Streetwise Professor

November 25, 2020

How Green Is My Valley? After the Greens Get Done With it–Not Very Green At All, or Living In A Material World.

Filed under: Climate Change,Commodities,Economics,Energy,Politics,Regulation — cpirrong @ 7:21 pm

The biggest intellectual defect of modern environmentalism–and there are many–is its monomania. The obsession with greenhouse gases has led it to advocate drastic changes in the production and consumption of energy without regard for the non-GHG-related consequences of these changes, including in particular the environmental consequences.

Fossil-fuels are carbon intensive, but the alternatives to fossil fuels and fossil-fueled vehicles, heaters, appliances, etc.–electricity generated by wind and solar, batteries, vastly expanded transmission networks, electric cars and appliances–are incredibly material intensive.

Many–most–of these materials need to be mined. Electric vehicles and batteries utilize massive amounts of metals and minerals, e.g., copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium. The mining of these things generates massive amounts of pollution of the air and water and the ground.

Just a few examples. Many of the largest Superfund sites in the US are defunct copper mines, like the Berkeley Pit in Montana, where decades after its retirement the country’s largest earthen dam holds back–hopefully!, as I’ll discuss in a moment–6.5 trillion gallons of toxic sludge. And the mine itself is now a 900 foot deep, mile long, toxic lake.

What did I mean about “hopefully!”? Well, there have recently been massive failures of containment dams at mines in Canada, Brazil (at least two) and Australia, which have cost hundreds of lives and massive ecological and economic damage.

Even when there are not such catastrophic failures, the accumulation of toxic tailings is hardly green.

And tailings are not the only issue. Let’s talk about air pollution, shall we? Specifically with a mineral that will be crucial to the production of massive batteries–nickel.

Riddle me this: what city has the worst air pollution in Russia, and among the 10 most polluted in the world? If you answer “Norilsk”, you’re a winner. Why? Nickel production. The world’s largest nickel mine and processing facility located there spews out “four million tons of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, arsenic, selenium and zinc” per year. And the river runs a beautiful красный for good measure. Not very зеленый!

The “green” electrification of the entire world will require massive amounts of rare earths. The vast bulk of rare earths are produced in China. Not because it is uniquely endowed with them–they are actually quite common. Because only the Chinese are willing to accept the pernicious environmental impacts of rare earths mining.

And it’s not just environmental impact. It is historical impact as well. Rio Tinto obliterated a 40,000 year old archeological site to expand an iron ore mine. The “Sacred Valley” in Peru is also being mined extensively.

These things are happening at current scale, and they are an inevitable consequence of industrialization. But the question is whether the benefit of reducing GHG emissions justifies increasing commensurately these impacts. For you multiply these environmental consequences by many times when you consider the impact of multiplying electrical vehicles and appliances and batteries by many, many times.

Wind and solar generation facilities also consume massive amounts of material. Many of these are mined, or involve polluting production processes (including not immaterially–pun intended–concrete, which is a major GHG producer).

But there’s also the land. I’m so old that I can remember (though I was very young at the time–so I’m not THAT old!) Lady Bird Johnson campaigning against the visual blight of highway billboards. Quaint, really: they were a ribbon of eyesores, at most. In contrast, the amount of wind and solar facilities required to achieve the grandiose objectives of the Green New Deal or its proposed counterparts around the world (ya I’m looking at you Boris) would create square mile after square mile of eyesores.

Not to mention (a) displacing land from other productive uses, and (b) creating large risks for fauna, especially birds. Wind farms are collections of bird blenders, and solar farms bird fryers.

The lack of thought to environmental consequences behind grandiose “carbon neutral” visions is also apparent in the failure to consider the substantial diseconomies of scale in wind and solar. Meaning that costs will rise disproportionately to increases in renewables generation.

You can expand wind output on an intensive margin–siting windmills closer together. But this cannibalizes the wind, leading to output per turbine decline with density, and hence rising costs. You can expand wind output on an extensive margin–devoting more land to wind farms. But this also reduces average and marginal productivity because it requires expanding into progressively less windy places. Moreover, it results in higher average and marginal costs, because even holding windiness constant, the marginal value of the displaced land in alternative uses increases (because holding windiness constant, you’ll develop on the cheapest, least productive land first).

Solar is hard to expand on the intensive margin, but expansion on the extensive margin faces the same sources of rising cost as wind.

Meaning that these plans to substitute wind and solar for existing fossil fueled generation at the same time as dramatically substituting electricity for other forms of energy (e.g., electric cars instead of ICEs, electric appliances instead of gas) will inherently result in steeply rising costs.

Steeply.

If you look at countries (or states like California) that have even been able to get a mere ~20 percent of their electricity generation from renewables, you will see they are also the countries where electricity is most expensive. Usually by a factor of 2 or 3 or more than those that rely on conventional generation. Given the inherent increasing cost nature of renewable production, think of how much more expensive it will be to produce close to 100 percent of total energy consumption from renewables.

Rational people take into account trade-offs. Drastic reductions in GHGs involve massive costs. Many of these costs are environmental. The environmental pollution–real pollution, not the sort-of-pollution of say CO2–that will result from the massive production of materials necessary for electric vehicles, electric appliances, large scale storage batteries, transmission lines, wind turbines, and solar installations is staggering. Staggering. The consumption of natural resources–not just those buried in the earth, but the earth’s surface–will be prodigious. The cost of energy will rise, which will make people poorer: and the poorest will be hardest hit.

I often use Jefferson Davis’ proposed epitaph for the Confederacy–“Died of a Theory”–to illustrate the destructive tendencies of those wedded to a single principle, to the exclusion of other considerations. Unfortunately, it is too early to use it as an epitaph for modern environmentalism, because that is all too alive. But the idea fits. Monomaniacally wedded to theories of climate change and GHGs, modern environmentalists are pursuing a course that will, paradoxically and perversely, wreak massive environmental destruction.

How green is my valley? After the greens get done with it–not very green at all.

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42 Comments »

  1. Most of the Greens haven’t thought any farther than repeating bullet points. The leaders, though, at least some of them, know better. What does that say to their character? As usual, our elites don’t care about the poor as long as they are safely sequestered and anesthetized.

    Here’s a good synopsis of the current global warming “crisis.”

    https://borepatch.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-laymans-guide-to-science-of-global.html

    Comment by Christopher L Hunt — November 25, 2020 @ 7:51 pm

  2. Mchael Mann’s paleo-temperature hockey stick that featured so large in the 2001 IPCC 3rd Assessment Report was a deliberate fabrication.

    Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick demonstrated that in the peer reviewed published literature 15 years ago, and more.

    See the list of published papers and presentations at Steve McIntyre’s site here: https://climateaudit.org/multiproxy-pdfs/

    There’s no objective doubt the hockey stick was a conscious [email protected]

    The University of Virginia and Penn State, where Michael Mann was and is, respectively, held inquiries. They invited friends to testify, but no critics.

    Court: People are sayin’ Mr. Capone is a mafiosi. Can that be true? Tell us Mr. McGurn, is Al Capone a mobster?
    Witness McGurn: Nah, ya honah, he’s a peach!
    Court: Case dismissed!

    The panels found for Mann, keeping open the pipeline of grants and honors. Especially grants.

    Climate crisis? No one knows what they’re talking about: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2019.00223/full

    But the fault is not with the greens. They’re just opportunistic.

    The fault is with the National Academy. The fault is with the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics.

    These people understand science. Supposedly. If physicists had been as critical of global warming claims as they were of cold fusion claims, the global warming bushwah would have crashed and burned 30 years ago. None of this would be happening.

    No trillions wasted. No excess Winter fuel poverty deaths. No chopped birds or exploded bats. No blighted landscapes. No distorted economies. No huge transfers of wealth from the middle class and poor to the rich.

    But they were not critical. All the science bodies fell right into line. Despite the clearly unphysical ceteris paribus assumptions that underlay the claim that CO2 directly causes atmospheric heating.

    I know some of these physicists. I’ve spoken with them. When I point out the lack of basics, they turn away and carry on as before. I’ve spoken with other physicists who then agree with me. But they are not in positions of power.

    I don’t understand the motivation for compliance. Whatever it is — moral cowardice, greed, willful ignorance, actual incompetence — it’s ushered in the worst failure ever of science.

    Worse than Lysenkoism because there’s no Stalin holding a gun to their heads. It’s voluntary and, ultimately, suicidal.

    I can only hope that a rational future society puts the blame where it belongs — on their heads — and ensures that their names live in infamy.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 25, 2020 @ 11:03 pm

  3. Great article Craig, such a shame we are seemingly overrun with cultural tunnel vision on this issue!

    Comment by Eric Paulsen — November 26, 2020 @ 6:44 am

  4. Not to deter from the topic(of first importance!) and content(persuasive!), just a small side note. Rivers in Russian are of feminine gender, and colors describing its waters will follow feminine declension. Красная and Зелёная.

    Professor, thank you for your brilliant blog. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

    Comment by Tatyana — November 26, 2020 @ 8:31 am

  5. @Pat…You are so right.
    @Tatyana…Это правда

    Comment by Richard Whitney — November 26, 2020 @ 2:48 pm

  6. When I complained to a historian “Oh not another bloody book on the Nazis” she replied that finding something new that was worth working on was the greatest problem for a historian.

    Could these traitors to science have faced the same problem – shortage of good, important, grant-generating topics?

    Comment by dearieme — November 27, 2020 @ 9:17 am

  7. they won’t even listen to nuclear. it’s green. it’s the only way to provide mass power for a knowledge economy at a cheap price that won’t burden poor people.

    nope, solar, wind, and lithium batteries. it’s the ONLY way and you are contributing to hate speech and racism if you disagree

    Comment by Jeffrey Carter — November 27, 2020 @ 11:16 am

  8. So renewables have externalities like every other energy/electricity source, okey dokey.

    Intrigued by this obsession with bird kills. How do they compare with say plate glass, automobiles, domestic pets, city lighting etc etc? Down in the weeds I reckon. Also solar PV farms don’t fry birds – that’ll be those solar thermal plants you see en route from LA to Vegas, and a very fetching addition to the landscape they are.

    Incidentally nickel is used in many more things than renewables – stainless etc. You really can’t pin what happens during its extraction (in Russia – FFS!) on the green movement.

    @deari – what do you mean? There are plenty of worthy subjects to research. Here’s one nugget I found recently (Uni of Newcastle no less):

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960148119308158

    @Carter – yup because nuclear most definitely don’t have externalities which will outlast mankind. The long and short of it is that there are no easy answers.

    Comment by David Mercer — November 27, 2020 @ 11:45 am

  9. Yet another area where DM considers himself an expert. Is there no beginning to his knowledge?

    Comment by John Lewis — November 27, 2020 @ 1:05 pm

  10. @7 David, there is indeed an easy answer: fossil fuels.

    I’ve looked into the birds vs. high rises and birds vs. wind farms.

    According to Smallwood (doi: 10.1002/wsb.260), there were “888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012.

    Present US wind power installed capacity is 100,000 MW, so we can estimate the present fatalities are twice the 2012 rate.

    Total installed US fossil fuel power is 295.4 million MW (coal+gas+petroleum). Were we to replace all the fossil fuel by wind power, we’d see about 2.6 billion bat and 1.7 billion bird fatalities per year, including 245 million raptors (linear scaling; may not be correct).

    Loss, et al., (doi: 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-112414-054133) estimate 834 million total bird deaths in the US annually from collisions with buildings and windows, cars, and communication towers, and from power line electrocution.

    So, just switching half the US fossil fuel energy from fossil fuels to wind is enough to about double the current fatal anthropogenic bird collisions annually to 1.7 billion. Not to mention about 1.3 billion bats annually.

    The efficiency of wind power averages about 35% of installed name plate power. To get half the US energy (147.7 million MW) would then need about 422 million MW of nameplate wind power. So, you can multiply the estimated annual wind-produced bird fatalities by another factor of 1.43 = 2.4 billion bird fatalities (and 1.9 billion bats).

    I don’t see an ecological success story there. Do you?

    Recall that there is no known CO2 crisis: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2019.00223/full.

    All the expense, the hand-wringing, the unreliability, and the excess bird-and-bat deaths — all for nothing.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 27, 2020 @ 6:34 pm

  11. @7 David again, France is suffering from nuclear’s externalities, aren’t they just.

    And your “nugget” is offal. Apart from extraordinary economic foolishness, I can’t think of a better way to connive the rapid extinction of sharks.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 27, 2020 @ 6:38 pm

  12. @Pat (#10). So I guess you’ve never been to Cap La Hague? A word of advice – avoid the local shellfish.

    You fell for the shark bait. I was just highlighting some of the madness which has afflicted elements of the scientific community, and what research can get funded. As I said to you before, there is insanity on both sides of the debate.

    And no, fossil fuels aren’t the easy answer, even if you do discount global warming. Witness the environmental destruction wrought in the likes of Alberta (odd that Craig failed to mention this – much closer to home), urban air pollution in the likes of LA, earthquakes in Oklahoma etc etc.

    Comment by David Mercer — November 28, 2020 @ 3:55 am

  13. > All the expense, the hand-wringing, the unreliability, and the excess bird-and-bat deaths — all for nothing.

    What do you mean “for nothing”? Like with communism, the raison d’être here is to provide a very comfortable living for the people “leading the fight”, who would otherwise (o, horror!) have to do actual useful work.

    Comment by Ivan — November 28, 2020 @ 4:39 am

  14. Yeah! You are THAT old. You are very good at facing every other reality through charts and graphs. Time to face that “upper right” cohort. Cheers!

    Comment by Donald Wolfe — November 28, 2020 @ 8:48 am

  15. @Tatyana. Thanks very much for your kind words. I made a brave try to learn Russian a few years back, but the dog was too old and had too many other demands on his time and neurons 😉 Thanks for the correction!

    Cheers.

    Comment by cpirrong — November 28, 2020 @ 11:28 am

  16. @12, David, from the IAEA (pdf): “The radiological discharges from the La Hague and Sellafield reprocessing plants were contributing ~5% to the collective dose from all industrial radioactive discharges into the North Sea. oil and gas, and phosphates operations were contributing respectively ~35 and ~55%.

    Through investment in new waste management facilities and process optimization, radioactive discharges from the Sellafield and La Hague sites have been reduced to a very small fraction of their peak levels in the 1980s. At current levels of discharge, no risk of harm to man or the environment has been proven to date.

    I fell for the shark bait, right. Your initial comment @8 was just so rife with obvious irony. You believed in shark oil, David, until I called it out for the foolishness it is.

    You likely don’t know that LA suffered air pollution when only Native Americans inhabited the place. The surrounding hills block flow and make poor air inevitable.

    Cost-benefit show fossil fuels are enormously worthwhile. They, alone, removed human life from drudge labor. Not to mention providing the leisure to find antibiotics.

    Your renewables have a negative cost-benefit ratio, David. They can’t even provide for their own replacement.

    As to Alberta, read it and weep. All the oil sand area is due to be restored.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 28, 2020 @ 2:51 pm

  17. Good observation about rare-earth elements being not so much rare as environmentally ruinous to extract. It highlights again the central role of China in the globalist oligarchs’ plans. Just as China today was built up under the guise of neoliberalism (the CCP pimped out its captive population to the western oligarchs who had gutted the western nation’s manufacturing capabilities), the next step is to preach Gaia and all that shit to the western masses while relying on Chinese environmental rape to finance the “green economy”. That’s a much bigger jump than stage-managing the post-war financial destruction of the west, which is probably why they’re going ape-shit with all the mass surveillance and police state tactics masquerading as “public health”.

    Comment by Dieselboom! — November 29, 2020 @ 8:31 am

  18. @Pat: LOL – a promise from the Canadian govt? Well I’m sure they’ll keep to their word. Do they plan to tackle those vast tailings along the Athabasca River too, you know, the ones which are so toxic they have to stop native ducks from landing on them? To claim fossil fuels (and nuclear) have no externalities is frankly ridiculous.

    I had another WTAF moment re-reading Craig’s post. Is he honestly pinning Rio Tinto’s iron ore mining project in Peru on the green movement too? ‘Cos iron is most definitely isn’t used in anything other than wind turbines and solar panels, is it? You could literally drive a [low emission] bus through the gaping holes in his position.

    And on the subject of batteries, I wonder how many billions of lead acid batteries have been produced for automobiles etc etc over the years? ‘Cos lead is super-clean & easy to mine, process and dispose of, isn’t it?

    PS Deari would have picked up on the irony. Some Yanks just don’t get it.

    Comment by David Mercer — November 29, 2020 @ 8:42 am

  19. @18 Nice try David. The Canadian government is more to be believed than you. Their history of fashionable cynicism is far less extensive than yours (thus far).

    Reclaimed oil sands land

    Canada’s Athabasca River recovery plans

    You complain without legitimate perspective, David. Yes, some things are a mess. No, doing things your way would not be an improvement.

    There are more trees in the Northern Hemisphere now than there were 100 years ago. Because we don’t burn trees for fuel anymore. Should we go back to burning trees, David, so you can feel better about the Athabasca River (where trout have been exposed to natural hydrocarbon seepage since forever)?

    The glacier on Kilimanjaro shrank because of deforestation (not global warming). Deforestation carried out by impoverished people looking for fuel. Fossil fuels: good for Kilimanjaro.

    You’ve got no clue, David. You’ve displayed only the standard complaints of leftward politics, absent of thought.

    Socialist countries of the 20th century were far greater polluters than democratic countries. Look up the Kyshtym explosion, for example. Perfectly illustrating a Socialism that allows no check on hubris. Your socialism.

    None of your answers are answers, David. They’re just the fancies of dilettantes and delusionaries.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 29, 2020 @ 11:04 am

  20. @Pat: Cherry picking examples to justify your position isn’t critical thought, it’s just plain lazy. How does deforestation on Kilimanjaro for firewood rank alongside the vast swathes of forest cleared annually for agriculture, palm oil etc etc? Do you rail against this too? No, I thought not.

    And, pray tell, how would you empower rural communities in Africa using oil or gas, using pipelines or road networks to deliver the fuel? What economic sense would these make, or would you do it out of the kindness of your heart? In fact off-grid renewables would make far more sense in such a situation – cheap, easy to install, long life expectancy, low maintenance.

    If you want an example closer to home, go ask your prepper chums what they install in their bug-out cabins etc. Spoiler alert: they don’t rely solely on electric generators.

    And your daft riposte to air pollution in LA, blithely ignoring all the other towns and cities which suffer from poor air quality as a consequence of fossil fuel use. The WHO estimate some 4.2 million people die annually from ambient air pollution, its principal sources listed included cooking and heating, vehicles, and power generation. That’s some body count, way more than you or Craig could pin against renewables and EV use.

    As for bird deaths, again you cherry pick, ignoring research which contradicts your position. Sovacool is widely cited, but I guess you’ll question his methodology or some such BS. You also ignore the fact the industry has made significant progress in mitigating bird and bat mortality, in areas such as turbine design and siting.

    Your article about the Athabasca River says nothing about the sorting out tails beside the river. Funny that.

    Comment by David Mercer — November 30, 2020 @ 4:32 am

  21. @20 Cherry picking, David? You cherry-picked La Hague, and I showed it’s not a problem. You cherry-picked LA air and I pointed out that it’s a topographic problem of ancient standing. You tossed off wind farm bird deaths, and I showed you’re mistaken (again).

    So, bruised by contradiction, you accuse me of cherry picking. And then you divert to rural PV as though the subject had not been an industrial power grid. You’re so obvious, David.

    Towns don’t suffer poor air from fossil fuel use, David. Those that have pollution from burning coal (not natural gas) suffer from lack of power plant precipitators and scrubbers. Details, David.

    Birds: I told you I’d researched that topic, David. That includes reading Sovacool. He’s widely cited by partisans. In your own clearly far-reaching studies (irony alert) did you run across Willis, et al., (2010) Bats are not birds and other problems with Sovacool’s (2009) analysis of animal fatalities due to electricity generation Energy Policy 3, 2067-2069?

    Bet you didn’t. Willis et al., show that Sovacool argued falsely.

    Sovacool assigned bird deaths to fossil fuel and nuclear energy all the way back to deaths during mining and manufacturing, and added in estimated deaths from acid rain, from clearing forests for mines, from mercury pollution, and due to anthropogenic climate change.

    He combined all of that to produce deaths from conventional power.

    But he included nothing of the mining, manufacturing, pollution, or power usage that goes into the manufacture and construction of wind turbines.

    Sovacool’s estimates are biased garbage. He went on to repeat the same falsehoods in 2013. It’s no surprise he is popular with partisans. And with you, apparently.

    Then you discount disagree with methodology as BS. It’s now objectionable to find errors of method. Isn’t that precious.

    Here’s food for thought, David: all the avian and bat deaths from wind power all of them are excess. There should not be even one bird death by turbine. Because there should be not one wind power turbine.

    You suppose improvements in turbine design and siting, ignoring that wind power itself is a fake solution to a non-problem. It’s imposed by fiat and is a gigantic theft.

    Proof of fakery: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2019.00223/full

    That’s a great tactical ploy arguing siting, by the way, when the whole wind power enterprise is criminal. Like boasting that arson deaths are down because houses are made more fireproof and sited nearer the fire brigade.

    Your “ambient air pollution” deaths are overwhelmingly from indoor cooking — mostly using dried animal dung — because people don’t have fossil fuel power. That’s an own goal, David. Well done.

    Mine tailings: you didn’t search the text, did you. More detailed planning was not hard to find.

    Back to square one, David.

    Comment by Pat Frank — November 30, 2020 @ 12:19 pm

  22. @Pat: Cap La Hague and LA are pretty massive cherries compared to some tribe on Kiliminjaro or some ancient Indian lore in Cali!!

    I knew you’d have the hots for Sovacool!! “OMG he dissed fossil fuels!! Kill the messenger! BURN THE HERETIC!!”. Soo predictable.

    To date you’ve been wrong about Tommy Robinson, you were wrong about Trump, you were wrong about Covid, you were wrong about the Great Lakes Justice League (!) and the election as a whole, you were wrong about Hunter Biden’s laptop (!!!), and you’re wrong about this. Not much of a record really, but hey, at least you’re consistent.

    And that link about the tailings? “Page not found”. Well it evidently was hard to find. Wrong…again.

    Comment by David Mercer — December 1, 2020 @ 2:45 am

  23. Professor: not a problem; Russian is not the easiest language to learn, especially to an English native.
    Take care!

    Comment by Tatyana — December 1, 2020 @ 9:12 am

  24. @22, David you were wrong about La Hague, and it was European explorers who commented on the bad LA air.

    Sovacool is demonstrated to be disingenuous. He plays to your prejudices, though, so no surprise that you like him.

    You bring up Tommy Robinson. Pretty funny. You’re outspoken with hate about him, but pass over Muslim rape gangs with a shrug. Quite a standard of ethical integrity.

    The tailings link again. The URL had an extra quote sign at the end. Oops. You didn’t try very hard, David.

    Your unsupported and substance-free assertions about wrongness are without merit. Here’s a wholesale refutation to your standard: I was correct all round.

    Covid? Listen to Dr. Peter McCullough’s stark comments about Covid-19 at 1:44:40 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJpxcbTAuk8 The subsequent extended conversation is also worth attention.

    It’s PBS News Hour so you’ll require yourself to credit the source. The contradiction will hurt, though.

    My paper, which you also ignore, demonstrates that you’re wrong about global warming and so is the IPCC, and that the whole renewable energy push is a giant scam.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 1, 2020 @ 11:10 am

  25. @Pat: “Yes, some things are a mess”. A momentary lapse on your behalf, but that’s really as much confirmation I needed. Deep down you know you’re on shaky ground.

    And I don’t know why you keep returning to your pet subject (monomania aside – I bet you’re a barrel of laughs at parties). I explicitly stated about discounting the impact of CO2.

    You’re beginning to sound more and more about those fellas arguing for 8-track tapes to be bought back or the technical merits of Betamax. Ultimately it really doesn’t matter what you (and Craig) think – countries and governments across the globe are embracing this technology, for reasons good or, as you believe, bad. Given how far we’ve already progressed without the sky falling in, I’m pretty convinced your fears will be proven to be unfounded (once again).

    Comment by David Mercer — December 2, 2020 @ 5:32 am

  26. Some things are a mess because we’re all just human beings, David. Some of us are careless, some are greedy. Many are competent. That truth is with us no matter economics or politics.

    The truth of human fallibility does not confirm your views. Nor does it negate mine.

    And it’s no lapse to see messes or accomplishments. Unlike you and your partisan ways, David, I’m a free thinker. Events, people, and claims are judged on the merits. That’s the standard. I’ve no commitment to one conclusion or one outlook or one group. As you so clearly do.

    Also clear is that you have no technical or scientific acumen at all. Fossil fuel power is not a Betamax analogue. It is the lifeblood of our civilization; making all else possible.

    Your wind power and solar are parasitic on the productive economy provided by fossil fuels. They cannot and will not survive on their own. The sky will fall in when the commitment to them is all in.

    Countries across the globe are not embracing wind power and solar. Cynical China is doing it for show. Only the West is doing so by belief. It’s gotten away with it because it has become so rich with fossil fuels and free enterprise that people such as you can make utterly foolish decisions without paying an immediate price.

    But that price will come.

    It’s already in view with the many thousand excess Winter fuel poverty deaths in the UK. Murdered by your idiotic government, and your vote. But those folks are conveniently silent, aren’t they David. You don’t have to trouble yourself hearing their moans.

    Your sustainable future is poverty and misery. And totalitarianism — also already nascent in the UK.

    So here’s some advice, David, to prepare yourself for what’s likely coming to the UK. Convert to Islam. Then you won’t have to later bear the jeers of the newly dominant. Your kids or grandkids will grow up disposed to violence and stupidity (the inevitable product of Islam), well prepared to survive the horrid future you brought into being for them.

    If your civilization is somehow rescued, you can always convert back. If not, you’ve got cover. And in the meantime, you get to claim the special privileges that come with minority status, such as immunity from the police. Conversion is win-win for you.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 2, 2020 @ 9:00 am

  27. @Pat: An alleged free thinker, yet you slavishly follow all of the American right’s mantras. Climate denial? Check. Striking down ACA? Check. Gun ownership? Check. Islamophobia? Check. Believing any old conspiracy bollox? Check.

    You bang on endlessly about energy poverty here in the UK. The reduction was imposed by the incoming Tory government in 2010. As I have pointed out to you on more than one occasion, I never voted for them then nor at any time since. So much for your free thinking, if you can’t retain simple facts.

    You are correct in calling our Govt idiotic, them being under the spell of Trump, Bannon, my namesakes etc etc. And you’re right that they may well lead us to destruction, especially given their p*ss poor handling of the Covid crisis, ridiculous stance vis-a-vis the EU and general economic incompetence. It certainly won’t be at the hand of radical Islam.

    On this latter point, I’ve always considered radical Islam and right-wing popularism to be two cheeks of the same ar5e, to coin a Brit expression. You have way more in common that you’d probably care to consider or admit. Perhaps you’re the one who ought to convert?

    Comment by David Mercer — December 3, 2020 @ 6:14 am

  28. @27, David. Climate pseudo-science: A conclusion I reached honestly by virtue of my own work.
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1260/0958-305X.21.8.969
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abstract/10.1260/0958-305X.26.3.391
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2019.00223/full

    Something I doubt you’ve ever done. You’re the denier David. You deny scientifically valid findings that contradict your prejudices.

    ACA: a product of criminal hubris. Gruber in his own words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adrdmmh7bMo

    Better health care? More access? Cheaper treatment?
    Read it and weep, David.

    Gun ownership: from where does the government get its privilege to own guns, in a country where the people are sovereign, David?

    When you figure that out, you’ll finally understand how mindless is your position.

    Islamophobia: perhaps the most stupid of your accusations. Ibn Warraq, “Why I am not a Muslim.

    Slave-taking champs: Muslims; Boy castration champs: Muslims; religious massacre champs: Muslims; Degradation of women champs: Muslims; Destroyers of free speech champs: Muslims; Murder of critics champs: Muslims; Raper of British girls champs: Muslims.

    One could go on.

    All documented, David. But for you, Tommy Robinson is the bigger threat. Seeing that idiotic equation before your eyes, how can you possibly maintain it?

    There’s no such thing as “radical Islam,” David. There’s Islam. And those who pursue it at face value.

    Muhammad is the unquestionable icon of behavior. He was “rightly guided” by god himself. To criticize Muhammad is to blaspheme. The penalty for that is death; enforceable by any Muslim on the spot.

    Muhammad took slaves, including sex slaves. He murdered his critics. He forced conversion. He massacred Jews. He executed apostates. All of that is behavior sanctioned by god himself. No society is licit except the Islamic. No land can be owned except by Muslims.

    To criticize any of that is to blaspheme, is to invite death.

    All those folks you call radical Islamists are merely following out the precepts that remain entirely current in Islam. You can hear it in the word of their imams, all readily available on the MEMRI website.

    Islamic socieites are not Enlightenment societies, David. They do not hold your values (or perhaps what should be your values).

    You never, ever, actually know what you go on about.

    You vote for the same policies that are at play in the UK, David. So you didn’t vote for Tories. Not an excuse. You vote left, which, if anything, would have fully submerged themselves in the same stupid policies your Tories have embraced anyway and then gone on to suicidal policies. Which you support.

    The EU is not a democracy. It’s not a Republic. It is not a state of free people. It’s a bureaucracy run by and for self-selected elites. Which you support.

    Every one of your positions goes against individual freedom, David.

    You pretty much betray every Enlightenment standard that makes (or made) the West a wonderful and humane place.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 3, 2020 @ 12:37 pm

  29. More on the horrors of global warming.

    Norwegian scientists find arrows and antlers, including antlers with cut-marks, left by retreating ice. It was warmer than now in Norway, 6000, 4000, 2000, and 1000 years ago. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959683620972775.

    Meanwhile, in Antarctica, apparently freshly dead penguins revealed by retreating ice radiocarbon date to periods ranging between 900-4500 years ago. Antarctica was warmer then, than it is now. https://doi.org/10.1130/G48230.1.

    The 900 year-ago date puts the prior penguin colony right in the middle of the Medieval Warm Period. Warmer in 1100 than it is now.

    Life now is obviously a mirage. Earth has already gone through at least four IPCC catastrophic climate tipping points into thermal extinction. Does anyone require a /sarc tag?

    Human-caused climate change: pseudo-science at best. A criminal fraud by some for sure.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 3, 2020 @ 2:07 pm

  30. Craig, a comment (actual #28) with many links may have gotten trapped. Please? 🙂

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 3, 2020 @ 2:08 pm

  31. @Pat: Hmm, who to believe, Stephen Hawking, a world-renowned theoretical physicist, and Professor Brian Cox, a world-renowned astrophysicist, or some bloke from SLAC who blindly shills for the GOP? Tricky one that.

    Actually I’m pretty sure why you’re so against renewables, and it has nothing to do with the science (anti climate change, pro pollution, whatever), but everything to do with control, specifically control of global energy markets. Renewables are essentially open source commodities, a leveller as it were, something that OPEC, big oil etc cannot possibly control or influence. Anybody can pick up a solar kV+ PV array for not alot of money, and go a good way to powering their home for a couple of decades (by which time PV will be even cheaper and better). Similarly, they can buy an EV and never have to visit a gas station ever again. How fantastic is that? And again, in a decade or so, EVs will be good enough to travel long distances with ease.

    What is hilarious is watching the oil industry is scrambling to adjust to this new reality. Witness their crazed push towards hydrogen and CCS, as if this makes any sense (and will it even work? I guess you’re totally sold but I have my doubts).

    If you want a way to deal mentally/spiritually/ecumenically with renewables, just think of them as yet another wasteful activity with little or no benefit to mankind beyond the economic activity it creates (you know, like the Olympics, or social media, or monster trucks, or those toy crazes etc etc). If they don’t work then they don’t work, not much harm done, the fossil fuels will still be there for us to use, they’ll serve as a useful source of rare earths, and you’ll be lauded as an all-knowing oracle to be held aloft at some future RNC.

    Comment by David Mercer — December 4, 2020 @ 6:54 am

  32. @30, David, as usual, you know nothing of what you’re talking about.

    You cite authority. I’ve done the work. Faith doesn’t enter my side of the equation.

    Renewables would crash if left unsubsidized. They are parasitic on the fossil fuel economy.

    Coal and oil for power generation are being out-competed by fracked gas. That’s the entire story. CCS, etc., are a grant and subsidy side show; a corporate bet that governments will continue to fund their hysteria about CO2.

    Regarding your tedious fixation on politics, I’m not a Republican, David. I’ve never joined any party. I also voted for Democrat presidential candidates up through 2008.

    But Progressives have captured the Democrats. Progressives are totalitarians without police power. When they get the power, the mask of peace, love, and tolerance comes off. Democratic leadership has now widely colluded in violent sedition. They are unfit to govern.

    You remain clueless. Lenin called such people ‘useful idiots.’ You believe the rhetoric; unable to see past the façade.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 4, 2020 @ 11:11 am

  33. Craig is clearly busy. So, here’s my original #28 sans all but two links to make it acceptable to the spam filter. I’ll post links two at a time below for anyone wanting to see the evidence.

    @27, David. Climate pseudo-science: A conclusion I reached honestly by virtue of my own work.

    Something I doubt you’ve ever done. You’re the denier David. You deny scientifically valid findings that contradict your prejudices.

    ACA: a product of criminal hubris. Gruber in his own words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adrdmmh7bMo

    Better health care? More access? Cheaper treatment?
    Read it and weep, David.

    Gun ownership: from where does the government get its privilege to own guns, in a country where the people are sovereign, David?

    When you figure that out, you’ll finally understand how mindless is your position.

    Islamophobia: perhaps the most stupid of your accusations. Read Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a Muslim.

    Slave-taking champs: Muslims; Boy castration champs: Muslims; religious massacre champs: Muslims; Degradation of women champs: Muslims; Destroyers of free speech champs: Muslims; Murder of critics champs: Muslims; Raper of British girls champs: Muslims.

    One could go on.

    All documented, David. But for you, Tommy Robinson is the bigger threat. Seeing that idiotic equation before your eyes, how can you possibly maintain it?

    There’s no such thing as “radical Islam,” David. There’s Islam. And those who pursue it at face value.

    Muhammad is the unquestionable icon of behavior. He was “rightly guided” by god himself. To criticize Muhammad is to blaspheme. The penalty for that is death; enforceable by any Muslim on the spot.

    Muhammad took slaves, including sex slaves. He murdered his critics. He forced conversion. He massacred Jews. He executed apostates. All of that is behavior sanctioned by god himself. No society is licit except the Islamic. No land can be owned except by Muslims.

    To criticize any of that is to blaspheme, is to invite death.

    All those folks you call radical Islamists are merely following out the precepts that remain entirely current in Islam. You can hear it in the word of their imams, all readily available on the MEMRI website.

    Islamic societies are not Enlightenment societies, David. They do not hold your values (or perhaps what should be your values).

    You never, ever, actually know what you go on about.

    You vote for the same policies that are at play in the UK, David. So you didn’t vote for Tories. Not an excuse. You vote left, which, if anything, would have fully submerged themselves in the same stupid policies your Tories have embraced anyway and then gone on to suicidal policies. Which you support.

    The EU is not a democracy. It’s not a Republic. It is not a state of free people. It’s a bureaucracy run by and for self-selected elites. Which you support.

    Every one of your positions goes against individual freedom, David.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 4, 2020 @ 11:16 am

  34. Some of my own work demonstrating that consensus climatology is no more than pseudo-science. A subjectivist liberal art decorated with mathematics.

    Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit

    and

    Negligence, Non-Science, and Consensus Climatology

    and

    Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Air Temperature Projections

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 4, 2020 @ 11:23 am

  35. The link to Ibn Warraq: “Why I am not a Muslim.

    I’ve met Ibn Warraq. He’s a quite-spoken scholar. He grew up in Pakistan, and found his way out of the insanity. His Why I am not a Muslim is his first book, a gaze back at his origins. He’s written many books about Islam since then, and has gained professional respect.

    And the MEMRI website. The Middle East Media Research Institute, where the wisdom of the Imams is on full display.

    All there for you, David, against which to test your beliefs. Goosebumps of cognitive dissonance await.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 4, 2020 @ 11:34 am

  36. Finally, the link to the UK Labour Party Manifesto.

    Where even a casual reading will convince one of its suicidal policies. Which you support, David.

    A program for the dissolution of the UK into a grey soup of squabbling factions. Of, by, and for the totalitarian control freaks.

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 4, 2020 @ 11:40 am

  37. A good illustration of how the media lies:

    https://sports.yahoo.com/sarah-fuller-wont-get-a-chance-to-kick-against-georgia-on-saturday-as-game-gets-postponed-171834391.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_awmY6vANk

    Of course, it’s because of covid!

    Comment by Dieselboom! — December 4, 2020 @ 1:23 pm

  38. Back in the USSA:

    https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/527598-vermont-governor-says-students-will-be-asked-if-they-attended-large

    Comment by Dieselboom! — December 4, 2020 @ 4:47 pm

  39. “Anybody can pick up a solar kV+ PV array for not alot of money, and go a good way to powering their home for a couple of decades (by which time PV will be even cheaper and better). Similarly, they can buy an EV and never have to visit a gas station ever again.”

    Sounds a lot like the stories about communism they used to tell a century ago. Turns out, it only comes in combination with shooting/starving to death everyone asking questions and/or opposing the glorious future. Plus sending to GULAG many of the others to extract free labour, it being the real power source behind such grand projects.

    Comment by Ivan — December 5, 2020 @ 12:04 am

  40. Good point, Ivan. And it’s coming here.

    When the US falls, the light goes out. There’s no place left to go.

    What do you recommend be done?

    Comment by Pat Frank — December 5, 2020 @ 10:23 am

  41. Well, I suppose the survivors huddled in the caves will be warmed by the thought that climate change has been prevented, evil capitalism defeated and the temporary difficulties are nothing but a bit of bad luck, as explained here: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/697618-throughout-history-poverty-is-the-normal-condition-of-man-advances

    But on a more optimistic note, this shit has so far never succeeded in places where the people are as well-armed as they are in the US. As I might have said elsewhere, the Second is the ultimate protection for the First. As long as there is the First, there is hope.

    Comment by Ivan — December 5, 2020 @ 4:19 pm

  42. @40 Ivan

    The global oligarchs are clearly shit-scared of something, otherwise they wouldn’t be madly rushing an untested vaccine into mass-distribution for a virus that, by the various “public health” organs’ own numbers poses a tiny threat to a very large majority of the population. They seem to be in a race against time before some kind of financial implosion (brewing since the fall of 2019, but ultimately having it genesis in the post-war financial order). Even Western Europeans (generally useless in the past) are starting to rise up. We’ll see where all this goes, I guess.

    Comment by Dieselboom! — December 5, 2020 @ 9:39 pm

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