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Germany set to miss Net Zero target as climate efforts falter

1) Germany set to miss Net Zero target as climate efforts falter
Reuters, 22 August 20223

2) Sweden to lift ban on uranium mining, plans to build 10 nuclear power plants
Mining Technology, 21 August 2023
3) Net Zero Britain: “Nearly 13 million UK homes skip heating due to energy bill fears”
Energy Live News, 22 August 2023

4) Scottish government faces heat pump rebellion over ‘exorbitant’ bills
The Daily Telegraph, 21 August 2023

5) UK Government looking into “watering down” plans for Net Zero EV mandate
GB News, 21 August 2023
6) Voters won’t accept ‘economic destruction’ to reach Net Zero, Starmer warned 
The Daily Telegraph, 20 August 2023
7) New Scientist: How worried should we be about climate change?
Net Zero Watch, 23 August 2023
8) Coral reefs may have adapted to ocean warming
The Times, 23 August 2023

9) Ian O’Doherty: Ireland’s bonkers plan to kill cows to save the planet
The Spectator, 20 August 2023

10) Will the rising cost of green energy cost US Democrats next year’s elections?
Politico, 22 August 2023

11) Dominic Lawson: Most people support the idea of net zero, until they’re faced with the prospect of giant turbines or an army of pylons wrecking their views
Daily Mail, 21 August 2023

12) The Electric-Vehicle bubble starts to deflate
The Wall Street Journal, 21 August 2023

13) And finally: Is it really human beings who are triggering earthquakes and causing volcanoes to explode?
The Daily Sceptic, 22 August 2023

1) Germany set to miss Net Zero target as climate efforts falter
Reuters, 22 August 20223

BERLIN, Aug 22 (Reuters) – German goals to cut greenhouse emissions by 65% by 2030 are likely to be missed, meaning a longer-term net zero by 2045 target is also in doubt, reports by government climate advisers and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) show.

The European Union has sought to be a climate leader and Germany has set itself more ambitious targets than the bloc as a whole, but in many countries politics and the economic crisis have pushed the climate crisis down the agenda.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, aims to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 65% by 2030 compared with 1990. Last year its CO2 levels were already 40% below the 1990 level, but the new reports said that was not enough.

“The expected overall reduction is probably overestimated,” Hans-Martin Henning, the chairman of a council of climate experts that advises the government said in a statement on Tuesday.

Full story

2) Sweden to lift ban on uranium mining, plans to build 10 nuclear power plants
Mining Technology, 21 August 2023

The historically anti-nuclear country has announced plans to increase its nuclear generation dramatically.

Sweden’s Climate Minister Romina Pourmokhtari has announced plans to lift the country’s ban on uranium mining and make way for greater nuclear energy capacity.

The Swedish Parliament has shown majority support for a lift on the ban, according to Pourmokhtari.

The government plans to build at least ten large reactors in the next 20 years to meet the demand for low-carbon energy. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson told reporters in January that the government is “changing the legislation”, which will increase nuclear investment in the country.

Swedish ministers decided to phase out nuclear generation in 1980 and have historically taken an anti-nuclear stance. However, this policy was repealed in June 2010. Pourmokhtari is a public advocate of nuclear generation and says it should form a part of Sweden’s future energy mix.

“The government is aiming at doubling electricity production in 20 years,” Pourmokhtari told The Times this weekend.

“For our clean power system to function, a large part of this has to be dispatchable where nuclear power is the only non-fossil option. Nuclear power also has a reduced environmental footprint and requires limited resources in comparison with most energy sources.”

Uranium mining has become a point of concern for Europe’s nuclear industry as Russia dominates the processing of the fuel. Following the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, the EU has sought to reduce its energy dependence on Moscow.

Kazakhstan, however, is by far the largest uranium miner. According to the World Nuclear Association, the country produced the largest share of mined uranium (43% of the global supply) in 2022, followed by Canada (15%) and Namibia (11%).

The European Parliament has been the site of heated debate over the role of nuclear generation in a net-zero future. France, which generates around 70% of its energy from nuclear sources, has been vocally pro-nuclear. Meanwhile, Germany, which has shut down its final three nuclear power stations this year, says that the fuel is not renewable.

Sweden accounts for 80% of the EU’s uranium deposits and already extracts uranium as a waste product when mining for other metals.
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3) Net Zero Britain: “Nearly 13 million UK homes skip heating due to energy bill fears”
Energy Live News, 22 August 2023

Almost 51% of households earning less than £20,000 opt to go without heating in the cold, according to a new survey

Nearly 13 million households in the UK are choosing to shiver through cold weather rather than switch on their heating due to mounting energy bill concerns, a recent survey by consumer watchdog Which? has highlighted.

As the energy industry anticipates the next price cap announcement from Ofgem, Which? warns that these heating decisions could have serious health repercussions.

Nearly 90% (85%) of households are grappling with financial strain due to soaring energy bills, prompting cutbacks in energy use and leaving many without heat during cold spells.

Last winter, almost half (46%) of those 4,000 surveyed admitted to keeping the heating off despite plummeting temperatures, representing an estimated 13 million households across the nation.

Full story

4) Scottish government faces heat pump rebellion over ‘exorbitant’ bills
The Daily Telegraph, 21 August 2023

Rural homeowners in Scotland face “exorbitant” bills and heating breakdowns thanks to Humza Yousaf’s drive to force them to install heat pumps, a cross-party group of MSPs led by an SNP grandee has warned.

Fergus Ewing, a former SNP government cabinet secretary, has organised a letter signed by Labour and Tory MSPs warning ministers about the impact of the plans on remote properties in areas such as the Highlands.

The letter said installing heat pumps or other electric forms of heating would either be “exorbitantly” expensive or totally unfeasible in many homes not connected to the gas grid.

Families in some of the coldest parts of Scotland also face having to live without heating in the event of power outages caused by extreme weather, they said.

The group of four MSPs, who represent some of Scotland’s most rural communities, demanded an “urgent review” of the SNP-Green government’s controversial plan to decarbonise domestic heating.

Patrick Harvie, the Green Party zero carbon buildings minister, has said the Scottish Government wanted “all homes to reach new energy efficiency standards by no later than 2033”.

He is also introducing controversial reforms to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings system that could mean homeowners are banned from selling their properties from 2025 unless they install heat pumps.

Full story

5) UK Government looking into “watering down” plans for Net Zero EV mandate
GB News, 21 August 2023

According to reports, the Government could be looking into the possibility of “watering down” plans for the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate.

The so-called ZEV mandate would be introduced next year and require automotive manufacturers to have 22 per cent of its car sales be electric in 2024.

This total, as well as total electric van sales, would steadily increase every year until it reaches 80 per cent for cars in 2030 and finally 100 per cent in 2035.

However, there are fears that the Government and Rishi Sunak could walk back some pledges for the net zero targets.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is planning to put the ZEV mandate rules to a vote in Parliament, according to The i newspaper.

It is believed that this could potentially lead to rebels in Government voting against the proposal and leaving the mandate in limbo.

Recent research from New AutoMotive found that car manufacturers would have to pay around £660million if the ZEV mandate had been in place over the last 12 months.

Estimates show that car brands would be around 44,000 credits short of reaching 2024 targets.

Some brands which focus more heavily on electric cars like Tesla and MG would avoid any ZEV mandate compliance issues.

However, other brands, like Ford and Toyota, would be more likely to need to buy credits or pay to achieve EV manufacturing goals.

The Department for Transport reportedly refused to say whether it was committed to the start date of the ZEV mandate, adding that it would begin in “due course”.

According to policy documents released earlier this year, the ZEV mandate could have a cost benefit of £44billion, based on best estimates.
6) Voters won’t accept ‘economic destruction’ to reach Net Zero, Starmer warned 
The Daily Telegraph, 20 August 2023

Voters will not accept “economic destruction” to achieve net zero, one of Britain’s biggest unions has warned Sir Keir Starmer.

Gary Smith, the general secretary of the GMB union, said a rush to abandon oil and gas would be “a disaster” and urged the Labour leader to rethink his green objectives.

The debate around net zero, which Britain is legally obliged to reach by 2050, has intensified after last month’s surprise Tory victory in the Uxbridge by-election last month. Labour blamed its defeat on a backlash against the expansion of London’s Ulez scheme.

However, Sir Keir’s party still plans to place its decarbonisation agenda at the heart of its offering at the next election, with its multi-billion pound Green Prosperity Plan designed to mimic Joe Biden’s big spending on environmental policies.

Warning that politicians had displayed “dishonesty” about the costs of hitting climate targets, Mr Smith suggested Labour risks throwing away its double-digit poll lead if it does not strike the right tone on the issue.

“The danger is if they get the discussion wrong on oil and gas and how we heat our homes and how we power industry, it becomes Ulez on steroids,” he told the Sunday Express.

“I think Labour got it wrong [in Uxbridge]. I think it was ill-thought through what they said, and I hope their position is changing as they face up to the realities of the complexities and challenges of net zero. If politicians don’t listen, don’t take people with them, there will be a backlash and it will be to the Right.”

Reform UK, the Right-wing party led by Richard Tice, has called for a referendum on the 2050 net zero target. A number of Conservative backbenchers echoed the call last week, but the idea was rejected by Rishi Sunak.

In a broadside at Sir Keir’s plans to ban the granting of new licences to explore oil and gas fields in the North Sea, Mr Smith added: “Allowing oil and gas to wither will be a disaster for national security.

“I think there has been a fundamental dishonesty at the heart of our politics about how complex energy is and about how costly any transition is going to be. People are not going to tolerate economic destruction to try to achieve net zero.”

Sir Keir has sought to moderate Labour’s image on environmental issues in the wake of disruptive high-profile stunts by climate campaigners including Greenpeace and Just Stop Oil in recent weeks.

Writing for The Times earlier this month, he described the demands of Just Stop Oil as “contemptible” and insisted he would work with oil and gas giants to secure a managed transition to net zero based on investment in newer technologies such as carbon capture.

The Conservatives have sought to exploit the political divide, with Grant Shapps, the Energy Security Secretary, claiming Labour’s strategy would cause blackouts, while Mr Sunak has pledged to achieve net zero in a “proportionate and pragmatic” way.

7) New Scientist: How worried should we be about climate change?
Net Zero Watch, 23 August 2023

David Whitehouse, Science editor
How worried should we be, asks New Scientist in a Climate Change Special Issue. The 19th August issue is billed as a guide to a year of extreme weather – “a year of extremes,” when 2023 is barely half way over.
In a New Scientist Climate Special Report senior reporter Michael Le Page asks if climate change is worse than we thought it would be? Well, it depends upon who you ask – and New Scientist usually asks the same experts for their unwavering opinions which, as we shall see, are sometimes just a premonition they have.

The article in question quotes the usual crew: Peter Stott of the UK Met Office, Piers Forster of the University of Leeds, Zeke Hausfather of Berkeley Earth and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Together they have been quoted in the New Scientist 109 times.

According to New Scientist: “Here are the key facts you need to know.”
It’s first question is: Is the world is warming faster than expected?
In short, the conclusion the article draws is no, it isn’t; the temperatures we’re seeing are “well within the range” of climate model predictions. New Scientist adds that even the models of the 1970’s were “pretty close,” presumably before a great deal of time and money was expended making them more complicated but not more accurate.
But it’s actually not quite like that. The article quotes Zeke Hausfather of Berkeley Earth who says: “If anything, temperatures have been a bit on the low end.” So the answer to the first question is just the inverse of the habitual media narrative — the world is not warming faster than expected or predicted. The article emphasises that to put July’s weather extremes into context will take “a decade or so,” so that’s a memo for the New Scientist’s’s August 2033 Climate Special, if it’s still around by then.
Next comes the question, are we seeing more extreme weather than predicted?

The answer to this also depends upon who you ask. They asked Piers Forster who said he hasn’t seen any physical evidence for more extreme weather … although he thinks it might be possible. New Scientist then asked Peter Stott who said he thinks there is some evidence that the IPCC may have underestimated … “but the jury is still out.” So, scientifically speaking that would be another no.
Opinions not evidence
Next up: Have the impacts of our current level of warming been underestimated?
Le Page writes that “coral bleaching and die-off events have been more extensive.” As evidence for this he refers to a March 2022 article by fellow New Scientist journalist Adam Vaughan who wrote that “unusually warm ocean temperatures have turned corals white on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef the first ever mass bleaching created by the La Nina weather event.”
The link to the news release produced by the Australian Government Reef Authority on which this article was based is no longer available. But if you look on the same website at more up to date information you will find on 9th August 2023 “Coral Cover – Dynamic and Still Resistant Reef.” Last November it also carried a story, “Coral Spawning – key to reef’s remarkable recovery.”
In order to illustrate how dire things are at the New Scientist, the once respected science journal cherry-picks bad news from last March and ignores good news from just a few days ago. As a reference here is the Reef Authority’s Coral Bleaching true or false page.
Then the magazine asks: Are we closer to tipping points than anticipated?
New Scientist says “Yes, we are, though a great deal of uncertainty remains.” In other words, the answer might equally be: No, we aren’t, or We actually don’t know.
New Scientist then claims that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is slowing down faster than thought. The consequences of this would be dramatic. It’s something we have covered previously – and concluded there is a very low probability of this happening. Despite the low odds, Stefan Rahmstorf thinks the danger of the AMOC collapsing this century is larger than 10 per cent. He’s entitled to his opinion. Other opinions are available.
Unsurprisingly, important data and factors are omitted from the article. Nowhere does it mention observations that show that more heat from the Sun is being retained. There has been an increase of 0.3 W/m2 since 2019 as the Sun surges to its current solar maximum. Also the new regulations reducing the emission of sulphur particulates from ship fuels seems to have made a significant difference since incoming radiation is less reflected by cleaner air over the shipping lanes. In fact over the Northern Hemisphere shipping corridor (a region where the recent heating has been particularly strong) it is estimated that there has been a very large decrease of 2 W/m2 of outgoing shortwave radiation.
In its “key facts that you need to know” New Scientist also omits that Arctic sea ice appears to have stabilised in recent years; Greenland’s ice mass balance is higher than average, and the recent global spikes in temperature are very similar to previous spikes in 2016 and 1998 based on land and satellite data. Antarctic ice however is very low, with Judy Curry publishing an excellent analysis of the various factors contributing to these developments.
A knee-jerk reaction to the weather events we have seen can result in poor articles that don’t give a fair and accurate overall picture of what is really going on. I expect we might review and assess this year’s weather events quite differently once more data is available and more reliable analyses have been done than a rushed and one-sided job done during the heat of the moment.
Feedback: [email protected] 
see also: Ole Humlum: State of the climate 2022 (pdf)

8) Coral reefs may have adapted to ocean warming
The Times, 23 August 2023

Palau’s reefs were found to be in rude health after water temperatures rose again

The bleaching of the coral off the coast of Palau in 1998 was devastating. In the clear Pacific waters, the sharks swished through lifeless and brittle reefs. The bleaching event in 2010 was bad too — swathes of coral were left damaged.

And the coral bleaching of 2017, when temperatures reached the same level as 1998 and higher? It didn’t come. The sharks prowled an exuberant reef that may have, somehow, gained resistance.

In that finding, says Liam Lachs, from Newcastle University, there is some good news for a warming world. “It does provide a glimmer of hope that some coral reefs have an innate resilience to warming oceans,” he said.

Scientists have been surveying the reef on the remote island for bleaching for almost 40 years. Their data, they believe, provides evidence that reefs may be able to adjust to ocean warming. In a paper in the journal Nature Communications, they estimate that this reef increased its heat tolerance by 0.1C a decade.

If so, then the effects of climate change on corals might be delayed, for a while at least. However, they cautioned, it was also clear that such mechanisms only take us so far — and that unless temperature stabilises we will still lose a lot of coral.

Some reefs have, anecdotally, seen similar effects, including on the Great Barrier Reef. Others, such as in Kiribati, have still been devastated by recent warming.

Lachs has a few theories as to what might be causing the apparent tolerance. The key to understanding how they might work is acknowledging that reefs are not really one thing.

“The thermal tolerance of an entire coral community is an odd concept, as it is a community made of many species, each with a symbiosis with photosynthetic microalgae that are housed in their tissue,” he said.

One idea, the simplest, is that successive bleaching events kill off the most vulnerable species and provide space for those that are more heat resistant to take over.

In Palau, at least, there is not good evidence for a large shift in the composition of coral species. Another theory, then, is that it is not the species that have changed, but the genes — with adaptation selecting those members of the same species with the best heat tolerance.

The third idea is, said Lachs, essentially “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, with individual corals that survive becoming hardier throughout their lifetime.

Full story

See also Peter Ridd: Coral in a warming world. Causes for optimism (pdf)  

9) Ian O’Doherty: Ireland’s bonkers plan to kill cows to save the planet
The Spectator, 20 August 2023

You have to hand it to the green movement. When it comes to their increasingly farcical and delusional race towards the illusory target of net zero, they’re never short of ideas. Bad ideas, that is.

E-bikes and E-scooters that have an unfortunate tendency to explode in the middle of the night. Electric cars which take days to charge – when you can find a charger. Motorists threatened with eye-watering fines if they dare to go faster than 20 miles an hour. Honestly, don’t be surprised if the next generation of cars come equipped with only two gears and a built in speed inhibitor.

But here in Ireland, we have really taken the lead in coming up with Very Bad Ideas. In fact, the latest might be daftest yet.

The government wants to kill our cattle.

In what would normally be dismissed as little more than the frenzied imagination of a cranky conspiracy theorist who thinks the government really is out to get them, the Irish department of agriculture has come up with a plan to spend €600 million over the next three years, killing 200,000 dairy cattle.

What grave threat could possibly be posed by Daisy the dairy cow? Well, it’s all down to her methane. Yes, cow farts are apparently killing the planet.

Ireland’s Environmental Protective Agency claims that the agriculture sector accounted for 38 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 and, as they strive to reduce all agricultural emissions by 25 per cent by 2030, that means the cows have to go.

While addressing the Environment and Climate Committee last March, Minister for Agriculture and food, Charlie McConalogue, admitted that one of the bright ideas conjured up by the Dairy Food Division Group was to ‘explore a voluntary dairy reduction scheme as part of its Climate Action Plan for 2023.’

To which every beef and dairy farmer in Ireland promptly replied: ‘Hell, no’.

While our political elites and those who swim around in the civil service, the media and academia don’t like to admit it, Ireland is still a predominantly agrarian society. Many elements of the Irish media like to present the country as a vast tech-hub, home to giant data centres and where all the major social media companies have established their European headquarters. That is undoubtedly true, but it doesn’t tell the full story.

Before you even add beef into the equation, the dairy industry is worth at least €13 billion to the Irish economy, with 54,000 employed within its ranks. There’s a reason Irish butter brand Dairy Gold is so prized in the American market, and why we export dairy products to more than 100 other countries. Our climate and the quality of the grass makes for happy cows and happy cows make good meat and dairy.

You know you’re living in strange times when cows become a front line of the culture war but several recent marches by eco-zealots have seen young protesters holding placards proclaiming that anyone who eats meat or drinks milk obviously hates Mother Earth and probably wants to strangle a polar bear.

As one genuinely upset and bemused farmer told RTE News: ‘We’re being made out as if we’re killing the planet.’

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10) Will the rising cost of green energy cost US Democrats next year’s elections?
Politico, 22 August 2023

Some lawmakers in New York, particularly upstate Democrats, and similar moderates across the nation are worried about moving too quickly and sparking a backlash against higher costs.

ALBANY, N.Y. — A generational push to tackle climate change in New York is quickly becoming a pocketbook issue headed into 2024.

Some upstate New York electric customers are already paying 10 percent of their utility bill to support the state’s effort to move off fossil fuels and into renewable energy. In the coming years, people across the state can expect to give up even bigger chunks of their income to the programs — $48 billion in projects is set to be funded by consumers over the next two decades.

The scenario is creating a headache for New York Democrats grappling with the practical and political risk of the transition.

It’s an early sign of the dangers Democrats across the country will face as they press forward with similar policies at the state and federal level. New Jersey, Maryland and California are also wrestling with the issue and, in some cases, are reconsidering their ambitious plans.

“This is bad politics. This is politics that are going to hurt all New Yorkers,” said state Sen. Mario Mattera, a Long Island Republican who has repeatedly questioned the costs of the state’s climate law and who will pay for it.

Democrats, Mattera said, have been unable to explain effectively the costs for the state’s goals. “We need to transition into renewable energy at a certain rate, a certain pace,” he said.

Proponents say the switch will ultimately lower energy bills by harnessing the sun and wind, result in significant health benefits and — critically — help stave off the most devastating climate change scenarios. And they hope federal money from the Inflation Reduction Act, celebrating its one-year anniversary, can limit costs to consumers.

New York has statutory mandates calling for 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and a fully “zero emissions” grid by 2040, among the most aggressive targets in the country. The grid needs to be greened, while demand for electricity is expected to more than double by 2050 — the same year when state law requires emissions to be cut by 85 percent from 1990 levels.

But some lawmakers in New York, particularly upstate Democrats, and similar moderates across the nation are worried about moving too quickly and sparking a backlash against higher costs. The issue is another threat to Democrats heading into the critical 2024 battleground House races in New York, which will be instrumental in determining control of Congress.

Full story

11) Dominic Lawson: Most people support the idea of net zero, until they’re faced with the prospect of giant turbines or an army of pylons wrecking their views
Daily Mail, 21 August 2023

How much is a beautiful view worth? When it comes to buying a home, a lovely aspect can mean almost everything — you need only read through estate agents’ particulars or look at the huge premium commanded by coastal properties.

But a beautiful landscape cannot be given a precise monetary value, and it’s not just a matter for property owners.
The notion of ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ — as the popular hymn puts it — is at the heart of what countless millions of adults treasure (with a strong element of nostalgia) about this country.
And if you were to ask them what it means to ‘protect the environment’, they would probably define it as preserving this vista.
Yet in the world of policy-making, this is not the case. In recent years, governments and environmental lobby groups have become as one in defining everything in terms of CO2 emissions.
Global warming is the fixation, and all policies are judged according to the extent to which they contribute (allegedly) to mitigating it.

To this purpose — without beginning to quantify the costs or the feasibility — the British government, under Theresa May, passed a law mandating so-called ‘net zero carbon’ by 2050.
It is the need to meet this requirement that lies behind other laws now causing increasing consternation, as the clock ticks down.
It will be illegal to buy a new car which is not substantially electrically powered after 2030, for example; and homeowners off the gas grid (such as the Lawsons, as it happens) will not be allowed to buy a new oil boiler after 2025, but must instead purchase heat pumps.

Then there is the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zones (Ulez) into the outer reaches of the capital, as mandated by the London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan.
It was widespread opposition to this in the parliamentary constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip which enabled the Tories to retain the seat at the by-election last month, when all the national trends pointed to a Labour victory.
This was especially toxic (in the political sense) because Sadiq Khan’s proposal to levy heavy penalties on older diesel cars and vans would bear down on the least well-off vehicle owners.
But these revolts against the climate change consensus among policy-makers will be as nothing to those which will face the government (most likely a Labour one under Keir Starmer) as it attempts to enforce the inevitable consequence of the commitment to replace fossil fuel energy with electrification based on renewable sources.

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12) The Electric-Vehicle bubble starts to deflate
The Wall Street Journal, 21 August 2023

Biden is imitating China just as its industrial policy starts to crack.

It’s ironic, to say the least, that the U.S. is seeking to imitate China’s economic model at the moment that its industrial policy fractures. Look no further than its collapsing electric-vehicle bubble, which is a lesson in how industries built by government often also fail because of government.

Tesla last week slashed its prices in China to boost sales in an oversaturated EV market. In July Tesla and other auto makers in China agreed to stop their EV price war, only to scrap the cease-fire days later owing to government antitrust concerns. While lower prices may benefit consumers, auto makers in China are bleeding red ink and going bust.

A plethora of Chinese EV start-ups launched in the past decade, fueled by government support, including consumer incentives and direct financing. Auto makers churned out EVs to suck up subsidies. Giant property developer Evergrande Group launched an EV unit as its real-estate empire began to implode, but now the EV unit is foundering too.

About 400 Chinese electric-car makers have failed in the past several years as Beijing reduced industry subsidies while ramping up production mandates. Scrap-yards around China are littered with EVs whose technology has become outdated, redolent of its unoccupied housing developments created by government-driven investment.

Beijing recently extended an EV sales-tax exemption to soften the industry’s problems. Auto makers are nonetheless having to slash prices to sell cars they are required to make, which is eroding margins. China’s EV mandate is similar to those imposed by California and the Biden Administration and especially punishes the West’s traditional fossil-fuel auto makers.

Volkswagen’s joint-venture in China this month announced up to $8,200 in incentives for its electric ID.6 X model. GM Chevrolet dealers in China are discounting EVs by more than 25%. Although EVs now make up a third of auto sales in China, supply still far exceeds demand. This gap will likely grow as Chinese consumption weakens.

As with real estate, Chinese government support inflated EV investment and misallocated capital that could have been put to more productive uses. Now comes the destruction that invariably follows the government creation, which may be a harbinger for the U.S. as the Biden Administration emulates China’s EV industrial policy.

Cox Automotive reported this month that EV inventory had swelled to 103 days of supply in the U.S., about double that of gas-powered cars. Auto makers and dealers are discounting EVs to sell their growing supply. The average EV price paid by consumers has fallen 20% compared with a year ago to $53,438, driven by Tesla’s price cuts and dealer incentives.

Ford recently reduced its EV production targets as its losses and unsold inventory grow. At the end of June, it had 116 days of unsold Mustang Mach-Es, and GM’s electric Hummer had more than 100 days of supply. And this is in a growing economy.

Traditional auto makers will have to raise prices on gas-powered cars to compensate for their EV losses. A United Auto Workers executive said Sunday that Stellantis is threatening to move production of its Ram 1500 trucks to Mexico from suburban Detroit, no doubt to reduce costs. The EV jobs President Biden touts will come at the cost of union jobs building gas-powered vehicles.

Meantime, EV start-ups are floundering as interest rates climb, and they struggle to scale up manufacturing. Lordstown Motors filed for bankruptcy in June. Nikola Corp. warned this year that it had “substantial doubts” about its ability to stay in business.

Business failures are inevitable in a dynamic economy, but government will be mainly responsible for the destruction that results from its force-fed EV transition—and the damage may only just be starting.

13) And finally: Is it really human beings who are triggering earthquakes and causing volcanoes to explode?
The Daily Sceptic, 22 August 2023

Chris Morrison

The Holy Grail of climate change alarmism is to link earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to humans driving SUVs. A recent article in the Conversation returned to this theme noting “evidence” that the loss of surface ice in Scandinavia “triggered numerous earthquake events between 11,000 and 7,000 years ago”. Alas, for Earth-moving purists, the ‘evidence’ quoted showed that the only tectonic plate action was to be found in the hard drive of a researcher’s computer. Substantial earthquakes might have occurred when ice sheets lifted at the start of deglaciation, but the possibility in this case seems to lie with “postglacial rebound models”.
The wider idea is to catastrophise the weight of water on the land said to be arising from higher rainfall levels. Author Matthew Blackett, an Associate Professor of Physical Geography at Coventry University, argues that during the summer monsoon season, the weight of up to four metres of rainfall compresses the crust both vertically and horizontally. When this water disappears, the effective ‘rebound’ destabilises the region “and increases the number of earthquakes that occur”. One might wonder if draining a four metre diving pool would have a similar localised effect, although it is likely the required six inches of base concrete would cope! On his University page, Blackett declares that he is ”passionate to ensure that his scientific research is positively impactful for society”.
The feisty Australian climate journalist Joanna Nova was not in a charitable mood in reviewing this “abject drivel”. Four metres of rain means a lot to homo sapiens, she observed, “but it’s hard to believe a plate of rock 30 kilometres thick would care less or even notice. It’s all absurd.” The author probably thinks he’s being provocative, “but he’s just proving what a wasteland Big Government Science is”, she added.
Climate breakdown narratives frequently rely on higher global precipitation – when they are not claiming increased droughts, of course – but a group of international scientists recently analysed specialist satellite data and found that rainfall trends in the 21st century have become less intense across the world. The work of water resources expert Demetris Koutsoviannis has shown that the highest frequency of global-scale extreme rainfall events occurred from 1960-1980. Since then, he reported, the frequency and intensity of rainfall events have “decreased remarkably”.
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