Tim Worstall

Shoulda’ gone fracking

Research by the Resolution Foundation thinktank found that the number of households falling into fuel stress, spending at least 10% of their budget on energy bills, will triple overnight in April to 27%, affecting an additional 4 million households.

That Stern Review really did say don’t go trying to plan this shit. Because it will inevitably be fucked up. Stern was right too.

Fair sum of cash, yes

What’s the most you’ve made from a gig with The Police?
The 2007 Reunion Tour was a giant pay-off for all of us and quite incredible: the most money I’ve ever made. We sold out every stadium in the world.

And I hate to say it – well no, I don’t hate to say it – I think I was the highest-paid guitarist in the world during that Reunion Tour. I got about $1m a night, and we did 150 nights. Someone’s got to do the job.

Nicely explains this line:

Have you saved for retirement?
I don’t really need to because things went too well.

Is the electricity market stupid enough to make this work?

OK, coin mining.

Set up grossly energy inefficient mine. So, kit is hugely cheap, poss even free.

Of course, you can’t run it and make a profit because energy costs. Except.

You can get paid (I think?) to not use energy when demand is high relative to supply. So, collect that subsidy by not running it at that time.

Also, sometimes ‘leccie wholesale price is negative. Wind overperforming etc. So, only run it then, when your ‘leccie meter is running backwards.

Yes, of course it’s absurd. But is the ‘leccie market absurd enough yet to make it work?

Fun, innit?

P³ tells us all to read UN declaration of human [email protected]

Article 17
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

So that’s all nationalisation without compensation illegal then. Arguably, that’s retrospective taxation dead as well. Guess which fascist has been known to promote those two?

What a horrible number!

With meat consumption twice the global average, citizens of EU27 have to reconcile environmental concerns and culinary traditions

So we’re all terrible people for eating so much meat. Except of course the number itself is staged. The 500 million folk in Europe are – near totally all perhaps – in the top 20% of the global income distribution. Certainly all in the top 40%.

Meat – hell, protein – is a luxury good, in that more of our incomes goes on it as incomes rise.

So the actual statement is “rich folks have eating habits of rich folks” which isn’t, to be honest, all that much of a surprise.

But it is also clear that if there is to be any hope of reducing the impact of global heating, that consumption level will have to fall rapidly.

And there’s the petitio principii. That’s not something that is clear in the slightest. Oh, sure, it might be true, but it’s something that has to be proven to be true. Which no one has as yet.

Greenpeace estimates that it will need to drop by 70% by the end of the decade, and down to 300g by 2050. That translates (since not all the meat that leaves slaughterhouses ends up being either sold or eaten) to each European actually eating, per week, a quantity of meat equivalent to about two good-sized hamburgers.

And that is the purest bollocks.

So, pasture locks up carbon better than any other land use. Yep, better than forests. Because it keeps doing so, year after year, it doesn’t grow then become carbon neutral when mature.

How do you farm pasture to get it to do this? With animals. At which point Greenpeace can go badger feltching.

the European Commission suggests that despite clear and growing public awareness of the importance of sustainability, EU meat consumption per capita, left to its own devices, is likely to fall by little more than 3kg a year.

Government intervention, then, will be essential,

Didjaguess that this was going to lead to some cretin in an office somewhere being able to tell you what you may do?

Germany’s Greens have suffered in recent years from being seen as a Verbotspartei, intent on banning the joys of life. A 2013 “veggie day” initiative for meat-free days at state-subsidised canteens saw the tabloid Bild complain that “the Greens want to take our meat away”.

Instead, the environmental party has used its first weeks in power to initiate a less politically exposing campaign against junk meat sold for junk prices.

Weird, we’ve a word for “junk meat sold at junk prices” which is “sausage”. Germans might even have some local lingo equivalent of that word too.

Well, if you’re claiming this as a political victory

Abroad, Biden’s courageous withdrawal from Afghanistan

Then yes, if victories are so thin on the ground that this is one of them perhaps the Presidency is in difficulties.

This is fun too:

But as these critics know full well, there’s extremely little that both parties still agree on, and even modest bipartisan proposals like universal gun background checks have been doomed to failure by the legislative filibuster, which forces the 50-member Democratic caucus to win over not just some, but at least 10 Republicans to pass anything besides budget reconciliation.

So, if you cannot win over 20% of the opposing party then how can you describe the measure as bipartisan?

It’s not obvious that there’s anything Biden can do to save the party from that fate. But it’s clear what moral leadership demands from him now. Our federal order is strangling us. He should say so. He should admit too that conflict and dissensus will always define American society. No other future is available for a country as large, diverse and nominally free as ours.

Now that’s a good idea, not that this is what is actually meant. So, America’s vast, sprawling, hugely different across its constituents and constituencies. Cool. So, the only possible governance is classical liberal governance – little government but that necessary level – done at the local level. Power To The States!

Hell, I’d send it back to the counties.

That last refuge of the scoundrel

Mr Hansford said there was a “disproportionate amount of money that is being spent on a single hyperscaler”, referring to Amazon.

“You want a vibrant British tech industry, we are the people that are spending money in the UK, creating jobs, social value. I’m employing and paying taxes and my staff are paying their money here. That’s not the case necessarily with one of the big American [companies].”

So says CEO of could computing company that can’t make a profit.

Patriotism, eh?

Well, yes, but….

‘False banana’ could solve food shortages caused by climate change

And it’s not a bad foodstuff etc.

But it’s also true that there are hundreds of cultivars of bananas themselves and they do thrive I a wide variety of conditions. Meaning that we can continue to use – as hundreds of million do – bananas themselves….

Saving democracy

I have a suggestion that elaborates on what I did last night. It is that those who support democracy have to act to deliver it, working in cooperation to do so. They should demand from their politicians:

An agreement on a new economic settlement – that we will promote full employment, the meeting of need and the delivery a climate transition within a framework designed to deliver that goal;

That is, we’ll save democracy by insisting that the base economic structure can never be challenged by the result of an election.

Agreement to enhance accountability so that never again can a party, a person or a government hold the country to ransom to support the interests of a few at cost to the many;

Ditto – what the folks vote to be gimps for the tories?

Ho Hum

Oh well done, well done indeed

Michael Gove has threatened to block major housing developers from securing planning permission if they fail to come up with a £4bn compensation scheme for victims of the cladding crisis.

Nice business you’ve got here, be a shame if something happened to it…..

And at a time when it’s all hands to the pump to increase the amount of housing being built the country’s largest housebuilders will be prevented from building houses.

Well done indeed.

I think we can say covid is endemic now

So, a daughter is double vaxxed, boosted, has had covid once. She’s just tested positive again. True, she’s a primary school teacher so works in the world’s most efficient germ factory. But I think we might be able to say that this is endemic now, no action is going to stop it.

So, no point in closing society again, is there?

Ah, so they’re spouting bollocks then

It added: “The evidence is clear: any level of alcohol consumption can lead to loss of healthy life. Studies that claim otherwise are based on purely observational research, which fails to account for other factors, such as pre-existing conditions and a history of alcoholism in those considered to be ‘abstinent’.

Complete, utter and total bollocks.

There is a well known – and entirely obvious in the numbers – J Curve here. Moderate drinking is associated with – to put it as weakly as possible – longer lifespans than either teetotalism or heavy drinking. The only point that needs to be discussed is the definition of “moderate” which is, in fact, substantially higher than that 14 units a week nonsense.

Absolutely any other result is the result of prodnose tosspottery.

Mr. Snowdon will be along soon to give you the details.

Antinomianism

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into leaders of the German Green Party over coronavirus bonuses they paid themselves.

Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister, and Robert Habeck, the vice-chancellor and business and climate minister, are among six party members under investigation.

They are being investigated on suspicion of breach of trust after they awarded themselves €1,500 (£1,245) special bonuses to cover the cost of working from home during the pandemic. If found guilty, they could face up to five years in prison or a fine.

The payments broke party rules limiting bonuses to €300 (£250). As members of the party’s national executive it was the leaders’ responsibility to uphold the rules.

Classic case of it, right there.

OK, very cool, now, how much?

Last year John Leyland, the Environment Agency’s chief of staff, said rivers were “not there for human swimming” despite the rising popularity of wild swimming.

Campaigners have pushed for more rivers to be made designated bathing sites to pressure agencies and water companies to clean them up.

A reasonable enough aspiration, that folks should be able to swim in the rivers. But as an aspiration – OK, so how much will this cost? There’s only us folks here to pay those costs of course. So, how much? Af ew million? Sure, get on with it. Hundreds of billions? Fuck off, you can wriggle in the shower a bit instead.

So, how much?

What lunatic damn idiocy is this?

Last year, seabed options around the coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland were awarded at much higher prices at a leasing round held by the Crown Estate. However, Crown Estate Scotland capped the lease payments at £100,000 pounds per km2. As a result the payment for leases per GW were 94% lower than the average in the English auction, said analysts at Bernstein.

The English/Welsh auction last year raised £9 bn, but that article doesn’t say how many GW or km2 were involved so I will accept the “94% lower” figure.

So it wasn’t really an auction at all, it was a freebie for those who were awarded the rights. I hope that Scottish citizens kick up a stink about this and that heads roll, starting with Wee Krankie.

Yer wha’ ?

He is a wonder, isn’t he?

As is apparent these are related objectives but with the auditor being required to take an active rather than a passive role in ensuring that stakeholder needs are met.

Right now the value-added in audit is very far from clear. In the proposal that we make the role of the auditor is decidedly proactive and the added value is clear. Audit would, as a consequence, be both an attractive career option and one that would provide a very much more obvious role than a career in box-ticking.

KPMG is failing, but the task it is failing at is one so badly defined that systemic reform is required.

Auditors thereby become the shadow managers of every firm.

Which would be fun, given that no significant auditor has ever been willing to give the Fat Controller a post-training job.

Idiot fucking cretins

One of the main impacts of the crisis has therefore been to further consolidate the power of the big six in an already heavily concentrated energy sector. And at present there is little reason to believe that the dominant players are in need of government support. The financial impact of the energy crisis on suppliers will only be confirmed in the months ahead once they begin to release their financial reports for the fourth quarter of 2021. But early indications are that some of the largest companies in the sector fared very well during the initial onset of the energy crisis. For example, in its latest financial statement, SSE plc enjoyed truly eye-watering operating profit margins (operating profits-to-revenues) of 55% from April to September 2021, a period during which wholesale price hikes were already rattling energy markets.

The bit of SSE making a fortune is the energy generation arm. Which is likely to do well in a time of high energy prices. The bits of the energy industry going bust are the retail distributors who face a price cap on their charges and market prices on their costs.

If properly designed, a windfall tax targeting the large energy suppliers and the large North Sea gas producers offers an effective and just way of curbing the most regressive effects of the energy crisis.

Tax suppliers at a time of short supply. Genius.

Sandy Hager is a senior lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London. This piece was written with Joseph Baines, a senior lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London

Ah, yes, idiot fucking cretins.