Data Show Wind Power Messed Up Texas

Yes, with hindsight you can blame Texas for not winter weather proofing fossil fuel supplies as places do in more northern latitudes.  But it was over-reliance on wind power that caused the problem and made it intractable.  John Peterson explains in his TalkMarkets article How Wind Power Caused The Great Texas Blackout Of 2021.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

  • The State of Texas is suffering from a catastrophic power grid failure that’s left 4.3 million homes without electricity, including 1.3 million homes in Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city.
  • While talking heads, politicians, and the press are blaming fossil fuels and claiming that more renewables are the solution, hard data from the Energy Information Administration paints a very different picture.
  • The generation failures that led to The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 began at 6 pm on Sunday. Wind power fell from 36% of nameplate capacity to 22% before midnight and plummeted to 3% of nameplate capacity by 8 pm on Monday.
  • While power producers quickly ramped production to almost 90% of dedicated natural gas capacity, a combination of factors including shutdowns for scheduled maintenance and a statewide increase in natural gas demand began to overload safety systems and set-off a cascade of shutdowns.
  • While similar overload-induced shutdowns followed suit in coal and nuclear plants, the domino effect began with ERCOT’s reckless reliance on unreliable wind power.

The ERCOT grid has 85,281 MW of operational generating capacity if no plants are offline for scheduled maintenance. Under the “Winter Fuel Types” tab of its Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report dated December 16, 2020, ERCOT described its operational generating capacity by fuel source as follows:

Since power producers frequently take gas-fired plants offline for scheduled maintenance in February and March when power demand is typically low, ERCOT’s systemwide generating capacity was less than 85 GW and its total power load was 59.6 GW at 9:00 am on Valentines Day. By 8:00 pm, power demand has surged to 68 GW (14%). Then hell froze over. Over the next 24 hours, statewide power production collapsed to 43.5 GW (36%) and millions of households were plunged into darkness in freezing weather conditions.

I went to the US Energy Information Administration’s website and searched for hourly data on electricity production by fuel source in the State of Texas. The first treasure I found was this line graph that shows electricity generation by fuel source from 12:01 am on February 10th through 11:59 pm on February 16th.

The second and more important treasure was a downloadable spreadsheet file that contained the hourly data used to build the graph. An analysis of the hourly data shows:

  • Wind power collapsing from 9 GW to 5.45 GW between 6 pm and 11:59 pm on the 14th with natural gas ramping from 41 GW to 43 GW during the same period.
  • Wind power falling from 5.45 GW to 0.65 GW between 12:01 am and 8:00 pm on the 15th with natural gas spiking down from 40.4 GW to 33 GW between 2 am and 3 am as excess demand caused a cascade of safety events that took gas-fired plants offline.
  • Coal power falling from 11.1 GW to 7.65 GW between 2:00 am and 3:00 pm on the 15th as storm-related demand overwhelmed generating capacity.
  • Nuclear power falling from 5.1 GW to 3.8 GW at 7:00 am on the 15th as storm-related demand overwhelmed generating capacity.

The following table summarizes the capacity losses of each class of generating assets.

The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 was a classic domino-effect chain reaction where unreliable wind power experienced a 40% failure before gas-fired power plants began to buckle under the strain of an unprecedented winter storm. There were plenty of failures by the time the dust settled, but ERCOT’s reckless reliance on unreliable wind power set up the chain of dominoes that brought untold suffering and death to Texas residents.

The graph clearly shows that during their worst-performing hours:

  • Natural gas power plants produced at least 60.2% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 97% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day;
  • Coal-fired power plants produced at least 15.6% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 95% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day;
  • Nuclear power plants produced at least 7.5% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 97% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day; and
  • Wind power plants produced 1.5% of the power available to Texas consumers, or 11% of their relative contribution to power supplies at 6:00 pm on Valentine’s day; and
  • Solar power plants did what solar power plants do and had no meaningful impact.

Conclusion

Now that temperatures have moderated, things are getting back to normal, and The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 is little more than an unpleasant memory. While some Texas consumers are up in arms over blackout-related injuries, the State has rebounded, and many of us believe a few days of inconvenience is a fair price to pay for decades of cheap electric power. I think the inevitable investigations and public hearings will be immensely entertaining. I hope they lead to modest reforms of the free-wheeling ERCOT market that prevent irresponsible action from low-cost but wildly unreliable electricity producers from wind turbines.

Over the last year, wind stocks like Vestas Wind Systems (VWDRY) TPI Composites (TPIC) Northland Power (NPIFF), American Superconductor (AMSC), and NextEra Energy (NEE) have soared on market expectations of unlimited future growth. As formal investigations into the root cause of The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 proceed to an inescapable conclusion that unreliable wind power is not suitable for use in advanced economies, I think market expectations are likely to turn and turn quickly. I won’t be surprised if the blowback from The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 rapidly bleeds over to other overvalued sectors that rely on renewables as the heart of their raison d’etre, including vehicle electrification.

Biden’s Bizarre Climate Charade

David Krayden explains in his Human Events article Joe Biden Thinks He’s Tackling Climate Change, but He’s Really Sacking the U.S. Economy.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds and images.

The Paris Accords and cancelling Keystone is just the beginning of life under the new climate regime.

President Biden’s vision is to “lead a clean energy revolution” that will free the United States from the “pollution” of carbon dioxide by 2035 and have “net-zero emissions” by 2050.

Of course, the President himself will likely not be around to see if the United States achieves either target, even if his insane plan survives successive administration. Instead, he sits in his chair like a languorous old man assiduously reading his speaking notes from his desk, looking like he is under house arrest. Still, he is governing—or at least, appearing to do so—by executive order, and the sheer mass of those dictates is not just staggering but terrifying.

The new President had barely warmed his Oval Office seat when he announced that the U.S. would return to the Paris climate accord—a job-destroying bit of global authoritarianism that is not worth the diplomatic paper it is printed on, let alone the lavish parties staged while it was being negotiated. Then, he quickly produced an executive order to cancel the XL pipeline. With the flash of another one of those pens that Biden runs through on a daily basis, he canceled 10,000 jobs in the U.S., along with another 3,000 in Canada. And this in the midst of a pandemic that even Biden has called our “dark winter!” Even uber-environmentalist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports the XL pipeline, and promptly said so.

Has President Biden discovered the miracle fuel that is going to make petroleum obsolescent and put the oil industry out of business—even before his administration decides to do it for them? Is that what he was up to during all those months when he cowered in his basement instead of campaigning for the presidency? Clearly, the Biden administration has not thought this through beyond the talking points.

Whether the President chooses to acknowledge it or not, oil will continue to be the principal source of energy for American consumers for quite some time to come—at least until perpetual motion is discovered. That oil that the XL pipeline was supposed to transport from America’s closest ally—Canada—will now have to be brought in by rail, a potentially more dangerous and far less environmentally friendly method than a pipeline.

Fossil fuels remain the overwhelming source of all of America’s energy needs: petroleum and natural gas account for 69% of energy usage, coal 11%, and nuclear power 8%. Renewable energy accounts for 11%, and that includes the wood you burn in the fireplace or woodstove every winter. Solar and wind power account for only a fraction of that 11%.

So clearly, with all his activist policy around climate change, President Biden has America on track for a return trip to the Middle Ages.

And like they did in the Middle Ages, the President expects Americans to have blind faith in the climate change priests who will be integral to his administration. If you don’t think the climate change movement is a religion or at least a passable cult, just listen to how its adherents talk about environmental policy. When Democrats were trying to convince us that the California wildfires were somehow the result of climate change, and not just bad forestry management, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sounding more like a pagan devotee than the good Catholic she claims to be, exploded: “Mother earth is angry, she is telling us. Whether she’s telling us with hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, whatever it is, the climate crisis is real.”

So if climate change is the culprit for every Act of God, will President Biden’s plan for Americans to live in caves and shut off the heat actually work? Not without China’s cooperation, where 29% of greenhouse gasses are emitted. Without addressing that reality, we’ll continue to spend untold trillions, lose the energy independence that we gained under former President Donald Trump, and sit in the dark, while China continues to play by its own rules—just as it has throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

What is so undemocratic about President Biden’s climate change plan is that it has been served up as an executive order, without debate, and without Congressional approval. What is so ominous about it is not its specificity—which sounds relatively harmless—but its vagueness and political potential. It’s a veritable environmental Enabling Act that can be used to justify any economic dictate, any security violation, or any foreign policy entanglement. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) publicity advised Biden to “call a climate emergency … He can do many, many things under the emergency powers… that he could do without legislation.”

Even the President’s promise to replace the federal government’s gas-operating vehicles with electrical-powered versions is contained in another executive order to “buy American.”

The Biden administration is lying about the economic opportunities embedded in green energy, and its decision to “tackle” climate change is a blatant attempt to appease the left-wing Democrats who see Biden as their puppet. In the process, as he is doing with so many of these executive orders,

President Biden is destroying the American economy and naively trusting that brutal dictatorships like China will surrender before a bourgeois fetish like a greenhouse gas reduction target.

So much will be lost for nothing except America’s further prostration to China.

Ending Wind and Solar Parasites

What’s the Problem with Electricity Rates?

This new Prager video explains (H/T Mark Krebs)

Background from Previous Post:

Norman Rogers writes at American Thinker What It Will Take for the Wind and Solar Industries to Collapse. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The solar electricity industry is dependent on federal government subsidies for building new capacity. The subsidy consists of a 30% tax credit and the use of a tax scheme called tax equity finance. These subsidies are delivered during the first five years.

For wind, there is subsidy during the first five to ten years resulting from tax equity finance. There is also a production subsidy that lasts for the first ten years.

The other subsidy for wind and solar, not often characterized as a subsidy, is state renewable portfolio laws, or quotas, that require that an increasing portion of a state’s electricity come from renewable sources. Those state mandates result in wind and solar electricity being sold via profitable 25-year power purchase contracts. The buyer is generally a utility with good credit. The utilities are forced to offer these terms in order to cause sufficient supply to emerge to satisfy the renewable energy quotas.

The rate of return from a wind or solar investment can be low and credit terms favorable because the investors see the 25-year contract by a creditworthy utility as a guarantee of a low risk of default. If the risk were to be perceived as higher, then a higher rate of return and a higher interest rate on loans would be demanded. That in turn would increase the price of the electricity generated.

The bankruptcy of PG&E, the largest California utility, has created some cracks in the façade. A bankruptcy judge has ruled that cancellation of up to $40 billion in long-term energy contracts is a possibility. These contracts are not essential or needed to preserve the supply of electricity because they are mostly for wind or solar electricity supply that varies with the weather and can’t be counted on. As a consequence, there has to exist and does exist the necessary infrastructure to supply the electricity needs without the wind or solar energy.

Probably the judge will be overruled for political reasons, or the state will step in with a bailout. Utilities have to keep operating, no matter what. Ditching wind and solar contracts would make California politicians look foolish because they have long touted wind and solar as the future of energy.

PG&E is in bankruptcy because California applies strict liability for damages from forest fires started by electric lines, no matter who is really at fault. Almost certainly the government is at fault for not anticipating the danger of massive fires and for not enforcing strict fire prevention and protection. Massive fire damage should be protected by insurance, not by the utility, even if the fire was started by a power line. The fire in question could just as well have been started by lightning or a homeless person. PG&E previously filed bankruptcy in 2001, also a consequence of abuse of the utility by the state government.

By far the most important subsidy is the renewable portfolio laws. Even if the federal subsidies are reduced, the quota for renewable energy will force price increases to keep the renewable energy industry in business, because it has to stay in business to supply energy to meet the quota. Other plausible methods of meeting the quota have been outlawed by the industry’s friends in the state governments. Nuclear and hydro, neither of which generates CO2 emissions, are not allowed. Hydro is not strictly prohibited — only hydro that involves dams and diversions. That is very close to all hydro. Another reason hydro is banned is that environmental groups don’t like dams.

For technical reasons, an electrical grid cannot run on wind or solar much more than 50% of the time. The fleet of backup plants must be online to provide adjustable output to compensate for erratic variations in wind or solar. Output has to be ramped up to meet early-evening peaks. Wind suffers from a cube power law, meaning that if the wind drops by 10%, the electricity drops by 30%. Solar suffers from too much generation in the middle of the day and not enough generation to meet early evening peaks in consumption.

When a “too much generation” situation happens, the wind or solar has to be curtailed. That means that the operators are told to stop delivering electricity. In many cases, they are not paid for the electricity they could have delivered. Some contracts require that they be paid according to a model that figures out how much they could have generated according to the recorded weather conditions. The more wind and solar, the more curtailments as the amount of erratic electricity approaches the allowable limits. Curtailment is an increasing threat, as quotas increase, to the financial health of wind and solar.

There is a movement to include batteries with solar installations to move excessive middle-of-the-day generation to the early evening. This is a palliative to extend the time before solar runs into the curtailment wall. The batteries are extremely expensive and wear out every five years.

Neither wind nor solar is competitive without subsidies. If the subsidies and quotas were taken away, no wind or solar operation outside very special situations would be built. Further, the existing installations would continue only as long as their contracts are honored and they are cash flow–positive. In order to be competitive, without subsidies, wind or solar would have to supply electricity for less than $20 per megawatt-hour, the marginal cost of generating the electricity with gas or coal. Only the marginal cost counts, because the fossil fuel plants have to be there whether or not there is wind or solar. Without the subsidies, quotas, and 25-year contracts, wind or solar would have to get about $100 per megawatt-hour for its electricity. That gap, between $100 and $20, is a wide chasm only bridged by subsidies and mandates.

The cost of using wind and solar for reducing CO2 emissions is very high. The most authoritative and sincere promoters of global warming loudly advocate using nuclear, a source that is not erratic, does not emit CO2 or pollution, and uses the cheapest fuel. One can buy carbon offsets for 10 or 20 times less than the cost of reducing CO2 emissions with wind or solar. A carbon offset is a scheme where the buyer pays the seller to reduce world emissions of CO2. This is done in a variety of ways by the sellers.

The special situations where wind and solar can be competitive are remote locations using imported oil to generate electricity. In those situations, the marginal cost of the electricity may be $200 per megawatt-hour or more. Newfoundland comes to mind — for wind, not solar.

Maintenance costs for solar are low. For wind, maintenance costs are high, and major components, such as propeller blades and gearboxes, may fail, especially as the turbines age. These heavy and awkward objects are located hundreds of feet above ground. There exists a danger that wind farms will fail once the inflation-protected subsidy of $24 per megawatt-hour runs out after ten years. At that point, turbines that need expensive repairs may be abandoned. Wind turbine graveyards from the first wind fad in the 1970s can be seen near Palm Springs, California. Wind farms can’t receive the production subsidy unless they can sell the electricity. That has resulted paying customers to “buy” the electricity.

Tehachapi’s dead turbines.

A significant financial risk is that the global warming narrative may collapse. If belief in the reality of the global warming threat collapses, then the major intellectual support for renewable energy will collapse. It is ironic that the promoters of global warming are campaigning to require companies to take into account the threat of global warming in their financial projections. If the companies do this in an honest manner, they also have to take into account the possibility that the threat will evaporate. My own best guess, after considerable technical study, is that it is near a sure thing that the threat of global warming is imaginary and largely invented by the people who benefit. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere has well understood positive effects for the growth of crops and the greening of deserts.

The conservative investors who make long-term investments in wind or solar may be underestimating the risks involved. For example, an article in Chief Investment Officer magazine stated that CalPERS, the giant California public employees retirement fund, is planning to expand investments in renewable energy, characterized as “stable cash flowing assets.” That article was written before the bankruptcy of PG&E. The article also stated that competition among institutional investors for top yielding investments in the alternative energy space is fierce.

Wind and solar are not competitive and never will be. They have been pumped up into supposedly solid investments by means of ill advised subsidies and mandates. At some point, the governments will wake up to the waste and foolishness involved. At that point, the value of these investments will collapse. It won’t be the first time that investment experts made bad investments because they don’t really understand what is going on.

Footnote:  There is also a report from GWPF on environmental degradation from industrial scale wind and solar:

Energy: Third Rail of US Politics

This third rail, used to power trains, would likely result in the death by electrocution of anyone who comes into direct contact with it.

Wikipedia:  The third rail of a nation’s politics is a metaphor for any issue so controversial that it is “charged” and “untouchable” to the extent that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject will invariably suffer politically. The metaphor comes from the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems.

On his first day in office Biden canceled the Keystone energy pipeline, and the backlash is immediate from the unions who supported him and now will suffer a punishing loss of middle-class jobs.

“Insulting”- Labor Unions That Endorsed Biden Now Lashing Out At Him is an article at Gateway Pundit.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Joe Biden has already made labor unions regret their support for him. 
He’s only been in office three days.

Several unions that eagerly endorsed President Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election are now learning the hard way what it means to support Democrat policies.

During his first day in office, the newly-inaugurated president revoked the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, thus destroying thousands of jobs.  And not just any jobs — but union jobs.

The Laborer’s International Union Of North America issued this statement:

“The Biden Administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on day one of his presidency is both insulting and disappointing to the thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle-class family-supporting jobs,”

“By blocking this 100-percent union project, and pandering to environmental extremists, a thousand union jobs will immediately vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will be foregone.”

This comes after LIUNA bragged about pushing Biden “over the top” in 2020.

The North American Building Trades Union said this:

“North America’s Building Trades Unions are deeply disappointed in the decision to cancel the Keystone XL permit on the President’s first official day in office. Environmental ideologues have now prevailed, and over a thousand union men and women have been terminated from employment on the project.

On a historic day that is filled with hope and optimism for so many Americans and people around the world, tens of thousands of workers are left to wonder what the future holds for them. In the midst of a pandemic that has claimed 400 thousand American lives and has wreaked havoc on the economic security and standard of living of tens of millions more, we must all stand in their shoes and acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety this government action has caused.”

The United Association Of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters released this statement about Biden canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit

“In revoking this permit, the Biden Administration has chosen to listen to the voices of fringe activists instead of union members and the American consumer on Day 1.”

Unions that backed Biden are finding out Biden works for radical Democrats, not labor unions.

 

Biden’s Unique Commemorative Coin

Update January 20: A unique commemorative coin for the new leader of the free world

Background from previous post Biden’s Damaging Climate Plans

President-elect Joe Biden looks to have the US rejoin the Paris Accords. AP

Bjorn Lomborg explains in his NY Post article Joe Biden’s climate-change plans will burn billions, won’t bring change we actually need.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and some images added.

Joe Biden will rejoin the Paris climate agreement soon after being inaugurated as president of the United States. Climate change, according to Biden, is “an existential threat” to the nation, and to combat it, he proposes to spend $500 billion each year on climate policies — the equivalent of $1,500 per person.

Let’s get real. Climate is a man-made problem. But Biden’s climate alarmism is almost entirely wrong. Asking people to spend $1,500 every year is unsustainable when surveys show a majority is unwilling to spend even $24 per year on climate. And policies like Paris will fix little at a high cost. Biden is right to highlight the problem, but he needs a smarter way forward.

The climate alarm is poorly founded.

Take hurricanes. Last year, you undoubtedly heard that climate change made hurricanes “record-setting.” Actually, 2020 was above average in the North Atlantic partly because of the natural La Niña phenomenon, and only record-setting in that satellites could spot more storms.

When measured by total hurricane-damage potential, the 2020 North Atlantic was not even in the top 10. And almost everywhere else on the planet, hurricanes were far below average. Globally, 2020 ranked as one of the weakest hurricane years in the 40-year satellite record.

We think 2020 was big on hurricanes because we read carefully curated stories about where and when they hit, but we don’t see stories about the many more places where they don’t hit.

The UN Climate Panel, the gold standard of climate science, tells us that the total impact of climate change in the 2070s will be equivalent to an average income reduction of 0.2 to 2 percent. Which means that humans as a whole will be only a fraction less prosperous in a much richer world than they would be without climate change.

Rejoining the Paris agreement will solve very little at a high cost. By the UN’s estimates, if all ­nations live up to all their promises, they will reduce global temperature by less than 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

And Paris is costly, because it forces economies to use less or more expensive energy. Across many studies, the drag to the economies is estimated at between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in lost GDP every year after 2030.

Yes, green spending will predictably increase green jobs. But because subsidies will be paid by higher taxes on the rest of the economy, an equal number of jobs will disappear elsewhere.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson excitedly talks about 5 million new green jobs, while his advisers now warn him that 10 million other jobs could be at risk.

For Americans, President Barack Obama’s Paris promises carried a price tag of nearly $200 billion a year. But Biden has vowed to go much further, with a promise of net-zero by 2050. There is only one nation that has done an independent cost estimate of net-zero, namely New Zealand. The Kiwis found the average best-case cost is 16 percent of GDP, or a US cost of more than $5 trillion a year by mid-century.

These figures are unsustainable. Moreover, the US and other developed countries can achieve very little on their own. Imagine if Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries stopped all their emissions today and never bounced back. This would be utterly devastating economically yet would reduce global warming by the end of the century by less than 0.8 degrees.

That’s because three-quarters of this century’s emissions will come from the rest of the world, especially China, India, Africa and Latin America. Developing nations are unlikely to accept slower economic growth to address a 2 percent problem 50 years from now.

There is a smarter way: investing a lot more in green-energy ­research and development. As Bill Gates says, “We’re short about two dozen great innovations” to fix climate. If we could innovate the price of green energy below fossil fuels, everyone would switch, eventually fixing climate change.

The policies would be cheaper and much more likely to be implemented. Fortunately, R&D is one of Biden’s promises, and he will have a much easier time with Congress if he makes it his focus.

Bjorn Lomborg is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. His new book is “False Alarm.”

Joe Biden’s climate agenda is all about creating a crisis — not actually fixing one

Biden’s Damaging Climate Plans

President-elect Joe Biden looks to have the US rejoin the Paris Accords. AP

Update January 20: A unique commemorative coin for the new leader of the free world

Bjorn Lomborg explains in his NY Post article Joe Biden’s climate-change plans will burn billions, won’t bring change we actually need.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and some images added.

Joe Biden will rejoin the Paris climate agreement soon after being inaugurated as president of the United States. Climate change, according to Biden, is “an existential threat” to the nation, and to combat it, he proposes to spend $500 billion each year on climate policies — the equivalent of $1,500 per person.

Let’s get real. Climate is a man-made problem. But Biden’s climate alarmism is almost entirely wrong. Asking people to spend $1,500 every year is unsustainable when surveys show a majority is unwilling to spend even $24 per year on climate. And policies like Paris will fix little at a high cost. Biden is right to highlight the problem, but he needs a smarter way forward.

The climate alarm is poorly founded.

Take hurricanes. Last year, you undoubtedly heard that climate change made hurricanes “record-setting.” Actually, 2020 was above average in the North Atlantic partly because of the natural La Niña phenomenon, and only record-setting in that satellites could spot more storms.

When measured by total hurricane-damage potential, the 2020 North Atlantic was not even in the top 10. And almost everywhere else on the planet, hurricanes were far below average. Globally, 2020 ranked as one of the weakest hurricane years in the 40-year satellite record.

We think 2020 was big on hurricanes because we read carefully curated stories about where and when they hit, but we don’t see stories about the many more places where they don’t hit.

The UN Climate Panel, the gold standard of climate science, tells us that the total impact of climate change in the 2070s will be equivalent to an average income reduction of 0.2 to 2 percent. Which means that humans as a whole will be only a fraction less prosperous in a much richer world than they would be without climate change.

Rejoining the Paris agreement will solve very little at a high cost. By the UN’s estimates, if all ­nations live up to all their promises, they will reduce global temperature by less than 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

And Paris is costly, because it forces economies to use less or more expensive energy. Across many studies, the drag to the economies is estimated at between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in lost GDP every year after 2030.

Yes, green spending will predictably increase green jobs. But because subsidies will be paid by higher taxes on the rest of the economy, an equal number of jobs will disappear elsewhere.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson excitedly talks about 5 million new green jobs, while his advisers now warn him that 10 million other jobs could be at risk.

For Americans, President Barack Obama’s Paris promises carried a price tag of nearly $200 billion a year. But Biden has vowed to go much further, with a promise of net-zero by 2050. There is only one nation that has done an independent cost estimate of net-zero, namely New Zealand. The Kiwis found the average best-case cost is 16 percent of GDP, or a US cost of more than $5 trillion a year by mid-century.

These figures are unsustainable. Moreover, the US and other developed countries can achieve very little on their own. Imagine if Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries stopped all their emissions today and never bounced back. This would be utterly devastating economically yet would reduce global warming by the end of the century by less than 0.8 degrees.

That’s because three-quarters of this century’s emissions will come from the rest of the world, especially China, India, Africa and Latin America. Developing nations are unlikely to accept slower economic growth to address a 2 percent problem 50 years from now.

There is a smarter way: investing a lot more in green-energy ­research and development. As Bill Gates says, “We’re short about two dozen great innovations” to fix climate. If we could innovate the price of green energy below fossil fuels, everyone would switch, eventually fixing climate change.

The policies would be cheaper and much more likely to be implemented. Fortunately, R&D is one of Biden’s promises, and he will have a much easier time with Congress if he makes it his focus.

Bjorn Lomborg is president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. His new book is “False Alarm.”

Joe Biden’s climate agenda is all about creating a crisis — not actually fixing one

 

SCOTUS Game Over for Climate Lawsuits?

Guy Caruso writes at Real Climate Energy Supreme Court Hearing Should Signal Shift From Baseless Lawsuits to Realistic Climate Solutions  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

For years, energy manufacturers have helped drive down U.S. carbon emissions by unleashing a flood of home-grown, low-carbon natural gas, reducing America’s carbon footprint even as we use more energy. At the same time, despite emissions reduction progress, a handful of cities and counties including Baltimore, New York City, and Washington, DC among others have sued energy manufacturers in the name of climate change, spurred on by ambitious trial attorneys and imaginative legal theories.

Federal law is clear, though, with the Supreme Court clearly ruling in American Electric Power v. Connecticut in 2011 that it’s EPA’s job to regulate carbon emissions. That’s why trial attorneys have fought so hard to move climate lawsuits to state courts and that’s why a January 19th Supreme Court hearing could be so important.

Major energy firms have asked justices to send Baltimore’s climate lawsuit to federal court, creating a potential legal precedent that could effectively sink the climate lawsuit cottage industry.

Let’s be honest. Climate lawsuits aren’t really about climate anyway. For example, while attorneys argue publicly that such lawsuits are about reducing fossil fuel use in the name of climate, their filings seek only damages, not regulation of emissions or other policies that would actually help our climate. And the so-called damages? While cities like Oakland claim billions in climate change damages in legal filings, they sing a different tune in bond offerings, with Oakland officials saying they are “unable to predict” climate change’s impact on the city. The Manufacturers’ Accountability Project examined the motivations driving these lawsuits in a recent report. The report found that University of Oregon School of Law Professor Mary Christina Wood, who is involved in advancing climate lawsuit strategies stated,

“Building sea walls and repairing roads won’t do anything to fix our global climate system, but it will drain the profits of the fossil fuel companies.”

It’s not just hypocrisy that’s the problem. Climate lawsuits are actually counterproductive when you consider that energy manufacturers have made great strides in reducing emissions, addressing climate change, and pursuing clean energy technology and innovative solutions. In fact, increased energy supplies are driving climate gains. A new Energy Information Administration report says natural gas hydraulic fracturing and competitive energy markets are to credit for reducing U.S. carbon emissions, not government regulation. A switch from coal to natural gas has accounted for more than half the nation’s emissions reductions since 2010, with energy-related carbon emissions in the U.S. dropping 2.8% last year alone. Energy supplies, not government mandates, are why the International Energy Agency has credited the U.S. for achieving the largest absolute decline in carbon emissions of any nation since 2000.

Another major driver in these climate gains? The very manufacturing sector targeted with lawsuits. American manufacturers have reduced their carbon footprint 21 percent over the past decade while their economic value has increased 18 percent. For example, ExxonMobil is cutting greenhouse gas emissions to support Paris Agreement climate change goals. In December the energy firm announced plans for aggressive reductions in emissions, notably methane, over the next five years to help meet global net zero emissions goals. Chevron is taking action to reduce GHG emissions by about 5 million metric tons per year, while ConocoPhillips, Shell, and BP all have similar plans to use ingenuity and best practices to be part of the climate solution. Working together with industry could be a major path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. [My comment: See post Why Net Zero CO2 is Social Suicide]

Climate lawsuits are legally flimsy and impractical. These suits are infused with the inherent danger of targeting the very energy manufacturers who are active and leading participants in reducing carbon emissions to lower global temperatures. Instead of taking us farther down this counterproductive path, public officials should seek real solutions instead of more lawsuits. U.S. Supreme Court justices have an important opportunity in January to pull the plug on unhelpful climate lawsuits and allow us all to focus instead on the monumental challenges that face our planet.

Background from previous post on Frivolous Climate Lawsuits

Craig Richardson writes at Real Clear Energy The Supreme Court Is Taking Critical Step Towards Resolving Frivolous Climate Suits. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Sometimes the most important Supreme Court decisions are overlooked because of their technical nature. That is the case with the Supreme Court’s choice to hear jurisdictional claims in B.P. P.L.C., et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore.

The Court’s ruling will either allow cities to pursue superfluous nuisance claims against energy companies in state courts or limit the suits to federal courts that are less prone to accept broad liability claims.

These jurisdictional claims are significant because they set the appropriate scope of appellate review for these suits. Lawsuits predicated on federal laws and involving federal officers’ actions should be decided at the federal level. By agreeing to hear arguments in the Baltimore case, the Supreme Court is taking a crucial step towards setting a consistent legal playing field.

The Supreme Court will not rule on the merits of Baltimore’s claims. Instead, they will decide whether the defendants can appeal a jurisdictional claim after a federal court rejects it.

Under existing law, it is clear the defendant can appeal aspects of the decision, but not whether the whole claim is fair game. A ruling in favor of the defendants would force multiple Circuit Courts to reevaluate their previous rulings and rehear jurisdictional claims by the energy companies.

Even though the justices won’t decide on the merits, the key is the context of Baltimore’s lawsuit. For years, city and state officials have been – in partnership with trial lawyers and leftist environmental groups – twisting the meaning of public nuisance laws to sue energy companies for their alleged contributions to climate change, even though these companies aren’t breaking the law. In recent months, localities have filed even more suits, making it especially important that lower courts know whether these cases should be resolved at the federal or state level.

These suits aren’t about helping the environment but are filed by leftist politicians and their backers hoping to score political points as they desperately attempt to fill their city or state coffers.

A senior Rhode Island official said the state’s climate lawsuit was designed to create a “sustainable funding stream” for Rhode Island. The state is desperate for funding because decades of big-spending policies have left Rhode Island officials with a budget deficit approaching $160 million.

In another instance, San Mateo County filed a lawsuit claiming there was a 93% risk of deadly floods by 2050 while telling municipal investors they had nothing to worry about. The S.E.C. is now investigating the county for fraud, and it is clear its lawsuit is motivated by politics, not science.

Instead of addressing climate change or working to build a sustainable future, leftist officials are trying to profit off energy companies, which would drive up the cost for all Americans. Given the clear political undertones of these cases, and the potential devastating impact on the U.S. economy, they must receive a fair hearing in a neutral venue.

It shouldn’t be surprising that state and city officials are fighting to have the cases heard in the state courts, the most favorable jurisdictions possible for them. Local officials are confident they can find a state judge who will issue a broad ruling against the energy companies, which would be difficult to overturn on appeal, regardless of the merits.

This outcome would be a disaster for energy companies and their customers, who would have to worry about individual state judges’ whims. These judges could create a mishmash of legal rulings that ends up being totally incoherent. It is easy to imagine a scenario where the defendants prevail in most of these frivolous lawsuits but lose a few in unfriendly jurisdictions and all of us will pay the price monetarily.

Additionally, state courts shouldn’t be addressing national political issues, especially on climate change, an issue that in the past the Supreme Court ruled should be handled by Congress and the president, not state courts. If laws need to be changed, Congress should change them, instead of having individual judges legislate from the bench. Some courts have already dismissed similar climate suits for this very reason.

Allowing state courts to decide debates of global importance is a recipe for disaster.

Generally, federal courts “are far less likely, as a whole and with some exceptions, to be willing to entertain expansive theories of liability than state courts,” according to George Mason University law professor Donald Kochan. This means federal courts are unlikely to perform legal gymnastics to try and hold energy companies accountable when it is clear they are operating within the law and have permits from the government.

Xmas 2020: Twelve Forgotten Principles of Public Health

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research centers on developing new epidemiological and statistical methods for the early detection and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and for post-market drug and vaccine safety surveillance. This holiday gift remembrance is collected from Dr. Kulldorff’s twitter thread courtesy of AIER, which also includes links to articles adding depth to the 12 points. Tweets in italics with my bolds.

  1. Public health is about all health outcomes, not just a single disease like Covid-19. It is important to also consider harms from public health measures. More.

  2. Public health is about the long term rather than the short term. Spring Covid lockdowns simply delayed and postponed the pandemic to the fall. More.

  3. Public health is about everyone. It should not be used to shift the burden of disease from the affluent to the less affluent, as the lockdowns have done. More.

  4. Public health is global. Public health scientists need to consider the global impact of their recommendations. More.

  5. Risks and harms cannot be completely eliminated, but they can be reduced. Elimination and zero-Covid strategies backfire, making things worse. More.

  6. Public health should focus on high-risk populations. For Covid-19, many standard public health measures were never used to protect high-risk older people, leading to unnecessary deaths. More.

  7. While contact tracing and isolation are critically important for some infectious diseases, it is futile and counterproductive for common infections such as influenza and Covid-19. More.

  8. A case is only a case if a person is sick. Mass testing asymptomatic individuals is harmful to public health. More.

  9. Public health is about trust. To gain the trust of the public, public health officials and the media must be honest and trust the public. Shaming and fear should never be used in a pandemic. More.

  10. Public health scientists and officials must be honest with what is not known. For example, epidemic models should be run with the whole range of plausible input parameters. More.

  11. In public health, open civilized debate is profoundly critical. Censoring, silencing and smearing leads to fear of speaking, herd thinking and distrust. More.

  12. It is important for public health scientists and officials to listen to the public, who are living the public health consequences. This pandemic has proved that many non-epidemiologists understand public health better than some epidemiologists. More.

Dr. Martin Kulldorff

California: World Leading Climate Hypocrite Updated Dec. 23, 2020

Update following below Dec. 23, 2020 Has Progressive Californication Peaked?

California’s Climate Extremism
Joel Kotkin reports from the Golden State. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The pursuit of environmental purity in the Golden State does nothing to reverse global warming—but it’s costing the poor and middle class dearly.

Environmental extremism increasingly dominates California. The state is making a concerted attack on energy companies in the courts; a bill is pending in the legislature to fine waiters $1,000—or jail them—if they offer people plastic straws; and UCLA issued a report describing pets as a climate threat. The state has taken upon itself the mission of limiting the flatulence of cows and other farm animals. As the self-described capital of the anti-Trump resistance, California presents itself as the herald of a green, more socially and racially just society. That view has been utterly devastated by a new report from Chapman University, in which coauthors David Friedman and Jennifer Hernandez demonstrate that California’s draconian anti-climate-change regime has exacerbated economic, geographic, and racial inequality. And to make things worse, California’s efforts to save the planet have actually done little more than divert greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG) to other states and countries.

Jerry Brown’s return to Sacramento in 2011 brought back to power one of the first American politicians to embrace the “limits of growth.” Brown has long worried about resource depletion (including such debunked notions as “peak oil”), taken a Malthusian approach to population growth, and opposed middle-class suburban development. Like many climate-change activists, he has limitless confidence in the possibility for engineering a green socially just society through “the coercive power of the state,” but little faith that humans can find ways to address the challenge of climate change. If Brown’s “era of limits” message in the 1970s failed to catch on with the state’s voters, who promptly elected two Republican governors in his wake, he has found in climate change a more effective rallying cry, albeit one that often teeters at the edge of hysteria. Few politicians can outdo Brown for alarmism; recently, he predicted that climate change will cause 3 to 4 billion deaths, leading eventually to human extinction. To save the planet, he openly endorses a campaign to brainwash the masses.

The result: relentless ratcheting-up of climate-change policies. In 2016, the state committed to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. In response, the California Air Resource Board (CARB), tasked with making the rules required to achieve the state’s legislated goals, took the opportunity to set policies for an (unlegislated) target of an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.

Brown and his supporters often tout their policies as in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, note Friedman and Hernandez, but California’s reductions under the agreement require it to make cutbacks double those pledged by Germany and other stalwart climate-committed countries, many of which have actually increased their emissions in recent years, despite their Paris pledges.

Governor Brown has preened in Paris, at the Vatican, in China, in newspapers, and on national television. But few have considered how his policies have worked out in practice. California is unlikely to achieve even its modest 2020 goals; nor is it cutting emissions faster than other states lacking such dramatic legislative mandates. Since 2007, when the Golden State’s “landmark” global-warming legislation was passed, California has accounted for barely 5 percent of the nation’s GHG reductions. The combined total reductions achieved over the past decade by Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana are about 5 times greater than California’s. Even Texas, that bogeyman of fossil-fuel excess, has been reducing its per-capita emissions more rapidly.

In fact, virtually nothing that California does will have an impact on global climate. California per-capita emissions have always been relatively low, due to the mild climate along the coast, which reduces the need for much energy consumption on heating and cooling. In 2010, the state accounted for less than 1 percent of global GHG emissions; the disproportionately large reductions sought by state activists and bureaucrats would have no discernible effect on global emissions under the Paris Agreement. “If California ceased to exist in 2030,” Friedman and Hernandez note, “global GHG emissions would be still be 99.54 percent of the Paris Agreement total.”

Many of California’s “green” policies may make matters worse. California, for example, does not encourage biomass energy use, though the state’s vast forested areas—some 33 million acres— could provide renewable energy and reduce the excessive emissions from wildfires caused by years of forest mismanagement. Similarly, California greens have been adamant in shutting down nuclear power plants, which continue to reduce emissions in France, and they refuse to count hydro-electricity as renewable energy. As a result, California now imports roughly one-third of its electricity from other states, the highest percentage of any state, up from 25 percent in 2010. This is part of what Hernandez and Friedman show to be California’s increasing propensity to export energy production and GHG emissions, while maintaining the fiction that the state has reduced its total carbon output.

Overall, California tends to send its “dirty work”—whether for making goods or in the form of fossil fuels—elsewhere. Unwanted middle- and working-class people, driven out by the high cost of California’s green policies, leave, taking their carbon footprints to other places, many of which have much higher per-capita emission rates. Net migration to other, less temperate states and countries has been large enough to offset the annual emissions cuts within the state. Similarly, the state’s regulatory policies make it difficult for industrial firms to expand or even to remain in California. Green-signaling firms like Apple produce most of their tangible products abroad, mainly in high-GHG emitting China, while other companies, like Facebook and Google, tend to place energy-intensive data centers in other, higher GHG emission states. The study estimates that GHG emissions just from California’s international imports in 2015, and not even counting imports from the rest of the U.S., amounted to about 35 percent of the state’s total emissions.

California’s green regulators predict that the implementation of ever-stricter rules related to climate will have a “small” impact on the economy. They point to strong economic and job growth in recent years as evidence that strict regulations are no barrier to prosperity. Though the state’s economic growth is slowing, and now approaches the national average, a superficial look at aggregate performance makes a seemingly plausible case for even the most draconian legislation. California, as the headquarters for three of the nation’s five largest companies by market capitalization—Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook— has enjoyed healthy GDP growth since 2010. But in past recoveries, the state’s job and income growth was widely distributed by region and economic class; since 2007, growth has been uniquely concentrated in one region—the San Francisco Bay Area, where employment has grown by nearly 17 percent, almost three times that of the rest of the state, with growth rates tumbling compared with past decades.

Some of these inequities are tied directly to policies associated with climate change. High electricity prices, and the war on carbon emissions generally, have undermined the state’s blue-collar sectors, traditionally concentrated in Los Angeles and the interior counties. These sectors have all lost jobs since 2007. Manufacturing employment, highly sensitive to energy-related and other regulations, has declined by 160,000 jobs since 2007. California has benefited far less from the national industrial resurgence, particularly this past year. Manufacturing jobs—along with those in construction and logistics, also hurt by high energy prices—have long been key to upward mobility for non-college-educated Californians.

As climate-change policies have become more stringent, California has witnessed an unprecedented level of bifurcation between a growing cadre of high-income earners and a vast, rapidly expanding poor population. Meantime, the state’s percentage of middle-income earners— people making between $75,000 and $125,000—has fallen well below the national average. This decline of the middle class even occurs in the Bay Area, notes a recent report from the California Budget and Policy Center, where in 1989 the middle class accounted for 56 percent of all households in Silicon Valley, but by 2013, only 45.7 percent. Lower-income residents accounted for 30.3 percent of Silicon Valley’s households in 1989, and that number grew to 34.8 percent in 2013.

Perhaps the most egregious impact on middle and working-class residents can be seen in housing, where environmental regulations, often tied directly to climate policies, have discouraged construction, particularly in the suburbs and exurbs. The state’s determination to undo the primarily suburban, single-family development model in order to “save the planet” has succeeded both in raising prices well beyond national norms and creating a shortfall of some 3 million homes.

As shown in a recent UC Berkeley study, even if fully realized, the state’s proposals to force denser housing would only reach about 1 percent of its 2030 emissions goals. Brown and his acolytes ignore the often-unpredictable consequences of their actions, insisting that density will reduce carbon emissions while improving affordability and boosting transit use. Yet, as Los Angeles has densified under its last two mayors, transit ridership has continued to drop, in part, notes a another UC Berkeley report, because incentives for real-estate speculation have driven the area’s predominantly poor transit riders further from trains and buses, forcing many to purchase cars.

Undaunted, California plans to impose even stricter regulations, including the mandatory installation of solar panels on new houses, which could raise prices by roughly $20,000 per home. This is only the latest in a series of actions that undermines the aspirations of people who still seek “the California dream;” since 2007, California homeownership rates have dropped far more than the national average. By 2016, the overall homeownership rate in the state was just under 54 percent, compared with 64 percent in the rest of the country.

The groups most affected by these policies, ironically, are those on whom the ruling progressives rely for electoral majorities. Millennials have seen a more rapid decline in homeownership rates compared with their cohort elsewhere. But the biggest declines have been among historically disadvantaged minorities—Latinos and African-Americans. Latino homeownership rates in California are well below the national average. In 2016, only 31 percent of African-Americans in the Bay Area owned homes, well below the already low rate of 41 percent black homeownership in the rest of nation. Worse yet, the state takes no account of the impact of these policies on poorer Californians. Overall poverty rates in California declined in the decade before 2007, but the state’s poverty numbers have risen during the current boom. Today, 8 million Californians live in poverty, including 2 million children, by far the most of any state. The state’s largest city, Los Angeles, is also now by some measurements America’s poorest big city.

To allay concerns about housing affordability, the state has allocated about $300 million from its cap-and-trade funds for housing, a meager amount given that the cost of building affordable housing in urban areas can exceed $700,000 per unit. These benefits are dwarfed by those that wealthy Californians enjoy for the purchase of electric cars and home solar: Tesla car buyers with average incomes of $320,000 per year got more than $300 million in federal and state subsidies by early 2015 alone. By contrast, in early 2018, state electricity prices were 58 percent higher, and gasoline over 90 cents per gallon higher, than the national average, disproportionately hurting ethnic minorities, the working class, and the poor. Based on cost-of-living estimation tools from the Census Bureau, 28 percent of African-Americans in the state live in poverty, compared with 22 percent nationally. Fully one-third of Latinos, now the state’s largest ethnic group, live in poverty, compared with 21 percent outside the state.

In a normal political environment, such disparities would spark debate, not only among conservatives, but also traditional Democrats. Some, like failed independent candidate and longtime environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, have expressed the view that California’s policies have made it not “the most progressive state” but “the most racist one.” Recently, some 200 veteran civil rights leaders sued CARB, on the basis that state policies are skewed against the poor and minorities. So far, their voices have been largely ignored. The state’s prospective next governor, Gavin Newsom, seems eager to embrace and expand Brown’s policies, and few in the legislature seem likely to challenge them. The Republicans, for now, look incapable of mounting a challenge.

This leaves California on a perilous path toward greater class and racial divides, increasing poverty, and ever-more strenuous regulation. Other ways to reduce greenhouse gases—such as planting trees, more efficient transportation, and making suburbs more sustainable—should be on the table. The Hernandez-Friedman report could be a first step toward addressing these issues, but however it happens, a return to rationality is needed in the Golden State.

Joel Kotkin serves as Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism (COU).

Update Dec. 23, 2020 Has Progressive Californication Peaked?

Joel Kotkin has updated the California story as 2020 ends in his article Peak Progressive? at the American Mind. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

With adjustment for cost of living, California now has the highest overall poverty rate in the United States according to the Census Bureau. Los Angeles, by far the state’s largest metropolitan area, has among the highest poverty rates for the largest U.S. metros. In parts of Los Angeles, the growing homeless encampments have spawned medieval diseases such as typhus. There are even indications of a comeback for bubonic plague, the signature scourge of the Middle Ages.

Hispanics and African Americans, who constitute 45% of the state’s population, do far worse here than elsewhere. Based on cost-of-living estimation tools from the Census Bureau, 28% of African Americans in the state live in poverty, compared with 22% nationally. Fully one third of Hispanics, the state’s largest ethnic group, are below the poverty line, compared with 21% outside the state. Over two thirds of noncitizen Latinos, including the undocumented, live at or below the poverty line.

The pandemic has widened this divide. The state’s unemployment rates now surpass the national average, making them worse even than in New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. L.A. County has lost over 1 million jobs to the pandemic and suffers an unemployment rate higher than any of the major California urban counties. Today in Los Angeles, violent crime is spiking, and less than half of residents now hold jobs. Since the pandemic, the state’s largest metro, Los Angeles–Orange County, has suffered the second most job losses in the U.S. Two others, the Bay Area and the Inland Empire, rank in the top ten.

Now the state seems poised to lose much of its tech economy, which has been the one force keeping it afloat.

Yet it is ever more clear to ever more Californians that our state is becoming exactly the vast gated community Newsom warns about. As Ali Modarres showed in “The Demographic Transformation of California” (2003), the “shared prosperity” of the Pat Brown years were based on a broad-based economy spanning the gamut from agriculture and oil to aerospace and finance, software, and basic manufacturing. In contrast, the Newsom progressive model is built largely around one industry—high tech—which provides increasingly little opportunity for most Californians, and now shows disturbing signs of moving elsewhere.

Current progressive policies are chasing key companies out of the state—including, just within the last week, tech giants Tesla, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, and Oracle, all of which are heading to Texas. But the real problem lies in the state’s fading appeal to outsiders. It is losing domestic migrants and, increasingly, losing appeal to immigrants as well. California retains many of its great assets—a huge concentration of technical talent, a robust grassroots economy, unmatched physical beauty, and a remarkably pleasant climate—but these are being increasingly squandered. The question now is whether Californians will challenge the status quo.

More Evidence of California Climate Fumbles:

How Climatism Destroyed California

Climate activists versus affordable housing

California Cop Out

California’s Year: Veering Left from Left Lane

 

 

Disputing Ignorant Virtue Signaling

Adam Anderson, CEO of Innovex Downhole Solutions, wrote the letter below to Steve Rendle, CEO of North Face’s parent, VF Corporation, in response to the latter’s refusal to fulfill a shirt order for the oil and gas company. Mr. Rendle has not responded to date. H/T Master Resource  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images.

I am proud to be the CEO of Innovex Downhole Solutions. We are an industry leader providing tools and technologies to service oil and natural gas producers worldwide.

Our work enables our customers, employees and communities to thrive. Low-cost, reliable energy is critical to enable humans to flourish. Oil and natural gas are the two primary resources humanity can use to create low-cost and reliable energy. The work of my company and our industry more broadly enables humans to have a quality of life and life expectancy that were unfathomable only a century ago.

The merits of low-cost and reliable energy are too numerous to cite in totality but here are a few key highlights:

  • Lifespans and quality of life have expanded dramatically over the last 150 years, enabled by access to abundant energy.
  • Low-cost and reliable energy enables life-saving technologies. For example, the new Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -70 0C. This would be impossible without low cost and reliable energy.
  • American industry is dependent on low-cost and reliable energy to thrive and compete internationally.
  • More than a billion people worldwide live today without access to electricity. As a result, these people live shorter, more difficult and dangerous lives than necessary. The solution to this problem is more low-cost and reliable energy, not less.

Hydrocarbons are the only source of supply for the vast majority of our low-cost and reliable energy needs.  The Oil and Gas industry is essential to enable human flourishing and no low-cost and reliable alternative exists:

Oil and natural gas are the only viable sources for low-cost, reliable energy today.

Wind, solar and many other alternatives suffer from an intermittency problem that has not yet been solved.

Any attempts to move our energy consumption to these unreliable, higher-cost sources of energy will have many negative impacts for humanity as it will dramatically decrease our access to low-cost and reliable energy.

For example, Germany has endeavored to transition their energy grid to alternatives such as wind and solar with disastrous consequences. Electricity costs in Germany have tripled over the last 20 years and are roughly 2x the US costs (which are themselves elevated due to the partial shift to unreliable, intermittent sources of energy in the US).

Oil and natural gas are used in many other important ways to create materials that go into thousands of critical products including, clothes, smart phones, vehicles and life-saving medical devices.

Lastly, the Oil and Gas industry is a bastion of high-quality, high-paying, industrial jobs for our people. Last year, Innovex employed ~650 people and paid our employees an average salary of >$85,000 per year. More than 230 of our employees earned over $100,000 last year. The majority of these individuals do not have a college degree and achieve these high levels of income due to their intelligence, dedication and work ethic. We need more high-quality jobs staffed with individuals like my team members in this country, not fewer.

Frequently people are concerned about the impacts of CO2 released from the burning of hydrocarbons. I acknowledge that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and modest increases in CO2 level will have modest impacts on global temperatures. However, I think the climate catastrophists who claim we will endure dramatic negative impacts from these changes are terribly wrong and misunderstand how low cost energy can help us adapt to our ever changing climate:

  • The US Oil and Gas Industry has enabled an ~14% reduction in US CO2 emissions over the last decade, largely as a result of significant growth in Natural Gas production
  • Climate related deaths have declined ~90% since the beginning of the 20th century as a direct result our society is more robust against floods, draughts, storms, wildfires and extreme temps
  • As there has been a modest increase in CO2, there has been an increase in carbon dioxide fertilization in plants across the Globe. According to NASA there has been significant greening of the Earth over the last 35 years
  • This greening combined with incredible technological progress enabled by low cost and reliable energy has led to a dramatic decrease in death by famine. The death rate due to famines has declined by more than 95% over the last century.

At this point, you may wonder why I am directing this letter to you, the CEO of one of the world’s largest apparel companies. We recently contacted North Face to inquire about buying jackets with the Innovex logo for all of our employees as Christmas presents. We viewed North Face as a high-quality brand that our employees would value and cherish for years to come. Unfortunately, we were informed that North Face would not sell us jackets because we were an oil and gas services company.

The irony in this statement is your jackets are made from the oil and gas products the hardworking men and women of our industry produce. I think this stance by your company is counterproductive virtue signaling, and I would appreciate you re-considering this stance. We should be celebrating the benefits of what oil and gas do to enable the outdoors lifestyle your brands embrace. Without Oil and Gas there would be no market for nor ability to create the products your company sells.

I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

Adam Anderson, CEO, Innovex Downhole Solutions, 4310 N Sam Houston Parkway E Houston, TX 77032