Greta Morozov

Last week a bunch of posh kids held a demonstration in London under the banner of an organisation calling itself Extinction Rebellion. Their aims are drearily predictable: obtaining political power for themselves to enact sweeping, authoritarian economic and social policies under the pretence of environmental concern. In other words they’re just another unit off an ageing production line, about as unique as a Michelin tyre but not half as interesting.

The demonstration and other stunts caused severe disruption to people trying to go about their daily lives, which the participants justified by saying everyone needs to be made aware of climate change. Several people complained the police just stood idly by and allowed public roads to be blocked, and asked whether Brexit demonstrators would be afforded the same courtesy. The answer of course is no, because Extinction Rebellion demonstrates in support of the establishment viewpoint whereas a Brexit protest would run in precisely the opposite direction. The police are hardly going to be ordered to beat up a bunch of floppy-haired teenagers who want the government to have more power, no matter how annoying they are. Extinction Rebellion’s actions are about as subversive as the May Day parades in the former Soviet Union.

In case we hadn’t been patronised by spoiled teenagers quite enough, British parliamentarians invited an odd-looking sixteen year old Swedish schoolgirl dressed up to look about ten to lecture us on how bad we are:

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has described the UK’s response to climate change as “beyond absurd”.

In a speech to MPs, the Swedish 16-year-old criticised the UK for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions.

She was invited to Westminster after inspiring the school climate strikes movement.

There’s a lot to say here, and I’ll say it.

Firstly, there’s a good reason why political campaigners have chosen an autistic child as their front: it makes people reluctant to criticise her. As the past couple of days have shown, anyone challenging her scripted nonsense is shouted down for being mean to a child with mental problems. Whoever put her up to this – and it seems to be her parents – ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is bordering on child abuse.

Secondly, any adult who takes their political lead from a sixteen year old ought to quit whatever they’re doing and seek help. Similarly, adults who find a teenager manipulated into regurgitating boilerplate climate hysteria “inspiring” are probably those who think their own brat’s spelling test results are newsworthy. Politicians are a little different in that they like her for the same reason they support Extinction Rebellion: she is arguing in favour of their being given more powers. Just as young Pavel Morozov‘s narcissism served the interests of Soviet politicians, so this child’s serves the interests of ours.

Thirdly, what she’s actually saying is emotive, irrational nonsense. The UK, and the west in general, has not “done nothing” about climate change, and her predictions for the future ought to have interested a child psychologist long before now. Not a single person has challenged her on this. And if leaving a ticking time bomb for children is a concern, how come her focus is not on the national debt? Realistically, what is likely to be the larger handicap we’re passing down to future generations: a one and a half degree temperature rise or tens of thousands of dollars in debt hung around the neck of every newborn baby? We’re stealing children’s futures all right, but not by driving cars.

Fourthly, her supporters say she is doing valuable work in raising awareness of climate change. They’ve offered the same excuse on behalf of Extinction Rebellion, only I can’t think of a single issue given more prominence in my lifetime. Every aspect of our society and culture, every corporation, every government, every event and every activity comes with some reference or other to climate change. It even has its own UN agency. It’s as ubiquitous as a state religion, and we are constantly lectured on the subject from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, seven days a week with no break even for Christmas. Saying British people need more awareness of climate change is like saying North Koreans need more awareness of the Kim family. We are plenty aware, we just don’t agree sweeping authoritarian socialism is the answer, and sticking teenagers in front of us who look as though they wandered off the set of Deliverance and got lost isn’t going to persuade us any.

Finally, this whole circus is merely a symptom of the political malaise which infests the UK and wider developed world. As with the treachery and incompetence over Brexit, I am reluctant to place the blame for Greta Thunberg’s being permitted to address parliament wholly on the politicians responsible for it; they are merely the representatives of a ruling class who are as incompetent as they are corrupt as they are immoral, backed by a section of the population born into circumstances which never required them to acquire self-awareness or make difficult decisions. This Swedish brat demanding we pay her attention and organise our nation’s affairs in a way which meets her approval is one thing. That our politicians, media, and substantial numbers of adults at large in our society see fit to accommodate her is something else. Serious countries would not involve teenagers in the setting of public policy, especially foreign ones. Serious countries would never find themselves even being asked to.

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The Times they are a-changin’

Theophrastus alerts me to an article in The Times:

Almost certainly, the most exciting thing that ever happened to me occurred one evening last January in freezing weather when I — in a hideous outfit of ankle-length Puffa and beanie pulled down to eyebrow level — was stomping along the South Bank in London. By Blackfriars Bridge a tall, dark, thirtysomething man, not unattractive, ran up to me, gasping, “Excuse me,” in a foreign accent, “are you Swedish?”

“No!” I barked. “I am British!”

“Oh,” he said, nervously stroking his phone, then: “Are you single?”

Hello, I thought, but replied: “I’m married.” The man frowned, then said: “Sorry, but I have to ask . . . I’m Mexican, my wife is Swedish. We wanted a threesome, but . . . could you join us for a foursome?”

Any article which starts off vying for a winning spot in the Didn’t Happen of the Year Awards is unlikely to get better as it goes on.

My response — along with desperately trying not to laugh — was to decline politely, hurry off and call my nonplussed husband to crow that I’d still got it, and he was invited too. But I was confused as to why this poor chap needed to shiver by the river, accosting any vaguely Scandinavian-looking woman for group sex. Surely there was an app for this? I was right.

Hence your article, and your need to invent a story as a lead-in.

He could have been on Feeld, “the app for couples and singles”, which allows you “to meet open-minded people”. “We call it a space to explore your sexuality,” explains Feeld’s joint founder Dimo Trifonov. Launched five years ago, the app was initially called 3nder (pronounced “thrinder”), but Tinder sued, so they rebranded.

“We didn’t like 3nder anyway,” says Trifonov, 28. “That name came with all this clickbait stuff about us being the threesome app, the orgy app, the sex app, but what we’d done went way beyond this.”

Not for the first time on this blog we’re hearing people who engage in meaningless sex with random strangers attempt to ascribe a deeper meaning to it.

Oh really? “Yes, people who’ve been with us for a long time write to us saying, ‘You’ve changed my life,’ ‘You’re a breath of fresh air.’ They say we’ve allowed them to feel more whole. Feeld is like an open field, a field of feelings, and you just jump in to find things you’ve never discovered before. The world is still binary, but we are trying to provide a space which is less dependent on labels and the usual norms.”

Yes, that is pretty deep.

Sitting in the Stygian basement of a hipster Shoreditch hotel, Trifonov and his co-founder and girlfriend, Ana Kirova, 27, don’t come across as a pair of sexual revolutionaries, but rather — with him all in black, dragging his fingers repeatedly through his hair (“It’s a tic”) and her in specs and a pink sweatshirt — like an adorable couple relaxing after a day’s hiking in the Cairngorms.

They are from Bulgaria, and met six years ago in London, where she was studying and he was working as a graphic designer. Not long into their relationship, Kirova found herself falling for a Frenchwoman she was working with.

A bisexual Slavic graphic designer who’s into orgies and polyamory? If it transpires she’s a regular at Burning Man, I’m suing for copyright.

“It was really scary,” Kirova recalls. “I was so attracted to her, just like falling for a guy — I couldn’t talk to her, I felt uncomfortable near her. But at the same time I really was in love with Dimo and I just didn’t know what to do — exploring my feelings on my own would be cheating, right? And if relationships are based on trust it’s really important to be able to communicate how you feel.”

So she lacks impulse control and is driven by short-term gratification. Sorry, why is this in The Times, exactly? Did readers complain Oliver Kamm was sapping them of their will to live?

If it were me, I know I would either have told Dimo nothing and suppressed my feelings, or told Dimo nothing and embarked on an inevitably disastrous affair. The more enlightened Kirova wrote a confessional letter to her boyfriend. “I thought it was creepy and odd and that Dimo would feel disappointed and threatened and shocked, but instead he just said, ‘That’s such a normal feeling, don’t worry — there must be people feeling like you everywhere. Whatever makes you happy.’”

“Do whatever you want, I don’t care,” is so romantic I’m surprised poets haven’t made more use of it.

The couple tried to explore Kirova’s yearnings for extracurricular relationships, but were ostracised on traditional dating sites. “People were like, ‘What are you doing here? This is not for couples’, ” she says. Yet the swinging world carried distinctly grubbier overtones of car keys in bowls.

Whereas if the selection process is done via app it instantly becomes classy.

“I remember connecting to a couple who were so excited that we were also in a couple, they kept pushing to meet me just because of my couple status. I felt a bit violated, like, ‘I’m not an object’. I didn’t even know if this was my thing, I just wanted to explore,” Kirova says.

I expect they’d encountered single people who’d entered the scene and found them too creepy even by the standards of polyamorists. And that’s saying something.

And so, “more as a social experiment than a serious thing”, Trifonov set up a website for people wanting threesomes. Overnight it attracted tens of thousands of visitors. In 2014 he launched the app, which was downloaded 40,000 times. It grew so fast it crashed — a problem when it came to raising funds — but three years ago with $500,000 of investment it was relaunched “to a high industry standard”.

An app promising easy sex, no-strings-attached sex is popular? These people must be marketing geniuses.

The biggest markets are the US, Brazil and the UK, where the busiest areas are London, Bristol and Glasgow.

Can you imagine the state of the average subscriber?

About 35 per cent of users are on the app with a partner, and 45 per cent identify as something other than heterosexual. The dozens of sexual preference options on the app include androgynosexual, objectumsexual and skoliosexual (“I have no idea what this means but I love the idea,” confesses one user who has chosen this as his identity),

I’m glad my concern such an app would attract weirdos hasn’t come to pass.

while the people you are looking for can identify as — among many others — gender-nonconforming and two spirit.

Two spirit? These Canadians get everywhere.

Feeld is similar to many other dating apps — full of young, shiny people in swimsuits

I expect that “full” is doing a lot of work. Even normal dating sites look more like a response to a casting call for The Lord of the Rings. I can’t imagine a threesome dating app in which Glaswegians feature prominently brings much improvement.

“I was amazed at first to see all these people saying, ‘I like BDSM, I am also a company director and I like cycling,’” Trifonov says. “I was like, ‘Wow! I always thought people who were into BDSM were freaks, but they happen to be normal people.’”

Aren’t all cyclists into BDSM, of a sort?

Among their generation polyamory is increasingly seen as a viable lifestyle option, with a recent survey of 2,000 people by the healthcare company EuroClinix pronouncing one in five to be enjoying — to give the dictionary definition — “multiple, non-monogamous relationships”.

Which means one in five people have a cohort of Tinder hookups on standby in lieu of one person with whom they can build a functioning relationship.

Feeld’s employees include several practitioners of polyamory, including one couple in an open marriage. “It’s a bit like having many friends and being able to explore these friendships. So you might have a tennis friend — no one thinks that’s dangerous for a relationship — but instead of tennis you could have a friend for something kinky,” Kirova explains.

Ah yes, this was my Katya’s explanation of polyamory. It seems to rest on the assumption that having sex and playing tennis are similar activities. Although I confess, when it comes to Maria Sharapova I do wish there was more crossover.

“It’s no different to a standard monogamous marriage — if you care, you’re going to make it work.

Making your bed is no different from learning Swahili. If you care, you’ll just get it done.

There just needs to be trust and communication.”

Areas in which the polyamorists featured on this blog have been famously good, of course.

In the period between falling for the Frenchwoman (nothing happened, Kirova realised “it was just a crush”)

Nothing happened between me and Sharapova, either. I realised with her spending so much time playing tennis and showing no interest in bluegrass, it probably wouldn’t work out.

and setting up the app, the couple — in her words — “had experiences with people, but nothing that could be considered a relationship”.

I didn’t bone my secretary, I simply had an experience with her.

Since working together full time, the pair have become “extremely monogamous”. They tried to meet other people through the app, “but it felt like we were just trying to do something for the sake of it, so we ended up doing nothing,” Trifonov says.

Far be it from me to suggest these two people don’t know what the hell they want.

Still, they say, polyamory may be part of their future. “I’m still with this awareness that attraction happens to everyone, regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not,” Kirova says. Her favoured term for their partnership is “monogamish”, which means that you’re committed to each other, but can have relationships with others. “I really like that.”

So they’ll kind of stay with each other unless and until someone else comes along. Sounds like the basis for a fulfilling relationship.

Monogamish, monogamous — either way the couple have found a potentially lucrative niche. Are they rich? “Not really,” Trifonov says.

I did wonder how the connecting of 40,000 weirdos could be monetised, at least outside of Burning Man.

They’re not sure if they will marry or not. “In London you can consider these things later in life. In Bulgaria when you’re 22 you have to have babies,” Kirova says.

As I’ve said, I have no idea what this article is doing in The Times but since they’ve decided to encroach on Cosmopolitan‘s market share anyway, can they at least promise a follow-up on these two in a few year’s time? I have a feeling it would make for good blogging.

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The Desert Sun Podcast #012

My guest is Jenny Davis, a polar explorer, extreme racer, motivational speaker, and corporate lawyer who talks about her recent expedition to Antarctica. Unfortunately it was recorded on an iPhone at Jenny’s end so the sound quality isn’t great, but turn the volume up a bit and you should be okay.

You can listen to it on iTunes here, Player FM here, download it here, or listen on the blog by clicking the link below:

Jenny’s website can be found at www.jennydavis.co.uk.

If you liked this podcast, please consider supporting me on my Patreon page.

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Notre Damned

Andrew Neil makes the mistake a lot of people make when it comes to contemporary disasters:


I am confident underfunding of the project won’t be the cause: it will have been eye-wateringly expensive. As I’ve written about at length on here, the problem is that modern organisations are infested with managerialism whereby compliance with the latest fad – often government imposed – is given higher priority than making sure the electrics are safe. I’ve seen the compliance hoops contractors have to jump through just to participate in tenders for the public sector and large corporations. Last September commenter Graeme gave us this gem:

“Since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) in 2015, UK companies with turnovers above £36m have needed to produce a statement setting out the steps they have taken to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their operations and supply chains. Of the 9,000 to 11,000 companies in scope, all should have published a first statement prominently on a corporate website by September 2017. By March 2018, only 5,600 had done so, according to CORE, a coalition made up of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), academics, lawyers and trade unions that focuses on corporate responsibility.”

Companies nowadays not only have to demonstrate they employ the requisite number of women and aren’t mean to their LGBT employees, but also that their entire supply chain is free of child labour and exploitative practices and they are not helping to perpetuate slavery and human trafficking. This wildly inflates the cost of any project, and keeps dozens of middle class graduates employed giving presentations to one another in air conditioned offices, but adds little value to the job actually getting done. This has reached the point – as we saw with Carillion (1, 2) – that the core business of many large companies nowadays is overcoming the compliance hurdles and buttering up the right people (mainly by employing them in a cosy public-private revolving door system) so they can win contracts. How they then actually go about doing the work is of secondary concern, and most of it will be subcontracted to the lowest bidder. At a guess, the works on Notre Dame were managed by an army of people shuffling paper while the electrics were installed by a contractor who had the lowest bid and spoke Arabic better than he did French. Supervision would have been negligible with QA/QC consisting of a piece of paper signed off by someone who never physically saw the completed works.

This is speculation and I may be wrong of course, but Notre Dame did catch fire and it wasn’t supposed to. Between the entire project being underfunded and a scenario similar to that which I describe above, I know which one I’d choose.

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Kim Karmeghan

Sky News reports breathlessly on the scandal that is Meghan Markle getting abused on social media. My immediate thought is why are members of the royal family using social media? The entire point of the royals is they are not like the plebs, they exist – in theory anyway – on a higher plane. That’s why they get to live in a palace. So what the hell is this?

Earlier this month, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex created their own Instagram account, under the name SussexRoyal. It features professional photographs of their work and has already amassed over four million followers.

However, it has attracted criticism online and some people attacked its branding, which appeared to feature an ‘M’ with a tiara above it.

Yes, famous people will attract nutters wherever they go, and this is especially true for the royals. This is why their public life is carefully managed, or at least it was. Opening an Instagram account is the equivalent of turning up unannounced on the terraces at the local football ground.

An account with over 14,000 followers almost exclusively posts criticism of Meghan, sharing negative news articles and conspiracy theories.

Since when have royals anywhere in any era not been the subject of gossip, speculation, and conspiracy theories by the masses? That’s part of their role, I thought. The difference is that in previous eras they would have risen above it, remaining unaware or at least indifferent to what the peasants were saying about them. My advice to Mr and Mrs Wales is to do the same thing now.

Message boards 4chan and 8chan were found to host orchestrated attacks against Meghan. The sites allow users to post anonymously – without needing to create an account or even pick a username – thus eliminating any threat of accountability.

I’m pretty sure Meghan Markle doesn’t use 4chan, so what Sky are complaining about is that people can get together and say bad things about her. Twenty years ago these conversations would have taken place in a pub, equally anonymously for all practical purposes. Now things have shifted online, but the thing which has really changed is the royals have decided to wade into the social media sewer. As the name suggests, it’s not for the likes of them. They cannot claim a divine right to a life of taxpayer-funded privilege while at the same time demand to be treated equally by the plebs if they’re silly enough to get down among them. The royals need to stay off social media, or quit being royals. Otherwise they might find it’s not just trolls on the internet who take a disliking to them.

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Accounting Software

Do any of my readers run a small business? Can anyone recommend an accounting software which either allows you to do your tax returns and financial reporting yourself, or keeps track of everything such that you can hand it to an accountant?

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Cupid Stunt

A reader sends me this article, assuming (correctly) that it’s right up my alley:

Let me explain. Matchsmith works like this.

You meet up with Holly and the two of you go through a long list of likes and don’t likes in a potential partner, any particular physical characteristics you might be after, and deal breakers. (Also, any exes who might be lurking out there.)

Then it’s onto you: How do you normally interact with potential paramours? How much information would you normally give out? How long before you normally take things offline?

Basically, Holly learns everything there is to know about YOU and your dating style. Then you give her your Tinder, Bumble, Hinge (or whatever app you fancy) login details and she gets to work.

Yes, women are now outsourcing the initial stages of dating. Remember what I said just a few weeks ago:

One of the most peculiar aspects of modern dating is middle aged, professional women citing as a priority their desire to find a lifetime partner, but refusing to make the slightest effort to find and accommodate one.

The founders of this Matchsmith app have worked out there is an abundance of wealthy women who can’t be bothered putting in time and effort on dating apps and have generously offered to do it for them, in exchange for a fee.

I can’t tell you how much of a relief I found this. My dating forays usually go like this: Swipe with glee abandon for several nights; get nice messages from nice boys; chat to nice boys; then either go on a terrible date with one of these ‘nice’ boys or they stop responding to my messages. Feel overcome with depression, decide I will obviously die alone surrounded by my towering collection of Tatler back issues and cats. Drink wine to commiserate with self.

She seems to think the reason she’s single is because she’s picking the wrong people on dating apps. It doesn’t seem to occur to her that she might be partly responsible for dates being terrible or men suddenly quitting a text conversation. This mentality rests on the delusion women buy into whereby “they just need to meet the right person” instead of sorting out the issues which are keeping them single. If women can’t find a half-decent man in New York, London, or Sydney it’s likely the problem is on their side.

(It would seem I am far from alone in this weary state of affairs. “Swipe-focused apps especially can leave you feeling disheartened if you’re coming across hundreds of profiles of people that don’t seem at all right for you,” Holly says.)

Basically, a lot of women rate themselves a lot higher than they ought to. Look at these graphs:

I’d go so far as to say the single greatest impediment to women finding a partner is they consider the men in their dating pool to be beneath them. Men, when push comes to shove, are prepared to compromise.

Which is why I love that Matchsmith – it takes that particular demoralising aspect out of modern dating.

You’ve outsourced rejection. This is not adult behaviour. Here’s how the article began:

Josh* and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was our first date and we were sitting in an inner-city Sydney pub on our second round of drinks. Tattooed and with a beard, he was definitely not the sort of bloke I would normally go for but that evening was turning out to be a delight.

So Holly’s basically matching you with hipsters.

And, truth be told, I didn’t pick Josh. My ‘dating EA’ or ‘Bumble concierge’ did. For nearly three months, Holly Barter, the genius founder of Sydney’s Matchsmith, who has been swiping, chatting and arranging my dates – all as me.

As far as Josh knew, he and I have been swapping pithy jokes and witty asides for a couple of weeks. In reality, I read ‘our’ conversation history in the Uber on the way there.

I’m just throwing this out there, but I suspect relationships which only get started thanks to contrived, professional deception don’t last very long.

After a couple of weeks, Holly messages me with pics and some details about three guys ‘Daniela’ has been chatting to and asks me if I am happy for her to give them my number.

While they weren’t necessarily blokes I would have picked, they all met my criteria (must like puns, wine and more puns) and I was open to meeting anyone who seemed funny and smart and willing to come to my postcode.

A common feature of these stories is women revealing trivial aspects of their character – wine and puns, really? – as if it makes them look fun and carefree. What it actually makes them look is unserious, shallow, and immature. You never hear they’re into something genuinely interesting, like playing the violin or sailing, things which require some degree of effort to participate in.

The first guy ended up having to go overseas for work…

The date went so well he immediately volunteered for a ten-year assignment in the jungles of Papau New Guinea.

…the second stopped returning my texts (ah, the joy of modern dating)…

Like you’ve never done that. Rather a lot of women boast about the men they’ve ghosted or blocked, as if it’s something to be proud of.

…and the third was the delightful Josh.

Who at some point will find out he’s been lied to.

(One thing I gave a lot of thought to was when and if I would tell him that during ‘our’ chats he had actually been conversing with another woman. On one hand, I did feel a wee bit duplicitous however Holly did an amazing job of being me – her puns and quips were ON FIRE. I decided that if any of these dates progressed to a second or third outing, I would explain the situation.)

How is this different from putting up a picture which isn’t you? Any man worth his salt is going to quickly realise the deluded fool sat in front of him isn’t the one who’s been sending him all the puns.

After my date with Josh, over the course of the next two months, Holly matched me with a number of great guys.

So you never saw Josh again?

I went on dates with an American businessman who has just relocated to Australia and enjoyed a lengthy WhatsApp flirtation with another that didn’t quite make it as a real-world match.

I know a chap who works in an American bank, and he told me in his younger days he used to pull a trick. He’d be sent on business trips to some town or other and would go on Craigslist and find himself a date. He’d say he was in town for a job interview and he was hoping to move there permanently in a month or so, which would make his date a lot more likely to sleep with him. When he got back to his office he’d drop them a note saying “Too bad, I didn’t get the job.” I must ask him if he’s been to Australia recently.

While I didn’t find The One (maybe starting a wedding Pinterest board was a little bit premature now I think about it), the whole experience completely renewed my enthusiasm for dating. From jaded and misanthropic, I had become more encouraged and much more open-minded about meeting boys. Each new encounter was a wonderful reminder that there are smart, kind and funny guys out there. Seriously. I have met at least three of them.

If you need professional help to meet smart, funny guys (who then don’t seem interested in anything long term with you), I’m not sure you’re addressing the root of the problem. My advice is to make yourself more interesting.

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Global Witness Tampering

This morning I received an email from an outfit called Global Witness. Let’s take a look:

All of the $4.9 trillion the oil and gas industry is forecast to spend on exploration and extraction from new fields over the next decade is incompatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal, according to new analysis by Global Witness.

All of it? I confess, when the signing of the Paris Agreement was being celebrated by world leaders, I didn’t realise it meant an immediate and total halt on global oil and gas exploration and production. You’d have thought someone might have mentioned it.

The report, Overexposed, published today, is the first to compare the latest 1.5°C climate scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with industry forecasts for production and investment. It finds that any oil and gas production from fields not yet in production or development would exceed what climate scenarios indicate could be extracted and burned while still limiting warming to 1.5°C.

I’d love to see the equation they’ve used to derive global temperature changes from oil and gas production figures. Sadly, the link to their methodology (.pdf) doesn’t include it, or any explanation of how they’ve arrived at this conclusion.

ExxonMobil is forecast to spend the most in new fields over the next decade, followed by Shell. Together with Chevron, Total and BP these five oil and gas majors are set to spend over $550 billion on exploring and extracting oil and gas that is not aligned with the world’s climate goals.

Next up: Toyota stubbornly making cars while world demands jet packs.

“There is an alarming gap between the plans of oil and gas majors and what the latest science shows is needed to avoid the most catastrophic and unpredictable climate breakdown” said Murray Worthy, Senior Campaigner at Global Witness and author of the report.

Meaning, there is an alarming gap between oil and gas demand as expressed by its users and the quantity Murray Worthy thinks they should be using.

“Investors will rightly be concerned that despite industry rhetoric to the contrary, the oil and gas sector’s spending plans are so drastically incompatible with limiting climate change. This analysis should encourage the escalation of investor engagement efforts to challenge oil and gas majors to credibly align their business plans with the Paris goal. Blindly pushing ahead comes with huge financial risks for investors, either as a result of the transition to a low carbon economy, or as the devastating consequences of a changing climate stack up.”

That’s a matter for investors, is it not? I hardly think investors in the oil and gas industry are so dumb as to not be aware of two or three decades of climate hysteria. I expect a good few are piling in on the basis that if the likes of Global Witness get their way, there will be a severe shortage of oil and gas supplies in future allowing them to make hay. No, what Murray Worthy is saying is he disapproves politically of how investors are spending their money, but dresses his words up as concern for their welfare.

Global Witness’ report finds it is only possible to claim this investment is compatible with the Paris climate goals by using scenarios that assume massive carbon capture and removal will take place in the future. This is despite the fact that these technologies remain unproven at scale.

Which is pretty apt, given the technologies which will render oil and gas production unnecessary are also unproven at scale.

The industry is at a crucial turning point; capital investment has fallen by over a third since 2014, largely due to a slump in oil prices. Yet, investment is forecast to rise by over 85% over the next decade, reaching over $1 trillion a year. Two thirds of this is set to take place in new fields.

It’s almost as if investors don’t take you seriously, isn’t it? Now why could that be?

Major capex projects in new fields that are due to be approved over the next decade include US domestic shale expansion, the Vaca Muerta shale in Argentina, the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan and the Yamal megaproject in Russia.

The Kashagan field went into production in 2013; I expect he’s talking about the expansion project, which doesn’t make it a new field. Vaca Muerta has been in production since 2011, and I expect he’s also talking about expansion projects. He’s on slightly firmer ground regarding Yamal; production on the Yamal peninsula started in 2017, but the project I think he’s talking about – the development of the Kharasaveyskoye field – is yet to go ahead. However, that’s a Gazprom project, so nothing to do with the majors listed in the article. It’s therefore not surprising Global Witness and those with real money at stake are not on the same page here, is it?

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Unbecoming

The Independent, perhaps forgetting it’s supposed to report news, runs an advertorial on behalf of Michelle Obama, the feminist icon who would be completely unknown were it not for her husband holding high office.

The former first lady juxtaposed the Donald Trump administration to Barack Obama’s presidency during a wide-ranging interview on Sunday to promote her autobiography Becoming in London, venting her frustrations at the president’s decision to radically overhaul her husband’s legacy.

There was a time when former presidents – and by implication, their wives – refrained from criticising their successors. Michelle Obama doesn’t only criticise the current president, but she goes on a world tour to do it, whining about her husband’s “legacy”. I’m not seeing a lot of that “class and grace” here.

Ms Obama took aim at the billionaire property developer in a series of jibes during which she did not mention him by name. “For anyone who had any problems with Barack Obama, let’s just think about what we were troubled by – there were never any indictments,” she told a crowd of around 15,000 at the O2.

Which is more a reflection on the African-style corruption your husband brought to the US Department of Justice and security services than his behaviour in office.

The Chicago native, who was interviewed by US late-night host Stephen Colbert, jokingly compared the US with Mr Trump in the White House to being a teenager.

I see. “When they go low, we go high” has become “I’ll go low to make some money.”

“We come from a broken family, we are a little unsettled,” Ms Obama said. “Sometimes you spend the weekend with divorced dad. That feels like fun but then you get sick. That is what America is going through. We are living with divorced dad.”

This is an interesting analogy, and I have an idea why she picked it. Barack Obama is a living, breathing, example of what happens to a boy when his dad walks out on the family. From the desperate hunting for an identity with different names and an ever-changing backstory to writing whole books about him in the hope of gaining approval, not to mention the pettiness of many of his actions in office, I think Michelle might be projecting just a little bit here.

Ms Obama, who has been married to the former president for 27 years, said her family’s life had been profoundly different before entering the White House – describing them as a “normal family” who had no time to “adjust to the rarified air of politics” when they arrived in Washington.

Which explains the entourage of taxpayer-funded servants and lackeys which made the global tours of Diana Ross look frugal by comparison.

“We were always ourselves – the presidency does not change who you are, it reveals who you are,” she added in what appeared to be another dig at the current president.

For a supposedly smart woman she’s really bad at commentary. Donald Trump hasn’t changed one jot since entering office: he was a jerk before and he’s a jerk now. Nobody who knew Trump while he was a household name for three decades has noticed any sea-change in character; indeed, the only thing which seems to change is his wife. Whereas what did Obama becoming president reveal about him? That for all his hopey-changey rhetoric he was miles out of his depth, unable to make the leap from community organiser to statesman and from campaigning to governing, leaving behind a country torn apart by identity politics.

“I don’t know if there has been a president who has been accused of not being born in this country? Who has been asked to show his transcripts? Who has been accused of being unpatriotic? There was a lot of stuff that had not happened before that happened to us.”

I don’t know if there has been an American president subject to a rearguard coup by the outgoing administration. Once again, this is more the type of thing you see in Africa. Did you write about that in your book, Michelle?

“For eight years, the president they saw in their country was Barack Obama. He was somebody who people thought was smart and would do the right thing.”

Yeah, and look what happened instead. Michelle Obama is living proof that the left really need cult leaders in their lives, telling them what they want to hear while painting a comforting alternate version of reality. It beats me why they ever stopped going to church.

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Sanctuary Blockers

One of the errors conservatives make is thinking pointing out the left’s hypocrisy will make them change their ways. They think if only we can really highlight how unprincipled they are, they’ll not be able to use the same arguments any more. Well, how’s that working out after thirty-plus years of trying?

Where Trump brings a breath of fresh air is in using his opponents’ hypocrisy as a weapon against them. This was a master stroke:

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday the potential plan to transfer undocumented immigrants from border cities to “sanctuary cities” is “an option on the table,” though it’s not the administration’s first choice.

Sanctuary cities are Democrat-controlled cities whose administrations have decided they will refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials trying to deport illegal aliens from the United States. This is fully-consistent with the increasingly mainstream Democratic position of open borders, and is enacted and supported by liberals who believe undocumented migrants represent a net positive for the United States regardless of who they are and how many. So in order to solve the crisis on the border – which is in large part a result of Democrats’ refusal to secure it and instead encourage more people to cross over illegally – Trump announced he’d send all these migrants to the places where they’ll be most welcome: the lefty-run sanctuary cities.

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!” he tweeted, later in the day singling out California at an event discussing 5G technology. “They’re always saying they have open arms, let’s see if they have open arms.”

Let’s see indeed:

House Democrats are formally launching an investigation into the Trump administration’s consideration of a controversial proposal to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities.

The chairmen of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Homeland Security Committees have asked the White House and Department of Homeland Security for any communications concerning the potential transfer and release of immigrants detained at the southern border to various cities across the country.

Turns out they’re not keen.

“These reports are alarming. Not only does the Administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons,” Reps. Jerry Nadler, Elijah Cummings, and Thompson wrote in a letter.

Of course, Trump has no intention of doing this, he’s just forcing the holier-than-though Democrats to publicly declare they don’t actually want the problem of illegal immigrants brought to their cities. I expect this will appeal more to his base than swing voters but the stunt appears to have turned at least one celebrity into a staunch Republican:


How indeed?

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