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Analysis: Fracking would have saved Britain from the energy crisis


1) A Russia-Ukraine war would mean global energy shock and could push Europe into a new Dark Age 
Fox Business, 12 February 2022

2) Seth Whitehead: European crisis shows importance of energy security
The Telegraph, 11 February 2022

3) How Russia and green activists killed shale gas and paved the way for Putin’s energy wars
Matt Ridley, The Critics, December 2019

4) Matthew Lynn: Fracking would have saved Britain from the energy crisis
The Daily Telegraph, 12 February 2022

5) Andrew Neil: It’s madness to ignore the answer to the energy crisis that’s lying under our feet
Daily Mail, 12 February 2022

6) Aviv Ayash and Sam Buchan: U.S. and Israel Offer Energy Security But Face New Challenges
Real Clear Energy, 9 February 2022

7) And Finally: The Pentagon’s Green Priorities
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 12 February 2022


1) A Russia-Ukraine war would mean global energy shock and could push Europe into a new Dark Age
Fox Business, 12 February 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has Europe in his back pocket. With rash decisions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, investment in oil fields has fallen off.

At the same time, Europe cut the use of nuclear power, which ironically does not emit greenhouse gases. Those decisions could have long-lasting consequences for the continent and the world as Europe has ended up sacrificing its ability to create its own energy, playing right into Russia’s hands.

Germany is one of the main examples of this craziness after it decided that nuclear power was too dangerous and vowed to replace it with renewable energy. Yet, Germany found it is not possible to replace the power from its 19 nuclear reactors with renewables, and so it had to look for alternatives. The best alternative it found was natural gas. Yet, the country could never produce the amount of natural gas it needs, so it decided to look to Russia as a supplier.

That’s why the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 undersea pipeline between Russia and Germany is being used as a political weapon as Russia has seemingly held back supplies to Europe, not only to make more money but as a reminder of its energy dominance. It was also a warning to Europe that it had better be careful if it decides to disrupt Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine.

Over in the United Kingdom, wind and solar transition failed, so now it’s more reliant on energy imports. The wind was generating 25% of England’s supply, but when the wind stopped blowing, it dropped to just 7%, prompting electricity prices to jump to all-time highs.

The impact of this alternative energy folly is evident in data from the Energy Information Administration. European Union imports jumped back to 65.5% this year, and on top of that, 38% of the natural gas used by the EU in 2020 — and over 40% in 2022 — was imported from Russia, according to Eurostat.

Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., discusses the fate of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia were to invade Ukraine and Biden’s handling of the crisis unraveling in Eastern Europe.

The Biden administration says the U.S. will prevent Nord Stream 2 from coming online if Russia invades Ukraine. Yet if Russia then cuts off natural gas and oil supply in retaliation, can it be replaced? Maybe, if foreign natural gas and oil producers heed the Biden administration’s plea for help. The U.S. could assist, but it’s unclear why we are not leaning on the domestic energy industry.

Many experts know that if Russia decides to cut the supply, it would almost be impossible to replace.  At the same time, a war could critically damage energy infrastructure in the region that could take years, if not decades, to fix. Not to mention the human cost of war that is devastating. In Europe, backup energy supplies are at historically low levels, and that is partly by design.

If there is indeed a war between Russia and Ukraine, the world could experience one of the worst energy price spikes we’ve seen since the 1970s that could drive the world into recession, and it could push Europe back into a new Dark Age where it can’t keep the lights on.

2) Seth Whitehead: European crisis shows importance of energy security
The Telegraph, 11 February 2022

As the free world stares down a serious threat from energy-rich Russia, it is essential that we remember the energy lessons learned from World War II. We are going to need all forms of energy in massive quantities to protect our freedoms and we must return to prioritizing our energy security. 

One of the few positive developments of 2020 was surprisingly overlooked. The United States was a net petroleum exporter for the first time since the Truman administration that year. In other words – America achieved its long-coveted goal of energy independence, an objective pursued by every president dating back to Richard Nixon.

Not only was the energy security benchmark barely noticed, it may be slipping away before it becomes painfully apparent how important it is. A little more than a year later, the United States is trending toward becoming a net petroleum importer again, as our crude oil imports from Russia and other foreign adversaries are soaring and domestic production is struggling to keep pace with record demand. Anyone who doubts just how ominous this trend is need only look to the geopolitical nightmare developing in Europe.

Due at least partly to Russia-backed anti-“fracking” campaigns, most European governments have banned hydraulic fracturing, a technology used to complete 95 percent of the new wells drilled in the United States. “Fracking” has made energy dependence possible here, but its rejection across the pond has kept Europe from developing hydrocarbon resources many feel are comparable to the United States’, making the continent hopelessly reliant on Russia for its energy needs in the process.

Russia provides about one-third of the oil and natural gas Europe consumes. It is because of Moscow’s stranglehold on European energy supply (and the inadequacy of wind energy to fill the void) that natural gas prices are currently six times higher in Europe than they are here. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is particularly at the mercy of Vladimir Putin for its energy needs, as nearly two-thirds of its natural gas and one-third of its petroleum comes from Russia.

Retired General and former U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster summed up the situation in a recent NPR interview, saying, “The fact that they are dependent on Russian gas has given Vladimir Putin tremendous coercive power over Europe’s economies.”

Unfortunately, policies are being implemented to push the United States in the same energy-dependent quagmire Europe finds itself in – and not just in the traditional energy space.

All forms of energy ultimately come from the ground, which is why the “Keep It In the Ground” movement’s quest to inhibit the domestic mineral mining needed for renewable energy presents a threat to our energy security as well. The latest example is the cancelation of mineral leases for the Twin Metals mining project in Minnesota. Already dependent on China for critical minerals needed for electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines, the “green” campaign to nix the project shows how “Keep It In the Ground” is really an anti-U.S. energy movement.

History shows us with crystal clarity how important having plentiful domestic energy resources is.

Historians widely agree that it was largely because Germany and Japan were both severely lacking in domestic petroleum resources that the energy-rich Allied Forces emerged victorious in World War II. America produced half of the world’s oil during this time and six out of seven barrels of petroleum consumed by the Allied Forces during WWII was produced in the United States.

Access to petroleum was absolutely essential to the war effort, as it was needed to fuel tanks, military vehicles and aircraft. It was also used to make TNT, synthetic rubber for tires, runways and lubricant for guns, just to name a few of its myriad of applications. A prominent German marshal even listed his country’s oil deficiencies as one of the three primary reasons they lost the war.

As the free world stares down a serious threat from energy-rich Russia, it is essential that we remember the energy lessons learned from the most pivotal conflict the world has ever seen. We are going to need all forms of energy in massive quantities to protect our freedoms and we must return to prioritizing our energy security. It is in the United States’ best interest to produce as much of its energy here as possible and reject the “Keep It In the Ground” agenda.

3) How Russia and green activists killed shale gas and paved the way for Putin’s energy wars
Matt Ridley, The Critics, December 2019

How cheap energy was killed by Green lies and Russian propaganda

The first coffee house in Marseilles opened in 1671, prompting the city’s vintners to recruit a couple of professors at the University of Aix to blacken their new competitor’s reputation. They duly got one of their students to write a pamphlet claiming coffee was a vile foreign novelty made from a tree favoured by goats and camels. It burned the blood, dried the kidneys and attracted the lymph, inducing palsies and impotence. “From all of which we must necessarily conclude that coffee is hurtful to the greater part of the inhabitants of Marseilles.”

Thus does novelty run up against vested interests. Today similar pseudoscience is used to blacken the reputation of almost any new development. Usually, as was the case with coffee, the campaign fails. But these days the anti-innovation forces have deep pockets and few scruples and have won some big battles. We now know that the opposition to genetically modified crops in Europe has resulted in more pesticide use than would otherwise have been the case, yet that opposition was very profitable for the big green pressure groups.

They fanned the flames of opposition, coining terms such as “Frankenfood”, and nimbly hopped from one fear to the next as each myth was busted: biotechnology was going to poison people, damage ecosystems, cause allergies, impoverish small farmers, boost corporate profits, and so on. They turned Monsanto into a pantomime villain and forced it to contemplate a strategy (making plants that could not breed true so the plants could not spread in the wild) that activists then criticised as a “terminator technology” designed to prevent small farmers saving seed, thus forcing them to rely on Monsanto.

Eventually, the issue lost its ability to yield donations and media interest, so the green business blob moved on. As Mark Lynas, a prominent anti-GM campaigner, now ruefully admits: “We permanently stirred public hostility to GMO foods throughout pretty much the entire world, and — incredibly — held up the previously unstoppable march of a whole technology. There was only one problem with our stunningly successful worldwide campaign. It wasn’t true.”

Cameron’s government projected gas prices would either rise fast, medium or slow – In fact they fell
More than a decade later, environmentalists hit upon another money spinner: opposition to fracking. When the shale gas revolution first came along, some environmentalists welcomed it, and rightly so. It “creates an unprecedented opportunity to use gas as a bridge fuel to a twenty-first-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources, and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas,” wrote Senator Tim Wirth, a prominent environmentalist. And so it has proved: the country that adopted shale gas first and most — the United States — is the country that lowered its carbon dioxide emissions first and most, because gas displaced coal, a much higher-carbon fuel.

But then the vested interests got to work. Renewable energy promoters panicked at the thought of cheap and abundant gas. Their business model was predicated on the alleged certainty that prices would rise as fossil fuels ran out, making subsidised wind and solar power look comparatively cheap. David Cameron’s coalition government produced three projections about what might happen to gas prices: that they would rise fast, medium or slow. In fact they fell, a possibility the government had entirely ignored.

It is hard to recall now just how sure almost everybody was in 2008 that natural gas was running out. Its price had risen as gas fields in North America and the North Sea began to run dry. Peak gas was coming even sooner than peak oil or peak coal. Yet in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, something was stirring. Engineer Nick Steinsberger, working for a company called Mitchell Energy, tried different ways to fracture shale rocks deep underground so that the gas would flow. Hydraulic fracturing had been invented the 1940s, generally using petroleum gels, but it did not work in shale, which contained an enormous amount of gas and oil. Nobody much minded you pumping gels down into rocks in those days. After all, the rocks themselves are — by definition — already soaked in toxic mixtures of oil and gas.

Steinsberger noticed water worked a bit better than gel. In 1998, he tried sending water down first, then some sand to prop open the cracks and — whoosh! — out came a lot of gas. And it kept on coming. “Slick-water fracking” had been invented, using far fewer chemicals than previous methods, allowing vast shale reserves around the world to be exploited.

Most experts said shale gas was a flash in the pan and would not much affect global supplies. They were wrong. By 2011 America’s declining gas output shot up and oil soon followed suit. The US has now overtaken Russia as the biggest gas producer in the world, and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer. Cheap gas brought a stream of chemical companies rushing back from Europe and the Persian Gulf to manufacture in America. Gas import terminals were rebuilt as gas export terminals. The Permian basin in Texas alone now produces as much oil as the whole of the US did in 2008, and more than any Opec country except Iran and Saudi Arabia. This — not wind and solar which still provide only 2 per cent of world primary energy — is the big energy story of the past decade.

One country that should have taken sharp notice is Britain. As late as 2004 Britain was a gas exporter, but as North Sea production declined it rapidly became a big net importer, dependent on Norway, Qatar or Russia. As Britain was paying far more for its gas than America, that meant that our huge chemical industry was gradually moving out.

Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”

Fortunately, it then emerged that Britain has one of the richest and thickest seams of shale: the Bowland shale across Lancashire and Yorkshire contains many decades of supply. Fracking it would mean drilling small holes down about one mile, then cracking the rocks with millimetre-wide fractures and catching the gas as it flowed out over the next few decades. Experience in America showed this could be done without any risk of contaminating ground water, which is near the surface, or threatening buildings. The seismic tremors that have caused all the trouble are so slight they could not possibly do damage and were generally far smaller than those from mining, construction or transport. The well pads would be hundreds of times smaller than the concrete bases of wind farms producing comparable amounts of energy.

Still, friends of the earth, which is effectively a multinational environmental business, spotted a chance to make hay. Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, it kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants. The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken. Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.

The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies. Unlike most conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in Western politics, this one is out there in plain sight. The head of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the Russians, as part of a sophisticated disinformation operation, “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations — environmental organisations working against shale gas — to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”.

The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas. Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of paedophiles”. The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.” Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking.

No scare story was too far-fetched to be taken up and amplified. Tap water would catch fire (no: though it’s a natural phenomenon in some places in America where gas naturally contaminates ground water). There would be significant gas leaks (no: there are more gas leaks from natural sources and pipelines). The water that comes out of the well is dangerously radioactive (no: it is not). Fracking uses a lot of water (a lot less than farming). And so on. The unelected quangocracy that runs these things on behalf of taxpayers, mainly in the form of the Environment Agency, appeared at times to be taking its instructions directly from Friends of the Earth. So, of course, did the BBC.

The endless delays imposed by regulators played into the hands of shale gas’s opponents, giving them time to organise more and more protests, which were themselves ways of getting on the news and hence getting more donations. Never mind that few locals in Lancashire wanted to join the protests: plenty of upper-middle class types could be bussed in from the south.

As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers. A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap and relatively clean energy.

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4) Matthew Lynn: Fracking would have saved Britain from the energy crisis
The Daily Telegraph, 12 February 2022

Our vast reserves of shale oil could have spared us from rocketing gas prices

Exports are flat. Imports are rising. The UK is, despite the best efforts of the Government, still struggling to pay its way in the world, and sterling remains perpetually at the mercy of foreign investors.

It would be easy to blame the UK’s woeful trade performance on our departure from the European Union, and no doubt some die-hard Remainers will do their best to make that case. And yet there is a far simpler explanation: our catastrophic energy policy.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics published yesterday showed imports of energy rising by £800m month-on-month and hitting historically high levels. Our deficit on natural gas alone is now running at almost £2bn a month and has doubled in a year.

That is crazy. The UK has plenty of gas of its own under the North Sea. And it has even more abundant reserves of shale oil and gas.

It is just that we have decided not to develop it. By now, Britain could be self-sufficient in energy, and even exporting it at vast profits to the rest of Europe – but a series of epically bad decisions by a series of governments made that impossible.

The trade data published on Friday made, as so often, for dismal reading.

True, it was not as bad as the figures from France this week, where the deficit has reached an alarming €11bn a month, or Germany, where the once mighty surplus has crumbled in only a couple of years, but it still showed the UK struggling to pay its way in the world.

Excluding erratic items, the deficit widened to £5.4bn for December, up from £5.3bn a month earlier. If Brexit was meant to unleash a wave of exports to the rest of the world there is not much sign of it.

Within that, however, it was the energy data that was really eye-catching. By far the most important factor has been the rising cost of all the energy we import to keep the lights switched on, heat our homes, and keep the cars running.

The value of natural gas imports jumped to £5.3bn in December, up from £3bn in November, and an average of £800m over the last three years.

Sure, we export some gas as well, but the deficit in gas widened to £4.7bn in December from £2.6bn, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics. To put it more succinctly, importing natural gas is now costing us a fortune, and doing huge damage to the trade balance.

There is no real surprise about that. After all, gas prices have risen almost five-fold across Europe over the last few months, and remain very volatile, as Russian supplies get choked off, and nuclear plants are phased out.

Yet here is the important point: there was nothing inevitable about that. As it happens, we have plenty of energy resources right here in this country. We just haven’t chosen to exploit them.

First, and most obviously, there is still plenty of gas under the North Sea. There are six fields where approval has been pending for more than a year and between them they have an estimated 62m tonnes of oils and gas, enough by itself to power the UK for six months.

There are belated signs that ministers are accelerating that – as well as reports that North Sea gas may be reserved for British customers – but it has been endlessly postponed, and the companies that have the most expertise, and the deepest reserves of capital, to get that done quickly, such as BP and Shell, have been harassed out of the business.

Next, we also have plenty of shale oil and gas, especially in the vast fields in the North, as well as in the leafy suburbs of the home counties stretching from Tunbridge Wells to Guildford (not most people’s idea of oil towns, admittedly, but heck this is a crisis).

Instead, Cuadrilla only this week had to close its two exploration sites in Lancashire, effectively bringing the UK fracking industry to an end.

And yet, in the US the gas price has barely risen, mainly because the frackers have stepped into the market with increased supplies (and, funnily enough, the country hasn’t been ravaged by earthquakes, despite the propaganda pumped out by opponents of the industry).

We could have had vast supplies coming on steam by now.
And, finally, if we still had plenty of gas storage facilities as a back-up then we could be dipping into those reserves while the price spiked. And yet the government decided to save peanuts closing those down, complacently assuming that we could always buy plenty of liquified natural gas shipped in from abroad on the global market.

It was yet another costly error.

Those mistakes have started to hurt. In reality, if you add it all up, instead of energy imports hitting record levels this month we could have been self-sufficient in gas.

Indeed, with just a little planning, and a smidgen of foresight, we could have been exporting gas to the rest of Europe at a time when countries such as Germany are desperate for an alternative to the pipelines shipping the stuff in from an increasingly erratic and hostile Russia.
Would that have been so terrible? Not really.

It would have created jobs and wealth in this country, rather than in Qatar. And it would have generated so much money at the current elevated price that the overall trade balance would have been in surplus by now, a place the UK has not found itself in for decades.

The British government has had some disastrous policies over the years but its mismanagement of energy is up there with the very worst. Rising gas prices could have been a bonanza for the UK economy.

Instead, an obsession with an over-rushed, poorly-planned, and woefully executed rush to “net zero” has left us with a bigger energy deficit than ever – and made the whole country poorer than it needed to be.

5) Andrew Neil: It’s madness to ignore the answer to the energy crisis that’s lying under our feet
Daily Mail, 12 February 2022

We are reaping the bitter consequences of 25 years of increasingly costly, stupid and self-defeating energy policies promoted in unison by politicians — Tory , Labour and Liberal Democrat alike

Households across the country are gripped in a cost-of-living vice, with the price of essentials, from food to travel, soaring. But none more so than energy costs, with the average family fuel bill rising by an incredible 54 per cent to just shy of £2,000 a year. For folks on modest and low incomes, there will be real financial hardship.

‘It’s a global energy crunch,’ say our politicians. ‘There’s not much we can do about it.’

In fact, we are reaping the bitter consequences of 25 years of increasingly costly, stupid and self-defeating energy policies promoted in unison by these very same politicians — Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat alike — who now bleat there’s nothing they can do about it.

Take gas. As the world economy has sprung back from the depths of the pandemic, there is, indeed, a global shortage of gas. Prices have spiked and the extra cost is now showing up painfully in our domestic fuel bills.

The solution has been under our feet for more than a decade. Britain sits on some of the world’s richest reserves of shale gas. The Bowland Field in Lancashire harbours 37.6 trillion cubic metres of the stuff. Even if we were to extract only 10 per cent of it — through a process called fracking — we’d have enough gas to be self-sufficient for 50 years.

There are plenty other places in our land brimming with shale — all of which could be mined to supply our own needs, with the surplus exported to a gas-hungry world.

In reality, we haven’t extracted a single cubic metre. Our politicians — left, right and centre — simply didn’t have the gumption to go for it.

They were cowed into submission by the propaganda of the green lobby, which hugely exaggerated the environmental dangers and spread scare stories when exploratory drilling produced the mildest of earth tremors in the Blackpool area.

They barely registered on the Richter scale and Northern coal-mining areas have experienced worse for more than a century. But they were enough to kill off Britain’s nascent shale industry.

Even that’s not enough for the Green Blob.

Far from exploiting our shale reserves, the Oil and Gas Authority, a state quango which increasingly dances to the green net-zero carbon emissions tune, has ordered Cuadrilla, the drilling company, to seal forever its two shale gas wells by pouring concrete down them.

Not now to frack — and not ever. It is a policy which beggars belief. The Government should be ashamed of itself — as should all those Opposition politicians who support it. Far from developing shale gas when we most need it, the unthinking and often uninformed Westminster consensus is to make sure none of it ever sees the light of day.

As a result, massive investment in the North will not take place and 75,000 well-paid, skilled jobs in places where they are most needed — such as Lancashire — will now never be created. Remember that next time you hear a Cabinet minister wittering on about levelling up the North with the South.

Of course, we’re still going to need gas. Even as billions have been poured into renewables, gas is still the biggest generator of electricity — accounting for on average 40 per cent, and more than 50 per cent when the wind isn’t blowing. But instead of extracting it from our own lands, we’ll have to import it.

Already 50 per cent of the gas we need comes from abroad — mainly Norway and Qatar, with some from Russia. By the end of the decade, we’ll be importing 70 per cent and by 2050 — when we’re meant to hit that magical net-zero for carbon emissions — 85 per cent of the gas we need will be imported.

Britain currently runs a balance of payments deficit equivalent to 4 per cent of our GDP and energy already accounts for a big chunk of it. In the decades ahead, imported gas is set to blow an even bigger hole in our trade deficit. A growing deficit makes it harder to run a high-growth economy without making that deficit unsustainable.

The consequences of our absurd energy policies are mind-boggling. Instead of providing well-paid employment for our own people in the North, we’ve decided to line the already-brimming pockets of dictators in Qatar and the Kremlin with billions more dollars.

Instead of cultivating our own shale industry, which would generate billions of pounds in tax, we’re spending billions to import gas.

The hypocrisy is nauseating. Our politicians dine out with virtue-signalling glee on how they’ve stopped fracking in the UK. But they don’t mention that we had to import shale gas from America this winter to make up for shortfalls in supply from elsewhere. America — where gas prices are 25 per cent of ours and shale has turned the country into a net energy exporter.

A prospect which beckoned for us — but on which we preferred to turn our backs, all because our political elite bowed to the power of the green lobby.

That thud you hear as your energy bills pop through the letterbox and hit the floor is the price you’re paying for their political cowardice.

Our energy failures are not confined to gas. When Tony Blair came to power in 1997 with a landslide majority, giving him the power to do what he wanted, it was quickly apparent we needed to start planning for four new nuclear power stations to replace our ageing nuclear generators.

But nothing happened. As the Government dithered, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown decided it was a good idea to sell our nuclear generation capabilities — in the shape of Westinghouse Electric Company — to Japan’s Toshiba in 2006. Thus did Britain, which once led the world in the peaceful application of atomic power, end up with no nuclear power technology of its own.

Twenty-five years after Blair was told we needed four new nuclear generators, we’re building only one (at Hinkley Point). Actually, the French are building it since we don’t have the know-how to do it ourselves.

France has shown nuclear is an alternative to gas. It has 56 reactors which generate more than 70 per cent of its electricity. Only 10 per cent comes from gas, which has insulated French households from the current surge in gas prices.

No surprise, then, that President Macron this week announced six new nuclear power stations as part of a €50 billion modernisation programme.

Here in dear old Blighty we failed to invest in new nuclear or shale. So our nuclear stations are fast reaching the end of their lifecycle and we grow ever more dependent on gas imports. Stupidity piled upon stupidity.

UK energy policy used to be driven by the need for security of supply and for affordability. Today we have neither. Both have been sacrificed to the great god of decarbonisation, which has taken precedence over everything else.

Instead of trying to learn from the litany of energy errors, we just compound mistake with mistake. Smart meters, in theory, should help us to use electricity more efficiently, using power for some tasks when it’s off peak and cheaper.

But our energy tsars intend to use them to manage shortages of supply, surging prices when demand is strong and even siphoning off electricity from vehicles plugged into chargers. Good luck with that.

The irony of our predicament is that, even if you’re a net-zero zealot, it’s impossible to see it being reached by 2050 unless nuclear power is there to provide carbon-free, base-load power, and relatively clean gas is used as a transition fuel until there is a step-change in battery technology which allows electricity to be stored in huge quantities (to use when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining).

But the Green Blob is irrationally averse to any use of fossil fuels even in a transition to net zero and implacably hostile to nuclear.

Most of our politicians, to their lasting shame, are in hock to them — hook, line and offshore windmill. The rest of us will be paying for their spinelessness big time for the foreseeable future.

6) Aviv Ayash and Sam Buchan: U.S. and Israel Offer Energy Security But Face New Challenges
Real Clear Energy, 9 February 2022

Outside the climate echo chambers, the U.S. and Israel should renew support for realizing the full potential of our respective resources, not simply for our economic gain but that of our allies and partners as well.

Israel and the United States are united by shared values, a commitment to democracy, and a partnership that stretches back to the founding of the modern State of Israel. The two countries now share a new commonality: they are significant natural gas exporters. Built on innovation and new technology, both are developing an unexpected bounty of energy resources.

For Israel in particular, the stakes are high: its energy reserves can play a significant role in advancing regional peace and stability. Yet climate activists are increasingly putting the potential for rapid integration with neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean at risk by demanding natural gas production be halted.

The discoveries of the giant natural gas fields Zohr, Leviathan, and Aphrodite in the Levant Basin have drawn global attention and enthusiasm, not least from Israel’s neighbors. Israeli gas quickly began delivering electricity and heat for Arabs and Israelis alike. After years of avoiding investment in Israel for fear of retribution from neighboring Arab countries, the historic Abraham Accords created the space to attract international energy majors like Chevron. In a once-unthinkable development, Mubadala, a sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, invested $1 billion in the Israeli Tamar field.

Natural gas development is spurring greater regional cooperation as Eastern Mediterranean countries recognize the critical importance of their shared efforts to unlock the region’s full resource potential. Numerous projects are currently being promoted by national governments and the private sector. These projects seek to provide new opportunities for vulnerable populations like the Palestinians and Lebanese and strengthen already significant trade between Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.

The emergence of regional cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean reflects a newfound commitment to prosperity through integration. The East Mediterranean Gas Forum, a multilateral institution that serves as the central platform for public-private sector cooperation, is a notable advancement.

The Forum was established by Israel, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Italy, and the Palestinian Authority to promote a common interest in natural gas’s strategic, economic, and environmental benefits for all people. The success of this institution is leading to an expansion of activities to jointly assess and mitigate risks, develop future infrastructure corridors, and promote the use of shared infrastructure to project cohesive regional competitiveness.

The region’s potential is only just beginning to emerge. The Abraham Accords are driving a flood of investment and economic development in the region, including through cross-border investment in energy infrastructure. Plans to link the region’s two transnational natural gas systems – the Arab system that connects Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria, and the Gulf States system – offer sophisticated and efficient natural gas linkages, including to Europe at a time when the continent desperately seeks reliable alternatives.

Also significant is the Euro-Asia Interconnector, which envisions an electricity connection between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece. With a vision for the future, the Israeli electricity system can connect Jordanian, Egyptian, and perhaps even the Saudi grid through the Red Sea and position Israel as an electric bridge between the pan-Arab and European electricity network.

The progress of Israel and its neighbors bears a striking resemblance to the energy revolution of the United States. Natural gas has turned the U.S. from an energy consumer country to the world’s leading exporter of natural gas. This position enables the U.S. to provide reliability and security to allies and partners worldwide.

Make no mistake, the benefits of natural gas are not just geopolitically or economically significant. Natural gas is once again showing that it is the backbone of the energy transition. Not only are Israel and the United States witnessing record reductions in emissions, but in the Middle East, natural gas is mitigating rampant shortages that often result in populations burning inefficient fuels, such as diesel.

Israel is now facing a threat all too familiar to American producers – policymakers naively embracing climate activism without fully understanding the real-world implications. In the case of Israel and its neighbors, investors and financial institutions may be forced to engage in a retrograde zero-sum game by choosing between Middle East peace and rigid environmental and social governance requirements.

Following the lackluster outcome of Glasgow’s COP26, we can only hope that the upcoming COP27 hosted by Egypt will provide an opportunity for climate activists to emerge from their bubbles and witness firsthand that natural gas is a driving force the world over in reducing emissions, bridging historical divides, and creating enormous opportunity and security.

Outside the climate echo chambers, the U.S. and Israel should renew support for realizing the full potential of our respective resources through political and financial support, not simply for our economic gain but that of our allies and partners as well.

7) And finally: The Pentagon’s Green Priorities
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 12 February 2022

Sleep well tonight. The U.S. Army has plans to defeat climate change.

The world looks more dangerous every day, so let’s check in on the folks responsible for defending America. The Biden Defense Department hasn’t released a National Defense Strategy and the Pentagon can’t adjust its priorities while it’s stuck in continuing budget resolutions from Congress. But the Army is devoting time and effort to trumpeting its new plan to fight the invisible enemy of climate change.

“Climate change endangers national and economic security, and the health and well-being of the American people,” the first-ever Army Climate Strategy says. Among the stated goals: a 50% reduction in Army net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030; installing a microgrid on every installation by 2035; and converting its nontactical fleet of vehicles (vans, for example) to all-electric by 2035.

The Army pitches this as a natural extension of its mission to plan and prosecute wars, though nothing about less reliable energy sources or more expensive logistics will make the Army a better fighting force. The Pentagon insists it can fight climate change while dealing with threats like Russia and China, but focus is a finite resource and the service has far more urgent priorities.

The Army’s budget has been flat or declining for years after inflation, even as the land branch is trying to modernize much of its 1980s equipment. Some in Washington are eager to carve up the Army to fund a larger Navy to deal with China, but the 485,000-soldier service would be healthier at 500,000. As the saying goes, no one knows where the next war will be fought.

But never fear, the Pentagon is also on high alert over identity politics. This week it pumped out a press release about the “need for diversity, equity and inclusion to be a consideration or part of all decisions in the military.”

In a recent speech, Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher walked through the dubious social science and flawed logic that informs the Pentagon’s fixation with equity. As he put it: “We are lucky to draw from a diverse population, but we do not want the U.S. military to look like a representative sample of the population. We want it to be the best and the brightest. The U.S. military is an elite and meritocratic organization where only the most fit, disciplined, and lethal individuals should thrive, regardless of skin color.”

He added: “Actual strength—physical strength, mental strength and overall end strength—is our strength.”
Documents about climate change or bromides about diversity are more mood associations than concrete plans, but they do raise questions about a politicized military. A military that wanders from its core mission is not one that will attract the public funding and support it needs to defend the country from proliferating threats.