We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

If you need a bit of a giggle…

If you need a bit of a giggle, not to mention some informative bricks to throw at certain people, occasionally take a peek at the Extinction Clock.

Blog it, Gab it, Fakebook it, Twatter it, email it to green-inclined folk you know. This is absolutely perfect for dinner party discussions and family gatherings as well, as you do not need to explain it, just get them to read it and stand back with a smug expression saying nothing 😁

Well in that case…

When I read this zinger:

“It is absolutely clear that climate change is a threat to our collective security and the security of our nations,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who presided over the meeting.

I thought it was perhaps the most succinct summation of why (1) the ‘Conservative’ Party should be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act (2) I will never vote for them again.

It is bizarre to think we can thank Russia (an enemy state run by gangsters) and India for providing the voice of sanity.

Samizdata quote of the day

I pledge to assist my government in achieving ‘net zero carbon emissions’ by 2050, but due to the seriousness of the climate crisis I will try to achieve this by 2030 through changing my personal lifestyle to the frugal one existing before the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago.

Tony Brown

Samizdata quote of the day

“Our fearless leader has descended from the mountain with a 10-commandment plan for a green industrial revolution. At a cost of £12 billion, he will have all Britons driving electric cars powered by North Sea wind turbines and giving up their gas boilers to heat their homes with ground-source heat pumps. He will invent zero-emission planes and ships. This vast enterprise will create 250,000 jobs.”

Matt Ridley, who is as unimpressed by the UK government’s fantasy energy policy as I am.

For me, the drive towards a supposedly “zero-carbon” economy is an obsession that I fear will blight much of what is left of my life and those of many others. Pushing back on this will be on a par with the drive to bring down the Soviet Union decades ago.

Cheap electricity should be a noble cause, not something to be embarrassed about

I was watching this interview with “lukewarmer” Matt Ridley, who agrees that global warming is a problem but who thinks technology and market-driven solutions are a way to address it, not State dictats. He was being asked about the UK government’s proposals (I have no great confidence this will be remotely achievable) to ban sales of petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2030. As he noted, such changes will weigh disproportionately on those on low to medium incomes. Even if electric cars and other appliance costs fall because of economies of scale, there is a high probability in my view that a push for “net zero” carbon emissions in the UK is going to require a big rise in electricity costs, and hence prices. And because energy is central to so much of our economy, that means more expensive food. More expensive everything.

Almost two centuries ago, free market lobbyists set up the Anti-Corn Law League to fight against tariffs on grain imports – and other items. Their cry was for “cheap bread”. It was a potent political message. I wonder if any political figure has the gumption to make “cheap energy” such a rallying cry. Because once the full, eye-watering cost of “net zero” becomes evident to ordinary consumers – forcing them to rip out gas appliances, lose their reliable cars and so on – the groundswell of anger is going to be considerable.

Another problem is that there is no real political opposition to this madness. The Labour Party – at least at the moment – is in thrall to this hairshirt Greenery. The Tories are for the moment rallying behind Boris Johnson although one wonders for how long once the costs come even more painfully evident. My hope is that a lot of those MPs in Midland and Northern seats who were swept in last December may be among those telling Johnson to show some realism.

Recent spending and delivery overruns on projects such as Crossrail give me no confidence the UK could create a grid to enable electricity-powered vehicles by 2030 on a scale to fill the gap left when petrol and diesel are taken off the table.

The cynic in me says that Johnson, who is mainly a political stunt artist, does not really care about the details, and will probably be retired from front-line politics, in a cushy job somewhere, once the nature of this mess comes home, and that someone else will have to clear up the mess.

Here’s another interview with Ridely about energy innovation. I can also recommend Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which has the sort of title designed to raise the blood pressure of today’s Green humanity-diminishers.

Samizdata quote of the day

“Fall is almost here in California. So we know the annual script. A few ostracized voices will again warn in vain of the need to remove millions of dead trees withered from the 2013–14 drought and subsequent infestations, clean up tinderbox hillsides, and beef up the fire services. They will all be ignored as right-wing nuts or worse. Environmentalists will sneer that the new forestry sees fires as medicinal and natural, and global warming as inevitable because of “climate deniers.” Late-summer fires will then consume our foothills, mountains, and forests. Long-dead trees from the drought will explode and send their pitch bombs to shower the forest with flames. Lives, livelihoods, homes, and cabins will be lost — the lamentable collateral damage of our green future. Billions of dollars will go up in smoke. The billowing haze and ash will cloud and pollute the state for weeks if not months. Tens of thousands will be evacuated and their lives disrupted — and those are the lucky.”

Victor Davis Hanson.

There seems to be a stage missing

Lest anyone look at the previous post and think that it is only the Yank media that thrills to the sound of breaking glass, here is our very own Evening Standard giving over its pages to Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion: “Roof spikes and the noble art of window smashing— protesting for Extinction Rebellion”.

She writes,

Just having left an impromptu roadblock on Millbank, I found myself yesterday suddenly among a swarm of cyclists pedalling friendly mischief around the city. There’s something about the spirit of this rebellion. When people join together in courage and love for life on earth, willing to take the punishment that will come, the system doesn’t know how to handle it. The Government itself declared a climate and ecological emergency last year, but little more than lip service has followed. On Tuesday, together with environmental organisations, academics, lawyers, and now more than 30 MPs from seven parties, we handed to Parliament on a plate a Bill fit to address the crisis. All they need to do is pass it — and all we need to do is tell them we want it.

Away with all that pettifoggery about persuading the public. That XR want it done should be enough to make it law.

Edit: Further demonstrating that persuasion is not their thing, Extinction Rebellion protesters block newspaper printing presses.

Darren Grimes said it well:

Extinction Rebellion hasn’t been ‘infiltrated’.

Black Lives matter hasn’t been ‘infiltrated’.

These movements were never about the environment or racial justice.

These movements were always about control.

They cannot win at the ballot box, so they have to use other means.

Samizdata quote of the day

As George Monbiot is pointing out, but cannot bring himself to say, the government is not your environmental friend.

Tim Worstall

To a background of Coldplay, Lomborg fisks Stiglitz

“Greta Thunberg’s message of doom is religion not reality”, writes Iain Martin in the Times:

Earlier this month, Thunberg set out in an open letter a list of demands that, if implemented, would make the economic effects of Covid-19 seem mild. Her co-signatories included assorted celebrities, activists and, inevitably, Coldplay. Climate catastrophists are clearly keen to get the alarmist show back on the road, perhaps because they have been eclipsed by the pandemic.

Martin then goes on to say that,

With intelligent use of technology and mitigation measures, mankind is more than capable of adapting to warmer conditions.

This is one of the points made in Bjorn Lomborg’s important new book False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet. Mr Lomborg is a long-standing environmentalist regarded as a heretic by hardliners in the movement because he is an optimist who says that humanity is not doomed. Global warming is happening, he says, but populations have been “scared witless” into thinking that it means the end of life on Earth. “The rhetoric on climate change has become ever more extreme and less moored to the actual science,” he says. “The science shows us that fears of a climate apocalypse are unfounded. Global warming is real, but it is not the end of the world. It is a manageable problem.”

[…]

For the sin of deviation from the apocalyptic consensus, The New York Times — woke bible and host of the Greta event at Davos in January — unleashed the eminent economist Joseph Stiglitz to lambast Mr Lomborg, who has since responded with an amusing line-by-line demolition of Mr Stiglitz’s claims.

And here it is:

The New York Times’​ stunningly false and deceptive hit piece to preserve climate alarmism.

I do love a good old fashioned fisking.

Samizdata quote of the day

Tin whiskers. If you use a pure tin solder then the electronics will grow little whiskers which will, over the course of perhaps 3 or 4 years, short circuit the system. Hmm, OK, has a good chance of doing so. The cure for tin whiskers is to add lead to the tin solder. This is now illegal because using lead is verboeten on environmental grounds. Thus we have a shorter life span for electronics. And yes, it is worth noting that the electronics which really does have to be reliable is not subject to the no lead rule.

Tim Worstall

Now, that’s what I call optimism!

“Council borrowed £1bn from taxpayers to bet on British sunshine”, report Gareth Davies and Charles Boutaud of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Among Thurrock’s rundown council estates and neglected public parks, typical of many towns after a decade of austerity, there is nothing to suggest that over the past three years the local council has borrowed and then invested hundreds of millions of pounds of other councils’ money.

Under the direction of a senior council officer Thurrock borrowed from about 150 local authorities across the UK with little public scrutiny. These loans were not for direct funding of council services, or investing in infrastructure – instead they financed solar farms more than a hundred miles away.

Now, let us not reflexively roll our eyes upon hearing the words “solar farms”. While there has been some reason for the widespread perception that investment in sunbeams has about the same record of success as investment in moonbeams, the technology of solar power genuinely has improved in recent years.

Sean Clark, Thurrock’s director of finance, oversaw the investment of £604m in the solar industry, investments he says were prompted entirely by intermediaries approaching him with money-making opportunities. In an extraordinary interview with The Bureau, Clark wondered whether he had gone too far. At last count Thurrock owed other councils an unprecedented £1bn.

OK, now you can roll your eyes.

John Kent, the former Labour leader of Thurrock council, called on the current administration to come clean. He said: “People absolutely need to be aware that the council has borrowed £1bn – that’s billion with a b.” He claimed that the council had declined to give elected members or the public adequate details of precisely how it invested the money.

As you might have deduced from that, Thurrock Council is currently controlled by the Conservatives.

Come to sunny Thurrock, where the Tories splurge on borrowed money and it is left to Labour to be the voice of prudence! Or come to sunny Britain, which is the same except for the bit about Labour.

Samizdata quote of the day

“The humanist ethic begins with the belief that humans are an essential part of nature. Humans have the right and the duty to reconstruct nature so that humans and biosphere can both survive and prosper. For humanists, the highest value is harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.”

– Freeman Dyson, the great scientist and futurist who died recently. As quoted in this fine article over at National Review, by Robert Bryce.

Dyson did not buy global warming alarmism, which must have given many in the government-funded science establishment the vapours, (excuse the pun).