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Electric Vehicle Charger Subsidies Are Bad Energy Policy

By George LandrithNewslooks

electric vehicle

Both the so-called CLEAN Future Act and the Biden-Harris Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure package, if enacted, will impose upon America substantially more expensive and less reliable energy, and it will reduce job growth and economic expansion. This will be particularly harmful to the working poor who can least afford these burdens. 

We all want a clean future.  We all want clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a clean environment.  We also want our nation’s highways, bridges, airports and transportation infrastructure to be in good working order.  But the “CLEAN Future Act” and the Administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure package do very little to ensure a clean environment, and precious little to build and maintain the nation’s highways, bridges, and airports. 

Just like with the recently passed $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus, less than 10% of these plans actually do what they say they will do. The bills are largely an excuse to pack the proposals with a grab bag of pork, waste, and extreme regulation that will do far more harm than any good they could possibly do. 

CLEAN Future Act

The House Energy and Commerce Committee put huge subsidies for Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers into its “CLEAN Future Act.” The Ways and Means Committee is devising new tax credits for EV chargers.  And in the Senate, a bill would increase EV tax credits by almost 700% at up to $200,000 per unit. 

One could argue that the intensions are good, but arguing that the impact will be good is very difficult.  We could spend trillions of dollars to pursue good intentions, but not actually do much to encourage a clean environment or keep energy costs reasonable for the working poor.  The marketplace will do a far better job of meeting our future needs and nimbly making adjustments to respond to changing needs.  

For example, putting hundreds of billions into charging stations may be a waste of money.  There are companies developing technology that would simply swap out an exhausted battery and swap it with a freshly charged one.  This could be done in minutes.  They would then charge your battery for another swap.  I’m not endorsing this technology.  I’m simply pointing out that we don’t yet know if consumers want EVs, and if they do, if they want to charge them for an hour or more or simply swap out the battery in an instant and continue driving, or maybe they want some mix of both.  The marketplace will figure this out.  But Government mandates will impose rigid mandates and lack the ability to balance consumer’s needs. 

The truth is government’s push to outlaw the internal combustion engine is typical of its myopic approach.  There are many ways to insure a clean environment.  Our cleaner burning fuels and cleaner operating engines have done more to give America cleaner air than EVs have done for the environment. 

Numerous problems with EV batteries

Numerous studies show that EVs have their own massive negative environmental impact.  The batteries EVs use are made from rare earth elements that must be mined and the manufacture of batteries produce acid waste and radioactive residues.  Plus, an immense amount of energy is required to refine and produce batteries. Another problem is what to do with the batteries once they’ve reached their life cycle end.  They are not environmentally friendly and won’t age well in landfills. 

So rather than pumping billions or even trillions of America’s hard-earned dollars into programs designed to force consumers into EVs, why not allow the natural maturation of technology to help us make wise choices in the future?  Perhaps EVs are the wave of the future.  Perhaps not.  Wouldn’t it be good to know the answer to that question before we force Americans to devote trillions of dollars into a technology that has not yet proven itself?  

Often we are told that we must act now because if we wait, it will be too late.  This is a conman’s pressure tactic.  Our air quality is improving and has been for a long time.  Additionally, America is one of the leading nations in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  It is also worth noting that carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant. Humans exhale carbon dioxide and plants require it to grow and photosynthesize. So we ought not make carbon dioxide an environmental villain.  It is required for life here on Earth. 

Before every committee in Congress and the Administration race to see who can throw the largest sums of taxpayer money at EVs and charging stations, let’s allow the technology to mature.  Let’s see if consumers want EVs.  Let’s see if EVs meet our transportation needs.  If they do, the marketplace can best figure out the way to charge or refuel an EV.  Government’s attempt to make these decisions before we know the answer to important questions insures that we will waste trillions of dollars promoting things that won’t pan out.  And that is money that cannot be invested in real solutions, real jobs or real infrastructure needs.  So we ought not be forced to rush when the conman tells us that time is running out. It isn’t. 


A Carbon Tax Would Harm Working-Class Americans

By George LandrithInside Sources

A Carbon Tax Would Harm Working-Class Americans

U.S. Representatives Steve Scalise (R-La.) and David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) introduced a resolution that, if passed, would express the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy and harm working-class Americans the most.

This is self-evidently true. In fact, it is so obviously true, a reasonable person might ask why such a resolution is even necessary. Do we really need a resolution that is as obvious as the sun rises in the east?

Sadly, even though the resolution’s point — that carbon taxes are harmful — is painfully obvious, the resolution is necessary. There are many voices on the national stage that support virtually any new tax and particularly any energy tax. The Biden administration has made it clear it considers the energy sector the enemy — killing pipelines, proposing new taxes, and advocating for new burdensome regulatory regimes and mandates. But this is counterproductive!

A carbon tax — no matter who they tell you will pay it — will hit the economy hard and will hit lower-income Americans the hardest. A carbon tax would increase the cost of everything Americans buy — from groceries, to electricity and gasoline, to home heating in the winter, to everyday household products. Moreover, having a reliable source of affordable energy is foundational to a strong job market and strong economic growth. The rich don’t need a strong job market or strong economic growth to build a better future for themselves and their families. They’ve already got that. But the working middle class and the working poor need a robust jobs market and economic growth to push wages higher.

The additional costs imposed on the working class by a carbon tax are difficult to bear. Their budgets are already tight. Are they going to go to work less often or heat their home less in the winter? They are kind of stuck. If you increase their energy costs, they have to give up other necessities. And if you damage the economy, their hope for better times and brighter days ahead evaporates. That’s way too high a price to pay for whatever false promises the elites are offering.

America achieved energy independence when only a few short years ago, it was widely perceived that we would always be forced to import energy and rely upon energy from hostile nations. Energy independence had obvious economic benefits, but it also had national security benefits. For much of the last two generations, American foreign policy had to worry about keeping the oil flowing from the Middle East. Given the volatility of the region, that often forced some unpleasant foreign policy considerations on American policymakers. But with energy independence, hostile powers could no longer hold us hostage or use energy as a leverage point. Thus, we were more secure. A carbon tax would put all of this at risk.

Some privileged elites see their support for a carbon tax as some sort of virtue. And they think it makes them look good. But what is there to feel so superior about in forcing working-class Americans to pay higher energy bills, transportation costs, and higher costs for food and household items — all while also being forced to suffer lower or suppressed wages?

This resolution tells Congress and the Biden administration that Americans expect accountability in their government. The Biden Administration is attacking energy through its attempts to force us into expensive electric vehicles and to use legitimate infrastructure needs as cover for redistributing taxpayer money to favored technologies like windmills and solar panels. This is all reminiscent of Solyndra, which gave away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to well-heeled political donors in the guise of energy policy but was ultimately a boondoggle and nothing more.

Rather than trying to use energy policy as a way to push Americans into the buying preferences of a few political elites, let’s unleash the power of the free market and human creativity!  We can have reliable, affordable energy and a clean environment.  But only if we allow and encourage innovation, rather than imposing government mandates and taxes.


Biden’s E.V. Bill Punishes the Poor

By George LandrithTownhall

Biden’s E.V. Bill Punishes the Poor
Source: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign season, then-candidate Biden continually promised that he would not raise taxes on households making less than $400,000 per year. It was a promise echoed again by the White House just over a month ago, but the so-called American Jobs infrastructure plan rolled out by the administration pulls a bait-and-switch on the American people, particularly the working poor and ethnically diverse communities.

A key component of the Biden plan is the push for a nationwide transition to electric vehicles, which takes up some $174 billion in subsidies from the package, but one of the largest problems with the proposal is its disregard for the negative downwind effects it would have on those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder. As of 2019, the average cost of an electric vehicle was $55,600, far greater than the cost of other vehicles more affordable for lower income families. In fact, another recent study showed that the average income of electric car owners is at least $100,000 per year, well over even the middle-income line. While the Biden plan throws truckloads of money at other angles of the electric vehicle issue, it does nothing to address the fact that lower income households simply cannot afford electric vehicles. To make matters worse, electric vehicles only account for 2 percent of vehicle sales in the U.S., even though they have been an option for vehicle purchasers for a significant period of time. The Biden plan is catering to a niche segment of an industry, in a show of political nepotism for a pet campaign promise while slapping the American worker in the face in the process.

An aggressive plan like Biden’s calls for significant bumps in energy and electric grids. Even currently, with a transportation budget of $1.5 billion, electric companies have almost $1 billion more in requests for expansion, and this is the case notwithstanding the drastic increase in energy grids that the Biden plan would implement. More electric grids cost the utilities more to operate, meaning large spikes in utility costs. 

California provides an example of this type of policy gone wrong, as it invests the most of any state into electric vehicle infrastructure yet has increasing issues with blackouts, high utility costs, and general cost-of-living increases. For instance, as of 2010, SDG&E, the major energy provider in the San Diego and southern California region, has seen consistent rate increases. Conversely, utility disconnections due to overdue bills and payments has also steadily climbed within this time period, suggesting that ratepayers are finding it more difficult to keep up with rising costs. Even more specifically, those burdened with these rate hikes are disproportionately minority groups in disadvantaged communities, who shoulder these costs for the benefit of disproportionately affluent areas that can afford EV’s.

Additionally, American seniors are keenly affected by these rate hikes. Per an AARP testimony in 2019 in Arizona, “twenty percent of Arizonans 65 and older rely on Social Security as their sole income source. Fifty percent get a substantial portion of their income from Social Security…[which] is about $17,500/year…Older Arizonans have much higher medical costs so many already [are forced] to choose today between, food, rent, medical care and very limited transportation…they cannot afford higher electric utility rates much less for electric vehicles.” Yet again, ratepayers are being conscripted to subsidize a service that they do not use, at the cost of their own well-being. 

These specific examples are simply the tip of the iceberg. If the Biden E.V. plan is implemented, the consequences would be far more drastic than even the current rate hikes. If less fortunate groups are not benefiting from electric vehicles, why should they be forced to pay for them? Spiked electric utilities affect the poor and vulnerable more negatively than any other economic demographic. Utilities are a difficult commodity to live without, particularly within a family, and they should not be burdened with rate hikes for services they do not use. Simply put, lower income households are not driving electric vehicles, and the Biden plan not only gives them no incentive or ability to do so but punishes them for costs incurred by wealthier households, all while claiming victory because rate hikes caused by government action aren’t technically a tax. Tax or not, the cost to the American people is the same. The ploy is a cruel bait-and-switch tactic that misleads the American people and should raise red flags about the Biden administration’s friendliness to the American worker.


The Green Dream: What AOC’s Signature Policy Really Aims to Accomplish

Leading climate activists aren’t being serious about climate change — but they’re deadly serious about socialism.

By Mario LoyolaNational Review

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) lead a news conference to reintroduce the Green New Deal at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

At a rally in Washington, D.C., this week, Senator Edward Markey described the scope of his Green New Deal: “Racial injustice, economic inequality, housing, education, jobs, and climate change. It is all intertwined.” Co-sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chimed in, saying, “We’re going to transition to a 100 percent carbon-free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified and guarantees more health care and housing than we’ve ever had before.”

Translation: Every progressive social program under the sun can now hitch a ride on the climate bandwagon. The Green New Dealers are serious about socialism. But are they serious about climate change?

There are reasons to doubt it.

The Green New Dealers talk as if achieving a zero-carbon economy by 2050 won’t cost anything. Indeed, they believe that transitioning to a zero-carbon economy will open up vast new sources of money for a dizzying array of social programs. It’s no surprise. After all, these same people believe that raising the minimum wage will increase average wages without diminishing employment among low-skilled workers, and that taxing corporate income will generate revenue without diminishing the tax base.

In fact, that Green pie-in-the-sky only gets bigger. A 2018 report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change (IPCC) called for unprecedented changes to the human economy in order to stave off “catastrophic” effects of climate change. The IPCC report calls for much greater energy efficiency and dramatic reductions in household and industrial energy use, along with the familiar renewable- and clean-energy mandates, but it didn’t stop there. It also called for sweeping changes in agricultural patterns, restoration of ecosystems, and transitioning to new diets. Seaweed for breakfast, anyone?

Meanwhile, on planet Earth, the only realistic way to achieve a zero-carbon electricity with a grid that is reliable and affordable is through the massive deployment of nuclear energy. Solar and wind are too variable to serve as “base load” generation, which is why renewable-energy mandates have made America’s electricity grid dangerously unstable, as we saw most recently in Texas. The United Nations’ own IPCC has said that meeting the goals of The Paris Agreement will require a doubling and perhaps tripling of nuclear power around the world.

Instead, nuclear energy is in a free fall. According to the International Energy Agency, nuclear power has fallen from 18 percent of worldwide electrical capacity in the 1990s to 10 percent, and it is expected to hit 5 percent by the end of next decade without concerted government intervention. Yet the U.S. is closing nuclear plants and has no plans to build any new commercial nuclear plants anytime soon. California recently closed its last operating nuclear plant.

If you’re really serious about fighting climate change, reviving nuclear power would be the highest priority. But President Biden’s infrastructure plan calls only for a few experimental research reactors that wouldn’t provide anyone with power. The Green New Deal resolution doesn’t even mention the word “nuclear.” It really is too much to expect former hippies such as Edward Markey and Bernie Sanders to change their minds on nuclear energy, which they grew up hating almost as much as they hated the Vietnam War. But the worldwide fading of nuclear power, just when the U.N.’s professional climate alarmists are saying that we need it more than ever, is a clear sign of how unserious the effort to stave off climate change really is.

Assuming no dramatic increase in nuclear power, one study estimates that the U.S. alone would have to add 750 GW of wind capacity and 550 GW of solar capacity by 2050. Focusing just on the solar part, consider that each new solar project might have a total footprint of 10,000 acres. Multiply that by 1,000 projects, and you’ve already covered an area twice the size of New Jersey with solar panels. Because of intermittency and other issues, you can multiply that area by maybe two. Now add thousands of utility-scale batteries (just to extend the power output of solar plants through evening hours and cover increasingly frequent shortfalls), and hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission lines. Oh, and outside the desert southwest, the vast majority of the land needed for all of that is currently either forest or farmland, and in both cases doing a lot of “carbon capture” just through photosynthesizing plants.

The Green New Dealers don’t spend a lot of time talking about the staggering quantities of land (and offshore ocean areas) that would be needed for the hundreds of thousands of new wind turbines and thousands of new solar plants that will have to be built by 2050 in order to achieve zero emissions. That’s probably because many of those projects are deeply unpopular with the locals — even among the Green New Deal’s own supporters!

This is no surprise: The Green New Deal coalition includes more than its fair share of NIMBYs (“Not In My Back Yard”) and virtually all of the country’s BANANAs (“Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”).

One Massachusetts family discovered this first-hand when they decided to build a ten-megawatt solar plant on their family farm. (Ten MW, incidentally, is a tiny fraction of a utility-scale solar plant). They saw it as a chance to confront climate change, but their neighbors had other concerns, such as solar panels ruining their view, declining home values, and impacts to Native-American heritage sites.

The story, in Politico’s “Climatewire,” notes that Massachusetts, like the rest of New England, is strongly committed to fighting climate change:

All six [New England] states have committed to deep emissions reductions by midcentury. And two-thirds of the region’s residents support government requirements that 20% of electricity come from renewable sources, according to a recent poll by Yale University.

But fulfilling those aspirations is more complicated. In Maine, environmental groups have led opposition to a transmission line that would bring hydropower into the region from Canada. Fishermen are objecting to plans for building offshore wind farms off the coast of southern New England. And solar development has prompted worries about loss of farmland in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Here in Massachusetts, high-profile fights are flaring over clear-cutting forest to make space for solar panels. “We say yes to climate goals, but no to all the solutions that get us there,” said Sarah Jackson, who oversees Northeastern climate policy for the Nature Conservancy.

Indeed. And it gets worse. Each of those projects will need its own federal permits and environmental reviews. And as I wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently, the process for getting federal permits is so convoluted, costly, time-consuming, and unpredictable that it’s a wonder any infrastructure project at all gets built in America. Project sponsors routinely spend $100 million or more during a process that can drag on for years without any way of knowing when or whether a decision will ever be made. The most “shovel-ready” renewable energy project is years away from being shovel ready.

Worse still, despite the largest bureaucracy in the known universe, the capacity of the federal government to process permit applications is frightfully tiny. In a typical year, federal agencies issue permits to, at most, a few dozen solar and wind projects across the entire country. Individual federal agencies get totally overwhelmed by just a handful of permit applications. But guess what. The word “permit” also doesn’t appear once in the Green New Deal resolution.

Without overcoming these challenges, the Green New Dealers’ vision of a zero-carbon future is simply a fantasy. Yet they can hardly bring themselves to acknowledge that these challenges even exist. It’s hard to say whether they simply don’t understand the reality facing their zero-carbon ambitions, or just aren’t interested. Either way, their priorities simply seem to lie elsewhere.

I once asked a radical environmentalist: “If we found out that the planet was warming for purely natural reasons, would you be in favor of climate engineering to stop it, because the current temperature and sea level are the right ones for humans?” He was appalled. “No, of course not, man,” he said.

What really keeps that young man up at night, and many others like him, is not climate change, but capitalism. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said at the Green New Deal rally this week, “The climate crisis is a crisis born of injustice. It is a crisis born of the pursuit of profit at any and all human and ecological cost.”

The Green New Dealers may be in shabby shape when it comes to climate policy, but if saving the planet requires socialism, their hearts are in the trim.


“The CLEAN Future Act” Guarantees Dramatically More Expensive and Less Reliable Energy

By George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom

Democrats on the House Energy & Commerce Committee have introduced a relabeled and slightly revised bill from the past and given it the inaccurate and misleading name “the CLEAN Future Act.”  This bill is aimed at restricting and reducing the use of reliable energy sources, and mandating and increasing the use of unreliable energy sources.  This will make energy more substantially expensive and it will reduce jobs and economic growth.  Simply stated, the bill, if passed, would do a great deal more to insure that more and more of America repeats the catastrophic widespread power outages that Texas experienced last month than it will ever do to provide a “clean future” as the act’s name implies. 

The CLEAN Future Act is less focused on energy policy than it is on imposing an anti-energy policy and a virulent climate focused policy aimed specifically at destroying America’s current domestic energy supplies.  In other words, the goal is to make it illegal to use clean fuels like natural gas or to use any fuel based on oil, or even clean coal technology — all abundant energy sources in the US.  And it wants us to transition from these reliable energy sources to unproven and unreliable energy sources in the space of a little more than a dozen years.  If they get their way, be ready for dramatically more expensive electric bills and for more Texas style blackouts which can cost lives and billions in damages.  

The widespread use of those natural gas, oil and coal in conjunction with innovative clean technologies have caused American air quality to dramatically improve in the last thirty years.  With air quality improving, there is no need to turn the economy on its head and endanger people’s lives with poverty, power outages, and economic disruption. 

Even if you buy into the idea that carbon dioxide is harmful, America’s carbon emissions are on the decline.  But the truth is, carbon dioxide is a natural occurring and necessary element for life.  If we removed all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, all life would shortly die out as there would be no plant life.  Humans and animals require oxygen to respirate and live.  Plants require carbon dioxide to live and do photosynthesis which provides animals and humans with food.  So take away the carbon dioxide and you kill off life — both animal and plant life. But as I said, even if you buy into the idea that carbon dioxide is at harmful levels (it isn’t), no serious human can hope for a planet without CO2.  That would be a dead planet. 

The CLEAN Future Act will punish the production and use of our most reliable energy sources, and it will dramatically raise energy costs and destroy jobs.  This seems to fit well with Biden’s agenda.  He may have promised a “moderate” and “unifying” agenda, but his first months in office blew the lid off the idea that there will be anything moderate or unifying about the Biden-Harris administration.  

The bill is also designed to give the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of “social justice” more teeth.  For example, the bill would establish an Office of Energy Equity at the Department of Energy.  Americans love the idea of equality before the law and the idea that we are all created equal.  Justice is a founding ideal for any nation that promotes freedom.  But when you add modifiers to the word justice, you are likely not talking about justice, but actually trying to co-opt the term to suit your ulterior motives and goals.  With energy policy, the goal should be to provide all of America with reliable and affordable energy.  That benefits everyone — the poorest among us, need affordable energy more than anyone else and they need the jobs and opportunity that affordable energy helps create. 

So if you are really interested in “energy equity” or “energy fairness,” you would focus on providing reliable energy to Americans at reliable and relatively stable and affordable prices.  But if you have another agenda, you might hide it by promising greater energy equity while forcing prices dramatically higher and making the reliability of the energy sources spotty and questionable. That’s exactly what “The CLEAN Future Act” does and it is in line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals. 

If we imposed the same truth in labelling laws on Congress that apply to food products, this law would be named, “The Make Energy Expensive and Unreliable Act.”  And if truthful labeling applied to the committee names in Congress, the committee would no longer be called the Committee on Energy and Commerce, but would be renamed the Committee Against Energy & Commerce. 


Can We Trust Joe Biden To Keep America Energy Independent?

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

Up until the Trump presidency, politicians regularly talked about the need to make America energy independent. That talk has stopped, largely because the goal has been reached. The U.S. is now a net energy exporter, thanks almost entirely to the development of new technologies that allow us to find fossil fuels where they could not be found before.

The oil and natural gas boom brought about by fracking has not only ended the nation’s reliance on crude oil imports, it also put an end to the domestic coal industry. As a result, U.S. carbon emissions are down significantly, lower even than the targets fixed in the international Paris Climate Accord from which President Donald J. Trump withdrew the nation shortly after entering office. 

Rather than cheering these developments, former Vice President Joe Biden wants to bring them to an end. He wants the nation to be depended on synthetic and renewable fuel substitutes that are not yet developed and wind and solar power that is expensive to build, even more expensive to maintain in good working order, and which has proven harmful to birds and other wildlife – all to appease Luddite environmentalists who fill his campaign coffers with money and his campaign offices with activists.

To what should be his shame, Biden can’t be clear with the American public about what he has in mind for U.S. energy production save for statements about his plan to end our reliance on fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes and businesses and power our factories within several decades.

The technology to do all this is unproven, at least at the commercial-scale required to produce the base power load needed. Yet he dismisses technologies like fracking that are proven as environmentally harmful and unnecessary.

Contrary to what he’s said while debating Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden has said repeatedly he would end fracking in the United States. He’s been caught on tape more than once making this promise. In a July 2019 interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Mr. Biden said he would eliminate fracking. “Would there be any place for fossil fuels including coal and fracking in a Biden administration?” she asked. Mr. Biden responded, “No, we would work it out. We would make sure it’s eliminated.”

In his October 22 debate with Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden again promised he would shut down the entire American oil industry. Here’s this, from the transcript, so you can read it yourself:

President Donald Trump: Would you close down the oil industry?

Former Vice President Joe Biden: By the way, I have a transition from the old industry, yes.

President Donald Trump: Oh, that’s a big statement.

Former Vice President Joe Biden: I will transition. It is a big statement.

President Donald Trump: That’s a big statement.

Former Vice President Joe Biden: Because I would stop.

Moderator Kristen Welker (NB): Why would you do that?

Former Vice President Joe Biden: Because the oil industry pollutes, significantly.

Whether or not he used the word “ban” is irrelevant. If he can’t ban it, he’ll tax and regulate and sue it out of existence by raising the costs involved with it to a level when it no longer makes economic sense to do it.

If Mr. Biden’s plan prevails, it won’t just devastate the economies of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico, and it won’t just send millions of Americans whose jobs depend on the fracking industry onto the unemployment lines, it will produce higher prices at the pump for every American while making the nation once again reliant on foreign oil imports coming from politically unstable parts of the world. If that weren’t enough, the biggest beneficiary of the Biden plan will be Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who just can’t wait to get the rest of the world, particularly eastern Europe, dependent once again on his country’s crude and natural gas.

No amount of spin or clean up from Mr. Biden or his team can explain away what he’s promised to do. The former Vice President said “Yes” when the president asked if he would close down the oil industry. Mr. Biden’s stance towards almost everything that goes into U.S. energy independence shows him to be a job killer, a friend to the oil sheiks and eastern European oligarchs and others who’d like nothing better to have their knees on the necks of U.S. industry by controlling the nation’s supply of energy.


Increasingly Cheap Nat Gas Will Help Fuel Econ. Recovery

By George LandrithReal Clear Markets

After months of sheltering in place, Americans are finally returning to their favorite restaurants, stores, and barbershops. As of June 1, all 50 states have started to reopen.

We may not know what life after the coronavirus looks like, but one thing is certain. As life returns to normal, millions of Americans will rely on natural gas to refuel their cars and reopen their businesses.

Fortunately, America’s energy sector was well prepared to survive the coronavirus outbreak. Having weathered the storm, natural gas producers will help get the economy humming in a way that benefits American consumers and the environment alike.

COVID-19 certainly caused problems for America’s energy sector. But even despite these recent setbacks, natural gas has proven quite resilient. U.S. natural gas prices have remained relatively steady over the past few months. And the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects average natural gas consumption to fall by less than 4 percent this year.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. America’s shale energy boom helped make natural gas the leading source of electricity nationwide. More than 38 percent of the nation’s power came from natural gas in 2019. With demand expected to rebound as early as next year, it seems like natural gas will remain the nation’s go-to energy source for the foreseeable future.

That’s great news for Americans. Ever since the United States became the world’s leading producer of natural gas, households across the country have seen their energy costs plummet. Americans will continue to benefit as the country grows more reliant on natural gas. Low gas prices will add $2,700 to the average household’s disposable income this year, according to an analysis from the research firm IHS. That number is expected to rise to $3,500 per household by 2025.

By moving the country away from coal, the natural gas boom also helps the environment. Last year, America once again led the world in reducing energy-related CO2 emissions. Between 2000 and 2019, the United States achieved a whopping 1 gigaton emissions reduction — more than any other country during that period.

These environmental gains will continue as gas-fired plants displace more of their coal-fired counterparts. The EIA projects that domestic energy-related CO2 emissions will keep falling well into the next decade.

America’s energy renaissance has even helped Europe reduce its emissions. Thanks to record-high natural gas imports, Europe saw a 15 percent increase in power generation from natural gas in 2019 — and a 20 percent decrease in the use of coal. Unsurprisingly, the European Union and the United Kingdom saw a 12 percent decrease in power sector CO2 emissions last year. Globally, CO2 emissions flattened in 2019.

Such a sustained drop in global carbon pollution would have been unthinkable just two decades ago. But thanks to the natural gas renaissance made possible by hydraulic fracturing, reductions like these have become the new normal.

It will take a lot to recover from the economic disruption of COVID-19. But come what may, the country can rely on natural gas to power the economy and clean up the environment.


Mariner East charges point to public office activism

By George LandrithDaily Local News

In his final attempt to torpedo Pennsylvania’s Mariner East II Pipeline, now-former Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan filed criminal charges last month against security contractors hired to secure pipeline construction sites. Sadly, the accusations are merely another publicity stunt in the DA’s crusade to upend the permitted project rather than an honest effort to serve the public. Pennsylvanians deserve better than this kind of gamesmanship that puts political agendas ahead of residents’ welfare.

The charges accuse several security personnel employed by Mariner East of paying state constables to provide security for the pipeline during construction. The constables’ authority, Mr. Hogan alleges, was used as a “weapon” to “intimidate citizens.” But the facts of the situation tell a different story—one that when coupled with the DA’s record of claims against the Mariner East point a finger back at Mr. Hogan for politicizing his public office.

It’s not uncommon for businesses of all industries to employ private security. That’s especially true for energy developers and operators, who regularly hire personnel to not only protect their investments, but also to ensure individuals are not inadvertently injured by equipment or ongoing construction around infrastructure sites.

Long before the Mariner East developers contracted the security personnel now under scrutiny, they consulted local law enforcement about the possibility of using state constables. Those authorities raised no concerns. And it’s hard to imagine why they would.

Pipelines have become targets for environmental extremists, and reports of sabotage and other criminal activities against energy infrastructure have grown in recent years. In fact, one disgruntled Central Pennsylvania landowner even lured bears to pipeline work sites, set fires near equipment, and harassed workers in an unlawful attempt to halt the pipeline. Another group admitted to sabotaging equipment in Southeast Pennsylvania. It’s a sad reality that pipeline operators often need extra security to prevent senseless attacks, and based on past criminal activity, it’s necessary for the Mariner East builders to take additional precautions.

It’s also important to understand the function of Pennsylvania’s constables. Like a sheriff, a constable is an elected or appointed position in the executive branch of government. Primarily, they serve at the direction of the courts to issue summons and warrants and the like, but they are fully empowered to enforce both criminal and civil laws.

Unlike most law enforcement officials, constables do not receive a set salary. They are compensated by assignment at rates established by state law. As public peace officers, constables are employed by a third party—never directly, as a security guard would be. In that way, Mariner East’s situation is not unusual: The developer hired a private contractor to secure the construction sites. The contractor then enlisted the support of state constables.

John-Walter Weiser and Philip Intrieri, the president and the solicitor of the Commonwealth Constable Association, respectively, recently called out the absurdity of the Chester County DA’s claims. “It is frankly offensive to accuse a constable of ‘selling his badge,’ when he is only operating under a fee-driven system he did not create, and which is intended to save our tax dollars,” Weiser and Intrieri wrote last month. “Filing felony charges of law when that law is unclear is a grievous abuse of power.”

It’s impossible to reconcile the precautions taken to add extra security around the Mariner East Pipeline with the charges now being leveled. Instead, the evidence points to a pattern of abuse of public office to wage an ideological campaign against midstream energy infrastructure. Mr. Hogan has criticized Mariner East of environmental crimes and has promised that other charges are “coming down the line.” In his statement announcing the most recent allegations, Mr. Hogan goes so far as to accuse Governor Wolf of being “asleep at the wheel.” All this was said and done as Mr. Hogan was leaving office.

The DA’s attacks against the Mariner East Pipeline seem to peel back the true motives behind these latest charges—which are to derail energy infrastructure deployment in Pennsylvania. But these accusations are too serious for residents to accept as politics as usual. As Hogan’s successor Deborah Ryan takes office, it is critical that Pennsylvanians are afforded an open debate about the Commonwealth’s energy security—not policy by litigation that, apparently, will readily sacrifice those who find themselves on the wrong side of the agenda of those in power.


A slippery slope in bringing criminal charges in pipeline probe

By George LandrithDaily Times

Pipeline
The Mariner East pipeline traverses both Chester and Delaware counties.
SUBMITTED PHOTO

In his final attempt to torpedo Pennsylvania’s Mariner East 2 pipeline, now-former Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan filed criminal charges against security contractors hired to secure pipeline construction sites. Sadly, the accusations are merely another publicity stunt in the D.A.’s crusade to upend the permitted project rather than an honest effort to serve the public. Pennsylvanians deserve better than this kind of gamesmanship that puts political agendas ahead of residents’ welfare.

The charges accuse several security personnel employed by Mariner East of paying state constables to provide security for the pipeline during construction. The constables’ authority, Mr. Hogan alleges, was used as a “weapon” to “intimidate citizens.” But the facts of the situation tell a different story – one that when coupled with the D.A.’s record of claims against the Mariner East point a finger back at Mr. Hogan for politicizing his public office.

It’s not uncommon for businesses of all industries to employ private security. That’s especially true for energy developers and operators, who regularly hire personnel to not only protect their investments, but also to ensure individuals are not inadvertently injured by equipment or ongoing construction around infrastructure sites.

Long before the Mariner East developers contracted the security personnel now under scrutiny, they consulted local law enforcement about the possibility of using state constables. Those authorities raised no concerns. And it’s hard to imagine why they would.

Pipelines have become targets for environmental extremists, and reports of sabotage and other criminal activities against energy infrastructure have grown in recent years. In fact, one disgruntled central Pennsylvania landowner even lured bears to pipeline work sites, set fires near equipment, and harassed workers in an unlawful attempt to halt the pipeline. Another group admitted to sabotaging equipment in southeast Pennsylvania. It’s a sad reality that pipeline operators often need extra security to prevent senseless attacks, and based on past criminal activity, it’s necessary for the Mariner East builders to take additional precautions.

It’s also important to understand the function of Pennsylvania’s constables. Like a sheriff, a constable is an elected or appointed position in the executive branch of government. Primarily, they serve at the direction of the courts to issue summons and warrants and the like, but they are fully empowered to enforce both criminal and civil laws.

Unlike most law enforcement officials, constables do not receive a set salary. They are compensated by assignment at rates established by state law. As public peace officers, constables are employed by a third party – never directly, as a security guard would be. In that way, Mariner East’s situation is not unusual: The developer hired a private contractor to secure the construction sites. The contractor then enlisted the support of state constables.

John-Walter Weiser and Philip Intrieri, the president and the solicitor of the Commonwealth Constable Association, respectively, recently called out the absurdity of the Chester County D.A.’s claims. “It is frankly offensive to accuse a constable of ‘selling his badge,’ when he is only operating under a fee-driven system he did not create, and which is intended to save our tax dollars,” Weiser and Intrieri wrote last month. “Filing felony charges of law when that law is unclear is a grievous abuse of power.”

It’s impossible to reconcile the precautions taken to add extra security around the Mariner East Pipeline with the charges now being leveled. Instead, the evidence points to an ideological campaign against midstream energy infrastructure. Mr. Hogan has criticized Mariner East and has promised that other charges are “coming down the line.” In his statement announcing the most recent allegations, Mr. Hogan goes so far as to accuse Gov. Tom Wolf of being “asleep at the wheel.” All this was said and done as Mr. Hogan was leaving office.

The D.A.’s attacks against the Mariner East Pipeline seem to peel back the true motives behind these latest charges – which are to derail energy infrastructure deployment in Pennsylvania. But these accusations are too serious for residents to accept as politics as usual. As Hogan’s successor Deborah Ryan takes office, it is critical that Pennsylvanians are afforded an open debate about the Commonwealth’s energy security – not policy by litigation that, apparently, will readily sacrifice those who find themselves on the wrong side of the agenda of those in power.


Harvard quietly backtracks on air pollution-coronavirus deaths link

By Valerie RichardsonThe Washington Times

Harvard researchers publicly walked back Monday a key finding in a highly touted but hotly contested paper linking air pollution exposure to deaths from the novel coronavirus, slashing the estimated mortality rate in half.

The preliminary study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health made a splash when the results were announced April 7 in The New York Times, prompting alarm on the left as Democrats sought to connect COVID-19 deaths to the Trump administration’s regulatory pushback.

A few weeks later, however, its researchers quietly backtracked from their finding that people who live for decades in areas with slightly more particulate matter in the air are 15% more likely to die from the coronavirus, lowering the figure to 8%. The press release was revised Monday.

“This article was updated on May 4, 2020, based on an updated analysis from the researchers using data through April 22,” reads a footnote on the Harvard press release.

The revision came after weeks of criticism over the study’s modeling and analysis. Tony Cox, a University of Colorado Denver mathematics professor and chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, said the model used to derive the 8% figure had “no basis in reality.”

“The model has not been validated and its assumptions are unrealistic,” said Mr. Cox, who heads the advanced analytics consulting firm Cox Associates. “In layman’s terms, it assumes an unrealistic effect of fine particulate matter on deaths, and then with that assumption built into the model, it uses data to estimate how big that unrealistic effect is. They’re making an assumption that has no basis in reality.”

JunkScience’s Steve Milloy said the Harvard paper is “not just junk science, it’s scientific fraud.”


The Drop In Oil Prices: Good Or Bad?

By David R. HendersonHoover Institution

Crude oil prices fell dramatically over the weekend. Between March 4 and March 9, Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell from $51.13 to $34.36 per barrel, a drop of 32.8 percent. As of this writing (the afternoon of March 10, EDT), the price has recovered to $36.89 per barrel.  The price of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude, the standard measure of U.S. oil prices, fell from $46.78 on March 4 to $31.13 on March 9, a drop of 33.5 percent. Pippa Stevens at CNBC wrote that “U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude and international benchmark Brent crude are both pacing for their worst day since 1991.”

Why worst? Implicit in Stevens’s statement is the idea that low oil prices are bad. All other things equal, of course, low oil prices are bad for oil producers. But also, all other things equal, low oil prices are good for oil users. And the latter includes all of us. How do we assess whether the net effect of the plunge in oil prices is good or bad? We have to look at why they fell suddenly. We pretty much know why: a temporary collapse of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC.) For that reason, the drop in oil prices over the weekend is good. It’s roughly a wash for the U.S. economy and it’s good for the overall world economy.

A most useful principle I learned in my Ph.D. economics program at UCLA, about which Professor Benjamin Klein never failed to remind his students, is “Never reason from a price change.” Scott Sumner, an economist at the Mercatus Center and one of my co-bloggers at EconLog, often points that out in his posts.

Let’s apply that lesson here. There are three (and only three) reasons that oil prices drop: (1) demand decreases, (2) supply increases, or (3) the monopoly power of oil producers falls.

When economists say that demand decreases, we mean something very specific—that at any given price, the amount demanded decreases. There are two main ways that can happen: a slowing of the world economy or an increase in the supply of a substitute.

If the world economy slows—and it certainly looks as if it has slowed, or will, due to the COVID-19 virus and people’s reaction to it—the demand for oil will fall. With a given supply, that will cause the price of oil to fall. The fall in the price of oil is not bad per se; rather, it’s a consequence of something bad, namely, the slowing of the world economy. And it certainly appears that a fall in demand due to a slowing economy caused prices to fall before last weekend. But it’s unlikely that there was a sudden fall in demand last weekend. We have to look elsewhere.  

The other possible cause of a fall in the demand for oil is an increase in the supply of a substitute for oil. If, for example, solar or nuclear energy became more competitive, the demand for oil would fall. In that case, the fall in oil’s price would be a sign of something good happening in the economy. Did solar, nuclear, or any other energy source suddenly become more competitive over this weekend? No.  So that’s not it.

How about an increase in supply? If supply increases, then, with a given demand, prices will fall. Notice that I’m using the word “supply” to mean not the quantity supplied, but the whole supply curve. When an economist says that supply increased, he means that at any given price, the quantity supplied has increased. The whole supply curve has shifted to the right. This sounds wonky and may remind you of an old economics class in which the professor insisted on the distinction between a shift in supply and a movement along a stable supply curve. But here we need a little wonkiness to help us analyze.

But there were no major discoveries of oil or breakthroughs in technology over the weekend that would cause the supply to increase. So that’s not what drove prices down.

There’s one culprit left: a decrease in monopoly power. If buyers and sellers in the stock market think that a major monopolist in the world market has lost market power, the world price of oil will fall. So let’s look more carefully at OPEC to see what went on last weekend.

First, recall that OPEC is a cartel. Government officials of the member countries get together and try to agree on a price. They want a price above what the competitive, non-colluding price would be. To achieve that cartel price, the members must produce an output below the output they would ideally like to produce. Each firm or, more accurately, government (since we’re talking about OPEC) would like to produce more and have every other country produce less. The members of OPEC meet regularly in Vienna to hash out their differences and try to reach an agreement. This time, though, there was real tension between Saudi Arabia’s desires and those of Russia. OPEC lists its members on its website, and although the Russians attended the latest meeting, and typically attend OPEC meetings, Russia is not, and never has been, an OPEC member.  

Saudi Arabia is the most important OPEC producer; Russia is the most important non-OPEC producer that attends the meeting. This time, the Saudis and the Russians had a big disagreement. The Saudis wanted to slow or stop the price erosion that had happened due to the drop in demand by cutting output: that of OPEC members and that of other countries that attend OPEC meetings but are not members. The Russians wanted the output cut too but didn’t want to be the ones doing the cutting. As CNBC’s Brian Sullivan put it on Friday, they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. In that respect, the Russians are like the non-Saudi members of OPEC: all of them want the Saudis to cut output. Although the violin I will play for the Saudis’ predicament is very tiny, it is true that they have traditionally been the “swing producer:” the country that sucks it up and reduces output to maintain the price while many other members of the cartel cheat like crazy. At times, the Saudis have produced as little as 4 million barrels a day to support the price; at other times, they have said the hell with it and have produced as much as 10 million barrels per day.

This time the Saudis said the hell with it. They will produce more and the Russians will produce more. Thus the lower price. And it doesn’t take a whole lot more production to drop the price. The reason is that the demand for oil is inelastic: a one percent increase in output will lead to a ten percent drop in price. So all it takes for a 30 percent drop in price is a three percent increase in output.

Is it bad that the price of oil will drop due to a reduction in monopoly power? No, it’s good. Ever since the fall of 1973, when OPEC raised the world price of oil from $3 per barrel to $11, OPEC has had some monopoly power in the world oil market. This causes the price to be higher than the competitive price would be and we oil users respond by using less oil than we would use at that lower competitive price. When the monopoly power comes about, not due to innovation or invention, but due to collusion, as with OPEC, economists almost unanimously object to monopoly: it holds output off the market for which consumers would pay an amount greater than the cost of production. This underproduction causes what economists call a “deadweight loss,” a loss to consumers that is not captured by producers. That’s what OPEC does. In his article on monopoly for The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, the late Nobel Prize winner and University of Chicago (and Hoover) economist George Stigler laid out the reasoning behind deadweight loss.

So the cut in the price brings the world oil market closer to the competitive price.

Does that mean that the price cut is good for the United States? No. The price cut is good for any country that is a net importer of oil. In recent decades, therefore, the United States would have gained big time from the cut in the world price. The loss to U.S. producers would have been less than the gain to U.S. consumers because we consumers would have gained on every barrel we used and the producers would have lost on the smaller number of barrels they produced.

But something important has happened in the last decade: fracking. As I noted in my most recent Defining Ideas article, fracking substantially increased the U.S. supply of oil and natural gas. In December 2019, the United States became, for the first time since 1949, a net exporter of oil. So the drop in prices is bad for the U.S. economy as a whole: the loss to the producers will exceed the gain to consumers. But it’s only slightly bad because the United States is barely a net exporter.

For the world economy as a whole, then, the drop in oil prices due to demonopolization is a net plus. That should be no more surprising than the fact that the increase in competition in the retail sector is a net plus.

So why has the stock market fallen so much? Part of the reason is, no doubt, the increased panic, possibly justified, about the loss in output due to the Covid-19 virus. You might expect that if the only event affecting the stock market was OPEC’s temporary loss in monopoly power, the losses to industries that produce energy would be only slightly larger than the gain to industries that use energy as an input. But that ignores the fact that a large percentage of the gain from the drop in price is to final consumers, and most of us consumers don’t sell stock in our wealth. There’s no stock called David Henderson, Inc., for example. So a large part of the gain is not visible on the stock market.

French economist Frederic Bastiat wrote, back in the 1840s, that we should always take account of the unseen as well as the seen. The seen is the stock market losses of energy producers. The unseen is the gain to ultimate consumers.

We don’t know what will happen in the next few months, either with the Covid-19 virus, the world economy, the stock market, or oil prices. As Danish physicist Niels Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” But we should be clear that the drop in oil prices due to OPEC’s loss of pricing power is a gain to the world, and close to a wash for the United States.


The Dems and climate change: a ship of fools!

They want to fix a false problem with solutions that don’t work!

By Dr. Larry FedewaDr. Larry Online

One of the pillars of the internationalist world view that is solemnly proclaimed by the establishment is the dogma of climate change – what it is and how to fix it.

This view is accepted aa a fixture by such institutions as the United Nations and many national governments, including until recently, the United States government. We can thank President Trump for rejecting this nonsense. He withdrew the USA from the Paris Accord (which was negotiated by the Obama Administration, but never submitted to the Senate and therefore not ratified by the USA).

Most Democrat presidential candidates want to eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years although the entire world depends on fossil fuels for survival, and there is no comparable substitute for fossil fuels. Windmills are not only inconsistent, but they also create new environmental hazards. Solar panels seem to have a place for supplementary energy production, but they are not transportable or suitable for transportation.

Even their statement of the problem is out of date. Nobody can look at the violent weather we have been experiencing and doubt that the climate is changing. But when has it ever not been changing? As far back as records go there have been changes in the climate. Remember the Ice Age?

Yesterday the scientists were telling us that there is global warming and the polar ice cap is melting. If that were true, battery-driven cars wouldn’t help us much. The first thing to do would be to move all the seaside structures to higher ground (as Andrew Yang has recommended). But we see large numbers of people who won’t even move their towns away from flood plains after being flooded out every other year. How are we going to move New York City or Los Angeles inland?

Luckily. more recent data are showing that the ice cap isn’t melting anymore. Not only that, but after the Club of Rome’s first two reports (1972 & 1976) scared us all with the idea that pollution is the common enemy of all mankind but was controllable by human carbon emissions, the more sober climatologists have begun to assert that human intervention is vastly overrated. In fact, humans can’t change the weather; that’s just common sense. (In 1996, The Club of Rome admitted that “pollution” was actually used in their early reports as merely an intellectual construct aimed at uniting nations to rally to their cause).

It is true that air, water and food pollution are dramatically affected by human waste and therefore controllable by humans. But most of the damage in today’s world is done by the thickening of the world’s ozone layer (between the sun and the earth’s surface) which in turn is exacerbated by increased emissions of carbon dioxide. These emissions apparently are affected by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and petroleum products such as gasoline and fuel oil.

The most prolific producers of these pollutants are developing nations which were not even included in the Paris Accords’ quotas. It was basically an agreement by which the USA would pay for as much of the world pollution as India and China wanted cleaned up. Every Democrat running for the presidency vows to reinstate the Paris Accord.

The actual situation in the USA and the world was summarized in a press release from the UN’s International Energy Agency (IEA) as follows:

“Despite media reports predicting the contrary, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell 2.9 percent last year, according to a report published Tuesday.

In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that the U.S. decrease in emissions was the largest total of any country, at 140 million tons. It also noted that over the last 20 years, U.S. emissions have decreased nearly one gigaton (1 billion metric tons).

Globally, emissions flatlined in 2019. After two years of growth, global emissions remained unchanged at 33 gigatons in 2019, even as the world economy grew by 2.9 percent.” (Fox News story, 2/11/2019)

The distribution of global activity is in the IEA release:

“A significant decrease in emissions in advanced economies in 2019 offset continued growth elsewhere. Emission in the European Union fell by 160 million tons, or five percent, driven by reductions in the power sector. For the first time ever, natural gas produced more electricity than coal and wind-powered electricity nearly caught up with coal-fired electricity. Japan’s emissions fell by 45 million tons, or around 4 percent, as output from newly restarted nuclear reactors upticked this year. Emissions in most of the rest of the world grew by nearly 400 million tons in 2019, with almost 80 percent coming from countries in Asia where coal-fired power generation continued to rise.” (IEA, 2/11/2019)

Thus, not only is the USA already doing its part to alleviate the effects of ozone pollution, but so are many other countries. The “existential crisis” of which Bernie Sanders so often speaks does not exist.

This is not to say that nothing more should be done about ozone pollution. The old saying applies: “Because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you should so nothing.” We can and should do what we can to affect this problem. But our efforts are necessarily limited. For example, we can’t stop volcanoes from releasing more pollution in a day than humans can in weeks if not years. Our ancestors successfully adapted to continuous, sometimes drastic, weather changes. So can we.

I have argued elsewhere that a new set of ethical standards with respect to the world around us should be formed. Traditional Western religion teaches us that all other creatures exist for use by humans. I believe that modern science has given us another view of the complexities of the world. We must learn to treat this world with more respect and more consideration.

Appreciation for the beauty and brilliance of the world God has given us is a good first step. Crying WOLF! WOLF! is not.


A new Apocalyptic vision triggers religious fervor

A first in human history: Anxious about their future on a hotter planet and angry at world leaders for failing to arrest the crisis, masses of young people poured into the streets on every continent on Friday for a day of global climate protests. Organizers estimated the turnout to be around four million in thousands of cities and towns worldwide. (Somini Sengupta, New York Times, September 20, 2019) (Below: Youth March for Climate Change (New York City, Sept.20, 2019)

By Dr. Larry FedewaDrLarryOnline.com

What is the motivating force which could impel  such an amazing reaction of youngsters all over the world (except China)? Clearly, the threat of extinction is taken so seriously by so many youths that they felt compelled to participate in this effort. What has convinced so many in so many places simultaneously?

Apparently, it is the vision of the planet earth being baked into destruction by the sun’s rays. This vision seems to have originated from the speculations of climate scientists as interpreted and simplified by activists. Cold, neutral, formulaic science has never elicited such emotional reactions. Those ideas had to be interpreted and simplified by propagandists. Eventually, the vision emerged with its dramatic impact and its ability to inspire visceral fear. It is this vision which has motivated a youthful passion which thirsts for a cause to believe in.

In that sense, climate change advocacy demonstrates many of the same characteristics as religion. It is an unquestioning belief in an unseen event; it inspires an ethic requiring sacrifice to achieve; and it thrives on communal events. Thus, it meets the traditional characteristics of religion: creed, code, and cult.

This phenomenon also raises the question, “Why are these folks (young and old) so open to a new religion?” Why are they not dedicated to the traditional religions of their elders? Or, more concretely, why has the Western world witnessed such a precipitous decline of traditional religious practice in recent generations?

The answer to these questions lies in the disconnect between the common life experience of our modern culture and the world view of traditional religions. As one way of approaching this topic, we might look at the differences in the epistemology (the way of understanding) between what religion teaches us compared to that of our everyday life.

Traditionally, religion proclaims that another invisible world exists in addition to this visible world. The invisible world is better than this world. This vision has brought comfort and peace to many millions of people through the ages. It has served as a reason for us to behave in certain ways which are conducive to the common good and it has given us hope to reach heaven and eternal peace when we die.

Common life experience in the 21st century exhibits a quite different vision. First of all, we live in a world of constant discovery. While many aspects of this world are invisible, such as thoughts and emotions and happiness, it is also true that our science is based on the presumption that all reality is ultimately physical, even if it is too small to be seen (atoms), too large to be understood (the universe), or discoverable only through its effect on things that can be measured (neutrons). As a culture, we have come to believe that all reality is knowable, even if we don’t yet know it. We keep learning new things all the time, only to discover more things we don’t know. Nevertheless, the thrill of learning is one of our cultural goals.

It is the task of the theologians to conceptualize and explain the spiritual dimensions of our human experience and the connections between our life experience and our traditional beliefs. It appears that today’s theologians are asleep at the switch. Our culture cries out for an ethic which takes the world we live in much more seriously than does traditional religion. To achieve that ethic, a new vision must be developed – one which understands the beauty of the universe, the world we live in, the body we have been given, and the ways in which this visible world must be treated in order for us to achieve happiness and satisfaction in our interactions with this world, our community and ourselves.

In such a vision, we see technology as an extension of our body – machines to take us farther and faster than our legs could carry us, to make our minds more agile, our imaginations more original, our views more expansive. We see our love extended to other races and places beyond our natural limits, our talents challenged by new plateaus, and our world enriched by the newness of our life on earth. This is a vision which will allow us to seek the transcendent meaning of life as the sum of all the good and evil we can see with our sharpened insights and to find our personal path to virtue, happiness and holiness.

As our lives are enriched by the colors and textures of this world which God has provided for us, we are also confronted with new responsibilities and obligations. which have been ignored in the past, to maintain that world. Some examples: while the absolute need for cheap and plentiful energy is granted, how do we justify digging coal at the risk of black lung disease for the miners? How do we justify burying nuclear waste which will take 3000 years to dissipate? How do we preserve our planet’s suitability for human life? How do we balance the harm of nuclear weapons against the cost in human life? What do we owe to trees and wildlife? And, what are the ethical norms by which we are to measure such answers?

Religion, like life itself, must evolve to meet the very real spiritual needs of real people. If organized religions fail in this fundamental obligation, people will substitute whatever they can find in order to satisfy the primal need we all share for spiritual nourishment – even if it is as flimsy as climate change.


You Don’t Need To Be A Scientist To Be Legitimately Skeptical Of Climate Alarmism

An ambiguous, unverifiable crisis that only the state has the means or authority to combat is a blank check to power.

By David BreitenbeckTheFederalist

I am not a scientist. I have no scientific background beyond what I’ve picked up from reading things written by and about actual scientists. So I am, therefore, in no position to critique any scientific theory as a theory.

That said, I am a skeptic when it comes to climate change. To be clear, I don’t doubt that the climate changes — obviously it does. I don’t doubt that human activity has an effect on this change. What that effect is, and to what extent it influences the entire system, I don’t know. As a scientific concept, I have no opinion on climate change.

But it isn’t just a scientific concept. It is a political issue, and that is what I am skeptical of.

You see, I can’t judge from what I don’t know (e.g., climate science), but I can judge from what I do know. I know something of history, something of philosophy, and something of human nature. I can observe what people are doing at the moment and listen to what they actually say.

Doing so, I note that the vast majority of people, including the cause’s most vehement advocates, are no more qualified to judge it scientifically than I am. Does anyone really believe that any of those people marching in Washington have the knowledge and ability to interpret data from a global climate survey? Have they sunk the necessary hours of study and objective research into this subject to be able to say what they say with any certainty, assuming they could ever be certain?

Of course they haven’t. They are going entirely off of what certain experts have told them — namely, a specific selection of experts who have come to their attention because the media has elevated them and political groups have championed and funded them. These climate change apologists are in no position to critically examine these expert claims.

Average Voters Cannot Verify Climate Change Claims

Now, if there is, for instance, a genuine international crisis (e.g., Venezuela), then people have resources to verify it. They can read testimonies and see photos and video of the event, and in the last resort, they can go there to see for themselves. If it is a question of domestic policy, people can consider their own experience and knowledge to judge which approach to, say, taxation seems to be the best.

People cannot do this with climate change. The signs of the crisis come down to weather and to intensely complex reams of data that require specialized knowledge to interpret. The latter is out of reach for almost everyone. The former could be used to justify just about any theory since it is a proverb for unpredictability and changeableness.

If you tell people the earth is getting warmer, they will remember all those hot summer days and snowless winters they experienced and say that warming is very likely. If you tell them it is getting cooler, they will remember the mild summer days and bitter winter nights and say cooling is also very likely.

The fact is, the average voter has no way to adequately judge the question of climate change. Yet he is assured that it is an existential crisis that must be dealt with immediately and by any means necessary. Politicians and media activists are thus urging him to favor certain actions to combat a crisis that he has no way to verify. Worse, this message tends to be directed toward impressionable young people — that is, those with the highest emotions and the least ability to examine these claims.

That is an extremely dangerous state of affairs for a representative government.

More about Government Control than Science

This ties in with the fact that climate change activists and experts do not act like they are talking about science. As I say, I am no expert, but I do know enough of the subject to know that in science you have to take everything into account, especially anything that seems to tell against your theory. Science is never exactly “settled” because new instruments or new techniques could always present new observations that don’t fit with the common view. This is what happened with the heliocentric theory, Newtonian physics, genetics, and with every other major scientific breakthrough.

So when I see scientists and media personalities talking about “climate change denial,” as if it were a mental illness, accusing those who are skeptical of their theories of being in the pay of oil companies or otherwise arguing in bad faith (overlooking their own government grants and celebrity status in the process, I might add), and inflatingthe numbers of those who agree with them, it looks highly suspicious. This is not how responsible scientists or politicians behave.

Then there is the proposed solution. There never seems to be a technical solution — for instance, if the Earth’s atmosphere is being flooded with carbon dioxide, perhaps we could find a way to release quantities of a gas that might dilute the greenhouse effect. Much less is there a question of whether a warmer climate might have a net-positive effect, or at least be a manageable problem. No, it’s all certain doom within our lifetime unless we adopt tighter state control. More recently, climate change advocates have been openly calling for socialism as the panacea to the Earth’s ills.

In other words, the proposed solution to what we are told is an existential crisis is, conveniently, to give more power to the very same people who are informing us that this crisis exists.

Don’t Give Progressives a Blank Check to Power

Finally, since the average voter cannot verify that the crisis exists, he also could never say when the crisis was over. The same people who tell you it exists, who assure you that everyone who denies it is simply ignorant or evil, are also the only ones who could tell you when or if the crisis were ever solved and what must be done to solve it. An ambiguous, unverifiable crisis that only the state has the means or authority to combat is a blank check to power.

So, simply put, I am a climate change skeptic because the people advocating it do not act as if it were a verified scientific conclusion. They act as if it were a political expedient at best and a pseudo religion at worst. They tarnish and dismiss anyone who opposes them, fill impressionable young people with images of immanent doom caused by their political and social enemies, and use this cause to justify grabbing more and more power.

While I may not be able to say what the climate is doing, I can say what climate activists are doing, and from that, I can judge that they should be kept as far away from positions of power as humanly possible. We haven’t seen what happens when the ice caps melt, but we have seen what happens when demagogues claiming to protect against an endless and ambiguous crisis get into positions of power, and it never ends well.


Climate Worship Is Nothing More Than Rebranded Paganism

We're seeing sexualized dances, hallucinogens, worshiping nature, confessing sins in pagan animism, worshiping purified teen saints, all to promote a supposedly greater cause.

By Sumantra MaitraThe Federalist

Lynn Townsend White Jr., an American historian from Princeton, wrote an influential essay in 1967, at the height of the cultural revolution in Western campuses, arguing that Christianity and Judeo-Christian values are responsible for ecological disaster and climate change. The essay, naturally, was adapted by generations after, ironically almost like a document of faith.

The central argument went like this. White argued, “The victory of Christianity over paganism was the greatest psychic revolution in the history of our culture. … By destroying pagan animism, Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects.”

, and fear — didn’t just go away but manifested in various other pre-civilized tribal ways. For example, a liberal seminary encouraged its students to skip classes to pray and confess sins in front of potted plants. In Switzerland, 250 people in full funereal garb mourned the apparent approaching death of a glacier.

That is why members of “Extinction Rebellion” do what they do. Extinction Rebellion is an apocalyptic cult that wants to radically end every thing around you, from your private cars to the burgers you eat and the plastic chairs in your yard. It is a cult that was formed after its founder took psychedelic drugs and prayed for “social change.” Members have blocked D.C. and London intersections, “twerking” the way people in a pre-civilized era would perform a fertility dance to pray to Gaia.

And then there’s Saint Greta, our perpetual teen of sorrow. I have been comparing her worship to Joan of Arc ever since she was invited to the British Parliament, the birthplace of modern democracy. She was surrounded by buffoons nodding their heads like they were listening to gospel truth.

Mr Maitra@MrMaitra

Lads, I hesitate to take credit for my predictions…I am magnanimous and noble like that…but this entire Joan of Arc thingy…you guys read it here, first.

“Climate Apocalypticism” is simply a paganist religion, with its own saints, sinners, and providential end.

View image on Twitter

wrote about her long before the new woke-capital fanatics adopted her as a pawn. In a recent speech to the U.N., while clearly having an emotional meltdown, she told assorted leaders, voice trembling, that they have failed the children and history wouldn’t be kind. The “gatekeepers” immediately hailed her as a brave savior as well as a vulnerable, autistic teen who shouldn’t be bullied.

So, there you have it. Sexualized dances, psychedelic hallucinogens, worshiping nature, confessing sins in pagan animism, worshiping purified teen saints, and throwing them up on an altar, bereft of their childhood, to promote a greater cause. Add to that witches hexing Brett Kavanaugh, and having an Ouija board to invoke the spirit of Karl Marx, and everything old is new again.

The reality is, of course, completely different. Much less than destroying the planet, climate change isn’t even a settled science. Conservatives don’t disagree that climate is changing. That is a straw man. Conservatives, however, are opposed to hysteria, have skepticism about the rate of the climate change, and would like to see an actual cost-benefit analysis of the radical changes being demanded.

More important than that, conservatives understand that climate change is cynically used by a certain section of people to justify their political goals of steering the West away from its way of life, a way they perceive to be evil and harmful, hetero-patriarchal, and capitalist. How? Appealing to the faith-based part of human brains, the need for subservience, and propping up children as human shields.

The Left Created a Climate Crisis and Worships It

Consider a new letter by more than 500 scientists, which the mainstream media completely ignored. It urges the United Nations to have an open debate between scientists from both sides of the argument and states there’s “no climate emergency.” The report goes on to say, among other things:

The world has warmed at less than half the originally-predicted rate; Climate policy relies on inadequate models; More CO2 is beneficial for nature, greening the Earth; There is no statistical evidence that global warming is intensifying hurricanes, floods, droughts and suchlike natural disasters, or making them more frequent; There is no climate emergency. Therefore, there is no cause for panic and alarm. We strongly oppose the harmful and unrealistic net-zero CO2 policy proposed for 2050.

In short, everything you’re being told is wrong or flawed, and you’re a chump who is being taken for a ride.

For all the Marxists’ faults, the old left at least wanted to conquer nature instead of turning subservient to it. Of course, that went to its own extremes, but one can imagine Joseph Stalin putting all twerking climate fanatics as mentally ill people in a forced labor camp to build railroads in Siberia. The current Chinese government, likewise, gives two hoots about climate change, and for all the bravery of Green Peace and St. Greta, there’s nothing they can do about China burning more coal than the rest of humanity combined.

The modern left is a combination of two of the worst impulses in human history. First are the ultra-privileged bourgeoisie, which, having lost their old Judeo-Christian faith, are instinctively attracted to pre-civilized rituals, from overt sexuality to fewer familial ties. Consider Late Roman public orgies, and you get an idea. At the same time, human minds feel a gaping void that still needs to be filled by an alternate faith. It is in that intersection where this occultist, apocalyptic climate paganism comes from. It gives some privileged people a noble purpose.

As French philosopher Pascal Bruckner wrote in his book “The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings,” the current movement has all the trappings of a religion: saints, sinners, a providential end, apocalyptic fear, punishment, and penance. It appears Emperor Constantine’s children clearly failed to civilize their future generations. The pagan barbarians from the north are back circling outside the citadel.


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