Friday 29 May 2020

EU Green Deal Consultation

Pat Swords responds to the EU on their Green Deal Consultation:

Link to Consultation -

The Commission is already aware of recent drafting findings and recommendations against it at the UNECE Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, see attached in relation to Projects of Common Interest and Communication C96, in that it discriminated against non-native English speakers by not conducting such public participation exercises falling under Article 7 of the Convention in all the official languages of the EU. This TEN-E Regulation is a programme related to the environment and is the subject mater of Communication C96. The Irish grid, on an isolated island, is a small microcosm of those in the EU. Of its nineteen power stations, the oldest and largest is coal fired and to meet EU renewable targets in the period 2012 to 2018, half its output was ‘replaced’ by the output from 1,100 new wind turbines, each costing €4 million to install. Electricity generation, in modern Irish gas turbine power plants, emits 40% the CO2 arising from generation with more difficult to combust carbonaceous coal. In 2012, gas generated half of Irish electricity, as it did again in 2018, but this time with a significantly higher gas consumption. When your car comes off the motorway and goes into ‘stop start’ urban driving it burns more fuel, just like power plants forced into such operation, as more and more intermittent wind energy pours on and off the grid. The extra gas combusted was well capable of supplying Ireland with 4% of our electricity. Simply switching this coal generation to natural gas and running Irish plants efficiently could have realised over 70% of the emissions savings claimed for renewables. In fact, this is what the USA did in the period 2008 to 2017 and obtained a 27% reduction in CO2 emissions from their power generation sector. If instead of spending a trillion Euros on wind turbines and PV solar panels, a budget of €10 million was provided each day to sprinkle around the EU like ‘pixie dust’ for the ‘common good’, the trillion would run out in 274 years. Equally, it would have paid the majority of the EU’s total food and drink bill in 2018 of €1.1 trillion. Instead, we got EU power sector emissions to decrease 28% in the period 2008 to 2018. The EU publishes an energy price report every two years. Last year of ‘full data’ is 2016; circa €400 billion bill for energy sources, €212 billion being imported fossil fuels, plus an additional tax squeeze of €280 billion. €76 billion in subsidies for renewable sector equating to €208 million per day or €150 from each citizen. €48 billion paid direct to wind and solar generators on top of market price for 13% of EU’s electricity. Market price plus tax paid to gas and solid fuel generators for 41% of electricity, whose fuel costs were same €48 billion. Furthermore, the WTO is totally agnostic about whether countries (parties) want to allegedly save the planet or not. Such considerations can only be brought into WTO trade disputes, if both parties have in fact ratified specific environmental agreements, such as with UNECE and its Aarhus Convention. Hence, compliance with international law, e.g. UNECE Aarhus Convention, is important. For example, the EU could have put tariffs on goods coming from other countries, which have ratified the Aarhus Convention, as a tax to fund renewables, e.g. takes an awful lot of electricity to smelt aluminium, hence a tariff on cheaper aluminium coming from Norway or Azerbaijan. Except there are legal rulings that the EU didn't comply with the Convention in the manner in which it implemented its renewable programme, which it is refusing to comply with since 2012. So it would be unlawful for the EU to do this. EU chemical firms have invested many billions in new manufacturing capacity in the USA, these more modern and efficient plants with lower energy costs will flood the EU with products undercutting EU facilities and putting them out of business, under WTO rules the EU cannot lawfully apply tarrifs against the USA.

Sunday 24 May 2020

The Environmental Case Against Immigration

The Environmental case against Immigration is so strong and self evident that only the most conformist of environmentalists can still refuse to ignore it. Keith Woods has made an excellent video on the topic the mainstream media refuse to touch.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Irish Times Compares Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer to Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg - Speech, Quotes & Activism - Biography
File:Schopenhauer 1852.jpg

Joe Humphreys of the Irish Times recently wrote an article about ten philosophers which included arguably the greatest philosopher of the past two hundred years, Arthur Schopenhauer :

"Think of him as a curmudgeonly Greta Thunberg with a side-act in cultural criticism", he wrote. 

How alike are these two people ? Have a read of the following quotes and make up your own mind.

Here is Greta appealing to the higher authority of the IPCC :

“With today’s emissions levels, the remaining budget is gone in less than eight years. These aren’t anyone’s views, this is the science,” Thunberg said, citing a 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. “I know you don’t want to report this or talk about this but I will keep repeating the numbers until you do.” 
The 2018 IPCC report said that the world had a limit of 420 gigatons of carbon to emit if there was to be a 67% chance of keeping the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. Thunberg said that was now down to 340 gigatons.

Here is Schopenhauer on authority in his essay  "Thinking for Oneself" :

Hence every true thinker for himself is so far like a monarch; he is absolute, and recognises nobody above him. His judgments, like the decrees of a monarch, spring from his own sovereign power and proceed directly from himself. He takes as little notice of authority as a monarch does of a command; nothing is valid unless he has himself authorised it. On the other hand, those of vulgar minds, who are swayed by all kinds of current opinions, authorities, and prejudices, are like the people which in silence obey the law and commands.

The people who are so eager and impatient to settle disputed questions, by bringing forward authorities, are really glad when they can place the understanding and insight of some one else in the field in place of their own, which are deficient. Their number is legion. For, as Seneca says, "Unusquisque mavult credere, quam judicare."

Schopenhauer's essays are well worth a read during the lockdown. One thing I can agree with the Irish Times on.

Threat to Birds is not from Climate Change

Photo: Irish Raptor Study Group

Once again, it is not climate change that is killing birds, but people. 

From BirdWatch Ireland :
We have recently learned of the illegal poisoning of 23 Buzzards in County Cork. This incident is the single largest poisoning of birds of prey in this country in decades and the largest since the legislation was amended to ban the use of poison meat baits in 2010. We understand that the 23 Buzzards were recovered at the scene last December and were sent for testing under the Raptor Protocol, which subsequently confirmed that all had died due to ingesting the highly toxic and banned substance, Carbofuran.

Friday 22 May 2020

The Government's Spending on Covid Crisis is not Proportionate

The acting finance minister, Pascal Donohoe, said yesterday that the Covid 19 crisis has so far cost Ireland €13 billion and that Ireland will have a national deficit of €30 billion by the end of the year. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, also said that Ireland cannot borrow cheap money forever. As the ECB prints more money, inflation will become even higher in Ireland and prices of goods will rise. Since natural levels of deflation have been prevented in Ireland since 2015 by the actions of the ECB, this means Ireland and the EU are starting at a higher inflationary point than would have been otherwise without the ECB bond buying, and is therefore on the road to very high rates of inflation. Negative interest rates may well be here to stay. High inflation may well suit the Government because it will make it easier to pay their previous debts, but it means savers and workers will continue to be robbed.

At the beginning of the crisis, the government generously paid out covid unemployment payments of €350 per week, almost double that of conventional jobseekers payments. It has since materialized that 40% of those on the covid payment were earning less than €300 in employment. Meanwhile, on the covid subsidy scheme, where employers are subsidized to keep employees on the payroll, employers cannot pay employees more than their average pay and still qualify for the subsidy.   So the schemes were very badly thought out. There is also some fraud occurring where payments were made to non resident people. 

425,000 people are on the employers subsidy scheme and 600,000 are in receipt of the covid unemployment benefit. Before the crisis, there was about 2.3 million people in the workforce. So about 44% of the workforce are now in receipt of government supports. In the UK, there was 28 million people in the workforce before the crisis. Now, 6.4 million people have been furloughed - the equivalent government subsidy scheme for those affected by the covid crisis and another 2 million self employed people are receiving supports from another scheme. That is a total of 30% of the workforce. 

So Ireland has one and a half times the equivalent numbers on covid unemployment schemes as the UK has. This means that the Irish government should be phasing out the support payments. However, it is only the British government which is talking about winding down their schemes to reduce the cost to the exchequer. 

This was partly a reaction to the Bank of England warnings about the UK facing the worst recession in 300 years.  Meanwhile, in Ireland, there is strong opposition to any talk of protecting the taxpayer in all this. Leprechaun economics dictates that we must go blindly into the night and not prepare for a recession. Faith in the ECB money printing machines has never been better. And anyway, sure equality measures will ensure that we will all be equally poor. Except, of course, the few at the top who benefit from high inflation.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Covid-19 Crisis highlights dependency on Fossil Fuels

Delusional Statements in Media made about Climate Change and Coronavirus Crisis

You may have read some puzzling statements in the media recently along the lines of "we must ensure the economic recovery from Covid-19 tackles climate change" or depressing pleas like "we must not forget the even bigger crisis we face - climate change". 

The harsh reality for the climate hysteria movement is that the majority of (PPE) personal protection equipment that have being used during the coronavirus pandemic are made from hydrocarbons, i.e. petroleum based products.

Disposable gloves are made from either nitrile, vinyl or latex. The first two are made from ethylene, propylene and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), all of which are manufactured from materials extracted during the petroleum refinery process.  Latex gloves are made from natural rubber but of course that must be shipped from Malaysia using, what else, but diesel to fuel the ships.

The most popular face masks are the blue polypropylene masks. Polypropylene is manufactured using propene. Propene is produced from fossil fuels, mainly crude oil but in recent years China has used gasified coal. Propene is the second most important product used in the petrochemical industry, after ethene (which is used in PVC production).   

Then there is the issue around food hygiene. There will be increased pressure on shops to cover all food in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Plastic, produced from the distillation of crude oil, is of course the most popular cover used. 

So, the Covid-19 crisis only highlights the dependency we have on fossil fuels. Attempting to link climate change to the enormous challenge posed by the Covid-19 crisis is delusional given the worldwide dependency on oil in fighting the virus from masks and gloves to the transport needed to transport them and other necessities like food around . 

But if they really wanted to reduce emissions anyway, they would have to bring all that manufacturing back to Europe and produce everything we need here. 

Sunday 10 May 2020

ECB Policy Keeps Afloat Economically Unviable Companies and Creates Market Bubbles - German Court Rules

The Supreme Court in Germany this week ruled that the European Central Bank's monetary policy, called the PSPP (Public Sector Asset Purchase Program) led to "the keeping afloat of economically unviable companies" due to the effect it had on maintaining low interest rates. 

As the PSPP lowers general interest rates, it allows economically unviable companies to stay on the market since they gain access to cheap credit.

Since 2015, the ECB have been buying up large quantities of government bonds, including high risk ones, distorting the EU market and propping up unsustainable debt and spending in the process. Contrary to what you may have read on some media outlets, this ruling has nothing to do with the emergency stimulus program initiated in response to the coronavirus crisis which I would argue was justified.  The PSPP program has been going on for five years. 

This blog was the first to reveal the shaky financial situation of many wind farms in Ireland. The ECB bond buying program we now learn was required to keep companies like these, aswell as banks, afloat. 

ECB bond buying is the sticky plaster of the EU. And it promotes unsustainable economic practices in direct contradiction with the EU's pledges to sustainability. 

The German court said this about the effects of the ECB program on banks :
Moreover, the effects of the PSPP on the banking sector must be taken into account. The programme affects balance sheets in the commercial banking sector by transferring large quantities of government bonds, including high-risk ones, to the balance sheets of the Eurosystem, which significantly improves the economic situation of the relevant banks and increases their credit rating. At the same time, it creates an incentive for banks to increase lending despite the low level of interest rates
The German Court also warned about the effects of the program on real estate and stock market bubbles :
Relevant economic policy effects of the PSPP furthermore include the risk of creating real estate and stock market bubbles as well as the economic and social impact on virtually all citizens, who are at least indirectly affected inter alia as shareholders, tenants, real estate owners, savers or insurance policy holders. For instance, there is a considerable risk of losses for private savings. This has direct consequences for (private) pension schemes and the returns they generate [...]. Both factors lead to, in part excessive, portfolio shifts [...], while risk premiums are in decline.

Artificial low interest rates was one of the main factors that led to the catastrophic building boom in Ireland. The EU and the European central banks clearly have not learned from these mistakes as history is repeating itself once again :

Real estate prices are on the rise with trends of sometimes particularly sharp increases – especially regarding residential property in major cities – [...], which possibly already come close to creating a “market bubble”, as the oral hearing confirmed. It is not for the Federal Constitutional Court to decide in the current proceedings how such concerns are to be weighed exactly in the context of a monetary policy decision; rather, the point is that such effects, which are created or at least amplified by the PSPP, must not be completely ignored. 

It then warns about the risky juggling act that the ECB is trying to keep up :

In addition, the longer the programme continues and the more its total volume increases, the greater the risk that the ESCB becomes dependent on Member State politics as it can no longer simply terminate and undo the programme without jeopardising the stability of the monetary union. 

The legal conclusions from all this are set out below, namely that the ECB never considered any negative effects from their policy and therefore acted disproportionately and ultra vires :

(2) In view of the considerable economic policy effects resulting from the PSPP – not all of which are discussed here –, it would have been incumbent upon the ECB to weigh these effects and balance them, based on proportionality considerations, against the expected positive contributions to achieving the monetary policy objective the ECB itself has set. It is not ascertainable that any such balancing was conducted, neither when the programme was first launched nor at a any point during its implementation; it is therefore not possible to review whether it was still proportionate to tolerate the economic and social policy effects of the PSPP, problematic as they may be in respect of the order of competences, or, possibly, at what point they have become disproportionate.

Neither the ECB’s press releases nor other public statements by ECB officials hint at any such balancing having taken place. For this lack of balancing and lack of stating the reasons informing such balancing, the ECB decisions at issue violate Art. 5(1) second sentence and Art. 5(4) TEU and, in consequence, exceed the monetary policy mandate of the ECB deriving from Art. 127(1) first sentence TFEU. cc)

The violation of the principle of proportionality is structurally significant. In this regard, the considerations set out above in relation to the Judgment of the CJEU in Weiss apply accordingly (cf. para. 124 et seq.). Therefore, the ECB’s actions amount to an ultra vires act.

Friday 8 May 2020

Greens Go Nuclear?

Yesterday during an interview with Pat Kenny, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, said he was not opposed to importing nuclear energy. He made the very valid point that "you can't differentiate one electron from the other". But this begs the question, why the obsession with renewable targets, when in reality it's not possible to separate an electron that came from coal with one that came from wind. Given that a certain amount of baseload conventional plant will always be required to keep the electricity system operating, so that electrons can flow at all, is it reasonable to state on your electricity bill that X amount of your electricity came from X sources?

As for nuclear energy , how can a politician advocate importing nuclear energy while at the same time opposing the building of a nuclear power station in Ireland? 

He also admitted he doesn't drive an electric car, instead he drives an old diesel. 

Ryan has obviously not thought through his beliefs, he has an a la carte approach to his philosophy, which requires much more scrutiny before he once again enters government. Pat Kenny is one of those rare interviewers left in Ireland who is capable of doing just that.

Link to interview here, the part about nuclear is at 13 minutes, the part about not driving an electric car is towards the end :

Monday 4 May 2020

Fuel Consumption 2012 to 2018 - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In the course of the transition we will gradually reduce our dependence on the fossil fuels – coal, peat, oil and gas – that currently dominate our energy mix - Alex White, Energy Minister, White Paper, 2015

Despite massive efforts to reduce carbon emissions and fossil fuel dependence by successive Irish governments, the efforts have largely proven a failure, as fossil fuel consumption rose by 15% between 2012 and 2018. The government placed an overemphasis on wind energy as the solution, which doubled in capacity during that time to 3,600MW. Demand may also have increased, which in of itself is a failure to reduce consumption habits, and an over emphasis on the generating of electricity. Demand could have been tackled through retrofitting, promotion campaigns aimed at reducing consumption, moving away from the GDP standard, encouraging saving rather than spending (central bank have been doing the opposite), and preventing population growth by curbing immigration.

The main driver of the increase was petroleum products, including natural gas (used in power stations), which has risen by about 20%.

Natural Gas increased by 20%
In 2012, gas generated half of our electricity, as it did again in 2018, but this time with a significantly higher gas consumption. When your car comes off the motorway and goes into ‘stop start’ urban driving it burns more fuel, just like power plants forced into such operation, as intermittent wind energy pours on and off the grid.   

In their favor, coal and peat decreased by 23% and 8% respectively. The reduction in these, contrary to the common held belief, was due to several factors  - an increase in gas, oil, renewables and electricity imports from the UK (the East West Interconnector began operation in late 2012).  The US achieved a 27% reduction in CO2 emissions during the period 2008 to 2017 by simply switching from coal to gas. So too emissions savings in Ireland arise from switching from coal to gas, a lower emitting fuel,  and importing electricity from the UK, where the resulting emissions are counted, and after that, renewables make up the rest of the savings.  

Peat decreased by 8%

For gasoil and diesel we can see that not only has dependence on transport risen, but  oil used in power generation has also, quite remarkably, increased. Much of this increase is due to an oil powered station in Kerry (Tarbert) which ran more in the grid, presumably because of the closures at Moneypoint. There are also more demand side units, which comprise of diesel generators.

We can also see that we are more addicted to air travel than ever, as jet kerosene consumption doubles. How could a virus pandemic ever be prevented from reaching our shores ?

So we have to ask the question, why are we still consuming high amounts of fossil fuels, after installing so many wind turbines ?  Media reports that show that a high percentage of our electricity came from wind fail to mention what we actually saved as a result. If I cycle from Dublin to Galway, but a car follows me all the way, what have I actually saved ? It is obvious now that they are not a long term solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. 

In 2020, there is still, regrettably, peat being used in electricity production, although there is an issue about the impact on employment in the midlands region that has still not being resolved. The renewables industry, as we now know, is not a big employer. 

The Energy Bubble

Generating Capacity for the Republic of Ireland, we have over twice as much as we need

The above graph shows how an energy bubble has been created in the past decade. Whereas in 2006, at the height of the building boom, we only needed enough generating capacity to cover 1.3 times the peak demand, we now have 2.4 times the capacity required. Peak demand levels in 2019 are the same as 2006 levels. All this capacity has to be paid for either through the market or from subsidies that are added on to energy bills. New fossil fuel plant are also in the pipeline.

The Cost 

The EU publishes an energy price report every two years. The last year available of full data is 2016; which shows a circa €490 billion bill for energy sources, €212 billion being imported fossil fuels, plus an additional tax squeeze of €280 billion, of which €76 billion in subsidies is for the renewable sector equating to €208 million per day or €150 from each citizen.

€48 billion was paid directly to wind and solar generators on top of the market price for generating 13% of EU’s electricity mix. 

The market price plus tax paid to gas and solid fuel generators, for generating 41% of the EU's electricity mix, were also €48 billion. 

Turkeys would not vote for Christmas if they were able to educate themselves.

Saturday 2 May 2020

Climate Change is not the Greatest Threat to Wildlife

The main threats today to the survival of orangutans  :
  • Loss of habitat through deforestation
  • Palm oil plantations
  • Illegal hunting
  • Illegal pet trade
At this rate of loss, many experts believe orangutans could be extinct in the wild in less than 50 years.

Mexico in Last Ditch Effort to Save the Vaquita Porpoise | Wild ...

As you know, the vaquita is on the edge of extinction and, unless action is taken now, the species will be lost within a few months or years during your administration. No more than 22 vaquitas remained alive during the summer of 2018, prior to the current fishing season. Each year, half of the remaining vaquitas are killed in illegal fishing nets set for another endangered species, the totoaba. Poachers prize totoaba for their swim bladders, which are dried and smuggled by organized crime cartels to China, where they are sold on the black market for prices that can reach $46,000 USD per kg. The acoustic monitoring program indicates that the few remaining vaquitas inhabit a very small area, approximately 24 x 12 km, most of which lies within the Vaquita Refuge. However, high levels of illegal fishing for totoaba occur in this area.

Report from Southwest Fisheries Science Center(SWFSC)  

Climate change is used as cover by the global trade industry to justify their destruction of wildlife.  Whilst environmentalists were crying about carbon emissions, the global trade industry quietly went about their business of wiping out endangered wildlife.