'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.

'We Stand by the Modeling'

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

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

Read all about it:

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

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

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

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

Some Australians prefer other models.

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

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

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

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

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

Just pump up the average windspeed a little.

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

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

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

'Green Energy' Unsafe for Birds and Other Living Things

Wind and solar energy technologies, which eco-religionists claim will save the planet from the ravages of capitalism and the destruction it supposedly causes, are culling endangered animals and wiping out their habitats. Michael Shellenberger pinpointed the problem with renewable energy in a May 2018 Forbes article: “If solar and wind farms are needed to protect the natural environment, why do they so often destroy it?” It’s a fair question.

Researchers looked at 23 endangered bird species killed at wind and solar outfits in California, according to “Vulnerability of avian populations to renewable energy production,” published March 30 in Royal Society Open Science. The study of the impact on wildlife of renewable energy, which requires more land than conventional means of energy production such as oil and natural gas drilling, was funded by the California Energy Commission, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the University of California at Davis. Hydroelectric dams were not dealt with in the paper, but the U.S. Geological Survey reports it is known that they “create barriers to fish migration and alter upstream and downstream ecosystems.”

The paper states that of the 23 bird species, renewable energy generation appears to have made things significantly worse for eleven, or 48 percent of them. Those eleven species “were either highly or moderately vulnerable, experiencing a greater than or equal to 20% decline in the population growth rates with the addition of up to either 1,000 or 5,000 fatalities, respectively.” For five of the eleven species, “killed birds originated both locally and non-locally, yet vulnerability occurred only to the local subpopulation."

R.I.P. tweety bird.

In the United States, anywhere from 140,000 to 328,000 bird fatalities take place per year at monopole turbines, but the real figure is probably much higher because, as the paper acknowledges, the estimate comes from data gathered a decade ago when installed capacity was only 57 percent of the current figure. Solar energy generation back then, when capacity was only 37 percent of the current figure, caused up to 138,600 birth deaths in the country, most of which took place in California.

California, of course, has an economic death wish – it’s betting everything on a utopian carbon-free future, the well-being of its human population be damned. In September 2020, the state’s Democrat governor, Gavin Newsom, who couldn’t even be bothered to follow his own pandemic rules, decreed that no gasoline-fueled automobiles will be sold in the state by 2035, the goal being to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, he urged that fracking be banned.

Encouraged by Newsom, anti-growth fanatics forced the state to mandate 33 percent renewable energy by 2020. Utilities achieved this early and now the goalpost has been moved to 60 percent renewables by 2030 and 100 percent carbon-free energy by the middle of the century. Some California cities even want to ban natural gas heating and cooking in new buildings.

All this pressure to go renewable has to lead to more animal deaths as wind and solar generation expands. The Royal Society paper states that of California’s “23 vulnerable bird species studied (barn owls, golden eagles, road runners, yellow-billed cuckoos…), scientists have found 11 are now experiencing at least a 20% decline in their population growth rates because wind turbines and solar panels are killing them and/or destroying their limited-range habitat.”

Birds and bats are particularly susceptible to wind turbines, which nowadays are typically mounted on towers 200 feet high or higher with rotors spanning 150 to 260 feet, which means blade tips can reach higher than 400 feet above the ground. Rotors can spin at speeds from 11 to 28 rpm with blade tip speeds of between 138 and 182 mph, the U.S. Department of Energy reports.

Beware of barotrauma.

Birds tend to be killed directly by collisions with turbines, meteorological towers, and power transmission lines, and indirectly by habitat disruption, behavioral effects, drowning in wastewater evaporation ponds, and other causes. Bats are typically killed by collisions and barotrauma, which means catastrophic damage to internal organs caused by rapid air pressure changes. Migratory bats could go extinct if wind energy production keeps growing, a May 2017 paper in Biological Conservation argues.

The Royal Society paper states that photovoltaic solar panels used at solar farms convert the light produced by the sun into electricity via turbines. There are environmental tradeoffs. The 6,000 birds that fly annually into the concentrated sunlight beams produced at the Ivanpah Solar Plant in California’s Mojave Desert, are instantly cremated alive, leaving puffs of smoke behind to mark their passing. A large fence erected to keep endangered desert tortoises out of the plant made it easier for coyotes to prey on roadrunners.

According to a January 2008 paper in the Journal of Wildlife Management, about 4,700 birds, including golden eagles, are killed by wind turbines at California’s Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). “Every year, an estimated 75 to 110 Golden Eagles are killed by the wind turbines in the [APWRA]. Some lose their wings, others are decapitated, and still others are cut in half.”

Led by California’s crazed, hardline push to get off so-called fossil fuel-based energy production and into "renewable" energy, commercial wind energy generation capacity in the entire United States has gone up almost 300 percent since 2009. The current installed capacity exceeds 107 gigawatts from about 59,000 turbines and is expected to rise to more than 160 gigawatts by 2030, the Royal Society paper states.

Solar energy generation has gone up 9,400 percent in the country, from 0.4 gigawatts in 2009 to more than 38 gigawatts in 2009. In the coming 5 years capacity may blow past 75 gigawatts.

This will take a toll on fauna. But that’s fine with environmentalists, who observe a hierarchy of values. Animals, especially those with wings, will continue to die for our sins as "renewable" energy expands.

Germany's 'Renewable Energy' Policy: Who's Laughing Now?

In 2019 Germany announced an ambitious "climate change" goal: by 2022, it would close its last nuclear power plant and by 2038, stop burning coal altogether. The Wall Street Journal called it at the time the "world’s dumbest energy policy," but the Germans said it was all part of the Energiewende (German for 'energy turnaround') the ongoing transition to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply. Then an event occurred in 2022 which demonstrated how much Green energy was politics. Russia invaded Ukraine.

The repercussions of the invasion rippled like hydrostatic shock through the whole fabric of the European "climate change" agenda. At a stroke the war made natural gas from Moscow on which Germany was dependent politically toxic and killed sacred cows like the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline overnight. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, addressing Germany’s parliament, promised he would "create strategic energy reserves while shifting energy purchases away from Russia." Germany took steps to revive its nuclear power industry by extending the life-span of its remaining nuclear power plants. Even coal was back on the table for Europe, as politicians mooted keeping anything that could produce power going. "All options must be on the table," said the German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister.

Biking may be your best bet, Germany.

But sheer habit and inertia die hard. From the start the Green agenda fought back. John Kerry warned the Russian invasion of Ukraine would worsen climate change. "The top White House climate official said a negative impact of a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be that it sidelines efforts to curb emissions worldwide." Despite the fact that fuel was a basic necessity and Europe's immediate problem was how to get energy from anywhere, such was the power of Green that U.N. Secretary General António Guterres specifically warned against quickly replacing Russian oil if it would "neglect or kneecap policies to cut fossil fuel use."

Trapped between Scylla and Charybdis, Europe's compromise strategy was to "diversify gas supplies to reduce reliance on Russia in the short term... but ultimately to boost renewables and energy efficiency as fast as technically possible."  In effect Europe would try to solve the energy shortage caused by its renewables policy without politically abandoning the climate change ideology.

The first step to walking this tightrope is European energy rationing. Although no specifics have been announced, proposals include include lowering speed limits and introducing car-free Sundays in large cities.  Rationing is being sold as both good for the planet and bad for Putin -- a win-win. "This point is about trying to bring down demand for fossil fuels — this is our true and effective weapon against Vladimir Putin,” a Cambridge University academic said.

But on the supply side there were few quick fixes to the problem of storing the output of wind and solar energy, even assuming that enough could be generated by these means. "The ability to cheaply generate, transport and store a clean replacement fuel like hydrogen to power trucks, cars and airplanes remains years away... [the] chief technology officer of the offshore wind unit at Siemens Gamesa, said that companies like his 'are now forced to do investments based on the prosperous future that we are all waiting for'."

A similar challenge faces the electric grid for it to universally replace the internal combustion engine. By dint of emergency efforts Europe hopes to have a hydrogen infrastructure in place by 2030 -- eight years from now -- a gargantuan task. Green requires a complete overhaul of how people live -- digitalization, smart grids and meters, flexibility markets, the electrification of transport, charging points -- the works. All of it is necessary to store wind and solar power and get it to the consumer.

The triumph of hope over experience.

However exhilarating this transformative vision is, not every country is willing to put all its eggs into the Green basket. Britain and France, perhaps harboring secret doubts, plan to invest in small, new technology nuclear reactors. The normally left wing Guardian ran an op-ed proclaiming "we need to revive the U.K.’s nuclear industry." But even with a change of heart plants take time to build and in the short term Europe has no choice but to import fossil fuels from non-Russian sources, principally the U.S. and the Middle East if it is to avoid economic catastrophe.

From Angola to the U.S. gas is heading for Europe. "Toby Rice, who runs the U.S. largest natural gas producer EQT, told the BBC the U.S. could easily replace Russian supply... He estimated the U.S. has the potential to quadruple its gas output by 2030... U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged the country's fuel industry to pump more oil. 'We are on a war footing. That means you producing more right now, where and if you can'." Energiewende may not be "world’s dumbest energy policy" but only because it can repudiate itself.

The nearly comic irony of progressives being in the "drill baby drill" situation is hardly ever pointed out, it being considered bad form to do so. But it may be useful to recall that Germany's delegation at the U.N. General Assembly once laughed during then-President Trump's speech when he suggested that Germany was becoming “totally dependent” upon Russian energy, as shown in this video from the Washington Post. With the benefit of hindsight there's no denying that mistakes were made regarding Russia's suitability as a Green energy partner. Even Mitt Romney pointed out the growing threat posed by Putin during his 2012 presidential campaign against Obama but he too was laughed to scorn. It's fair to say that nobody's laughing now.

Oxymorons and Morbid Attachments

It’s approaching breakfast time in Australia on 25 January. Avid wind-watcher Rafe Champion reporting:

Wind addicted South Australia is importing half of its power from Victoria and 94 percent of the local generation is gas. Wind turbines are running at 2 percent of capacity and providing 5 percent of demand. Victoria is generating a small excess of power [mainly from coal] but not enough to prop up South Australia without help from Tasmania and New South Wales. Across the national electricity network wind is delivering 3.7 percent of consumption, fossil fuels are delivering 83 percent (coal 75 percent).

Close your eyes and imagine the entire world without coal, gas and oil. If you imagine in their stead thousands of modular nuclear power stations dotted around the globe, relax. While you probably need counselling on the practicalities of supplying affordable and reliable energy in the immediate decades ahead, you don’t have acute symptoms of a novel psychological affliction. To wit, a morbid fear of cheap dispatchable power and, its mirror image, a morbid attachment to rude living.

We had it coming.

To the afflicted, cheap dispatchable power means travel and gadgets galore for humans to enjoy. This isn’t the world they envision. To them it’s a dystopian nightmare. Hence their understandable terror at the prospect of its metastasising. Correspondingly, it’s no wonder that they’re smitten by unaffordable and unreliable energy. Out of the resulting deprivation, they see the noble savage emerging ready to live parsimoniously in harmony with nature.

Ask almost anyone in the street. Ordinary people. Normal people. None will like the idea of living parsimoniously. Certainly, when it’s explained to them.

When I was a boy, me mum used to wash our clothes, bedsheets and towels by hand in the bath; mangle them, then hang them on the clothesline outside even in the deepest English winter. Electricity usage zero. Mind you, mum used hot water heated in a boiler next to our coal fire or by gas on the stove top. Carbon footprint there, I suppose. Vandalism. She should have used cold water to be absolutely green-minded and parsimonious.

Today all kinds of labour-saving, communication and entertainment gadgets abound. They will be prised only out of cold dead hands. And not just gnarled hands. Make no mistake, those jet-setting climate-warrior hypocrites and their handmaidens are not about to forsake a smidgeon of indulgence.

How in the world do they get away with it? That is the question. Why isn’t net-zero laughed off the stage? Smoke and mirrors. That’s why. The truth is hidden. It’s hidden by baseless claims of green nirvanas. Job creation is the poster child.

Angus Taylor is Australia’s federal government “minister for industry, energy and emissions reduction.” His job description is a double-barrelled contradiction in terms. But all of those propagating the received wisdom are intent on the populace seeing them as oxymorons. Even among those who’ve never heard of Shakespeare’s sweet sorrow; who wouldn’t know an oxymoron from a contradiction in terms; and, incidentally, who might benefit from Danny DeVito’s masterly teaching.

Oxy this, you moron.

To expand. Juxtaposing both industry (the thriving thereof) and energy (the affordability and reliability thereof) with emissions reduction is meant to instill confidence that all is well with the world. Thus, effectively, we are meant to view "carbonless energy" and "carbonless industry" as oxymorons. That is to say, thunderous silence is more silent than plain silent. So, carbonless energy is cheaper and more abundant than just plain old energy. Carbonless industry is more competitive and job creating than just plain old industry. Grammar and propaganda working in sync to underpin the big sell.

Other countries have different set ups. But, within western governments these days; as, for example, in the U.K. and in the U.S., energy, industry and climate-change policy are caught under one broad umbrella, as though they are mutually supportive with no hint of conflict. And who’s to gainsay? No one of note at a political level. They’re predominantly likeminded.

It’s the real plague of our age. Political opposition has withered. Combatting climate change is a shared hysteria across the political aisles. It’s exactly the same thing with combatting the Wuhan virus. There’s no mainstream opposition. For the most part in Australia at a state and federal level, the usual charge against governments is that they’re not being hysterical enough. If you get the occasional reservation, it’s at the margin or from powerless mavericks.

Our system of government depends upon there being robustly opposing political forces. In Australia, Canada and the U.K., Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, puts the imperative into words. They’re not idle words.

Two things thrive in the absence of opposition. Foolishness and despotism. We are seeing both in full bloom in the response to Covid. So far climate policy is simply replete with foolishness. Watch out for despotism when people refuse to follow the parsimonious script, grids collapse and blackouts ensue.

Not hysterical enough.

Back to Angus Taylor. He recently took delight in a ship leaving port for Japan carrying hydrogen made using brown coal. Reportedly, the CO2 was captured and stored in a reservoir. No comment on the extent of capture, how leaky, how expensive, how scalable. What he said is that “clean hydrogen is a fuel of the future [and] the government is investing more than $1.3 billion to accelerate the development of our local hydrogen industry.” And did he promise jobs? Needless to ask, “over 16,000 jobs by 2050 plus a further 13,000 jobs from the construction of related renewable energy infrastructure.”

Notice something across jurisdictions. Renewable energy creates job galore. No mention of jobs lost. It’s all gain and no pain in the imaginary renewable energy world. This is the way hearts and minds are lulled. But real life is confronting and salutary. As my opening shows, unlike Esteban in Kill Bill II, wind is not susceptible to flattery. Neither will clean hydrogen become cheap and abundant on the wish and prayer of governments.

We are told by Taylor that “the government is determined to supercharge the [hydrogen] industry even further to support our plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.” There you have it. Nothing is impossible for a determined government armed with taxpayer dollars. Didn’t Barack Obama promise to quell the rise of the oceans among other wonderous feats and derring-dos? Job all done then, surely?

European Decline '22: Gradually, Then Suddenly

Two stories dominate the headlines this week in Britain and Western Europe: Will Boris Johnson survive in Downing Street and power? And will the Russians invade Ukraine? They’re very different stories, but both are interwoven with the longer and ultimately larger story of the growing energy crisis in Europe and the world. It’s a larger story because economic growth, living standards, and even civilization itself depend on the availability of reliable cheap energy. It’s a longer story because the current crisis is the delayed outcome of feckless and irresponsible energy policies (camouflaged by dreams of Green utopianism) that European governments have been increasingly pursuing since the end of the Cold War.

A few days ago, Bloomberg’s energy correspondent, Javier Blas, tweeted out that day’s snapshot of the European energy situation:

Shocked? Alarmed? But wait. Maybe the Irish who pride themselves on their Green and European virtues tell a better tale? Alas, Blas continued:

Ireland is quite shocking: coal is accounting for 20 percent of power production this cold, windless morning; natural gas is doing another 45 percent, and fuel-oil (yes, you read that right) an extra 16 percent. In total fossil fuels are accounting for almost 90 percent of the country’s electricity now.

There were unhappy responses from the Green twitterati to these home truths along the lines of: Why not tell us about the days on which the sun shone and the winds blew and “renewables” generated lots of cheap energy? But they were missing the point. Renewables, natural gas, oil, coal, hydro, all generate cheap energy (nuclear does not). Except for renewables, however, the energy they provide is also reliable. That’s why they have to be on-stream when wind and sun fail and the energy that renewables then don’t generate has to come from other sources. That’s been happening in Europe a lot in the last few months.

Failure is, in fact, an option.

Why? Europe’s central problem is that its collective policy of switching from cheap fossil fuels to unreliable renewables can work only if the latter get large subsidies. These can be financed either honestly from the taxpayer in higher taxes or sneakily from the consumer in higher electricity bills. Either way they add to the cost of living. In addition, as economists used to know, planning such complex interventions to manipulate market signaling invariably goes wrong at some point and produces either a glut or scarcity. At present it’s scarcity. and therefore energy prices are soaring across the continent afflicting both the wise and the foolish virgins.

Almost all European countries are complicit in these failures. As often happens, though, the biggest countries are the most complicit because they are the most influential. They cause the problems from which everyone suffers.

Take Germany. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel retired from politics in November last year amid glowing tributes as, in the words of the Economist magazine, “the indispensable European.” In reality she is the European most responsible for the wretched state of Europe’s energy market. She was responsible for five massive policy errors in her years in power, including refugee policy and opposition to reforming the Euro, but her two errors that  concerned energy now look the most damaging and the most consequential.

First, her decision to close down Germany’s nuclear power program—which she took “almost alone”—and replace it with energy from renewables has meant that coal-rich Germany uses more “dirty” coal to handle the problem that renewables don’t provide energy on schedule. It has also ensured that German energy prices are now the highest in Europe. According to one German source, household energy costs will rise by 37 percent by the end of 2022.

Auf Wiedersehen and good riddance.

Second, her determined support of the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea over the objections of both Washington and Brussels, increased Germany’s and Europe’s over-reliance on Russian energy. And as we see in the current crisis, that enables Putin to use energy pricing and supplies as weapons against Poland and Ukraine—and to create a European political crisis by setting German economic interests (and now even needs) in opposition to NATO’s strategic unity and dividing the alliance.

It’s difficult to decide which of the two decisions has had the worse consequences.

By comparison French President Emmanuel Macron has a much easier problem to solve because his country “went nuclear” under previous presidents. As a result France has a far more reliable domestic source of energy in nuclear-power stations and is far less vulnerable to shortages of supply and price shocks in the international energy market.

But when prices are rising so sharply in those markets, as they are, France is not entirely invulnerable either. Its finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, warned that without official intervention of some kind, energy prices to the French consumer would rise by 37 percent this year which, inconveniently for the French president, is an election year. Macron has therefore imposed an energy price cap of four per cent.

It’s “naked unashamed populism” according to the Telegraph’s Ben Marlow who goes on to point out that Macron doesn’t want rising fuel prices to invite riots from the gilets jaunes in an election year—the election is due in April.

More to the point, it's a bad economic decision since it will encourage excessive use of energy, build up popular support for the price cap, and make it difficult to abolish it, even after the election, because that would mean accepting responsibility for a large rise in electricity prices. As long as it lasts, however, its huge costs will be borne by the state-supported nuclear supplier, EDF, its investors, the taxpayers, and ultimately by France’s nuclear industry which needs more capital investment to update the very ageing power stations that give France its energy advantage over other European countries. But Macron can afford it, and since he might win an election by doing it, he didn’t hesitate.

Suicide, she wrote.

Boris Johnson can only envy him. He is facing the political crisis of a lifetime amidst an economic crisis of rising energy prices and shrinking energy supplies. That  is the cumulative result of successive governments which pursued the dream of total decarbonization while failing to invest in an energy security guaranteed by many sources of supply, in particular domestic sources of reply as in France. Theresa May inherited the policy of Net-Zero decarbonization but she then made it worse—more expensive and requiring greater sacrifices from the voters.

Boris himself is similarly culpable because, having originally supported the fracking of natural gas—which is plentiful in Britain and the surrounding seas, the greenest fossil fuel, and possesses numerous other advantages—he junked the commitment to license its development in 2019 to win Green votes. He needs his government to reverse that decision if the lights are to stay on and the gas heaters to warm Britons through the winter. If not, he'll be out in the cold himself, perhaps as soon as next week when the Gray Report is slated to be released.

The larger lesson was delivered by Lord Frost, the cabinet minister who negotiated a mainly favorable Brexit deal for Boris, via an interview with the London Times this week: Boris needs to immediately clear out “all the neo-socialists, green fanatics and pro-woke crowd” in Downing Street if he wants to save his premiership. Lesson? Personnel is policy.

And if Boris doesn't keep in Number Ten, the same lesson will need to be read to his successor. Europe's energy policies are a recipe for destroying governments. So far the governments don't seem to have realized that.

Lord Percy and the Green Climateers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And a little child shall lead them.

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

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

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

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