Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Mining

As is (almost) always the case my hard work has really paid off. I say almost because nearly everyone knows how my Olympic equestrian gold was stolen from me, but today I can proudly say that all my hard work—hunkering down in the Bahamas, has landed me a big, fat, juicy, client. SO big that, were I tell his name everyone would certainly know it. Shall we just say tech baron?

As it turns out, my bug soirée was a much bigger smash than I’d imagined because despite a paltry twenty-five guests, the event was lauded as “exclusif” and got picked up by Paris Match, Semana, Hello!, Tatler, and Vanity Fair.  Oh and obviously also by my new “Baron”. Frankly I shouldn’t be surprised, because I was way out in front of this whole bug-eating trend. I mean the WEF had talked a good game but when it came down to it, their pet source was SO not ready for prime time.

So when “Baron” went looking for someone to head his personal push to lessen reliance on traditional protein sources, all paths led to me. At the same time the U.S. is experiencing a once every 17-year infestation… or rather burgeoning... of cicadas! These too are edible, and an excellent source of protein but Americans are understandably loath to try them because an unfortunate bit of press came out rather early… warning against allergies to the cicadas when it turns out only those with shellfish allergies need to take heed. 

Hostess with the mostest.

My baron hopes that together we can turn this bounty into a sort of ‘gateway' to eating more bugs. The good news for me is I am the hostess who served them (instant credibility), and the good news for the planet is that with more people eating bugs we will rely less on large animals that create more greenhouse gases. Also the sheer sound of the cicadas in some parts of the East Coast is deafening—and who wants that? Surely less is more. 

I’ve already contacted the Boy Scouts of America, 4-H,  and the Future Farmers of America to see if they can begin some sort of hunting/harvesting exercise. The Boy Scouts already got back to me with a definitive NO—owing to the fact that they apparently ‘do not have a cicada patch’ and cannot get new patches approved in less than a year’s time—which if you think about it, is truly intolerable given that the cicadas will be gone by then.  And second of all, I didn’t ask for a patch, I asked for a programme.

I coordinated to get so very many publications to run recipes that feature cicadas.  Among the best was  Spicy Popcorn Cicadas  fish soup with chicken and cicadas   and Cicada Cookies. Things were going well until I went to upload these pictures onto my website and started to gag. This time it wasn’t the thought of the crunchy legs getting stuck between my teeth but seeing the juicy insects floating in the fish and chicken soup—I just imagined them alive and swimming on my tongue and down my throat and that was it for me. Vomit-central. I only made it to the trash bin near the bar. 

It was a good ten minutes before I wasn’t flop-sweated and felt I could control my need to gag. The pictures were not getting uploaded—at least not by me. I closed my laptop and went down to the port in search of a cocktail.

To start my employ I flew to meet the baron’s yacht and then stayed on until we docked at Port de Saint-Tropez where I checked into the Byblos. I don’t know his plans for the next three days but at the end of the week I’m meant to host another insect cocktail party, this time for a hundred and with an even greater variety of bugs. The thought of which was making me queasy; the stacked hard shells, the squish, the crunch, ladies with leg-bits stuck to their lip gloss… I began to hurl again. Good Lord, please tell me there are people one can hire to just… OMG.

If it's good enough for Mick Jagger...

I called Daddy and he suggested when in bug distress I place a large silver coin on my tongue near the back of my throat, claiming it helped him through a few excessive drinking situations at Oxford. 

‘But how am I supposed to talk?’ I asked, nearly swallowing the coin.

‘You aren’t’, he said, ‘that’s the point, you don’t lift your uvula, you don’t take that breath in, and you don’t lose your job. That was the point, wasn’t it?’ 

‘I don’t know.’ I said, spitting the coin into my hand. This was a disaster. The press would like nothing more than to tear down the girl they just praised. She can’t even look at the stuff, they would write. 

‘I think the press will have a bigger issue with your environmental conflict if they were to find out your robber baron paid you in Bitcoin.’

‘How? Bitcoin is about fairness,’ I explained.  ’It allows the people to have power at long last, instead of only banks and a few families. Also, they say…’

‘Ah yes, THEY. The famous they… I think best you ask your robber baron to pay you by check, or wire transfer, or actual coin.’

‘Actual…no.  it’s no risk.  I already got my first payment and converted it to cash.’

‘Well that’s great except ‘it’ is exceedingly bad for the environment and as he’s your green baron, you should be giving him better advice.’

‘How?? It’s mined on computers. It was basically a peaceful revolution that brought the power to the people, even people who previously had no access to banking systems.’

Talk about a carbon footprint!

“But that’s not your client is it? And these people of whom you speak are not owning their own banks, or data mining centres or even computers. The power my darling girl, is mostly coal power because most of these are China-based mines, and they use the cheapest electrical generation, most of which is derived from coal-fired plants.’

Ugh, another disaster! ‘Why is it always China!’ I wailed.

‘Why is the left always focused on something like making us eat bugs?' he replied. 'And tell me, how was the boat ride?’

He just had to get the last jab in.  I pecked away on my computer for a bit longer finding that Bitcoin consumes more energy than Malaysia, Sweden and Argentina combined, and causes more carbon emissions than Conoco Phillips and American Airlines. Not looking good. 

I couldn’t undo the transfer but at least Bitcoin activity is under the radar—or at least I assume it must be given it’s the choice of illicit trade.  Oh, boo. I would indeed have to tell him to pay me by traditional methods—for his reputation as well as mine.  And even if I might not be able to down a juicy cicada for the camera, I would be able to help him not look like an obvious hypocrite. Surely that’s what he’s paying me for. 

Trudeau's Pipeline 'Weak Sauce'

Well, it looks like the Trudeau Government is throwing in the towel on the Keystone pipeline. On Wednesday evening the Prime Minister released a statement saying “We are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL.” Ben Woodfinden is exactly right:

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Trudeau's initial approach was to argue that Biden's anti-climate change instincts were admirable but misguided, since the project had addressed the issues which most troubled environmentalists at the outset. It seemed as though Trudeau was attempting to employ his own green bona fides to give Biden cover to back down on Keystone, but to no avail. So, as in the case of Pfizer's failing to deliver Canada's contracted vaccine doses, Justin has decided to just put up his well-manicured hands and say, in essence, 'We're a small country, what can I do?'

Never mind that Canada's unemployment and labor participation rates are down, and the jobs Keystone XL generates for the resource sector are desperately needed.

Source: Statistics Canada

Trudeau would do well to remember the old saying, '[W]hen America sneezes, Canada gets a cold.' Both countries have weathered the lockdowns better than one would have thought back in March. That's why they are still going on (even if some of their most ardent apologists have started to back away from them).

But they've only done so well by taking on enormous amounts of new debt, the bill for which will begin to come due sooner than anyone thinks. This will no doubt cause serious problems for the U. S., but America's sheer size and its extremely diverse economy will provide a cushion that the smaller and resource-dependent Canada just won't have.

So what should Trudeau do? Well, some of the aggressiveness he showed when America's last president put a ten percent tariff on Canadian aluminum (part of a push which led Trump to drop the duty a month later) would be welcome. Of course, Trump was not a CBC-approved American the way Joe Biden is, and consequently Trudeau would have to expend real political capital -- perhaps more than he has -- to similarly fight for his nation's interests.

A more realistic hope might be for his making a sustained case for Keystone XL as beneficial for both of our countries at a time of real economic distress. The Heartland Institute's Steven Milloy has a good brief against Biden's Keystone cancellation which lays out many of the points that Trudeau could make. After establishing that the environmental effects of Keystone XL would be negligible, Milloy explains that,

According to the U. S . Chamber of Commerce, the Keystone XL will:

Consequently, for Milloy, "the revocation of the Keystone XL permit will be the exaltation of imaginary global climate benefits over real ones to U. S. workers and communities." Needless to say, the same could be said on the Canadian side.

Unfortunately, it seems as though Trudeau has officially folded. TC Energy -- which owns the pipeline -- have already announced a halt on construction and thousands of layoffs. More's the pity.

Biden to Execute Keystone Pipeline via E.O.

The Biden campaign's strategy was to hide their candidate in the basement while letting a fawning press make the case for him as president. This case was short on substance and long on impression, particularly the impression that the former V.P. is a moderate, working-class guy and a statesman who would restore America's reputation in the world and restrain the Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren/AOC wing of the party.

Well, with the election over Biden's priorities are starting to become clear. They are anything but moderate and, insofar as they unnecessarily antagonizing one of our closest allies, neither are they statesmanlike.

This past weekend a memo written by incoming chief of staff Ron Klain was released which outlines the executive orders Biden plans to implement immediately upon taking over the White House. Highlights on this list -- which the Associated Press calls "a 10-day blitz of executive actions... to redirect the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency without waiting for Congress" -- include immigration reform; a national face mask mandate (mandating that they be worn on all federal property and "during interstate travel," whatever that means in practice); and an extension of the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures and the "pause" on student loan payments.

Among the memo's most consequential items is the bullet point which reads "Roll back Trump enviro actions via EO (including rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit)." That is, on his first day in office tomorrow Biden plans to employ the "pen and phone" tactic to kill a multimillion dollar international project that employs tens of thousands of people (in two countries!) in the midst of a pandemic-created recession. This is madness.

Canada vs. the Democrats.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the Trudeau government are scrambling to make the case that this move is unnecessary from an environmentalist perspective. Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Kiersten Hillman, released a statement on Sunday saying "The government of Canada continues to support the Keystone XL project and the benefits that it will bring to both Canada and the United States.” She went on to stress that the Keystone project was more environmentally friendly than the one the Obama administration rejected in 2015:

Not only has the project itself changed significantly since it was first proposed, but Canada’s oilsands production has also changed significantly. Per-barrel oilsands (greenhouse gas) emissions have dropped 31 per cent since 2000, and innovation will continue to drive progress... Keystone XL fits within Canada’s climate plan at a time when our economic recovery is a top priority... there is no better partner for the U.S. on climate action than Canada as we work together for green transition.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney took a slightly more aggressive tone, saying: "Should the incoming U.S. administration abrogate the Keystone XL permit, Alberta will work with [pipeline owners] TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project."

These appeals are unlikely to sway Team Biden, who are riding a wave of anti-Republican sentiment in the wake of the recent disturbance at the Capitol. They believe they have a window of opportunity to make some big, cost-free moves which will garner them goodwill with activists but will be forgotten by voters still focused on the Trump show.

This could well be a miscalculation on their part. The issues which gave rise to Trump in 2016 won't go away when he does. And the most important of those, the alienation of America's working class since the end of the Cold War, will be aggravated by virtue signaling environmentalist moves like the cancelation of Keystone.

Thanks Again, Fracking!

In a recent article in the Toronto Sun, Lorrie Goldstein comments on a surprising fact: that Justin Trudeau, the dream political leader of the environmental lobby, is going to have to concede that Canada has missed the emissions reduction target it agreed to in 2009, while America -- after four years under Donald J. Trump -- will actually exceed that target. Says Goldstein:

This despite the fact Trump, unlike Trudeau, never imposed a national carbon tax on the U.S. Nor has any American president done so. Also, despite the fact Trump, unlike Trudeau, announced he was withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement in 2017, saying it was contrary to the economic interests of the U.S.

The 2009 targets, negotiated by the prime minister and the president's respective predecessors as part of the Copenhagen Accord, informally committed both nations to reduce emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. While America's emissions projections for 2020 are about 20 percent below 2005 levels, Canada's projections are down only 0.14 percent. For Canada to meet its commitments for 2020, Goldstein points out, "we would have to cut our current emissions by 123 million tonnes — the equivalent of the annual emissions from our entire agriculture sector and most of our electricity sector — in less than a month."

How could this be? Well, part of the story of America's success (if you could call it that) is the government imposed Covid-19 lockdowns. Goldstein mentions that U. S. emissions for 2020 are down roughly 10 percent from where they otherwise would have been without the lockdowns, which sounds great until you consider the economic devastation they also wrought. The cure in this case was far worse than the disease.

Of course, Canada also locked down and had an equivalent emissions drop. Which is to say, the pandemic doesn't even begin to tell the full story.

What actually happened is that, while the Trudeau government dove deep into virtue signaling environmentalist rhetoric, the U. S. allowed "market forces, innovation and [smart] energy policy" to do their work. Among other things, the U. S. leaned in hard to hydraulic fracturing, allowing us to gradually transition away from our reliance on coal towards natural gas, which "burns at half the carbon dioxide intensity of coal."

Meanwhile in Canada, Goldstein points out, "several provinces have banned fracking," bowing to anti-fracking sentiment in the green movement, while the Trudeau government has imposed a national carbon tax (and doubled it mid-way through a global pandemic), and put real political capital into transitioning away from oil and natural gas, which accounts for roughly 10 percent of the nation's GDP.

It'd be nice if more environmentalists started recognizing (as Michael Schellenberger has) that their preferred methods of addressing these issues are mostly hokum and started advocating for policies which actually work. Both don't hold your breath. Most of them are just hypocrites who mindlessly condemn President Trump as a Captain Planet-style villain, while lauding all of the Trudeaupian fluff.