Electric Cars and Vegetarianism ‘Pointless Virtue Signaling’ Against Climate Change

Just what I thought.

Efforts to rein in global warming by eating less meat, driving electric cars, or subsidizing solar energy are completely ineffective, writes a professor at the Copenhagen Business School, and constitute nothing other than “pointless virtue signaling.”

Bjørn Lomborg is the director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. “… Going entirely vegetarian reduces a person’s total emissions by only 2%.”

On electric cars, though they are “branded as environmentally friendly,” generating the electricity they require almost always involves burning fossil fuels. Moreover, producing energy-intensive batteries for these cars generates significant CO2 emissions (as written elsewhere in this blog), so that electric cars have a huge carbon deficit when they hit the road, and will start saving emissions only after being driven 60,000 kilometers.

According to IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, we already spend $129 billion per year subsidizing solar and wind energy, yet these sources meet just 1.1% of global energy needs. The IEA estimates that “by 2040 — after we have spent a whopping $3.5 trillion on additional subsidies — solar and wind will still meet less than 5% of our needs.”

“If you think you can save the climate with electric cars, you’re completely wrong,” Birol observes. The fact is “cheap and reliable energy underpins human prosperity,” and this will be provided by fossil fuels until alternative sources of cheap and reliable energy can be found. Wind and solar ain’t it.

About those Climate Related Deaths …

Yeah, yeah, I know. If we continue on the climate track we are on, the world as we know it is going to become unlivable in 12 minus whatever years. Billions of people are in peril as I write this. Yada Yada Yada.

But, there is that pesky data that refuses to conform to the climate alarmist narrative. The U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters International Disaster Database (OFDA/CRED EM-DAT), based in Brussels, has collected data on disasters since 1900.

Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute sums it up for us in an article published in November 2014 titled “The One Statistic Climate Catastrophists Don’t Want You to Know.” Mr Michaels writes with a voice of authority, being a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He has more than 3 decades experience in environmental studies. In summary, an expert on climate.

Per Michaels, we can all agree that climate change is a constant of nature. Everyone agrees that burning fossil fuels will have some impact on our naturally variable and, at times, volatile climate. The question is how much of an impact. And the pressing question is whether it will have a catastrophic impact— one so bad it justifies severely curtailing the use of fossil fuels in first- and second-world countries, while restricting the 3 billion people in third-world countries from using fossil fuels at all for energy.

Analysing data from OFDA/CRED EM-DAT, in comparing CO2 emissions, the alleged climate change perp, to the number of climate-related deaths, which reflects actual climate danger to humans, as CO2 emissions rise, climate-related deaths plunge. Wait .. what??!! That’s right, as CO2 emissions have increased, climate related deaths have decreased. Well, that kinda deflates the alarmist balloon.

In the decade from 2004 to 2013, worldwide climate-related deaths (including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and storms) plummeted to a level 88.6 percent below that of the peak decade, 1930 to 1939. The year 2013, with 29,404 reported deaths, had 99.4 percent fewer climate-related deaths than the historic record year of 1932, which had 5,073,283 reported deaths for the same category.

According to Michaels, climate catastrophists treat the global climate system as a stable and safe place, which we make volatile and dangerous. When, in fact, the global climate system is naturally volatile and dangerous. We make it livable through development and technology. And to do so, we need abundant, cheap, reliable, scalable power. Of viable sources, fossil fuels are the most readily available (coal, oil, natural gas), but emit CO2 when they are consumed (the vastly overrated role of CO2 in climate change is written about elsewhere in this blog). Nuclear and hydro are clearly in the mix, though nuclear does have pesky waste that needs to be safely stored away for centuries. Renewables — solar and wind — are just not capable of scaling up to generate the energy the world needs.

Why don’t the alarmists acknowledge the inverse relationship between CO2 and climate deaths? Michaels sums it up in his research: “Because the dogma that man is ruining the planet rather than improving it is a religion, a source of prestige, and a career for too many people. But for the rest of us, the statistic climate catastrophists don’t want us to know is very, very good news.”

Think an EV is the Next Car for You? Might Want to Reconsider

Electricity storage is the boogie man stalking EVs and our portable device (ie convenience) culture. For the time being, cobalt is an essential element in making the current generation of high-efficiency batteries. But this comes at a high price. In fact, it looks like a deal with the devil. Most of the cobalt we use comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and much of it is mined using child labor. Many of whom pay with their lives.

This week, International Rights Advocates filed a lawsuit against Tesla, Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and Alphabet for knowingly benefiting financially from child labor in the DRC.  A deal with the devil, indeed. Selling children’s lives as cheap labor to keep the cost of electric car batteries and mobile computing devices low-ish.

Read more here. And the next time you or someone you know wants to virtue signal how much they are helping the environment by buying an EV, think about whose life it probably cost.

And to further deflate any virtue signalling about the use of EVs, it is pretty conclusive there is a high hidden environmental cost to actually making the batteries. A two year old study out of IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, which was commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency to investigate the climate impact of litium-ion batteries from a life-cycle perspective, found that Tesla car battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of gasoline driving. Hmm. Math doesn’t look so good from that perspective, either.

So, what are we saying here. Given that science supports that CO2 does not impact the climate (read elsewhere on this blog), when we net climate change cost out of the equation, since it equals zero, on the cost side, EVs are expensive to buy, inconvenient to drive over distances and recharge, and they exploit child labor. Tesla batteries are warranted for 8 years, but outside of warranty, replacement costs are estimated to be as high as $20,000, though the range is likely $7-10k. As of this writing, there is not a precise answer on this, probably because EV builders don’t want to scare off potential buyers. Tesla is deliberately vague, but Elon Musk insists it will be on the lower range. Notwithstanding, at some point, older EVs will need a battery replacement, and it is reasonable to put this cost at about $10k. Ouch. This expected expense, plus rapidly outdated technology will crater used EV prices.

On the benefit side, they are easier to maintain and the cost to recharge them is less than the equivalent cost of gas, by some estimates less than half. But where does that electricity come from? Coal? Natural Gas? Nuclear? Hydro? Its unlikely that it is renewable, wind or solar.

So, pick your poison. Internal combustion engines or EVs. Both have costs. CO2 emissions is a red herring and irrelevant in the cost-benefit assessment. EV exploits child labor, so negates any virtuous signalling. You can guess what I will keep driving.

update:Why Calling Electric Cars ‘Zero Emission’ Is Blatantly False Advertising” — from 2017. While plug-in electric cars don’t emit pollutants from their tailpipes, when electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, the CO2 emissions are shifted from the vehicle to the power plants.

A study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute calculated the CO2 emissions from plug-in electrics, depending on the energy sources used to generate electricity in various countries, and then translated that into miles per gallon. The report, authored by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, notes that an electric car recharged by a coal-fired plant produces as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car that gets 29 miles per gallon. (For context, the average mpg of all the cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks sold in the U.S. over the past year (2016) is 25.2 mpg.) A plug-in recharged by a natural gas-powered plant is like driving a car that gets 58 miles per gallon.

The report — authored by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle —  notes that an electric car recharged by a coal-fired plant produces as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car that gets 29 miles per gallon. (For context, the average mpg of all the cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks sold in the U.S. over the past year is 25.2 mpg.) A plug-in recharged by a natural gas-powered plant is like driving a car that gets 58 miles per gallon.

So, all this virtue signalling about the non-polluting of electric cars is hokum unless the electricity generated is from clean sources. Not gonna happen soon.

Yeah, That Didn’t That Work Out Well, Did It

A great article and video from JustFactsDaily.com: Climate Change Fears of Teen Activist are Empirically Baseless. I’m not going to waste any time or space commenting on anything Greta. Cancelled. Not worth the effort. However, read the article and/or view the video. There’s lots of solid, factual information puncturing the climate hysteria CO2 dirigible.

For example, 30 years ago, Stephen Schneider, a well-credentialed climate scientist of the day, told Discover magazine that:

“In order to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change, we need to get some broad-based support to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

Let me parse that out: Our models predict disastrous scenarios. But noone is going to believe us or care what we have to say, let alone take any action. So, in order to get the coverage we need for our cause, we need to make up outrageous stuff and try to scare the hell out of people to get them to see that we are reasonable and that they need to listen to us and take the action that we advocate. So, let’s all panic together ... Or something like that.

So, the environmental and climate scare mongering we have had to endure for the last 4 or 5 decades is just story time. Grimm’s Fairy Tales in the modern era, only with climate-monsters rather than wolves and witches. Designed to scare us into submission. Straight from the source. Got that?

Whether you look at plant life, forest coverage, agriculture, rainfall, temperatures, or extreme weather, the hysteria around the dire predictions have all failed to come true. For decades. “Our models predict the sky is falling.” CO2!!

One of the best anecdotes, and most telling failures, is in extinctions. In 1989, Sandra Henderson, a biogeographer at EPA’s Environmental Research Laboratory, wrote that “scientists are warning of a possible loss of 20 percent of the earth’s species before the end of the century, [i.e. 2000]” and “a major factor in this modern species extinction may be our alteration of the earth’s climate: global warming due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

Okay, sure. Hmm. Let’s take a look at that. Let’s consider some basic math and the observed and verified science of extinctions. Roughly 1.2 million species have been cataloged. A loss of 20% would be 240,000 species. Yet, during 1984–2004, the International Union for Conservation of Nature recorded 27 confirmed species extinctions. This is not an exact figure, as the report notes that other extinctions may have occurred, such as “eight species of birds” whose status is uncertain. So, 27-35, give or take. Regardless of the precise number, it is low. The actual loss was orders of magnitude (35 vs 240,000) below Henderson’s projected extinctions. Basically a rounding error, and consistent with the average historical extinction rate observed before climate hysteria. Darwinism in action.

All this to say, be a skeptic. This is more ammunition in your quiver when a climate alarmist tries to browbeat you into submission, pointing an accusing finger … “How dare you!”

Grievance Scholars and Idea Laundering

Ahh, so that’s how it works. This is a bit off the beaten path I have been on recently, but it answers so many things. Peter Boghassian is an Assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University. He sees things with a particular clarity which I appreciate.

His opinion piece in the WSJ is worth a read if you want to get some insight into how scholarly sausage is made — ‘Idea Laundering’ in Academia: How nonsensical jargon like ‘intersectionality’ and ‘cisgender’ is imbued with an air of false authority.

Well worth the read if, like me, you wonder what the heck are “gender studies” and how did they become academic fields of study.

Full disclosure is I think this and similar “academic’ fields are a farce. Taken to be as serious as Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. Comedy gold when Michael Palin requests a government grant to develop a new silly walk. Kind of strikes at the heart of the matter. At least Monty Python was funny. Though several of the troupe have come out against the PC culture, commenting that Monty Python would never make it past the censors. This seems to be borne out, as the head of BBC comedy programming opined that Monty Python is out of step with modern times, and would never make it on TV today. He further attempted to slur Monty Python as six “Oxford White Blokes,” unforgivable in a cancel culture that demands diversity … or else. A comment refuted by John Cleese.

Patrick Moore: The Positive Impact of Human CO₂ Emissions on the Survival of Life on Earth

CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas (GHG). H2O is by far the most important, contributing about 95% of the climate effect. CO2 and temperature are not in synch at all through most of Earth’s history.

Patrick Moore’s peer-reviewed paper on the benefits of CO2 gives the time-line of CO2 decline and the cause of that decline, sequestration of CO2 into the shells of marine calcifying species. Shells that become limestone, CaCO3, removing carbon from the life cycle. Download the PDF here.

And after you do that, you can check out this video “CO2 is Greening the Earth”. Same theme, CO2 benefits life on earth.

The total wrongheadedness of blaming CO2 for the fake climate apocalypse seems to have peaked. Cooler, more informed heads are taking on this religion with actual science and facts. Couldn’t happen soon enough. However, next perhaps they’ll go after H2O, water vapor.

William Happer at COP25 in Madrid. Wake up and smell the CO2

William Happer, whom you no doubt have never heard of, is nonetheless worthy of your time. He is well-qualified to speak on climate change. Here is a video of his presentation at COP25 in Madrid.

He minces no words. Climate alarmism is a fraud. He quotes the hapless Democrat Senator Hirono of Hawaii, “Believe in climate change as a religion, it is not a science.” – Nov 12, 2019. True dat.

At the outset, Happer points out that the real boogie man in all this is air pollution. Everyone wants a clean environment. We don’t like breathing brown air. If you can see it, its not CO2, N2O or CH4.

At 10:38, he strikes at the heart of the matter, the crux of climate alarmism — that CO2 increases in the atmosphere are the cause of climate change. Not. He shows a graph of the Planck energy spectrum of a black body (radiation emitted as a function of frequency for various gases). (ref: Max Planck and Karl Schwartzchild.) The chart shows how much radiation (energy) is emitted as a result of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Doubling CO2 in the atmosphere would result in no significant change in the amount of energy transmitted through the atmosphere, and thus no impact on the climate. This is indisputable, verifiable science. It is not religion.

At 16:27, he skewers the inability of models to predict anything related to climate and air temperatures. In addition to always being wrong, they systematically predict higher temperatures than actually end up being recorded. Meteorologists can barely predict weather from day to day. How can climate “scientists” possibly predict climate years or decades out. With such abject predictive failure, it is folly to make policy decisions based on these models. And yet the climate alarmists bray on about restructuring the global economy to battle climate change. After decades long parade of predicted environmental catastrophes and end of times, nothing has come true. And this is somehow going to turn out differently? Err, no.

At 16:47, he shows a chart of paleo-CO2 levels going back 600 million years. Across such a timeline, we are in a CO2 starved environment. Anyone who says that we are in an unprecedented period of high CO2 in the atmosphere is wrong, wrong, wrong. The only thing close to being unprecedented is how low the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are today when placed in a long historical context. The only real effect of more CO2 would be increased greening of the earth. There are no links to CO2 and storms or climate. The most visible impact of more CO2 in the atmosphere is that plants are able to live in drier climates. With even the relatively low increases in CO2 we have experienced, plant yields are going up, agriculture yields are going up. What is wrong with that.

His final key takeaways: scientific truth is determined by experiment and observation, not by voting; experiment and observation contradict alarmism; CO2 is a benefit, not a pollutant. Costly CO2 mitigation schemes are not only not helpful, they are harmful to the world.

This video is well worth 30 minutes of your time. If you are a climate skeptic, this will reinforce your position. If you are on the fence, this will convince you that climate alarmism is a sham with political and financial agendas. If you are a climate alarmist, perhaps you will open your eyes to the truth and stop being manipulated. If you are a climate alarmist with your head hopelessly stuck up your a$$, I hope the CH4 (methane) kills you.