Tuesday, December 06, 2011

death of a delusion

Dateline Durban: the final death throes of the AGW climate delusion.
  • A week ago, the annual climate change diplomatic cycle convened here in Durban. Global interest in COP-17 goings-on can be gauged by the fact that the media contingent is half what it was in Copenhagen and only 12 heads of state—mostly from Africa—are planning to drop by. Even the activist contingent seems dispirited. When nobody important is paying much attention and nothing significant is likely to be at stake, then, as the Durban draft negotiations documents show, even diplomats can and will say any silly thing that they’d like.
  •  Delegates from 190 countries have gathered in this seaside resort town to see if they can salvage anything from nearly 20 years of climate change negotiations. The prospects are dim. A review of the amalgam of draft negotiating texts [PDF] released this past weekend at the half-way mark of this 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), suggests that few delegates are even trying to pretend that these negotiations are going anywhere. Some countries are making demands for greenhouse gas emissions cuts that are about as credible as Soviet Five-Year plans.

And of course, without China, nothing is possible and China is not remotely interested in the AGW delusion:
  • ...Xie’s statements at the Durban press conference on Monday amount to a kind of octopus ink cloud of diplo-speak designed to confuse credulous activists and over-eager negotiators about its real intentions and goals. If it works China hopes to escape Durban without being blamed for its "failure." The Chinese have no intention of agreeing to an international treaty that would limit their greenhouse gas emissions any time soon. 
Watch the media very closely.  Sometime in the next year a brand new eco-catastrophe is going to be discovered.  It may be a mutation of AGW hysteria, it might be a modification of green energy fetishism but it most certainly will be the coming of Armageddon.  Again.

politics not process

How far and how systemic is the fraud of green energy?  This report on the findings of Ontario's Auditor General offers both insight and depressing clarity:
  • The Auditor-General leaves little to the imagination in his incisive dissection of the government’s top-down, to-hell-with-economics power trip. Even the Cabinet appears to be an after-thought. 
  • In a pointed note at the beginning of comments on renewables, the AG highlights the wilful neglect that continues to dominate electricity policy. “We did not rely on the Ministry [of Energy]’s internal audit service team to reduce the extent of our audit work because it had not recently conducted any audit on renewable energy initiatives.
  • No economic analysis or business case had been prepared.
  • In the belief that politics can defy economics, politicians all over the world are making the big bet that they can overturn the hard rules of supply and demand, the role of prices and the limits of innovation by pushing the right policy buttons. 
  • For a decade to come, Ontario will likely have surplus electricity. Under contracts signed with green-energy producers and others, the government will pay electricity generators billions of dollars to not produce electricity.
Ideology and political manipulation of scientific data are mainstays of ecomyths.  A certain absence of transparency also is common.  But the green energy fraud has reached new heights in the abuse of due process and concomitant assertion of dogma:
  • Mr. McGuinty’s green dream has rapidly become an $8-billion nightmare for Ontario taxpayers and electricity users. Almost no new net power will be generated by all the green-energy projects hastily funded since the bill was passed, but the average residential consumer will see more than $400 a year added to his power bill for a decade to pay for all the bad contracts with and subsidies to eco-friendly power suppliers.
  • ...the whole scheme was largely designed by environmentalists and green-industry lobbyists — “stakeholders” in the government’s euphemistic rhetoric.

Ontario recently had an election.  The perpetrators of Ontario's green energy commitment were re-elected.  On the surface this would suggest a political mandate in support of their ideas and program.  This is not the case.  Not only did the majority of the electorate not vote for the party that "won" the election, a problem arises from the fact that the use of the franchise is only one check and balance that presumes the government is already in compliance with it's own rules, procedures and processes.  As the Auditor's report spells out, in Ontario at least, the government is completely by-passing even its own cabinet, the house and the party to assert the dictatorial fetishes of an inner elite headed by the Premier.  This is not democracy, it is eco-fascism alive and assertive.

Rex Murphy discusses how the situation in Ontario happened.  He concludes:
  • Green is the easiest virtue. All it takes in most cases for politicians is simply to say the word often enough and whatever they propose — for a time — gets a pass.
  • ...that’s where this green obsession leads. It promotes a policy on its moral virtues, not on its real-life impact. 
  • It also has one other feature that politicians are totally unable to resist: Being totally green, they are able, for once, to posture as forward thinking, daring, innovative — even risk-taking — leaders, champions of the Earth, saviours of “the children.” They get to play Superman and Boy Scout at the same time.
And this picture was published showing a windmill bursting into flames as a result of high winds:

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

the inherent contradiction of stasism

This quote of the day from Samizdata is both accurate and pithy: 

  • "“Green” will never be quite the same after Obama. When Solyndra and its affiliated scandals are at last fully brought into the light of day, we will see the logical reification of Climategate I & II, Al Gore’s hucksterism, and Van Jones’s lunacy. How ironic that the more Obama tried to stop drilling in the West, offshore, and in Alaska, as well as stopping the Canadian pipeline, the more the American private sector kept finding oil and gas despite rather than because of the U.S. government. How further ironic that the one area that Obama felt was unnecessary for, or indeed antithetical to, America’s economic recovery — vast new gas and oil finds — will soon turn out to be America’s greatest boon in the last 20 years. While Obama and Energy Secretary Chu still insist on subsidizing money-losing wind and solar concerns, we are in the midst of a revolution that, within 20 years, will reduce or even end the trade deficit, help pay off the national debt, create millions of new jobs, and turn the Western Hemisphere into the new Persian Gulf. The American petroleum revolution can be delayed by Obama, but it cannot be stopped." Victor Davis Hanson.
Once more we see an example of progress despite stasis intervention and interference from government.  How much better off and how much quicker would prosperity extend to all if government was more dynamist and undertook to get with the program, instead of always needing to be the program  and/or to curtail the very engine of innovation that drives progress?

At this juncture one of my more engaged and educated students would usually chime in with the perceived central flaw of my question, which is of course the presumption of an inherent contradiction within capitalism.  Supposedly, capitalism is incapable of compassion and is inherently doomed to contradict itself into demise and failure.  Theory, not practice mind you but a good polemic nevertheless.

Those that hide behind this canard are also those that fail to see the even more glaring inherent contradiction of stasist governance, in practice, namely:
  • It takes a capitalist country to afford a communist government. For communism’s best results, the country it rules should be free enterprise. Wealth that hasn’t been created cannot be redistributed, no matter how much a government needs it.
  •  All governments are communist. Please, relax. What I mean is that all governments expect to be recompensed, not according to the value of their contributions to society, but according to their needs.
  • For a government to derive maximum benefit from the communist formula “to each according to his needs,” it’s better for the economy not to be communist. If it is, it might not be able to meet the government’s needs.
Once again, the difference between theory and practice is larger in practice than in theory.