Friday, 25 November 2022

Questions for Alarmists, which they will never answer.

Seeing as we are laying into Alarmism this week, here are a few questions which need to be answered, even if they refuse to accept that the 33 degree GHE is a massive great lie (based as it is on selectively ignoring clouds):

1. What is the optimum CO2 level to get an optimum climate?
2. In which earlier periods of at least a century was CO2 at this level?
3. Can you confirm that the weather was objectively better in most of those centuries - very few natural famines (this is the most important one), floods, droughts, hurricanes, forest fires etc, with steady rainfall patterns in most places, etc, or at least, a lot fewer/steadier than in the last half a century?
4. Can you confirm that temperatures were stable throughout most of those centuries?

I doubt whether the mantra "pre-industrial levels" is the right answer - during the last period when CO2 was this low was the Little Ice Age, which as far as we can tell was a global phenomenon. Mass famines and at least as many floods, droughts etc as nowadays. We don't want that!

And we know that temperatures have never been that stable; climate change is a constant and always has been. The ups and downs of the last 150 years are nothing unusual.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Climate change: the real cause?

This is a very interesting talk on what seems very likely to be the real cause of climate change. If you disregard the conventional alarmism, what is presented is a process that both increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and causes warming. One does not cause the other, both are caused by the same thing.

Who needs pseudo-science when you can have facts?

Thursday, 17 November 2022

More science deniers

We are used to the Alarmists gaily ignoring physics in favour of their own "climate science", but now a new breed of physics deniers are abroad, trying to con people into paying well over the odds for ordinary blow heaters.

It warms 10x faster than traditional heaters
That just means it is 10x more powerful.

It barelly (sic) affects your energy bill
All direct heaters are almost 100% efficient, whether they be gas or electric. There is nowhere else for the energy to go, except as heat. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that "Energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed.", so it doesn't matter how whizzy or high-tech your electric heater is, it will still use the same amount of energy to raise your room from, say, 16C to, say, 20C and cost you just as much.

However, the resistance in the wires that feed your socket into which you have plugged the Eco-heat heater causes the wires to heat up, lowering the efficiency of the heater. The formula to calculate this loss is W = i^2R, where W is the heat loss, i is the current and R is the resistance of the wires. This means that, although the energy loss is small, it is proportional to the square of the current. If your heater is 10x more powerful than a normal heater, then, for a fixed voltage (for those of us who do not have access to 3-phase electricity), then your current will be 10x greater and hence your losses will be 100x greater, rendering the Eco-heat less efficient than the old blow heater that you have stuffed in a cupboard somewhere.

"Carl Sagan testifying before Congress in 1985 on climate change"

The video below popped on YouTube. Watch carefully from 3 mins 20 seconds or so, this is where he launched (or re-launched) the Big Climate Lie.

Note how Sagan constantly refers to "Earth's surface", not mentioning clouds. By implication, he is including clouds when considering solar radiation absorbed (or else his calculation wouldn't give the answer of about 30 degrees), so the obvious next question would be "Do clouds and cloud free ocean/land surface, in total, radiate upwards the same amount as they absorb in solar radiation?", as a reality check if nothing else, to which the answer is a resounding "Yes."

If the answer were "No", then this would raise a lot of questions - maybe there is a positive (or a negative) Greenhouse Effect? if so, what causes it?

Sagan neatly sidesteps this obvious question, and at 4 mins 20, launches into an alternative reality where clouds don't exist, and the solar radiation absorbed by clouds and oceans/land is all directly absorbed by the land/oceans. If it were, it would be a lot cooler - he is mathematically correct in saying that land/oceans would be about 30 degrees cooler than they are (the accepted figure nowadays is 33 degrees). James Hansen explained the calculation in more detail in 1988, three years later.

[Enjoy the cutaway shots of Al Gore with dollar signs rolling in front of his eyes.]

At 4 mins 30 Sagan concludes, "And why is it too low... it's too low because something was left out of the calculation. What was left out of the calculation..?"

An attentive listener would have screamed, "The clouds, you moron!", but nope.

Sagan of course trots out his preferred answer: "The Greenhouse Effect" and then waffles on about CO2 trapping heat and all that nonsense.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Tee hee

From The Telegraph:

Buckfast sales in Scotland surged 40 per cent after Nicola Sturgeon introduced alcohol minimum pricing, according to an official analysis that prompted more warnings her flagship public health policy had backfired...

The Tories said that minimum unit pricing (Mup) had prompted drinkers to switch from cheap drinks such as cider - the cost of which rose substantially - to stronger beverages like Buckfast. The price of the tonic wine was unaffected by Mup's introduction in May 2018 as it costs around £8 per bottle, more than 50p per unit of alcohol.

One might almost think that producers of the stronger stuff had a hand in this misguided legislation, as it sets a barrier to entry to cheaper competitors...

Friday, 11 November 2022

Ha ha, serves him right.

I met Kwasi Kwarteng once briefly back in 2006 or 2007, when I was doing my infamous Tax Simplification proposal for The Bow Group. The link to their site is, if you're interested, but it doesn't seem to be working right now. This is where I first mentioned merging all existing taxes on land and buildings etc into a flat-rate property tax, more or less as an afterthought.

[I didn't see this as a biggie, but everybody picked up on the LVT bit. The dozens of spurious KLNs it provoked were what really set me on the road to full-on Georgism. Had people just said, fair enough, nice and simple, winners and losers average out, does what it says on the tin, then I might well have forgotten all about it.

The other four Bow Group chaps I met were genuine thinkers, and all went on to Greater Things. So I won't mention names, but in case anybody stumbles across this: AB was the nicest and most helpful; SG was the greatest PR/press officer of all time; RH has a sense of humour and saw the bigger picture; AL was a bit prickly but liked discussing things on an intellectual level. It was never clear to me whether AL supported LVT or not; I think he did in a hyper-detached way in principle but would never really be pinned down one way or another. He certainly opposed it politically i.e. worries about losing Home-Owner-Ist votes.]

As usual, I digress...

But KK was a big fat full of himself public schoolboy whose contribution boiled down to "You are wrong because I say so" and walking off again.

So it was gratifying to see him fall flat on his face when he got the golden opportunity to actually do something positive and instead come up with a crock of crap which was political suicide and mightily unsettled the financial markets. And got him promptly sacked. He is now blaming his former boss, of course.

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Killer Arguments Against LVT, Not (495)

Sobers came up with a corker recently. My thinking is that trying to establish pseudo-accurate valuations for each individual home is pointless, and we should do averaging and banding of similar homes (by size or type, or plot size or plot frontage/width etc) in each area and have same the LVT bill for all homes in the same band. We are used to Council Tax banding, and ATED (mansion tax lite) is by very wide bands. SDLT operates in bands etc. To me this makes sense.

Sobers pointed out - rather too gleefully IMHO - that in some small areas (one postcode sector or local council ward or whatever), there can be a wide range of values between similar homes. He referred to an unnamed town near him and said that semi-detached ex-council homes on a 'scuzzy' estate there sell for £300,000-ish while semi-detached homes in the nicer parts sell for £400,000-ish.

I'll take his word for it that this is all true (I am sure that there are such places), that they are all in one postcode sector or local council ward, and that valuers wouldn't pick this up and split that area into two separate valuation areas, or the valuers wouldn't discreetly classify the ex-council homes as small semi-detached in Band C and put the nicer ones into the default Band for normal semi's, Band D.

Therefore *drumroll* LVT would act like a Poll Tax where 'the poor' have to pay as much as 'the rich'! Game over for LVT!

On closer inspection this is of course nonsense on stilts, LVT is the polar opposite of a Poll Tax (it has all its advantages with none of the downsides). How can LVT be simultaneously 'an attack on wealth' and a poll tax? But we have seen The Powers That Be do such fear mongering on an industrial scale, expecially with the Cameron referenda (alternative vote, Scotland, EU) and I wouldn't put it past the Mailexpressgraph to come up with this sort of shite.

I haven't thought of a punchy slogan to rebut this yet, but credit where credit's due.
Another one came up in conversation with Henry Law. We agreed that local taxes are inherently regressive (which we, like most people, think is A Bad Thing, opinions differ) and so LVT would have to be a national tax at a national rate, the same as most other taxes. So instead of local councils getting central govt funding for 80% - 90% of their expenditure and topping up with a bit of Council Tax, they all get grants to cover 100% of a reasonable level of expenditure, end of.

Whether that is flat-rate, per capita funding, or with loads of extras for 'deprived' areas or 'rural areas' or wherever the government of the day wants to buy votes, like the current system is a separate debate. I always prefer flat-rate, per capita of course.

The weak argument FOR local taxes is that it encourages fiscal responsibility by local councils and/or some democratic safeguards against high spending councils. So a national LVT that is divvied up equally everywhere, same as income tax or VAT receipts that pass through central government, is undemocratic..?

How exactly are fully-funded councils undemocratic? Is a fully funded police service undemocratic? Should the police meet their finance needs with on-the spot fines? The local/national distinction is in itself nonsense, if you think about it - nearly all spending is 'local' to somewhere. So your democratic safeguard is being able to vote for a low-spending government (if that were possible, you can choose between high spending Labour and tax-raising, black hole spending, fiscally irresponsible Tories).

The next layer of democracy is that local councils would still be elected, and you would judge them on results. Their job is to keep as many people as possible happy within a limited budget, so they have to choose fixing potholes vs having more cycle lanes; better old age care vs more daytime nursery places; longer library opening hours vs better upkeep of parks and playgrounds. Judging them by how high (or low) Council Tax is, is idiotic anyway, the level of your Council Tax depends largely on how 'generous' the central government is when it comes to funding your council.

(Which is why we pay twice as much Council Tax as people a few hundred yards away who are in Greater London, not Essex. So what? We paid accordingly less for the house and would be able to sell it for accordingly less. We could halve our Council tax bill by moving, but that would cost us £100,000s, so what's the point?)

Monday, 7 November 2022

They own land! Give them money!

The Lib Dems step up to the Home-Owner-Ist plate. From the BBC:

Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages amid rising interest rates should be able to apply for a £300-a-month grant, the Lib Dems have said.

Under plans, the grant would open to people whose mortgage payments had risen by more than 10% of their income. It could be paid for by reversing tax cuts for banks, the party has said...

Can you imagine the form filling involved in proving that your payments have increased by more than 10% of your income? What compared to what? It would be far easier just to cap mortgage interest rates. Just declare that all interest rates to be fixed at whatever people rate were paying when they took out the mortgage.

Any price cap on a quasi-monopoly like a bank has much the same effect as a tax on their monopoly profits/rental income and saves a lot of churn. To level the playing field (morgage-borrowers vs tenants), they could do normal rent controls. This is quite different to price caps in the truly competitive private sector, which usually make matters worse.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

More climate change bollocks

Help to reduce the carbon footprint of your parcel by up to 90%* By diverting your parcel to a ParcelShop or locker...

began an email to me from a courier. Below they "justified" their claim with,

* The carbon footprint for delivery to a ParcelShop or locker is approximately 15-30g CO₂ per parcel versus 150-300g CO₂ per parcel for a home delivery. Based on 600 parcels over a 70km route per day. Source: BAIN Report

Well, yes, the carbon footprint for you is less, but what about my carbon footprint? Instead of the courier company taking a carefully planned route that delivers 600 parcels in 70km, each parcel recipient will be making their own journey to the parcel shop and back. In a rural area this could easily be an average of 1km (it's eight to my nearest town, that's a sixteen km round trip), making 600km of journeys.

What they mean is, why don't you burn the expensive fuel instead of us?

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Sorry to have to disappoint you, but...

From the BBC:

A toddler from West Dunbartonshire has stunned family and friends with his extraordinary maths and language skills. Four-year-old Jamie Mohr, from Old Kilpatrick, can count in six languages and knows 17 times tables...

His mother Lorraine is tipping him to win a Nobel Prize following his "miraculous" development.

I wish him the best of luck, but there is no Nobel Prize in maths.