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Europe’s renewable energy push is destined for ruin

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has previously championed renewable energy. Credit: Getty

August 8, 2023 - 10:00am

The Eurozone economy is “set for a painful reckoning”, culminating in a hit of at least 3.8% on the economy which could rise to 5% depending on energy prices, according to Bloomberg. In light of this forecast, it is about time Europe adapted its energy policy, placing it on a more realistic footing.

It would seem that a new energy crisis is already baked into the cake. Despite the bloc’s efforts to wean itself off the oil, the truth is that it will hardly make a dent in consumption. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted an oil demand peak of 100 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2019, to be followed by a decline to 75 mb/d by 2030. Now, the IEA has reversed course and projects 105 mb/d in 2028, yet that number is, as things stand, set to be attained much sooner. Analysts believe that renewables can replace crude oil, but a closer look shows why these hopes are futile. 

According to energy economist Anas Alhajji, only about 3% of global electricity is produced from oil. No matter how quickly we are building out wind and solar, then, this will only have a very small effect on the need for crude oil, and that demand is going to grow. The wealthiest billion people on the planet use roughly 13-14 barrels per capita of energy; the other seven billion inhabitants, by comparison, only use about three barrels per capita. Unless we assume that 7/8ths of the world’s population have no interest in improving their living standards, global energy consumption will increase rapidly in the coming decades, just as it has in the past. 

Can it be covered by renewable energy alone? The largest investor in renewables is China, but at current investment levels it would take Beijing 211 years to reach Net Zero. Looking at these numbers, it is no surprise that in 2022 China used more coal than the rest of the world combined. 

None of this precludes the use of renewables where appropriate, but there is a serious risk that blackmailing investors and companies into stopping the necessary expansion of oil and gas exploration will lead to supply shortages in the coming years. This is especially true if the global economy picks up speed once again. Even some of the most vocal renewables proponents acknowledge this — including Norway, which has recently approved another $18 billion in oil and gas investments.

To say that the world is on the brink of a transition away from fossil fuels is simply not true. A glance at the data shows that, at best, renewables can slow down the growth of energy produced from traditional sources. Elimination is another matter entirely.

As the UK and Germany demonstrate, forcing people into an energy policy that threatens their standard of living can only turn them against the entire project of a renewables-based economy. If we do not switch to a more gradual transition that protects personal interests, an economic crisis in 2024 could mark the end of the entire renewables industry, as they will become a primary target for public ire and populist parties alike.

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Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
8 months ago

SMRs are the ways forward until technology produces a better solution (I read this morning that the CA lab has successfully replicated its nuclear fusion experiment for example). It is the only technology offering both energy density and energy security – the west has some chance of acquiring the inputs based on resource availability. France has just announced its investing in nuclear and already had a major head start in an European context (albeit a decaying one). Meanwhile in the UK, the home of Rolls Royce who have led the SMR charge, we face a govt espousing windmills and panels. Why? Cost is.one reason, but the activists who now appear to tie governments up in knots appear to have a different agenda. For them, net zero is a politiclly driven project to end capitalism and deliver socialism. Not expectng any sane policy until the govt/activist nexus is dismantled or silenced by the majority. In the UK i sense that’s 5 years off.
And, of course, all of this avoidable if Nick Clegg hadn’t made a catastrophic error in 2011……

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Great post.
But there are many issues with at least some of the fusion reactors technology. Both France and Finland (using French technology) are having huge delays due to safety issues of reactor containment vessels.
Personally I would deploy SAS to eliminate environmental terrorism but, as you say, so called Conservative government still promotes nonsense like NetZero.

Peter B
Peter B
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Those are not fusion reactors ! They’re more modern fission reactors. The problems at Flamanville (in France) are with poor welding quality. These are all solvable.

Peter B
Peter B
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Those are not fusion reactors ! They’re more modern fission reactors. The problems at Flamanville (in France) are with poor welding quality. These are all solvable.

Peter Gray
Peter Gray
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

If the current climate change activists continue their sway the SMR, fusion (which is still far, far away) will never happen. The drive we are seeing is not against oil or carbon but against the industry. Nuclear energy today is 100 years old today, it has been proven very safe, inexpensive to operate (new reactors don’t require refueling for 20-30 years), generates no emissions and very little solid waste. And yet Germany shut down all of them (some brand new, before they were even commissioned) and the activists believe that you can tile the countryside with solar panels, blight the landscape with giant windmills and live happy ever after.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

Great post.
But there are many issues with at least some of the fusion reactors technology. Both France and Finland (using French technology) are having huge delays due to safety issues of reactor containment vessels.
Personally I would deploy SAS to eliminate environmental terrorism but, as you say, so called Conservative government still promotes nonsense like NetZero.

Peter Gray
Peter Gray
8 months ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

If the current climate change activists continue their sway the SMR, fusion (which is still far, far away) will never happen. The drive we are seeing is not against oil or carbon but against the industry. Nuclear energy today is 100 years old today, it has been proven very safe, inexpensive to operate (new reactors don’t require refueling for 20-30 years), generates no emissions and very little solid waste. And yet Germany shut down all of them (some brand new, before they were even commissioned) and the activists believe that you can tile the countryside with solar panels, blight the landscape with giant windmills and live happy ever after.

Susan Grabston
SG
Susan Grabston
8 months ago

SMRs are the ways forward until technology produces a better solution (I read this morning that the CA lab has successfully replicated its nuclear fusion experiment for example). It is the only technology offering both energy density and energy security – the west has some chance of acquiring the inputs based on resource availability. France has just announced its investing in nuclear and already had a major head start in an European context (albeit a decaying one). Meanwhile in the UK, the home of Rolls Royce who have led the SMR charge, we face a govt espousing windmills and panels. Why? Cost is.one reason, but the activists who now appear to tie governments up in knots appear to have a different agenda. For them, net zero is a politiclly driven project to end capitalism and deliver socialism. Not expectng any sane policy until the govt/activist nexus is dismantled or silenced by the majority. In the UK i sense that’s 5 years off.
And, of course, all of this avoidable if Nick Clegg hadn’t made a catastrophic error in 2011……

John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago

The alternative to the replacement of net zero with a realistic plan is that political authoritarians in the west will actually succeed in imposing it upon western economies irrespective of popular opposition.

This would have two main effects, firstly that it would wreak economic ruin and accelerate western decline to the point where the west has been overtaken by other parts of the world, secondly that it would have taken place under conditions where political liberty – ie democracy – has been badly damaged. In other words not in a free country.

This sounds like something that couldn’t happen but saying this underestimates the other factors that might lead to such conditions. Belief in dangerous climate change (as opposed to accepting it’s a problem we shouldn’t ignore) is a strongly held conviction amongst voters under 35, which not coincidentally is the same cohort that has been squeezed out of the stake-in-the-game that previous generations found easier to get: career prospects, property ownership, the conditions in which raising a family is viable etc.

So there is a growing class of disenfranchised voters who might very well vote in ways that run counter to traditional free market democracy on the basis that they’re not allowed to benefit from it anyway, so what do they have to lose?

Robbie K
Robbie K
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

irrespective of popular opposition.

What ‘popular opposition’?

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Oh dear, so many down votes, yet there is no popular opposition to net zero in the UK. 75% of the population support it, so in reality, it is a minor opposition.
https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2023/local-elections-poll-what-voters-thought-about-climate-net-zero

Andrew F
Andrew F
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I did not downvote you.
No idea what percentage supports net zero in uk.
However those supporting it are morons and deserve everything coming their way.
China, India and most of the 3rd world do not care about net zero nonsense.
So the only result of following green policies in the West will be increasing poverty.

N Satori
N Satori
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

75% of people agree with X, Y (and indeed Z) – AND YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH THAT!!!
Except of course you can.
Why, Robbie K, are you so easily impressed by opinion polls? Yet I suspect that if a poll showed the public to be sceptical about NetZero you would be sceptical about the poll.
The poll you link to was commissioned by Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (an organisation of eager NetZero enthusiasts) so it is not unreasonable to assume they were looking for a poll result which would “prove” that the masses agree with their aims.
But how well-informed are the masses?
The public have been fed a diet of climate alarmism (coupled with a stern moral message) by our institutions and especially the MSM for many years now. Scepticism, on the other hand, has been ignored, suppressed or, with the term ‘denial’, dismissed as the work of those suffering from a psychological resistance to the truth or a vested interest in denying it.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I’d reckon 100% would support net zero if the costs weren’t so onerous.
I’d certainly support if our approach was towards modern nuclear (SMRs, thorium etc) or we had genuine solutions to power storage for existing renewables.

N Satori
N Satori
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I repeat my question: how well informed are the masses?
The MSM (as ever) cut the paramaters of debate to fit the established viewpoint.
Currently:
How much will NetZero cost us? Can we afford it? Will it hurt the poorest?Do we have a moral obligation to pay the price regardless of the pain?Should we bother if China and India are not reducing their carbon emissions?The principal of NetZero itself is never doubted.
If consensus can be manufactured, even in the scientific establishment, what hope is there for a mere layman to discern the truth?

Last edited 8 months ago by N Satori
N Satori
N Satori
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I repeat my question: how well informed are the masses?
The MSM (as ever) cut the paramaters of debate to fit the established viewpoint.
Currently:
How much will NetZero cost us? Can we afford it? Will it hurt the poorest?Do we have a moral obligation to pay the price regardless of the pain?Should we bother if China and India are not reducing their carbon emissions?The principal of NetZero itself is never doubted.
If consensus can be manufactured, even in the scientific establishment, what hope is there for a mere layman to discern the truth?

Last edited 8 months ago by N Satori
Andrew Dalton
AD
Andrew Dalton
8 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I’d reckon 100% would support net zero if the costs weren’t so onerous.
I’d certainly support if our approach was towards modern nuclear (SMRs, thorium etc) or we had genuine solutions to power storage for existing renewables.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

75% of the voting population have no clue what the policy actually entails.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The majority of people support the concept of net zero, but when you attach an actual cost to it, that support evaporates. There’s been lots of opinion polls that show this.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

People “like” the idea of Net Zero, just as they might like pictures of kittens on Facebook .
As soon as they start seeing reality, they go crazy but don’t necessarily connect the two. I know from experience of friends down in England who would never dream of criticising Just Stop Oil et al, and for whom the latest “windfall” taxes are never enough, but were going crazy when gas prices went up and blaming “greedy oil companies”.

Andrew F
Andrew F
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I did not downvote you.
No idea what percentage supports net zero in uk.
However those supporting it are morons and deserve everything coming their way.
China, India and most of the 3rd world do not care about net zero nonsense.
So the only result of following green policies in the West will be increasing poverty.

N Satori
N Satori
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

75% of people agree with X, Y (and indeed Z) – AND YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH THAT!!!
Except of course you can.
Why, Robbie K, are you so easily impressed by opinion polls? Yet I suspect that if a poll showed the public to be sceptical about NetZero you would be sceptical about the poll.
The poll you link to was commissioned by Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (an organisation of eager NetZero enthusiasts) so it is not unreasonable to assume they were looking for a poll result which would “prove” that the masses agree with their aims.
But how well-informed are the masses?
The public have been fed a diet of climate alarmism (coupled with a stern moral message) by our institutions and especially the MSM for many years now. Scepticism, on the other hand, has been ignored, suppressed or, with the term ‘denial’, dismissed as the work of those suffering from a psychological resistance to the truth or a vested interest in denying it.

R Wright
R Wright
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

75% of the voting population have no clue what the policy actually entails.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The majority of people support the concept of net zero, but when you attach an actual cost to it, that support evaporates. There’s been lots of opinion polls that show this.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

People “like” the idea of Net Zero, just as they might like pictures of kittens on Facebook .
As soon as they start seeing reality, they go crazy but don’t necessarily connect the two. I know from experience of friends down in England who would never dream of criticising Just Stop Oil et al, and for whom the latest “windfall” taxes are never enough, but were going crazy when gas prices went up and blaming “greedy oil companies”.

John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The popular opposition evident in the fact that while most people support green measures in the abstract, they are almost never willing to endure falls in their own living standards in pursuit of them.

Almost all activity at the political level as regards green measures are about deciding what OTHER people will pay for green policy. Broad political support for green economics at the personal level hardly exists at all.

Last edited 8 months ago by John Riordan
Robbie K
Robbie K
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Oh dear, so many down votes, yet there is no popular opposition to net zero in the UK. 75% of the population support it, so in reality, it is a minor opposition.
https://eciu.net/media/press-releases/2023/local-elections-poll-what-voters-thought-about-climate-net-zero

John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The popular opposition evident in the fact that while most people support green measures in the abstract, they are almost never willing to endure falls in their own living standards in pursuit of them.

Almost all activity at the political level as regards green measures are about deciding what OTHER people will pay for green policy. Broad political support for green economics at the personal level hardly exists at all.

Last edited 8 months ago by John Riordan
Andrew F
Andrew F
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Many great points but young voters can not have it both ways.
Mass immigration is the main reason why they can not get on property ladder.
Which great majority of them support.
As for career opportunities, too many of them were sold the idea that university education in completely irrelevant subjects makes them deserving of career.
Reality is that you can only give university education to 50% of population by lowering standards in STEM subjects and creating pointless courses for idiots.

Last edited 8 months ago by Andrew F
John Riordan
John Riordan
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I agree with much of what you say except immigration as the primary factor obstructing young people from the property ladder. It’s decades of underbuilding homes alongside defective monetary policy that did that – which in part is driven by other daft ideas young people support such as degrowth, cheap debt, ESG etc.

However the crucial point is that once there are enough voters with that mindset, it makes no difference that you can argue that their problems are their own fault. They can vote their way to a form of politics that refuses to recognise this and then still make you and me pay for it. That’s the danger I foresee if older voters refuse to recognise the need to attract and persuade instead of judge and blame.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I agree with much of what you say except immigration as the primary factor obstructing young people from the property ladder. It’s decades of underbuilding homes alongside defective monetary policy that did that – which in part is driven by other daft ideas young people support such as degrowth, cheap debt, ESG etc.

However the crucial point is that once there are enough voters with that mindset, it makes no difference that you can argue that their problems are their own fault. They can vote their way to a form of politics that refuses to recognise this and then still make you and me pay for it. That’s the danger I foresee if older voters refuse to recognise the need to attract and persuade instead of judge and blame.

Alex Carnegie
RC
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I am not sure if everyone has grasped what the “net” part of “net zero” means. Basically, we have left it too late to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 (in any plausible or realistic manner) and will need over the next two decades to develop and install at scale carbon capture or other innovative approaches to balance the (reduced but still large) CO2 emissions that will still be a feature then.

I assume that this part of the strategy gets little publicity because it might reduce the motivation for the public to install insulation, heat pumps, wind power, etc (and, for some campaigners, deinstall industrial growth and capitalism). Better to present a stark black and white simplification.

Robbie K
Robbie K
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

irrespective of popular opposition.

What ‘popular opposition’?

Andrew F
Andrew F
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Many great points but young voters can not have it both ways.
Mass immigration is the main reason why they can not get on property ladder.
Which great majority of them support.
As for career opportunities, too many of them were sold the idea that university education in completely irrelevant subjects makes them deserving of career.
Reality is that you can only give university education to 50% of population by lowering standards in STEM subjects and creating pointless courses for idiots.

Last edited 8 months ago by Andrew F
Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
8 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I am not sure if everyone has grasped what the “net” part of “net zero” means. Basically, we have left it too late to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 (in any plausible or realistic manner) and will need over the next two decades to develop and install at scale carbon capture or other innovative approaches to balance the (reduced but still large) CO2 emissions that will still be a feature then.

I assume that this part of the strategy gets little publicity because it might reduce the motivation for the public to install insulation, heat pumps, wind power, etc (and, for some campaigners, deinstall industrial growth and capitalism). Better to present a stark black and white simplification.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
8 months ago

The alternative to the replacement of net zero with a realistic plan is that political authoritarians in the west will actually succeed in imposing it upon western economies irrespective of popular opposition.

This would have two main effects, firstly that it would wreak economic ruin and accelerate western decline to the point where the west has been overtaken by other parts of the world, secondly that it would have taken place under conditions where political liberty – ie democracy – has been badly damaged. In other words not in a free country.

This sounds like something that couldn’t happen but saying this underestimates the other factors that might lead to such conditions. Belief in dangerous climate change (as opposed to accepting it’s a problem we shouldn’t ignore) is a strongly held conviction amongst voters under 35, which not coincidentally is the same cohort that has been squeezed out of the stake-in-the-game that previous generations found easier to get: career prospects, property ownership, the conditions in which raising a family is viable etc.

So there is a growing class of disenfranchised voters who might very well vote in ways that run counter to traditional free market democracy on the basis that they’re not allowed to benefit from it anyway, so what do they have to lose?

Steve Farrell
BR
Steve Farrell
8 months ago

I predict that reality will impose itself in the next 5-10 years & western nations will accept that the green tech they want can’t be forced, but it will come eventually. Then we’ll realise that we took our eyes off the ball & hydrocarbons have been cornered by the people we don’t like. Then we’ll realise those same people have also cornered all the weird stuff we need for batteries etc. then we’ll realise we’re up the creek.

Andrzej Wasniewski
AW
Andrzej Wasniewski
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

5-10 years is enough to wreck German economy, Dutch farming, and drive Europe to the situation when Russian oil will be it’s only salvation. That by the way is perversely what Germany wants. Their priority is to go back to the situation to where Germany can resale Russian gas to the countries of Central Europe making them entirely dependent on the Germany-Russia alliance.
That’s a strategic goal, way more important for Germany than temporary economic slump.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
8 months ago

Well said. The crisis is upon us now and if the attempt to address it is deferred for five or more years then we will be dealing with catastrophe. Adam Smith acknowledged that there is a deal of ruin in a great nation but we have already endured thirty years (at least) of illusion and extravagance; thirty years of mass immigration, multiculturalism, disarmament, indoctrination and perversion. The stark madness of the present age, in which children are mutilated against their parents’ wishes and according to their own deranged whims; in which the leaders of the west lose no opportunity to blame the west for the world’s ills – (see Fazi on France) – is a malignant growth with deep roots and deadly effects. And we need to be crystal clear about the healthy state we are fighting to restore: the properly conservative-to-liberal world of the day before yesterday, in which objectivity, prosperity and improvement were routine. I begin to despair of this as I see too many opponents of the current “deep” regime lapsing into forms of religious revivalism, moralistic hostility to individual choice or compromised versions of the rubbish offered by the left. The core of the left’s programme is one of ethno-cultural self-hatred. Ergo, the core of ours must be one of ethno-cultural self-defence. All else will flow from this realisation – respect for tradition, affection for established Christianity, family, fertility and normality. A minimal, basic degree of self-preservation (importing loyalty to one’s origins) is the keystone of sanity; it is this which the vicious, rabid left has successfully dislodged and which we must restore as quickly as possible.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
8 months ago

Well said. The crisis is upon us now and if the attempt to address it is deferred for five or more years then we will be dealing with catastrophe. Adam Smith acknowledged that there is a deal of ruin in a great nation but we have already endured thirty years (at least) of illusion and extravagance; thirty years of mass immigration, multiculturalism, disarmament, indoctrination and perversion. The stark madness of the present age, in which children are mutilated against their parents’ wishes and according to their own deranged whims; in which the leaders of the west lose no opportunity to blame the west for the world’s ills – (see Fazi on France) – is a malignant growth with deep roots and deadly effects. And we need to be crystal clear about the healthy state we are fighting to restore: the properly conservative-to-liberal world of the day before yesterday, in which objectivity, prosperity and improvement were routine. I begin to despair of this as I see too many opponents of the current “deep” regime lapsing into forms of religious revivalism, moralistic hostility to individual choice or compromised versions of the rubbish offered by the left. The core of the left’s programme is one of ethno-cultural self-hatred. Ergo, the core of ours must be one of ethno-cultural self-defence. All else will flow from this realisation – respect for tradition, affection for established Christianity, family, fertility and normality. A minimal, basic degree of self-preservation (importing loyalty to one’s origins) is the keystone of sanity; it is this which the vicious, rabid left has successfully dislodged and which we must restore as quickly as possible.

Andrzej Wasniewski
AW
Andrzej Wasniewski
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

5-10 years is enough to wreck German economy, Dutch farming, and drive Europe to the situation when Russian oil will be it’s only salvation. That by the way is perversely what Germany wants. Their priority is to go back to the situation to where Germany can resale Russian gas to the countries of Central Europe making them entirely dependent on the Germany-Russia alliance.
That’s a strategic goal, way more important for Germany than temporary economic slump.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
8 months ago

I predict that reality will impose itself in the next 5-10 years & western nations will accept that the green tech they want can’t be forced, but it will come eventually. Then we’ll realise that we took our eyes off the ball & hydrocarbons have been cornered by the people we don’t like. Then we’ll realise those same people have also cornered all the weird stuff we need for batteries etc. then we’ll realise we’re up the creek.

jlhaggerty
JH
jlhaggerty
8 months ago

I keep asking where the money will come from for all the subsidies that are necessary for this transition?? The USA and EU countries are heavily in debt so will have to start making hard choices on what to spend on…The Developing world wants trillions to support any attempt at renewables….Soon enough the bill will come do as it is starting to in Germany….Populations are just now realizing the cost of living hit this will require…..The bell tolls for thee

jlhaggerty
jlhaggerty
8 months ago

I keep asking where the money will come from for all the subsidies that are necessary for this transition?? The USA and EU countries are heavily in debt so will have to start making hard choices on what to spend on…The Developing world wants trillions to support any attempt at renewables….Soon enough the bill will come do as it is starting to in Germany….Populations are just now realizing the cost of living hit this will require…..The bell tolls for thee

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
8 months ago

In my opinion the author’s views are entirely sensible and correct. However the fears of those very many decent and influential people, at all levels in society, who have been persuaded that we face an almost immediate existential crisis if we do not very soon stop using oil and gas, will have to be addressed and allayed. This will require leadership from many strong, principled and highly articulate politicians from across the political spectrum and throughout the world. They in turn will need the backing of credible scientists to help counter the views of those who are inclined or financially motivated to a different, more alarmist view. The world media will also need to play an informed, honest and constructive part. But first it starts with individuals having the courage to speak out and be counted. So thank you for this essay. Very many more like it will be needed.

AndyH
AA
AndyH
8 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

“The world media will also need to play an informed, honest and constructive part”
Good luck with that thought!

Malcolm Webb
MW
Malcolm Webb
8 months ago
Reply to  AndyH

Thanks – I agree – but I also think, like many politicians, the media are also followers of fashions- hence the importance of individuals speaking out.

Malcolm Webb
MW
Malcolm Webb
8 months ago
Reply to  AndyH

Thanks – I agree – but I also think, like many politicians, the media are also followers of fashions- hence the importance of individuals speaking out.

AndyH
AndyH
8 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

“The world media will also need to play an informed, honest and constructive part”
Good luck with that thought!

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
8 months ago

In my opinion the author’s views are entirely sensible and correct. However the fears of those very many decent and influential people, at all levels in society, who have been persuaded that we face an almost immediate existential crisis if we do not very soon stop using oil and gas, will have to be addressed and allayed. This will require leadership from many strong, principled and highly articulate politicians from across the political spectrum and throughout the world. They in turn will need the backing of credible scientists to help counter the views of those who are inclined or financially motivated to a different, more alarmist view. The world media will also need to play an informed, honest and constructive part. But first it starts with individuals having the courage to speak out and be counted. So thank you for this essay. Very many more like it will be needed.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
8 months ago

Do we want a petro-chemical industry or don’t we? If yes, we’re gonna need lots of oil.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
8 months ago

Do we want a petro-chemical industry or don’t we? If yes, we’re gonna need lots of oil.

Chipoko
C
Chipoko
8 months ago

The millennial generation which now controls political, administrative and corporate power in the western democracies has totally imbibed the woke worldview of Marxist post-modernists; and environmentalism (of which ‘climate change’ is one arm) is an intensely politicised doctrine that is driving a campaign of these people to transfer wealth from the developed nations to the undeveloped nations. Hence, the pressure for reparations to (e.g.) African countries, not only for having suffered (if you believe current propaganda) under the brutality of colonial rule, but also to compensate them for the ongoing suffering they experience today for their environmental suffering at the hands of the evil capitalist western world.
It is classic Marxism – destroy the oppressors (western ‘democracies’) and use the ‘liberated’ oppressed to establish a new order (but in practice Lenin’s doctrine of a very small ruling elite will replace the old order, and the ‘liberated’ proletarian poor of the world will be not better off, probably a lot worse!).

Chipoko
Chipoko
8 months ago

The millennial generation which now controls political, administrative and corporate power in the western democracies has totally imbibed the woke worldview of Marxist post-modernists; and environmentalism (of which ‘climate change’ is one arm) is an intensely politicised doctrine that is driving a campaign of these people to transfer wealth from the developed nations to the undeveloped nations. Hence, the pressure for reparations to (e.g.) African countries, not only for having suffered (if you believe current propaganda) under the brutality of colonial rule, but also to compensate them for the ongoing suffering they experience today for their environmental suffering at the hands of the evil capitalist western world.
It is classic Marxism – destroy the oppressors (western ‘democracies’) and use the ‘liberated’ oppressed to establish a new order (but in practice Lenin’s doctrine of a very small ruling elite will replace the old order, and the ‘liberated’ proletarian poor of the world will be not better off, probably a lot worse!).

Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
8 months ago

If we had more gas and oil, more cheaply from the north sea, this should help us to rebuild our economy and reduce our dependence on imports from high emission coal burning countries thus yielding a net world saving in CO2 emissions – a win win for the UK economy and the environment.
Excellent article – and Tony Blair understands this and is urging us to pull back ( a bit )
Unfortunately there is so much inertia behind the short sighted uk and western european approach to net zero that our economies will be experiencing a lot of suffering before we can seriously recover

Last edited 8 months ago by Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
Roy Mullins
8 months ago

If we had more gas and oil, more cheaply from the north sea, this should help us to rebuild our economy and reduce our dependence on imports from high emission coal burning countries thus yielding a net world saving in CO2 emissions – a win win for the UK economy and the environment.
Excellent article – and Tony Blair understands this and is urging us to pull back ( a bit )
Unfortunately there is so much inertia behind the short sighted uk and western european approach to net zero that our economies will be experiencing a lot of suffering before we can seriously recover

Last edited 8 months ago by Roy Mullins
Peter Gray
PG
Peter Gray
8 months ago

This has always been the case. Robert Bryce, in his Gusher of Lies, made that point in 2008. Total transition to revewables (always meant as exclusively wind and solar) means steeply higher prices for energy and consequently drastic degradation of the standard of living, something politically unattaniable and dangerous, as we are starting to see sharp turns to the right in many Western electorates.
I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop, i.e., the question of the supposedly unassailable AGW narrative. Scientists are now coming out of the woodwork expressing skepticism over the CO2-apocalyptic global warming theory, not to mention the fact that none of the dire predictions of 1990’s and 2000’s came to be. There still no palm trees in Stockholm and Florida and the Maldivas are doing fine.

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter Gray

I think owners of Miami beachfront property would disagree. Or has deSantis declared it an offshore entity to protect his toxic Disneyland fantasies?

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

Miami is sinking faster than the the sea is rising. And they’re draining the water table, a massive issue across the US that no one is talking about.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

Miami is sinking faster than the the sea is rising. And they’re draining the water table, a massive issue across the US that no one is talking about.

5gjhprvq7h
JD
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter Gray

I think owners of Miami beachfront property would disagree. Or has deSantis declared it an offshore entity to protect his toxic Disneyland fantasies?

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Peter Gray
Peter Gray
8 months ago

This has always been the case. Robert Bryce, in his Gusher of Lies, made that point in 2008. Total transition to revewables (always meant as exclusively wind and solar) means steeply higher prices for energy and consequently drastic degradation of the standard of living, something politically unattaniable and dangerous, as we are starting to see sharp turns to the right in many Western electorates.
I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop, i.e., the question of the supposedly unassailable AGW narrative. Scientists are now coming out of the woodwork expressing skepticism over the CO2-apocalyptic global warming theory, not to mention the fact that none of the dire predictions of 1990’s and 2000’s came to be. There still no palm trees in Stockholm and Florida and the Maldivas are doing fine.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

It will be very challenging to step back from renewables. Too many politicians from across the left and the right have been pushing this agenda for about 20 years now. It is destined to fail of course. But how this happens – what triggers the rollback – will be interesting to see.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

It will be very challenging to step back from renewables. Too many politicians from across the left and the right have been pushing this agenda for about 20 years now. It is destined to fail of course. But how this happens – what triggers the rollback – will be interesting to see.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
8 months ago

Any serious objective analysis of the facts will show that actually eliminating fossil fuels is impossible given current technology and would require levels of totalitarian control beyond even what China has accomplished, which is saying a lot. Note that China doesn’t bother with this nonsense beyond pushing global treaties that disproportionately constrain western powers, and which they ignore anyway. The people pushing NetZero are hoping the people don’t actually take the time to examine the issue beyond feel good soundbites, and to be fair betting on mass stupidity is a good bet under most usual circumstances. Like a shell game, it works pretty well as long as the people running the show shuffle the ball around under the table so the players win just enough not to question the show and look under the table. They keep raking in the cash and the public is none the wiser. As with any good scam, the skill needed is that of manipulation, to say one thing while secretly doing something else, in other words, promote NetZero so politicians and the cronies who own the energy companies that profit from renewables subsidies continue to make money hand over fist, while keeping enough fossil fuel resources to keep civilization running, because if the lights go out, there’s no food at the market, and the gas station doesn’t have any fuel, people will get angry and start looking under the table, and then the game is over.

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Joe Deegan replies: “Betting on mass stupidity” is what every scam artist from big tobacco to big oil has done by suppressing evidence and rejecting expert opinion and rational debate. That’s not mass stupidity, it’s corporate bullying and abuse of trust. The outcome is never good, and guess who’s looking increasingly stupid as climate denial descends into weather denial. If you have a better idea than aiming for Net Zero, let’s hear it; otherwise, the only conspiracy and cronyism here is preserving the fossilised status quo.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Peter Gray
Peter Gray
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

Well, a couple of notions. Would you be willing to agree that individuals may have an opinion different from yours, or the common narrative, while not being stoogies of some big interests? Also, have you noticed that the current bullying is coming not from corporations (well, not entirely, the renewables industry has grown from a seedling to a young oak and is starting to show some teeths) but from the government, universities and activists, not to mention that it has reverse heading?
I would encourage you to look at the math of this issue; renewables, as they are considered today, cannot physically lift the load some expect them.
And, by the way, weather is not climate. One is single event happening over days the other is a pattern occuring over at least decades and centuries.

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter Gray

Joe Deegan replies: Yes Peter, I’ll happily engage with contrary opinions, as long as they’re grounded in evidence, logic and, as you rightly say, numbers. I decline to surrender to opinion just because it’s a majority view – and populism of any kind certainly warrants close scrutiny- nor do I believe that all opinions command respect, I believe we can only ever approach something short of certainty, and it’s always provisional – in other words, I’m happy to change my mind if the evidence requires it. My concern is that even as some certainties loom ever larger, some minds remain wholly unchanged. In that context, I’ve taken to substituting ‘weather’ for ‘climate’ when addressing diehard denialists who seem unwilling or unable to detect a pattern in the new normal of heat domes, jetstream distortion and turmoil in our oceans. Renewables probably aren’t a complete solution, but further extraction of fossil fuels is surely a clear and present danger. Finally, I think there’s an important difference between scientists who deliver unavoidably bad news based on the available evidence and those who exploit fear and ignorance in pursuit of profit or power. I hope we can agree on at least some of the above.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Peter Gray

Joe Deegan replies: Yes Peter, I’ll happily engage with contrary opinions, as long as they’re grounded in evidence, logic and, as you rightly say, numbers. I decline to surrender to opinion just because it’s a majority view – and populism of any kind certainly warrants close scrutiny- nor do I believe that all opinions command respect, I believe we can only ever approach something short of certainty, and it’s always provisional – in other words, I’m happy to change my mind if the evidence requires it. My concern is that even as some certainties loom ever larger, some minds remain wholly unchanged. In that context, I’ve taken to substituting ‘weather’ for ‘climate’ when addressing diehard denialists who seem unwilling or unable to detect a pattern in the new normal of heat domes, jetstream distortion and turmoil in our oceans. Renewables probably aren’t a complete solution, but further extraction of fossil fuels is surely a clear and present danger. Finally, I think there’s an important difference between scientists who deliver unavoidably bad news based on the available evidence and those who exploit fear and ignorance in pursuit of profit or power. I hope we can agree on at least some of the above.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Peter Gray
Peter Gray
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

Well, a couple of notions. Would you be willing to agree that individuals may have an opinion different from yours, or the common narrative, while not being stoogies of some big interests? Also, have you noticed that the current bullying is coming not from corporations (well, not entirely, the renewables industry has grown from a seedling to a young oak and is starting to show some teeths) but from the government, universities and activists, not to mention that it has reverse heading?
I would encourage you to look at the math of this issue; renewables, as they are considered today, cannot physically lift the load some expect them.
And, by the way, weather is not climate. One is single event happening over days the other is a pattern occuring over at least decades and centuries.

5gjhprvq7h
JD
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Joe Deegan replies: “Betting on mass stupidity” is what every scam artist from big tobacco to big oil has done by suppressing evidence and rejecting expert opinion and rational debate. That’s not mass stupidity, it’s corporate bullying and abuse of trust. The outcome is never good, and guess who’s looking increasingly stupid as climate denial descends into weather denial. If you have a better idea than aiming for Net Zero, let’s hear it; otherwise, the only conspiracy and cronyism here is preserving the fossilised status quo.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
8 months ago

Any serious objective analysis of the facts will show that actually eliminating fossil fuels is impossible given current technology and would require levels of totalitarian control beyond even what China has accomplished, which is saying a lot. Note that China doesn’t bother with this nonsense beyond pushing global treaties that disproportionately constrain western powers, and which they ignore anyway. The people pushing NetZero are hoping the people don’t actually take the time to examine the issue beyond feel good soundbites, and to be fair betting on mass stupidity is a good bet under most usual circumstances. Like a shell game, it works pretty well as long as the people running the show shuffle the ball around under the table so the players win just enough not to question the show and look under the table. They keep raking in the cash and the public is none the wiser. As with any good scam, the skill needed is that of manipulation, to say one thing while secretly doing something else, in other words, promote NetZero so politicians and the cronies who own the energy companies that profit from renewables subsidies continue to make money hand over fist, while keeping enough fossil fuel resources to keep civilization running, because if the lights go out, there’s no food at the market, and the gas station doesn’t have any fuel, people will get angry and start looking under the table, and then the game is over.

David Brightly
David Brightly
8 months ago

The wealthiest billion people on the planet use roughly 13-14 barrels per capita of energy.
Is that per diem, annum or lifetime?

David Brightly
David Brightly
8 months ago

The wealthiest billion people on the planet use roughly 13-14 barrels per capita of energy.
Is that per diem, annum or lifetime?

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
8 months ago

The only ‘net zero’ that makes any sense in the sort term is net zero population growth, of the planet and the UK. We can then concentrate on growing quality of life, rather than more ‘stuff’, and begin the transition to a more sustainable situation where there’s quality and quantity of all life, not just more and more people

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
8 months ago

The only ‘net zero’ that makes any sense in the sort term is net zero population growth, of the planet and the UK. We can then concentrate on growing quality of life, rather than more ‘stuff’, and begin the transition to a more sustainable situation where there’s quality and quantity of all life, not just more and more people

Pete Marsh
PM
Pete Marsh
8 months ago

One of the best analyses of how the UK could (or couldn’t) generate enough power to keep the lights on and not freeze every winter is Prof David MacKays ‘Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air’, available at withouthotair.com
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been updated since his untimely death in 2015. So in some scenarios he includes ‘clean coal’ which is a non starter 10 years later.

But he runs the numbers and shows his working out, which is more than you can say for some of the loudest voices like Just Stop Oil. 

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
8 months ago

One of the best analyses of how the UK could (or couldn’t) generate enough power to keep the lights on and not freeze every winter is Prof David MacKays ‘Sustainable Energy – without the Hot Air’, available at withouthotair.com
Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been updated since his untimely death in 2015. So in some scenarios he includes ‘clean coal’ which is a non starter 10 years later.

But he runs the numbers and shows his working out, which is more than you can say for some of the loudest voices like Just Stop Oil. 

Joe Deegan
JD
Joe Deegan
8 months ago

This article (like most of the comments to date) presumes the continued viability of unbridled consumption and economic growth in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. The only ideologues at work here are the merchants of ‘business as usual’, whose myopic commitment to free-market motivated reasoning and to shareholders rather than stakeholders falls somewhere between scientific illiteracy and reckless bad faith. If those under 35 seem most exercised by this myopic disregard for the planet, it’s not because of ‘wokeism’ (as the wilful rhetorical misappropriation goes); it’s because they will have to live with the consequences of this greed and wishful thinking. The rhetorical evasions of the fossil lobbyists serve only to disrupt evidence-based discourse and timely action; a rising tide is no consolation to the many without a boat.

Last edited 8 months ago by Joe Deegan
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Joe Deegan

What exactly will happen due to unbridled consumption? And what does this have to do with renewables?

5gjhprvq7h
JD
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: I’m not sure if your questions are rhetorical Jim, but as the fundamentals bear repeating, I’ll take them at face value. Unbridled consumption, as I understand it, means continuing to consume all available products and resources without regard to sustainability or known middle- and longer-term harms. As it stands, our consumption of fossil fuels for multiple purposes is known to be the single biggest source of global greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn cause global heating and derail our climate system; for that reason, consuming less or none of these fuels becomes a matter of increasing urgency. To do so, we need to invest in alternative tech, including renewables. I haven’t heard anyone on this post or elsewhere offering any evidence-based alternative, and I don’t think any appeal to economic, political or corporate efficiencies will impress any of us if life itself becomes unsustainable.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

One alternative is nuclear power. It’s a proven technology used across the globe. We know it works. If political leaders are honestly worried about emissions, this should be adopted everywhere.

I’m a lukewarmer. I acknowledge that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it’s warming the planet, yet I’m not seeing any massive impact on society.

Unfortunately, we rarely get specifics from alarmists – just emotional statements of doom. We now have 35 years of failed predictions and the rhetoric seems stronger than ever.

Temps are up and so are heat waves. Yet there is no widespread drought. In fact, the world is 5% greener than it was 20 years ago. There is no increase in severe storms. Island nations are not drowning because of rising seas. Ag production has been increasing continuously. Coral reefs are fine. There are no climate refugees.

I’m truly not trying to be offensive, but what exactly will happen to society in a warming world?

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: I think adversity brings people together, and looking for some common ground around the climate issue before it’s too late would surely be more productive than denying there’s a problem (or indeed a solution). I’d broadly agree with your tech point Jim; my reference to ‘alternative tech, including renewables’ implicitly allows for a nuclear option, although Fukushima was a stark reminder of the unstoppable power of natural forces and suggests that fusion would be preferable (but may of course come too late).
As to the second part of your post, I can’t agree. Aside from the serious trouble brewing in our oceans, the recent extreme heat reflects a rising trend over decades, making everyday life increasingly challenging for people on every continent. Painting a positive picture of this depends heavily on cherrypicking the data, which I think is precisely what climate scientists and other ‘alarmists’ don’t do. 
I’m much more alarmed by the efforts of sectional interests to minimise these demonstrable trends; the only people avoiding the specifics are those who don’t want to admit there’s a problem. I think most scientists would be happy to have their ideas fully tested in the public forum if the rules of rational and reasonable engagement applied. There’s a big difference between honestly reporting bad news, as I believe most scientists do, and using fear or ignorance to gain power or profit by suppressing or rejecting evidence that doesn’t fit a predefined agenda. Scientists will change their minds if the evidence proves otherwise; so far, they haven’t.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

When I discuss this, I want to be clear that I’m not trying to be a jerk, or condescending, or anything like that. I understand why people are worried about the future. I think it’s because they have been bombarded by an endless stream of hysterical predictions and scare stories, rather than reasoned arguments and data.

There’s no question the planet is warming and will cause issues. More heat waves and hot days. But these are manageable issues.

You say you’re much more alarmed by the efforts of sectional interests to minimise these dyemonstrable trends. But what are these trends? It’s not food production, or severe storms, or forest fires, or more extensive drought. What am I missing here?

More discussion would be much appreciated. There have been a number of famous Oxford style debates about the issue – audience member beliefs are measured before and after the debate – and the alarmists have lost every one that I know of.

5gjhprvq7h
JD
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: No offence taken; no offence intended either, but I’m not sure the many people directly affected by the recent Canadian wildfires and their outworks would share your view. Other societal impacts? See for instance https://www.fao.org/3/i5188e/I5188E.pdf
I just wonder if there’s any objective evidence that would change your mind? Any suggestion that the recent extreme weather caused by heat domes and jetstream displacement is just weather, or that the observed but as yet unseen changes in our oceans won’t have disastrous consequences if left unchecked, is not credible unless you choose to ignore the extensive data accumulated over decades. Humans are notoriously bad at assessing risk or predicting the future and are easily swayed by debating society sophistry and opinion polls. But unless we do the hard work of collecting and analysing high-quality long-term data, we’re reduced to cherrypicking received ideas that confirm our own preconceptions. I don’t know what you would consider a reliable source, but here’s just a few (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) that do the hard work and report climate trends that are clearly more than bad weather – regardless of what we might prefer to believe.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
World Health Organisation’s Climate and Health Forum
World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
Planet Policy
The RAND Blog: Global Climate Change
Climate Central
Berkeley Earth

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

Yes, Canada has had an extremely bad fire season this year, maybe one of the worst in 30 years, but there is no doubt the trend in fires here and across that globe is decreasing. I don’t have the stats broken down for differences in regional forest fires, so I think it’s possible to argue they have been increasing in western Canada and decreasing in eastern Canada, but overall, forest fires in Canada are decreasing.

http://nfdp.ccfm.org/en/data/fires.php

I’m won’t read the entire food security document you link to – it’s hundreds of pages long – but agricultural production and yields have been increasing continuously, despite the increase in temps. This is not in dispute by any scientists. The world is also 5% greener than it was 20 years ago, a land area twice the size of the continental US.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

Linking to the IPCC AR6 report is another massive amount of reading. I happen to be familiar with the report and it is a lot less alarmist then you might think. The executive summaries of these reports are very alarmist – because they are political documents not written by actual scientists.

Chapter 11 of AR6, Weather and Climate Extreme Events in a Changing Climate, concludes that changes in the number and intensity of severe weather events have not been detected, nor can any changes be attributed to human caused climate change. There is high confidence in heat extremes, which shouldn’t shock anyone, considering global temps have risen 1.3 degrees since 1860. However, there is low confidence for drought, flooding, heavy precipitation and severe weather events like hurricane. Check it out yourself.

My mind can be changed with objective evidence. I just don’t think it’s out there. Climate change hysteria has been around for 35 years now and the list of failed predictions and missed deadlines is too exhaustive to list.

Having said this, I think the planet is warming and will have consequences, more on a regional level than global level. If the world would adopt widespread nuclear power, I have no issue with that. However, we have decided to adopt wind and solar, which will only make us poorer and less capable of dealing with the consequences of climate change.

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: Ok Jim, we might not be reading all the same stuff, but if we can learn to avoid the megaphone rhetoric of extreme positions that are simply a roadblock to collective action, maybe we can focus on phasing out fossil in favour of some combination of those other technologies. I still wouldn’t bet on our chances if we don’t. One positive step in the right direction I think is that Bolsonaro’s ecological rampage is over, hopefully for good, and Amazon deforestation may yet be halted. More generally, we’ll have to agree to disagree about what the data tell us, but I’ve enjoyed the exchange.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: Ok Jim, we might not be reading all the same stuff, but if we can learn to avoid the megaphone rhetoric of extreme positions that are simply a roadblock to collective action, maybe we can focus on phasing out fossil in favour of some combination of those other technologies. I still wouldn’t bet on our chances if we don’t. One positive step in the right direction I think is that Bolsonaro’s ecological rampage is over, hopefully for good, and Amazon deforestation may yet be halted. More generally, we’ll have to agree to disagree about what the data tell us, but I’ve enjoyed the exchange.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

Yes, Canada has had an extremely bad fire season this year, maybe one of the worst in 30 years, but there is no doubt the trend in fires here and across that globe is decreasing. I don’t have the stats broken down for differences in regional forest fires, so I think it’s possible to argue they have been increasing in western Canada and decreasing in eastern Canada, but overall, forest fires in Canada are decreasing.

http://nfdp.ccfm.org/en/data/fires.php

I’m won’t read the entire food security document you link to – it’s hundreds of pages long – but agricultural production and yields have been increasing continuously, despite the increase in temps. This is not in dispute by any scientists. The world is also 5% greener than it was 20 years ago, a land area twice the size of the continental US.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

Linking to the IPCC AR6 report is another massive amount of reading. I happen to be familiar with the report and it is a lot less alarmist then you might think. The executive summaries of these reports are very alarmist – because they are political documents not written by actual scientists.

Chapter 11 of AR6, Weather and Climate Extreme Events in a Changing Climate, concludes that changes in the number and intensity of severe weather events have not been detected, nor can any changes be attributed to human caused climate change. There is high confidence in heat extremes, which shouldn’t shock anyone, considering global temps have risen 1.3 degrees since 1860. However, there is low confidence for drought, flooding, heavy precipitation and severe weather events like hurricane. Check it out yourself.

My mind can be changed with objective evidence. I just don’t think it’s out there. Climate change hysteria has been around for 35 years now and the list of failed predictions and missed deadlines is too exhaustive to list.

Having said this, I think the planet is warming and will have consequences, more on a regional level than global level. If the world would adopt widespread nuclear power, I have no issue with that. However, we have decided to adopt wind and solar, which will only make us poorer and less capable of dealing with the consequences of climate change.

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: No offence taken; no offence intended either, but I’m not sure the many people directly affected by the recent Canadian wildfires and their outworks would share your view. Other societal impacts? See for instance https://www.fao.org/3/i5188e/I5188E.pdf
I just wonder if there’s any objective evidence that would change your mind? Any suggestion that the recent extreme weather caused by heat domes and jetstream displacement is just weather, or that the observed but as yet unseen changes in our oceans won’t have disastrous consequences if left unchecked, is not credible unless you choose to ignore the extensive data accumulated over decades. Humans are notoriously bad at assessing risk or predicting the future and are easily swayed by debating society sophistry and opinion polls. But unless we do the hard work of collecting and analysing high-quality long-term data, we’re reduced to cherrypicking received ideas that confirm our own preconceptions. I don’t know what you would consider a reliable source, but here’s just a few (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) that do the hard work and report climate trends that are clearly more than bad weather – regardless of what we might prefer to believe.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
World Health Organisation’s Climate and Health Forum
World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
Planet Policy
The RAND Blog: Global Climate Change
Climate Central
Berkeley Earth

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
TERRY JESSOP
TJ
TERRY JESSOP
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

The only thing that Fukushima is a “stark reminder” of is the stupidity of constructing your nuclear power station at sea-level in an earth-quake zone where inundation by tsunami is a likely possibility following earthquake. In any case, although some people died from the tsunami, nobody actually died of nuclear waste from the damage to reactor.

5gjhprvq7h
JD
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  TERRY JESSOP

Joe Deegan replies:
Which serves only to reinforce the essential and overarching point that nature makes a mockery of human complacency. The consequences of Japan’s decision to release the retained water into the ocean remain to be seen.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
JD
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  TERRY JESSOP

Joe Deegan replies:
Which serves only to reinforce the essential and overarching point that nature makes a mockery of human complacency. The consequences of Japan’s decision to release the retained water into the ocean remain to be seen.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

When I discuss this, I want to be clear that I’m not trying to be a jerk, or condescending, or anything like that. I understand why people are worried about the future. I think it’s because they have been bombarded by an endless stream of hysterical predictions and scare stories, rather than reasoned arguments and data.

There’s no question the planet is warming and will cause issues. More heat waves and hot days. But these are manageable issues.

You say you’re much more alarmed by the efforts of sectional interests to minimise these dyemonstrable trends. But what are these trends? It’s not food production, or severe storms, or forest fires, or more extensive drought. What am I missing here?

More discussion would be much appreciated. There have been a number of famous Oxford style debates about the issue – audience member beliefs are measured before and after the debate – and the alarmists have lost every one that I know of.

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

The only thing that Fukushima is a “stark reminder” of is the stupidity of constructing your nuclear power station at sea-level in an earth-quake zone where inundation by tsunami is a likely possibility following earthquake. In any case, although some people died from the tsunami, nobody actually died of nuclear waste from the damage to reactor.

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: I think adversity brings people together, and looking for some common ground around the climate issue before it’s too late would surely be more productive than denying there’s a problem (or indeed a solution). I’d broadly agree with your tech point Jim; my reference to ‘alternative tech, including renewables’ implicitly allows for a nuclear option, although Fukushima was a stark reminder of the unstoppable power of natural forces and suggests that fusion would be preferable (but may of course come too late).
As to the second part of your post, I can’t agree. Aside from the serious trouble brewing in our oceans, the recent extreme heat reflects a rising trend over decades, making everyday life increasingly challenging for people on every continent. Painting a positive picture of this depends heavily on cherrypicking the data, which I think is precisely what climate scientists and other ‘alarmists’ don’t do. 
I’m much more alarmed by the efforts of sectional interests to minimise these demonstrable trends; the only people avoiding the specifics are those who don’t want to admit there’s a problem. I think most scientists would be happy to have their ideas fully tested in the public forum if the rules of rational and reasonable engagement applied. There’s a big difference between honestly reporting bad news, as I believe most scientists do, and using fear or ignorance to gain power or profit by suppressing or rejecting evidence that doesn’t fit a predefined agenda. Scientists will change their minds if the evidence proves otherwise; so far, they haven’t.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  5gjhprvq7h

One alternative is nuclear power. It’s a proven technology used across the globe. We know it works. If political leaders are honestly worried about emissions, this should be adopted everywhere.

I’m a lukewarmer. I acknowledge that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it’s warming the planet, yet I’m not seeing any massive impact on society.

Unfortunately, we rarely get specifics from alarmists – just emotional statements of doom. We now have 35 years of failed predictions and the rhetoric seems stronger than ever.

Temps are up and so are heat waves. Yet there is no widespread drought. In fact, the world is 5% greener than it was 20 years ago. There is no increase in severe storms. Island nations are not drowning because of rising seas. Ag production has been increasing continuously. Coral reefs are fine. There are no climate refugees.

I’m truly not trying to be offensive, but what exactly will happen to society in a warming world?

5gjhprvq7h
5gjhprvq7h
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Joe Deegan replies: I’m not sure if your questions are rhetorical Jim, but as the fundamentals bear repeating, I’ll take them at face value. Unbridled consumption, as I understand it, means continuing to consume all available products and resources without regard to sustainability or known middle- and longer-term harms. As it stands, our consumption of fossil fuels for multiple purposes is known to be the single biggest source of global greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn cause global heating and derail our climate system; for that reason, consuming less or none of these fuels becomes a matter of increasing urgency. To do so, we need to invest in alternative tech, including renewables. I haven’t heard anyone on this post or elsewhere offering any evidence-based alternative, and I don’t think any appeal to economic, political or corporate efficiencies will impress any of us if life itself becomes unsustainable.

Last edited 8 months ago by 5gjhprvq7h
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago
Reply to  Joe Deegan

What exactly will happen due to unbridled consumption? And what does this have to do with renewables?

Joe Deegan
Joe Deegan
8 months ago

This article (like most of the comments to date) presumes the continued viability of unbridled consumption and economic growth in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. The only ideologues at work here are the merchants of ‘business as usual’, whose myopic commitment to free-market motivated reasoning and to shareholders rather than stakeholders falls somewhere between scientific illiteracy and reckless bad faith. If those under 35 seem most exercised by this myopic disregard for the planet, it’s not because of ‘wokeism’ (as the wilful rhetorical misappropriation goes); it’s because they will have to live with the consequences of this greed and wishful thinking. The rhetorical evasions of the fossil lobbyists serve only to disrupt evidence-based discourse and timely action; a rising tide is no consolation to the many without a boat.

Last edited 8 months ago by Joe Deegan
Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
8 months ago

Utter nonsense

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
8 months ago

Utter nonsense