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This oughta do it

15 Nov 2023 | News Roundup

The Manhattan Contrarian just noted that “global spending to fight climate change by environmental groups and other nonprofits reached $8 billion in 2021, most of it in the United States and Canada, according to a survey released in September by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.” That’s billion with a ‘b’. So much for deniers having all the money (And yes, please do send some if you haven’t already.) And what has $8 billion per year bought? Bubkis, apparently, also with a b. MC also noted that “the supposed green energy transition – widely hyped and massively subsidized for two decades – has suddenly started to crumble on multiple fronts. We are rapidly approaching the green energy wall.” As noted above the New York Times “Climate Forward” whimpers that “It’s no secret that fossil fuels are still going strong.” And here in Canada the Financial Post reports that a frustrated Canadian Environment Commissioner just put out a report saying we’re going to miss our 2030 emissions targets “largely due to delays in rolling out key measures such as an oil and gas emissions cap”. Maybe if the alarmists could just get another billion or so they could turn this thing around.

As noted, there is an implosion on all fronts. Heatmap Daily concedes that “the EV pickup market is faltering, and automakers are having trouble moving full-size, all-electric trucks off dealer lots.” Joining the chorus of admissions, Scientific American admits that “Electric Vehicles Might Not Yet Have Replaced as Much Car Mileage as Hoped”. Yeah. Yet. But more subsidies could do the trick, this time for sure.

Yet the true believers keep sounding the charge. Grist, for instance, reports that “As offshore wind stumbles, Biden moves to speed up solar and geothermal in the West”. They’ll be down to peat at some point soon.

Also the Globe & Mail touts a new outfit “Carbon Removal Canada” that was just launched by the “climate charity Clean Prosperity Foundation” promising “that the industry could create more than 300,000 Canadian jobs and $143-billion in GDP by 2050.” Or not. The news advocacy piece immediately adds that “the report, provided in advance to The Globe and Mail, also suggests that an extraordinarily quick scaleup would be required to meet that potential.” The whole thing does sound a bit like unresisting imbecility. As the Globe also says:

“Among those barriers are a cost per tonne of removed carbon that is currently too high to be economical absent government subsidies, and a lack of existing systems to verify that projects meet their promises. The latter is especially important if removal projects are to generate credits traded on carbon markets, which is their likeliest revenue source.”

And as we noted recently, analysis by Bjorn Lomborg and economics Nobel prize winner William Nordhaus suggest that the true “social cost of carbon” is so low that even far less speculative ventures are not cost-effective.

And at the moment other climate-related green technologies aren’t exactly showing the extraordinarily quick scaleups we were promised, are they? But in any case it falls foul of Henry Hazlitt’s “broken window” fallacy: Even if more than 300,000 people can earn a living toiling to remove carbon from the air and bury it somewhere or make it into macramé, if paid enough to do so, it’s still a deadweight loss to the economy because absent the climate scare, we’d get the same energy we’ll get anyway by 2050 without the expenditure of one cent of this $143 billion to stop its “carbon pollution”.

In some ways the collapse of the alarmist project offers amusement as well as Schadenfreude. For instance climate change really does seem to be Justin Trudeau’s signature issue. The fact that his “key measures” wouldn’t work even if they trashed our economy should also get some credit, along with the vital point that one reason they wouldn’t is that while we do have some idea how to destroy the existing energy system the promised replacement is sputtering so feebly we don’t have any plausible “key measures” that we could implement if we weren’t also flunking deliverology.

As a matter of fact, as Lorrie Goldstein recently noted, the only time Canadian GHG emissions actually drop is “during major recessions”. Which the government only causes by accident and might well bungle if they attempted to do it on purpose. So at some point you really do have to step back and ask whether you’re missing something massive about how the economy and the ecosystem work.

Or you could duck the hard work, and the humility, and retreat into fantasy instead. So environmental activist turned minister Steven Guilbeault reacted to the Environment Commissioner’s report by saying Canadians must do more.

Canadians? Don’t look at us. You’re the minister. Isn’t it your policies you said were so totally great that so totally failed? Uh um yes well. As Guilbeault also said:

“We need to do more. We need to do it faster and that’s exactly what our government is doing.”

Gibberish. If you’re already doing more faster, you don’t need to, and if you’re not already doing it, then continuing to do whatever silly thing you are doing is useless or worse unless you hallucinated the whole crisis. There really seems to be a kind of mental paralysis, a freezing in the presence of headlights.

One comment on “This oughta do it”

  1. The fossil fuel era is putting a portion of CO2 back into the atmosphere that marine shellfish have been converting to limestone for the last half billion years now amounting to about 8% of the earths crust. As Patrick Moore speculates, we may just be extending life on the planet another million years. The Jacobins and their innumerate followers won't here of it.

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