Evidence Says Offshore Wind Development is Killing Lots of Whales

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The recent deaths of seven whales off New Jersey, mostly humpbacks, got a lot of attention. The federal NOAA Fisheries agency is responsible for whales. An outrageous statement by their spokesperson got me to do some research on humpback whale deaths.

The results are appalling. The evidence seems clear that offshore wind development is killing whales by the hundreds.

Here is the statement as reported in the press:

“NOAA said it has been studying what it calls “unusual mortality events” involving 174 humpback whales along the East Coast since January 2016. Agency spokesperson Lauren Gaches said that period pre-dates offshore wind preparation activities in the region.” Gaches is NOAA Fisheries press chief.

The “unusual mortality” data is astounding. Basically the humpback death rate roughly tripled starting in 2016 and continued high thereafter. You can see it here:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2016-2023-humpback-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-atlantic-coast

But the claim that this huge jump in mortality predates offshore wind preparation activities is wildly false. In fact it coincides with the large scale onset of these activities. This strong correlation is strong evidence of causation, especially since no other possible cause has appeared.

To begin with, offshore lease sales really geared up 2015-16, with nine big sales off New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts. These sales must have generated a lot of activity, likely including potentially damaging sonar.

In fact 2016 also saw the beginning of what are called geotechnical and site characterization surveys. These surveys are actually licensed by NOAA Fisheries, under what are called Incidental Harassment Authorizations or IHA’s.

There is some seriously misleading jargon here. IHA’s are incidental to some other activity, in this case offshore wind development. They are not incidental to the whales. In fact the term “harassment” specifically includes injuring the whales. That is called “level A harassment”.

To date NOAA has issued an astounding 46 one-year IHA’s for offshore wind sites. Site characterization typically includes the protracted use of what I call “machine gun sonar”. This shipboard device emits an incredibly loud noise several times a second, often for hours at a time, as the ship slowly maps the sea floor.

Mapping often takes many days to complete. A blaster can log hundreds of miles surveying a 10-by-10 mile site. Each IHA is typically for an entire year.

Here is a list of the IHA’s issued to date and those applied for:

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/incidental-take-authorizations-other-energy-activities-renewable

There are lots of ways this sonar blasting might cause whales to die. Simply fleeing the incredible noise could cause ship strikes or fish gear entanglements, the two leading causes of whale deaths. Or the whales could be deafened, increasing their chances of being struck by a ship later on. Direct bleeding injury, like getting their ears damaged, is another known risk, possibly leading to death from infection. So there can be a big time difference between blasting and death.

Note also that these deaths need not be in the immediate vicinity of the sonar blasting, so spatial correlation is unlikely. Humpbacks in particular are prodigious travelers. One group was tracked traveling 3,000 miles in just 28 days, over 100 miles a day on average. Another group routinely migrates 5,000 miles. Both are winter-summer migrations which can happen twice a year.

Thus a sonar blasting, site characterization in one place could easily lead to multiple whale deaths hundreds of miles away. If one of these blasters suddenly goes off near a group of whales they might go off in different directions, then slowly die.

The point is that the huge 2016 jump in annual humpback mortality coincides with the huge jump in NOAA Incidental Harassment Authorizations. It is that simple and surely NOAA Fisheries knows this.

Nor is this just about humpbacks. Some of the dead whales off New Jersey are endangered sperm whales. And of course there are the severely endangered North Atlantic Right Whales, on the verge of extinction.

Even worse, the IHA’s are about to make a much bigger jump. There are eleven pending IHA applications and eight of these are for actually constructing 8 different monster wind “farms”.

Driving the hundreds of enormous monopiles that hold up the turbine towers and blades will be far louder than the sonic blasters approved to date, especially with eight sites going at once. These construction sites range from Virginia to Massachusetts, with a concentration off New Jersey and New York.

For more on this noise see my https://www.cfact.org/2022/07/26/threat-to-endangered-whales-gets-louder/

Clearly we need a moratorium on new Incidental Harassment Authorizations until the safety of the whales and other marine species can be assured. Hundreds of whales may have already been killed by offshore wind activities. The evidence is right there.

*****
This article was published by CFACT and is reproduced with permission.

Net Zero Will Lead to the End of Modern Civilisation, Says Top Scientist

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Devastating consequences

A damning indictment of the Net Zero political project has been made by one of the world’s leading nuclear physicists.

In a recently published science paper, Dr. Wallace Manheimer said it would be the end of modern civilisation. Writing about wind and solar power he argued it would be especially tragic “when not only will this new infrastructure fail, but will cost trillions, trash large portions of the environment, and be entirely unnecessary”. The stakes, he added, “are enormous”.

Dr. Manheimer holds a physics PhD from MIT and has had a 50-year career in nuclear research, including work at the Plasma Physics Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He has published over 150 science papers. In his view, there is “certainly no scientific basis” for expecting a climate crisis from too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the next century or so. He argues that there is no reason why civilisation cannot advance using both fossil fuel power and nuclear power, gradually shifting to more nuclear power.

There is of course a growing body of opinion that points out that the Emperor has no clothes when it comes to all the fashionable green technologies. Electric cars, wind and solar power, hydrogen, battery storage, heat pumps – all have massive disadvantages, and are incapable of replacing existing systems without devastating consequences.

Manheimer points out that before fossil fuel became widely used, energy was provided by people and animals. Because so little energy was produced, “civilisation was a thin veneer atop a vast mountain of human squalor and misery, a veneer maintained by such institutions as slavery, colonialism and tyranny”.

This argument hints at why so many rich, virtue-signalling celebrities argue not just for Net Zero but ‘Real’ Zero, with the banning of all fossil fuel use. King Charles said in 2009 that the age of consumerism and convenience was over, although the multi-mansion owning monarch presumably doesn’t think such desperate restrictions apply to himself. Manheimer notes that fossil fuel has extended the benefits of civilisation to billions, but its job is not yet complete. “To spread the benefits of modern civilisation to the entire human family would require much more energy, as well as newer sources,” he adds.

The author notes that the emphasis on a false climate crisis is becoming a “tragedy for modern civilisation”, which depends on reliable, affordable and environmentally viable energy. “The windmills, solar panels and backup batteries have none of these qualities,” he states. This falsehood has been pushed by what has been termed a climate industrial complex, comprising some scientists, most media, industrialists and legislators. Furthermore, he continues, this grouping has “somehow” managed to convince many that CO2 in the atmosphere, a gas necessary for life on Earth, one which we exhale with every breath, is an environmental poison…..

*****

Continue reading this article at Summit News.

Sea Level is Stable Around the World

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

We have been studying climate change and potentially associated sea level changes resulting from melting ice and warming oceans for a half century. In the 1970s our primary concern was global cooling and an advancing new ice age. Many believe that increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere could result in rising levels of the sea in general. The record does not show this to be true. There is no evidence whatever to support impending sea-level-rise catastrophe or the unnecessary expenditure of state or federal tax monies to solve a problem that does not exist.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has updated its coastal sea level tide gauge data which continue to show no evidence of accelerating sea level rise. These measurements include tide gauge data at coastal locations along the West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as seven Pacific Island groups and six Atlantic Island groups, comprising more than 200 measurement stations.

The longest NOAA tide gauge record on coastal sea level rise measurements is in New York at the Battery, with its 160-year record which is shown below with a steady rate of sea level rise of 11 inches per century. A slightly slower rate of sea level rise occurs at nearby Kings Point, New York, whose 80-year record also appears below.

Tidal gauges at the Battery (https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8518750) and Kings Point (https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=8516945) show sea level rising at a pace of 11 inches per century (https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/). Both locations show a steady pace of increase, with the same pace of increase holding steady despite periods of relatively rapid temperatures increase and periods of cooling. The Battery measurements date back to 1855, showing the same pace of sea level rise well before the existence of coal power plants and SUVs.

NOAA data provide assessments with a 95% confidence level at all measured locations which demonstrate the consistent behavior of location-specific sea level rise over time. The 2016 updated NOAA tide gauge data include four long-term periods between 92 and 119 years for California coastal locations at San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The actual measured steady rates of sea level rise at these locations vary between four inches and nine inches per century.

In contrast to the steady but modest rise in sea level, revealed in long-term measurements, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) speculates that sea level will almost immediately begin rising significantly more than in the past and present. NOAA records contradict such claims. This pattern of steady but modest sea level rise extends throughout the world, throughout times of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and throughout periods of accelerated warming and cooling.

The IPCC and global warming activists have a difficult time scientifically supporting speculation about accelerating sea level rise, as warming temperatures have yet to push sea level rise beyond one foot per century. Current sea level trends are not significantly different from what they were seven to nine decades ago, when atmospheric CO2 levels were 310 parts per million by volume (ppmv) or less. Dire predictions made decades ago of dramatically accelerating polar ice loss, and an ice-free Arctic Ocean have not come to pass. As Dr. Steven E. Koonin, former Undersecretary for Science for the Obama administration, noted in 2014, “Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today.”

Fortunately, we don’t need to wonder who is right and who is wrong in the debate over future sea-level rise. We can test the rising-seas hypothesis with real data collected from 10 coastal cities with long and reliable sea level records. Those cities are Ceuta, Spain; Honolulu, Hawaii; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sitka, Alaska; Port Isabel, Texas; St. Petersburg, Florida; Fernandina Beach, Florida; Mumbai/Bombay, India; Sydney, Australia; and Slipshavn, Denmark.

*****
This article was published by CFACT and is reproduced with permission.

First Small Modular Reactor Gets Certification From Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced the first-ever certification Friday of a small modular reactor design, a big step in the process of developing a new generation of new and more flexible nuclear reactors.

The NRC approved the reactor design from NuScale Power, making it the first SMR design to be certified by the regulator and only the seventh reactor design cleared for use in the United States.

“SMRs are no longer an abstract concept,” said Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Department of Energy. “They are real, and they are ready for deployment thanks to the hard work of NuScale, the university community, our national labs, industry partners, and the NRC.”

NuScale is one among many nuclear energy companies working to re-imagine the legacy nuclear reactor technologies developed in the 20th century by scaling them down, with one leading motivation being to make the construction of nuclear power plants more cost-effective.

The company, which was awarded a contract to build an SMR power plant on-site at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory, celebrated certification of the design Friday of its advanced light-water reactor. The reactor uses power modules that each can generate 50 megawatts of electricity.

By comparison, the two new reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia are each rated at 1,250 megawatts.

The Biden administration has prioritized the advancement of new nuclear technologies, as well as the preservation of existing and operating power plants.

The Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats’ new green energy and healthcare spending law, offers a mix of tax incentives to nuclear power generators and funding to produce the uranium necessary to fuel advanced reactors…..

*****

Continue reading this article at Washington Examiner.

They Really Believe You’ll Be Happy

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

As the World Economic Forum (WEF) hosts [hosted] its annual conference of political officials, corporate bigwigs, and leaders of the professional Left-dominated nongovernmental organization world, the organization has come into focus. We brought some of the scrutiny, examining recent writings of WEF leader Klaus Schwab and critics of his “Great Reset.”

But when scrutinizing Schwab and the Forum it is important to separate the true from the false and observe distinctions, not only to not “look crazy” to normal people but also to better understand the professional-managerial class adversaries of individual, limited government. It is important to keep in mind that the WEF, Schwab, and its associates sincerely believe their efforts and managerial ideology will lead the world to a better place. Far from comic-book-movie villains, they would be the “omnipotent moral busybodies” about which C.S. Lewis warned.

So is the WEF a secret conspiracy to replace private ownership with utopian Marxism? No, though there’s less distance between a Danish MP’s infamous op-ed that the WEF published and the vision laid out by Schwab in The Great Narrative than critics will find comforting. WEF is hardly secret, given that it publishes its advocacy in book form and is best known for a highly public conference. But it is at least somewhat misleading for the WEF to defend itself, as WEF executive committee member Paul Smyke did, as just a place of discussion among ideologically diverse stakeholders.

Will We Own Nothing?

Much of the criticism of the Forum falls on its vision of a world in which “you’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy,” possibly because the citizenry will eat bugs instead of meat. Here the Forum’s defenders have ground to stand on; the Forum does not explicitly advocate these things. It has, however, offered prominent public figures space to opine about the future. In the notable case of an op-ed written in 2016 about a possible future set in 2030, the writer was Ida Auken, a former Danish environment minister and sitting member of parliament.

And when people write about the future, it is reasonable to think that they are, at least to some degree, writing about a future that they hope and expect to make and see. That is, after all, what Klaus Schwab did at book length in The Great Narrative. So it is worth looking at what that former minister thought the world of eight years from now might look like six years ago, in a piece the WEF thought worthy of publication.

The headline is stark: “Welcome to 2030: I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy and Life Has Never Been Better.” The piece suggests that a mere decade and a half from its writing, a Star Trek–style non-economy economy will be in full swing, with free communication, free transportation, free housing, and free food—all underwritten by free clean energy.

Now, from the vantage point of slightly less than halfway to this vision, one question arises: “How?” How did humanity develop free energy from almost nothing in only a decade and a half? And if it would have been so easy, how did the entire world—not just recalcitrant Americans, who occasionally elect Florida men to high public office, but even good Europeans, even Danes!—miss this boat to utopia?

Well, like Schwab’s own predictions about inflation and unemployment in the wake of COVID-19, it was just a bad prediction. But it was a predictably bad prediction: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there has never been one since humanity entered this vale of tears. Why would one appear ex nihilo in less than half a generation? But if it reflects what the social-democratic green movement (often called “watermelons” by critics) sincerely believe is on the horizon, heaven help us.

That assumes the piece is in fact a prediction; the op-ed reads like a dorm-room bull session product. (The author’s apparent channeling of Karl Marx’s The German Ideology in her musing “When AI and robots took over so much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well, and spend time with other people” also seems worthy of the dormitory.) The concerning thing about this is that the writer is not a sophomore undergraduate writing for a campus literary magazine, but a former cabinet minister published under the auspices of a multi-million-dollar nonprofit.

Auken concedes her utopia is not perfect. “Nowhere can I go and not be registered,” asserts the citizen of 2030’s “our city,” which goes unnamed and un-located; one assumes it is not Copenhagen, since “in the past we filled all free spots in the city with concrete.” Or New York. Or Washington. Or Boston. Or Paris, or London, or Berlin. Or Mexico City, or Cape Town, or Kyoto. Come to think of it, where is this formerly all-concrete “our city” anyway?

But the surveillance dystopia is not the darkest part of the vision. That honor lies with “all the people who do not live in our city”—the narrator’s “greatest concern.” All who “felt obsolete and useless when robots and AI took big parts of our jobs” or who “got upset with the political system and turned against it” live beyond a sort of invisible city wall, in “little self-supplying communities” or in “empty and abandoned houses in small 19th century villages.”

At least it isn’t the gulag. Or rather, it isn’t the gulag yet—our citizen whose dreams are recorded betrays fear that “I just hope nobody will use it against me” even as our citizen asserts “all in all, it is a good life. Much better than the path we were on.”

One can award the same partial credit to Auken that one might give to Schwab for acknowledging that surveillance might very well lead to dystopia, while wondering why they suggest the world will and perhaps ought to employ this “one ring” anyway. Perhaps, like Tolkien’s hobbits, the “little self-supplying communities” have the better of the world of 2030 than the citizens of the dehumanizing, dystopian “our city.” The best that can be said is that at least the WEF isn’t trying to build it.

Yes, The WEF Has an Agenda

So, if the World Economic Forum isn’t about surveilling our dreams and using our living rooms for other people’s business meetings, what is its agenda? If you, like the Washington Examiner did, ask WEF executive committee member Paul Smyke, the answer is that the Forum doesn’t have one. This is an odd position to take for a man whose other title is WEF head of the regional agenda, North America.

To the extent what Smyke told the Examiner is true, it is true only in an incredibly misleading rules-lawyered literal sense in that the WEF does not have a formal policy program that all attendees endorse. It does have an ideology, and creditably, Klaus Schwab has been open about that ideology for 50 years, since he published the first Davos Manifesto on stakeholder capitalism, a forerunner to today’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement.

As is made clear in COVID-19: The Great Reset and The Great Narrative for a Better Future, the Forum’s leader is a stakeholder capitalist who hopes to advance ESG, to see greater power lie with organized labor and the (overwhelmingly professional managerial class-oriented and politically liberal-to-socialist) nonprofit sector, and to harness the technologies of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” which he believes is now upon the world, to advance his ski-chalet environmentalist and chardonnay socialist policy goals.

It is true that the annual Forum meeting at Davos meeting is a place for policymakers and businesspersons of various ideologies to gather and discuss. But the people with whom one discusses determines the outcome of those discussions. If, as Schwab and co-author Thierry Malleret did in The Great Narrative, one discusses the path to a better future with left-of-center academics, former officials involved in the Chinese Communist Party–aligned Chinese People’s Consultative Conference, and environmentalist campaigners, one will find one answer. If one consulted with Republican governors; Hungarian, Polish, and Italian government ministers; industrialists (even soft-environmentalist ones like Elon Musk); or Abrahamic religious leaders, one would receive a quite different answer. When one discusses the world with left-wing, utilitarian, environmentalist, and animal liberationist philosopher Peter Singer, one knows (or should know) to expect different answers than if that discussion is with Catholic conservative philosopher Robert George. To choose a discussant is to decide the discussion.

Conclusion

The World Economic Forum’s position and aspirations—think “Great Reset”—invite justified scrutiny. Schwab may be one of the most influential nongovernmental figures in the world, simply because events like the Davos meeting put him and his organization adjacent to the “room where it happens” in dozens of countries and corporate boardrooms.

To the Forum’s credit, its ideology and events are largely public and subject to public criticism. To the Forum’s discredit, when that scrutiny is hostile, the Forum has hidden behind its most “out-there” critics to invalidate by association more level-headed disputation. But while it is not the secret governance of the whole world some claim, it is more than just a discussion forum for the world’s high and mighty.

Davos man,” a reference to the annual WEF Davos meeting, has become a common metonym for a certain bien-pensant, liberal, trendy environmentalist, and redistributionist ideology because that is the technocratic ideology that underpins the World Economic Forum, even if not all Davos attendees subscribe to it. (During his presidency, Donald Trump, who does not hold that ideology, attended Davos twice, in 2018 and 2020.) One can discern the ideology that underpins Davos because one can read Schwab’s books, look at the WEF’s marketing materials that promote possible breakthroughs toward an environmentalist future, and read op-eds the Forum saw fit to publish. That that ideology might lead to places the public does not want to go—something Schwab admitted in The Great Reset about digital COVID contact-tracing surveillance regimes and something Auken’s narrator concedes about “our city”—does not make it a conspiracy.

*****
This article was published by Capital Research Center and is reproduced with permission.

The Great Reset and Its Critics: The Technocrats

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

In mid-2020, after COVID-19 and lockdown policies to (unsuccessfully) stop it had spread across the world, the World Economic Forum (WEF) leader Klaus Schwab, along with the man now known as King Charles III of the United Kingdom, announced the Forum’s “Great Reset Initiative” to guide a state-managed, environmentalist, and corporate-aligned reconstruction of the world economy. Schwab built on the initiative with a book co-authored with French economist Thierry Malleret titled COVID-19: The Great Reset. In their book, they made predictions about how the pandemic and ruling regime it ushered in would “reset” society to the benefit of environmentalism and management of the economy by a concert of state and “stakeholder.” The sequel, The Great Narrative, proposed an approach to selling the WEF’s reset agenda based on Schwab and Malleret’s discussions with 50 mostly left-wing, mostly academic thinkfluencers; It calls for more global governance. The radicalism of the “reset”—it’s right there in the name—and the influence of Schwab and the WEF, have elicited firm opposition.

Few quotes stick in the conservative or libertarian craw. quite like the infamous musing of incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to President Barack Obama, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.” For Emanuel, the Obama administration, and Democrats’ generational-scale majorities in both houses of Congress, that meant enacting the fiscal stimulus, a then-outrageous $787 billion boondoggle of building projects; regulatory legislation like the Dodd-Frank banking act; and Obamacare, the statist restructuring of health care finance.

The Technocrats

But the quote sticks because the impulse is far from Emanuel’s alone. Nothing in the COVID-19 pandemic period so vividly demonstrated the impulse “to do things that you think you could not do before” as the name given to a project launched at a 2020 virtual conference of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the think tank and business league based in Europe best known for hosting the annual Davos meetings at which international politicians and corporate bigwigs lay out their visions for the world.

That name was “The Great Reset.” Demonstrating the WEF’s influence over a European metropolitan left-leaning sort, the project was launched by Klaus Schwab, the German academic who has led the WEF and been a leading opponent of shareholder primacy in corporate governance since 1971, and then-Prince of Wales, now King Charles III of the United Kingdom. The project, in the words of International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva, aspires to frame the emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic in the creation of “a greener, smarter, fairer world.”

Later in 2020, Schwab and French economist Thierry Malleret published COVID-19: The Great Reset­, a book-length examination of the changes in society the authors presumed were likely to happen and perhaps desirable as a result of the pandemic. Increased power of the state and left-wing activism were presumed certain; rapid adoption of environmentalist-aligned, “stakeholder”-influenced corporate practices was presumed to be a necessity.

Schwab has opposed “shareholder primacy,” the view that corporate management owes shareholders the greatest profits that can be obtained in obedience to law and custom, since the 1970s. Like the financial crisis of 2008 did for Emanuel’s American Democrats, the crisis created by the COVID pandemic and the unprecedented-in-modern-times attempts to suppress it offers Schwab and the WEF the opportunity to press home their environmentalist and statist goals.

But can central planners remake a world that they cannot accurately predict? From the perspective at the turn of 2023, many of Schwab and Malleret’s predictions of the world that COVID would bring into being have not come to pass, perhaps none more crucially than one on page 70: “At this current juncture [mid-2020], it is hard to imagine how inflation could pick up anytime soon.”

Schwab and Malleret’s sequel to COVID-19: The Great Reset, titled The Great Narrative, does little to diminish such suspicions. The “narrative” is essentially a repackaging of the same warmed-over environmentalist tropes all have heard before with little connection to the actual production of things, which makes sense given that the book is based on discussions with 50 global thinkfluencers or government officials, not with industrialists or even manufacturing-trades labor unionists. The result is a mix of technocratic gibberish and Greenpeace-in-a-suit environmentalism with the solutions for “a better future” having little to offer the Western middle and working classes beyond handwaving about a “just transition” and promises that weather-dependent energy technologies are much more stable and productive than traditional fuels. (Just ask Europeans trying to heat their homes amid an energy crisis how well that claim has aged.)

The authors’ barely veiled desire to exploit the COVID crisis to pursue left-wing ends has provoked alarm and responses, at least two of book length. ClimateDepot.com publisher and longtime critic of environmentalism Marc Marono released The Great Reset: Global Elites and the Permanent Lockdown while Michael Walsh released a compilation of essays tiled Against the Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra the New World Order. Both focus less on Schwab’s “reset” itself than the broader agenda of ski-chalet environmentalism and chardonnay socialism popular with the professional-managerial technocratic class that is overrepresented at World Economic Forum gatherings and among the speakers at TED Talks. The right-leaning opponents’ fears are summarized in a line from a pre-COVID-era WEF video on predictions for the world in 2030: “You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy.”

The WEF is adamant that it does not advocate this; the line is derived from an op-ed by a Danish Social Democratic politician published by the WEF that is headlined, “I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy And Life Has Never Been Better.” Many would still respectfully dissent from such a vision.

*****
This article was published by Capital Research Center and is reproduced with permission.

What Is Behind the Soaring Price of Eggs?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Price is largely determined by the interaction of supply and demand and the cost of the factors of production.  In the case of eggs, it is primarily a drop in the supply of eggs, while demand has been fairly constant.  However, there also has been a rise in the cost of the factors of production as well.

It is more than just a price problem.  In some stores, eggs are simply not available or they are available at certain times and then disappear.

The primary cause for the near tripling of the price of eggs is the Avian Flu, which has reportedly killed about 60 million egg-laying hens. That egg-laying hens have been the focal point of the flu explains why the shortage of chickens has not caused a commensurate increase in the cost of chickens we eat for meat.  To be sure that cost is up as well, but not as much. And since it takes a while for a chick to grow into a mature hen, the new egg supply will likely take until summer before we should see substantial improvement.

The rise in the cost of eggs of course directly influences the cost of breakfast for many.  But eggs are also used extensively in baked goods, mayonnaise, and processed foods.

However, there are other factors making things worse.  About 10 states have passed rules, either through legislation or initiative, that require chickens to be provided more space by law.  While well-intentioned, this can substantially increase the cost of having chickens as a commercial endeavor.  Much of the initiative for this movement is coming from the Humane Society.

Many farmers provide both cage-free eggs and eggs free of antibiotics to those consumers who prefer them.  Those concerned about the treatment of chickens and/or concerned about health issues have choices. Eggs meeting this criterion usually carry a premium price in the market, but we think that is fair.  It also is an important signal telling farmers there is rising demand for cage-free eggs, encouraging them to produce more eggs in the desired manner.

We have nothing negative to say about people who are willing to pay more of their own money to get eggs from a source they consider more humane or healthy. However, they do not have a right to impose their views by force (that is what a law is) and make everyone else subsidize their opinions.

Many of the states that have passed such legislation or initiatives are left-of-center states such as Michigan, California, Oregon, and Nevada.  But Arizona is the 10th state to do so.  This movement raises an interesting question: why should space requirements be limited to chickens and who decides the optimum space that can be defined as humane?  Should some voters impose costs and viewpoints on others by force when the marketplace already provides people with voluntary choices?

Some people think making animals subservient to people (as in food, zoos, and rodeos) is wrong and they become vegans.  That is their prerogative. However, they have no right to impose those views on others.  And once again, the free market allows for voluntary choice.  If a person wants to eat fake meat grown in a laboratory, they are free to do so.  However, once again we see the environmental movement opposed to beef because belching and farting cows supposedly add to global warming. However, substituting beans as a form of protein may well lead to the same alleged problem for the environment.

The history of such movements is it starts with hectoring, leads to subsidization and regulation, and ends in compulsion.

There just are no areas of life left where Left Wing do-gooders do not feel they have a right to impose themselves on others.

Environmental and ESG requirements have additionally starved traditional hydrocarbon energy sources of capital, causing the price of oil and natural gas to rise.  Increased fuel costs cause overall farming costs to rise.  Tractors don’t run on solar panels.  Thus, grains that make up a substantial part of the cost of feeding chickens, have risen substantially.  Natural gas, from which fertilizer is produced, has also gone up in cost, also adding to the cost of raising feed in the first place.

Everything about moving and producing food requires energy.

All increasing input costs have to passed along to the consumer by the farmer, the distributor, and finally the retail store.

Rising costs for labor also increase the cost of eggs in every stage of production, aggravating the situation.

Speaking personally, I am willing to pay extra for free-range eggs and those free of antibiotics.  However, I do not feel I have the right to impose that view on others and force them to bear the cost.

Meanwhile, the government could help by rejecting extreme environmentalism, turning loose America’s energy production, balancing the budget to slow down money printing, and reducing the costs of regulation.

As for the bird flu, it will just have to run its course and the hen population will need to recover.

The answer to high prices is more production, that is if the government and coercive do-gooders don’t get in the way.

 

The Climate Money Monster Cabal may be starting to unravel… Vanguard flees GFANZ

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Only a week after Ron de Santis pulled $2 billion in Florida funds from BlackRock, Vanguard, the second biggest asset manager in the world, has abruptly pulled out of GFANZ.

Vanguard has $7 trillion in assets under management, and GFANZ is a conglomerate cabal of bankers insurers and asset managers that has snowballed into a 550 member cabal with a jawdropping, obscene, 150 trillion in assets. Together, for a moment, they almost created the illusion of a One World Government by Bankers. After all, the GDP of the United States of America is only $23 trillion. So when an organization with six times the pulling power tells the world to go Net Zero, which company, which government would say “No”? Well, Ron de Santis did — and 18 other US states are working on it too.

The key weakness to the $150,000 billion dollar GFANZ monster is — as I said last week — that it’s an illusion. They are wielding other people’s money — using their clients own pension funds to indirectly punish their own clients, and the good guys […]

Good News: The best hope of unwinding the unholy alliance between Big-Money and Big-Government comes from the US States and they are starting to sink their teeth in.

BlackRock is the defacto Global Climate Police — but disguised as a monster investment fund. The way to break it is to expose that its primary interest is not in making money for its clients but as a Woke political tool.

BlackRock are able to intimidate most of the world with $10 trillion dollars in assets. They are effectively the third biggest “country” in the world by GDP. But it’s an illusion. They are wielding other people’s money — using their clients own pension funds to indirectly punish their own clients. And once those clients figure it out and pull their funds, BlackRock will become an empty shell. Couldn’t happen to a nicer company…

It’s a scam where BlackRock target legal corporations in states that voted to use fossil fuels to effectively undo what the voters wanted. A few months ago, 19 States in the USA started asking BlackRock and the US SEC some hot and hard legal questions. West Virginia announced they would boycott firms that boycott fossil fuels, and […]

*****
This article was published by CFACT and is reproduced with permission.

Settled Science and the Politics of Knowledge

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Climate catastrophe keeps getting delayed, yet our doom remains imminent.

Over the last decade, “The Science is Settled” has been a major refrain of American life. As so many critics have noted, this phrase is not an empirical statement. People who challenge the “settled” state of science explain that science is a process of discovery and not a conclusion. They aren’t wrong, but they unfortunately assume that “the science is settled” is meant in good faith. It’s not. The slogan is a form of rhetorical bullying. Its singular purpose is to create an illusion of certitude in order to preempt any meaningful debate about the natural world, public policy, and the role of scientific knowledge in democratic deliberation.

“The Science,” we are told, is “settled” about many topics, but global climate change is the one where the science is most settled. The Earth is getting dangerously hot (and cold), and if we don’t take decisive action immediately, civilization as we know it may end. But as the years pass with no “comprehensive” action taken to fight climate change, the moment of civilizational collapse is quietly moved down the line, in increments of a few years at a time. The climate apocalypse is always just close enough that we should all be terrified, and just far enough away that we still have time to get serious and implement the sweeping (leftist) reforms that could save us. Convenient, isn’t it?

Nevertheless just because the logic is ludicrous doesn’t mean that the science isn’t settled. There is, in fact, a broad consensus of scientific experts on climate change. A popularly-cited statistic is that 97 percent of experts believe global climate change is manmade and that it presents a considerable threat. The unstated premise of “The Science is Settled” is that if there is a large consensus, then the consensus view must be right. Fortunately, though, there are ways to measure experts’ degree of certitude when it comes to the consensus on climate change. This is because the scientists can’t resist the urge to prophesy. The implementation of the Left’s broad climate policies depends on conveying the urgency of the problem, which requires that “the Science” depict the hell that awaits us if we opt for inaction.

Scientists would be horrified at my use of the term “prophesy.” They call their predictions “projections.” It’s true that there is a small difference: prophets have more skin in the game. After all, a prophet is discredited when his predictions don’t come to pass. By calling their prophecies “projections,” scientists get to be wrong without undermining their credibility. When they (wrongly) prophesied that there would no longer be glaciers in Glacier National Park by 2020, they were simply extrapolating from the best data available at the time, which was fed into models. Strange though that when it comes to climate change, the “best data available at the time” always leads to projections that we realize (after the fact) overestimated the effects (rather than underestimating them). This tendency toward hyperbole begs the question: just how much certitude is required for the science to be “settled”?

The Prophecy of “NCA4”

By law, the U.S. Global Change Research Program must provide a “National Climate Assessment” report to Congress “no less than every four years.” As empirical documents, these reports naturally quantify the level of confidence that the experts have in the accuracy of their prophecies. The last report (referred to as “NCA4”) was submitted in early 2019, which means that we are due for NCA5 later this year. Indubitably, NCA5 will receive significant media attention since its covert purpose is to draw attention to (and therefore advance) the climate agenda. Thus climate reports are decidedly rhetorical documents despite experts’ insistence that science has no interest in rhetoric.

NCA5 will allow us to assess the accuracy of the prophecies foretold in NCA4, and we’ll also learn whether the apocalypse is unfolding on schedule. But in preparation for the new report, we not only have a duty to revisit the “projections” of NCA4, we must refresh our memories on just how much confidence experts had in those projections to begin with. The answer, it seems, is “not much.”

NCA4 was full of dire predictions. For example, the report warned, “Many millions of Americans live in coastal areas threatened by sea level rise; in all but the very lowest sea level rise projections, retreat will become an unavoidable option in some areas” (emphasis added). Note the certainty of the phrasing: “will become.” Although the quote explicitly acknowledges that some “projections” don’t foresee the U.S. coast being inundated, the writers make sure to emphasize that these (allegedly flawed) projections don’t undermine the “scientific consensus.” But then what of the curious assertion that “retreat will become an unavoidable option”? Here we see the rhetorical sleight of hand: by definition something that is “unavoidable” is not an “option.” And if retreat will be an “option,” then the hypothetical flooding would necessarily be negligible.

Elsewhere, though, the report stresses that there is no uncertainty about these matters at all: “Across the United States, many regions and sectors are already experiencing the direct effects of climate change. For these communities, climate impacts—from extreme storms made worse by sea-level rise, to longer-lasting and more extreme heat waves, to increased numbers of wildfires and floods—are an immediate threat, not a far-off possibility.”

Oddly, the bold prophecy quoted above comes after an admission: “The world we live in is a web of natural, built, and social systems—from global climate and regional climate; to the electric grid; to water management systems […]; to managed and unmanaged forests; and to financial and economic systems. Climate effects many of these systems individually, but they also affect one another, and often in ways that are hard to predict. […] A key factor in assessing risk […] is that it is hard to quantify and predict all the ways in which climate-related stressors might lead to severe or widespread consequences.”

Even the oft-repeated platitude that climate change causes more severe storms (an idea routinely touted as “settled science”) is cast in doubt: “Some storm types such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms are also exhibiting changes that have been linked to climate change, although the current state of the science does not yet permit detailed understanding.”

“Projection” and the Confidence Game

What, then, are we to think? How reliable are these (often contradictory) prophecies? Fortunately, the report gives some guidance. The writers say that the reliability of each “projection” is determined by two metrics: “confidence” and “likelihood.” The former is a qualitative measure of how confident researchers are in a given conclusion; the latter is a quantitative assessment of the statistical probability that the prophecy will come to pass.

When it comes to “confidence,” the report classifies its predictions with one of four descriptors: low, medium, high, or very high confidence. When you hear someone say that they have “high confidence” in a particular outcome, you probably think that means “almost certain.” But when readers peruse the fine print that explains how the report defines these terms, they find that only “moderate evidence” and “some consistency” in research findings is required in order to designate a “high confidence” prediction. Not only that, but “high confidence” projections are ones where “methods vary” in the supporting research “and/or documentation [is] limited.” Finally, the report says that its “high confidence” conclusions are drawn from a “medium consensus.”

In short, then, the definitional threshold for “high confidence” only seems to require a modicum of evidence. By design, readers of the report would miss this little trick unless they read the fine print in the preliminary materials of the report. And on the off-chance that a journalist was aware of the shockingly-low level of certitude required for such “high confidence,” most reporters wouldn’t mention it. After all, that would undermine the entire rhetorical purpose of the document. So much for the measure of “confidence.”

How do we fare on the scale of “likelihood”? Here the report offers five descriptors: “very likely” (defined as “≥ 9 in 10” chance), “likely” (defined as “≥ 2 in 3” chance), “as likely as not” (“1 in 2”), “unlikely” (“≤ 1 in 3”), and “very unlikely” (“≤ 1 in 10”). Of course, this scale is completely useless as the deliberative weight of these measures wholly depends on the case in question.

If a bag held nine red slips of paper and one green one and you told me that if I draw the green one wearing a blindfold that I will win a million dollars, I would see “1 in 10” as surprisingly good odds. I wouldn’t call winning the million a “very unlikely” outcome (as the report’s metric would). In the same vein, if you told me that a horse had a 66 percent chance of winning the race, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “likely” outcome (as the report would), and I certainly wouldn’t place a large bet on it. After all, “experts” often make “very likely” predictions with a 99 percent chance of happening—only to get it wrong. Let’s assume, though, that scientists’ estimates of likelihood are accurate when it comes to climate change. Is a 70 percent chance of catastrophe a high enough likelihood to justify costly, sweeping reforms that would fundamentally change the nation’s way of life?

With all its inconsistencies and misdirection, the authors of the report still find ways to congratulate themselves: “climate models have proven remarkably accurate in simulating the climate change we have experienced to date, particularly within the past 60 years or so when we have greater confidence in observations.” Older readers might find this praise strange given that the expert narrative as recently as the late 1970s was that we were entering a new ice age. Has the reliability of their prophecies improved since then? It doesn’t look like it. Some who are inclined to climate alarmism will be tempted to think that I am cherry-picking. Maybe I’ve just chosen isolated, egregious passages from NCA4? Maybe other climate reports don’t play these rhetorical tricks? Readers who harbor these doubts can read my much longer analysis that demonstrates the same tendencies in reports from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Resisting Scientific Clerisy

The NCA5 will be just as thick with prophecies, masquerading as “projections” that never seem to come true. It will surely warn us that the global threat is even more dire than it was when NCA4 was published, but it will also silently move doomsday a few more years down the road to give us time to pass the preferred legislation. Who knows? Perhaps the climate apocalypse really is “the day after tomorrow.” But the deep, dark secret of climate science is that it will always be the day after tomorrow. That’s because when it does arrive, there will be no more research funding to be had for climate research. Worse, all hope for passing a “Green New Deal” would be extinguished. Those things can’t happen, so the charade rolls on.

*****
This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

Thirsty Arizona Could Soon Look to the Mexican Coast for Answers

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Arizona officials have taken some of the first steps to bring seawater from the Mexican coast to the faucets of Phoenix, even if lawmakers want a more deliberative process.

Arizona’s Joint Legislative Water Committee held a public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority’s push to create a desalination plant amid the state’s water crisis.

Before the meeting, the WIFA board met and discussed a request from the Israeli company IDE Technologies for financing the project on the Sea of Cortez.

According to ABC 15, the proposal seeks to build a large desalination plant – which removes the salt from seawater in an energy-intensive process – and move that water to the Central Arizona Project Canal for consumption. Multiple sources report WIFA approved their staff to begin conversations with IDE.

Both Republicans and Democrats on the legislative committee said their concern does not have much to do with the project itself but rather the process.

‘I know that my comments may be stern, it comes from not in judgment of this project, but in judgment of the process and the lack of transparency,” Sen. Lisa Otondo, D-Yuma, said.

The hearing comes after there was expressed concern that there would not be enough opportunity for public input and questions from legislators.

“The Legislature has learned of a rushed movement by the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority to provide preliminary approval of a large expenditure of taxpayer dollars on a desalination plant proposal without an appropriate opportunity for public discussion and comment,” Kim Quintero, senate Republican director of communications, said in an email statement last week.

“There is certainly value in the mentioned proposal, but we are concerned about the process of this approval,” she added.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times, the project also needs the green light from the federal government. The outlet’s assistant editor, Wayne Schutsky, tweeted Tuesday that the plant would be entirely private, but WIFA would buy water under the current proposal, as they are being asked to contribute $750 million.

*****
This article was published by The Center Square – Arizona and is reproduced with permission.