Tuesday, August 18, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: California's Green Suicide?


California Blackouts Expose Problems In Transition To Green Energy

In this newsletter:

1) California Blackouts Expose Problems In Transition To Green Energy
East Bay Times, 17 August 2020

2) California’s Blackout Warning
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 17 August 2020

3) Katy Grimes: California’s Energy Corruption & Rolling Blackouts
California Globe, 15 August 2020
4) Michael Shellenberger: Why California’s Climate Policies Are Causing Electricity Blackouts
Forbes, 15 August 2020
5) Francis Menton: What Is The Cause Of The Recent Power Blackouts In California? 
Manhattan Contrarian, 16 August 2020

6) Joel Kotkin: Green Policies Won’t Keep California Truckin’
Real Clear Energy, 29 July 2020
7) UK Consumers Face £2-3 Billion Annual Bill To Prevent Green Energy Blackouts
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 June 2020
8) And Finally: Rich & Famous Are Fleeing In Droves As Crazy Policies Turn Los Angeles Into Urban Nightmare
Mail on Sunday, 16 August 2020 

Full details:

1) California Blackouts Expose Problems In Transition To Green Energy
East Bay Times, 17 August 2020
Growing shortfall as solar power goes offline in early evenings


Rolling blackouts that cut power to hundreds of thousands of Californians this weekend during a historic heat wave — even as state officials warned that more outages are likely through Wednesday night — have shocked and angere residents from the Bay Area to Southern California.
But as the state continues its historic shift away from fossil fuels like natural gas that provide consistent power toward cleaner sources like solar and wind energy that rise and fall with the weather and the sun, experts say the power grid has become more difficult to operate and more at risk of blackouts.
There are ways to fix the problem, they note, and still expand renewable energy to reduce air pollution and address climate change.
But the crisis — the first rolling blackouts on California’s power grid since 2001 — has exposed a dangerous vulnerability. Not only are millions of people who are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic inconvenienced, but power shutoffs endanger public health, particularly elderly residents who can fall ill or die from heat stroke.

“We have a much more risky supply of energy now because the sun doesn’t always shine when we want and the wind doesn’t always blow when we want,” said Frank Wolak, a Stanford University economics professor who specializes in energy markets. “We need more tools to manage that risk. We need more insurance against the supply shortfalls.”
Last fall, top officials at California’s power grid operator warned that electricity shortages were likely as soon as 2020 because of the trend.
At a meeting on Sept. 18, 2019 of the governing board of the California Independent System Operator, the non-profit public benefit corporation that runs the state’s power grid, Mark Rothleder, vice president of market quality and state regulatory affairs for the agency, gave a presentation on the coming crisis.
He noted that 33% of the state’s electricity now comes from renewable sources, a requirement for utilities under state law that had been met two years early.

But with large solar farms making up an increasing percentage of California’s power generation, he said, crunch time happens in the late afternoon, particularly on hot days. People turn on air conditioning and other devices around 5 p.m. as the heat peaks and they come home from work. Electricity demand surges, just as the sun is setting and solar power is drying up.

Rothleder said that the ISO, which functions as a kind of air traffic controller for the grid, makes up for that lost solar power by importing electricity from dams and power plants in other Western states, and also by relying on natural gas-fired power plants still operating in California.
But he noted ominously that if there were a big Western heat wave, there probably would not be enough power from other states available to close the gap. He called it “a most urgent issue” that “really needs timely attention.”
Full story
2) California’s Blackout Warning
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 17 August 2020

Anti-fossil fuel mandates are leading to electricity shortages

Electricity blackouts are awful at any time, but especially during an extreme heat wave and for reasons that are man-made. That’s what millions in California have been enduring in recent days, and their plight is a warning to the rest of America about the risks of Green New Deal policies.

The California Independent System Operator (Caiso), which manages the state’s power grid, declared a high-level emergency Friday and Saturday evenings and ordered utilities to reduce power usage. California and most of the southwestern U.S. are experiencing a severe heat wave. But other states are managing to keep power flowing. Why can’t California?

California last experienced rolling blackouts in 2001 amid energy market manipulation by speculators. This time the cause is energy market manipulation by anti-fossil fuel politicians. Democrats have mandated that renewables account for 60% of state electricity by 2030, which has forced power providers to invest in renewable energy sources now to meet the deadline. The result is something of a Rube Goldberg physics experiment.

During peak daylight hours, California produces a surplus of solar energy, and power generators may be ordered or paid to cut back their production so the grid isn’t overloaded. On Friday and Saturday Caiso reported about 1,000 mega-watt hours (MWh) were curtailed—enough to power 30,000 homes. This year 1.3 million MWh of power have been curtailed.

But this means supply shortages can occur in the evening when solar energy plunges but demand for power remains high. That’s what happened this weekend. Many natural gas and nuclear plants that can generate power 24/7 have shut down in recent years because they can’t compete with heavily subsidized green energy. A 10-year-old natural gas power plant in California’s Inland Empire is being decommissioned this year—20 to 30 years earlier than its planned lifespan.

State water regulations are also forcing the shutdown of “peaker” plants along the coast that can quickly ramp up generation when the sun goes down. This is why the Public Utilities Commission last year warned the state could face an energy shortage as early as 2021 on hot summer evenings. That day has arrived a year early. Congratulations to Democrats for beating their own forecasts.

When they can get it, Californians already pay twice as much for electricity as Washingtonians and a third more than Nevadans. Because the spot price for power in the summer can surge more than 30-fold from noon to dusk, utilities are building expensive batteries to store solar energy that can be released in the evening. They say that will save money, but that’s also what they said about Jerry Brown’s failed bullet train.

To sum up: California’s antipathy even to natural gas and nuclear power has resulted in higher energy prices and now power surpluses and shortages because renewables are intermittent energy sources.

Full editorial & comments ($)
3) Katy Grimes: California’s Energy Corruption & Rolling Blackouts
California Globe, 15 August 2020
Why are California’s utilities cutting power, and imposing rolling blackouts again? It’s political. And it’s corrupt.

Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe

The last California Governor blamed for rolling energy blackouts was recalled by voters and replaced. In 2003, Governor Gray Davis was recalled over leadership issues, high taxation, and inaction over a struggling California economy and rolling energy blackouts. Gov. Gavin Newsom is already facing a recall, and now with rolling blackouts, he may have just guaranteed it.
Most countries around the world think that it’s a good thing to have cheap energy. In California, we have plenty of cheap energy available, just not the political will to access it.
California depends on natural gas-driven turbines and hydroelectric generators to provide just 38 percent of its oil needs. The state imports 12 percent of its oil from Alaska, and another 58 percent from foreign nations, relying heavily on Canada, which has 19 commercial nuclear reactors, and is the the world’s third largest producer of hydroelectricity.
So why are California’s utilities cutting power, and imposing rolling blackouts again?
It’s political. And it’s corrupt.
The state is awash in ultra cheap natural gas, yet in California, our corrupt government finds ways to create an energy shortage, and charge rate payers the highest rates in the country.
This is one reason California electricity costs more than twice the national median—thanks to a government-created shortage.
California’s natural gas shale formation is one of the largest in the world. And, California has been a pioneer in renewable energy, albeit still unreliable and unproven.
While California sits on one of the largest known deposits of recoverable oil and gas, production has steadily fallen, as the state ignores its vast onshore and offshore deposits, which are fully accessible through conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies.
Another reason is that the California Public Utilities Commission, the state’s energy “regulator,” has an historic dubious relationship with Wall Street, making promises to keep the profits higher of the state’s publicly held utilities, than utility profits elsewhere.
California politicians have gloated over being the first state to enact such aggressive green energy and greenhouse gas busting policy, but have yet to produce any proof that these oppressive and business-killing laws have had any “green” results.
All while they ignore that natural gas is clean, less expensive to extract, natural and abundant. It wasn’t that long ago that natural gas used to be the left’s preferred alternative to all other “dirty fuels.” But as the oil and gas industry found better, more affordable ways to access natural gas, it fell out of favor with emotional, whimsical environmentalists.
Many California residents have purchased expensive generators to keep refrigerators and freezers on, but generators rely mostly on natural gas. Democrats in the California Legislature want to ban natural gas to homes and require only electric appliances. So California residents won’t even be able to keep our power on in this “new normal.”

Full post
4) Michael Shellenberger: Why California’s Climate Policies Are Causing Electricity Blackouts
Forbes, 15 August 2020

Two blackouts in less than a year are strong evidence that California’s renewables energy policy comes with high human, economic, and environmental costs.

Millions of Californians were denied electrical power and thus air conditioning during a heatwave, raising the risk of heatstroke and death, particularly among the elderly and sick. 

The blackouts come at a time when people, particularly the elderly, are forced to remain indoors due to Covid-19.
At first, the state’s electrical grid operator last night asked customers to voluntarily reduce electricity use. But after power reserves fell to dangerous levels it declared a “Stage 3 emergency” cutting off power to people across the state at 6:30 pm.
The immediate reason for the black-outs was the failure of a 500-megawatt power plant and an out-of-service 750-megawatt unit not being available. “There is nothing nefarious going on here,” said a spokeswoman for California Independent System Operator (CAISO). “We are just trying to run the grid.”
But the underlying reasons that California is experiencing rolling black-outs for the second time in less than a year stem from the state’s climate policies, which California policymakers have justified as necessary to prevent deaths from heatwaves. 
In October, Pacific Gas and Electric cut off power to homes across California to avoid starting forest fires. The utility and California’s leaders had over the previous decade diverted billions meant for grid maintenance to renewables. 
And yesterday, California had to impose rolling blackouts because it had failed to maintain sufficient reliable power from natural gas and nuclear plants, or pay in advance for enough guaranteed electricity imports from other states.
It may be that California’s utilities and their regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission, which is also controlled by Gov. Newsom, didn’t want to spend the extra money to guarantee the additional electricity out of fears of raising California’s electricity prices even more than they had already raised them.
California saw its electricity prices rise six times more than the rest of the United States from 2011 to 2019, due to its huge expansion of renewables. Republicans in the U.S. Congress point to that massive increase to challenge justifications by Democrats to spend $2 trillion on renewables in the name of climate change.
Even though the cost of solar panels declined dramatically between 2011 and 2019, their unreliable and weather-dependent nature meant that they imposed large new costs in the form of storage and transmission to keep electricity as reliable. California’s solar panels and farms were all turning off as the blackouts began, with no help available from the states to the East already in nightfall.
Electricity from solar goes away at the very moment when the demand for electricity rises. “The peak demand was steady in late hours,” said the spokesperson for CAISO, which is controlled by Gov. Gavin Newsom, “and we had thousands of megawatts of solar reducing their output as the sunset.”
The two blackouts in less than a year are strong evidence that the tens of billions that Californians have spent on renewables come with high human, economic, and environmental costs.

Full post
5) Francis Menton: What Is The Cause Of The Recent Power Blackouts In California? 
Manhattan Contrarian, 16 August 2020

California has put itself in a position where regular intentional blackouts are inevitable. As more and more reliable fossil fuel and nuclear facilities get closed in favor of wind and solar, the problem looks set to worsen dramatically over the next several years.

You may have read in the past few days that residents of California have been experiencing rolling power blackouts. This has occurred in the middle of a strong heat wave, meaning that large numbers of people have had their air conditioning, light, refrigeration, and everything else dependent on electricity, go out just when they are most needed. The blackouts have not been the result of technical failures of the grid, but rather have been intentionally imposed by the electricity system operator (known as CAISO — California Independent System Operator) via the various local utilities.
So what has caused these blackouts? The official explanation is that the heat wave is the cause. It has just gotten so unusually hot that demand has risen beyond the capacity of the system. Many articles in the media reporting on the situation go further to associate the unusual heat with “climate change.”

This explanation is complete BS. Yes, there is a strong heat wave going on, at least in certain areas of the state, but it is not unusual in historical context. In fact what is occurring is that California has begun to face the consequences of replacing reliable fossil fuel and nuclear powered electricity with the intermittent renewables, wind and solar. In the evening, approximately 7 to 9 PM, when the sun has set and the heat lingers, and when the demand for electricity for air conditioning reaches a peak, the intermittent wind and solar sources have been producing just about nothing. With insufficient fossil fuel backup, there is not enough power to meet the demand.

In short, we are witnessing the results of almost unbelievable incompetence by the authorities in California. As usual, the equally incompetent and corrupt media are completely giving the authorities a pass in the name of supposedly addressing “climate change.”

First, consider the heat wave. It is fair to call what is currently going on in some major cities like Los Angeles and San Jose a serious heat wave (although the situation in other major California cities like San Diego and Santa Barbara is not a heat wave at all). In Los Angeles, the average daily high for mid-August is 84 deg F. The highs for the past three days have been 93, 98 and 95. For the rest of the upcoming week, forecast highs are all in the 90s, with Wednesday the highest at 98. On the other hand, in Los Angeles, the temperature goes over 100 deg F at least once or a few times most years. Here is a list of record high temperatures in Los Angeles by year. In 2018 it hit 108; in 2010, 113; in 1990, 112; in 1988, 110; and so forth. The large majority of years have records at 100 or above. In short, there is nothing unusual or unexpected in summer temperatures at the level being experienced this week.

So with temperatures at or above the current levels a regularly recurring phenomenon, why haven’t the authorities planned accordingly and put in place resources to meet the demand? The answer is that under a law enacted in 2018, California has embarked on a crazed program to generate 50% of its electricity from “renewable” sources by 2025, 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2045. Both before and after enactment of that law, California has been ambitiously expanding its capacity for wind and solar generation of electricity.

To put this in some context, the peak electricity demand that has been causing California’s problems during the current heat wave is in the range of 42 - 46 GW. (Today’s peak demand was about 44 GW.) To meet this demand, you could put in place a system of fossil fuel and nuclear plants with a capacity of around 55 GW, which would give you a comfortable cushion to deal with whatever maintenance issues or mishaps might arise.
According to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Agency, California actually has installed electricity generation capacity of almost 76 GW.
That sounds like wildly more than you would ever need. But the problem is that of the 76 GW of capacity, some 27 GW is solar, and 6 GW is wind. In August the solar goes into steep decline around 4 PM and ends completely around 7 PM. The wind more or less doesn’t blow at all during heat waves. And thus you get a profile of electricity generation from the renewable sources that looks like this (this is the report of generation from renewables in California for August 14, 2020, per CAISO):

As you can see, the solar generation hit zero somewhere between 7 and 7:30 PM. The wind generation hovered somewhere between 1 and 1.5 GW through the evening hours. The word “useless” is hardly sufficient to describe the situation.
Full post & comments
6) Joel Kotkin: Green Policies Won’t Keep California Truckin’
Real Clear Energy, 29 July 2020

The state’s new electrification mandate for trucks will threaten working-class jobs and widen income inequality.

No state advertises its green credentials more than California. That these policies often hurt the economy, driving up housing costs and narrowing opportunities for working-class people while not even doing much for the environment, has not discouraged the state’s environmental overlords.

Consider the state’s insistence on electrifying transportation. Even as California reduces its reliable sources of power, notably nuclear and national gas, it is mandating a statewide shift to all-electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks starting in 2024, with the goal of reaching 100 percent of all new sales, wherever feasible, by 2045. On top of other electrification mandates for light-duty cars and buildings, the new truck rule will further increase the state’s demand for electricity and raise rates, already among the nation’s highest. Since 2011, electricity prices have increased five times as fast as the national average. In 2017 alone, they increased at three times the national rate.

These policies have been devastating to poorer Californians, particularly in the less-temperate interior, where “energy poverty” has grown rapidly. Alternative energy sources like recycled natural gas and nuclear could lessen the pain, but the climate purists who dominate California policymaking find only wind and solar acceptable. Even some climate-change advocates caution that overreliance on intermittent, weather-dependent energy will push costs so high and lead to such massive land and environmental impacts that the public will turn against such policies. Time will tell.

Tragedy at the Port
The impact of forced electrification on working people, who have been rightfully praised for their critical and even heroic efforts during the pandemic can be glimpsed at California’s three major ports—Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland. International trade, including exports and imports, supports nearly 5 million California jobs, nearly one in four of the state total. Yet the new electrical truck mandate will threaten the competitive advantage of these ports, and the jobs of the tens of thousands of blue-collar Californians who work at them.

Compared with very low-emission natural gas vehicles, large electric trucks are far more expensive, not yet readily available , and less capable of carrying loads for great distances, notes Weston Le Bar, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association trade group. An electric truck, he notes, can cost four times that of a “near-zero” natural gas truck. The electric trucks can go at best 80 miles without stopping; a less expensive gas one can cover 500, greatly increasing efficiency.

Challenges including a lack of electric-charging stations, notes Jack Khudikyan, principal owner of Compton-based MDB Transportation, also make such vehicles impractical for longer hauls. He estimates the cost of running an electric truck is as much as seven times as high per mile than a near-zero vehicle.

The electric-truck mandate—California’s latest in a series of green strictures—will work to the benefit of rival ports such as Houston, which make no such demands on haulers. Over the past five years, California’s ports have lost a substantial portion of their North American container-market share, dropping from 35.5% to 30.2%, as shippers take advantage of the greater capacity of the upgraded Panama Canal to reach more user-friendly ports on the Gulf Coast. Current volume numbers are down 30% from 2018 levels.

Such losses could prove troubling in the future. Past experience shows that once supply chains are rerouted—as they have been during escalating tensions with China and the ongoing pandemic—they are notoriously hard to reverse. East Coast ports lost out to California on Pacific trade in the past, for example. And California greens shouldn’t delude themselves that the exodus to other ports will make any net difference in greenhouse-gas emissions—it will merely shift demand to new locations.

The biggest losers in California’s green port policy are minority entrepreneurs and blue-collar workers. Most of the roughly 18,000 drivers working at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are Latino, while the 4,500 in Oakland include large contingents of Indian-Americans. Some 1,800 small and sole proprietors, who dominate the trade, have little wherewithal to absorb the huge costs associated with electric trucks, forcing them out of business, in favor of larger rivals.

“Regulation like this drives consolidation,” Le Bar suggests. “One of our biggest fears is that the entrepreneurial character of the business is being destroyed…The regulators don’t care about the working class.”
The Chimera of Green Jobs
California’s green regulators maintain that ever-stricter climate rules will have only a small impact on the economy, a contention that even some environmental economists, such as Harvard’s Robert Stavins, find dubious. Eager to mitigate concerns about higher costs associated with the state’s energy policy, California political elites, including billionaire Tom Steyer, have embraced the notion of “green jobs.”

It’s mostly wishful thinking. As a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) report suggests, overreliance on renewables will continue to impose costs, including for massive new (and environmentally unfriendly) battery-storage capacity; it will also threaten reliability, particularly without energy from other sources, such as nuclear plants. Virtually every place that has tried to base its energy on a short-term shift to renewables—Germany, Demark, even resource-rich Australia—has experienced huge spikes in energy prices. In Europe, notes one recent study, reliance on renewables both reduces incomes and boosts rates of household poverty.

High energy prices have proved disastrous for historically well-paying working-class California jobs in manufacturing, energy, and homebuilding. As the green regime has imposed ever-stricter regulations, a recent Chapman University report suggests, the state has fallen behind in creating high-wage jobs. Since 2008, California has created five times as many low-wage as high-wage jobs. It has lost 1.6 million above-average-paying jobs in the past decade, more than twice as many as any other state.

This attrition reflects in part the torpor of the state’s industrial sector. Over the past decade, the Golden State has fallen into the bottom half of states in manufacturing-sector employment growth, ranking 44th last year; its industrial new-job creation has been negative. By contrast, competitors such as Nevada, Kentucky, Michigan, and Florida have seen gains. Even without adjusting for costs, notes The New York Times, no California metro ranks in the U.S. top ten in terms of well-paying blue-collar jobs, but four—Ventura, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego—sit among the bottom ten.

“Green jobs,” meanwhile, don’t look likely to expand as many had predicted. Tesla, the state’s last big auto manufacturer and poster child for electric vehicles, has found state energy and regulatory policies too difficult to navigate. In 2014, Elon Musk chose to put his $5 billion Gigafactory in low-cost Nevada. Last week, he announced that the company’s new $1.1 billion dollar SUV plant, employing over 5,000 people, will be built even farther away, outside Austin, TexasOther fledgling firms entering the electric space may also be unlikely to produce new-generation vehicles in the Golden State. Tesla rival Rivian plans to build its products in Illinois, while General Motors has decided to set up its new electric-truck operation in Michigan.

Negligible Gains, Tangible Pain
California’s electrical fantasy is facing some pushback, even among Democrats. In response to the state’s new drive to prevent new natural gas hookups, 113 cities and the three most prominent ethnic chambers of commerce—African-American, Latino, and Asian-Pacific—have joined the State Chamber to change the electrical mandate. Bay Area restaurateurs, who prefer to cook with gas and are already struggling with existing regulatory mandates and pressures, have sued the state. These and other independent businesses are also among those hardest-hit economically by the coronavirus; Sacramento’s electrification obsession further threatens their future.

Perhaps the most dubious aspect of the all-electric policy can be summarized in a question: Where will the new juice come from? In 2018, California used about 285 million megawatt hours of electricity, but it imported over 30 percent—90 million megawatt hours—from other locations. California is by far the nation’s largest net electrical-importing state. By 2050, state consultants estimate that electrification mandates, including those for trucks, will cause total demand to skyrocket to about 500 million megawatt hours.
Full post
7) UK Consumers Face £2-3 Billion Annual Bill To Prevent Green Energy Blackouts
Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 June 2020
Lockdown reveals Britain’s power grid is fragile, expensive and failing – because of renewables.

London, 10 June -- The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is today publishing a collection of papers by energy expert Dr John Constable, documenting the rapid decay of the UK electricity system, with system balancing costs spiralling out of control over the last few weeks.
The cost of balancing the grid over the Bank Holiday weekend amounted to £50m, and National Grid has predicted additional costs of £700m from May to August alone. It has taken desperate measures in an attempt to reduce the bill, but according to expert observers, these may well prove futile.
GB system balancing costs have been rising sharply over recent decades, as inflexible renewables have taken a leading role in electricity supply, driven by £10 billion a year of subsidies and price-fixing arrangements. In 2002 system balancing cost £367m, but by 2019 it had risen to just under £1.5bn, a level that was expected to be sustained this year.
However, because wind and solar can’t respond to the low demand caused by lockdown, National Grid now expects the total to be about £2bn, and even that figure is based on the optimistic assumption that costs return to normal after August.
If the lockdown runs on into the autumn, the cost could easily rise by hundreds of millions more, and a prolonged post-Covid recession could mean consumers having to foot this bill for many years to come.
Dr Constable, author of the GWPF study, said:
“Renewables have been undermining the UK electricity system for years, with National Grid propping up a tottering system with vast piles of consumer cash. The Covid-19 lockdown has caused a balancing cost surge and revealed this green appeasement policy as unsustainable. The UK’s fragile renewables-based system can barely deal with the expected; a surprise causes a crisis.”
Dr Constable added:
“If demand remains low during the post-Covid recession the multi-billion pound costs of managing and subsidising renewables must be recovered from a much smaller volume of sales. That is a recipe for rapid and abrupt price rises, the like of which the British public have never seen. Enough is enough. In what everyone agrees is a very difficult moment the national interest demands a cost minimisation strategy for electricity, based on gas and nuclear.”

John Constable: The Brink of Darkness: Britain’s Fragile Power Grid (PDF)

8) And Finally: Rich & Famous Are Fleeing In Droves As Crazy Policies Turn Los Angeles Into Urban Nightmare
Mail on Sunday, 16 August 2020 
Los Angeles is a city on the brink. 'For Sale' signs are seemingly dotted on every suburban street as the middle classes, particularly those with families, flee for the safer suburbs, with many choosing to leave LA altogether.

Gold's Gym has become synonymous with the Hollywood Dream.  Set just a few hundred yards from the ocean in sun-kissed Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Gold's was the backdrop for Pumping Iron, the 1977 documentary which followed a young, unknown Austrian bodybuilder called Arnold Schwarzenegger as he prepared for the Mr Universe contest.

The film turned him into an overnight sensation. He would go on to become a global superstar, marry a member of the Kennedy clan, and become Governor of California.
Yet today Gold's sits amid post-apocalyptic scenes which have consumed much of LA, turning the City of Dreams into an urban nightmare from which people are fleeing in droves.
A makeshift tent city made up of flapping tarpaulins and cardboard boxes surrounds the gym on all sides. 

Junkies and the homeless, many of whom are clearly mentally ill, walk the palm-lined streets like zombies – all just three blocks from multi-million-dollar homes overlooking the Pacific.

Stolen bicycles are piled high on pavements littered with broken syringes.
TV bulletins are filled with horror stories from across the city; of women being attacked during their morning jog or residents returning home to find strangers defecating in their front gardens. 

Today, Los Angeles is a city on the brink. 'For Sale' signs are seemingly dotted on every suburban street as the middle classes, particularly those with families, flee for the safer suburbs, with many choosing to leave LA altogether.
British-born Danny O'Brien runs Watford Moving & Storage. 'There is a mass exodus from Hollywood,' he says. 

'And a lot of it is to do with politics.' His business is booming. 'August has already set records and we are only halfway through the month,' he tells me. 
'People are getting out in droves. Last week I moved a prominent person in the music industry from a $6.5 million [£5 million] mansion above Sunset Boulevard to Nashville.'

O'Brien, 58, who moved to LA from London 34 years ago, is also planning to move to Tennessee. 

'Liberal politics has destroyed this city,' he says. 'The homeless encampments are legal and there's nothing the police can do. White, affluent middle-class folk are getting out. People don't feel safe any more.'
With movie studios still shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic and businesses only just starting to remove the wooden boards put up after city-wide rioting following the death of George Floyd while being arrested by three white officers in Minneapolis, LA is now in the grip of white flight.
Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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