 2030. Accordingly, wind and solar must replace 75 percent of the electricity now generated by coal and gas. Though utterly infeasible, this exercise in self-ruin, will wreck the reliability of power generation long before 2030. Gas supplies are running down and new developments are stymied. Since 2016, 2.8 GW of coal power has been shut down. Liddell (1.5 GW currently) will shut at the end of April. Eraring (2.9 GW), the largest of Australia’s coal power stations, is due for early closure in 2025. More closures are on the way.

Blackouts are coming, warns the Australian Energy Market Operator. And way before governments in Australia are in position to ration power to nearly the extent that will inevitably be required. Smart meters take time to force on folk. Blackouts first before desperate measures kick in. Such fun.

The 'Energy Revolution' Will Not Be Forthcoming

Do yourself a favor and watch this presentation delivered by the Manhattan Institute's Mark P. Mills entitled "The energy transition delusion: inescapable mineral realities." It is data heavy, but also a gripping and common sensible account of how and why the common environmentalist account of a "great transition" in the next few years, away from hydrocarbon based energy and forward to renewable energy just isn't going to happen.

A comment upon the title: Mills explains that by "delusion" he means that anyone who confidently proclaims that in a few short years the entire world will be Norway (which gets the vast majority of its energy via renewable resources, principally hydro dams) is likely "suffering some modest delusion about what the possibilities are in the mining sector." For Mills, "the whole thing distills to mining," and mankind's mining capacity -- for minerals like cobalt and nickel, which are essential for large battery production -- is the bottleneck for such a transition. Without those batteries -- for E.V.s, factories, residences, etc. -- the environmentalist vision of the future is absolutely impossible.

And yet, the production increase which the predicted transition would necessitate is an increase "not by 10 or 20 percent, not by 50 percent, not 200 percent, but from 700 to 7,000 percent," and over the next twenty years. If this were to be achieved, says Mills, it would be "the largest single increase in demand or supply of metals in all of human history. It's never happened." And, judging purely by the projected investment in mining over the next few decades -- it isn't projected to increase 700 percent, let alone 7,000 percent -- it isn't going to happen at all.

But there's a lot more in here than that point, so give this a watch. You won't regret it.

Down Under, Mindless Fantasies of Net-Zero

We have a government scheme in Australia which I’ve mentioned before. Its objective is to ensure the lights don’t go out during the chimeric transition to a bountiful job-rich renewable-energy future. It’s called the capacity mechanism. I suspect most western jurisdictions have one, in one form or another. In Australia it came under the purview of the Energy Security Board. Alas, the ESB is effectively no more; it’s been absorbed by the ever-expanding renewal-energy hegemony (akin to The Blob); namely, in this instance, by the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Energy Market Operator. We got a million of 'em.

The ESB made the mistake of proposing the use of gas and coal to “firm” the supply of electricity during the transitional period and was duly given a damn good thrashing for its trouble. So now the plan, so far as I can work out, is to firm unreliable renewables with unreliable renewables, plus a few batteries thrown into the mix. Don’t dare say it won’t work. They visualize therefore they actualize.

The transition itself, which I’ll come to, via a different government scheme, this time mysteriously called the safeguard mechanism, is still no more than a gleam in the eyes of renewable-energy aficionados. To illustrate: the latest official figures, for the year 2020-21, show that coal, oil, and gas accounted for 92 percent of Australia’s energy consumption. Energy badged as "renewables" accounted for only 8 percent; and of that wind and solar was only 45 percent, or 3.6 percent of the overall total. That’s where we’re at after three decades and more of huffing and puffing and spending billions of dollars on subsidies and tax breaks. And yet, mindless fantasies of net-zero persist unabated among the zealots who populate governments and the plethora of assorted climate-change bodies.

Walter Mitty, stand aside.

Surely the world is doing better than Australia in saving the planet? I consulted the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, to find that 92.6 percent of energy consumption came from coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and hydro in North America in 2021, and 93.3 percent in the world as a whole. Of the rest, including biomass and ethanol, wind, and sun form only a fraction. Consolingly, Australia is not letting the side down.

But we must do better, so says Chris Bowen, "climate change" minister in the federal government. Bowen is on the job, single-mindedly; or, more aptly, simple-mindedly. Hence the so-called safeguard mechanism; named, I can only assume, to keep the planet safe from the one percent of world emissions being spewed out recklessly by Australian industry.

To give effect to the mechanism, legislation is afoot to make the 215 largest emitters of CO2 reduce their emissions by 4.9 percent per year from July this year until (end) 2030. Why 4.9 percent? Well, compounded, it comes to 43 percent after seven and a half years, in line with the government's goal of reducing emissions overall by 43 percent. Is that scientific enough for ya? Those who better this hurdle will be allowed to sell carbon credits to their recalcitrant fellows, who will also be allowed to buy carbon credits (domestic and some selected foreign credits) on the open market to assuage their polluting excesses.

The Greens (Party) don’t like the scheme. Giving miners the option of paying to pollute doesn’t row their boat. But, transactional to their bootheels, they’ve offered their votes in the Senate—required if the legislation is to pass—with the proviso that all new coal and gas projects are prohibited by law. I am not sure why they’re bothering to seek de jure prohibition when, de facto, the job is pretty well done. A combination of state government bans, onerous federal and state environmental hurdles, green and indigenous lawfare are already preventing any new projects from going ahead. It can only get worse as Australia’s judiciary inevitably becomes still Woker. Capital will flee.

Take a recent court case in which Australia’s largest gas producer, Santos, lost its ability to restart drilling at a multi-billion-dollar gas project off the Tiwi Islands, 265 kilometres northwest of Darwin. Santos thought it had jumped every environmental hurdle, consulted every indigenous group with a legitimate interest. It missed someone. Tiwi Islander Dennis Tipakalippa launched legal action, claiming successfully that he was not consulted over the company's plans and should have been. Apparently, his rights had been trampled on.

Rights to the sea country [in question] were based upon longstanding spiritual connections as well as traditional hunting and gathering activities in which they and their ancestors have engaged.

Spiritual connections you see. And how could Mr Tipakalippa afford to take legal action to protect his spiritual connections? Look no further than the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO); a bunch of lawyers on a well-financed mission to stymie fossil-fuel developments. If you look hard enough, and the green-left are indefatigable in their oversight, there is not one patch of Australian land for which an indigenous person can’t be found to have a spiritual connection. It’s game over, short of a sufficiently faltering grid bringing about a return to sanity. Cling on to that last best chance.

Clingers of the world, unite!

Back to the safeguard mechanism. It covers only 28 percent of Australia’s emissions. It will have a marginal effect, if any measurable effect at all. It will impose further costs and regulatory burdens on many of the businesses and industries which underpin Australia’s prosperity, and thereby lessen their international competitiveness. As to that, the government has engaged in silly speculative talk about placing tariffs on imported products which compete with products hit by the safeguard mechanism, which have not been similarly hobbled in their home country. The mind boggles as complication is heaped on complication is heaped on cluelessness. And all for very little to nought.

Be done with it. Close Australia down. Save the world. Shucks, forgot. China emits more greenhouse gases in 16 days than Australia does in a year. Never mind. As the late and great Leonard Cohen might have put it on behalf of alarmists: First we take Sydney, then we take Shanghai.

'Climate Change' Future Written in (Invisible) Ink

Writing at the shuffling zombie hulk of what used to be Time Magazine, Christiana Figueres pens the usual media "climate change" bilge, this one titled “The Future of Climate Change is Being Written in Ink Today.” As usual in such stuff, she maintains that there is a clear scientific consensus on climate change, exaggerates the danger of not transforming our lives completely to deal with it, and overestimates the technological and political ease with which the transformation can occur.

She argues in her polemic that we are at a critical juncture to save the planet and only “transformational change” will do it. According to Figueres, we must "cut our global greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030" and "safeguard all remaining healthy ecosystems, regenerating those we have depleted." If we don't, she continues,

[W]e basically condemn ourselves and our descendants to a world of ever increasing climate chaos, spiraling destruction, and deepening human misery. However, if we do choose to cut our emissions by 50 percent by 2030—which is technically entirely feasible—and act decisively to protect nature, we open the portal to a world that not only averts the worst of climate change, but is actually a much better one than we have right now, with better public health, more-livable cities, more-efficient transport, and more-productive land.

Without a doubt, we are in the decisive decade. We must be guided by the firm conviction that humans can meet this challenge. We must change the unfolding story of the Anthropocene from one of overconsumption, inequality, and destruction to one of repair, re-generation, and reconnection—against all apparent odds. We must constantly remind ourselves that we are holding the pen. We must stand tall in our unwavering faith in human ingenuity and compassion, reminding ourselves of our individual and collective agency. Carving a better future does not happen on its own. We have to be intentional, purpose driven—frankly, downright stubborn—about our objective. Only that determination will give us a fighting chance.

Ms. Figueres, a Costa Rican, was, among other things, the former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, and like most of the globalist Davos- loving crowd seems to have ignored what our experience shows us about the efficacy and necessity of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Probably because she’s a social anthropologist not a climate scientist or engineer.

Figueres: carbon emissions comin' to get ya.

People with a greater regard for hard data refute her every stated contention, including that “scientific reports… are categorical in warning us of looming, radical changes in the earth’s systems.” Contrary to the rosy picture that governmental measures, some draconian, all of them economy killers, can result in cutting carbon emissions, in fact, with greater governmental intercessions they have never been higher. As Ken Caldera, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institute for Science sensibly observes, as long as developing (i.e. poor) nations want to expand their economies and better provide for their citizens wellbeing, they must rely on fossil fuels which remain the cheapest way to provide reliable electricity. In the U.S., “emissions ticked up as renewable energy surpassed coal power nationwide for the first time in over six decades.” Any government that long persists in starving and freezing its citizenry to appease the chimera of climate change will be inviting replacement by more pragmatic leaders.

So why this failure of increased reliance on renewables to cut into emissions? Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley did a thirty-three year audit comparing climate predictions respecting CO2 emissions with climate data and it provides some answers to the question why increased fossil fuel emissions are not the disaster people like Figueres claim it is. Not only are their predictions wrong, but the IPCC persists in ignoring the fact that the original predictions “were grossly exaggerated.”

The direct warming that the models predict in response to doubled CO2 is just 1.2-1.3 K, which is consistent with the observed 0.13 K/decade warming. However, the models multiply that direct warming, or reference sensitivity, by about 3 to allow for temperature feedback, chiefly from more water vapor in warmer air. But, as Professor Lindzen says in his recent interview with Jordan Peterson (watch it now before the climate Communists in control of YouTube censor it), the le Chatellier principle would lead us to expect that under anything like modern conditions feedbacks would be more or less self-canceling.

Any rational government, on conducting a similar audit, would conclude that the original fears of rapid and catastrophic global warming have proven entirely groundless, and that, given the plummeting annual death rate from weather-related events, the mild warming we may well continue to cause will continue to be as net-beneficial as it has been until now. There is certainly no conceivable justification, on the evidence that has accumulated since 1990, for any action whatsoever to mitigate future global warming. There will not be enough of it to do anything but good.

In sum, the climate is less sensitive to carbon emissions than predicted decades ago by the IPCC; significant efforts to reduce these emissions by relying more heavily on renewables has not achieved the goal of reducing emissions—which are, in fact, rising; the degree of recent warming is minimal, net-beneficial and not deleterious. Still if you wish to remain in good stead with the credulous and corrupt, keep peddling the same nonsense. You, too, may even get to write for Time Magazine.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Hunting

There’s nothing like a weekend in the country especially when all of London is going to be there! I’m speaking, of course, of going for a shooting holiday, and honestly I can’t wait. I’ve three days to pack, get a manicure, some new frocks, and a coiff from Daniel at Jo Hansford

Judith (mummy) is so glad I’m preserving tradition but she forgets ‘tradition’ used to come with a small staff. She should have stayed home to help me but as usual—poof—the ever-vanishing Judith. And a shooting holiday always requires shooting clothes. Lots. So where are mine? I rifled through the wardrobe in the spare room, the crawl space in my childhood room, the trunk under the stairs—nothing. I’d hoped to take my things straightaway to Jeeves for freshening but I was going to have to wait for Judith. With little chance of success, I started poking through the hall closet when daddy became aware of my frustration.

‘Looking for something? Plastic straws perhaps? Because we’re all out—been feeding them to dolphins’, Daddy said. 

‘Ha. Not funny’ I replied, ‘and anyway it’s sea turtles’. I was not in the mood. ‘I’m looking for my sporting clothes’. I said. 

‘Maybe in California?’

‘Oh my god, NO!’ I shouted back. He knows they aren’t there but he can’t resist a chance to bug me about my house in LA.

‘Maybe at the country house?’ he said. 

‘Why would they be at the country house?’ I asked. 

‘Because it’s — the country?’

The way we were.

UGH! Of course that’s where they were. And now I had to decide whether to drive to the country or pop over to James Purdey. ‘Tradition’ doesn’t make it easy to be an environmentalist. The risk of buying new was that only Americans show up to a hunt with spanking-new clothes. It’s just not the done thing. What a mess!

I thought of calling Isabella Lloyd Webber whom I know from so many eventing weekends but I knew she’d sooner pay someone to break in her clothes than show up looking naff. I bit the bullet and immediately felt better upon arrival at Purdey’s. The salesman was quite chatty and said I’d just missed Gemma Owen who left with three bags (new!), that they’d shipped loads to Delphi and Marina Primrose (new and new), and they’d earlier served Lord William Gordon Lennox, though one expects to see him in new everything—I’d never seen him out of his signature cream suit.

When I reached home I saw my broker had called twice. WHY?? I’m not some high-flying trader with margin calls. I’m not even sure I know what a margin call is but seems he wanted me to sell all interests in rechargeable e-scooters. I’d taken a rather large position owing to the benefit to the environment. Plus we expect them to be wildly popular once they become permanently legal. But it seems London had 130 e-bike blazes in the last year alone. 

‘But it’s the trial period…’ I protested, and he told me e-bikes had caused more than 200 fires in New York, including a quite-bad high-rise fire. He went on about impending lawsuits, poor-quality parts, and an entire e-scooter maintenance facility had gone up in smoke.

It's all fun and games until somebody bursts into flames.

‘But that’s China’s fault—they are giving us poorly-designed batteries, we just need more regulation’ I insisted. I heard my father snicker in the background and I realised just how futile my protest sounded. ‘Fine then sell!’ I said. ‘Sell it all’. It was a blow and felt I was letting the planet down. All except for the black smoke and lithium solvent contamination.

I put my new clothes in the solarium to air out and headed up to my room. It had been a trying day but all of my hard work paid off when two days later our helicopter loomed over Inveraray—the first of several spectacular locations. I hadn’t been here since their now-defunct horse trials.

The estate was now focused on winning a Purdey Award for Game Conservation and even before the hunting ball we had to sign a declaration that we, and all connected with the shoot, were conversant and in compliance with the Code of Good Shooting Practice. Inveraray’s entry this year was habitat improvements and species biodiversity.

When I got to my room and opened my bags the unmistakable smell of 'new' filled my air… it was a mix of plastic, and wool sizing. Where’s a good moth ball when you need one?

I took my place at dinner, escorted by the future Duke of Argyll and his good friend Max, a known Jack-the-Lad swept in. ‘Oooh! I know you! I’m sure I do’ he insisted. But I only knew him from his reputation: a brash, cocky university dropout who was making a career of his fast friendship and love of shooting.

Our dinner was served… this year’s winning recipe entry to the Fieldsports competition: ‘Snipe Jacket Potatoes’. It was a whole snipe, complete with head, and long legs crossed almost comically and encased in a potato cocoon. It was so much more disgusting than any bug I’d ever served and I started gagging. ‘That’s it… you’re her… that bug hostess!’ Max exclaimed as I continued to gag and fled the table. 

I decided to stay away at least until the next course. My mobile lit up with a text from my broker… ‘ALL OUT’ he wrote. I tapped back to him… ‘just out of curiosity what was the exact stock symbol of the shares we just sold? I may wish to recommend it to a new friend’.

Albo’s Airy-Fairy Electricity Fables

Recall the original message? Green energy is more costly than conventional energy. But, they said, much less costly than the climate catastrophe awaiting if nothing were done. A problem arose. Surveys showed that while people naively went along with the prospect of using green energy, they were unwilling to pay for it. I know what to do, some bright spark probably exclaimed, deep in the bowels of Renewable Energy Inc, we’ll tell them it’s cheaper.

Thus, in a far-off land called Oz, opposition leader Anthony Albanese (Albo) promised voters, no fewer than ninety-seven times, that his green plan would reduce electricity prices for families by an annual $275 by the year 2025. And so it came to pass that Albo and his Labor Party mates were elected to power in May this year.

It’s hard to get a representative national reading on electricity bills, which vary markedly between states. However, a Sydney family (Ma, Pa and two kids) would pay something like $1,800 a year. During the time Albo was campaigning, bills were already rising, putting his fanciful promise in peril. Still, he was resolute; confident in the modelling behind his plan. After all, as he kept on saying, and keeps on saying, renewables are the cheapest form of energy. Ergo, as a matter of unassailable logic, more wind and solar equals cheaper power. And don’t believe your lying eyes, whatever your bills might say.

Albanese and Dishy Rishi yukking it up at the G20 in Bali.

It's not propaganda on Albo’s part. Might have started that way. Now he undoubtedly believes it. I suppose if you tell others a demonstrable lie enough times it becomes your truth. Haven’t tried it personally. Never been a politician or used-car salesman.

But the jig is up. Federal budgets in Australia are usually brought down in early May. The new Labor government couldn’t wait until next year, bringing down an interim October budget. That was probably a mistake. In the budget papers, Treasury projected that electricity prices would rise 20 percent over the balance of 2022-23 and another 30 percent in 2023-24. Yikes, that doesn’t sound like a reduction of $275.

Clever people in the media (the majority caught on eventually) realized that 20 and 30 percent compounded to 56 percent. At that rate an $1,800 bill rises by over $1000; instead of falls by $275. Not an easy discrepancy to explain away, even for practiced snake-oil salesmen. What to do? What would Biden do? Blame Trump and Putin of course. Albo and his mates didn’t disappoint. Years of mismanagement by the previous government is behind this they said, and also that slubberdegullion Putin. They didn’t actually say slubberdegullion; but they might well have, if they’d found the word as I did.

What would they do without Putin? These days, he’s behind the undoing of all the best-laid green schemes. Think aptly of Snowball, George Orwell’s porcine character. Orwell is perhaps too often brought into the frame. Yet his work is so unmissably prescient. The interchangeability of truth and lies in 1984 thrives in real life among those pimping climate-change catastrophe. And then there’s the fall guy Snowball playing Trotsky (yesteryear’s Putin) in Animal Farm, blamed for all ills.

Befitting a leftist government, the new Australian Labor government foresees budget deficits without end; with gross public debt exceeding $1 trillion by the end of June 2024 and progressively rising from there on. That might seem small compared with America’s $31 trillion debt, but you have to multiply it by 13 to get a per-capita comparison and, of course, the USD is the world’s reserve currency – quite an advantage when you owe money. It is glaringly discernible, not disputable; leftist governments incorrigibly spend money they don’t have to buy votes. Democracy would fall without right-of-centre governments periodically repairing the fiscal ship of state. In fact, that now seems to be their only function, having largely ceded away civil society to Marxist mobs.

Spendthrift governments often spend money outside of the budget to disguise their profligacy. In Australia’s budget, $20 billion (more than half the size of the projected deficit for 2022-23) is designated as low-cost finance, and therefore off-budget, to fund 13,200 kms of new transmission lines and pylons. Connecting far-flung wind and solar farms to grids is an expensive exercise. And, in this case, a forlorn one.

Everybody hates Vlad.

First, it can’t be done. There is nowhere near the skilled manpower to the job. To boot, objections are already being made by landowners to having large pylons and wires strewn across their land. Lawfare awaits. And then there’s the little matter of building the many and massive wind and solar farms from which the transmission lines sprout. It’s make-believe.

Second, whatever part is built is bound to be well behind schedule and way above cost. It’s a government project. Take the white elephant, Snowy 2.0-pumped hydro. When will it be built? They said by 2021. Assume 2028 at the earliest; that’s if it’s ever finished at all. And the cost? They said $2 billion. Assume something northwards of $10 billion or, more probably, $15 billion.

There is much else about “cheaper, cleaner energy” in the budget. For example, $157.9 million is provided for a “National Energy Transformation Partnership.” All hat and no cattle, sums it up.

…the Government will work together with state and territory governments on priority actions to support the transformation of Australia’s energy sector. Initial priorities include delivering Australia’s first fully integrated energy and emissions reduction agreement, introducing an emissions reduction objective into the National Energy Objectives, accelerating mechanisms for the uptake of flexible energy supply and progressing a co-designed First Nations Clean Energy Strategy with First Nations communities.

Blah-blah-blah. Lots of taxpayer loot to produce yet more grandiose bumf. Not one kilowatt of power. And, by the way, Australian Aboriginals never constituted Nations. Hundreds of stone-age, hunter-gatherer, thinly populated itinerant tribes were not remotely nations. Part of the lies that now inform Australia’s national life. Fitting in this era of climate hysteria and green-energy boondoggles.

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.