Taming the climate is far harder and much more expensive than getting people to the moon

Decarbonization is a project with no clear beginning or end and the costs will be stupendous

By Vaclav Smil, Sept. 29, 2022, IEEE Spectrum

IN HIS 1949 book The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle, an English philosopher, introduced the term “category mistake.” He gave the example of a visitor to the University of Oxford who sees colleges and a splendid library and then asks, “But where is the university?” The category mistake is obvious: A university is an institution, not a collection of buildings.

Today, no category mistake is perhaps more consequential than the all-too-common view of the global energy transition. The error is to think of the transition as the discrete, well-bounded task of replacing carbon fuels by non-carbon alternatives. The apparent urgency of the transition leads to calls for confronting the challenge just as the United States dealt with two earlier ones: winning the nuclear-arms race against Nazi Germany and the space race against the Soviet Union. The Manhattan Project produced an atomic bomb in three years, and Project Apollo put two U.S. citizens on the moon in July 1969, eight years after President Kennedy had announced the goal.

But difficult and costly as those two endeavors were, they affected only small parts of the economy, their costs were relatively modest, and the lives of average citizens were hardly affected. It is just the opposite for the decarbonization of the energy supply.

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Only 13% of Canadians support Trudeau anti-oil and gas policies

A Leger poll of 1,535 Canadians found 72 per cent of respondents either “somewhat” or “strongly” supported “developing and exporting more oil and natural gas resources”. Needless to say, Canada’s Prime Minister is opposed

By Colin Craig, National Post, Oct. 26, 2022

Over the past decade, many European nations grew dependent on Russia for their oil and natural gas needs. The folly of this policy was revealed by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That is why, since February, many of those same European nations have been knocking desperately on Canada’s door seeking to purchase some of our enormous supplies of oil and gas resources.

A new Leger poll conducted for Secondstreet.org shows Canadians want to help. The poll of 1,535 Canadians found 72 per cent of respondents either “somewhat” or “strongly” supported “developing and exporting more oil and natural gas resources so that the world can reduce how much it purchases from Russia.” Support was widespread across Canada, stretched from coast to coast and included men and women and all age groups.

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After spending $3.8-trillion on renewables, U.S. use of fossil fuels down one percent

From a CNBC interview on Oct. 2, 2022, with Jeff Currie of investment firm Goldman Sachs

How much has green investment given us? Here’s a stat for you. At the end of last year [2021], overall, fossil fuels represented 81 percent of overall energy consumption [in the United States]. Ten years ago, they were at 82.

So after all of that investment in renewables, you’re talking about $3.8-trillion, let me repeat that, $3.8-trillion of investment in renewables, fossil fuel consumption fell from 82 to 81 percent of [the U.S.’s] overall energy consumption. The net of it is clearly we haven’t made any progress.

In 1908, fossil fuels accounted for 85% of U.S. energy consumption. In 2015, more or less the same.

For the full article, see Climate Depot at this link.

California is leading the way in creating a ‘green’ economy. It’s a disaster

Governor Gavin Newsom doubles down on green projects while state’s energy bills soar

Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2022

California can barely keep the lights on as its climate policies bite the electric grid, but Gov. Gavin Newsom is undaunted. On Friday he signed no fewer than 40—count ’em 40—new climate bills to amp up California’s green-energy shock experiment.

Even as gasoline prices nationwide have fallen to an average $3.68 a gallon, Californians are still paying $5.45 a gallon. California’s electric rates are already more than double those in neighboring states. This is what happens when politicians try to eliminate fossil fuels with a Molotov cocktail of regulation, taxes, and renewable mandates and subsidies.

But Mr. Newsom blew right past that on Friday: “We’re not only doubling down, we’re just getting started.”

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Don’t believe the hype about Antarctica’s melting glaciers

While the Antarctic ice losses seem stupendously large, the recent annual losses amount to 0.001% of the total ice and, if they continued at that rate, would raise sea level by only 3 inches over 100 years

By Steven Koonin, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 20, 2022

Alarming reports that the Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking misrepresent the science under way to understand a very complex situation. Antarctica has been ice-covered for at least 30 million years. The ice sheet holds about 26.5 million gigatons of water (a gigaton is a billion metric tons, or about 2.2 trillion pounds). If it were to melt completely, sea levels would rise 190 feet. Such a change is many millennia in the future, if it comes at all.

Much more modest ice loss is normal in Antarctica. Each year, some 2,200 gigatons (or 0.01%) of the ice is discharged in the form of melt and icebergs, while snowfall adds almost the same amount. The difference between the discharge and addition each year is the ice sheet’s annual loss.

That figure has been increasing in recent decades, from 40 gigatons a year in the 1980s to 250 gigatons a year in the 2010s. But the increase is a small change in a complex and highly variable process. For example, Greenland’s annual loss has fluctuated significantly over the past century. And while the Antarctic losses seem stupendously large, the recent annual losses amount to 0.001% of the total ice and, if they continued at that rate, would raise sea level by only 3 inches over 100 years.

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Climate moralists’ fake virtue is creating misery for millions

From a column by Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 20, 2022

The left has always deemed itself morally superior—peace, love and understanding and all that. Conservative ideas and solutions are characterized as the product of self-interest, bigotry and greed. They might be grudgingly tolerated, but morally defensible in their own right? Never.

Take climate change. The obligation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions has been established firmly as the ultimate moral imperative. If you oppose it you are condemning us literally to a future of hellfire—and doing so out of your own selfish desire to drive a big car or fly somewhere for a vacation.

But we are now seeing the terrible consequences of the power this fable has exercised over leaders for decades—in moral as well as economic terms. The reckless push to decarbonize has dramatically reduced the supply and increased the cost of energy, leaving hundreds of millions vulnerable to the twin shocks of scarcity and unaffordability in the wake of the war in Ukraine. How many people in Europe or the developing world will suffer or die this winter because of the climate extremists’ monopoly of moral virtue?

Net Zero 2030 conference report: Too far, too fast!

In the video below, Michelle Sterling, communications manager of Friends of Science, shows how the claims and premises of the Net Zero 2030 conference are built on faulty and even false energy and climate assumptions.
Click on the image to see the YouTube video

A recent day-long conference hosted by the Canadian Climate Institute and the Net Zero Advisory Board proposed to offer Net Zero 2030 plans and programs “In Focus.”

In this video, Friends of Science Communications Manager, Michelle Stirling, who watched the day’s events, offers her insights and rebuttals to many claims made in the day-long presentation. In essence, the Canadian federal government is trying to go…”too far…too fast.” Michelle explains why.

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Ottawa’s climate-change evangelism a threat to Canada’s energy security

The Canadian and U.S. governments continue to stifle production of oil and gas for domestic markets, never mind for increasingly desperate allies, at the cost of our national interest

By Derek H. Bur­ney, National Post, Oct. 19, 2022

Derek H. Bur­ney is a for­mer 30-year ca­reer diplo­mat who served as the Am­bas­sador to the United States of Amer­ica from 1989-1993

Shortly after sabotage operations blew ruptures in the Nord Stream pipelines from Russia to Germany, OPEC announced plans to reduce oil production by two million barrels per day. Both actions increased pressure around energy shortages, notably in Europe, where prices are already substantially higher than last year and are likely to get worse as winter nears. However, the threat is global and immediate.

Fossil fuels will be a vital source of energy for decades to come, yet the Canadian and U.S. governments remain mesmerized by climate-change evangelism and continue to stifle production of oil and gas for domestic markets, never mind for increasingly desperate allies.

The fixation on the threat from climate change lacks both balance and perspective. The technology simply does not yet exist for a rapid transition to a world without fossil fuel. In the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Germany and France are desperately reopening coal-fired power plants and reactivating dormant nuclear reactors in order to meet energy shortfalls. At the same time, China and India are importing more coal from Russia.

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IPCC’s future-climate scenarios are increasingly outdated, but scientists resist rethinking their assumptions

Science has momentum and that momentum can be hard to change, even when obvious and significant flaws are identified

By Roger Pielke, Jr., The Honest Broker, Nov. 30, 2020

2015 literature review found almost 900 peer-reviewed studies published on breast cancer using a cell line derived from a breast cancer patient in Texas in 1976. But in 2007 it was confirmed that the cell line that had long been the focus of this research was actually not a breast cancer line, but was instead a skin cancer line. Whoops. 

Even worse, from 2008 to 2014 — after the mistaken cell line was conclusively identified — the review identified 247 peer-reviewed articles putatively on breast cancer that were published using the misidentified skin cancer cell line. A cursory search of Google Scholar indicates that studies continue to be published in 2020 mistakenly using the skin cell line in breast cancer research. 

The lesson from this experience is that science has momentum, and that momentum can be hard to change, even when obvious and significant flaws are identified. This is particularly the case when the flaws exist in databases that underlie research across an entire discipline.

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Electric vehicles create more problems than they solve—and effect on climate is minimal

If every country met its 2030 targets for EVs, the effect on climate would be a reduction of .0002°F by the end of the century

By Bjorn Lom­borg, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10, 2022

We constantly hear that electric cars are the future— cleaner, cheaper and better. But if they’re so good, why does California need to ban gasoline-powered cars? Why does the world spend $30-billion a year subsidizing electric ones?

In reality, electric cars are only sometimes and somewhat better than the alternatives, they’re often much costlier, and they aren’t necessarily all that much cleaner. Over its lifetime, an electric car does emit less CO2 than a gasoline car, but the difference can range considerably depending on how the electricity is generated. Making batteries for electric cars also requires a massive amount of energy, mostly from burning coal in China. Add it all up and the International Energy Agency estimates that an electric car emits a little less than half as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered one.

The climate effect of our electric-car efforts in the 2020s will be trivial. If every country achieved its stated ambitious electric-vehicle targets by 2030, the world would save 231 million tons of CO2 emissions. Plugging these savings into the standard United Nations Climate Panel model, that comes to a reduction of 0.0002 degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

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