This is a second summary of updates I made to the pages I maintain at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York and Reforming the Energy Vision Inconvenient Truths. I have an extensive list of reference materials on my original blog that I occasionally update when I run across an article that is particularly interesting and relevant and this blog also has reference material. This article describes some recent page updates and I also have highlighted a few recent articles that don’t fit my needs on those pages.
I started blogging in late 2017 on New York’s energy policies because I was convinced that they are going to end as an expensive boondoggle driving electricity prices in particular and energy prices in general significantly higher. Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) was the previous comprehensive energy strategy for New York. I wrote about the inconvenient unpublicized or missing pieces of New York State’s REV policy: implementation plan, costs and impacts. At some point I should probably combine that blog with this one but in the meantime, I will maintain them both. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the position of any of my previous employers or any other company I have been associated with, these comments are mine alone.
I added links to three articles on the Renewable Energy Feasibility page including two videos. Michael Mills Prager University video “How much energy will the world need?” explains that oil, natural gas, and coal provide 84% of the world’s energy today despite great expenditures to wean the world off fossil fuels over several decades. He points out that the materials needed to develop wind and solar require massive amounts of mining to produce which in turn requires major increases in energy use. Dr. John Robson Climate Discussion Nexus video “American Energy for Grownups” describes how the Biden Administration’s goal of phasing out fossil fuels has increased the difference between supply and demand such that costs have increased dramatically. In addition, Robson explains that due to environmental regulations and climate regulatory expectations has led to a lack of infrastructure investments. He points out that the existential threat of climate change claims are overblown and that the actual effects of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change are vastly out-weighed by the benefits of plentiful and affordable energy provided by fossil fuel use. Most recently, Francis Menton sums it all up showing that society cannot develop “green” energy using only green energy.
I added a link to the Electric Heating page that describes a proposed Department of Energy rulemaking on energy conservation standards for residential furnaces. Robert Bradley describes this proposal seeks to “regulate/prohibit gas furnaces on a pure physical efficiency standard, demoting up-front cost considerations, as well as back-end reliability issues (such as when the power goes out).” He describes comments submitted by free market advocacy groups that argues that “A fair-field, no-favor competitive market for home and business heating—a let the market decide policy—is the obvious choice in place of one-size government policy from Washington, DC.” I added the link because the article eviscerates the climate impact rationale for the revised standards and provides links to other articles about the decarbonization efforts to eliminate the use of natural gas in homes.
As soon as Hurricane Ian hit the Florida coast the usual suspects came out and claimed links to global warming. Chris Martz did a great job reviewing the claims made and examined the claims to see if they held up to close examination. He found common themes and rated them for accuracy.
Hurricane Ian tied with several others as the 5th most intense to strike the Contiguous United States since records began in 1851. This was rated true but debatable because the measurement methodology has changed over time and that could affect the ratings.
Storms like Hurricane Ian are becoming more likely because of human-caused climate change. Martz provided detailed information and many examples that shows that this is a false claim.
Globally, we are observing stronger tropical cyclones; a greater proportion of hurricanes are reaching major hurricane status. Martz provided detailed information and many examples that shows that this is a false claim.
Rapid intensification (RI) events (30-knot increase in 24-hours) are becoming increasingly common because warmth from rising sea surface temperatures (SSTs) is diffusing into deeper layers, increasing the fuel, or ocean heat content (OHC) for hurricanes. Martz explained that the information necessary to calculate these events is only available for a limited time and showed that it proves this is a false claim.
The size of storm surge has increased due to both sea level rise (SLR) and increasing tropical cyclone size. Martz argued that there is missing context from this claim. “Sea-level rise could certainly prove to be a major issue for coastal communities during the next couple of centuries assuming rates either remain constant or accelerate. However, that’s an entirely separate issue from the size of a hurricane’s storm surge, and with current scientific understanding, discernable trends in magnitude remain to be seen.”
Climate change upped rainfall amounts in Hurricane Ian by at least 10%. For every 1°C rise in ocean surface temperatures, the amount of water evaporating into the atmosphere increases by 7% which exacerbates flooding from extreme rainfall. Martz explains that “Oversimplifying a complex issue leads to erroneous results and flawed reasoning” and shows that the claim is false.
Paul Homewood did an article that reminds us just how destructive mining for lithium needed for electric vehicles is to the environment. He references an article that describes how water quality, wildlife populations, and crops are all adversely affected by lithium mining. He concludes with a question that bothers me too: “It is one of the great mysteries why the green movement in general is not actively campaigning against this”.
Other Posts of Note
Jo Nova described French President Macron response to the Yellow Vest protests a couple of years ago. His government chose 150 people who spent nine months learning climate science to figure out what the other 65 million French citizens would have chosen had they been there. Naturally, they were marinated and baked in approved ClimateThink, and no dissenting scientists or citizens were invited. The result was predictable:
After this intense love in, they came up with a list of policies as big as a phone book, the government picked the ones they were probably going to do anyway, and flicked the ones they weren’t and then proclaimed the citizens had spoken! In theory there was supposed to be a Referendum option at the end, but this, well, nevermind, became just another round of votes in Parliament.
I mention this because it is similar to New York’s Climate Action Plan response to comments. In New York the 22-member Climate Action Council (plus one added to appease the labor constituency of Hochul’s demographics) and the 13-member Climate Justice Working Group decide which stakeholder comments get addressed out of the 35,000 comments submitted. As far as I can tell there never has been any intention to address any issues raised that are inconsistent with the narrative.
Two articles make me pessimistic about the future. Don Ritter led the National Environmental Policy Institute after leaving Congress. His commentary The Real “Existential Threat” To People and Planet argued persuasively that green policies that promote green energy and suppress fossil fuels are doing more harm than good. I believed that once there was an unmistakable link between the green policies and a bad outcome that there would be an acknowledgement and similar policies would be off the table elsewhere. Michael Schellenberger’s interview with Will Cain discuss the war on fertilizer (at 7:55 of the video) and the response to the Sri Lanka agriculture disaster. They agree that agencies advocating the ban on fertilizer just blew off the problems and have moved on to advocate implementation elsewhere. I believe that when the inevitable blackout occurs in New York all the Climate Act advocates will blame someone else and double down on their policies that caused it.