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This morning, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends the Chancellery’s weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin.
If Lloyd Bridges were still alive, he may point out that Europe chose the wrong epoch to inhibit nuclear power and fossil fuel development. Will European politicians be able to remedy their errors in a timely manner? Countries across the Continent may be in for a lengthy winter after fully embracing alternative energy sources and now facing lower gas supplies from Russia. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Biden administration seems to appreciate the need of domestic fossil-fuel production, even as the White House pushes a costly strategy to discourage it.
Dan Molinski of Dow Jones Institutional News reported this morning on the events on the other side of the Atlantic:
Carbon-pricing, a relatively new financial mechanism that makes it more costly for power plants to utilize coal, even when coal is virtually the only dependable choice, has pushed gas prices in Europe to historic highs.
Even some greener-than-green European governments were starting to see the folly of their ways and contemplate politically incorrect nuclear power, according to a commentary published in October. The issue is that Germany agreed to cut nuclear capacity a long time ago, and now safety concerns are forcing several French reactors to shut down. Bloomberg’s Todd Gillespie, Isis Almeida, and Jesper Starn report:
As France anticipates a winter shortage, European power surged to a new high, prompting the region’s main aluminum smelter to reduce operations. In Germany, Europe’s largest power market, electricity for delivery next year jumped as much as 6.4 percent to an all-time high. Due to major nuclear outages in the coldest months of the year, France, which normally exports electricity, will have to rely on supplies from neighboring nations to keep the lights on. The shortage is so acute that firms are being forced to reduce production or shut down entirely.
Perhaps this wholly man-made catastrophe will push more voters to seek energy sources that are both dependable and abundant.
People who work for American voters haven’t given up attempting to legislate another half-trillion dollars in expenditure to discourage the use of fossil fuels, but they are now indicating that they recognize how important they are. The issue is that you can’t create a slew of reasons for people not to participate in energy production and then expect investors to support it anyhow.
Christopher M. Matthews, Timothy Puko, and Collin Eaton of the Wall Street Journal report:
Oil executives have expressed open dissatisfaction with the Biden administration, which shunned the sector for months until encouraging it to produce more oil in recent weeks to ease soaring gasoline costs. Oil executives have made few promises about expanding output in closed-door talks with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in recent weeks, according to sources familiar with the situation, and have stressed that higher oil prices may take months to lead to rising U.S. production. Oil executives say Mr. Biden’s ideas on oil make it much tougher for them to justify additional investment to expand at a time when Wall Street is pressing them to cut expenditure and produce profits after years of bad results. “The administration’s energy strategy has been inconsistent,” said Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron Corp. “The administration’s messages have been quite contradictory, which might stifle decision-making.”
Mr. Wirth’s ability for elegant understatement should be appreciated by the White House. Oil executives have been meeting with Jennifer Granholm, who recently said that it was “hilarious” that someone would inquire about her plan to boost domestic output. “We have already poisoned the atmosphere; we must restore and heal the Earth, and the only way to do so is to eliminate carbon dioxide forever,” she said on the same day.
Maybe Team Biden now understands why oil executives didn’t interpret it as “Drill, baby, drill.”
What Takes Place in Wuhan
Your humble correspondent co-authored a book with Maria Bartiromo in 2020 that emphasized the Chinese government’s active endeavor to acquire U.S. technology—often by persuading or duping U.S. academics to disclose important intellectual property. The frightening account of a Harvard professor was addressed in the book, among other examples. His lawsuit was finally settled. Byron Tau and Aruna Viswanatha of the Journal report:
A jury convicted Harvard professor Charles Lieber guilty on six charges connected to payments from a Chinese government talent program on Tuesday… Mr. Lieber, a renowned expert in the field of nanoscience and a joint appointment in Harvard University’s chemistry and engineering departments, was accused of lying to government investigators about his participation in the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents program aimed at wooing foreign experts. He was also accused of hiding the existence of a Chinese bank account and failing to report cash payments from the scheme on his tax forms. The judgment, which came after less than three hours of deliberation, is a surprising setback for Mr. Lieber, who was investigated by federal officials over a decade-long academic affiliation with Wuhan University of Technology. Prosecutors presented evidence that Mr. Lieber had signed a Thousand Talents deal with Wuhan in which he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, some in cash and others in a Chinese bank account.
The Journal reporters go on to say:
The recordings of an hour-long conversation with FBI agents shortly after Mr. Lieber’s detention in early 2020 were the most concrete evidence against him. The recordings provided insight into the realm of high-stakes academic research as well as international university and government attempts to attract and reward great scientists. .. He said, “Money is a major temptation.” “That’s one of the methods China employs to entice individuals.”
Finally, an End to Vaccine Mandate Battles? Jared Hopkins and Joseph Walker of the Journal report on the exciting news:
US health officials have approved the use of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 tablet, the first medicine that newly infected people may now take at home to without going to the hospital. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the medication on Wednesday, allowing physicians to administer it to high-risk kids aged 12 and above early in the course of illness, soon after they exhibit symptoms. The FDA said that the medicine, known as Paxlovid, was safe to use and would be a valuable tool in lowering hospital admissions and deaths.
Women’s Sports: An Existential Battle?
John Lohn, editor of Swimming World magazine, writes:
The sport’s latest dilemma is not one of widespread doping, but rather a convoluted setup with a potentially disastrous consequence. Yes, we’re talking about the Lia Thomas case… To recap, Thomas is a transgender senior on the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team who has already put in multiple performances this season that indicate she may be an NCAA championship candidate… Thomas’ switch from the men’s squad to the women’s team is the outcome of her transformation to female, and she is now able to play in college competition as a member of a women’s program after completing the NCAA’s criterion of one year of testosterone suppressant usage. The issue is that the NCAA’s one-year suppressant requirement is insufficient to level the playing field between Thomas and the biological females she is competing against… Let’s get this out of the way right now, since some readers will argue that we’re labelling Lia Thomas a doper based on the material given and the terminology used. That isn’t the case at all. There is no malicious intent. What we’re saying is that, in terms of swimming, the consequences of being born a biological man provide Thomas a distinct advantage over the biological females against whom she competes. She is more powerful. It’s as easy as that. And this strength helps her with her stroke, twists, and endurance. The same effect may be achieved through doping. Thomas has satisfied the NCAA’s participation requirements, according to the guidelines. But for Thomas to argue, as she did in one interview, that she doesn’t have a big edge is absurd at best and denial at worst. Sure, it’s up to the NCAA to change its rules in the interest of fair competition for the hundreds of college swimmers who participate. It’s also up to Thomas to recognize her vulnerability. The suppressants she’s taken account for around a 2% to 3% difference in her weight. The gap in time between male and female swimming records is around 11%.
“The Cost: Trump, China, and American Revival” is co-authored by James Freeman.
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