Kat Taylor—wife of billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer—has resigned from Harvard’s Board of Overseers in protest at the university’s ongoing refusal to divest itself of its fossil fuel investment holdings.
The Daily Callerreports:
Taylor had enough of Harvard University’s fossil fuel investments. She stepped down from her position as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers on Tuesday. In her resignation letter, Taylor decried the school’s “failure” to “adopt ethical commitments,” according to the Harvard Crimson.
“We should and would be horrified to find out that Harvard investments are actually funding some of the pernicious activities against which our standout academic leadership rails,” her letter stated. “But that is where we still sit, vulnerable to the inevitable association with our investment targets that profiting from them demands.
Harvard has a total endowment of $37.1 billion, with some investments in fossil fuels. The prestigious university has long faced pressure to divest. Over 100 Harvard faculty penned an open letter in 2014 urging University President Drew Faust to do so. In 2015, 20 students stormed a university building and demanded divestment. In March 2017, members of the activist organization Divest Harvard made similar demands while blockading University Hall.
It’s possible, however, that Harvard’s Board of Overseers won’t feel the loss of Ms Taylor too keenly. Her resignation, highly principled and selfless though it surely was, reportedly came just one day before her six-year term was due to expire.
The “Bomb Cyclone” which ravaged the northeast U.S. this winter would have been much, much more damaging if it hadn’t been forcoal-fired power.
This is the conclusion of a Department of Energy report demonstrating the vital importance of fossil fuels to the United States’ security and energy economy; vindicating President Trump’s avowed mission to revitalize the U.S. coal industry and calling into further question the need for more “clean” or renewable energy.
As the chart clearly shows, while coal stepped up to the plate to meet energy demand during the winter freeze, wind power was next to useless.
In the last quarter of 2017, Soros Fund Management reported investments in eleven new fossil fuel corporations totalling nearly $160 million, according to his company’s December 31, 2017, filing before the Securities and Exchange Commission reviewed by TheDCNF.
His investments in fossil fuels undermines his public pledge to use his money to eliminate the oil, gas and coal industries, claiming they threaten the planet by accelerating climate change.
The billionaire’s most recent political efforts to warn about climate change was his underwriting of the organizations behind the April 29, 2017, “People’s Climate March” that marked the 100th day of President Donald Trump’s administration. Soros donated $36 million to 18 of the march’s 55 steering committee organizations between 2000 to 2014, according to the Media Research Center.
As with his pal Tom “Rhymes with Liar” Steyer – another billionaire environmental campaigner who has made a chunk of his fortune from fossil fuels – it appears to be a case of “do as I say, not do as I do.”
The United States – the world’s largest gas consumer and producer – will account for 40% of the world’s extra gas production to 2022 thanks to the remarkable growth in its domestic shale industry. By 2022, US production will be 890 bcm, or more than a fifth of global gas output. Production from the Marcellus, one of the world’s largest fields, will increase by 45% between 2016 and 2022, even at current low price levels, as producers increase efficiency and produce more gas with fewer rigs.
While US domestic demand for gas is growing, thanks to higher consumption from the industrial sector, more than half of the production increase will be used for liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export. By 2022, the IEA estimates that the United States will be on course to challenge Australia and Qatar for global leadership among LNG exporters.
These findings – from a report by Professor Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh and a former adviser to the World Bank – vindicate a recent call by President Trump to cut the 2018 budget for CCS research by 77 percent.
They also make a mockery of the grandiose schemes proposed by the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to decarbonize the global economy in line with the Paris Agreement. Both organizations have made heroic assumptions about the value of CCS technology in helping to meet their CO2 reductions targets.
Here, for example, is the ex-head of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri touting it at the time of the last IPCC Assessment Report in 2014:
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) – the nascent technology which aims to bury CO2 underground – is deemed extremely important by the IPPC. It estimates that the cost of the big emissions cuts required would more than double without CCS. Pachauri said: “With CCS it is entirely possible for fossil fuels to continue to be used on a large scale.”
This, we can now see from Hughes’s detailed report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, is just more of the kind of “harnessing-the-magical-power-of-organic-unicorns”-style nonsense we’ve come to expect from the IPCC. (And the similarly green-compromised IEA, for that matter).
The idea of CCS – capturing carbon-dioxide from industrial processes and then storing it underground where it can never been released – has been around for nearly 40 years. But it has never worked on a commercial scale and now almost certainly never will.
Already very expensive – in the UK, Hughes estimates, it would add around £10 to £15 (around $20) per MWh to the price of electricity, adding between £3.5 billion and £5 billion ($4.5 billion and $6.5 billion) to electricity bills – it has been rendered even more financially unviable by renewables, which are propped up with so much subsidy and which have distorted the market so badly that there simply isn’t any realistic possibility of still more money being found for the white elephant that is CCS.
Since the announcements, coal companies are being deferential to the White House, but quietly shifting their emphasis to Congress to save CCS funding in the budget.
Rick Curtsinger, a spokesman for coal company Cloud Peak Energy, said that Trump has been “extremely supportive of America’s coal miners” and that he “has a difficult task in prioritising issues and balancing the budget.”
But, Curtsinger added in an email: “We are hopeful that Congress will support the further development and commercialisation of the carbon capture technology that we believe is necessary for coal to be able to play a long-term role in providing secure, reliable, and affordable electricity while addressing concerns about CO2 and climate.”
But whoever is advising Trump on energy and climate issues is clearly very well informed. However much coal producers might wish it, Carbon Capture and Storage is not the panacea that is suddenly going to make their product eco-friendly.
Does this mean that Trump is about to renege on his election trail compact with the coal-producing states?
Not necessarily. As the below chart shows, stories about the death of coal have been greatly overdone. They are largely put about by the oil and gas industry, which is now keener than almost anyone to promote the climate change scare because it sees it as a means of stealing coal’s market share.
According to shock data released, without fanfare, by China’s statistical agency, its coal use has been about 17 per cent higher per year than earlier official figures admitted. This may have pumped an extra billion tons per year of CO2 into the atmosphere – more than the total greenhouse gas output of the entire German economy.
In 2012, China burned through an extra 600 million tons of coal: about 70 per cent of the amount used annually by the US.
The new figures make a nonsense of China’s publicly-expressed commitment to wage war on climate change.
Only two days ago, Chinese president Xi Jinping emerged from a summit with French president Francois Hollande, calling for “an ambitious and legally binding deal” at the forthcoming COP21 climate talks being staged by the UN in Paris later this month.
This moved Greenpeace China’s Li Shuo to declare it “encouraging to see the ball rolling and diplomacy nudging us a small step forward”. He added:
“Moreover, with the recent decline in coal consumption and robust renewable energy development, China is positioning itself at the front of climate leadership. This is drastically different from six years ago in Copenhagen.”
We now know that this was wishful thinking.
Not that we couldn’t have guessed this anyway. China’s policy on CO2 emissions is – and always has been – a case of “tell the gullible Gwailo whatever they want to hear – then carry on building coal-fired power stations regardless.”
“They are going to try to dirty him up,” said Court, a Steyer ally. “He is personally committed on a moral level to preventing a 4-degree temperature change that is irreversible, and he has $3 billion to pursue his passion.”
I have a couple of problems with this imaginative thesis, presumably advanced with Steyer’s blessing in order to distract from unhelpful stories like this one about his latest egregious eco-fail in California.
1. How would it be possible, even with the combined resources of Chevron, Exxon, BP, Shell, Petrobras and whoever else, to cause more reputational damage to Tom Steyer than he has already achieved through his own magisterial efforts?
Sure he must have been clever or cunning sometime to have made at all that money for himself. But his more recent career, ever since deciding his new job was to save the world from ManBearPig, has been a succession of humiliating failures.
In Florida, it dispatched more than 500 staffers and volunteers to criticize Governor Rick Scott’s energy policies and used a “Noah’s ark” to show the threat of rising ocean levels. Scott still won re-election.
So was his Proposition 39 in California which, at yet further cost to the taxpayer, was supposed to have created 11,000 new “green jobs” a year. In fact the true figure has been closer to 600 green jobs a year, each costing $175,000 – and quite likely killing many more real jobs than the fake ones it created.