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21 Jun 2023 | News Roundup

The revenge of reality continues in Germany, where they’re rethinking their ban on gas “boilers”, aka water heaters, which had been prompted partly by a desire to use less Russian gas and partly by an irrational refusal to prefer one fossil fuel (methane) over another (coal) even temporarily. That Europe should produce more of its own natural gas through fracking, instead of shutting more of it down, might be too much to ask them to contemplate. But that “heat pumps” just don’t work that well, and require electricity that stubbornly refuses to fall from the sky, is one of those practicalities even a politician can only attempt to wave away for so long. Or at least the anger of voters faced with fantasy policies on the subject is.

In the United States the rush to ban gas stoves while denying any such intention until it’s too late has had an unintended and possibly salutary Constitutional impact: House Republicans are trying to require that the legislature have the final say on major regulatory rules of all sorts. It would delight the great theorist of liberty under law John Locke, who insisted that legislators could not delegate the power to make laws that the people had entrusted to them and them alone. Least of all, we add, to the executive branch the scrutiny and restraint of which is actually the main task of the legislative. (Nature disagrees, editorializing that “The US EPA’s proposed regulation could help to kill off fossil-fuel plants. Good on it/ Expanding clean energy isn’t enough to combat the climate crisis — the agency’s move to turn the screws on fossil fuels is welcome, and long overdue.” So never mind all that silly voting.)

Oh, and the kelp-carbon-capture scow plows on, with National Geographic announcing that “A wave of startups say seaweed is a multi-pronged solution to climate change: It can absorb carbon, curb the effects of cattle’s methane burps, and feed biofuels – not to mention the world.” Not that we don’t already have seaweed, occurring naturally in vast amounts throughout the seven seas and doing its thing, which alas includes the bit where it gets eaten or otherwise perishes and the carbon gets released. But now humans have showed up to tie it to wooden buoys then sink it deep in the ocean where we will tell nature to do nothing for eight centuries and hope it listens.

From the “all climate news is bad” file, Wired frets that “The Upper Atmosphere Is Cooling, Prompting New Climate Concerns/ Scientists are worried about the effect this change could have on orbiting satellites, the ozone layer, and Earth’s weather.” Whereas if it were warming…

And from the “summer is still fun no matter how you climate killjoys try to rain on it” file, Walmart continues with “Hot savings from our Deals Centre 🔥” and “Summer finds at low prices 🌞”, Canadian Tire with “Top picks for fun in the sun” and “Patio season just got better” and even the grouchy grey New York Times (“The Morning” not “Climate Forward”) says “It’s June. The weather forecast is starting to look like summer, and I’m looking forward to my favorite sunny-day activity: eating outside.” It sure beats eating crow over calling summer wretched. (“The Morning” also said “Reading, I tell myself, shouldn’t be a chore but a joy…. I’m determined again to brand this a reading summer. A reading books summer, in contrast with my ‘long magazine article’ spring, which was preceded by a ‘Dateline’ winter and a ‘mostly podcasts’ fall.” To which we add that enjoying summer shouldn’t be a chore either. Tell your colleagues.)

3 comments on “Tidbits”

  1. In reference to the "Upper Atmosphere is cooling..." tidbit, I had just watch a youtube video where the author blames CO2 on the cooling at "Have A Think" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssFQ1XFp7Pw
    I don't know enough to challenge his assertions, but something seems off about his argument. Does his video have merit?

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