The Arguments In Favor Of Brexit Are More Persuasive Than Ever

Back at the time of the UK’s referendum on “Brexit” in June 2016, I wrote two posts on the subject: one on the June 23 date of the vote, and the other four days later. The first advocated in favor of the “leave” position, and the second gave some reasons to believe that just-endorsed departure would be a good thing.

One of the things I predicted was that the actual departure would not happen quickly or easily. The reason was that the forces of “stay” controlled high positions in the government and other leading institutions, had much to lose personally, and would not give up easily:

[D]o not expect the totalitarians and vested interests to give up easily.  I anticipate a protracted campaign of obstruction and delay, as the grafters desperately fight and claw to hang onto every last grant and perk.

Boy was I right about that one! Here we are, going on three years later, and the Brexit has still not occurred. Meanwhile the Brexit “process” has turned into a Perils of Pauline soap opera, barely escaping one supposed disaster after another seemingly every few days.

In the intervening years, I have listened to many well-informed people presenting very persuasive reasons why staying in the EU would be a good thing for the UK. . . .

But to me, none of these things outweighs the fundamental issue, which is that the EU has somehow come to embody the progressive dream of rule by permanent bureaucrats, convinced of their own expertise, who impose increasingly burdensome rules at their whim, and who cannot be voted out or held accountable by any known mechanism. Just in the past couple of weeks, we have a couple of new examples of how far this can go. . . .

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The January Climate Follies

In my last several weeks out of the country, I have not been keeping up with the ridiculous “climate” follies. What has been going on? Let’s check a few data points.

You will not be surprised to learn that the state of Minnesota aspires to be a green energy leader. After a big push since 2000, Minnesota has gotten its percent of electricity generation from wind on an annual basis up to almost 19%. Sounds great! Then, yesterday and today, the temperature in much of the state plunged to -20 deg F and below. Yesterday in St. Paul, the wind was completely calm for much of the day, and very light the rest of the time. Isaac Orr at the Center of the American Experiment took the occasion to write a piece headlined “It’s Negative 24 Degrees and the Wind Isn’t Blowing.”

[W]ind is  producing only four percent of electricity in the MISO region, of which Minnesota is a part. . . . Coal, on the other hand, is churning out 45 percent of our power, nuclear is providing 13 percent, and natural gas is providing 26 percent of our electricity. This is exactly why the renewable energy lobby’s dream of shutting down coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants and “replacing” them with wind and solar is a fairy tale. . . .

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What's Really Happening In The World Of CO2 Emissions?

What's Really Happening In The World Of CO2 Emissions?

In the field of energy and climate, the U.S. "mainstream" media are so devoted to the official narrative that it is very difficult to find out what is actually going on.  To take just a few relatively recent examples of what you might have learned from reading the New York Times: you might have learned that producing energy from the wind or sun is now cheaper than producing it from coal (with no mention of the problems or costs of intermittency); or that New York (along with many other jurisdictions including most of the EU) has banned "fracking"; or that "climate change is real" and the Paris climate accord is essential to solving the impending crisis.  But try to find out from the New York Times (or any other U.S. "mainstream" source) if the world is actually reducing production and use of fossil fuels or the resulting emissions.  Good luck.

For information on those things, you might try the invaluable Global Warming Policy Foundation.  Their daily email from yesterday (April 5) contains plenty of information to leave you shaking your head at the idiocy of those who claim to be our moral betters.

First up: the U.S. Energy Information Agency is just out with an update of world "tight" oil and gas reserves.  The update comes with this map the currently-known locations of oil and gas shale formations:

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A Nomination For The Biggest April Fool: Germany!

I know it's Easter Sunday, and I don't mean to be sacrilegious, but I can't help noticing that it's also April Fool's Day.  Unfortunately, human foolishness is much more of a topic for the Manhattan Contrarian than religion.  Can we come up with a nomination for the biggest April Fool of 2018?  I nominate the country of Germany!

Regular readers will notice that I have returned repeatedly to the subject of Germany's futile and delusional efforts to "save the planet" by replacing energy that works with energy that does not work ("renewables"), while in the process roughly tripling the cost of electricity for German consumers.  A recent post on February 10 was titled "How Self-Delusional Can We Be About The Cost Of Electricity From 'Renewables'?"   Attempting to understand how electricity coming from the seemingly free wind and sun could lead to a tripling of electricity prices, that post noted that Germany -- with peak electricity demand of about 83 GW -- had rushed in recent years to build "renewable" capacity that had reached about 84 GW, theoretically enough to supply all the electricity they would ever need.  But somehow, Germany still had retained fossil fuel generating capacity of about 108 GW, which is about the same fossil fuel capacity you would want to have to supply 83 GW of peak demand if you had no renewable capacity at all.  Despite spending hundreds of billions of euros on the renewable capacity, they had not been able to get rid of any fossil fuel capacity at all!  They still need all the fossil fuel capacity for backup when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine.  (The data came from this report from German think tank Agora Energiewende.)

That post inspired a comment from reader BrianE, who asked:

I would be interested in knowing how much less CO2 Germany . . . [is] producing for their 30 cent/kW electricity.

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In The UK, The Alternative To The Conservatives Is Classic Old-Fashioned Socialism

If and when there is a new election, what is the alternative for the UK?  Recent polls show the prospective vote about evenly split between the Conservatives and Labour, with the lead in the polls seesawing back and forth every few weeks.  The most recent (March 18) ICM/Guardian poll had the Conservatives up by 3 (44/41), but as recently as March 8 a different poll had Labour up by 7.  Clearly, an election could go either way.

So what is the alternative offered by Labour at the moment?  Remarkably, after decades of "New Labour" under leaders including Tony Blair, it seems that the Labour Party has now gone back to traditional old-fashioned socialism with all its trappings.  Wouldn't you think that the collapse of the Soviet Union, let alone the ongoing disasters in places like Cuba and Venezuela, would have discredited this approach to policy for all time?  Yet somehow, there is always coming along a new generation of airheads with no memory going back more than a few years, and no knowledge of history or even of current events in foreign lands, and ready to be seduced by the promise that government can achieve perfect fairness and justice in human affairs by the simple device of sufficient use of the state's coercive powers. 

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For Now, Germany Will Continue Its Energy Self-Delusion

WELT AM SONNTAG: Mr. Vahrenholt, what do you think of the coalition agreement between CDU/CSU and SPD with regards to energy and climate policy?
 
FRITZ VAHRENHOLT: When it comes to energy policy, the 177 pages of the coalition agreement are an act of stupidity. In 2019 and 2020, the expansion of wind power in Germany is set to be massively accelerated even though nobody knows what to do with all this wind power in times of heavy winds. And when there is little wind, the expansion does not help, as electricity production then remains close to zero. It is like the foolish acts by the people of Schilda (Schildbürger) who tried to carry sacks of light  into the windowless town hall.

And you thought the Germans were smart, at least in matters that involve science or engineering?    Yet here they are, already in a spot where they have more electricity than they can use when the wind blows at full strength, mixed with periods where the wind system provides nothing because the wind isn't blowing.  And the solution is, "massively accelerate" the development of wind power!  Do they know that double zero is still zero?  And, by the way, triple zero is also still zero.

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