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Fink & Xi, Sittin' in a Tree; Leftist Tribes at War; & Emitting Carbon to Save the Planet
Happy Belated Labor Day from The Pipeline! Our Editor, Michael Walsh, put up a short blog post on the history of the day.
Joan Sammon looked into BlackRock’s entanglement with Communist China.
By recalling the idiom that we are judged by the company we keep, the accusations against investment bank BlackRock in a recently announced investigation by the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and China, doesn't seem entirely surprising.
In their announcement the committee asserts that BlackRock and ESG rating firm, MCSI have been using Americans’ investment savings to invest in blacklisted Chinese companies. While a serious accusation, BlackRock’s alleged behavior didn’t start with China. It is merely the latest manifestation of a well planned and orchestrated effort to use the capital markets to fund a new world order, where overt Communists and fascist-adjacent corporations control every aspect of government, society and even one's life… all while enriching themselves and living outside the rules they establish for everyone else.
Led by CEO, Larry Fink, BlackRock is the world’s largest investment bank, with $9.1 trillion in assets under management. With such undeniable power, Mr. Fink has bragged about his intention to force companies to change their behavior. "Behaviors are going to have to change and this is one thing we are asking companies, you have to force behaviors and at Blackrock, we are forcing behaviors."
The social and political change Fink and his colleagues seek must necessarily be forced, because their desired change cannot withstand scrutiny in the arena of ideas, the marketplace, and now potentially not even the realm of law. But forced change is expensive. So Fink and his investment bank cohorts have been re-orientating the capital markets by changing investment focus using clients' money, and possibly without investors' full knowledge. These advocates of societal and political control are funding their proposed future society, while also greatly enriching themselves.
But for the select committee that's just announced its investigation of BlackRock, such hubris is undaunting. The committee notified Fink about its investigation in a letter in which they claim that BlackRock has used investor capital to invest in multiple blacklisted Chinese companies identified by the U.S. intelligence community as entities that develop and build weapons for the CCP military. According to reports, the companies present national security risks, use or support forced labor, or are affiliated with China’s military and security apparatus. The committee estimates that five BlackRock funds have more than $429 million invested in Chinese companies “against the interests of” the U.S.
It is unconscionable for any U.S. company to profit from investments that fuel the military advancement of America’s foremost foreign adversary and facilitate human rights abuses.
A sophisticated "global citizen," known for his high-minded, preachy diatribes about a range of topics including the need to use the phrase “compassionate capitalism,” instead of ESG to describe the mechanism with which he and his globalist colleagues are re-orienting the capital markets, Fink knows well that any company that manufactures weapons, blacklisted or not, for the Chinese government, IS the Chinese government.
Deepening the seriousness of the select committee’s claim come new revelations that the Chinese military is providing weapons to the Russian military in their war against Ukraine. The committee now must confront the possibility that BlackRock is funding the Russian side through its investments in these blacklisted Chinese government-controlled companies using U.S. investor capital without investor knowledge and in violation of U.S. law.
Rich Trzupek wrote about the apparent scientific illiteracy of the “climate change” crowd.
Here's an exciting development: scientists and policy-makers working tirelessly to solve the “climate crisis” have come up with a solution: generate more carbon dioxide! Who woulda thunk it? I know, I know, you're thinking that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the problem. That is so 2020 of you. The alarmists have concluded that methane is the bigger problem. How do you get rid of methane? You burn it. What do you get when you burn methane? Carbon dioxide. Problem solved!
The reason that our planetary saviors want to burn methane involves the idea of global warming potential or GWP. This is a measure of how powerful one greenhouse gas is relative to others. The units are carbon dioxide equivalence or CO2e. If a particular gas is two times as powerful a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide then it's GWP is two CO2e. Two tons of compound “N” in the atmosphere which has a GWP of 10 CO2e is equivalent to 20 tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Methane used to have GWP of 21. That was increased a few years ago to 25 and will no doubt continue to climb towards the top of the charts. The payback, figuratively anyway, for mitigating methane emissions is enormous. Burning a ton of methane, according to these mathematics, is the same as reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 24 tons. The Biden administration has recognized the value of reducing methane emissions and have set aside billions to incentivize people to reduce those emissions.
You can read a lot about efforts to cap abandoned petroleum wells and improving work practices to cut down on natural gas losses at active wells. That does happen and will continue to do so, but the more common and in some ways the most profitable route is to simply burn it. Recognizing this reality the EPA is in the process of rewriting regulations in a manner that will force more and more people -- especially in the petrochemical sector -- to send their waste methane to flares and other types of controls that can achieve the methane to carbon dioxide transformation.
Methane is thus getting a lot of attention these days, officially and unofficially. The frightening idea that increasing methane levels may lead to a “termination level transition” of the climate has gained some traction in recent months.
Since 2006, the amount of heat-trapping methane in Earth’s atmosphere has been rising fast, and, unlike the rise in carbon dioxide (CO₂), methane’s recent increase seems to be driven by biological emissions, not the burning of fossil fuels. This might just be ordinary variability — a result of natural climate cycles such as El Niño. Or it may signal that a great transition in Earth’s climate has begun.
What’s causing the increase? Mostly Mother Nature. Increases in vegetation, particularly in wetlands, generate methane as the plants die and decay. But a proper environmentalist can hardly be against wetlands! It’s much easier, and more profitable, to damn the usual suspects: industry in general and the oil and natural gas sectors in particular.
Tom Finnerty blogged about the drama at the opening of the annual Burning Man festival.
The annual hippie festival known as Burning Man kicked off a few days ago. Thousands of self-described "artists, makers, and community organizers" descended upon Nevada's Black Rock desert for the event, which is guided by the ten principles originally articulated by its founders nearly 40 years ago. These include "radical inclusion," "decommodification," and "radical self-expression." Yep, they're Lefties alright.
But there are those who think they're not Leftist enough. That's what attendees discovered this year as they sat in miles of dead-stop traffic because protestors from a group called Seven Circles had blocked the only road to the event, chaining themselves to a trailer while surrounded by painted signs reading things like “Abolish Capitalism” and “General Strike for Climate." The New York Post's report explains their rationale, such as it is:
The group says the protest was designed to draw attention to “capitalism’s inability to address climate’s ecological breakdown..." Seven Circles specifically claims that the annual arts and counter-culture festival’s goal of being carbon-negative by 2030 is “insufficient to tackle the pressing crisis.” It argues that Burning Man’s apolitical stance is “detrimental to its claimed values, especially as carbon emissions continue to rise."
"Apolitical" is a bit of a stretch -- once again, the type of people who attend this event tend to think of the Holodomor as sensible resource management, and that Comrade Stalin's only fault was that he didn't go far enough.
Now, the "burners" (along with a few locals, who had nothing to do with the festival) didn't entirely take this sitting down. Several of them confronted the protestors, shouting at them, trying to push them and their trailer out of the way, but without much success. A few of them tried to drive around the barricade, only to have protestors stand in the way, daring the drivers to run them down. Anyone who has paid attention to the Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil protests in Britain will recognize these tactics. But one thing that they don't have in Britain are police officers who are willing to do their job to defend public order. Thankfully -- as we got to see -- they do in the Black Rock desert.
There are multiple videos of this, from different angles, and that's helpful for seeing exactly how no-nonsense these cops are. The cops drive up and say what needs to be said: "Disband. Get off the highway. This is a state route. Everybody will be arrested if not. [You have] thirty seconds, send your leader to my vehicle, let's talk. Get off the f***kin' road." Shortly thereafter they drive right through the road block and arrest everyone.
The best part about it is that these weren't Nevada State Troopers. They were the Tribal Rangers of the local Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. As David Burge pointed out on Twitter, "Native American cops busting up a standoff between two tribes of white progressives is straight up comedy gold."
Peter Smith wrote about a particularly Australian form of environmentalist lawfare.
I recently wrote in The Pipeline about the Australian oil and gas company Santos being stopped from drilling in the Timor Sea by Tiwi islander Dennis Tipakalippa. The Tiwi islands are nearly 90 miles from Santos' Barossa gas project. Mr Tipakalippa claimed that he was not consulted and that the sea is like his community’s mother. A court and then an appeal court agreed. Of course they did. Was there any doubt?
Some months later, I read that Santos thinks it might shortly get the all clear. It shouldn’t bank on it. Isabelle Lami Lami, an inhabitant of Minjilang on Croker Island, yet some distance again from the drilling, claims that the consultation process with her people was perfunctory. Apparently, sacred sites in the sea could be harmed.
We also have our rainbow serpent, who protects us and our community; she cannot be disrupted, disturbed or harmed in any way.
There it is. We have to leave it to the CEO of Santos and his lawyers to wrestle with the challenge of persuading Ms Lami Lami, her fellow islanders, and maybe a leftist judge or two, that the rainbow serpent won’t be harmed in any way. I simply can’t imagine how that can be done. On the other hand, possibly the rainbow serpent can be appeased with bucket loads of money. Those who have not come face-to-face with the serpent in question can only speculate.
That’s all for this week, but keep a look out for our upcoming pieces at The Pipeline!