Week’s Worst Climate Stories (Climate Jail?)

by | Feb 9, 2024 | Environmentalism

The ugliest, the funniest, and the strangest global warming stories of the week

As the Trial of the Century—i.e. Michael Mann vs. Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg—careened to a close this week, the climate hysteria has rolled on unabated. After four weeks at trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys pulled what will go down in history as Mike’s Legal Trick, to join Mann’s Hall of Shame along with Mike’s Nature Trick(s). The DC jury believed Mann’s lawyers, that science itself is on trial, over side of free speech for Steyn and Simberg. Believe it or not, the corporate media reports of the trial have leaned heavily toward Mann’s side, while minimizing explanations of constitutional protections of free speech.

Eschewing accuracy, the corporate media has kept climate coverage on Tilt, giving us plenty of fodder for our regular column on hysterical climate stories. This week, we have a new climate czar in the Biden White House, bad news for Biden’s push for electric vehicles (EVs) to take over the auto market, more bad news for EVs as insurance gets ever harder to come by, and yet another politician who wants to throw climate deniers in jail.

Plus, two bits of good news this week: more counties across the United States have rejected wind farms than approved them, and Big Oil has finally decided to fight back against activists instead of rolling over for belly scratches from the enviro wackos.

Let’s get to it.

John Kerry, We Hardly Knew Ye

In case you missed it last week, John Kerry resigned as the Biden administration’s “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate,” a position in which he worked to “cajole governments around the world to aggressively cut” their emissions, according to the New York Times. The 80-year-old Kerry is expected to join Biden’s reelection campaign, where he will provide an injection of youth and energy. Kerry will be replaced in the administration by John Podesta, whom Biden named as the Senior Advisor on International Climate Policy, yet another made-up title with no congressional oversight.

Speaking of congressional oversight, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee has opened an investigation into the State Department to look into Kerry’s “frequent consultations with [radical] environmental groups,” many of which Kerry insisted stay “off the record.” The letter from Oversight Chair James Comer noted Kerry’s position never previously existed, required no Senate approval like other cabinet positions, and yet allowed Kerry to sit on the National Security Council. Naturally, Kerry has failed to respond to repeated congressional requests for information about his office’s operations and staff.

In Canada, Praise Oil—Go to Jail?

Yet another politician wants to put you in jail if you say something nice about a gas station or heating oil. At a press conference this week, a member of the Canadian Parliament talked about the bill he introduced that he described as the Big Tobacco moment for Big Oil. “We need to put human health ahead of the lies of the oil sector,” said Charlie Angus, who sponsored Bill C-372. The bill reads, in part, “It is prohibited for a person to promote a fossil fuel, a fossil fuel-related brand element or the production of a fossil fuel.” As the bill notes, in 1989, Parliament restricted tobacco advertising “to reduce tobacco use to respond to that public health crisis,” and that “fossil fuel production and consumption has resulted in a national public health crisis,” similar to the tobacco-caused public health crisis. The law would apply to corporations, non-profits, governments, and individual citizens alike, with penalties of up to two years in jail and $1 million in fines. The proposal extends to anyone who says one “fossil fuel” is better for the environment than another.

Word is, this bill doesn’t have a chance of passing, but given Canada’s specious record on free speech in recent years, that remains to be seen.

Curiouser and Curiouser EV Goals from Biden

According to Kevin Killough over at Just The News, Biden’s push to force the automotive market into selling mostly electric vehicles has gotten more and more unrealistic. As Killough writes, “the president’s boasts and plans seem to be falling apart, because of industrial challenges, the economy, and market forces.”

We would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those pesky market forces!

Those boasts? Biden said he wanted 50 percent of automobile sales to consist of EVs by 2030, after the administration claimed, “Because of President Biden’s leadership and historic investments, electric vehicle sales have tripled and the number of publicly available charging ports has grown by over 40 percent since he took office.”

Unfortunately for the EV industry, analysts have determined we may already have reached market saturation. Ford Motor Company lost so much money on its EV business in 2023 that it wiped out the total annual profit of the corporation. That’s right, Ford lost over $64,000 on every EV it sold in 2023, for a total of $4.7 billion. That exceeded Ford’s net income of $4.3 billion.

Energy analyst David Blackmon noted on his Substack that senior analysts at Morgan Stanley have concluded the EV market will reach saturation at just 10 percent of total vehicle sales by American manufacturers, a far cry from the Biden boasts. This line from Morgan Stanley is pure gold: “Platitudinous goals from legacy ICE companies targeting 50%-type EV penetration by end of decade does not properly account for the relevant geographic mix, demographic mix, segment mix and does not allow for the inclusion of large pure-play companies in a global EV market that still faces significant hurdles in terms of supply chain, geopolitics, cost and economics.”

Ouch.

Are EVs Completely Uninsurable?

If they’re not exploding or running out of battery power in the middle of nowhere, an EV makes for a fine get-around-town vehicle, when the weather is perfect and the charging stations are actually working.

Unless you can’t afford the insurance.

Insurance premiums for EVs in the UK have doubled in the past year, according to industry analysts. That makes them about twice as expensive to insure as internal combustion (ICE) vehicles. Insurance for all vehicles has skyrocketed in the UK, but EV insurance has gotten bonkers. The average ICE vehicle insurance policy jumped from £514 to £676 in 2023, while the average EV insurance price rose to £1,344, due both to a higher frequency of claims and a higher average expense per claim. Insurance analysts say the expensive claims are due to batteries being expensive and prone to damage. On top of that, because values have dropped, more EVs get written off as total losses.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Now for some good news!

Counties Blocking Wind and Solar Outnumber Counties Allowing Them

To the consternation of USA Today, for the first time the number of counties banning wind power have outnumbered those approving new wind power projects:

wind counties

Counties blocking wind power outnumber counties adding it

For wind energy, the blocks are even more significant. While 183 counties got their first commercial wind-power project in the past decade, nearly 375 counties blocked new wind development in the same period.

In 2009, 23 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties banned new wind projects. In 2014, Kentucky made it effectively impossible to build new turbines in all 120 of its counties and Connecticut did likewise in its eight counties. In 2017 Vermont did the same in its 14 counties. In 2018 Tennessee essentially stopped new wind projects in all but four of its 95 counties.

Of course, this is a catastrophe for the USA Today, as many individual counties across what enviros call “The Wind Belt” have also banned turbines—at least 15 percent of counties overall across the US. Evidently, flyover country cares more about flyover creatures—birds—than the coastal elites do.

Big Oil Fights Back Against Big Philanthropy

For years, energy companies that extract hydrocarbons from the earth to power human progress have rolled over to the radical environmental protesters, hoping to get them off their back by investing in “green energy” technologies like hydrogen and fuel from algae farms. Surprising though it may be, that hasn’t stopped the professional protest class, backed by Big Philanthropy, from continuing their attempts to harass the industry into oblivion.

So it was refreshing to see that one oil company decided to fight back against activist shareholders. The new tactic involves hedge fund managers who invest in energy companies with the sole purpose of allowing activist investors to derail shareholder meetings and make radical demands. CNBC reports:

Exxon Mobil filed a lawsuit against U.S. and Dutch activist investors in a bid to stop them from submitting climate proposals during the oil giant’s annual shareholder meeting.

It marks a first for the U.S. oil major and is the latest step in an intensifying battle between companies and environmental campaigners.

The complaint was filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against Massachusetts-based investment firm Arjuna Capital and Follow This, an Amsterdam-based activist investor group.

An Exxon Mobil win in the proceedings could have a chilling impact on future shareholder petitions.

Activist investor group sounds like the intersection of Peak Oil and Peak Orwell. Good to see somebody actually fighting back for once.

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