Discover more from This Week at The Pipeline
Volcanic Heat Waves; Sweaty Canadians; & Australian Electric Bills.
This past week, Steven Hayward wrote about the temperature.
It is hard to know who is getting the most satisfaction from this summer’s heat waves: air conditioning services, or "climate change" fanatics. According to the New York Times this week, “We Know What’s Causing This Heat,” as though Times readers needed to be told what to think about the weather. More normal people might well be skeptical of such a categorical conclusion from the same paper that just last week featured Paul Krugman filing a column entitled “Why We Should Politicize the Weather.”
Krugman is rather late to the idea, as the weather has been getting more politicized for a long time now. This week’s Times story asserts: “Extreme weather was around long before humans were burning fossil fuels, of course. Yet over the past couple hundred years, man-made emissions have heated the planet. And when the world is warmer, heat waves, hurricanes, droughts and fires all get more intense.”
In fact the most recent (2021) report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) does not support the common claims about drought, floods, hurricanes and other severe weather events. Not only does the last IPCC report find no clear trends, it offers “low confidence” in predictions of future trends.
The one exception is longer heat waves, which the IPCC says with “high confidence” have already begun. And yet the current heat waves both in the United States and in Europe, while lasting longer than average in some places like Arizona, is setting few new record highs. In the U.S., the EPA’s own “Heat Wave Index” for the continental states shows that the 1930s was by far the hottest decade of the last century.
The exploitation of this summer’s heat waves is yet another example of the situational “truth” of the climate campaign. Whenever an unusual cold weather anomaly occurs that cause some people to say “what global warming?,” the climate campaigners stamp their feet and assert, “Weather is not climate!” Which is correct, except for when extreme heat waves offer convenient scare headlines apparently.
Curiously the media has neglected to report several studies in the scientific literature over the last several months that posit the dramatic Hunga-Tonga volcano eruption in the South Pacific last year, which is estimated to have injected 40 trillion gallons of water vapor (a significant warming agent in our climate system) into the upper atmosphere might, in the words of Nature Climate Change, “increase the net radiative forcing. . . increasing the chance of the global surface temperature anomaly temporarily exceeding 1.5 degrees C over the coming decade.”
Science magazine separately reported that the Hunga-Tonga eruption may have increased upper atmospheric water vapor by as much as 5 percent, while a European study thought the increase in water vapor might be as high as 13 percent. While this effect will be temporary—just as Mount Pinatubo’s 1992 eruption cooled the planet by almost a degree for 18 months on account of its massive ejection of sulfate particles into the high atmosphere—might it account for slightly elevated heat waves this summer? (Hunga-Tonga emitted less than 2 percent as much sulfate as Pinatubo, which is why it does not portend any offsetting cooling effects.) You can count on this possible factor in this summer’s heat being suppressed in the media and by the climate enforcers.
Peter Smith took the time to walk us through his most recent electrical bill.
Before the last Australian election last year, the prime minister, as he’s since become, said on 97 occasions that annual household electricity prices would fall by $275 by 2025. Since then they have risen by considerably more than $275. And my retail electricity provider informed me just a few weeks ago that average household electricity bills would rise by a further $287.48 as from August 1. Very precise.
My latest quarterly bill says that I used 6.17 kilowatt-hours per day. Not so very much but then I use gas for heating, and have those new-fangled light bulbs to show off my green credentials. Though I’m feeling guilty because I was apparently responsible for spewing out 0.41 tonnes of greenhouse gas. Woe is me. Yet, I feel happy in knowing that I did my bit to benefit trees and crops and such. Sad happy, happy sad. Cognitive dissonance is not only faced by those suffering sexual dysphoria.
My bill is $248.19. This compares with last year’s bill for the same quarter of $219.37, when I used 6.54kWh per day. Hmm, usage down bill up? In fact my bill per kWh has increased by 20 percent over the year. And, as I said, more increases to come. My point is that electricity is getting dearer, which is passing strange in view of “the cheapest form of energy” increasing its footprint. Our climate-change minister, poor Chris Bowen, must be lying awake at night wondering what’s happening; though, fear not, his absolute faith in renewables is unlikely to be overturned by something as mundane as facts. To boot, it all rather dents Finkel’s optimism about producing green hydrogen at a competitive cost.
Let’s move to the broader stage, from households to wholesale markets, to get a better grasp on where electricity costs are in these days of saving the planet from a fiery fate. Electricity is not an easily tradeable good. So its price is not usually the same across different jurisdictions. Of course markets have their way of bringing things into alignment. One way, in this case, is by inducing industry to move from higher- to lower-priced electricity regions. And viola! De-industrialisation of the West continues and China wins yet again folks. But back to wholesale prices.
Tom Finnerty blogged about the unexpected general election in the Netherlands.
Earlier this month the Netherland's coalition government fell apart, leading Mark Rutte -- the longest serving prime minister in Dutch history -- to announce his resignation and for elections to be called for the fall. The proximate cause of all of this was immigration, a topic which has been roiling most of European politics since Angela Merkel's infamous decision to open the E.U.'s borders to a nearly unlimited number of migrants from Africa and the Middle East in 2015….
But looking a little deeper, it is easy to see that this has a lot to do with the effect that the farmers have had on the nation's politics over the past year. That's because Rutte's rationale for taking a hardline stance on immigration was to get ahead of the Farmers-Citizen Movement (BBB), the political party that has declared war on his government's anti-farming policies and which shocked European politics watchers in March by winning the most seats (tied with the Green Party) in the Dutch senate elections and becoming the largest party in all twelve Dutch provinces in their regional elections.
BBB leader Caroline Van der Plas had already called for caps on refugees admitted to the country, saying that the government had to look at "how many genuine asylum seekers Netherlands can reasonably cope with." Meanwhile, BBB's negotiations with the Rutte government over scaling back his environmental policies, which included mandatory reduction of cattle numbers and compulsory farm sales, broke down shortly before this immigration fight came to a head.
Recent polls have found BBB to have tied, or even slightly overtaken, Rutte's VVD, as the biggest party in Holland. Journalists have started asking Van der Plas if she thinks she will end up as prime minister. Her answer: “If it comes, it comes.”
Finnerty also wrote about a new scheme from the government of Ontario which will no doubt make its way down to the U.S. before too long.
The government of Ontario -- currently presided over by the Progressive Conservative (a contradiction in terms) premier Doug Ford -- recently announced plans to offer a "$75 prepaid credit card in exchange for giving their smart thermostat manufacturer secure access to the device." You read that right -- for the price of about three-quarters of one evening out with your wife, you too could give some bureaucrat somewhere authority to adjust the temperature in your house to their liking. Such a deal!
The government says the adjustment would typically last for no more than three hours, wouldn’t be on weekends or holidays, and participants can opt out of any temperature change.
Well, of course they say that... now. But once they have the keys to the car, what's gonna stop them from taking it for a joyride? Because their obsession with what goes on in the privacy of our homes isn't going to fade once they have the access and authority to actually control it.
And, finally, our very own acclimatised beauty Jenny Kennedy, spends some time at sea.
That’s all for this week, but keep a look out for our upcoming articles at The Pipeline!