Category Archive 'Environmentalism'
12 Jan 2023

First They Came for….

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Issues and Insights Editorial Board rightly recognizes an alarming trend.

First They Came For My Showerhead And I Did Nothing, Then They Came For My Light Bulbs And I Did Nothing, Now They Want My Gas Stove And ….

The news that the federal government is seriously considering a ban on the sale of gas stoves caught many normal Americans off guard. It shouldn’t have. Nor should they believe it when a regulator says they won’t actually ever ban the thing.

And they’re right: It Can Happen Here!

RTWT

17 Oct 2022

The Green Revolution Is Just a Fantasy

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Mark P. Mills, a policy wonk at the Manhattan Institute, explains that the Green Energy Revolution that is supposed to replace the use of fossil fuels in the immediate future is entirely a fantasy, a case of magical thinking that would require the abolition of limits inherent in the laws of physics.

A growing chorus of voices is exhorting the public, as well as government policymakers, to embrace the necessity—indeed, the inevitability—of society’s transition to a “new energy economy.”

Advocates claim that rapid technological changes are becoming so disruptive and
renewable energy is becoming so cheap and so fast that there is no economic risk in accelerating the move to—or even mandating—a post-hydrocarbon world that no longer needs to use much, if any, oil, natural gas, or coal.

Central to that worldview is the proposition that the energy sector is undergoing the same kind of technology disruptions that Silicon Valley tech has brought to so many other markets. Indeed, “old economy” energy companies are a poor choice for investors, according to proponents of the new energy economy, because the assets of hydrocarbon companies will soon become worthless, or “stranded.” Betting on hydrocarbon companies today is like betting on Sears instead of Amazon a decade ago.

“Mission Possible,” a 2018 report by an international Energy Transitions Commission, crystallized this growing body of opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. To “decarbonize” energy use, the report calls for the world to engage in three “complementary” actions: aggressively deploy renewables or so-called clean tech, improve energy efficiency, and limit energy demand.

This prescription should sound familiar, as it is identical to a nearly universal energy-policy consensus that coalesced following the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo that shocked the world. But while the past half-century’s energy policies were animated by fears of resource depletion, the fear now is that burning the world’s abundant
hydrocarbons releases dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

To be sure, history shows that grand energy transitions are possible. The key question today is whether the world is on the cusp of another. The short answer is no. There are two core flaws with the thesis that the world can soon abandon hydrocarbons. The first: physics realities do not allow energy domains to undergo the kind of revolutionary change experienced on the digital frontiers. The second: no fundamentally new energy technology has been discovered or invented in nearly a century—certainly, nothing analogous to the invention of the transistor or the Internet.

Before these flaws are explained, it is best to understand the contours of today’s hydrocarbon-based energy economy and why replacing it would be a monumental, if not an impossible, undertaking.

08 Jun 2022

How Green Is My Chevy Volt!

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Governments world-wide have spent billions and billions to get you to switch from using gasoline refined from petroleum to electricity produced in plants that burn coal to power your car. Pure genius!

02 Mar 2022

Green Delusions Made Possible Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

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Michael Schellenberger (both above & below) points out how eco-superstition (significantly funded by Russia as deliberate disinformatsia) persuaded both European countries and America to avoid energy production to save the earth!, thereby rendering both dependent on exported Russian energy. Vladimir Putin obviously believed that that dependency gave Russia a free hand to invade Ukraine.

How is it possible that European countries, Germany especially, allowed themselves to become so dependent on an authoritarian country over the 30 years since the end of the Cold War?

Here’s how: These countries are in the grips of a delusional ideology that makes them incapable of understanding the hard realities of energy production. Green ideology insists we don’t need nuclear and that we don’t need fracking. It insists that it’s just a matter of will and money to switch to all-renewables—and fast. It insists that we need “degrowth” of the economy, and that we face looming human “extinction.” (I would know. I myself was once a true believer.)

John Kerry, the United States’ climate envoy, perfectly captured the myopia of this view when he said, in the days before the war, that the Russian invasion of Ukraine “could have a profound negative impact on the climate, obviously. You have a war, and obviously you’re going to have massive emissions consequences to the war. But equally importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus.”

But it was the West’s focus on healing the planet with “soft energy” renewables, and moving away from natural gas and nuclear, that allowed Putin to gain a stranglehold over Europe’s energy supply.

As the West fell into a hypnotic trance about healing its relationship with nature, averting climate apocalypse and worshiping a teenager named Greta, Vladimir Putin made his moves.

While he expanded nuclear energy at home so Russia could export its precious oil and gas to Europe, Western governments spent their time and energy obsessing over “carbon footprints,” a term created by an advertising firm working for British Petroleum. They banned plastic straws because of a 9-year-old Canadian child’s science homework. They paid for hours of “climate anxiety” therapy.

While Putin expanded Russia’s oil production, expanded natural gas production, and then doubled nuclear energy production to allow more exports of its precious gas, Europe, led by Germany, shut down its nuclear power plants, closed gas fields, and refused to develop more through advanced methods like fracking.

The numbers tell the story best. In 2016, 30 percent of the natural gas consumed by the European Union came from Russia. In 2018, that figure jumped to 40 percent. By 2020, it was nearly 44 percent, and by early 2021, it was nearly 47 percent.

For all his fawning over Putin, Donald Trump, back in 2018, defied diplomatic protocol to call out Germany publicly for its dependence on Moscow. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said. This prompted Germany’s then-chancellor, Angela Merkel, who had been widely praised in polite circles for being the last serious leader in the West, to say that her country “can make our own policies and make our own decisions.”

The result has been the worst global energy crisis since 1973, driving prices for electricity and gasoline higher around the world. It is a crisis, fundamentally, of inadequate supply. But the scarcity is entirely manufactured.

Europeans—led by figures like Greta Thunberg and European Green Party leaders, and supported by Americans like John Kerry—believed that a healthy relationship with the Earth requires making energy scarce. By turning to renewables, they would show the world how to live without harming the planet. But this was a pipe dream. You can’t power a whole grid with solar and wind, because the sun and the wind are inconstant, and currently existing batteries aren’t even cheap enough to store large quantities of electricity overnight, much less across whole seasons.

In service to green ideology, they made the perfect the enemy of the good—and of Ukraine.

RTWT

17 Jun 2021

Coastal California’s Waging War on Kern County

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Bakersfield

Joel Kotkin explains how Coastal California environmental superstition combined with snobbery is devastating the economy, and wiping out the jobs, of Blue Collar in-land Kern County.

Located over the mountains from Los Angeles, Kern County has always been a different kind of place. Settled largely by “Okies and Arkies” from the Depression-era South, the area has a culture more southern than northern, more Ozarks than Sierra. Home to just under 1 million people at the southern end of the state’s Central Valley, Kern is noted for producing the “Bakersfield sound,” epitomized by the late country star Merle Haggard, and is sometimes even referred to as “little Texas.”

Its economy rested on two natural resource industries that once powered California – agriculture and oil. The region leads California in energy production and is fourth in agriculture, mainly yielding lettuce, strawberries, and grapes. Its concentration of agricultural jobs is 22 times the national average and its oil industry jobs are 6 times the national average.

Although these may seem like “old economy” jobs, the Kern area has easily outperformed zippy “new economy” places in total job growth; outside of the Silicon Valley, notes Chapman analyst Marshall Toplansky, Kern is one of few California areas producing mid-wage jobs above the national average – far more than San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties, which have fallen behind the national pace. …

In a state suffering from high housing prices and a lack of middle-wage jobs, one would think boosting Kern County and its largest city, Bakersfield (population: 700,000) would be a priority. Governor Gavin Newsom boasts that he wants to look for ways of “unlocking the enormous potential” of the Central Valley, but he seems more interested in flattening the area’s aspirations.

Climate policy sits at the core of this assault. Reflecting the prejudicial neuroses of his Bay Area and oligarchic base, Governor Newsom – who Dan Walters describes as “California’s champion virtue signaler” – has announced plans to shut down the state’s oil industry. Newsom’s latest unlegislated decree directed state regulators to ban all forms of oil and gas well stimulation technologies, including steam injection, essential for oil and gas extraction in the state. The draft rules, issued last month, would effectively sharply limit California’s oil and gas industry as well as future exploration and development. According to a study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, these dictates threaten over 366,000 high-paying, largely blue-collar jobs, about half held by people of color. Another 3.9 million jobs, 16.5% of total state employment, are at risk from these policies.

People in Bakersfield may depend on these jobs, but rigid Ecotopians – backed by investment bankers, social media magnates, and urban real estate interests, the funders of “progressive” politics – want them eliminated. The green push also threatens to destroy the area’s ability to fund local services. Renewable firms thrive in the area – producing 25 percent of all California’s renewable energy, according to the Kern EDC, and serving as home to the nation’s largest solar plant, wind farm, and geothermal facility. But these facilities tend to pay little or no property tax, while oil represents the largest source of local revenue. Green energy won’t do much for the county when faced with the demand for more welfare and other services that would accompany increased joblessness stemming from the demise of oil.

Nor is energy the only area Newsom is seeking to undermine the local economy, particularly now that California is about to have another of its regular droughts. The last one ended in 2017. Since then, first under Jerry Brown and now Newsom, the state has done little to increase reservoir storage capacity during wetter years. Captured water is increasingly released into San Francisco Bay, rather than used for homes and farms, in a quixotic attempt to “save” species in decline despite decades of “scientific” protection.

Like the energy sector, agriculture finds itself in the crosshairs of the greens, who link dry weather to climate but oppose the construction of new reservoirs, preferring to use runoff for natural areas like San Francisco Bay and the adjoining delta. The preferred solution to droughts today is not de-salinization or boosting water storage, but wiping out farmland, creating a dystopic landscape of abandoned fields in some of the world’s richest agricultural areas.

The losers here are not just the “corporate” farms long disdained by California’s progressives. In the last drought, which ended in 2017, thousands of poor and predominantly Latino workers lost their jobs. The most recent drought is hitting just as Central Valley farmers struggle with new groundwater regulations that dramatically cut their ability to cope with reduced runoff from rain and snowmelt. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, groundwater limits will eliminate between 535,000 and 750,000 acres of Valley farmland. Small farmers, who won’t be able to pay for or even secure ever-scarcer water, likely would be the worst hit.

RTWT

30 Jan 2021

Buying Firewood in France

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The quality and species of firewood matters to me, because my Pennsylvania log cabin has a stone groundfloor. The two-foot-thick walls keep it nicely insulated, but also tend to make it chilly as a well in cold weather, so I pretty much have to keep a log fire going from October to April.

Softwoods, like pine, burn too fast and release too much creosote, drastically upping your likelihood of chimney fires. Insufficiently aged wood, or wood cut live, is heavy to lift and hard to get to burn. You rapidly run through your tinder, starting and re-starting the fire as the moist log smokes at you.

They used to sell wood by the cord –4′ by 8′ by 4′, but nobody really measures in cords today. We buy now by the pickup load.

Jeremy Clarke, in the British Spectator, buys wood in France by the stère, and talks hunting (Outline gets around the paywall):

The other day we ordered a stère from a woodman recommended by an expat English friend. He dumped his load at the foot of the path and climbed up to the house for payment and a drink; €70 a stère is the norm. He wanted €90 and a whisky, ice, no water. I made him a belter and passed it over along with the cash. Would he like to sit? He consented to perch on the arm of the sofa. Our elderly bitch, deeply asleep on the sofa, was woken nostril first by the combination of rare and unusual scents emanating from this thick-set man in his mid-fifties.

He managed his heavy-bottomed whisky glass with an exaggerated delicacy that looked a bit like parody. But his expectant conviviality suggested a previous acquaintance with the expat English bourgeoisie, who, for all their faults and absurdities, offer strong spirits at 10 o’clock in the morning and defer obsequiously to the opinions of a man of the woods and forests. Then Catriona came in and sat and accepted a whisky also.

The woodman had noted with approval the stuffed boar’s head wearing Ray-Bans fixed above the side door. This moved the conversation in the direction of boars and boar-hunting and it turned out that we were entertaining the president of a local boar hunt. He owns 19 hunting dogs, a small arsenal of rifles and shotguns, and only yesterday had organized an 80-gun shoot followed by a wood-cutting session and piss-up. Another whisky, young man, we said? The empty glass was smartly presented while our old dog fastened her nose to his trousers.

Catriona interrogated him about his sex life. He was currently living with a much younger woman, an obstreperous vegetarian, he said. Then, suspiciously: we weren’t ecologists, were we? (An ecologist in his book was a shorthand term of abuse for an animal rights supporter.) I put it on record that I was not an ecologist and in fact had taken part in a boar hunt in which the chef had one leg shorter than the other and three dogs were gravely injured by boars’ tusks during the course of the day. Ah, said the woodman. His dogs were fitted with Kevlar jackets. Expensive but he no longer spends half the time sewing up his injured dogs.

RTWT

23 Nov 2020

Ebenezer Scrooge, Environmentalist

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“If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

Campus Reform finds that Scrooge has been reincarnated and is teaching at Columbia.

A Columbia University faculty member has called for an end to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, calling the tree emblematic of an “absolutely toxic relationship” with nature.

Arguing that the tree is a “veritable island for wildlife,” Columbia University faculty member and environmental journalist Brian Kahn decried the loss of the ecological haven. Kahn is set to teach a class in spring 2021 titled “Applications in Climate and Society.”

He warned that the tree had lost its one “iota of dignity” it had in its previous home. …

Khan further argued that the Rockefeller tradition reflects how “we’ve subjugated nature to our whims.” He said the tree stands as “an icon of American exceptionalism,” pointing not only to the tree’s tie to filling the underground mall, thus “keeping the unnatural system alive,” but also to its place as a “paean to patriotism” following 9/11.

Khan added that watching the tree didn’t bring him “elation.” Instead, it made him feel “sad that we venerate the continued subjugation of nature at the expense of unfettered growth and consumption.” The tree is “a flashy, two-hour TV special,” which presents a “shiny veneer of corporate social responsibility and giving.”

“But really,” he added, “it just illustrates our broken system and priorities that are also strangling the planet…”

10 Apr 2020

δειλοί, πάνδειλοι, κυάμων ἄπο χεῖρας ἔχεσθαι (Villains, Utter Villains, Keep Your Hands Away From Beans!) –Empedocles, fr. B.141

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James Hamblin M.D., who would believe it?, is actually 37 years old. He looks about 16. Despite being a Med School grad, he does not actually practice medicine, but instead writes for The Atlantic and lectures on Public Health at Yale.

Dr. Hamblin, in a 2017 article being freshly redistributed by Pocket, tells us that we should all give up eating beef, replacing it with beans(!) thereby coming close to meeting America’s 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.

[I]f nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.

“I think there’s genuinely a lack of awareness about how much impact this sort of change can have,” Harwatt told me. There have been analyses in the past about the environmental impacts of veganism and vegetarianism, but this study is novel for the idea that a person’s dedication to the cause doesn’t have to be complete in order to matter. A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact—more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than quitting showering.

So, here is this presumptuous elite scribbler with a couple of degrees and an adolescent’s face who is perfectly prepared to tell 330 million of his fellow citizens to hurry up and fall into line, giving up a primary focus of the American diet, a food item appearing on the table in countless forms and recipes, whose cultural role and traditional use extends backward immemorially. The paleolithic paintings at Lascaux include bison and aurochs, the ancestors of today’s Black Angus. And why? in order to comply with a 2009 international agreement proposing self-flagellating energy measures for advanced Western countries with no possible impact on the Asian and other Third World industrial activities producing far more of the emissions suppositiously threatening to provoke the wrath of Gaia.

Really intelligent people question the ability of computer models playing with statistics to predict the earth’s climate, and the same people are also highly skeptical of the whole Anthropogenic CO2 causing warming business, since it is obvious that the world’s climate has been significantly warmer than today during several periods in the past. The Vikings, for instance, settled and farmed in Greenland, then were frozen out. There’s nobody farming in Greenland today. The Romans extensively made wine in Britain. Growing wine grapes in Britain is a very minimal activity today, and not long ago was non-existent.

Anyone numerate would recognize that the Paris Treaty was never anything but a Feel-Good bien pensant gesture. Even if fully implemented, it could never have accomplished its supposed goal.

And, anyone with common sense would realize that trying to tell Americans to give up steak and hamburger, kill off all their cattle, and shut down a several-hundred-billion-dollar-a-year industry as a gesture of solidarity with International Goo-Goo-ism is a complete non-starter.

It is really typical of today’s society that somebody goofy enough to write that piece would be hired to lecture at Yale.

06 Apr 2020

The Left Bans Key Game Management Technique in Northern England

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Crazy left-wing busybodies rule the world. Didn’t you know? If there is anything going on that useful, productive, or merely fun, they’ve got Environmentalism to use to get their way. Essentially anything human beings do can be argued to produce changes in the world, and any changes can be claimed to be somehow, in some sense, negative. Voilà! Mustn’t offend Gaia! That’s been banned!

Driven grouse shooting in England & Scotland is not only a sport. It’s also an economic activity. The sale of wild game was banned early in the last century in the United States. Market hunters were responsible for the eradication of the buffalo and the near extinction of some other species, and they competed with sport hunters. In Britain, on the other hand, game bird management on enormous estates included harvesting by sportsmen followed by commercial sale. British restaurants compete to offer red grouse the soonest after the shooting season opens on the traditional date of August 12th.

The goo-goos have all these rationalizations about heather-burning being bad for the environment, but they are all anti-blood sports, and enviromentalism always provides excuses for lefties to nobble things they don’t like, from timber-harvesting to grouse shooting.

The Guardian is gloating.

The controversial practice of setting heather-covered moorland on fire – often carried out by gamekeepers to create more attractive habitats for grouse – is now banned on more than 30 major tracts of land in northern England. Three large landowners have confirmed that their tenants are no longer allowed to burn heather routinely.

The ban is a blow to grouse shoots, which burn older heather to make way for younger, more nutritious plants for grouse to feed on, but environmental groups say the practice harms the environment. Research by the University of Leeds has found that burning grouse moors degrades peatland habitat, releases climate-altering gases, reduces biodiversity and increases flood risk.

Last year, the Observer reported that Yorkshire Water was reviewing each of its grouse-shooting leases amid concerns about the practice of routine burning. The company says has written into its lease a presumption against burning as a land management technique.

United Utilities is also altering its leases to shorter terms, with a similar review to Yorkshire Water’s expected. Last month, it confirmed to the campaign group Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors (BBYM) that it now prohibits routine burning on its land.

And three estates overseen by the National Trust – Marsden, Braithwaite Hall and Dark Peak – also told the group that tenants were no longer allowed to conduct routine burning. Braithwaite Hall said tenants required written consent to do so, and that it had taken legal action against one. Dark Peak said it retained complete control of burning practices on its land. Marsden said tenants could not carry out any burning.

A National Trust spokeswoman said: “We don’t allow burning on deep peat and over recent years have moved away from using controlled grouse-moor burning as a matter of course. There are a diminishing number of historic agreements where burning may occasionally be used but we are working with these tenants to introduce more sustainable land-management practice.”

RTWT

13 Feb 2020

First They Coming For Your Guns…

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Then they mean to take away your car, Jack Baruth predicts.

I’d be willing to bet that very few of you know who Richard Aborn is. He was the president of Handgun Control, Inc., in 1993 when the Brady Bill was passed. Prior to the bill’s passage, the NRA and others said that it would be the “camel’s nose under the tent” of firearms legislation. This is a reference to an old saying that you can’t just let the camel’s nose into a tent—you end up letting the whole camel in, whether you want to or not.

Anyway, when the Brady Bill was passed, Mr. Aborn grabbed a reporter and said, “[The bill’s detractors were] right all along in fearing the waiting period was a camel’s nose under the tent. Brady has now passed and it is time to reveal the rest of the camel!” At the time, I thought that was a little, ahem, bold of the man to say. Regardless of how you feel about gun control, you can probably agree with me that you shouldn’t spike the football before the referee puts his hands up. But Mr. Aborn no doubt figured he was on the right side of history in this matter.

Across the Atlantic, the legislators both elected and unelected believe themselves to be on the right side of history when it comes to the privately-owned internal-combustion vehicle—more specifically, when it comes to the demise of same. The UK just announced that it would ban the sale of gas or diesel cars by 2035, “or earlier, if possible.” When Neil Peart wrote Red Barchetta, that date was a robust 60 years away. Now it’s closer in our windshield than the introduction of the second-generation Toyota Prius is in our rearview mirror, so to speak.

This astounding regulatory decision, made by people who can’t gauge the UK’s relative impact on the climate vis-a-vis China—or maybe they just read 1984 as an instruction manual, not a warning—sickens me. There’s only one thing to be said in its defense: at least it’s kind of fair. Contrast it to the Europeans, who are doing something even nastier: their 2021 emissions standards require a fleet average of 58 mpg or thereabouts. You couldn’t do that with an all-Prius fleet. Heck, not even the Plymouth Horizon Miser could hit that mark.

What the EU expects the automakers to do is simple: continue making Ferraris, AMG Benzes, and whatnot for the super-rich while forcing everyone else into an electric vehicle. So while British showrooms will force the same misery on everyone, kind of like the way everyone in London had to hide in the same shelters during the Blitz, the Europeans will make sure that the most privileged among us get to keep doing what they want while the average man or woman in the street gets stuck with a glorified golf cart.

(If you like, and if it fits your political worldview, you’re also free to see this as a way to make the dirty plutocrats subsidize clean electric transportation for the proletariat through extra markup on their G-wagens or Range Rovers or whatever. There’s room for all views here, except perhaps for those held by the people who weld enormous scrap-sheet metal fenders on old 911s for no reason.)

The delight with which the politicians are rolling out these regulations would make Richard Aborn blush.

RTWT

11 Oct 2019

Climate Change Activists Perform a Dance Known as “I Don’t Have a Job and Nothing Better to Do with Myself and I Still Live in My Mom’s Basement”

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30 Sep 2019

Greta Thunberg Isn’t Germany’s Sweetheart

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Backroom Buzz:

Motorists in Germany, the automotive heart of Europe, are not taking kindly to unhinged Swedish child climate change alarmist Greta Thunberg.

More drivers every day are sporting F*ck You Greta Thunberg bumper stickers telling the climate change alarmist with anger management issues, to take a hike.

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