The Week’s Worst Climate Stories (Feds to Banks: Go for Green Energy, Not Greenbacks)

by | Oct 27, 2023 | Environmentalism

More from the Left’s wackiest eco-nuts.

This week’s climate cultist stories show in stark relief how the Green New Deal has completely captured the Biden administration. Policies advanced by the federal government have created a feedback loop with the most zealous parishioners of the Church of Scientism that continues to advance assumptions about Earth’s climate that previous generations would have considered insane.

Don’t miss last week’s most absurd climate stories

This week, we have Gavin Newsom saying divorcing China is “not an option”—right after China announced limits on exports of rare earth metal vital to battery manufacturing; Siemens stock tank after they ask Germany for a bailout for its wind power sector; an electric camper designed to reduce electric vehicle (EV) range anxiety; and the Federal Reserve telling banks to prioritize a transition to a “green” economy over ensuring a healthy bottom line.

Also, this week we have two positive stories that report some good climate news for a change.

But first—let’s jump right in to the crazy!

1. Bankin’ for Motha’ Earth

This week, the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote about the Federal Reserve Bank’s new regulatory guidance that tells America’s banks to “fret about unknowable [climate] risks:”

The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Comptroller of the Currency on Tuesday published guidance directing banks on how to manage putative climate risks. The agencies say they aren’t dictating how banks lend to accelerate the shift to a lower-carbon economy. But reading between the lines, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

The published guidance says banks need to conduct a “climate related scenario analysis” to account for potential losses during extreme but plausible (they say) scenarios. The editorial board speculates the underlying goal may be to pressure banks to jump in on financing the various industries involved in a “green energy transition,” while limiting their investment in “fossil fuels.” They note that bank examiners will grade them on their management of climate risks, which means even more bureaucratic compliance scrutiny.

One regional governor who dissented said, “[climate] predictions are likely to be highly speculative and of limited or no utility to the bank in managing risk.”

Imagine, if you will, an army of Greta Thunbergs deployed by the federal regulatory state to crawl inside every bank’s profit and loss statements to ferret out any unsavory business practices. Not exactly market-friendly.

2. Gavin Newsom Plays Right Into Xi Jinping’s Hands

This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) visited Chinese President Xi Jinping to suck up meet with bureaucrats, tour an EV manufacturing plant, and pose for photos with one of the world’s largest exploiters of slave labor, while focusing on climate change. He also posed in an EV produced by BYD, the largest EV company in China.

The president of BYD gave a total of $50,000 to Newsom’s campaign between 2018 and 2022, which may explain why he awarded BYD—reminder, a car company—an eye-popping $990 million no-bid contract to provide masks to California during the Wuhan pandemic. These masks had extensive difficulty getting certified by federal regulators as N95 compliant, and Newsom issued a series of extensions of the deadline for BYD to supply them. A large number of the masks never materialized, and BYD had to issue a partial refund.

Given all that, President Xi seemed pleased to host Newsom for an unscheduled meeting while he was there this week. Afterward, Newsom told Christiane Amanpour, “divorcing China is not an option.” With a straight face.

Xi Jingping & Gavin Newsom. Credit: CNN Business.

3. Rare Earths, Now Even Rarer

A few days before Newsom arrived in China to play patty-cake with Xi, the Ministry of Commerce announced it would require foreign companies to apply for a permit by December 1 to buy raw and synthetic graphite from Chinese producers. Battery manufacturers use graphite to produce anodes, a vital component. A slowdown of exports will certainly have an impact on Biden’s green energy dreams. Chinese officials, who previously limited exports of gallium and germanium (used in military tech), cited global hostilities and security issues.

Translation: why should we help you get ahead in green tech when you oppose our designs on Taiwan, and have funded the resistance in Ukraine to our ally, Russia?

China is the world’s leading exporter of graphite, which is produced in the process of mining coal. Meanwhile, the Biden administration steadfastly refuses to allow domestic mining to make up the difference. 

4. Wind Energy Giant Spinning Out of Control

On October 26, the stock price of Siemens crashed, losing 35 percent of its value after it asked the German government for a bailout. Earlier this year, according to CNBC, Siemens warned investors of major setbacks at its wind turbine manufacturing unit, including “a substantial increase in failure rates of wind turbine components.”

Now would be a good time to take another look at this column’s lead graphic.

CNBC said, “German business news weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported Thursday that Siemens Energy was seeking up to 15 billion euros ($15.8 billion) in guarantees.” They note shares in Siemens are down 60 percent overall, year to date.

5. A 6-Figure Solution to Your Performance Anxiety

Another week, another item about the rise in range anxiety for EV owners. Seems they just can’t get no satisfaction, as they pay exorbitant prices for vehicles that just can’t go where they want. Fret not, defenders of the universe! An ex-Apple engineer has you covered. If you want to take your $150,000 F-150 Lightning camping, but it won’t go far enough out of town (or have any assurance of getting back), the new Pebble Flow electric camper will “take trailer camping into the zero-emissions era,” according to Axios—all for the affordable price of $109,000.

It was actually designed to eliminate range anxiety! It has a battery powered electric motor that helps push the trailer along as your electric truck tows it. That battery and top-mounted solar panels also power all sorts of interior lights and other stuff—“an Apple Store on wheels,” as Axios puts it. Other features include an automatic hitching function and “InstaCamp,” which automatically deploys stabilizers, stairs, and fly-out components.

Ever notice, the less basic function an EV has, the more bells and whistles it comes with? Are all those touch screens and customizable LEDs and premium sound systems just a distraction from the lack of function? Nah, couldn’t be.

It’s a cool idea, and the solar panels will help with charging issues, if they’re efficient enough. But what happens when your electric truck and your electric vehicle make it far out enough into the sticks, into some idyllic camping wonderland, only for you to discover there are no charging stations out there?

Two bits of good climate news this week!

The House is Blessed with a Climate Skeptic Speaker

The House of Representatives finally elected a new Speaker, Mike Johnson, a Republican out of Louisiana. He’s garnered praise for his social conservatism from those on the right, and lo and behold, he’s also a climate skeptic. Cue the leftist backlash.

Johnson represents Shreveport and has earned a 100 percent rating from the American Energy Alliance. Johnson has repeatedly gone on record denying the theory of catastrophic manmade global warming, saying in 2017, “The climate is changing, but the question is, is it being caused by natural cycles over the span of the Earth’s history? Or is it changing because we drive SUVs? I don’t believe in the latter. I don’t think that’s the primary driver.”

Best news? Johnson has a lifetime score of TWO PERCENT from the League of Conservation Voters. We can all wish for zero, but two percent ain’t bad.

So a College Prof, Coal Miner, and Eco-Activist Walk Into a Bar…

What if I told you a college professor, coal producers, a state department of environmental protection, and environmental groups could potentially come together to mine coal to power “green” tech manufacturing, while cleaning up old mines and waterways, and exploiting domestic sources of rare earth minerals used in battery production in the process?

That’s exactly what could happen in Pennsylvania, if federal and state regulators change the regulatory regime to facilitate it. A fascinating article in the Spectator that calls coal “key to the continuation of civilization as we know it,” lays out the case. Coal is necessary for producing steel and is used to manufacture other vital building materials. Additionally, there are fifty critical minerals and metals in coal that can be extracted to supply the green energy and green tech revolution.

New technologies could allow industrial producers to extract rare earth elements from abandoned mines and waste mounds that litter the landscape of Western Pennsylvania, cleaning up streams and rivers in the process. There’s a lot more detail than we can fit in this blurb, but the article cites a professor at Center for Critical Minerals at Pennsylvania State University, coal producers, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and even Trout Unlimited as potential partners in this win-win scenario.

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