Phoenix Falling

Joaquin Phoenix is a sanctimonious ingrate.

“We’re talking,” said Joaquin Phoenix as he accepted his Best Actor award for “Joker,” “about the fight against the belief, one nation, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity. I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an egocentric worldview, the belief that we’re the center of the universe.”

We may be talking, but not coherently.

What’s with the conflation of nations, beliefs, races, genders and species, aside from the fact they’re all nouns? And, I’m not sure where “impunity” figures into it.

For simplicity, let’s just examine “species.” For millions of years every species has been ready to kill every other species. We’re the only species to have done anything about that, and not just for our own. In fact, we’re the only species who can muster any angst about other species.

You can argue that we can do a better job (as we continually have) of maintaining a pleasant and safe environment – but we can do that precisely because we’ve exploited the natural world. We have not done so with impunity. We have suffered immensely.

Mr. Phoenix’ disdain for humanity is exceeded only by the natural world’s indifference to humanity. His worldview might profit from reviewing the history of, oh, subsistence farming – an occupation to which the envirostatists and eliminationists would have us return. Call it equality of outcome for all species.

Contra Mr. Phoenix, we should celebrate our success in moderating the natural world. That’s actually what the Oscars are about. His very profession is unimaginable without the wealth we wrested from nature. He wouldn’t be collecting an award for his existentially trivial efforts in the universe he proposes. He’d have been eaten, died of malaria, or starved to death.

The universe is apathetic toward us, but we are still close enough to its center to electronically transmit, into the comfortable homes of millions of people with nothing better to do; a ceremony staged by an industry that wouldn’t exist without the immense labor and intelligence of millions of human creators and consumers. A ceremony, moreover, to hand out trinkets celebrating expertise in make-believe; in a bright, climate controlled theater filled with healthy, wealthy humans; in a city unimaginable a century ago; in a world where environmental improvements go hand in hand with accumulation of wealth; and where poverty and hunger are well on the way to elimination.

Mr. Phoenix stood on the shoulders of billions of human creators in order to tell us we aren’t doing it perfectly. Have him get back to me when he’s got coronaviruses singing Kumbaya.

More like Jihad

The Children’s Crusade
By the inestimable James Lileks

The Climate Panic Movement is all about saving the children who walked out of school to protest and got a three-day weekend. If you argue with the children, you hate science and want them to die when melting seas push a tsunami of hungry polar bears into Nebraska.

Well. The “deniers” need a manifesto to read to these children. Something along these lines.

It’s great. RTWT

The mills grind slowly

“Thus, I do not see what use there is in those mills of the gods said to grind so late as to render punishment hard to be recognized, and to make wickedness fearless.”
-Plutarch

Sometimes it is hard to immediately distinguish good intentions from wicked fearlessness. Whirlwinds may be reaped either way.

I recommend this Megan McCardle article, California has difficult choices to make. Its politicians keep avoiding reality. for its summation of the fearless irrationality of California’s energy policies.

I’d suggest it’s even worse than McCardle thinks. If California power generation becomes 100% renewable the problem becomes intractable even assuming a miracle.

So, let us first assume the miracle: Elon Musk invents a method of burying all California’s electric transmission lines for a few dollars per mile – by combining Tesla’s impeccably capable self-driving software with a fleet of miniature Boring Machines powered by his SolarCity solar panels and ultra-stable batteries. Power lines are thereby quickly made safe from the danger of sparking wildfires. Only a few of the machines spontaneously combust or crash into underground gas lines. Which are, in any case, being phased out. Santa Ana blackouts are a thing of the past.

Next, assume that Governors Brown and Newsom, the California legislature, and the envirostatists pushing 100% renewable electricity generation accomplish their objective, and that 50% of that renewable power is generated by windmills, since it’s only sensible not to depend entirely on solar panels, even if Elon Musk donates the entire output of SolarCity for a decade.

We will not go so far as to assume the Santa Ana winds simply cease to blow, however. Those winds are above the windmill cut out speed and will necessitate shutting down the windmills when the Santa Ana blow.

California blackouts, when the wind doesn’t blow and when it blows too much, would become a permanent, designed in, feature of the grid.

The powerless watch their homes burn

Of course, you’ve already heard this joke:
Question: What did socialists use for light before candles?
Answer: Electricity.

Millions of Californians probably don’t think that’s funny.

California is trending ‘third world.’ There’s syringes and human feces scattered all over San Francisco sidewalks, lice and rats infest Los Angeles municipal buildings with an associated return of medieval diseases like typhus, water is periodically rationed due to deliberate political inaction, there’s sky-high regressive sales and gasoline taxation, homelessness is quadruple, and poverty is triple the per capita rate of the rest of America, and California has the fourth highest income inequality of all states.

But even that’s not chaos enough for the California Democrat-super-majority politburo.
California is ‘winning’ its way into the Stone Age

California has experienced a rash of costly wildfires due to irresponsible State stewardship of forest lands through which run electrical transmission lines improperly maintained by State regulated-monopolies.

This confluence of ill-advised State policies is forcing those State controlled corporations to cut power to millions of Californians when the wind blows strongly.

Californians pay the highest electricity rates in the continental United States. In part, because California is forcing its electricity companies to fund windmills (which can’t operate in such high winds) via a mandate of 100 percent electrical power generation from ‘renewable’ (excluding nuclear and hydroelectric) sources by 2045. Idled windmills notwithstanding, millions of customers can’t buy power now at any price.

This is a result of central planning. The sort favored by Liz “I have a plan” Warren, Bernie “I don’t have to say how we’ll pay for it” Sanders, and the rest of the Dem presidential wannabe drove.

Exemplifying California’s philosopher king approach, California’s previous Governor vetoed a bill that would have reduced fire risk by prioritizing the clearing of trees and brush dangerously close to power lines.

California’s current Governor blames “dog-eat-dog capitalism” for the state’s current wildfire blackout crisis. Is that code for “the accumulated burden of State malfeasance“? He can’t mean capitalism, given State direction of the power companies’ business plans. Apparently, the Governor is unfamiliar with the actual economic system that implies. And he can’t even make the train projects run on time.

Both those .gov gentlemen have been otherwise occupied with pouring $10.7 billion, of the $6 billion budgeted, into the first 119-mile stretch of their bullet train to nowhere project. And the $64 billion budget for the total project looks to be way low based on current cost projections of $113 billion – and rising. Maybe they should have trimmed some bushes and buried some power lines instead.

The Governors also reached a consensus that rising CO2 levels are responsible for the fires. Even as the preventable fires spew vast amounts of CO2; negating reductions from the windmills and bullet trains.

Ironically, reducing CO2 emissions is how they justified all those poor policy decisions. Even though a zero-emissions California would have no discernible effect on climate according to the IPCC.

Why does California prattle futilely about dubious future risks beyond their control rather than deal with what they could control: Mitigating the obvious, immediate risks of wildfire and blackouts? Because, vague existential threats are politically superior to mundane good governance when your object is heroic virtue signaling.

Never waste a crisis, especially if you’ve created it.

Update: 1:20PM
Recommended reading for Governors Brown and Newsom:
Escape from model land

Your job

…is not to panic. Don’t do it… for the children.

The Extinction Rebellion death cult and the Green Ordeal climate-doom-mongers are attempting to instill existential fear in your children in order to influence you. And they aren’t above abusing vulnerable children like Greta Thunberg.

Here’s a non-hysterical look at what we know. And what we don’t.

Climate ‘limits’ and timelines
-Dr. Judith Curry

“Bottom line is that these timelines are meaningless. While we have confidence in the sign of the temperature change, we have no idea what its magnitude will turn out to be. Apart from uncertainties in emissions and the Earth’s carbon cycle, we are still facing a factor of 3 or more uncertainty in the sensitivity of the Earth’s climate to CO2, and we have no idea how natural climate variability (solar, volcanoes, ocean oscillations) will play out in the 21st century. And even if we did have significant confidence in the amount of global warming, we still don’t have much of a handle on how this will change extreme weather events. With regards to species and ecosystems, land use and exploitation is a far bigger issue.

Cleaner sources of energy have several different threads of justification, but thinking that sending CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 or whenever is going to improve the weather and the environment by 2100 is a pipe dream. If such reductions come at the expense of economic development, then vulnerability to extreme weather events will increase.”

Dr. Curry is a valuable resource if you are interested in climate science, and a valiant defender of free speech and the scientific method.

Her Week in review – science edition feature is an excellent curated overview of, well, what it says. An example.

Curry’s post includes this nice summary quote from Larry Kummer on the IPCC’s Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5°C”

“There is nothing in this Special Report justifying belief that the world will end, that the world will burn, or that humanity will go extinct. It has been misrepresented just as past reports have been (e.g., the 4th US National Climate Assessment). The disasters described the Climate Emergency and Extinction Rebellion activists are those of RCP8.5, the worst-case scenario in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment report – or even beyond it. RCP8.5 is, as a worst-case scenario should be, a horrific but not apocalyptic future that is improbable or impossible.”