Renewable Energy

Extinction Rebellion should be sent the bill for disruption

How about this? If these radical Extinction Rebellion protestors want to stop trains, perhaps they should foot the bill for the lost revenues to MTR Corporation? Perhaps companies should claim back lost productivity?

Moreover the danger they put others in by their actions. Without a doubt they’d be the first to complain and seek compensation if they were injured while being removed. Try not putting yourselves in that position in the first place! Absolutely unnecessary disruption and misuse of emergency services.

Normally protests require approval from the local government, insurance and coordinated police protection. It is unlikely that stopping trains in this fashion would have passed the application stage.

These people should be arrested, charged and heavily fined. Alas, they’ll be arrested, given a tap on the wrist and be released.

Greatest Corporate Showman on Earth

Tesla’s 1Q 2019 results were dreadful. CM has long held that Tesla is a basket case. The ever charismatic Elon Musk is trying to fan the flames of his company with dying embers. The question is where do we start on this diabolical 1Q report?

1. Musk started off with cash to speak to solvency. Tesla talks to $2.2bn in cash and equivalents. Down $1.5b, partly due to a $920m convertible repayment. Don’t forget Tesla has $6.5bn in recourse debt and $3.5bn in non-recourse debt. It has payables and accrued liabilities of another $5.5bn offset with receivables of just over $1bn.

2. Model S/X deliveries fell from 21,067 in 1Q 2018 to 12,091 in 1Q 2019. That’s -56% at the high margin premium car end. Musk claimed it was due to demand pull forward with a reduction in tax credits. Well he just proved that without credits, demand suffers appreciably.

Model 3 production was 3% higher on the quarter but deliveries were 20% lower. Note customer deposits total $768m, marginally down on the previous quarter. If Tesla starts to implode, customers have a right to get those credits back. Residual values aren’t holding as we discuss in pt.5.

3. Solar deployed -38% year on year

4. (Battery) Storage deployed -39%YoY

5. CM made it clear in point 11 of the 30 reasons why Tesla will be a bug on a windshield report,

The Tesla Residual Value Guarantee, while well intentioned carried risks that crucified the leasing arms of the Big 3. After the tech bubble collapsed at the turn of the century, do you remember the ‘Keep America Rolling’ programme, which was all about free financing for five years? While sales were helped along nicely, the reality was it stored up pain…Goldberg & Hegde’s Residual Value Risk and Insurance study in 2009 suggested on average 92% of cars returned to leasing companies recorded losses on return of up to 12%. Any company can guarantee the price of its used product in theory, the question is whether used car buyers will be willing to pay for it. Sadly Tesla does not get a say in what the consumer will be willing to pay.”

In the 1Q 2019 result, Musk admits that Tesla suffered $121m impairment on residual value guarantees (RVG). Is it any wonder they stopped this scheme. Now it’s payback time. There are $480mn worth of RVGs still on the balance sheet that are unlikely to have been marked to market values.

6. Level 5 autonomous driving is a pipe dream in the near term. 20+ years away. A fleet of Tesla taxis is an even bigger thought bubble. Regulation will put that on the back burner. The current level 2 systems have already shown significant short comings given the numerous beta testing deaths at the wheel of the Tesla auto pilot.

7. Musk is doing a stealth cash raise by putting a time limit on auto pilot upgrades. The question is when will the next cap raise come. His noise around Tesla taxis, Level 5 autonomous systems, Model Y all speak to the snake oil promises that he needs to distract investors from what is clearly going on.

8. His public spat with his biggest supplier, Panasonic, will not end well. Suppliers have to be on board with production expansion. Panasonic is cooling off its relationship. Musk publicly slapped the Japanese battery maker. It doesn’t augur well for the rest of the supply chain either to see these ructions

Peter DeLorenzo wrote the following with respect to Musk,

That this latest charade from Musk is yet another desperate act in an attempt at saving his floundering company is obvious. Where it differs from other Muskian braggadocio is the fact that he is insisting that his AV technology is safe for mass application and consumption. Sorry to disappoint all of the St. Elon acolytes out there, but this is the insane part…

…Unleashing a fleet of zombie Teslas on the streets of America curated by a notorious nanosecond-attention-span personality such as Musk is the quintessential definition of flat-out crazy. You can’t even squint hard enough to suggest that this is, in some way, shape, or form, rational thought. It’s a case of an intermittently brilliant mind that has wandered over the line into the Abyss of Darkness. A dangerous mind that is so obsessed with pushing his perpetually sinking car company into some sort of elevated stratosphere that he is willing to treat real people as so much collateral damage...

This country is 25 years away – at least – from widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles. Yes, there will be scaled deployment in limited, commercial applications primarily in urban centers over the next two decades, but driverless Teslas careening around less than two years from now? It is a recipe for disaster the likes of which simply defies calculation.”

All the reasons CM has disliked Tesla remain. It is so chronically overvalued. This stock will be lucky to be $100 by year end. Sadly the economy is slowing meaning it will be tougher to compete with more competition launching this year. China may give cause for some future hope but don’t bet on it.

The more Musk talks, the more desperate he is. Don’t forget he is not learning from SEC requests to lay off Twitter. His guidance in 1Q is lower than recent tweets suggesting appreciably higher targets. Tesla is a time bomb.

Using Extinction Rebellion for free publicity

How one should take a letter written to the Times with a pinch of salt. When estimates of lost business caused by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) were purported to be in the millions of pounds, the following executives put their names to the following letter saying it was for the greater good. Given that most co-signatories aren’t retail stores that are being inconvenienced in the thick of the protest, the letter appears far more about free publicity than environmental heroics.

We attach their own published business models in brackets below. We also attach the distance of each HQ from the protest epicenter. It’s easy to say how woke you are about impacting local businesses when you’re nowhere near it. Read on

The letter to the Times

Sir, Contrary to belief, there is business support for the Extinction Rebellion (XR) agenda. The multi million-pound costs that the Extinction Rebellion protests have imposed on business are regrettable, as is the inconvenience to Londoners. But future costs imposed on our economies by the climate emergency will be many orders of magnitude greater.

Hard pressure drives change, but even the most committed businesses will need time to respond. We welcome the news that  Extinction Rebellion is evolving a new platform, XR Business, to engage business leaders, investors and advisers. To drive things forward, the idea is to convene a meeting of XR activists and experts with business leaders and influencers.

Most businesses were not designed in the context of the developing climate emergency. Hence  we must urgently redesign entire industries and businesses, using science-based targets. 

To kick start the process, businesses should make a declaration that we face a climate emergency and organise a session at a full board meeting to consider the case for urgent action. We will encourage the senior management teams of which we are part to do likewise.

Signed

Seb Beloe, partner at WHEB

(“WHEB is a positive impact investor focused on the opportunities created by the transition to a low carbon and sustainable global economy.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 1.3km

——

Thomas Bourne, CEO and co-founder, Greenheart Business Ltd

(“Using the B Corp framework to assess, plan for and embed positive social & environmental impact improvements within your business – from specific operational improvements through to comprehensive or transformational (i.e. business model) change.)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 337.6km

——
Amy Clarke, co-founder, Tribe Impact Capital LLC

(“We use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for uncovering client’s values and to measure and report portfolio performance…To facilitate this we have created four Tribe Themes…we actively select positive investments that directly contribute to global sustainable development and address a social, economic or environmental issue society is facing.)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.5km

——
Chris Davis, CSO, The Body Shop International Ltd

(Social activism has been a part of the Body Shop since 1986 when it proposed an alliance with Greenpeace to save the whales. “Protecting and regenerating habitats is also known as ‘re-wilding’. Find out how you can help us re-wild the world and protect our animal friends by fighting against deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 107.2km

——–

John Elkington co-founder and Louise Kjellerup Roper, CEO, Volans Ventures Ltd

(“By conducting inquiries into our planet’s most wicked problems, we help business drive positive change at an unprecedented pace and scale.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.2km
——-

Brad Frankel, CEO and co-founder, Flooglebinder Ltd

(“Our aim is to inspire students to become changemakers and future leaders through a range of educational programmes that connect young people with the outdoors. Our programmes firmly adhere to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By understanding, enjoying and respecting these environments through adventure and play, we hope to develop more global citizens and positive ambassadors for our planet.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 267.2km
—–

Jake Hayman, CEO, Ten Years’ Time

(“Whether the cause area is climate change or economic fairness, mental health, homelessness or education, we work with those who are ready to leave the safe ideas behind and want instead to understand, challenge and do their bit to reinvigorate failing systems.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 6.4km

——

Jeremy Leggett, founder and director, Solarcentury Ltd

(“We’re in business for a purpose: to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change through the widespread adoption of solar power.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 4.8km

——

Charmian Love and Amanda Feldman, co-founders, Heliotropy Ltd

(“We broker partnerships across sectors  to support private sector engagement in social and environmental issues.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 6.4km

—-
Andy Middleton, founder and chief exploration officer, TYF Group

(“Our mission is to inspire long lives of adventure, and promote discovery and care for nature.We create life changing adventures with a light touch on nature, focus young people’s sight & skills for the future and help organisations with innovation & sustainability. We play for the planet.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 387.2km

—-
Safia Minney, founder & Former CEO, People Tree Fair Trade group.

(“Fairtrade promotes training on climate change mitigation for farmers. For example, some training offers advice on switching to environmentally friendly practices, such as developing nutrient-rich soils that support healthy plants and encouraging wildlife to help control pests and diseases.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.2km

—–
James Perry, partner, Snowball LLP

(“Project Snowball LLP is a pioneering investment organisation that targets social and environmental impact alongside financial return.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 60.8km

——
Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever plc

(“The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out to decouple our growth from our environmental footprint, while increasing our positive social impact. “)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 361.6km

—–
Samer Salty, co-founder and managing partner, Zouk Capital LLP

(“Zouk’s ESG Policy includes an Ethical Investment Policy for negative screening and an innovative and bespoke methodology for assessing the value creation across Environmental, Social, and Governance principles driven by the portfolio companies…Zouk adheres to and is a signatory of the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and is also fully Carbon Neutral.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.2km

—–
Sir Tim Smit, founder of The Eden Project, executive chairman of Eden Regeneration Ltd

(“Get a feel for what we believe in – from the way we run our site to the transformational social and environmental projects that we run on our doorstep and around the world.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 396.8km

—–
Hermione Taylor, CEO and founder, The Do Nation Enterprise Ltd

(“If changing behaviours was easy, we’d all be super-fit with PhDs, empty inboxes and spotless bathrooms. And, what’s more, climate change probably wouldn’t be a problem.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 6.4km

—–
Diana Verde Nieto, CEO and co-founder, Positive Luxury Ltd

(“Fashion recycling has been on the rise in recent years – so how are consumers shopping pre-worn today? To celebrate Earth Day, we investigate the popularity of the more environmentally-friendly way to stay stylish.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 4.8km

—–
Dale Vince OBE, founder, The Ecotricity Group

(“We’ll use the money from your energy bills to develop new sources of green energy. So you can help build a green Britain – just by being with us.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 171.2km

—–
Bevis Watts, managing director, Triodos Bank UK

(“Our bank was founded on the conviction that banking can be a powerful force for good. We offer a range of financial and banking services to savers, investors and entrepreneurs who want to change the world for the better. By connecting these groups, we are building a community of people united in their desire to make a positive impact on society, culture and environment.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 189km

—–
Tim Westwell, co-founder and former CEO, Pukka

(“Doing good things helps make good things happen. We create things that help you, help nature and everything inbetween. It’s called conservation through commerce – striving to positively change the world for you, business and the planet.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 182.6km

—–
Gail Bradbrook (co-founder)  Extinction Rebellion
Fiona Ellis (XR Business)

We’ve covered XR in previous posts. They’re leading this disruption.

—-

So there you have it. Every co-signatory has a vested interest with a business model attached to climate change. Many advertise the brands of other collaborators on their respective websites. There is nothing woke about signing a letter which seeks self promotion. Is this about saving the planet or cynically riding off the back of a movement to get press based marketing?
It is so typical of a growing number of companies today. Kowtowing to this politically correct nonsense for fear of being singled out. Look at the corporate virtue signaling from Gillette, Colgate, Starbucks etc etc. In Gillette’s case, post it’s toxic masculinity campaign, a YouGov poll took it from 7th out of 45 health and beauty brands to bottom.
CM wonders whether XR Business will hound corporates into signing up for this nonsense for threat of being named and shamed. Sadly many boards seem too timid to stand up to lashing by social media. So much for looking after shareholders!

The dirt on solar panel recycling

According to Forbes, solar panel recycling is a dirty business. Given wide spread solar installations around the world, experts predict in two to three decades there will be large scale waste and ecological damage when they’ve hit the used by date. To quote the article,

Were these statements made by the right-wing Heritage Foundation? Koch-funded global warming deniers? The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal?…None of the above. Rather, the quotes come from a senior Chinese solar official, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. solar industry, and research scientists with the German Stuttgart Institute for Photovoltaics.

“…The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2016 estimated there was about 250,000 metric tonnes of solar panel waste in the world at the end of that year. IRENA projected that this amount could reach 78 million metric tonnes by 2050…

…“We estimate there are 100,000 pounds of cadmium contained in the 1.8 million panels,” Sean Fogarty of the group told me. “Leaching from broken panels damaged during natural events — hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. — and at decommissioning is a big concern.”  

…Chinese and Japanese experts agree. “If a recycling plant carries out every step by the book,” a Chinese expert told The South China Morning Post, “their products can end up being more expensive than new raw materials.

There is an irony when fighting to save the planet. All we’re told is the positive side of renewables being good for the futures of our children and grandchildren. Just goes to show that these panels of virtue have side effects too. There is a sort of belief that solar panels and wind turbines have an infinite life when installed.

Governments are now thinking of pushing recycling costs back on the manufacturers. That would be a great idea. Drive up costs and send more businesses saddled with overproduction closer to bankruptcy.

Australia should go nuclear. If we want cheap, reliable, CO2-free electricity generation it is the only way to go. Yet our politicians fear treading on such ground.

If we go through history Chernobyl and Fukushima were ALL caused by human error. The systems functioned according to spec.

Solar and wind have proved epic failures, not in installation terms, but as reliable energy sources in operation. South Australia and Victoria are beta test cases of weakening the grid yet we wish to pursue a doubling down of this madness.

In Australia, the environment is ranked 4th in terms of election issues behind income growth/cost of living, affordable housing and power prices. At the 2016 election, the environment was ranked 9th. Do we read this as Aussies becoming decidedly more green in the last 3 years or is it they see all the environment policies being championed affecting issues 1-3? It would seem the latter is more plausible. Yet our politicians are reading it the wrong way. What a surprise!

Sir David Attenborough’s Climate Change: The Facts

Sir David Attenborough’s narration of Climate Change – The Facts is a one hour BBC sponsored piffle fest, wonderfully timed with the Extinction Rebellion protests. It is a collection of one alarmist liners of “we’re running out of time“, “if we don’t do something now,” or “we’re at a tipping point“. You get the drift. The irony of the title is that few facts are actually presented. A lot of grandiose statements but little in the way of hard numbers. Even when numbers are presented they don’t necessarily prove anything.

Many numbers presented are selected from groups that have been caught red handed manipulating data – including NOAA, UNIPCC and BOM to name a few. Take temperatures in Australia. Sir David puts them forward as rewriting records despite far hotter temperatures recorded a century earlier. Perhaps he should have cited the Bureau of Meteorology scandal of putting a hard floor on cold temperatures.

Some supposed experts spoke of:

1) an explosion in the severity and number of wildfires. The truth is both the area and frequency have fallen in the last few decades. 90% are either accidentally or deliberately lit.

2) rising sea levels and polar melting. Analysis using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted. What sea level rise? The most experienced is around. 1mm pa. Australia’s former climate change commissioner told us a decade ago that waves would lap the rooves of 8 storey apartments despite owning a house by the water.

NASA noted in 2018 that sea ice was increasing. It said an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

3) the tragedy of coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef, despite it seen to be flourishing. Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Sep 2017 surveyed 14 coral reefs between Cairns and Townsville to see how they fared after being bleached and were surprised to find the coral had already started to reproduce.

By all means watch it to see how poor a documentary can be made to sell a story of activism. Hysterics, exaggerations and bias to create fear mongering. Even the background musical accompaniment is designed to pluck at the heart strings. To be honest it’s surprising that Sir David wanted to put his name to it. In decades to come the climate scientists will still be saying we’ve got little time left to fix things.

Canadians petrified by climate change – apparently

We keep getting told that climate change is the biggest threat to our civilization. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is big on a carbon tax to fix it. Yet in the last two provincial elections, Ontario and Alberta, the parties that have pushed to repeal the carbon tax have both won in landslides. So maybe Canadians aren’t scared of global warming?

In Ontario, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives surged from 28 seats to 76. His main rival, incumbent Kathleen Wynne of the Liberals fell from 58 to 7.

In Alberta, Jason Kenney of the United Conservatives gained 63 seats from 25 at the last election handing victory over incumbent Rachel Notley of the New Democrats which fell to 24 seats from 52.

We’re told by politicians, the Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strike that climate change is one of the greatest moral challenges of our lives. We’re asked to panic. Yet we must consider the hypocrisy of the 22,000 climate disciples and 7,331 observers that flew into the Katowice COP summit. The laugh was that all the recommended airport transfer choices were diesel powered. Or the 1,500 private jets carrying elites who flew into Davos to debate climate change.

Yet these election results show that more people are interested in economic security than virtue signaling through carbon taxes. Notley was a one term wonder. The way the polls look for Trudeau, it seems he will follow her lead in elections this year.

We shouldn’t forget that French President Emmanuel Macron repealed his petrol excise hikes after the yellow vest protests which are still ongoing. Yes, human nature is sadly driven by self-preservation.

CM has said the same thing repeatedly to alarmists. If you want to convince skeptics, stop being children. Whether it is the chanting and laughter brigades deployed to disrupt forums on coal or the “Fossil of the Day Awards” where the host brazenly shames representatives who don’t conform to the realpolitik of the climate alarmists, it is juvenile. There are even fossil fuel derived signs and a T-Rex suited sidekick to add to the childish antics of slagging off the Polish hosts at Katowice for promoting clean coal. Perhaps 16yo Greta Thunberg is the perfect poster child for such activists as she is more mature than the rest combined.

Dame Emma jets in to join Extinction Rebellion climate protests

Dame Emma Thompson has joined the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in London. Sadly she just needed to jet in from Los Angeles to do so. Hollywood hypocrisy comes in all shapes and sizes. Surely she could have YouTubed her support from her gated mansion to do her bit!

For a group that demands we must be carbon neutral by 2025, there are always exceptions when it comes to themselves. Take the stacked coffee cups in the picture above.

Do these Einsteins realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though they can feel good about themselves when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Certainly not this lot.

The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup.

We pointed out the glaring mistakes made on the XR website earlier in the week. If only they did their homework. No doubt their proposal for citizen assemblies will be stacked with people with little knowledge of the subject matter. Perhaps they can sip on Starbucks lattes as they seek ecological justice.

While XR might claim they didn’t ask for a police presence, sadly public safety requires the Met commit already thin resources. 570 arrests have been made. Lying on the ground, according to XR, stretches the police even thinner as it requires 4 officers to carry them away.

Let’s say they win government support and hit 2025 carbon neutrality. Many industries would need to shut up shop to meet the demands of the protestors. Has XR built that into the manifesto? Of course not. Any price is worth paying when no one has bothered to work out the cost.