The Great Stupid, Global Edition: Ethics Observations On The New U.N. Climate Change Fund

I’ve let Major Clipton (from the Ethics Alarms TV and Movie Clips collection, #9 of 27) make the first observation, which is that this is nuts, and that it ought to be obvious to everyone that it’s nuts.

In case you missed it, ” Nearly200 countries concluded two weeks of talks early Sunday in which their main achievement was agreeing to establish a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters made worse by the pollution spewed by wealthy nations that is dangerously heating the planet,” according to the New York Times.

The United States has reportedly “agreed” to contribute a billion dollars to the fund. Well…

1. The U.S. diplomats can’t “agree” to give away a billion dollars. Only Congress can do that. If you want a single reason to be glad the Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives while falling on their collective, incompetent faces during the “pink ripple,” this is it. If…and it’s a big if…the new Speaker of the House can keep his troops in line, the U.N.’s Robin Hood Fund should be DOA.

2. The Biden Administration has exploded the National Debt like no other peacetime administration in history, and seems to be under the mistaken belief that taxpayer funds are just cryptocurrency—you, know funny money. The bigger the debt the more interest the U.S. pays on it, and the same regime that has exploded the debt has also created inflation that makes the debt more expensive. In fiscal 2022 alone, the federal government made $475 billion in net interest payments. It was “only” $352 billion the prior year, according to the US Treasury Department. That is more than the government spent on veterans’ benefits and transportation combined. But hey, why not just give away a billion dollars that will be mostly used to line the pockets of the corrupt and incompetent leaders of those “poor, vulnerable countries.”

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Comment Of The Day: Ethics And The Diesel Crisis, From Open Forum 11/4/2022

I wasn’t even aware of the diesel shortage until I was alarmed by back-up White House paid liar John Kirby—he’s the competent one— was asked about it and he huminahumina-ed “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” This means, “Hey! That’s am embarrassing question; you’re supposed to be covering for us here, not causing trouble!” Then Tucker Carlson took up the topic as his scare of the day, but since I don’t trust him, I didn’t listen to it. Yes, I should have posted on the issue then: like so many of the current government fiascos, this one is about, most prominently, competence. The perils of running out of diesel fuel implicates at least four Cabinet Departments: Energy, Commerce, Transportation and Homeland Security. It is a big topic, and fortunately, a conscientious commenter, Sarah B., has done the research and analysis that I should have done.

Here is Sarah’s essential Comment of the Day regarding the diesel fuel problem, from the most recent Ethics Alarms open forum.


I think we should talk about a topic near and dear to my heart: the looming crisis caused by the diesel shortage in our nation. I will say right out that I do not have a solution to this crisis, but instead, I want to discuss how we got here, and the issues that stand in the way of fixing it. Getting here was an ethical failure on many levels, most of which can be laid without much hesitation at the feet of our current President and his party, but not to the exclusion of Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. I know this is long, but I’d love to start communication on this issue.

The first thing to know about the diesel shortage is that it isn’t just diesel. In refining terms, the shortage is of all distillates. Light and medium distillates include kerosene, heating oil, jet fuel, aviation fuel, and diesel. Each of these are competing products from similar oil breakdowns, so a shortage of one results in a shortage of all. Many of these products seem as though they are the same thing with different names, and to an extent they are. But the government regulates and licenses each one slightly differently with slightly different specifications on each product, so aviation fuel and jet fuel can both run an airplane, but depending on the airplane, one is legal, the other isn’t. The point, however, is that the diesel shortage extends beyond what we typically recognize as diesel usage.

What is the extent of this problem? Some sites note that we have a 25.9-day supply of diesel, which is the lowest point we’ve been, comparatively, in a very long time. Generally speaking we tend to want to run at about 35-40 days. More specifically, the diesel supply is at the lowest point this nation has ever seen coming into winter. Some pundits argue that we are fine, that we’ve seen years with similar shortages, but they are being either ignorant or disingenuous. The shortages they cite occurred in April of their respective years, such as 1925. April shortages are a different beast than October and November shortages. April is at the far end of the cold season; October is at the very beginning. April is at the tail end of most major southern refinery turnaround season, whereas October is just entering into turnaround season. In other words, a shortage in October is like have a food shortage right after harvest and going into the lean months, whereas a shortage in April is expected because we’ve just emerged from the lean months, but we expect new crops soon. And if the shortage is bad now, how bad will it be by April?

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WaPo’s Environment Scold Earns a “Jacques Brel” For Halloween!

As the Ethics Alarms glossary explains, the Jacques Brel is a special Ethics Alarms award bestowed on those who evoke the late, great French troubadour’s observation, “If you leave it up to them, they’ll crochet the world the color of goose shit.” Seldom have I encountered a more deserving recipient than Washington Post environment reporter Allyson Chiu, who was allowed by apparently standard-less editors to inflict on the world her essay, “How you can make more socially conscious Halloween candy choices.”

To be fair, it isn’t quite as obnoxious and deranged as the article I encountered a while back that instructed climate change phobics to carefully divide the plies in each roll of toilet paper to double the utility of each roll (and save trees, see), but its headline is funnier. What has to happen to someone—indoctrination, a bad experience at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory—to think like this?

Here are what some of Allyson’s fellow travelers tell her to relay to readers:

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2022 Mid-Term Elections Panic Report: The New York Times Editors Endorse Terrorism

There are a lot of signs that the Woke, the Left, the Resistance, Democrats and the news media that filters reality for their objectives are collectively losing their grip in theincreasingly unavoidable realization that their dreams of societal transformation in America are going to be significantly hobbled by the upcoming vote-fest. We saw this stage coming (or should have) some time ago, with perhaps the most striking confirmation arriving when Joe Biden decided to channel Der Fuhrer while calling half the population fascists. Yet I didn’t see this coming, because I am a sap, and persist in my childish idealism telling me that as wacko as they seem right now, these are all traditional, ethical Americans at heart who are just having a bad six or seven years.

In the span of less than a week, the New York Times editors thought it responsible to publish two op-ed columns extolling the virtues of terrorism when not enough people want to do what the Good, Wise, Smart People—you know, like them—have decided is best. Jamelle Boiue, whose usual specialty in Times punditry is anti-white racism, actually lionized John Brown, whose body not only lies a-moldering in the grave but was an engine of random murder and terrorism.

Channeling W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1909 ode to Brown (the populists of that era often admired the lunatic: Clarence Darrow was also an admirer), Bouie agrees that Brown was motivated by “social doctrines of the French Revolution with its emphasis on freedom and power in political life” (Speaking of terror!), and his “inchoate but growing belief in a more just and a more equal distribution of property.” He continues in part,

“Has John Brown no message — no legacy, then, to the twentieth century?” asks Du Bois. “He has and it is this great word: the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression….Viewed in this light, Du Bois says, the memory of John Brown stands as a “mighty warning” to the United States and its peers. To wait to rectify the sins of the present — to sidestep justice in favor of comfort — is to make the final price of liberty all the more expensive…

“What Brown decided, Du Bois continues, was that he had to strike a blow for justice in his time. “It will cost something — even blood and suffering — but it will not cost as much as waiting…Du Bois’s broadside against hierarchy and exclusion still lands with as much force in 2022 as I’m sure it did in 1909. His warning that the tolerance of injustice will only lead to darker places and “darker deeds” is still relevant. And his closing reminder that without real “equality of opportunity” the best in humanity cannot be “discovered and conserved” remains as true now as it was then.”

Who’s advocating civil war now?

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Storm Ethics

I have to ask: is scientifically absurd climate change hype from the media now in Julie Principle territory, meaning that it is so predictable that it isn’t even worth noting of complaining about? CNN village idiot Don Lemon has been injecting climate change propaganda into his coverage at every opportunity, as have (going even lower down the intellectual scale) the Ladies of the View and others. When I read that Ian had been downgraded to a tropical storm, I wondered, “Hmmm…does that now mean this storm isn’t the result of climate change, since we’ve been told that we are facing more and more destructive hurricanes (which so far have not materialized as predicted, mirabile dictu)?” Then Ian was upgraded to a hurricane on the way to South Carolina—so Ian again owes his existence to climate change? Someone ask Don or Whoopie, quick. Continue reading

Trusting Science: Oh Yeah, THIS Plan Sounds Promising…

Remember “Snowpiercer”? It was a nearly unwatchably grim movie about a climate change solution that goes horribly wrong, reducing the Earth to a frozen, deadly wasteland populated only by the passengers of a single train doomed to circle the globe forever. It became a cable series on TNT for three years because anything can become a cable series for three years now.

Well, now in an example of real life threatening to imitate bad fiction, Wake Smith, who teaches “a world-leading undergraduate course on climate intervention” and is a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School specializing in “solar geoengineering” has written a paper, published this week, that lays out his plan to have jets flying at high altitude  inject microscopic sulfur dioxide particles into the atmosphere above the North and South Poles. This, see, will reflect sunlight back into space and slightly shade the surface below, retarding the warming of the poles that threaten to extinguish all life, or so the current government of the United States seems to believe. The scheme would be extremely expensive, require international cooperation, and even at best would only “buy some time” until a better and more lasting solution could be developed.

Or it might doom the world to a frozen apocalypse. As the old saying goes, “Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer choice.” Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Electric Cars And The Following The Science” Lie

Come to Ethics Alarms for the mile-wide and inch deep reflections of the ethicist, stay for the enhancement, perspective and enlightening analysis by the readers who know what they are writing about.

Sarah B.’s superb Comment of the Day needs no more introduction, and besides, don’t read me on this topic when you should be reading her.

Here is her COTD on the post,”Electric Cars And The “Following The Science” Lie.”


First, anyone who says “follow the science” has forgotten what science means. Science is a process that states a method for determining the most likely reason for something. Science requires us to observe a phenomenon, hypothesize about the phenomenon, posit a fair test of the hypothesis, complete the test several times with the same inputs, and compare the results of the tests with the observed phenomenon. The better correlated the test with reality, the better the hypothesis and the more likely it is to be true. Conversely, if you cannot replicate your test or your test or your test does not correlate well with reality, it is either time to scrap the test or the hypothesis.

Anthropogenic climate change is not science by the centuries old definition. The tests are mostly unable to be replicated, and the results have been proven false, time and again. To follow the science, it is time to scrap that hypothesis and move on.

Second, I was amazed to see such low requirements for electric cars to validate their “green” existence. Most studies I have read on this subject put the threshold far closer to 100,000 miles before even coming close. The best I have seen before this one puts us nearer to 75,000 miles than 25,000 miles.

Third, this study only deals with the formulation of the battery. If one considers where we are getting the energy, and as other commenters have noted, solar and wind are not nearly so clean as you would like to think. Heck, think of all the chemicals that need to go into making those panels, even though they cannot give us power 24/7/365 like burning fossil fuels. Life cycle analyses on electric cars, considering batteries, electricity, grid concerns, etc tend to push them to obscene mileage, well above expected battery life. In this instance, they are not unlike windmills, with an expected 30 year life and a 37-52 year payback period, sans government intervention.

Fourth, no one bothers, when discussing electric vehicle, to discuss the basic laws of thermodynamics. These laws are just like the laws of gravity, not caring whether or not you like them. They don’t care what is fair. They don’t care what is socially acceptable. They don’t care if they inconvenience some more than others, because if you are too stupid to get on the wrong side of these laws, you will pay the price. So, thermodynamics state that whenever one transforms matter to energy, or energy to another type of energy, or energy to matter, that there will be a loss in total energy. To take a simple example, we get most electricity by burning coal. The rock is in the ground. We have to spend energy to get it out of the ground and pulverized. Now we’ll start into some of the math. Coal is burned. The gas is used to make steam, the steam is used to turn a turbine that makes electricity. The gas is cleaned. This process has a maximum theoretical efficiency of around 45%. Most of the power plants run at about 33% because theoretical efficiency is not anywhere close to real world possiblity. So for every 100 units of energy the coal gives off, you get 33%.

Let’s now get some minor math happening for electric cars. I’m going to skip the big equations and use easily available numbers from reputable sites. For this exercise, we are going to assume that preparing coal for electric generation uses the same amount of energy as preparing gasoline for car consumption, as gasoline and coal are equivalent primary sources, but electricity is not a primary energy source unless you are hooking up your power lines to silk kites. Now, a car that gets gasoline loses 64-75% on inefficiencies and powering auxiliaries. So a car that was given 100 units of power from gasoline gets 25 units of power when all is said and done, with the WORST assumptions on gasoline cars. Continue reading

Electric Cars And The “Following The Science” Lie

Policy-makers often use science, or perhaps more accurately “science” as dishonest justification for the policies they want to inflict for ideological motives. Climate change is perhaps the most glaring example, though the handling of the Wuhan virus runs a close second. Most government experts allow their political biases to slant their application of science in their advice and recommendations, and few elected officials comprehend science and relevant research sufficiently to make competent policy consistent with the nuances of the scientific matters involved.

Let’s look at electric vehicles, for example, which are currently being encouraged by tax credits.

Ashley Nunes, Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program fellow, has pointed out that a gas guzzler may, in some circumstance, actually be better for the environment than an electric vehicle. When did you hear anyone in the Biden administration admit that?

Nunes found that many owners of electric vehicles (EVs for short), usually wealthy Americans who take advantage of  federal tax credits to purchase one as a second car, are harming the environmental because they aren’t driving enough.

Manufacturers of electric cars need lithium, and finding and mining lithium  takes a lot of energy, with more still required to make a functional car battery out of it. Creating a clean-burning EV battery creates twice as much greenhouse gases as making an internal combustion engine.
Because, as Nunes explains, “an electric car is almost always cleaner to drive per mile compared to a gasoline-powered one, you can burn off the emissions associated with manufacturing the car.” Still, it takes 28,069 miles of driving, or about 2.73 years, for the EV to overcome its initial polluting disadvantage to gain a “green lead” on a gas-powered car with its low per-mile emissions. Paradoxically, you need to get people to drive more in order to get an emissions advantage…and all of the climate change propaganda is aimed at getting Americans to drive less. And since EV purchasers tend to be wealthier people who use them as a second cars, it takes about a decade for the electric cars to produce any emissions benefit. How many wealthy household hold on to a car of any kind for ten years?

Thus, Nunes has concluded, some people are “better off driving a gas-powered car if they care about the environment.” EV owners tend to sell the vehicle before it’s reached the green break-even point in miles. 

But wait—there’s more.  Nunes’  research indicates that people who own both gas  and electric-powered vehicles choose to drive the gas-powered one most of the time. It is the  people who buy EVs secondhand, the poorer households that drive them for many miles and years as their primary vehicle, who achieve  the emissions reductions that electric vehicles are supposed to provide. But government subsidies miss this group entirely! The federal government tax credit of up to $7,500 only accrues to those who purchase new electric vehicles. Even with some states like California offering additional rebates on top of that, new electric vehicles often cost more than the average American earns in a year.

“If you’re a poor American and all you can afford is a $10,000 car, this rebate isn’t going to matter to you,” Nunes concludes. “And by and large, we find that, guess what, the person buying a $120,000 [electric vehicle] would have still gone out and bought the car without a $7,500 subsidy.” 

Policymakers’ EV hype is self-defeating, and doesn’t “follow the science,” because the politicians have a shallow understanding, to the extent that they have any at all, of al the relevant factors. 

The policies are wasteful and ineffective, no matter how smug and certain the climate-change scolds are about them. The electrical car advocates are assuming expertise and scientific justifications they simply don’t have.

It’s incompetence seasoned with dishonesty, abusing science rather than using it properly.

Last-Ditch Ethics Catch-Up, 8/1/2022: Strange Questions And Answers

This was a strange day that kept me out of the office and Ethics Alarms from morn til dusk. Sorry: couldn’t be helped. It will stand in my memory as the day I was asked, in an official appearance as an ethicist in a bar deliberation over the fitness of a young man to be allowed into the august profession of “lawyer,” this question: “Do you believe character should be taught in law school?”

It might be the most bizarre question I have been asked by anyone over the age of 9 in my life. “Character” isn’t a subject or even a definable feature. If someone hasn’t developed character by the age of 21, I cannot imagine how a law school would teach it.

1. Quickly approaching “Julie Principle” territory is The Nation’s Elie Mystal, who has a long dossier at Ethics Alarms from the days before his mind snapped like a dry twig in the wind, leaving him a perpetually furious, racist, hatemongering fool. Yet that’s good enough for MSNBC, which would feature a drooling lunatic in a straitjacket if he or she spouted sufficiently venomous insults about Republicans (and Donald Trump, of course).

Here’s what poor, mad Elie said on MSNBC today:

“It’s going to be a close election in Georgia because Walker has the backing of the Republicans. You ask why are Republicans backing this man who’s so clearly unintelligent, who so clearly doesn’t have independent thoughts, but that’s actually the reason. Walker is going do what he’s told, and that is what Republicans like. That’s what Republicans want from their Negroes: to do what they were told. And Walker presents exactly as a person who lacks independent thoughts, lacks an independent agenda, lacks an independent ability to grasp policies, and he’s just going to go in there and vote like Mitch McConnell tells them to vote.”

I am definitely not a Walker fan, but the denigrating “Negro” slur should have been flagged and reprimanded by the MSNBC host, except that it was Tiffany Cross, who is almost a female version of Elie. Moreover, it is hilarious for a Democrat to mock any Republican for “doing what he is told,” when the current Democrats in the House and Senate have voted in lockstep with their leaders’ demands almost without exception.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/11/2022: Twitter Wars And More

But first, a cheerful song, because it’s all downhill from here…

Speaking of music, some opening notes are in order:

  • Yesterday was the anniversary of the much-heralded Scopes “Monkey Trial,” a 1925 ethics train wreck that I wrote about extensively last year, here and here.
  • Today, July 11, marks two of the most vivid examples of how random chance changes everything—history, culture, values, traditions– in ways that cannot be imagined. The first was the foolish duel in 1804 between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that resulted in Hamilton’s premature death (but ultimately in a boffo Broadway musical!). The second was Count Claus von Stauffenberg’s close-but-no-cigar assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in 1944.
  • Nearer to the present, the apparent collapse of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is disappointing, because it would make reporting on various Twitter-Twiggered ethics issues a lot easier if I could start an account again in good conscience, as I was prepared to do once the service got out from under the clutches of its current censorious and progressive-biased masters.
  • I also haven’t felt like participating in Facebook of late, as the Woke Hysteria among my once rational friends there over the recent SCOTUS decisions is too great a temptation–as in “target”— for me. Right now they just want an echo chamber to scream in, and that’s what they have. Someone somewhere on the web opined yesterday that late night talk shows,  “Saturday Night Live” and its ilk were no longer primarily about comedy, but rather therapy sessions for angry and depressed progressives and Democrats, with the shows using mockery and insults to reaffirm their convictions about “the others”—those dumb, evil, racist conservatives. I think that may be a perceptive analysis. “Saturday Night Live” is a particularly vivid example: the show that once reveled in portraying Gerald Ford as a bumbling klutz and George W. Bush as an outright moron week after week while they were in the White House now hesitates to exploit the comedy gold represented by Biden’s misadventures and Kamala Harris in general. It proves that SNL is more interested in hanging out with the cool kids than actually being funny—which is supposedly its mission. This is a conflict of interest, and the producer and writers aren’t even attempting to resolve it ethically.

1. Twitter Wars #1: @Ka1zoku_Qu0d, an idiot of the sort that literally clogs Twitter, posted this: “Hold on I want to make sure I say this carefully. Yeah Anne Frank had white privilege. Bad things happen to people with white privilege also but don’t tell the whites that.” This caused so much static on the platform that “Anne Frank” ended up “trending.” Continue reading