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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Extracts - 2016

By: Ian Cameron                 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2016-12-14

 

Trudeau's Climate-Change Accord

On December 9, at a meeting of federal and provincial first ministers, Prime Minister Trudeau got most of them to sign on to his climate-change accord. Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall refused to adopt any sort of CO2 pricing, arguing that it would harm his province’s energy-intensive industries such as oil and gas, agriculture and mining. British Columbia’s Christy Clark, who faces an election next spring, raised a last-minute objection to raising her province's carbon tax if Ontario and Quebec will be paying lower compliance costs under their cap-and-trade schemes. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister wants more health-care money from Ottawa before signing on to the accord.
 
Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente characterizes the climate accord as all pain for no gain (i.e., zero effect on the climate.) There are no estimates of accord’s cost, nor will any cost-benefit analysis ever be provided because too much is subject to negotiation and too much is impossible to measure. The claims of federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna that the accord will make Canada more competitive, not less, echo those made by Ontario’s premier in 2009.
 
In a YouTube video RebelMedia reports that an opposition MP, Pierre Poilievre, submitted an Order Paper Question in Parliament (which by tradition is supposed to get a formal written response from the government) asking about the impacts of a $50/t carbon tax on food and electricity in each province. All he got in response was talking points. The Environment Minister responded: “The economic impacts of pricing carbon pollution are expected to include significant gains in innovation, competitiveness and economic growth …” However, a redacted government report obtained and tweeted by Brad Wall said: “The tax would cascade throughout the economy and prices would increase most for goods that make intensive use of carbon-based energy …”
 
<https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/national-climate-deal-reached-trudeau-provinces/article33281195/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&service=mobile>
<https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/trudeaus-climate-deal-all-pain-no-gain/article33303579/>
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iciimHcels>
 

Donald Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Ally of the Oil Industry, to Lead EPA

Mr. Trump picked Oklahoma’s Scott Pruitt, whom the NY Times calls a “climate change denialist” as the incoming head of the Environmental Protection Agency Mr. Pruitt has been a key architect of the legal battle against Barack Obama’s climate-change regulations. Though the regulations came out in 2015, as early as 2014 he was one of a handful of attorneys general who began planning for a coordinated legal effort to fight them. This resulted in a 28-state lawsuit against Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is now pending in federal court.
 
The Guardian, while just as appalled as the NY Times, is content to label Mr. Pruitt as a mere “climate change sceptic,” quoting reaction from environmental groups and NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The Guardian has also published a list of all Mr. Trump’s appointments as of December 14, included former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy.
 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/us/politics/scott-pruitt-epa-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1>
< <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/08/epa-scott-pruitt-disaster-environment-senate-democrats>
<https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/09/donald-trump-administration-cabinet-picks-so-far>
 

Trump Team Hints at Big Shakeup of US Energy Policy

Bloomberg reports that advisers to President-elect Donald Trump are developing plans to reshape Energy Department programs, help keep aging nuclear plants online and identify staff who played a role in promoting President Obama’s climate agenda. The transition team has asked the agency to list employees and contractors who attended United Nations climate meetings, along with those who helped develop the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon metrics, used to estimate and justify the climate benefits of new rules. The advisers are also seeking information on agency loan programs, research activities and the basis for its statistics, according to a five-page internal document circulated by the Energy Department on December 7. The document lays out 65 questions from the Trump transition team, sources within the agency said.
 
Watts Up With That? has published 74 questions that the transition team sent to the Department of Energy and affiliated agencies, together with comments by WUWT. Among them are Nos. 13 (list of attendees at meeting on the social cost of carbo n), 14 (integrated assessment models), 19 (list of attendees at UN climate conferences), 57 (additional transmission costs for wind and solar generation).
 
On December 13, Scientific American reported that the DOE will not comply with the transition team’s request for the names of people who have worked on climate change. 
 
<https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-09/trump-team-s-memo-hints-at-broad-shake-up-of-u-s-energy-policy>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/10/the-doe-vs-ugly-reality/>
<https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/energy-department-refuses-trumps-request-for-names-on-climate-change/?WT.mc_id=SA_TW_ENGYSUS_NEWS>
 
A Warmist’s Guide to the Trump Administration and Climate Policy
According to Climate Central: “All indications so far point to a bleak future for addressing climate change, or even recognizing it as one of the world’s largest challenges. A number of his cabinet nominees, political appointees and closest advisors are outright climate deniers while others have funded the denial of climate change or are lukewarm on accepting the science.”
 
Climate Central lists at least 17 appointees for the incoming administration, together with their views on climate change and what they could do about it.
 
<http://www.climatecentral.org/news/trump-cabinet-climate-change-20920>
 

A “Sense of Panic” over Trump Consumes Climate Science Summit

According to meteorologist Anthony Watts, who’s at the American Geophysical Union summit, Donald Trump’s picks to head the energy and environment agencies seemed to have caused a “sense of panic” among the thousands of climate researchers attending. At the last minute the AGU added a session to “talk about Trump.” Activists sounded alarms that Mr. Trump will delete public climate change databases, spurring some scientists to start Google Docs databases to save what they don’t want deleted.
 
The University of Toronto is hosting a data archiving event on December 17, to try to “save” climate data they believe will be deleted by the new Trump administration. Two professors are calling on citizens to figure out if they “Care about Trump, data, or the environment?” Volunteers are invited to join in a full day of hackathon activities in preparation for the Trump presidency.
 
Not every climate scientist is so doom and gloom about Mr. Trump. Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry thinks that he could actually help the climate change debate. She expects that climate and energy policy will be a winner under the Trump administration, relative to its predecessor. Any solutions will come from innovations in the private sector and state and local governments — not from federal decrees or UN proclamations.
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/13/a-sense-of-panic-over-trump-consumes-climate-science-summit/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/13/university-of-toronto-wants-to-save-climate-data-from-trump/>
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/12/12/shifting-sands-of-the-climate-debate/>
 

Al Gore - Trump Meeting: Gore Promises More Activism

On December 5 Al Gore had an hour-long meeting with Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka, who reportedly plans to speak out on climate change despite her father’s skepticism on the issue. Mr. Gore said that the urgent threat of climate change means “there is no time to despair” over the election of Mr. Trump and he remains hopeful that the latter will reverse some of his positions on climate change. If not, he predicts an unprecedented backlash from environmentalists over the next four years.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/05/al-gore-trump-meeting-gore-promises-more-activism/>
<https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/05/al-gore-climate-change-threat-leaves-no-time-to-despair-over-trump-victory>
 

EU Corporations Have Raked in €25 Billion through Corrupt Emissions Trading Scheme

The ENGO Carbon Market Watch has published a report concluding that large European companies are making billions from allocation of free emissions certificates, and CO2 emissions aren’t improving at all. The study looked at the 20 strongest companies from 2008 to 2015. Energy-intensive companies, mainly in Germany, the UK, Spain, France and Italy, made over €25 billion in windfall profits from the EU’s Emissions Trading System. The ETS hands out free permits (11.8 billion of them over the study period) to companies deemed at risk of “carbon leakage.” CMW recommends phasing out the free allocation and delivering “a more meaningful carbon price signature that rewards green innovators.”
 
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/12/03/spiegel-eu-corporations-have-raked-in-25-billion-euros-through-corrupt-emissions-trading-scheme/#sthash.V4FWHfKs.dpbs>
<http://carbonmarketwatch.org/mythbuster-reload/>
 

Norwegian Ship Owners Abandon “Green” Ships

A decade ago owners for Norway’s fleet of nearshore and offshore ships enthusiastically went along with their oil-company clients’ insistence on high-spec “green” vessels. While the owners have been impressed with the ships’ technology (hydrogen fuel cells, batteries and liquefied natural gas or LNG), they are frustrated by the mounting costs. The vessels themselves are expensive (despite a refund from the national NOx fund), but their owners don’t get any premium for chartering them. Moreover, getting supplies of LNG bunker from harbours, tankers and barges is more difficult than for diesel. 
 
<http://www.marinelink.com/news/abandoned-greener-ships419143?utm_source=MR-ENews-Weekdays-2016-12-07&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MR-ENews>
 

William Happer Interview on Global Warming

Dr. Happer is a professor at Princeton University in the field of atomic physics, optics, and spectroscopy. He is a Director with the CO2 Coalition and served as the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Director under the George H. W. Bush administration. Here, in a 37-minute interview he says: “If global warming were any other branch of science it would have been abandoned a long time ago.” He also discusses the assumed multiplier effect of CO2 used in climate models, the prevalence of negative feedbacks (self-correcting systems) in nature, benefits of CO2 for plants, modelling cloud cover, how the oceans store and transport heat, the corrupting effect of climate alarmism on public policy and science, the prediction that nature (i.e., lack of warming) will save us, consensus and the scientific method, the similarity of consensus on climate change science with early 20th century consensus on eugenics, the importance of good measurements (e.g., ocean buoys and satellites) over computer models. 
 
<http://www.climatedepot.com/2016/12/04/princeton-physicist-if-global-warming-were-any-other-branch-of-science-it-would-have-been-abandoned-a-long-time-ago/>
<https://www.freedomforceinternational.org/congress/3rd-congress-2016/>

 

2016-12-03

 

Climate Change 101 Website

Friends of Science’s main website <https://friendsofscience.org> contains hundreds of articles, video/audio links, reports and references dealing with many of the scientific and policy aspects related to climate change. For some the number and scope of the site’s contents can appear overwhelming. Therefore, FoS has revamped its Climate Change 101 website to present, in both English and French, just ten main subjects (click the three-orange-bar link at the top left of the CC101 screen):
  • 97% Nonsensus
  • It’s the Sun. Not you. Not CO2
  • Climate Always Changes
  • Evidence Over Ideology
  • Rational Dissent-It’s Your Right!
  • Many Factors Affect Climate
  • Social Costs of Carbon are Skewed
  • Polar Bears and Sea Levels
  • Interpol and Carbon Crime
  • Links
<http://www.climatechange101.ca>
 

Smart Prosperity’s Letter and Friends of Science’s Response

On November 23, 60 CEOs and “civil society” leaders posted a letter on the Smart Prosperity website urging the Canadian prime minister and provincial premiers to “take bold action on clean growth and climate change.” Among the claims in the letter: “We can meet our Paris climate commitments, grow our exports of clean technologies, energy, resources and other products, and position Canada to prosper in a changing world.  ‘Made in Canada’ can be a global brand of clean performance and innovation across all economic sectors.  With smart government leadership, that supports Canadians’ sustainability efforts and catalyses private initiative across the country, we can meet this dual economic and environmental opportunity.”
 
On December 1 a press release by Friends of Science rebutted Smart Prosperity’s low-carbon fantasy, saying that Canadians cannot meet the Paris COP 21 greenhouse gas reductions without destroying the Canadian economy. The release refers to a report by retired economist and federal public servant Robert Lyman Climate Change Targets for Canada: Examining the Implications, a video and article by Ross McKitrick, FoS’ own report Alberta’s Climate Pan: A Burden with No Benefit and others.
 
Peter Foster in the Financial Post took note of the Friends of Science press release and wondered why a group of senior executives, many from the oil industry, would be joining some of industry’s most rabid environmental NGO opponents in effectively begging the government to hobble the economy. His answer is that it must be something like the Stockholm Syndrome, where kidnap victims begin to sympathize with their captors. Put another way, they’re “useful idiots”, who are going along with the NGOs, and signing on the dotted line out of fear, misguided “pragmatism” or in the hope that they’ll be eaten last.
 
<http://www.smartprosperity.ca/activities/letter-first-ministers-major-business-and-civil-society-leaders>
<http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/12/prweb13892247.htm>
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/peter-foster-canadas-elite-useful-idiots-endorse-the-liberal-governments-plan-to-eat-them-last>
 

Carbon Tax Explained: How Much Trudeau’s Scheme Will Cost Canadians

PM Justin Trudeau has given the provinces two years to implement carbon taxes, or else he’ll impose one for them. Only Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall seems to be opposing the scheme, calling it one of the largest national tax increases in Canadian history. By 2022 the average Canadian household could face up to $2,569/year, for no environmental gain. All the major emitters (China, US, EU, India, Russia and Japan) will not have such a tax. Australia brought in a carbon tax that proved so unpopular  that it led to a change in government and repeal of the tax in three years. 
 
In the US Donald Trump has made it clear that there will be no carbon tax there as he intends to reduce tax rates. While in Marrakech for the climate conference, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna, was filmed gushing with pleasure over a “carbon leadership pricing” award she received. Canada’s announced goal for 2050 is to have CO2 emissions 80% below 2005 levels. Despite its economic effects, Mr. Trudeau is forging ahead because it’s a religion to him as he signals to the world that Canada is a good guy as more and more Canadians become unemployed.
 
Minister McKenna, whom Rebel Media calls  “Climate Change Barbie”, likes to cultivate an eco-friendly image. Meanwhile she has signed off on the purchase by her ministry of fancy, gas-guzzling automobiles, including Porsches, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus costing between $63,000 and $92,000. The department did buy a “green” Tesla, but at a cost of $112,000.
 
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FleM9upRPuM>
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbID13Vp4VY>
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a8_uguM9VA>
 

Alberta to Pay $1.36 Billion in Deal with Power Producers to Shut Coal Units

On November 24 the Alberta government announced a deal to pay three major power producers $1.36 billion over 14 years as compensation for shutting down their coal units ahead of schedule. Funds will be paid using the province’s levy on large CO2 emitters. 
 
<https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/alberta-makes-136-billion-deal-with-power-producers-to-shutter-coal-units-early/article33054686/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&service=mobile>
 

Buying Imaginary “Feel Good” Credits

Starting January 1 Ontarians will be forced to buy “carbon credits”-financial products conjured out of thin air by their government. The Ontario government’s cap and trade scheme will limit the emissions Ontario companies can produce, and they must purchase these credits for any emissions above their government-assigned limit. While the credits are financial products that can be traded, their value comes from a fictional demand that government created by forcing businesses to buy them.
 
The carbon credits, with their underlying cap-and-trade, will do nothing for the climate, but they will make things in the province more expensive-whether it’s a home heating bill, gasoline, or the cost of groceries that need to be transported to a local store. But they will make the Ontario government feel good.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/christine-van-geyn-ontarians-will-be-forced-to-pay-for-imaginary-credits-just-so-the-government-can-feel-good>
 

Enbridge: Carbon Taxes Will Make It Tough to Compete with US Firms

Ian McFeely, vice-president of international operations at Enbridge, told the Canada Europe Energy Summit in London on November 22 that imposing a carbon tax in Canada will make the country less competitive, especially since president-elect Donald Trump is expected to lower business taxes and eliminate regulations in the US. Mr. McFeely said Canada “would be in a tough spot,” if it imposed a carbon tax, given the opposition to these kinds of taxes in the U.S. and elsewhere. Not only is Mr. Trump opposed to climate-change measures, he said, but voters in Washington state soundly rejected a carbon-tax proposal this month. The British government is also under pressure to scrap its carbon tax, currently pegged at £18 per tonne ($30 Canadian) until April, 2021.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/european-business/carbon-levies-will-make-it-tough-to-compete-with-us-firms-enbridge-executive/article32974150/>
 

Shell Canada Hedges Its Bets

Shell Canada was one of the backers when the Alberta government announced its climate leadership plan a year ago. In a recent interview the company’s president said that Alberta and Canada shouldn’t back away from progress made so far on climate policy, including staying on course for carbon taxes. However, he wants governments to be ready to “pivot” by distributing some of those tax proceeds to trade-sensitive sectors like companies in the Canadian oil and gas industry, so that they can remain competitive with their US counterparts.
 
<http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/news/energy/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/news/energy/stay-the-course-on-climate-change-while-being-ready-to-pivot-shell-canada-urges>
 

Trump to Scrap NASA Climate Research in Crackdown on “Politicized Science”

In the Trump Administration NASA’s Earth Sciences Division is to be stripped of its funding in favour of deep space exploration. This would mean elimination of NASA’s research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for NASA to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring.”
 
Other federal departments that may face cuts in their climate-related budgets: Energy ($8.5 billion), Interior ($1.1 billion) and State ($984 million) 
 
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/22/nasa-earth-donald-trump-eliminate-climate-change-research>
<http://www.salon.com/2016/11/23/politicizing-climate-change-donald-trumps-budget-could-cut-climate-funding-for-nasa-other-federal-departments/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/11/trump-total-skeptic-has-open-mind-on-climate-and-wants-to-shut-down-politicized-research-at-nasa/>
 

Green Madness: Protected Forests in Europe Felled to Meet EU Renewable Targets

Protected forests are being indiscriminately felled across Europe to meet the EU’s renewable energy targets, according to an investigation by the conservation group Birdlife. Up to 65% of Europe’s renewable output currently comes from bioenergy, involving fuels such as wood pellets and chips, rather than wind and solar power.
 
Sini Eräjää, Birdlife’s bioenergy officer, said: “This report provides clear evidence that the EU’s renewable energy policies have led to increased harvesting of whole trees and to continued use of food crops for energy. We are subsidizing large-scale environmental destruction, not just outside Europe, as in Indonesia or the US, but also right in our own backyard.”
 
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/24/protected-forests-in-europe-felled-to-meet-eu-renewable-targets-report>
<http://www.birdlife.org/campaign/black-book-bioenergy>
 

Roger Pielke Jr.: Life as a Climate Heretic

Dr. Pielke is an American political scientist and professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) where he served as Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder from 2001 to 2007.  He believes that climate change is real and that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax. However, he finds scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the US or globally. 
 
Dr. Pielke’s research came under constant attack for years by activists, journalists and politicians. In 2011 writers in the journal Foreign Policy signalled that some accused him of being a “climate-change denier.” He earned the title, the authors explained, by “questioning certain graphs presented in IPCC reports.” That an academic who raised questions about the IPCC in an area of his expertise was tarred as a denier reveals the groupthink at work.
 
The Obama White House took a special interest in Dr. Pielke when the president’s science advisor John Holdren posted a 3,000 word essay under the heading, “An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr.” Dr. Pielke was  then accused of accepting money from fossil-fuel companies. When the accusation proved false, it was withdrawn, but the damage to Dr. Pielke’s reputation had been done-and that was the point.
 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_A._Pielke,_Jr.>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/roger-pielke-jr-my-unhappy-life-as-a-climate-heretic/>
 

The Politicization of Climate Science is Not a Recent Phenomenon

Climate science became a tool for pushing political agendas almost three decades ago. The IPCC was created in 1988 by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization and the UN Environment Program with the objective: “… to prepare a comprehensive review and recommendations with respect to the state of knowledge of the science of climate change; the social and economic impact of climate change, and possible response strategies and elements for inclusion in a possible future international convention on climate.” 
 
Following the publication of the IPCC’s First Assessment Report was published in 1990, the 1992 treaty known as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change came into being. The goal of the UNFCCC is (emphasis added): “The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
 
Because of the UNFCCC’s goal, IPCC reports, especially the Summaries for PolicyMakers (edited by politicians), are intended to support that goal. Accordingly, under the Principles Governing IPCC Work, its role includes (emphasis added): “… …to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.” Thus the IPCC has never realistically tried to determine if natural factors have caused most of the warming experienced over the past century, instead preparing reports to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/29/the-politicization-of-climate-science-is-not-a-recent-phenomenon/>
<https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml>
<https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles.pdf>

 

2016-11-21

 

Ontario Premier Takes Responsibility for High Electricity Prices

In a speech to party faithful at the Ontario Liberal annual general meeting on November 19 in Ottawa, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she takes responsibility “for not paying close enough attention to some of the daily stresses in Ontarians’ lives.” She said that while she is proud of the work done to remove coal from the system and ensure adequate supply, it is unacceptable that some people have to choose between paying for food and heating.
 
<http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/ontario-premier-kathleen-wynne-takes-responsibility-for-high-electricity-prices-calling-them-a-mistake>
 

What Trump’s Win Will Mean for the Environment

Vox, no fan of Donald Trump, thinks that environmental policy will be run by Republican leaders in Congress and industry-friendly appointees to his administration. The policy will likely be standard GOP, but more radical than anything Mr. Trump campaigned on. The Vox article lists the top 11 environmental policies for the Trump administration and a GOP Congress. Numbers 1 to 3 are: killing the Clean Power Plan; withdrawing from the Paris Agreement; and dismantling environmental rules around coal power.
 
<http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/11/14/13582562/trump-gop-climate-environmental-policy>
 

John Kerry Heads to Antartica-And to a New Travel Record

On Election Day, November 8, John Kerry was travelling as far from Washington as it’s possible to go, to Antarctica thus becoming the first US secretary of state to visit all seven continents while in office. Mr. Kerry’s spokesman bristled at a reporter who suggested that his boss was trying to knock Antarctica off his bucket list before his term expires. Mr. Kerry’s 1.3 million miles easily tops the 1.06 million miles logged by Condoleeza Rice and the 957,000 miles by Hillary Clinton.
 
On the one trip to Antartica and then back to the COP 22 conference in Marrakech via New Zealand, Mr. Kerry’s 35,000-mile trip on a dedicated Boeing 757 produced 853 tonnes of CO2, or as much as 52 average Americans in a year.
 
<http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/11/08/501153007/john-kerry-heads-to-antarctica-and-to-a-new-travel-record>
<http://cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/his-very-long-trip-kerry-producing-much-co2-average-american-1-year>
 

A Trump Administration: A Catastrophe in the Eyes of COP 22

On November 17, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave an impassioned and confusing speech to the COP 22 delegates in Marrakech. He insisted that the US is on its way to meeting its international emission-reduction commitments, saying: “No one can stop the new climate economy because the benefits are so enormous” but then adding that government leadership was “absolutely essential.” 
 
The National Review essay by Rupert Darwall summarizes US involvement in the UN climate process, from the Kyoto Protocol (would have been vetoed by the Senate, and so was never ratified by the US) to the failure in Copenhagen (vetoed by the Chinese and the Indians) to the Obama administration’s strategy for the Paris Agreement (get the Chinese on board by not requiring them to bear any emissions-cut obligations, bypass Congress by relying on executive orders to implement emissions cuts and ratify the agreement.) The fatal flaw to the US strategy was that it wholly depended on what didn’t happen on November 8. For the Trump administration the question of exiting the Paris Agreement is a matter of how, not whether.
 
Under Article 28 of the agreement parties must give one-year’s notice to leave once the agreement has been in force for three years, meaning the earliest the US could withdraw would be November 4, 2020. A quicker way is to give a year’s notice to leave the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
 
After Mr. Kerry’s speech CFACT’s Marc Morano arranged a ritual shredding of a copy of the Paris Agreement in front of a life-size cut-out of Donald Trump. This was too much for jittery conference security staff, who escorted Mr. Morano away and barred from attending the rest of the conference, an event captured by Rebel Media on YouTube.
 
<http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442282/paris-climate-agreement-united-nations-conference-marrakech-coal-donald-trump>
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afiUGWXDBP0>
 

Breakthrough at Midnight: UN Climate Talks Agree to Delay Paris Rules until 2018

Around midnight on November 18 delegates at COP 22 in Marrakech agreed to work out the rules for the Paris Agreement within two years. A rule book is needed because the agreement left many details vague, such as how countries will report and monitor their national pledges to curb emissions. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change issued a one-page Marrakech Action Proclamation that is long on vague calls to action and short on specifics.
 
Of note in the Reuters piece is news that COP 23 will take place in Germany, presumably at the UNFCCC’s Bonn headquarters, and will be hosted by Fiji. As he accepted the role as president of COP 23, Fiji’s prime minister acknowledged the elephant in the room by calling on Donald Trump to abandon his position that man-made climate change is a hoax.
 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-accord-marrakesh-idUSKBN13E01H>
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/Countries-set-a-deadline-of-2018-to-finalise-rules-for-implementing-Paris-Agreement/articleshow/55507965.cms>
<http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38034171>
<http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/marrakech_nov_2016/application/pdf/marrakech_action_proclamation.pdf>
 

Big Wind Blown Away in Vermont

Even though Vermont voted overwhelmingly for Democrats on November 8 at the federal and state levels, the resounding and improbable election of new Republican governor Phil Scott was a crushing defeat for the wind lobby. Mr. Scott’s opponent was backed by a pro-wind PAC and by prominent environmentalist and Vermont resident Bill McKibben (350.org). Wind power has been one of the most divisive issues in the state, with rural communities, despite offers of money, being most opposed to the encroachment of Big Wind.
 
<http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442187/vermont-defeats-wind-power-industry-election-day>
 

Lawrence Solomon: Americans Are Finally Overthrowing Political Correctness Run Amok

Political correctness is a multi-billion dollar industry, funded, promoted,  regulated and enforced by government. Exhibit A is manmade global warming, a litmus test for the politically correct. Scientists seeking research funding in any related field have to follow the government line; universities enforce orthodoxy on their faculties; government meteorologists that don’t toe the line are fired; fossil fuel projects are effectively outlawed, while wind and solar are lavished with subsidies. The result was the creation of a taboo subject in which skeptical views are punished and alarmist views rewarded.
 
With the Republicans’ ascension to power, the taboo edifice is about to collapse, particularly since Mr. Trump and his close advisers are outspoken opponents of political correctness who revel in its ridicule and are driven to see its collapse.
 
<http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp-comment/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomon-americans-are-finally-overthrowing-political-correctness-run-amok>
 

Climate Models for Lawyers

Judith Curry was asked to write an expert report on climate models, one aimed at an audience of lawyers. She tried to avoid giving a “science lesson” and focus on what climate models can and can’t do. Specifically, she responded to four questions: (1) What is a Global Climate Model; (2) What is the reliability of climate models; (3) What are the failings of climate models; and (4) Are GCMs a reliable tool for correcting climate change? 
 
Regarding Question (3), Dr. Curry (p. 13 of the pdf version) lists four reasons why GCMs are not fit for the purpose of identifying with high confidence the proportional amount of natural vs human causes for the 20th century warming. For (4) she lists (p. 16) another four reasons why the IPCC’s climate model projections for the 21st century are not convincing.
 
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/11/12/climate-models-for-lawyers/>
<https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/climate-models.pdf>
 

NASA’s Top Climate Scientist Threatens to Resign over Trump

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies urged President-elect Donald Trump to keep funding NASA’s global warming programs and threatened to resign if Mr. Trump didn’t embrace his vision of NASA as an environmental research institution or threatened to censor him. Dr. Schmidt told the Independent that he and other government scientists are “not going to stand” for any funding cuts or other interference in their work.
 
NASA’s budget includes more than $2 billion for its Earth Science Mission Directorate, which works to improve climate modelling, weather prediction and natural hazard mitigation. NASA’s other functions, such as astrophysics and space technology, are only getting a mere $781.5 and $826.7 million, respectively.
 
<http://www.cfact.org/2016/11/19/controversial-nasa-climate-scientists-threatens-to-resign-over-trump/>
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/17/nasas-top-climate-scientist-wants-trump-to-keep-funding-global-warming-science/>
<http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nasa-global-warming-climate-change-denial-donald-trump-interference-science-a7421416.html>
 

UK Researchers: Tax Food to Reduce Climate Change

A group of researchers in Oxford University, England has suggested that imposing a massive tax on carbon intensive foods – specifically protein rich foods like meat and dairy – could help combat climate change. Based on modelling, the study says that pricing food according to its climate impacts could save half a million lives and one billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. For example, beef would have to be 40% more expensive globally to pay for the climate damage caused by its production. the price of milk and other meats would have to increase by 20%.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/19/uk-researchers-tax-food-to-reduce-climate-change/>
<http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/2016_11_Emissions>

 

2016-11-13

 

The Trump Victory: Effect on US Climate and Energy Policy

Donald Trump’s website contains a Contract with the American Voter that includes seven actions to protect American workers. Action Nos. 5-7 lift restrictions on fossil fuel production, remove roadblocks to energy infrastructure like the Keystone Pipeline and cancel payments to UN climate change programs. 
 
The Washington Post agrees that Mr. Trump comes into office with a plan to toss out most of what his predecessor achieved on energy and environment. Some of the provisions are opening up federal lands to oil and gas drilling and coal mining, eliminate methane regulations, shrinking the role of the Environmental Protection Agency and pulling back on the Clean Power Plan. 
 
At the EPA, its head urged employees to to finish out the last weeks of the Obama administration “running” to finish implementing what they can of the current president’s environmental agenda. Mr. Trump initially proposed to eliminate the EPA, but now plans just to reduce its regulatory reach. As the Daily Caller story notes, the Obama administration has enacted 78,020 pages of new regulations so far this year. (The Contract with the American Voter calls for eliminating two existing regulations for every new one enacted.)
 
Scientific American notes that Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading the incoming administration’s transition plans for the EPA. Mr. Ebell is known for his prolific writings that question what he calls climate change “alarmism.” In a bio submitted when testifying before Congress, he proudly listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in the Greenpeace Field Guide to Climate Criminals.
 
According to Bloomberg shares in the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, Vestas, sank on news of the Trump victory, but the company’s chairman expects the Production Tax Credit (an inflation-adjusted per kWh tax credit for power generated by wind and other renewable sources and passed by a Republican-dominated Congress) to stay in place for five years (it expires December 31, 2019). Another Bloomberg story calls the Trump victory a “disaster” for the renewable energy sector. The CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association said: “We’ll need to educate Trump that solar energy is a business and not a political issue.”
 
<https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/_landings/contract/O-TRU-102316-Contractv02.pdf>
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/09/trump-victory-reverses-u-s-energy-and-environmental-priorities/>
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/10/epa-chief-urges-staff-to-finish-obamas-agenda-before-trump-takes-over/>
<https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-picks-top-climate-skeptic-to-lead-epa-transition/?wt.mc=SA_Twitter-Share>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-09/vestas-sinks-as-trump-victory-frightens-green-energy-investors>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-09/sunrun-among-solar-energy-providers-plunging-on-trump-concerns>
 

The Trump Victory: Reaction in Canada

The Trump victory presents a double-edged sword to the Calgary oil patch, with likely approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, but conflicting emissions policies on CO2 and methane that will pose a disadvantage to Canada. Alberta’s Premier plans to stay on course with the province’s climate change agenda, maintaining that it was set at a time when the US had no plans for a carbon tax, and gives consideration to trade-exposed industries such as oil and gas. 
 
Prime Minister Trudeau indicated that he plans to go full speed ahead with a national floor price on CO2 emissions rising to $50/t by 2022. He said: “We know that putting a price on carbon pollution is a way to improve our response to economic challenges, to create good jobs going forward and to show leadership that quite frankly the entire world is looking for, along with the solutions that go with it,”
 
Saskatchewan’s premier Brad Wall said the US election was a reason to reject a carbon tax, noting that Washington State voters rejected Initiative 732 to enact a version of British Columbia’s revenue-neutral carbon tax.
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/trump-presidency-presents-double-edged-sword-to-albertas-oilpatch>
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/president-elect-trump-dominates-morocco-climate-talks>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/premier-brad-wall-trump-elected-1.3843350>
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/11/10/washingtons-green-civil-war/>
 

The Trump Victory: A Blow to the Global Climate Movement

The Trump victory came just as COP 22 was getting underway in Marrakech, injecting “shock and uncertainty” into the UN climate conference. COP 22 is supposed to begin the technical process of implementing the COP 21 Paris Agreement, which is now in doubt. While Mr. Trump can’t unilaterally “cancel” the agreement, he could begin the four-year process of withdrawing from it.
 
Moreover, the outgoing president’s climate policy was mostly enacted by decree, rather than by laws or treaties ratified by the Senate, so his successor can undo them by decree also, including the executive agreement ratifying the Paris Agreement.
 
Many developing nations’ promises to act under the agreement were conditioned on getting increasing amounts of money from the UN’s Green Climate Fund. Of the $10 billion promised by rich nations to the GCF in 2014, $3 billion was pledged by the US, which has delivered only $500 million so far. If Mr. Trump follows through on his pledge to defund all UN climate programs, including the GCF, funding promises by other rich nations will be threatened, something that is causing unease at COP 22.
 
Regarding next year’s COP 23, there’s almost no news except for a story in French by Express.live reporting that no country has stepped forward to host the event. In fact, the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, said that COP 23 may have to take place at the UNFCCC’s offices in Bonn.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/donald-trumps-victory-injects-shock-and-uncertainty-into-un-climate-talk/>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/trump-likely-to-slash-and-burn-obamas-climate-policy/>
<http://in.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-climatechange-nations-idINKBN1370BD>
<http://www.state.gov/e/oes/climate/faststart/index.htm>
<https://fr.express.live/2016/11/09/organisation-conference-climat-cop23/>
 

Alberta’s Wind Power Auction

Next year, as part of its strategy of having 30% of the province’s electrical supply coming from sources such as wind, solar and hydro by 2030, the Alberta government will hold its first auction for renewable power contracts. This competition will see investors bidding to provide up to 400 MW for 20 years, with the winning bidders to be announced in late 2017, and the projects up and running by 2019. The government intends to use money collected from the existing carbon levy on large industrial emitters to fund an indexed “renewable energy credit” mechanism that will pay the difference between the bidders’ price and the pool price for electricity as a “top-up.”
 
In a speech to the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s annual conference in Calgary, the Alberta energy minister said she could not put a price on the 5,000 MW of renewable power planned for 2030 because of the competitive nature of the process. However, she stressed that the “made-in-Alberta” plan won’t repeat the green power mistakes of other jurisdictions, such as Ontario. At the conference, eager wind power companies praised the auction announcement, saying that Alberta is about to become the most attractive jurisdiction in the country for renewable energy investment. (More attractive than Ontario?)
 
Calgary Herald columnist Chris Varcoe notes that, in Alberta’s deregulated power market, prices are notoriously volatile and are now near two-decade lows. He refers to an EDC study [FoS Extracts - 2016-11-04] concluding that subsidies for the 5,000 MW of renewables could reach $4-$8 billion by 2030 and revenues from the electrical sector won’t be enough to pay for them.
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/alberta-to-seek-bids-for-400mw-of-renewable-power-as-it-phases-out-coal>
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/alberta-wind-industry-praises-ndp-plan-for-renewable-power-procurement>
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-albertas-push-to-renewables-looks-good-but-is-the-price-right>
 

Alberta-Wide Rally over Carbon Tax

On November 5 concerned Albertans gathered in Edmonton and 11 other cities across the province to protest the government’s carbon tax that comes into effect on January 1. At the Calgary rally, Friends of Science Communications Manager, Michelle Stirling, was interviewed by The Rebel Media. Ms. Stirling responded to questions regarding CO2 as a plant food (the essence of life), geological history, the 97% “consensus” on human-caused climate change, whether a carbon tax will change the weather and who benefits from the tax. 
 
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/thousands-gather-throughout-alberta-to-protest-carbon-taxes-1.3838697>
<http://globalnews.ca/news/3048932/protesters-call-for-referendum-on-alberta-ndp-carbon-tax/>
<http://www.therebel.media/who_s_really_behind_carbon_taxes_and_why_friends_of_science_educate_the_public_about_u_n_ties>
 

Pipeline Political Incorrectness Must Be Punished

Ian Anderson, the president of pipeline company Kinder Morgan Canada, dared to say in a speech that, after reading the science on both sides, he had no firm idea how much humans were causing climate change. Reporters quickly spotted the subversive thought and dialled up climate scientists who issued statements condemning Mr. Anderson’s heresy. Hours after the speech he retracted his aberrant words, stating: “There should be no misunderstanding in what I think or believe. Climate change is real. Fossil fuels lead to higher CO2, which in turn contributes to climate change.”
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/kevin-libin-pipeline-political-incorrectness-must-be-punished>
 

Germany Fails to Approve National Climate Plan

Eleven months on from the Paris Agreement, the Climate Protection Plan 2050 was supposed to show Germany’s contribution to pledges made as part of the vaunted climate treaty. The plan lays out how Germany will move away from fossil fuels and achieve its coal of cutting CO2 emissions up to 95% by 2050. The country’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks presented a draft plan in April 2016, but many measures and objectives were removed at the request of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel before it was sent to the other ministries. The latter, particularly the agriculture and transport ministries, chipped away at the plan, but even the final watered-down draft failed to get cabinet approval by November 2.
 
As a result Ms. Hendricks was faced with the embarrassing prospect of attending the Morocco talks empty-handed. DW's Jens Thurau says the reason is that Germany’s politicians have more pressing concerns at the moment (refugees, right-wind populism, international crises, Syria, Ukraine). Campaigns for the 2017 federal elections will soon get started looking at all these problems.
 
<http://www.dw.com/en/what-happened-with-germanys-climate-protection-plan/a-36237605>
<http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-off-to-morocco-empty-handed/a-36230732>
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/11/01/shock-germany-comes-to-marrakesh-conference-empty-handed-withdraws-climate-protection-plan/>
 

China Doubles Down on Coal, Despite Climate Pledge

On the opening day of the Morocco climate change conference, China unveiled a crash plan to increase power-fired power capacity over the next three years. In a new five-year plan for electricity released Monday, the National Energy Administration said it would raise coal-fired power capacity from around 900 GW last year to as high as 1,100 GW by 2020. The roughly 200-GW increase alone is more than the total power capacity of Canada.
 
“This is indeed a disappointing target,” said a campaigner at Greenpeace. “Given that there is already severe overcapacity and demand for coal-fired power is going down, we would have expected a cap on coal power capacity much closer to the current capacity level.”
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/07/china-announces-a-massive-20-increase-in-coal-by-2020/>

 

2016-11-04

 

Vivian Krause: The Great Green Election Machine

When the Liberals gained a 14-seat majority in the 2015 Canadian federal election, they had help from a network of environmental groups that claim to have helped defeat 24 Conservative incumbents. This network has also been funding the Tar Sands Campaign, where money flows from big US donors to dozens of smaller groups through Tides Foundation (San Francisco) and the New Venture Fund (Washington DC). 
 
In the 2014 election, there were 114 groups registered as third parties, of which at least ten received funding from Tides. These are the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace, Equiterre, OpenMedia, SumOfUs, Westcoast Environmental Law, Ecology Ottawa, Toronto350.org, Dogwood Initiative and Leadnow. Of these, Leadnow was the most active in the election, with staff in 11 ridings and volunteers in 45. Its strategy was to create blocs of voters, riding by riding, and steer them to vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the Conservative.
 
As the lead hitter in the Tar Sands Campaign, Leadnow organized protests against the Northern Gateway pipeline sin 70 communities and mobilized more than 100,000 people to petition the National Energy Board against Energy East. In May, it advertised to hire more staff for its campaign against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. The group also campaigns against the proposed LNG plants in B.C.
 
<http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2016/10/great-green-election-machine/>
 

Alberta Climate-Change Plan Will Shrink Economy Short-Term

The province estimates the economic impact of its climate-change plan will be 0.3% or 0.4% the GDP by 2022, which translates into slower growth of .0.05% per year during that time. It also estimates that getting a pipeline to tidewater, which would give Alberta a better price for its oil, would more than offset the input costs on the carbon plan. The environment minister said the numbers are preliminary and don't take into account the expected growth of a diversified energy industry.
 
Opposition critics said the projections are incomplete and don’t account for the costs of the coal shutdown and compensation to the plant owners. In the Calgary Herald, columnist Don Braid notes a government projection last June that showed that the climate plan would cut GDP by 1.5% by 2022.
 
<http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/11/01/alberta-climate-change-plan_n_12751086.html>
<http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/braid-new-ndp-numbers-on-climate-policy-impact-consume-with-care>
 

The Cost of Alberta’s Proposed Renewables Subsidies

A study by Calgary electricity consultancy EDC Associates finds that the province’s climate plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta, but it “could be very expensive to consumers, government and generators.” The report finds the price tag to subsidize additional renewable energy generation in Alberta could cost between $4 billion and $8 billion by 2030. As part of its new climate plan, the Alberta government wants to see up to 30% of the power supply come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro by 2030. The province will also shut down 18 coal-fired power plants by 2030, including some that could have continued operating until after 2050.
 
The EDC report notes that revenues generated by the new carbon tax on the power industry won’t be enough pay for the renewable subsidies needed for the government’s firm commitment of 5,000 MW of renewables.
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/local-business/varcoe-big-costs-await-power-transition-but-some-solutions-await>
 

What We Call a Carbon Tax Is a Really a Tax on the Petroleum Industry

While governments are keen to levy carbon taxes on the petroleum industry, they studiously ignore the greenhouse gas emissions associated with hydro-electric power. Canadian reservoirs could be releasing between 30 Mt to 90 Mt of GHGs every year, of which one-half to two-thirds is methane. By comparison, the GHG emissions from oilsands production in Alberta in 2014 was 62 Mt, mostly CO2. A true carbon tax would encompass all the GHG emissions produced by the whole economy. This includes emissions from water reservoirs used in the generation of hydroelectricity, from agriculture, mining, forestry and drinking water (there is rotting biomass under those reservoirs, too).
 
British Columbia provides a gleaming example of a faux carbon tax. BC is a hydro province, and it just broke ground on a massive new dam known as Site C. This will create a new source of rotting biomass that will increase GHG emissions for decades to come. BC’s current petroleum industry tax-mistakenly called a carbon tax-encourages people to buy electric cars powered by BC Hydro. Yet motorists who buy electric cars are effectively swapping a taxed source of GHG emissions for a non-taxed one, and are likely doing less good for the environment than they have been led to believe.
 
<http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/colin-dormuth-what-we-call-a-carbon-tax-is-really-just-a-tax-on-the-petroleum-industry>
 

The Devastation of Ontario’s Rural Areas

Garth Manning, a retried lawyer and former president of the Ontario Bar Association, is upset over a 27-turbine wind project, with a 28-km transmission line, proposed for Prince Edward County, where he lives. This will have a crippling effect on local business and the overall economy, reducing property and business values and amounting to expropriation without compensation. Yet the destruction of rural Ontario by these massive wind “farms” and solar projects goes largely unreported by the media. 
 
The wind industry lobby had significant influence in the drafting of the Green Energy Act, a legislation of sweeping consequence that-despite warnings of harmful consequences by distinguished economists and professional engineers-was adopted with unusual speed by the legislature, moving from introduction to passage in just 11 weeks. There is no business case for all this green energy, as the auditor general has consistently shown, yet the government was so forceful in implementing it that it took away from rural municipalities their planning and zoning powers, denying them any say in whether or not these intrusive projects would be imposed, regardless of local wishes.
 
Embedded in the National Post story is a 1:38 video, Why is my hydro bill so expensive? summarizing all the bad economics associated with “green” energy. 
 
<http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/the-untold-ontario-green-energy-scandal-is-that-its-devastating-our-rural-areas&pubdate=2016-11-02>
 

Ontario’s Price on Carbon

The Ontario and federal governments are hoping that their new carbon tax, when applied to home heating bills, will be so small and gradual that households will barely notice it. This happened before when Ontario’s Green Energy Act was passed in 2009 and voters were promised that increases in electricity bills would be temporary, would create jobs and be worth it. It turns out that rates since 2009 have increased an average 89% – with off-peak rates up by 102%. And that’s only the increase in power rates. For many consumers, the global adjustment can be as much as, or more, than the cost of the electricity they consumed. The global adjustment is the difference between the market rate for electricity, and what Ontario is paying for it. 
 
The government has said that its planned carbon tax will cost families only a few dollars a month, but we should all know that this is only the beginning. Ontario politicians are going to do to home heating and gas bills what they’ve done to electricity bills – which is send them sky high.
 
<http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/christine-van-geyn-ontarios-price-on-carbon-will-do-for-home-heating-prices-what-the-green-energy-act-did-for-electricity-rates>
 

Lawrence Solomon: Ontario’s Fatal Future

Ontario was once the engine of the Canadian economy, a Triple-A rated powerhouse commanding 40% of the country’s GDP. It lost its lustrous Triple-A credit rating when Ontario Hydro went out of control, ending the province’s low-price advantage, making industry uncompetitive and sinking the province in a morass of debt. Ontario’s credit rating then continued to sink, in tandem with continuing boondoggles in the energy sector that now leave Ontario the world’s most indebted sub-national jurisdiction.
 
According to Mr. Solomon the way to reverse the province’s downward spiral is to rewrite the ruinous contracts responsible for Ontario’s power woes and clawing back the overpayments. He cites past examples where the province successfully managed to rewrite contracts and win subsequent court appeals.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomon-ontario-is-headed-for-a-fatal-future-and-only-ending-the-renewable-deals-can-prevent-it>
 

Hillary Clinton’s Blackout America

Ms. Clinton has promised to install half a billion solar panels by 2020, a sevenfold increase from today, and has set a target to generate one-third of America’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027. This would mean that the US would beat the EU’s 27% target by three years and six percentage points. Even the Europeans have soured on the costs and immense practical difficulties of integrating unreliable wind and solar into the grid.
 
The benefits of Ms. Clinton’s plan would flow mostly to China — eight of the top ten manufacturers of solar photovoltaic panels last year were Chinese. Its costs would fall on Americans in the form of spiralling electricity bills, a large part of which would go to pay for grid-management tools to reduce the risk of blackouts, and even these may not work very well. Ontario, where electricity costs have doubled since 2005 and CO2 reductions achieved at a cost of $187/t show what happens when politicians attempt to create clean energy superpowers.
 
<http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441302/hillary-clinton-clean-energy>
 

Europe’s Climate Action Put On Hold

The German Chancellor will be conspicuously absent from COP 22 in Marrakesh this month, with the leaders of France, Italy and Spain all planning to attend the UN climate conference. Germany’s rejection of nuclear energy, coupled with the steep rise in energy prices due to renewables, have led the country’s economic and energy minister to not set a firm date for shutting down coal-fired power plants. Indeed, they could remain part of Germany’s energy mix until 2040. This puts the EU’s climate policy in a delicate position, as Germany had been one of the bloc’s leaders.
 
Little progress has been made since the 2014 European Council summit where the broad 2030 emissions reduction objectives were laid down, while the effect of the COP 21 agreement has been to drive up the level of ambition required. The Commission’s effort-sharing proposal concerning the transport and agriculture sectors met with widespread disapproval in the Environment Council in mid-October. Twelve countries (Latvia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Malta, Croatia, Bulgaria, Spain, Austria and Belgium) have called on the executive to make the emissions accounting rules under the proposal more flexible, as a way of reducing their overall effort.
 
In another story alarmed industry sources have told the Guardian about a report that wind and solar could lose the privilege of getting grid priority over other forms of energy. As a spokesman for WindEuorpe put it: “Removing priority dispatch for renewable energies would be detrimental to the wind sector which would face more curtailment across the continent … Investors took priority dispatch into account when projecting revenues in the original investment decisions, and it could have a bearing on existing projects if they are not protected from the change.”
 
<http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/why-europes-climate-action-has-been-put-on-hold/>
<http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2016/11/gabriel-says-coal-to-remain-relevant.html>
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/01/renewables-could-lose-european-power-grid-priority-documents-reveal>
 

Climate Promises Can’t Kill Asia’s Coal Addiction

Bloomberg New Energy Finance delivered a gloomy analysis of Asia’s projected coal use at a conference in Shanghai on November 2. While China currently builds two coal-fired power plants each week, BNEF sees the rate falling to one in the next five years. Japan is pushing ahead with new coal-fired plants based on an assumption that power growth will continue for the next 15 years. At the same time, clean-energy investment is set to drop.
 
All of this is particularly worrisome as envoys from 190 nations gather in Morocco for COP 22, November 7-18. Coal use is rising too fast and renewables too slowly to remain consistent with the climate goals agreed to at previous UN talks.
 
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-02/asia-s-coal-addiction-seen-growing-despite-promises-on-climate>
 

Annual COP Ritual: Paris Agreement Will Lead to Climate Catastrophe

The Paris Agreement officially came into force on November 4, and just in time for COP 22 the UN announced that the agreement won’t save the planet from rising seas, superstorms and deadly drought. On November 3 the UN Environment Program released a report stating that, without further pledges to curb emissions, global temperatures are set to rise by 3.4°C compared to preindustrial levels. The UNEP projects emissions to reach 54-56 Gt of CO2 equivalent by 2030 and says that this has to be reduced to 43 Gt to keep the temperature rise to 2°C.
 
“We will grieve over the avoidable human tragedy,” moaned the head of UNEP, Erik Solheim, in a statement. “The growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver.”
 
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-03/world-climate-headed-for-catastrophic-change-despite-paris-deal>
<http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55464#.WBzDtncZNE4>
 

Debunking the Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Myth

In the US energy industry, there are lots of subsidies. But none are more attacked by environmental groups and the press than the government's handouts to the fossil-fuel industry. According to the apolitical US Energy Information Agency and the US Treasury, the federal government spends $3.5-$4.7 billion per year subsidizing the coal, petroleum and natural gas industries, including tax credits. By contrast, the Feds dole out about $15 billion every year in subsidies to the renewable energy industry (mainly to support new wind and solar projects) and $20 billion per year for agricultural subsidies and insurance.
 
Each year the EPA requires gasoline and diesel refiners to blend a certain amount of renewable fuel (currently 10%, increasing until 2022). By forcing the petroleum industry to blend so much renewable fuel every year, the program is impacting a huge transfer of wealth from petroleum companies to renewable fuel producers and the corn and soybean farmers, providing those producers with the inputs necessary to make their renewable fuel. In addition the renewable fuel standard has increased, rather than decreased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
 
<http://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2016/10/23/debunking_the_fossil-fuel_subsidy_myth_110091.html>
 

Donna Laframboise: Peer Review is Bunk

According to Ms. Laframboise the peer review process tells us nothing; it’s merely a sniff test. A couple of people briefly review a research paper. Then, using entirely subjective criteria they decide that it kind of makes sense, that it must be right because it confirms their pre-existing beliefs, or that publishing it will gain the journal some wider media attention. We don’t know if a paper’s results are accurate until we go to the trouble of reproducing its results. But almost no academic research is actually subjected to this test. When attempts are made to reproduce the findings of high profile research, the failure rate is often shocking. For example, testimony to a UK parliamentary committee found that any particular paper is just as likely to be wrong as right.
 
<https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/10/27/peer-review-is-bunk/>
<http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2016/10/PeerReview.pdf>
<http://www.thegwpf.org/science-is-in-deep-trouble-new-paper-shows/>
<http://www.thegwpf.org/donna-laframboise-science-is-in-trouble/>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/christopher-essex-and-matt-ridley-ipcc-climate-science-and-the-crisis-of-peer-review/>
<https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/11/01/how-peer-review-is-used-to-shut-down-debate/>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/christopher-essex-and-matt-ridley-ipcc-climate-science-and-the-crisis-of-peer-review/>

 

2016-10-25

 

Better than a Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax

In The Globe and Mail Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall posits a better solution than a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The problem with a tax is that there is no evidence that it actually reduces emissions. It also has a disproportionate effect on trade-exposed industries (in Saskatchewan’s case, oil and gas, agriculture and potash.) Instead, a better approach would be to deploy technology to clean up the emissions from the 2,400 new coal-fired plants being planned or constructed around the world.
 
In the National Post Aaron Wudrick puts into perspective the federal government’s proposed carbon tax and the objective of reducing Canada’s emissions by 224 Mt/year by 2030. In China between now and 2030 emissions will increase by 3,060 Mt/year. In effect all Canada’s efforts would be cancelled out by 27 days of China’s increased CO2 emissions. Regarding politicians’ claimed need for Canada to show “leadership”, this rests on flimsy logic: if climate change really is something that needs to be addressed, then other countries, including China, should have all the incentive they need to act.
 
<https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/a-better-emissions-solution-than-a-revenue-neutral-carbon-tax/article32352958/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&service=mobile>
<http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/aaron-wudrick-a-carbon-tax-solves-nothing>
 

Sask. Premier: Canada’s Climate Change Money Shouldn’t Go to Developing Countries

Premier Brad Wall has unveiled his plan for fighting climate change, and it includes "redeploying" $2.65 billion in federal funds earmarked for developing countries. As an alternative to carbon taxes, he wants Ottawa to take its $2.65-billion, five-year commitment for climate change measures in developing countries and use it instead for research and innovation in Canada.
 
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/premier-brad-wall-to-release-climate-change-plan-1.3809860>
 

Wind Turbine Appeal Leaves Developer Spinning

In the David and Goliath battle between the small municipality of Clearview,  and the Government of Ontario plus wpd Canada, subsidiary of an international wind energy company, the little guy won-for now. The Environmental Review Tribunal ruled that the plans for turbines in proximity to Collingwood Regional Airport and the surrounding areas were proven to be a detriment both to human safety to planes using the airport as well as an environmental challenge to certain species, specifically the little brown bat.
 
The County of Simcoe, the Town of Collingwood and the Township of Clearview appealed the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s  approval of the wpd Canada Fairview Wind Project.
 
<http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/2016/10/08/wind-turbine-appeal-leaves-wpd-spinning>
 

Solar Power for City-Dwelling Dummies

Terence Corcoran comments on a recent financing deal for the Kingston Solar power project in Ontario, which received a warm reception among investors and renewable-energy enthusiasts. The $633 million note issue will pay 3.57%, made possible by Kingston Solar’s 20-year contract with the Ontario government guaranteeing payment of 45.73 ¢/kWh for the power produced by the project’s 425,000 solar panels sprawled across 824 acres (333 ha) of former farmland. The same power could be purchased from the nearby Lennox gas plant for about 11¢/kWh. The project’s developer, Samsung, claims that the project will generate “enough clean power for approximately 17,000 homes.”
 
If Kingston Solar’s 425,000 solar panels were located in downtown Toronto, they and associated facilities would consume more than a square mile (2.6 km2) of the city’s core, an area containing 100,000 households. For another comparison the Lennox plant will have a capacity of 3,000 MW, located on 100 acres (40 ha). That amount of solar power would require 30,000 acres of land, or 120 km2.
 
<http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp-comment/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-solar-power-for-city-dwelling-dummies>
 

Boondoggle: How Ontario’s Pursuit of Renewables Broke the Electricity System

In the Financial Post Terence Corcoran reviews the history of Ontario’s pursuit of renewable energy that broke the province’s electricity system. Instead of being a model for other jurisdictions, it stands as a cautionary tale for governments, like Alberta’s, that are under the spell of green activists. Most of the promises made (minimal impact on electricity prices, thousands of jobs, social and health-care benefits from shutting down coal plants) never happened. While CO2 emissions have come down by 30 Mt/year since 2007, it has come at a cost of $257/t. Currently, Ontario is planning to join the California-Quebec cap-and-trade system, where the CO2 price is $17/t.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/boondoggle-how-ontarios-pursuit-of-renewable-energy-broke-the-provinces-electricity-system?__lsa=441c-114c>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/10/ontarios-electricity-carnage-a-train-wreck-electricity-costs-double-to-reduce-carbon-at-250ton/>
 

UN Bans Rebel Media at COP22

The UN has refused to accredit three Canadian journalists from Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media from covering the COP22 climate conference in Marrakech. The one line excuse offered by the UN is that the reporters are “advocacy journalists.” As Mr. Levant points out, the UN is not keeping Rebel Media out because they have an opinion, but because they have the wrong opinion.
 
The CBC conducted a radio interview with the UN bureaucrat responsible for the banning, Nick Nuttall, who admitted that Rebel Media’s website was “pushing a very particular point of view and therefore made we wonder how it was funded.” At the end of the interview Mr.Nuttall said that two “serious” Canadian journalist associations have asked him to rethink his position. Nevertheless the three Rebel Media journalists are going to Marrakech even it they’re not allowed into the conference facilities. 
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/ezra-levant-the-un-is-trying-to-ban-our-reporters-because-it-doesnt-approve-of-our-point-of-view>
<http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-tuesday-edition-1.3810284/is-the-un-reconsidering-decision-to-bar-ezra-levant-s-the-rebel-from-climate-conference-1.3810290>
<http://www.therebel.media/special_report_un_censor_blacklisted_rebel_reporters_marrakech?utm_campaign=letusreportels&utm_medium=email&utm_source=therebel>
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/peter-foster-the-un-sings-dances-and-digs-itself-into-a-climate-hole-over-its-ezra-levant-veto>
 

Greens Whine About Lack of Climate Questions in the US Presidential Debates

There were four debates, three presidential and one vice-presidential, without a single question from the moderators on climate change. This proved distressing to green news sites Vox and Motherboard. The former opines that perhaps the moderators don’t understand what’s at stake, or don’t care. Motherboard notes sourly that climate change has always taken a backseat to more pressing economic and social-justice issues.
 
As Joanne Nova notes, climate change is not being ignored in the election, it’s hidden because most voters don’t care and don’t want to pay.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/20/greens-whining-about-lack-of-climate-quesetions-in-presidential-debates/>
<http://www.vox.com/2016/10/19/13342250/presidential-debates-climate-change>
<http://motherboard.vice.com/read/remember-when-we-thought-climate-change-would-matter-this-election-presidential-debate>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/21/friday-funny-this-is-why-there-wasnt-presidential-debate-questions-about-climate/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/10/us-debate-its-no-accident-climate-change-is-ignored-its-a-poison-pill-a-pollie-would-prefer-to-hide/>
 

Forget Paris: France Drops Carbon Tax Plan

After last year’s COP21 climate conference in Paris, French President François Hollande announced an additional tax on electricity produced by coal-fired power stations. Less than a month before COP22 in Morocco, the French government has scrapped the plan. In a parliamentary debate the budget minister said the government withdrew the tax because of the “considerable feeling” it had aroused. (The CGT trade union, claiming that the tax would mean closing the plants, had organized protests.)
 
In September France produced the most power from fossil fuels in 32 years as nuclear reactors were kept offline for inspections. 
 
<http://en.rfi.fr/environment/20161021-france-drops-proposed-coal-fired-power-stations-tax>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-18/france-burns-coal-like-its-1984-as-prices-jump-on-atomic-woes>
 

Green Climate Fund Still Can’t Get Off the Ground

The UN’s Green Climate Fund was the one “success” to emerge from the disastrous 2009 Copenhagen climate summit. As envisioned, it would raise $100 billion/year from wealthy countries to help poorer ones mitigate and adapt to climate change. So far the GCF has accrued a little over $10 billion, but is finding it difficult to spend the money, having approved projects totalling $1 billion, well behind the schedule of the $2.5 billion targeted for its first full year of operation. In short the GCF has failed to follow through on its only two tasks: raising money and then spending it.
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/10/17/climate-fund-still-cant-get-off-the-ground/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-fund-idUSKBN12E1UZ>
 

While Europe Gets Gouged, Americans Enjoy Cheap Power

As green-crazed Germany pays some of Europe’s highest and most volatile electricity prices, American households are seeing the first annual drop in average electricity prices in 14 years. Plentiful and cheap natural gas, courtesy of the shale boom, is the reason. 
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/10/07/while-europe-gets-gouged-americans-enjoy-cheap-power/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/09/u-s-sees-lower-energy-costs-while-australia-and-europes-renewable-energy-mania-creates-energy-price-spikes-and-supply-disruptions/>
 

Green Nightmare: War on Coal Can’t Stop Its Enduring Demand

You know the war on coal isn’t working when the fuel’s price is up 50% this year. Prices in Europe and Asia have rebounded from a half-decade of declines after China cut domestic production so much that local consumers had to step up overseas purchases. Even as nations are shutting plants and the world’s biggest wealth fund is selling out of coal companies, demand will remain little changed for decades, according to the International Energy Agency and BHP Billiton Ltd.
 
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-12/war-on-coal-can-t-smother-rally-built-on-fuel-s-enduring-demand>
 

Global Greening vs Global Warming

On October 17 self-described lukewarmer Matt Ridley gave a lecture to the Royal Society. First he provides four reasons why the risk from global warming is being exaggerated, then goes on to talk about the global greening, the gradual but large increase in green vegetation on the planet, due to CO2 fertilization. Mr. Ridley also describes how the climate science and media establishments work together to bully himself and any other academic or journalist who steps out of line. In spite of the fortune spent on propaganda,  even the UN admits that fear about global warming comes dead last among people’s concerns.
 
<http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/global-greening-versus-global-warming/>
<http://www.powermag.com/blog/matt-ridleys-lukewarmist-manifesto/>

 

2016-10-11

 

Ottawa Gives Provinces Two Years to Adopt CO2 Pricing

Claiming that it would be good for the economy, innovation and jobs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan on October 3 giving the provinces until 2018 to adopt a CO2 pricing scheme. It they don’t, the federal government will step in and impose a price for them. The price will start at $10/t in 2018 and increase by $10/t each year reaching $50/t in 2022. These will be the “floor price”, which any provincial levies (either by a tax or cap-and-trade) must meet.
 
There was immediate pushback from three provinces. Alberta won’t support the pricing scheme without “progress on energy infrastructure” (approval of an oil pipeline to tidewater). Saskatchewan’s premier said his province would be one of the hardest hit by the new tax, costing the average family $1,250/year. Nova Scotia’s premier said his province has already met Canada’s target of a 30% emissions reduction and needs a solution that won’t “punish the pocketbooks of Nova Scotians” who already pay the highest energy prices in the country.
 
In No Frakking Consensus Donna Laframboise reports that telecommunications company Telus sent out a tweet declaring its support for the tax and discovered that there’s a downside to ostentatious greenery. A wave of its customers announced that they’d be taking their business elsewhere. Telus quickly deleted the tweet.
 
In The Globe and Mail, economist Andrew Leach, who served as chair of Alberta’s climate leadership panel, points out that setting a minimum price is easier than assessing the equivalency of provincial policies and actions. For example BC drivers may face a CO2 price two or three times as high as drivers under Ontario’s cap-and-trade program. Also, Saskatchewan is seeking recognition for its investment in carbon capture and storage, and Nova Scotia is claiming exemption for its Muskrat Falls hydro project.
 
In the Financial Post Terence Corcoran notes that people need to buy transportation, and so demand for gasoline tends to be “price inelastic”, as happened between 2000 and 2016 when the price in Toronto doubled. In the National Post Kelly McParland opines that Canadians will be paying a tax that will have little global impact, but will let us feel we’re doing our share, while potentially aggravating east-west tensions.
 
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-trudeau-climate-change-1.3788825>
<http://globalnews.ca/news/2979548/alberta-government-will-not-support-federal-carbon-policy-without-pipeline-approval/>
<https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/10/03/alberta-wont-support-ottawas-climate-change-plans-without-a-pipeline-notley.html>
<http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/liberals-set-carbon-pollution-price-at-10-a-tonne-in-2018-rising-to-50-by-2022>
<https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/10/06/canadas-carbon-tax-drama/>
<http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp-tech-desk/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/fp-tech-desk/customers-threaten-to-leave-telus-after-it-tweets-support-for-price-on-carbon>
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-challenges-ahead-for-liberals-carbon-plan/article32266670/>
<http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp-comment/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-carbon-pricing-is-just-another-enviro-con-game-and-were-falling-for-it-again>
<http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/full-comment/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/kelly-mcparland-trudeaus-carbon-plan-means-canadians-will-pay-more-for-a-tax-that-will-have-very-little-impact&pubdate=2016-10-06&p=2>
 

Uncertainty over California Cap-and-Trade Could Impact Ontario

To meet its aggressive greenhouse gas emissions target of 37% below 1990 levels, Ontario is counting on joining California and Quebec in the Western Climate Initiative. However, California is facing major questions over the future of its cap-and-trade program, due to a lawsuit alleging that the program is an illegal tax. The resulting uncertainty in the market has contributed to weak demand for allowances that Quebec and California auction on a regular basis and which industrial emitters and distributors of gasoline and natural gas must purchase to meet their compliance obligations.
 
An analysis for the Ontario government found that a cap-and-trade program linked to the Western Climate Initiative would have an effective CO2 price of $18/t in 2020, but an Ontario “go-it-alone” program would require $157/t.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/uncertainty-over-california-climate-plan-puts-ontario-in-precarious-position/article32152108/>
 

The Cash Pipeline Opposing Canadian Pipelines

Vivian Krause’s article deals with the US funding behind the activists opposing pipelines in Canada. Tides Foundation of San Francisco launched the Tar Sands Campaign in 2008. Since then, the New Venture Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund have joined them. In 2015 Tides gave $4 million to 50 anti-pipeline groups, of which $3.3 million was paid in Canada. The object of the activists is to “keep the oil in the ground.” Yet in Texas, where oil production has doubled, there’s no such campaign. By keeping Canadian oil landlocked in North America, the Tar Sands Campaign allows the US to dominate the market. In other words it amounts to economic protectionism.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/vivian-krause-the-cash-pipeline-opposing-canadian-oil-pipelines>
 

Swiss Vote Down Green Initiative

In a referendum on September 25, Swiss voters turned down (64%-36%) a Green Party initiative that would have committed the country to achieving a sustainable use of natural resources by 2050. The 2050 target would have led to far-reaching structural changes, endangering Switzerland’s highly prized competitiveness and economic growth. The country’s cabinet opposed the proposition. After the vote the environment minister said, “Switzerland can now follow its path to a sustainable economy without coercive measures, but with voluntary provisions to protect the environment and climate.”
 
<http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/september-25-vote_footprint-of-green-initiative-on-swiss-economy-/42465734>
 

Renewable Energy Cost Explosion: €25,000 for Each German Family

The Institute for Competition Economics at the University of Düsseldorf has calculated the total cost of Germany’s Green Energy Transition (Energiewende). By 2025 a total of €520 billion will have been spent, which works out to €25,000 for a family of four. By comparison, 40 percent of German households have net assets of less than €27,000. Most of the direct cost (80%) of the energy transition is due to the Renewable Energy Surcharge (EEG - Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz).
 
In the No Tricks Zone blog, Pierre Gosselin comments on a new book by environmentalist Georg Etscheit, a regular contributor to Germany’s leading climate alarmist site, but who has had enough of the deforested and disfigured landscapes caused by renewable energy infrastructure. The book’s title translates as Sacrificed Landscapes – How the Energiewende Is Destroying our Landscapes. Mr. Gosselin feels that zeitgeist is right and the book will do well. He hopes than an English version will appear and help prevent the German blunder from being repeated elsewhere.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/germanys-renewable-energy-cost-explosion-25000-euros-for-each-family-of-four/>
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/10/04/top-environmentalists-aghast-as-germanys-energiewende-turns-into-a-green-dystopia/>
 

Poland Gets Concessions: EU Ratifies Paris Agreement

After Poland got concessions for its coal-fired economy, environmental ministers from all 28 member states of the EU agreed on September 30 to recommend the bloc’s ratification of the Paris Agreement. On October 4 the European Parliament voted for the ratification, which will take the Paris Agreement past the 55-nation and 55-percent threshold needed to enter into effect. India ratified on October 2, saying that it will require $2.5 trillion to meet its targets, achievable only if other countries give it money or discounts on new technology. The agreement will take effect on November 4, 30 days after the threshold was passed.
 
<http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/eu-states-agree-fast-joint-ratification-of-u-n--climate-deal/42485468>
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_EUROPE_CLIMATE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT>
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_INDIA_CLIMATE_CHANGE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT>
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/UN_UNITED_NATIONS_CLIMATE_CHANGE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT>
 

Southeast Asian Nations Plan Huge Expansion of Fossil Fuel Economy

After the 34th meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) energy ministers, the ministers seemed more concerned about with securing fossil fuels at advantages terms in today’s low-price environment, than in restraining their consumption. The International Energy Agency, which was represented at the meeting, has a chart showing fossil fuels growing from 74% to 78% of primary energy demand between 2013 and 2040, while renewables decline from 26% to 21%. Of the renewable figures, bioenergy makes up 21% and 13%, respectively.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/southeast-asian-nations-plan-huge-expansion-of-fossil-fuel-economy/>
 

First Deal to Curb Aviation Emissions

A meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency, agreed on an emissions-reduction scheme that will apply to passenger and cargo flights that generate more than 10,000 tonnes/year. Instead of facing a cap or charge on emissions, participating airlines will contribute 2% of revenues to fund forests and CO2-reducing activities. Global aviation emissions in 2020 will be used as the benchmark, and 80% of emissions above the benchmark will be offset until 2035. The new system will be voluntary until 2027.
 
The aviation director of the green group Transport & Environment was unimpressed, saying: “Airline claims that flying will now be green are a myth. Taking a plane is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet and this deal won’t reduce demand for jet fuel one drop. Instead offsetting aims to cut emissions in other industries.”
 
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/06/aviation-emissions-agreement-united-nations>
<http://www.icao.int/Newsroom/Pages/Historic-agreement-reached-to-mitigate-international-aviation-emissions.aspx>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/08/un-brokers-new-global-green-tax-on-air-travel/>
 

Report: Wind Farms Were the Ultimate Cause of Australian Blackout

Joanne Nova discusses a preliminary report by the Australian Energy Market Operator on the September 28 blackout during a storm in South Australia [FoS Extracts - 2016-09-29]. During a period of 12 seconds there were faults in three transmission towers, overlapping with a sudden reduction in output from six windfarms at a time when wind was the dominant form of power in SA. This resulted in too much power being pulled into SA, and the overloaded interconnector to the state’s grid tripped, blacking out all of the state. 
 
While the AEMO report pins the crash on the sudden reduction from the wind generators, it stops short of declaring why they dropped power so suddenly (e.g., auto shutoffs, lightening strikes, software glitch, turbine failure, or loss of a key transmission line.) To Ms. Nova the bottom line is that wind energy comes at a very high cost and makes the system either very expensive, horribly fragile, or both. 
 
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/10/sa-blackout-three-towers-six-windfarms-and-12-seconds/>
<https://www.aemo.com.au/Media-Centre/-/media/BE174B1732CB4B3ABB74BD507664B270.ashx>

 

2016-09-29

 

Alberta’s Climate Policies Are Bearing Their Inevitable Poisoned Fruit

University of Calgary political scientist Barry Cooper refers to a report The State of Canadian and US Climate Policy produced by the IHS Oil Sands Dialogue. Both countries have similar goals regarding percentage reductions in CO2 emissions. However, power generation is the largest emissions source for the US (30% compared to 11% for Canada), while Canada’s largest source is industry (44% compared to 21% for the US). The reason for the power generation difference is the use of hydroelectricity in BC and Laurentian Canada. 
 
Thus the US has been able to replace its coal generation with cheap natural gas. With 80% of Canadian electricity generated by non-emitting sources, governments must target other sectors to achieve emissions reduction comparable to the Americans. This makes carbon taxes so attractive to Canadian governments. The costs of the new NEP-the national emissions policy-achieved by carbon-tax harmonization, will introduce more incentives for investment in places where anthropogenic climate change is not an unquestioned public policy dogma.
 
Because the Prairie petroleum industry competes globally for both capital and markets, parochial Canadian climate policies add to costs and induce investors to go abroad. And they make no difference at all to global GHG emissions. Parochial Canadian climate policies are one reason why energy investment in Alberta is half 2014 levels.
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/cooper-ndp-climate-policies-are-bearing-their-inevitable-poisoned-fruit>
<http://press.ihs.com/press-release/energy/climate-policy-canada-and-united-states-take-different-approaches-similar-green>
 

Alberta Government: Climate Change Uncertainty Will Discourage Investment

Speaking at the Pembina Climate Summit in Calgary, Alberta’s environment minister complained that the debate around climate change has become too polarized, and that uncertainty on action will discourage investment. She said: “If given the chance, the political right would go about ... dismantling all of this progress.” 
 
A climate change advisor for Shell explained what’s really troubling the minister. Companies won’t invest to reduce emissions if they’re not confident that the government’s climate change policies will be in place for the long term, and they’re not sure the present government will be around after the next election.
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09/20/alberta-climate-change_n_12108214.html>
 

We’re Saved: Canada’s Environment Minister Promises a Nationwide Price on Carbon

On September 18 Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna pledged pledged to enact a nationwide carbon price on provinces that don’t do enough to curb greenhouse emissions on their own. She did not give specific details on how the plan would be devised, or how the price would be imposed, though she said it would be in place sometime before October. The government’s determination to implement a national carbon price (either a tax or cap and trade with a minimum price) is meeting with resistance and some outright opposition from premiers. Provinces that already have carbon-pricing regimes, notably Quebec, worry that Ottawa will intervene and force them to get tougher, while the premiers in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia argue that they have their own climate plans and that the federal approach will hurt key industries and consumers.
 
<https://thinkprogress.org/canada-promises-nationwide-price-on-carbon-5e2ecbe1ae70#.ue08dmttd>
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canada-to-impose-nationwide-carbon-price-environment-minister-says/article31946279/>
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/09/19/canada-scrambles-create-national-climate-plan-may-sign-cop21-without-one>
http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/09/19/news/politicians-not-pleased-mckennas-new-climate-commitments>
 

Regulating CO2, Not Just Pricing It

Economist Mark Jaccard, who worked for the IPCC and has allowed himself to be described as a Nobel laureate because of his IPCC work, says that COprices high enough to make a difference would doom any government foolish enough to impose them. To force Canada to meet the goals agreed to at the Paris climate summit would require a price of $200/tonne. British Columbia has frozen its carbon tax at $30 a tonne, and Alberta has no plans to go beyond that level. Governments in France and Australia have already cancelled carbon taxes in the face of public opposition.
 
Instead, Mr. Jaccard favours  flexible regulations on industries, vehicles and power generation that focus on setting caps or standards rather than imposing solutions. The regulations would phase out coal-fired power, require car builders to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles, force trucks and buses to use more biodiesel and would cap the amount of carbon manufacturers are allowed to release per unit of production. He acknowledges that regulations don’t mean a price isn’t being paid; they simply hide it.
 
http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/09/20/news/taxes-more-difficult-economist-suggests-regulating-carbon-instead-pricing-it>
https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2013/04/16/mark-jaccard-counterfeit-nobel-laureate/>
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/justin-trudeau-climate-denier/article32064894/>
 

Ontario Puts Brakes on Renewable Energy

On September 27 the Ontario government announced that it is cancelling its second “large renewable procurement” plan, which would have allowed companies to bid to build wind and solar farms with a total capacity of 1,000 MW. The province’s energy minister said the power isn’t needed and the cancellation will save Ontario $3.8 billion and spare consumers an extra $2.45/month on their bills. In the Financial Post Terence Corcoran writes, “Only a government can get away with declaring a saving for consumers by not spending on projects that are not needed.”
 
The cancellation was a shock for the renewable-energy industry and its allies. The president of the solar industries association said: “We are on the cusp of being recognized players in the international community, and we are at the doorstep of other provinces like Alberta [which are about to start] developing vast amounts of solar.” His wind energy counterpart called the decision a “missed opportunity” for the province to prepare for future energy needs and mitigate climate change.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/ontario-cancels-plans-to-purchase-more-green-electricity/article32071794/>
<http://www.financialpost.com/m/wp/fp-comment/blog.html?b=business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-ontarios-huge-green-energy-about-face-shows-renewables-arent-so-doable-after-all>
 

Obama Demands Intelligence Agencies Draft Plans to Combat Climate Change

President Obama signed a directive on September 21 telling 20 federal offices to develop a “federal climate and national security working group” to “identify the US national security priorities related to climate change and national security, and develop methods to share climate science and intelligence information to inform national security policies and plans,” He also asked the agencies — which cover climate offices and national security missions — to write implementation plans for combatting climate change.
 
Republican members or Congress want the administration back up the directive with evidence. The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in a letter said that “… it is necessary for us to better understand the science the underpins the studies, climate models, reports and conclusions…” used by the administration. 
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/22/president-obama-demands-intelligence-agencies-draft-plans-to-combat-climate-change/>
<http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/297070-obama-inserts-climate-change-into-national-security-strategy>
<https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/21/fact-sheet-president-obama-takes-historic-step-address-national-security>
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/26/republicans-demand-proof-from-obama-that-global-warming-is-a-national-security-threat/>
<https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/09.26.16%20SST%20Letter%20to%20Ambassador%20Rice.pdf>
 

Green Panic: Hillary Clinton Barely Mentions Climate Anymore

The Guardian is fretting that the the number of times US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton mentions climate has apparently dropped dramatically since she received an endorsement from Bernie Sanders. During the last six months of the primary campaign she talked about climate change in half the speeches she gave. Since getting Mr. Sanders’ endorsement on July 12, Ms. Clinton has given 38 speeches, mentioning climate change only eight times. The Guardian speculates that Ms. Clinton might just be downplaying her climate views, as they suggest President Obama did in his first term, to avoid upsetting potential supporters.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/21/green-panic-hillary-barely-mentions-climate-anymore/>
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/20/hillary-clinton-dropped-climate-change-from-speeches-after-bernie-sanders-endorsement>
 

Three Ways Trump Could Abandon the Paris Climate Pact

Despite President Obama’s ratification of the Paris Agreement, Climate Central, concerned about the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency, sees three ways (fast, medium and gradual) that Mr. Trump could “cancel” the pact: (1) Under Article 28 of the agreement he can formally withdraw from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which means withdrawal from the pact after one year. (2) Wait until three years after the agreement has come into force, then withdraw. (3) Undermine the agreement by abandoning rules, incentives and programs designed to reduce emissions, thus preventing the US from living up to its commitments.
 
<http://www.climatecentral.org/news/trump-could-abandon-paris-climate-agreement-20711>
 

WaPo: It’s Time for a Carbon Tax

The Washington Post’s editorial board bemoans the fact that Americans are on track to set an annual gasoline consumption record in 2016. Because of the Environmental Protection Agency’s stiff fuel-efficiency requirements, this was not supposed to happen. The problem is that the EPA can’t control how much people drive or what types of vehicles they buy. Therefore the WaPo calls for a steadily-rising carbon tax, but such a tax would require Congress to act, something it has serially failed to do.
 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/with-more-people-hitting-the-road-its-time-for-a-carbon-tax/2016/09/11/87eb0f4a-7085-11e6-9705-23e51a2f424d_story.html?utm_term=.a89bc7defad9>
 

US Gasoline Consumption Hits New Record

In 2012 the experts and the Department of Energy agreed that the US had reached what they called “peak demand.” But August 2016 set a new record for gasoline consumption as Americans used 9.7 million barrels a day. With incomes increasing again and low gasoline prices Americans are back to driving big cars and more miles than ever before. The government’s fuel economy standards aren’t working because of a fatal flaw that limits their effectiveness: They can increase fuel economy, but they don’t increase the cost per mile of driving.
 
<http://www.theenergycollective.com/lucasdavis/2389311/addicted-to-oil-u-s-gasoline-consumption-is-higher-than-ever>
 

South Australia Pays the Price for Heavy Reliance on Renewable Energy

On September 28 the State of South Australia was cut off from the national grid, resulting in a state-wide power outage. The state has put a heavy reliance on renewable energy, which forced the closure of uncompetitive power stations. This put the electricity network in South Australia under stress following a lack of electricity generated from wind and solar sources at a time when it was unable to "import" sufficient supply from Victoria during a storm. The Ontario Wind Resistance site has a chart showing wind energy production suddenly dropping from 1,000 MW to zero as the storm hit.
 
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blasted state governments, including South Australia’s, for setting aggressive and unrealistic renewable energy targets. The federal energy and environment minister is hauling his state counterparts in for a meeting in the next few days to discuss what lessons should be taken from the SA disaster.
 
<http://www.smh.com.au/business/south-australia-pays-the-price-for-heavy-reliance-on-renewable-energy-20160928-grqq9k.html>
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/09/29/another-statewide-blackout-south-australias-wind-power-disaster-continues/>
<https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/pm-blasts-unrealistic-renewable-targets-022257544.html>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/09/entire-state-of-south-australia-without-electricity-as-storm-hits/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/28/entire-state-of-south-australia-has-power-black-out-because-of-flawed-climate-change-energy-policy/>
 

Paris Climate Agreement Passes Key Threshold

Thirty-one countries formally joined the Paris climate change pact on September 21, bringing the total number of countries ratifying the treaty to 60 and raising hopes that it will enter into effect by the end of the year. The number is higher than the 55-country threshold needed for the treaty to enter into force. But because together those countries account for 48% of total global emissions - short of the 55% threshold - the agreement must wait for more nations to join.
 
<http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/UN_UNITED_NATIONS_CLIMATE_CHANGE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT>
<https://www.yahoo.com/news/paris-climate-accord-closer-un-meeting-144446504.html>
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/09/21/paris-climate-deal-inches-closer-to-an-iota-of-relevance/>
 

Michael Mann’s Deniers Club

The Washington Post featured Michael Mann’s hotlist of climate change deniers on September 18. The smear campaign against eight individuals skeptical of climate alarmism was adapted from his new book, The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy. Of the eight, Bjørn Lomberg “… represents an insidious form of climate change denial” because he doesn’t dismiss climate science outright, but denies the seriousness of the the threat.
 
<http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/business/alatheia-nielsen/2016/09/19/washington-post-gives-full-page-climate-activist-michael>
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/09/16/deniers-club-meet-the-people-clouding-the-climate-change-debate/?utm_term=.4fce630f76c7#comments>

 

2016-09-19

 

Alberta to Have 30% Renewable Power by 2030

Alberta’s government says that it’s committed to having 30% of the province’s electricity coming from renewables by 2030. This would involve creating an additional 5,000 MW of renewable power, costing $10.5 billion. But details on how to reach the target and the cost to the province remain sketchy. The government’s website says that $3.4 billion out of the $10 billion expected to be collected from the incoming carbon tax will go toward large scale renewable projects and technology.
 
According to Alberta Energy, last June about 39% of the province’s capacity of 16,300 MW came from coal and 44% from natural gas. While the Canadian Solar Industries Association anticipates the cost of solar power will be low because of the competitive bidding process, it is still looking for revenue certainty for producers, perhaps through contracts that would have the province top them up.
 
The Alberta Electric System Operator, reports that 21 proposed solar projects generating a total of 681 MW-about 60 times the existing provincial solar capacity-have been registered on its system access service request list as of September 1. Developer EDF EN Canada says that the price of power today is too low and they’re looking for a change in the spot price or “some sort of additional revenue stream.”
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/ndp-says-alberta-will-have-30-per-cent-renewable-power-by-2030-but-questions-loom>
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/solar-power-proposals-on-rise-as-province-pushes-for-renewable-energy>
 

Ontario Premier Attributes By-election Loss to Rising Electricity Rates

After losing a seat held by the Liberals since the 1990s Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted that her party has been hearing concerns about rising electricity rates during the by-election. She promised that in the fall legislative session her government will be dealing with these costs, which in some cases are forcing Ontarians to choose between mortgage payments and electricity use.
 
Ms. Wynne then attempted a reboot of her government’s policies by proroguing the legislature and having the lieutenant-governor deliver a throne speech that promises to rebate the 8% provincial sales tax on electricity bills, with rural residents being eligible for a higher rebate. 
 
<http://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/6845136-ontario-premier-kathleen-wynne-attributes-byelection-loss-to-rising-hydro-rates/>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-government-throne-speech-electricity-rates-1.3758002>
 

US Voters and Climate Change

In August the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research did a nationally representative poll of 1,096 adults on the topic: Energy and Climate Change in the 2016 Election. The third link below contains the detailed results. While 65% of the respondents said climate change is a problem the US government should address (Q16/16A Combined), they are not willing to pay much to “combat climate change.” When asked whether they would support a monthly fee on their electric bill to combat climate change, 42% of respondents are unwilling to pay even $1, and only 29% are willing to pay $20 (Q16B). 
 
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/09/42-of-us-adults-dont-want-to-pay-even-12-a-year-to-stop-climate-change/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/15/how-much-will-americans-pay-to-battle-climate-change-not-much/>
<http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/EnergyClimate/Energy%20CC%202016%20Election_Final%20Topline.pdf>
 
 

Obama’s Electric Car Fail

Campaigning in 2008 Barack Obama promised, “… we will get one million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on our roads within six years …” In 2009, two months after becoming President, Mr. Obama said, “…we will put one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on America’s roads by 2015…” These promises have worked out abysmally. In spite of state and federal rebates of thousands or dollars per electric vehicle, there are only 400,000 of them on US roads. None of these cars achieve the equivalent of 150 miles per gallon. As Donna Laframboise puts it, “Anyone can stand at a podium and promise to make all manner of green fantasies come true. But even US presidents with billions at their command aren’t magicians.”
 
<https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/09/15/obamas-electric-car-fail/>
 

California Fights to Save Carbon Market

When the US Congress failed to pass a cap-and-trade system, California set up its own in 2012, one that was hailed as a model for the rest of the world. State officials set an initial price of $10/t, and prices were predicted to reach $50/t. Instead prices have traded closer to $12/t, leading to far less revenue than anticipated and raising questions about what, if any, effect the program has had in lowering the state’s CO2 emissions. The latest auction of permits yielded just $8 million for the state, with two thirds of the permits going unsold. One reason: companies have stopped buying permits that may become worthless if an appeals court rules against the constitutionality of the auctions next year. Until then companies are hedging their bets by buying futures contracts, which allow them to lock in the price at a future date while paying about 10% of the cost upfront.
 
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-08/california-fights-to-save-market-plan-to-cut-carbon-emissions>
 

Nicolas Sarkozy Turns Climate Skeptic

Mr. Sarkozy, who is fighting to regain the French presidency that he lost to François Hollande in 2012, reckons that humans alone are not to blame for climate change. “Climate has been changing for four billion years,” he said according to AFP. “Sahara has become a desert, it isn’t because of industry. You need to be as arrogant as men are to believe we changed the climate.” Mr. Sarkozy believes the world should be concentrating on the rise in the population and movement of people rather than worrying so much about global warming.
 
M. Sarkozy’s blasphemy against the climate-change orthodoxy caused furious reaction. Among the commenters was Valérie Masson-Demotte, who is co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group 1. She said our "Our developed societies have been built on a pact between scientists and politicians,” and M. Sarkozy’s remarks apparently risk breaking this pact.
 
<http://www.thelocal.fr/20160915/sarkozy-turns-climate-sceptic-in-battle-for-the-elyse>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/09/breaking-nicolas-sarkozy-former-president-of-france-now-climate-skeptic-will-run-again/>
<http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/09/sarkozy-sceptical-climate-change-string/>
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/15/sarkozy-sparks-storm-over-claims-man-not-sole-cause-of-climate-c/>
<https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-interview-valerie-masson-delmotte>
 

Greens Outraged as Germany Removes Concrete Targets in Weakened Climate Plan

Outraged environmental organizations say the German government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 will fall well short of meeting climate targets, and accuse the environment ministry of caving in to pressure from the economics ministry and Angela Merkel’s Chancellery to water down ambitious plans and drop important details, like a deadline for the coal exit. The environment ministry’s plan has been published, but concrete targets included in previous drafts have been removed, prompting the Green Party to describe the document as an “admission of government failure.”
 
A June draft said that by 2030 “a large majority of newly registered cars” would have to be powered by electricity or biofuels. But the new plan only states that “the government aims to significantly lower car emissions by 2030” and that e-cars would contribute to that goal.
 
<https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/government-avoids-concrete-targets-weakened-climate-action-plan>
 

Once the Driving Force of Climate Action, the EU Has Fallen Behind

The inability of the EU’s member states to agree on an effort-sharing deal could delay ratification of the Paris Agreement until late 2017. This could see the climate deal enter into force without the world’s biggest economic bloc. While the ratification process will likely be completed at the EU level by October, there are obstacles at the national level. In particular, Poland is still trying to negotiate free emissions permits for its coal-fired power stations in exchange for ratification. With the UK’s departure from the bloc, achieving the promised 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 will be difficult.
 
<http://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/once-the-driving-force-of-climate-action-the-eu-has-fallen-behind/>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-06/poland-ties-climate-deal-ratification-to-eu-concessions-on-coal>
 

Why US Venture Capitalists Abandoned Green Energy

A decade ago, clean-energy companies were the hot trend that venture capitalists were chasing, but after losing more than half the $25 billion they pumped into clean-energy technology from 2006 to 2011, their enthusiasm has soured. Two experts, from the Clean Energy Trust and the Council of Foreign Relations, found that “clean tech” investments are illiquid-they’re capital intensive and tie up the investments for longer than the 3-5 year time horizons preferred by VCs. Also, it’s hard to compete with cheap electricity from natural gas.
 
The experts’ MIT-pubished paper, Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation, analyzes what went wrong for the VCs (pp.8-11), with new materials and processes being “hopeless money losers.” To make clean tech work in the future, the authors suggest “a more diverse set of actors and innovation models,” such as more “patient capital” from billionaire investors like Bill Gates, global oil companies, and of course, even more US government support. 
 
<http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-venture-capitalists-abandoned-clean-energy-1473818402>
<http://energy.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/MITEI-WP-2016-06.pdf>
 

UN Secretary General: The Climate Debate is “Over”

The day after the US and China formally ratified the Paris climate agreement, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon said: “The debate over climate phenomenon is over scientifically and environmentally," adding that the influence of climate change deniers or skeptics has waned. Climate subsidies are being reduced worldwide, as even the greenest governments give up on hopeless renewables.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/04/un-secretary-general-the-climate-debate-is-over/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-climatechange-un-idUSKCN11A04N>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/09/uk-government-slashes-renewables-incentives/>

 

2016-09-04

 

Ontario, Québec Sign Climate Policy Deal with Mexico

On August 31 Ontario and Québec signed an agreement with the Mexican government to jointly develop carbon markets with the aim of allowing companies in the two provinces to purchase Mexican greenhouse-gas reduction credits to satisfy provincially-mandated emissions caps. The agreement envisions Mexico joining with the provinces and California – and potentially other U.S. states – in the Western Climate Initiative, which allows the buying and selling of emission allowances among jurisdictions with the goal of financing the lowest-cost emissions reductions.
 
Critics complain that millions of dollars will flow out of Ontario and Québec to finance emissions reductions elsewhere.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/international-business/latin-american-business/ontario-quebec-sign-climate-policy-deal-with-mexico/article31637425/>
<http://www.bnn.ca/ontario-quebec-sign-climate-policy-deal-with-mexico-1.558700>
<http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/climate-summit-of-the-americas---mexico-ontario-and-quebec-agree-to-increase-their-cooperation-in-the-fight-against-climate-change-592044571.html>
 

Provinces Balk at Federal Push to Accelerate Coal Phase-out

Ottawa is eager to bring a plan to the climate change conference in Morocco next November, one with three major planks: an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power plants, cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45% by 2030, and a minimum price for CO2 emissions across the country. Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia say such a move could leave them with worthless technology and drive up electricity rates. New Brunswick also expects to use coal until 2040, and its utility opposes an earlier deadline. According to NB Power an early phase-out of coal could increase rates by 38%.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/provinces-balk-at-federal-push-to-accelerate-phasing-out-of-coal-power/article31685245/>
 

Too Much of a Good Thing: How Ontario Bungled the Green Energy File

This one is written by Jon Kieran, a director of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, who once “… felt great pride in helping to lead an industry that would make Ontario’s power system clean, responsive and cutting edge.” He now realizes what happens after a decade of the Ontario government giving too many “sweet contracts” to large renewable energy developers. As installed capacity approaches 40,000 MW, peak demand (23,000 MW this summer) is less than it was ten years ago, leading to electricity prices increasing faster than any other North American jurisdiction and the need for “negative pricing” during periods of high production. Yet the Ontario government is currently procuring an additional 1,300 MW of large wind and solar generation. Mr. Kieran hasn’t loss his faith in solar. In Ontario he wants it limited to small rooftop and distributed projects, which also happen to be the most lucrative (at 31.3 ¢/kWh) under Ontario’s FIT/microFIT price schedule.
 
<http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/jon-w-kieran-too-much-of-a-good-thing-how-ontarios-liberals-bungled-the-green-energy-file>
<http://fit.powerauthority.on.ca/sites/default/files/FIT-Price-Schedule-2016-06-21.pdf>
 

Everyone’s a Climate Change Leader

Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne says, “Ontario is a world leader in the fight against climate change.” However, it has competition for the title: British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island all claim to be world leaders in the fight. So are some US states, the US government, governments throughout Europe, China and Japan.
 
In climate change output, or rather the lack of it, doesn’t count. Effort and earnestness are the measures of success, and in these no political jurisdiction has a monopoly. No one can question the Ontario premier’s earnestness in claiming to be “committed to creating a low-carbon economy.” Or her earnest hope that her climate change policies “will drive innovation, create more opportunities for business and industry, and generate high-value jobs”.
 
The European Union, one of the first to show leadership on the climate change front, has the stats to show for it, as energy or fuel poverty is increasingly becoming an issue. So far, Canada has been a laggard in promoting climate change policies, especially at the federal level, and thus a laggard in elevating fuel poverty. But with new leadership from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and continued leadership from the provinces, fuel poverty can follow in the more progressive steps of Europe.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomon-everyones-a-climate-change-leader-until-their-claims-become-quantifiable>
 

US and China Ratify Paris Climate Deal

The United States joined China in formally ratifying last December’s Paris climate agreement. With China representing 20% of global emissions, the US 18%, this brings the pact much closer to the 55% required to make it come into effect. However, the ability of the US to achieve its Paris targets could be affected by a court hearing this month in which 27 US states are trying to block the federal Clean Power Plan. Also, there is question over the legality of the executive order used to ratify the deal. 
 
Joanne Nova calls the joint ratification “emergency theatre,” pointing out that China is a giant coal mine and CO2 pump, and that US voters and the Congress won’t pay to change the weather. Regarding further ratification, the EU is divided over when and how to ratify the agreement, and India-despite pressure from the US and China-won’t ratify this year.
 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-climatechange-idUSKCN11901W?il=0>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/08/emergency-theater-for-paris-agreement-china-us-rush-to-pretend-to-ratify/>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/eu-divided-over-when-and-how-to-ratify-paris-climate-deal/>
<http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/paris-climate-deal-us-china-india-says-not-possible-by-2016-end-3012392/>
 

California Keeps Its Dying Carbon Market on Life Support

On the same day that California reported that sales of permits in its state-wide carbon market were well below expected levels, the state’s legislature passed a bill that would extend the broken program beyond its current 2020 deadline. On August 23 the state said it had failed to sell any permits offered to cover emissions in 2016 and sold just 660,560 of the 10 million permits to cover 2019 emissions, at a price of $12.73/t. In June an auction produced just 2% of the revenue it was expected to generate.
 
A regional carbon market is a dangerous endeavour because the state, country or economic bloc (e.g., the EU) implementing the system runs the risk of chasing away its most energy-intensive industries if the price for carbon permits is set too high (carbon leakage). 
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/08/26/california-keeps-its-dying-carbon-market-on-life-support/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-carbon-auction-idUSKCN10Y2GH>
 

Investors Confront Tesla's Energy Fantasy

Tesla’s operating losses, along with its fishy accounting practices and unrealistic investor promises, have led Devonshire Research Group to liken the car company’s business model to Enron’s. Bad entrepreneurship is normally punished by market losses and contraction. But Musk’s market is rigged. A mountain of taxpayer subsidies is allowing Tesla’s bad show to go on — and even expand. 
 
Elon Musk’s various ventures have received almost $5 billion worth of government assistance. Nevada chimed in with $1.3 billion to incentivize Tesla to build its “gigafactory” — a new battery producing facility — near Reno. Each car sold by Tesla receives a federal income tax credit of $7,500. And California allows an additional $2,500 rebate to its citizens. President Obama just announced $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicle entrepreneurs. According to the president, the money will help fill garages with EVs and make charging stations ubiquitous.
 
Elon Musk claims that his subsidies pale in comparison to those given to the oil and gas companies. In fact, subsidies for Tesla, with all its government rebates, add up to about 15% of the consumer price. Gas and oil subsidies, on the other hand, amount to one-third of 1%.
 
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbradley/2016/08/24/investors-confront-teslas-energy-fantasy/#302978f51da2>
 

Reality Check: Germany’s Energiewende in Crisis

Germany is still pursuing its goal of shutting down its nuclear plants but refuses to close its lignite plants. It is slashing renewable energy subsidies and replacing them with an auction/quota system. And, Germany’s emissions are not decreasing. For example, electricity sector emissions decreased between 1990 and 1999, but have remained essentially flat since then. Other sectors’ emissions are about the same as in 2009. While renewable energy generation now supplies 30% of the country’s electricity, it has had no detectable impact on emissions due to its replacing nuclear generation, rather than gas, coal and lignite.
 
Germany has the second-highest (after Denmark) residential electricity rates in Europe. The country is one of contradictions: Germans favour more renewable energy, but oppose power lines needed to distribute it. They want to close the nuclear plants, which will make achieving the emissions targets far more difficult and costly. And now Germany is discontinuing the direct renewables subsidies that have driven the Energiewende since its adoption in 2000.
 
<http://euanmearns.com/an-update-on-the-energiewende/>
 

Climate policy: Fake it ’til you make it

Last April The Guardian published an article Abandon Hype in Climate Models that takes aim at the economic models used to inform climate policy. These contain wishful thinking about technologies to remove CO2 from the atmosphere-technologies that don’t exist and which it is unclear whether they could be deployed on a meaningful scale. Most of the modelled emission pathways to limit warming to 2°C (or 1.5°C) require massive deployment of biomass energy and use of carbon capture and storage. This involves growing biomass which is used to generate power and geologically sequestering the CO2 produced. 
 
There is a distinct lack of evidence to determine whether biomass + carbon capture & storage is technically feasible, economically affordable, environmentally benign, socially acceptable and politically viable at a material scale. Technically, there are serious doubts about the ability to sequester the vast quantities of CO2 that are implied in the models.
 
As the article concludes, “Fake it ‘til you make it” may work as a tactic, but it is a lousy strategy.
 
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/08/30/climate-policy-fake-it-til-you-make-it/>
<https://www.theguardian.com/science/political-science/2016/apr/26/abandon-hype-in-climate-models?CMP=share_btn_tw>
 

Profs Tells Students: “No debate” on Climate

Three professors co-teaching an online course called “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age” at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs recently told their students via email that man-made climate change is not open for debate, and those who think otherwise have no place in their course. “Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course,” the professors’ email said.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/u-s-professors-tell-students-drop-class-if-you-dispute-man-made-climate-change/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/09/profs-tell-students-no-debate-on-climate-unbelievers-should-drop-out/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/31/intolerance-by-the-climate-thought-police-at-university-of-colorado/>
 

Climate Science Debates Find Their Place in the Sun

There’s no dispute that the Sun has become quiescent, but there are arguments among researchers on whether this is significant. The current solar cycle (No. 24) began January 4, 2008 and reached its peak in 2014. According to some, the Sun’s activity is dropping to levels last seen during a mini ice age that gripped the northern hemisphere 350 years ago. Others accept that the effect is real, but say global warming will still rule our future. Some academics seem to regard the whole issue as too dangerous for public consumption and have sought to suppress it. They seem to regard this new twist to the climate change debate as a threat, opening the door to "denialists" who dismiss global warming as scaremongering.
 
<http://www.thenational.ae/uae/science/climate-science-debates-find-their-place-in-the-sun#full>
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle_24>
 

2016-08-22

 

Alberta’s Oilsands Cap Could Cost Billions, Limited Emissions Impact

According to a Fraser Institute study, How Alberta’s Carbon Emission Cap Will Reduce Oil Sands Growth, the Alberta government’s proposed cap of 100 Mt on oilsands emissions would reduce its production potential by more than three billion barrels between 2025 and 2040, costing the Canadian economy more than $250 billion in lost production and resulting in a “meagre” 0.035% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The study finds finds that the cap would reduce carbon emissions by 236 megatonnes cumulatively between 2025 and 2040, adding up to a cost of more than $1,000 for each tonne of greenhouse gases avoided by keeping the oil in the ground. 
 
Last November four companies-Suncor, Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus and Shell Canada-agreed after negotiations with environmental groups on the 100 Mt cap. Peter Foster sees two major issues with the cap: how emissions limits will be allocated, and whether the eco-radicals can be trusted to call  off the resources wars and start handing out “social licences” for new pipelines. Mr. Foster believes the industry is naive if it believes it can trust the ENGOs, pointing out how they reneged after signing the 2010 Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/albertas-oilsands-cap-could-mean-billions-worth-of-lost-production-limited-impact-on-emissions-report?__lsa=f1fb-21b5>
<https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/how-albertas-carbon-emission-cap-will-reduce-oil-sands-growth>
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/peter-foster-the-oil-industry-still-shouldnt-trust-environmental-ngos-after-emissions-cap-deal>
 

BC’s Climate Leadership Plan

Nine months after Alberta announced its climate leadership plan, British Columbia followed suit with its own version. BC claims its plan will lead to the creation of 66,000 “green” jobs over the next ten years and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050, but avoids any firm target for 2030, thus leaving the hard work of reducing emissions for another day. The province’s $30/t carbon tax will remain at that level, ignoring a recommendation to hike it by $10 each year staring in 2018. (In the 2013 election Premier Christy Clark promised not to raise the tax.) The plan includes 21 items, including incentives to encourage companies to convert their land  and marine vehicles to natural gas, improved public transport, charging stations for electric vehicles, increase tree planting and “carbon-neutral” buildings.
 
<https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016PREM0089-001501>
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bcs-climate-plan-five-charts-that-explain-thedebate/article31466056/>
 

How Ontario’s 1% Can Do Its Share to Reduce Fuel Poverty

Under Ontario’s bizarre electricity pricing scheme the more users conserve, the more they pay [FoS Extracts - 2016-07-27]. Brady Yauch, executive director and economist of the Consumer Policy Institute, has a solution: Ontario’s 1% can lower everyone else’s power bills by cranking up air conditioners, setting their pool heaters to higher temperatures and simply leaving the lights on. This would be especially true if the rich increased their consumption doing off-peak hours, as the surplus power (usually coming from emissions-free nuclear generators, hydro dams and wind farms) would be used in Ontario, rather than being dumped into New York and Michigan. 
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/how-ontarios-1-per-cent-can-do-its-share-to-reduce-fuel-poverty>
 

How Producing Clean Power Turned Out To Be a Messy Business

NRG Energy, the biggest independent power producer in the US and the fourth largest emitter of CO2 among the country’s power producers, has been trying since 2006 to improve its image by transitioning to “clean” power. Under new CEO David Crane NRG began making large investments in wind and solar plants and spent heavily on a national network of electric-car charging stations, promising to slash CO2 emissions in half by 2030 and reduce them by 90% by 2050. He said: “It’s the destiny of NRG to be a leader, to create a more sustainable and prosperous future while winning the fight against climate change.”
 
Unfortunately for Mr. Crane NRG did not prosper, as cheap natural gas made NRG’s coal-fired power plants uncompetitive and investors grew weary of his focus on clean energy. So the NRG board fired Mr. Crane, who posted a blog post, “If I was right, why was I fired?” blaming his dismissal on trying to transform NRG from brown to green and from centralized to distributed. In his view, the lack of investor appetite for internal transformation is a dangerous inhibiter to corporate change.
 
Mr. Crane’s successor speaks hopefully of developments in carbon-capture technology and utility-scale battery storage, but faces a tricky balancing act appeasing demanding investors and a skittish board, which means reining in some of his predecessor’s clean-energy ventures.
 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/business/energy-environment/how-producing-clean-power-turned-out-to-be-a-messy-business.html?_r=2>
<https://www.greenbiz.com/article/if-i-was-right-why-was-i-fired>
 

Obama-Backed Solar Company on the Verge of Extinction

The judge in the bankruptcy proceeding of SunEdison called the company “hopelessly insolvent,” ruling that shareholders won’t get an official voice in the bankruptcy. The judge’s decision came after a court fight aimed at showing the massive solar power company had enough money left to keep shareholders from avoiding financial ruin as a result of the bankruptcy. SunEdison will come up $1 billion to $2.5 billion short of covering all its debts.
 
SunEdison and its sister companies received nearly $650 million in government subsidies and tax credits since 2000, making it the 13th most subsided company in the US.
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/12/hopelessly-insolvent-obama-backed-solar-company-on-verge-of-extinction/>
 

Bill McKibben Goes Full Jackboot on Climate Change

Barack Obama’s green billionaire supporter, Bill McKibben, in writing A World At War in the New Republic, wants the world to wage war against Climate Change, by giving governments full wartime powers to seize private property and coerce businesses into supporting the effort, and with strict government control of the economy. In Mr. McKibben’s world the government would, as in WW II, have unconstrained power to seize private property and direct business people to work for the government for whatever profit the government decided was fair, on pain of having their assets forcibly removed and handed to someone else. Worst of all, unlike WW II, Mr. McKibben’s war would never end. 
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/21/bill-mckibben-goes-full-jackboot-on-climate-change/>
<https://newrepublic.com/article/135684/declare-war-climate-change-mobilize-wwii>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/08/mckibben-its-the-climate-world-war-hitler-nazis-panic/>
 

Greenwashing Has Suddenly Become Very Expensive

Greenwashing, where companies took the easy route of paying lip service to climate issues, instead of opposing green lies, may be about to pay a high price for decades of complacency. For example, the Obama Administration requires that larger contractors and vendors selling goods and services to the government publicly disclose greenhouse gas emissions and reduction goals, and climate-related risks. Apart from the extra costs involved, this requirement allows federal bureaucrats to reject bids that offer best value for money on the basis of a qualitative judgement as to whether the bidder has provided the right “climate risk” information. Paying lip service to green issues will no longer protect a business from increasingly damaging compliance requirements based on green fantasies.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/19/greenwashing-has-suddenly-become-very-expensive/>
 

WaPo Discovers: Intermittency Bites Renewables and Boosts Gas

The Washington Post’s green energy reporter Chris Mooney has discovered the dirty little secret of wind and solar power: It takes a fossil fuel-natural gas-to make them practical on a large scale. Citing a recent paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Mr. Mooney reports breathlessly, “Because of the particular nature of clean energy sources like solar and wind, you can’t simply add them to the grid in large volumes and think that’s the end of the story. Rather, because these sources of electricity generation are ‘intermittent’ — solar fluctuates with weather and the daily cycle, wind fluctuates with the wind — there has to be some means of continuing to provide electricity even when they go dark. And the more renewables you have, the bigger this problem can be.”
 
<http://www.powermag.com/blog/wapo-discovers-intermittency-bites-renewables-and-boosts-gas/>
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/11/turns-out-wind-and-solar-have-a-secret-friend-natural-gas/?utm_term=.666bb93f3b20>
 

Study Calls for 16-km Setback for Wind Turbines near Great Lakes

Using radar designed to detect birds and bats, the US Fish and Wildlife Service monitored four sites along the south shore of Lake Ontario, releasing the results last month. The study calls for an 16-km buffer around the Great Lakes for wind farms, and the results should apply in Canada as well. Data released last month indicated wind turbines in Ontario in 2015 killed 14,140 birds, mainly songbirds, and 42,656 bats, including several species on Ontario’s endangered species list.
 
The Canadian Wind Energy Association said wind farm developers are attracted to the areas close to the Great Lakes because they provide the most consistent winds. It also said that global warming is the biggest threat to birds and other wildlife, and more birds are killed by cats and collisions with buildings and cars.
 
<http://www.lfpress.com/2016/08/15/study-calls-for-18-km-turbine-setback>
 

Climate Activist Calls for Tax Policies to Discourage Childbirth

Bioethicist Travis Rieder at John Hopkins University argues that richer nations should discourage people having children in order to protect them from the ravages of global warming and reduce emissions. He proposes procreation disincentives such as government tax breaks for poor people and tax penalties for rich people, a kind of “carbon tax on kids.” Poor nations would be cut slack “because they’re still developing, and because their per capita emissions are a sliver of the developed world’s.”
 
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/19/climate-change-activists-tax-discourage-childbirth/>
<http://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/479349760/should-we-be-having-kids-in-the-age-of-climate-change>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/08/we-should-protect-our-kids-from-climate-change-by-not-having-them/#more-50412>
 

Olympic Gold Medals for Climate Hysteria

In 2009 Tokyo’s governor warned that the 2016 Olympics could be the last Games due to global warming. A new prediction published this month in The Lancet warns that 70 years from now, only eight North Hemisphere cities outside Europe, with three in North America, will be cool enough to serve as hosts. Joanne Nova suggests that the Olympics could cope with a 1.5°C temperature rise by either shifting locations (e.g., Sao Paulo is 3°C cooler than Rio) or the timing. Watts Up With That slams the opening ceremonies in Rio for including a deceitful video on partisan climate change politics.
 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/olympics-tokyo-environment-idUSLU38985020090930>
<http://gizmodo.com/global-warming-will-make-it-nearly-impossible-to-hold-t-1785203911?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_twitter&utm_source=gizmodo_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/08/in-2009-warming-would-stop-2020-olympics-now-disaster-moved-to-2084/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/15/olympic-sized-climate-propaganda/>

 

2016-08-11

 

Suncor Discussing Possibility of Leaving Oil in the Ground

Supported by the Pembina Institute and Greenpeace, Suncor’s CEO, Steve Williams, said his company is considering “stranding” some of its oil sands reserves if they are too expensive to produce or if they would add too much to their greenhouse gas emission intensity levels. Mr. Williams is optimistic that the Alberta government will endorse the idea. In a sustainability report released earlier this week, Suncor vowed to reduce its overall emissions per barrel of oil and gas production by 30% by 2030.
 
On the other hand Cenovus Energy said that his company is not following Suncor’s lead in seeking to strand any of its oil sands resource.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/suncor-discussing-with-alberta-government-possibility-of-leaving-oil-in-ground/article31153337/>
 

As Corn Devours US Prairies, Greens Reconsider Biofuel Mandate

Environmentalists who once championed biofuels as a way to cut CO2 emissions are now turning against a US program that puts renewable fuels in cars, citing higher-than-expected emissions and reduced wildlife habitat. Back in 2004 the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a 96-page report, How Biofuels Can Help End America’s Oil Dependence, that proclaimed boundless biofuel benefits: slashed global warming emissions, improved air quality and more wildlife habitat. 
 
Instead, farmers plowed millions of acres of prairie grasses to grow corn for making ethanol, with fertilizer runoff contributing to a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists warned that carbon dioxide emissions associated with corn-based ethanol were higher than expected. And alternatives using switchgrass, algae and other non-edible plant materials have been slow to penetrate the market. Now the NRDC bemoans that "the bulk of today’s conventional corn ethanol carries grave risks to the climate, wildlife, waterways and food security." In NRDC’s OnEarth magazine, an essay headlined "Played for a Fuel" concludes that corn-based ethanol isn’t sustainable because it requires "huge amounts" of water, fertilizer and land.
 
The growing environmental outcry is fuelling calls to revamp the Renewable Fuel Standard. There now may be enough votes in the US House of Representatives to pass an overhaul, despite expected defections from corn-state Republicans.
 
<http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-27/as-corn-devours-u-s-prairies-greens-reconsider-biofuel-mandate>
<https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/played-fuel>
<https://engineering.dartmouth.edu/rbaef/reports/NRDC.Growing.Energy.Final.3.pdf>
 

Democratic Platform Calls for WWII - Scale Mobilization to Solve Climate Crisis

On July 21 the Democratic Platform Committee released the party’s platform, which includes: “We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat [climate crisis] on a scale not seen since World War II. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis.” The platform also commits the US to getting 50% of its electricity from “clean energy sources” within a decade, with half a billion solar panels installed within four years.
 
<http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/07/22/3801094/democratic-platform-climate-wwii-mobilization/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds>
<http://templatelab.com/democratic-party-platform/>
 

The Cult of Tesla Survives Another Round of Bad News

This time the bad news was the revelation that $1.3 billion in subsidies from Nevada taxpayers won’t be enough to get the hyped Gigafactory battery plant completed. As Tesla reported to the SEC: “Given the size and complexity of this undertaking, the cost of building and operating the Gigafactory could exceed our current expectations and the Gigafactory may take longer to bring online than we anticipate.” 
 
In addition the company reported losses of $293 million for the second quarter and needs to raise $1.1 billion in cash to meet third quarter obligations. Vehicle deliveries fell short of Tesla’s 17,000 target by about 2,600 units. CEO, Elon Musk, explained to investors that the company was in “production hell” for the first six months of the year. Nevertheless, repetitive quarterly losses have not harmed Tesla’s stock price. It and Mr. Musk are still regarded with cult-like status.
 
<http://nlpc.org/stories/2016/08/10/cult-tesla-survives-another-round-bad-news>
 

Poland Shuns Wind, Doubles Down on Coal-Reliant Future

Poland, a country where hard coal and lignite power plants currently generate about 85% of the power, has passed a law that stymies a wind power expansion and is now mulling draft legislation that will help boost investments in new coal capacity. The nation’s power supply is stretched tight, and will continue to be until new coal units begin operating between 2017 and 2019. In June the country’s president signed a controversial law that bans wind farms close to national parks and residential areas and requires wind farm operators to get an operational license every two years and secure permits to repair or modernize turbines.
 
<http://www.powermag.com/poland-shuns-wind-doubles-coal-reliant-future/>
 

Evaluating Wind Impact-Parts I (Basics), II (Ramping) & III (Fuel Consumption and Emissions)

This three part series illustrates the problems in properly evaluating the impact of unstable generation sources (wind and solar) in electricity systems. A basic problem is the erratic behaviour of wind in the short term (a few minutes or less) and unreliable in the longer term (hours and days). This is the same for solar. As a result they must be backed up by reliable, dispatchable power: hydro or thermal (fossil fuel.) Part i provides the basic information as context for more detail in Part II, while Part III includes published information and the use of sophisticated mathematics to address some of the complexities involved.
 
<https://www.masterresource.org/hawkins-kent/evaluating-wind-impact-part-i-basics/>
<https://www.masterresource.org/hawkins-kent/evaluating-wind-impact-part-ii-ramping/>
<https://www.masterresource.org/hawkins-kent/evaluating-wind-impacts-iii/>
 

Climate Change Agenda and the Role of Bureaucratic Scientists

Tim Ball uses his own brief tenure as Chair of the Canadian Committee on Climate Fluctuation to argue why scientists cannot work for government, i.e., no scientist bureaucrats. When government scientists present their findings the next decision is political: if the reports contradict government policy they get put on the shelf and, sometimes, the offenders lose their jobs.
 
The IPCC is another example. As its former chairman explains, being an intergovernmental body, owned and guided by governments, is its strength, because what it produces is owned by governments as well. Thus the all-important Summary of Policymakers (originally drafted by scientists) systematically omits uncertainties and counter evidence to the human influence-on-climate theory.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/06/climate-change-agenda-and-the-role-of-bureaucratic-scientists/>
 

A Guide to Understanding Global Temperature Data

Roy Spencer has written an essay to answer, in layman’s terms, some basic questions about global temperature data in particular, climate change in general, and what it all means for the debate over energy policy. Dr. Spencer poses 13 common, climate-related questions, provides answers, and concludes that the science of global warming is far from settled. He says: “Until climate science is funded independent of desired energy policy outcomes, we can continue to expect climate research results to be heavily biased in the direction of catastrophic outcomes.”
 
<http://www.texaspolicy.com/library/doclib/FFP-Global-Temperature-booklet-July-2016-PDF.pdf>
 

Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?

In a 4:36 video PragerU’s Alex Epstein, author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, deconstructs the oft-repeated statement by fossil fuel opponents: “97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real.” This is an example of the fallacy of equivocation-using the same term in different, contradictory ways, since the statement tells nothing about the meaning or magnitude of “climate change.” It turns out that the 97% said nothing remotely resembling catastrophic climate change. To protect against this type of manipulation, Mr. Epstein suggests responding with two questions: “ What exactly do they agree upon?” and “How did they prove it?”
 
<https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/do-97-climate-scientists-really-agree>
 

Solar Physicist Sees Global Cooling Ahead

Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University and colleagues, discovered that the Sun’s dynamo is actually made of two components – coming from different depths inside the Sun. The interaction between these two magnetic waves either amplifies solar activity or damps it down. Professor Zharkova’s observations suggest we are due for a prolonged period of low solar activity. Specifically, she forecasts that from 2020 to 2053, over the next three solar cycles, the two waves will separate into opposite hemispheres, and the Sun’s magnetic field will drop to nearly zero. This suggests conditions similar to that of the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715).
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/08/09/solar-physicist-sees-global-cooling-ahead/>

 

2016-07-27

 

Alberta’s Oil Sands Panel

The Alberta government has set up an 18-member oil sands advisory panel to help figure out how to keep greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands under a target of 100 Mt/y by 2030, compared to 70 Mt/y currently. One of the panel’s three co-chairs is Tzeporah Berman, a climate campaigner formerly with Greenpeace and ForestEthics and now professor of environmental studies at York University, with a long history of opposing pipelines. In a interview for Climate Change News Ms. Berman said the oil sands are “… the single largest and most destructive project on earth” and they remind her of JRR Tolkien’s Mordor, the evil land of fire and death.
 
The panel, which includes representatives from industry, green groups, aboriginals and municipalities, is expected to spend the next six months getting advice on how to implement the emissions limit and a subsequent 18 months providing recommendations on how to reduce emissions and develop processes to address environmental issues.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/alberta-panel-to-study-ways-to-cut-oil-sands-emissions/article30907028/>
<http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/07/11/meet-the-woman-who-took-on-canadas-tar-sand-barons/>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/political-panel-berman-panel-1.3680160>
<http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/oilsands-panel-appointed-by-alberta-ndp-government-a-dysfunctional-group>
<http://www.therebel.media/berman_brings_big_government_big_green_and_big_industry_together_to_shut_down_alberta>
 

Britain’s New PM’s Announcements on Climate Change

When Theresa May announced her new cabinet there were two surprises on the climate front. First, Boris Johnson, a noted climate skeptic, was appointed as foreign minister. The Global Warming Policy Forum quotes some of Mr. Johnson’s prior statements on global warming forecasts, the possibility of global cooling and the Paris treaty. 
 
More importantly, Ms. May abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change, established in 2008, transferring responsibility for climate change to a new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Both the Independent and The Guardian were distressed over this news, quoting reaction by various supporters of the former DECC and green groups who worry about the UK back-pedalling on its climate commitments.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/climate-sceptical-boris-johnson-is-britains-new-foreign-secretary/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/14/britain-abolishes-the-department-of-energy-and-climate-change/.
<http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-department-killed-off-by-theresa-may-in-plain-stupid-and-deeply-worrying-move-a7137166.html>
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/15/decc-abolition-major-setback-for-uk-climate-change-efforts>
 

Brexit Threatens EU Climate Policy

On July 20 the European Commission announced how the bloc’s commitment to a 40% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels will be apportioned among member countries. Wealthy nations like Germany, Sweden, France and the UK will face large burdens, while poorer ones like Poland, Romania and Hungary will have to deliver less. This burden sharing was set months ago, well before the Brexit vote. If the UK does leave, it will no longer be bound by the EU’s commitment in Paris, and the remaining 27 members will have to meet the 40% goal on their own, with higher targets. (Under UN rules, the EU is not allowed to reduce down its Paris commitment in light of Brexit.) The UK would then make its own bilateral commitment to the UN for the Paris agreement.
 
<http://www.dw.com/en/brexit-makes-it-harder-to-dole-out-eu-climate-burden/a-19414911>
<https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/eu-defies-brexit-to-force-greenhouse-gas-targets-on-uk/>
 

Ontario’s Global Adjustment Fee

A product of Ontario’s 2009 Green Energy Act, the Global Adjustment fee is a charge billed to all hydro customers in the province. For major manufacturers and large businesses, the fee appears separately on electricity bills. But for residential customers and small businesses, the fee is hidden – appearing on their electricity bill as a part of the per kilowatt hour charge. Last year residential customers and small businesses in Ontario paid an average of 7.9¢/kWh in GA fees. That is, for every $100 in usage they paid $77 in GA.
 
In 2015 the actual fair market price for electricity was 2.36¢/kWh, while wind producers were getting 11¢/kWh and solar as much as 80¢/kWh. The difference between these and the fair market price was rolled into the GA. In addition Ontario sold more than 22.6 billion kWh of surplus electricity to New York and Michigan for fair market value, at a loss of $1.7 billion. Also the GA includes what’s known as “curtailing”, when producers are paid not to produce electricity, in order to avoid too much stress on the grid. When energy use drops due to conservation, the GA must be increased to make up the difference. So the less power Ontarians use, the more they pay for it.
 
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/07/22/what-is-the-global-adjustment-fee-the-mysterious-cost-ontario-hydro-customers-must-pay/>
<http://globalnews.ca/news/2839995/what-is-the-global-adjustment-fee-the-mysterious-cost-ontario-hydro-customers-must-pay/?sf31482474=1>
<http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/07/21/ontario-hydro-rates_n_11107590.html>
 

NextEra’s Turbines Kill > 16 Raptors/Year in SW Ontario

NextEra is appealing Esther Wrightman’s FOI request to release reports on three of its wind projects’ bird and bat mortality reports. As it turns out not a single wind company has released such reports for the past four years in Ontario. NextEra offered Ms. Wrightman two-page summaries of bird and bat “takes” for seven of their projects, which she rejected as lacking details. From these summaries she deduced that the takes exceed Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry limits, with no penalty. 
 
Bird Studies Canada quietly released a summary of bird and bat kills showing that mortality rates have skyrocketed in recent years: 40,833 bats, 14,144 birds and 462 raptors, some of them on the endangered species list. 
 
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/07/12/nexteras-wind-turbines-kill-at-least-16-raptors-per-year-in-sw-ontario/>
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/07/18/ontario-wind-turbine-developers-killing-endangered-birds-and-bats-with-impunity/>
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/07/20/wind-turbines-killing-tens-of-thousands-of-bats-including-many-on-the-endangered-species-list/>
 

Bank of England Governor: Climate Change is a $7 Trillion “Opportunity”

In a Toronto speech Bank of England Governor Mark Carney estimated that  $5-7 trillion will be needed to fund global carbon reduction commitments in the coming years. To encourage companies to pursue this opportunity, he wants companies to provide more disclosure to investors about the potential risk of carbon pricing to their businesses.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/16/bank-of-england-governor-mark-carney-climate-is-a-7-trillion-opportunity/>
<http://business.financialpost.com/investing/climate-change-initiatives-a-7-trillion-funding-opportunity-for-capital-markets-carney>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/project-climate-fear-bank-of-england-alarmist-in-chief-raises-climate-alarm-in-canada/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/07/climate-change-is-potentially-a-7-trillion-dollar-money-making-venture-for-bankers/>
 

Philippines Won’t Honour Paris Agreement

The country’s new President Duterte got angry with a foreign ambassador who asked him about Philippines’ commitment to limit emissions. He told the diplomat that his country (unlike the ambassador’s) has not reached the age of industrialization, and said that the signature on the agreement (which he called “stupid” and “absurd”) was not his and he would not follow it.
 
<http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/796948/rody-wont-honor-paris-climate-pact>
 

Evaluating the Integrity of Official US Climate Records

In this 53:31 video Tony Heller, the host of realclimatescience.com, addressed the 34th Annual Meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness In Omaha on July 13. (If the video is too  long, you can view the 75 slides from the presentation as a pdf.) With a history of working on “mission critical” projects in government and private industry, Mr. Heller was a global warming true believer from 1980 to 2003. His talk challenges the general belief that hot weather is becoming more common and intense in the US. In fact temperatures were hotter in the 1930s. By adjusting the data record NOAA reduced the temperatures going back to 1900 (20:40, slide 39) to create 1.5°F of global warming since then. 
 
Slide 44 (24:40) shows how NOAA’s data adjustments correlate almost perfectly with the rise in atmospheric CO2-the ultimate example of confirmation bias. Slides 51 and 52 (29:30) depict  how NASA erased the 1940-70 record of global cooling. In Slide 58-63 the IPCC embraced Michael Mann’s hockey stick for their 2001 report by removing the Medieval Warm period (1990 report). Slides 64-68 deal with NASA’s adjustment of Antartica temperatures, and Slides 69-73 show the same of sea level rise.
 
<http://realclimatescience.com/2016/07/my-temperature-record-presentation-in-omaha/>
<http://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Evaluating-The-Integrity-Of-Official-Climate-Records-4.pdf>
 

The Troubled Institution of Science

Judith Curry comments on an essay published by VoxThe 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists.  According to the essay the ideal form of the scientific process is: “Ask a question, set up an objective test and get an answer. Repeat.” However, nowadays the process is riddled with conflict as scientists are forced to put self-preservation over pursuing the best questions and uncovering meaningful truths. Success is measured not by the quality of their questions or the rigour of their methods, but by the how much grant money they win, the quantity of studies published and how they spin their findings to appeal to the public.
 
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/07/15/the-troubled-institution-of-science/>
<http://www.vox.com/2016/7/14/12016710/science-challeges-research-funding-peer-review-process>

 

2016-07-11

 

Brexit-Implications for Climate Policy

When British voters chose to leave the EU they weren’t just voting against Brussels’ immigration policies, but also against Europe’s growing list of green mandates. One pollster surveyed 12,369 voters of whom 69% voting Leave saw the green movement as “a force for ill.”
 
In Brussels UN climate chief Christina Figueres said that Brexit would mean rewriting the Paris Agreement because the latter assumes that the UK is part of the EU. Also, leading figures in the Leave referendum campaign are climate skeptics. An article in MIT’s Technology Review suggests that Brexit will bring chaos to Europe’s clean energy goals. The Guardian fears that UK commitment to the Paris Agreement is now in doubt.
 
The Independent quotes Britain’s new Prime Minister, Theresa May: “I want to see an energy policy that emphasizes the reliability of supply and lower costs for users”-hardly an endorsement for renewables.
 
<http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2016/06/how-the-united-kingdom-voted-and-why/>
<http://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/un-boss-brexit-would-mean-rewriting-paris-agreement-on-climate-change/?nl_ref=15561958>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/brexit-paris-climate-agreement-will-have-to-be-rewritten/>
<https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601776/brexit-brings-chaos-to-europes-clean-energy-goals/>
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/25/eu-out-vote-puts-uk-commitment-to-paris-climate-agreement-in-doubt>
<http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-what-kind-of-prime-minister-policies-what-she-really-meant-a7130911.html>
 

The Economic Cost of Alberta’s Carbon Policy

A year ago Andrew Leach began his leadership of Alberta’s climate change advisory panel that issued its report on November 20, 2015 [FoS Extracts - 2015-11-27]. Since then reaction to the panel’s report, in particular a piece in the Calgary Herald concerning a leaked memo about the negative economic effects of carbon pricing by Alberta’s finance officials, has made him wish the panel had included text “… to explain to Albertans what many economists take for granted about greenhouse gas policy in general and carbon prices in particular, and a more than a few places where we could have added more to the report, including more discussion with respect to the potential economic impacts and the tradeoffs involved in our proposed policies.”
 
First Mr. Leach says carbon pricing on its own is not a magic bullet to reduce emissions, as it must be accompanied by regulation. Using the US EPA’s social cost of carbon  he asserts that economic activity in Alberta, at 62 tonnes of GHG emissions per capita, imposes an implied cost of $2,800  to $4,500 on others (i.e., $45/t to $72/t of CO2e). He finishes with five paragraphs he now realizes should have been added to his panel’s report. Arguments include: Alberta will face unquantifiable costs if it is not a “constructive partner” in efforts to reduce national GHG emissions; there will be costs to Alberta’s economy (reductions in output, exports and total employment); Alberta will face “… increasingly discriminatory and punitive policies and barriers to trade …” if it doesn’t act (though Mr. Leach admits the costs are speculative and difficult to quantify.)
 
<http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/the-economic-cost-of-carbon-policy/>
<http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/varcoe-leaked-data-offers-insight-into-potential-carbon-price-impact-on-economy>
 

Attorney General Pulls Exxon Subpoena

In a blow to the Democrat-led effort to prosecute climate change dissent, Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker withdrew his subpoena of ExxonMobil [FoS Extracts - 2016-06-23]. Mr. Walker’s subpoena had demanded that Exxon produce a decade’s worth of communications with more than 100 academics, think tanks and universities. Of the roughly 100 academic institutions and free market groups listed on the Virgin Islands‘ Exxon subpoena, 69 were listed on Greenpeace’s #ExxonSecrets website, and in almost the same order.
 
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/29/climate-change-prosecutors-suffer-defeat-as-attorn/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/29/skeptics-win-ag-pulls-exxonknew-subpoena/>
 

India’s NSG Bid Fails-May Delay Ratification of Paris Agreement

On July 1 India’s high profile campaign to join the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group was blocked by China. An outcome of this failure is that India will not now ratify the Paris Agreement anytime soon. 
 
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/As-its-NSG-bid-fails-India-says-Paris-Climate-Agreement-ratification-may-be-delayed/articleshow/52906697.cms>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/06/india-to-delay-signing-paris-agreement-thank-china/>
 

Germany’s Energiewende Sticks It to the Poor

Germany’s much-ballyhooed green energy transition-its Energiewende-guaranteed producers locked-in, long-term, above-market rates called feed-in tariffs. The plan worked, too well, as the costs of the subsidies were passed along to German consumers in the form of a green surcharge on their power bills. Out out of concern for its economic competitiveness on the continent, Germany has offered generous exemptions to its most energy-intensive industries, and plans to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. And if industry isn’t going to shell out, that leaves smaller companies and German households footing that bill.
 
Berlin is slowly waking up to the fact that its Energiewende has produced something of a mess. Last month German policymakers agreed on a framework deal to slow down the deployment of renewables, and according to Reuters a new revision of an energy law plans to limit offshore wind development to try and cut costs and improve grid stability.
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/07/07/germanys-energiewende-sticks-it-to-the-poor/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/germany-renewables-idUSL8N19R1IG>
 

Carbon Markets Facing Black Hole

The idea of a carbon market originated 20 years ago. Today there are 38 countries, cities, states and provinces using pricing systems in an attempt to put a lid on greenhouse gases. However, the surplus of allowances is becoming so large in systems run by Europe, California and Quebec-which together account for more than 90% of global trading-that by 2022 they could cover the emissions spewing from every car on Earth for a full year, according to estimates by a London environmental group.
 
As Joanne Nova puts it: “It’s a managed market, put on for show, and no government has the will to make the price high enough to work” and “The point of the fake free market in carbon appears to be to subsidize financial houses, appease green activists, and to wear as a fashionable cloak. Judged by those criteria, the carbon market has been a success. The thing it hasn’t done is cool the world, but that was never the point.”
 
Despite the bleak outlook for carbon markets, there’s a new player in the game-the North American Climate Exchange or NACX-with the slogan “trading for a greener world.” NACX started life in 2007 as a Calgary-based exchange for trading Alberta Offsets and has now introduced an electronic platform to position itself to cash in on the latest government “green” mandates.
 
<http://www.straitstimes.com/world/carbon-markets-facing-black-hole>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/07/some-renewable-energy-subsidies-are-stupidly-insanely-expensive-says-emissions-trader/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/09/carbon-traders-whine-permits-are-too-cheap-to-make-a-profit/>
<http://www.nacxchange.com/about-nacx/about-nacx.html>
 

Ross McKitrick: The Right Price for Carbon? Take a Guess

To come up with the right social cost of carbon economists have long relied on integrated assessment models. These IAMS combine a simplified representation of the economy with a very simplified representation of the climate system to compute future effects of CO2 emissions, add them and discount them back to the moment of emission. The three IAMs used for research and policymaking depend heavily on guesstimates on key parameters. 
 
The most important parameter is the equilibrium climate sensitivity (how much average global temperature would rise with a doubling of atmospheric CO2), with ranges from zero to 10°C. Using empirical ECS data published by Judith Curry and Nicolas Lewis, Dr. McKitrick calculated that the SCC from two of the models should fall by 30% to 50%. One of the models yields a 40% chance that the SCC is negative. The other two assume that all CO2 is bad. 
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/junk-science-week-whats-the-right-price-for-carbon-take-a-guess-everyone-else-is>
 

Environment Canada: Natural Variability Behind the Hiatus

With the end of El Niño and dropping global temperatures, climate scientists at Environment Canada fear a return of the global warming hiatus  and the frigid North American winters experienced in the early 2000s. Using  computer simulations they argue that a cluster of cold winters can be the result of normal variability, but things can easily swing the other way, and insist that their findings “… don’t undermine the influence that humans have been having on the climate.”
 
<http://www.drroyspencer.com/2016/07/uah-global-temperature-update-for-june-2016-0-34-deg-c/>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/will-la-nina-resume-the-hiatus/>
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadas-extreme-winters-within-range-of-normal-variations-study/article30637250/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/29/study-record-cold-and-snowy-north-american-winters-not-due-to-climate-change-within-normal-variation/>
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/06/27/record-breaking-n-american-winters-not-due-to-climate-change/>
 

Climate Power Play by the AAAS et al

On June 28 the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and 30 other scientific societies issued a consensus letter to US policymakers stating that climate change is occurring and blaming human greenhouse gas emissions as the principle driver. To Judith Curry the letter is a blatant misuse of scientific authority to advocate for specific socio-economic policies. She notes that the American Economics Association and American Physical Society are not among the signatories, and most of them have no expertise in the detection and attribution of human caused climate change. Dr. Curry thinks the AAAS and affiliated societies blew it with their letter, as their claim that the science is settled means they’re no longer needed at the table. By dogmatic statements and policy advocacy they’ve become just another group of lobbyists.
 
<http://www.aaas.org/news/intersocietyclimateletter2016?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=news_tweet_button&utm_content=intersocietyclimateletter2016&utm_campaign=aaasorg_news>
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/07/04/climate-power-play-by-the-aaas-et-al/>
 

Climate and Human Civilization for the Past 4,000 Years

The Holocene Climate Optimum ended about 4,000 years ago and the world began to cool. A graph provided with this essay in Watts Up With That shows how significant human events coincided with temperature changes since then, with civilization flourishing during the warm periods and suffering when cold.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/22/climate-and-human-civilization-for-the-past-4000-years/>

 

2016-06-23

 

Turtles Topple Turbines in Prince Edward County, Ontario

The saga of the fight on behalf of a colony of Blanding’s turtles potentially affected by the nine-turbine Ostrander Point wind project has apparently ended-in a victory for the turtles. In December 2012 the Ministry of Environment and Climate change issued a renewable energy approval for the project. The decision was appealed to the Environmental Review Tribunal, which revoked the REA in July 2013, based solely on its determination that the project would cause serious and irreversible harm to a the Blanding’s turtle, an endangered species, which had been identified in the area. 
 
Ostrander appealed to the the Divisional Court of Ontario, which overturned the ERT’s decision and reinstated the REA in February 2014. The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists then took the matter to the Ontario Court of Appeal, getting a stay of the REA in March 2014. On April 20, 2016 the Court of Appeal overturned the Divisional Court’s decision-stating that “serious and irreversible harm” would befall the Blanding’s turtle as a result of the project-was reasonable, but that the ERT’s decision on the appropriate remedy to grant in the circumstances-revoking the REA-was unreasonable. The Court of Appeal sent the matter back to the ERT, which decided that preventing harm to the turtles outweighs the government’s policy of promoting renewable energy. So the REA remains revoked.
 
<https://www.osler.com/en/resources/regulations/2015/ontario-court-of-appeal-decides-ostrander-wind-far>
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/06/06/turtles-topple-turbines-as-ert-revokes-project-approval/>
<http://countylive.ca/blog/?p=60865>
<https://www.masterresource.org/ontario-canada/ontario-turtle-decision/>
 

Brad Wall Goes On the Offensive for Oil Patch

On June 8 Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall delivered a speech confronting a number of opponents lining up to slow down or block petroleum production, pipelines and the fossil fuel industry. His targets included the divestiture movement, Hollywood celebrities and supporters of the Leap Manifesto [FoS Extracts 2016-06-15]. He also reiterated his opposition to any added price on greenhouse gas emissions. 
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-brad-wall-goes-on-offence-for-oilpatch>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/brad-wall-calgary-petroleum-club-june-2016-1.3622378>
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/popular-saskatchewan-premier-swoops-into-calgary>
 

The Exxon Witch Hunt (cont’d)

On March 29 Al Gore and attorneys general from 16 states announced that they were prosecuting Exxon, other oil and gas companies that don’t follow the orthodoxy on climate change and the Competitive Enterprise Institute [FoS Extracts 2016-04-06 and 2016-04-15]. Watts Up With That has published an open letter to the AGs telling them that their actions are a dead giveaway that they’re ignorant about climate science and related climate and energy policy, and offers seven recommendations to remedy their ignorance. It also notes that the AGs themselves are engaged in a potentially felonious conspiracy to “injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person … in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same,” for which they could be fined or imprisoned for up to ten years.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/06/10/an-open-letter-to-the-exxonknew-rico20-attorneys-general-about-climate-change/>
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/19/house-republicans-send-climate-change-attorneys-ge/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/06/bring-on-the-climate-fraud-game-if-exxon-can-be-sued-so-can-al-gore-renewables-insurance-banks/>
 

Germany’s CO2 Reduction Targets Cast into “Serious Jeopardy”

Germany’s mad rush into renewable energies has led to huge spiralling electricity price increases and left power grid operators struggling to keep the wildly fluctuating system form crashing. As a result the government is scrapping the existing system of long-term guaranteed tariffs for green energy producers and beginning in January 2017 “it will operate competitive bidding systems in which the right to develop a particular wind or solar project will go to whichever credible bidder agrees to accept the lowest revenue per kWh on a 20-year contract.”
 
This new rule has led to howls from the wind energy industry and its backers, who say that nuclear and fossil fuel generated electricity utilities are to blame for the grid fluctuation problems. Moreover green energy proponents claim that the new rules put Germany’s climate  targets for rapid reductions in carbon dioxide emissions “into serious jeopardy“.
 
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/06/12/germanys-co2-reduction-targets-cast-into-serious-jeopardy-as-country-overhauls-policies/#sthash.xuUicmWA.5ZF0kb0S.dpbs>
 

The Energy Absurdity of the Paris Climate Agreement

A Greenpeace study reveals what the feted Paris Climate Agreement implies for the German public. If implemented, Germany will be unrecognizable in a few years. The Agreement demands global “decarbonization”, the end of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, yet the 170 governments that signed the Agreement have no idea what would be necessary to achieve this objective. The Greenpeace report is the first major study on the topic of “sector coupling,” the expansion of Germany’s current Energy Transition (Energiewende) to transport and heating.
 
According to the calculations by the study’s author, “the production of cars with gasoline and diesel engines has to end by 2025 and main roads will have to be fitted with overhead electrical lines for freight transportation.” Also, “because heating systems have a product cycles of up to 20 years, a ban on the fitting of new oil and gas heating and combined heat and power plants will be necessary by 2020 to achieve decarbonization by 2040.” 
 
Even with imagining all sorts of possible “efficiency gains,” Germany’s electricity demand would only double by 2040, but there would have to be a six-fold increase in green electricity production.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/the-energy-absurdity-of-the-paris-climate-agreement/>
 

How Much Beer Do You Need to Drink Before You Believe Tesla?

In this 28-minute video Nathan Weiss, founder and CEO of the Rhode-Island based investment research firm Unit Economics, gives an humorous review of his firm’s analysis of Tesla Motors. Using increasing amounts of beer needed to accept Tesla’s hypes, he examines the credibility of management statements, whether the Model S is “green” (less so than a Jeep Grand Cherokee), Tesla’s subsidies (about $2 from each US household), whether the Model S is reliable (it’s the least reliable car in America due to frequent drive unit replacements), the Tesla Gigafactory being built in Nevada to produce lithium-ion batteries (it’s about 20% the size originally promised), whether Tesla is production constrained (apparently not), whether Tesla is profitable (gross margins are deteriorating because of growing high sales & overhead and expensed R&D costs), 
 
<http://oilandgas-investments.com/weiss-on-tesla/>
 

Subsidy Sam-A Tale About Money, Greed … and Wind Turbines

Subsidy Sam is a story with cartoons, written in response to the wind industry’s book for children Tommy the Turbine. It pokes fun at the industry and the politicians who support it while parroting the industry’s propaganda with no real research into the adverse impacts.
 
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/06/16/subsidy-sam-a-tale-about-money-greed-and-wind-turbines-2/>
<http://cartoonsbyjosh.co.uk/subsidy-sam>
 

US Wind Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion in Subsidies

According to data from Subsidy Tracker — a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that promotes “corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families” — the total value of the subsidies given to the biggest players in the US wind industry is now $176 billion. That sum includes all local, state, and federal subsidies as well as federal loans and loan guarantees received by companies on the American Wind Energy Association’s board of directors since 2000.
 
Wind farms get a production tax credit of $23/MWh, which is equivalent to $6.76/million BTU. The current spot price of natural gas is $2.40/million BTU.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/u-s-wind-energy-sector-gets-176-billion-worth-of-crony-capitalism/>
 

For the First Time in its History, India Creates Surplus Energy (with Coal)

While uninterrupted electricity is taken for granted as an essential service in the West, energy security has been a big problem in India. Now, thanks to coal the Indian government has announced that the country, for the first time in its history, will not face an energy deficit in 2016-2017. Nearly 50% of the Indian states will experience surplus power. Coal India Limited, the state-owned coal producer, generated a record 536 million tonnes of coal in 2015-2016, and increase of 8.5% from the previous year.
 
Indian projected coal consumption of 1300 million tonnes of coal equivalent in 2040 will be 50% more than the combined demand of all 34 countries that form the OECD.
 
<https://www.masterresource.org/cornwall-alliance/first-time-history-india-creates-surplus-energy/>

 

2016-06-06

 

Alberta’s New Carbon Tax Law

On May 24 Alberta’s NDP government unveiled Bill 20, the Climate Leadership Act, to take effect next January 1. As the Rebel Media article notes, despite the act’s name there are no environmental studies showing what effect its implementation will have on the world’s climate. Some statistics about terms appearing in the bill: “levy” 260 times, “tax” 55 times, “warrant” 15 times, “search” 8 times, “seize” 3 times, “prison” or “imprisonment” 15 times, “fine” 19 times, “jobs” 0 times. In short, the bill’s all about collection and enforcement, not climate.
 
While the government claims a typical Alberta family will pay $70-$105/year  more for consumer goods and services, the opposition calculates that it will be closer to $1,000/year. It also questions the lack of benchmarks to measure the success of the act. 
 
<http://www.therebel.media/ezra_levant_show_may_25?safari_redirect>
<http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/alberta-politics/alberta+government+introduces+controversial+climate/11939580/story.html>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-introduces-bill-to-implement-carbon-tax-1.3598183>
<http://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_29/session_2/20160308_bill-020.pdf>
[Note, our report here says "Using the TCR of 0.85 °C as given in Table 1, the global temperature reduction would be 0.00007 °C by 2030, which is insignificant and undetectable." Ken Gregory]
 

Ontario’s Rude Awakening from Its California Carbon Dreams

The Ontario government has its eyes set on $1.9 billion/year in revenue after it joins the California-Quebec cap-and-trade auction scheme in 2017. However, it may have got a bit of a wake-up call when, at the latest quarterly auction of permits by California and Quebec, only 11% of the permits were bought, leaving holes in the revenue plans for both governments. California received only a fraction of the expected $US500 million, and Quebec, anticipating $200 million may see only $20 million. 
 
The California-Quebec market appears to have a massive surplus of previously issued emissions permits that trade on an open market at below the official floor price of $US12.73/t set by the California Air Resources Board. The scheme is facing a court challenge on the constitutionality of the cap-and-trade system. If the court rules it’s a tax, it will be deemed illegal. Also, the California system is set to expire in 2020, unless renewed, likely under a new set rules and targets, causing more uncertainty for the market.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-ontarios-rude-awakening-from-its-california-carbon-dreams>
 

Canada’s Three Northern Premiers Reject Carbon Pricing

In recent months, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has seemed to be the lone voice speaking out against a national carbon price in Canada. But, he’s not. Canada's three territorial premiers have banded together against a carbon tax for the North, arguing that carbon pricing would have an unfair impact on fragile northern economies.
 
The high cost of northern living is the reason most commonly used by the territories' leaders to argue that a carbon tax wouldn't work for the North. But it's not the only one. The premiers say the territories already pay a price on carbon, since they import heavily from British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, which already have or will soon have carbon pricing.
 
<http://thetyee.ca/News/2016/05/25/Northern-Premiers-Reject-Carbon-Pricing/>
 

Resolute Forest Products Goes After the Eco-mob

Three years ago Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products sued Greenpeace seeking $5 million in damages for “defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations.” Greenpeace is still trying desperately to avoid its day in Canadian court, but now Resolute has upped the ante by launching another suit in Georgia against Greenpeace and Stand (formerly known as ForestEthics) under US anti-racketeering laws. The latest suit alleges that Greenpeace deliberately spreads “malicious lies” and “sensationalist misinformation” as part of efforts to win over gullible consumers and get them to donate money.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/peter-foster-resolute-forest-products-uses-mafia-laws-to-go-after-the-eco-mob>
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/resolute-forest-products-files-lawsuit-against-greenpeace-alleges-group-is-a-global-fraud/article30231334/>
 

Trump Vows to Undo Obama’s Climate Agenda

On May 26 in a speech to a petroleum conference in North Dakota, Donald Trump said that he would: pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, approve the Keystone XL pipeline turned down by President Obama, and rescind regulatory measures to cut emissions. This was Mr. Trump’s first speech detailing his energy policies if elected president. 
 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-energy-idUSKCN0YH2D9>
<https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/an-america-first-energy-plan>
<http://www.vox.com/2016/5/26/11788374/donald-trump-energy-speech>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/05/trump-cancel-paris-cut-funds-for-un-climate-save-the-coal-industry/>
<https://www.masterresource.org/2016-energy-election/trump-energy-speech-may-2016/>
 

Russia Throws a Wrench in Paris Climate Ratification

The Paris Agreement takes effect only when 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global emissions ratify it. The US and China (38%) have pledged to do so, but Russia (7.5%) is dragging its feet over the rules. In the case of the Kyoto Protocol it took two years to produce rules. Those for the Paris Agreement will include how countries monitor and report promised curbs on emissions, as well as adapt to climate change. China’s chief climate negotiator expects to see a “very tough” negotiation process over the rule book.
 
Key issues include what the climate action plans that countries need to submit every five years from 2020 would look like, how they could improve their efforts regularly and how developed countries guarantee enhanced finance and technology support to help developing countries address climate change challenges.
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/05/26/russia-throws-a-wrench-in-paris-climate-ratification/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-russia-idUSKCN0YG1VR>
<http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-05/26/c_135388545.htm>
<http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-05/27/c_135391590.htm>
 

Developing Countries Want $3 Trillion for Climate Plans

On May 27 a UN climate change conference, a follow-up to the Paris COP 21, concluded in Bonn. Behind closed doors, observers said that tensions persist between wealthy nations expected to pick up the bill for a green energy transition and historically poor countries. The latter say they need more than $3 trillion to deliver on their climate pledges submitted to the UN.
 
<http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/05/27/the-real-rich-v-poor-battle-over-climate-change-has-just-started/>
<http://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-developing-countries-need-3-5-trillion-to-implement-climate-pledges-by-2030>
 

Wind Energy Too Expensive for Denmark

In 2012 the Danish parliament voted 95% in favour of achieving 50% of energy consumption from wind power by 2020 and 84% by 2035. In 2015 Denmark set a new world record by generating 42.1% of its energy from wind. As a result Danish consumers pay 66% of their electricity bills on taxes and fees, 18% for transmission and only 15% for the electricity itself. Now the country’s energy and climate minister has admitted that Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive. As a result, five proposed offshore wind farms have been cancelled and the green energy tariffs are being scrapped.
 
<http://nordic.businessinsider.com/after-all-the-money-poured-into-wind-energy-denmark-admits-its-too-expensive-2016-5/>
<http://www.epaw.org/echoes.php?lang=en&article=n498>
 

The 97% Consensus at Shell

At the company’s annual meeting 97% of Shell’s shareholders rejected a resolution to invest profits from fossil fuels to turn Shell into a renewable energy firm. Shell’s CEO said that all the top 10 solar companies in the world represent $14 billion in capital employed and invested $5 billion in solar energy last year, but none had so far paid any dividends.
 
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/05/thats-a-97-consensus-at-shell-that-renewables-are-not-profitable/>
<http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2016/05/shell-ceo-warns-against-rapid-switch-to-renewables.html?cmpid=EnlPEIMay262016&eid=296408844&bid=1414878>
 

Economics Prof. on Climate Model-based Policy

Renowned Swiss economics Professor Silvio Borner sharply criticizes climate models and basing political decisions on them. He compares climate forecasts to economic forecasts, where in both fields one runs into a myriad of unpredictable variables and complex, poorly understood interactions that make reliable forecasts impossible – even more so in the case of climate. He explains that economists have had (bitter) experiences in trying to forecast economies and that the climate system is an even more unfamiliar system.
 
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/05/24/renowned-economics-prof-on-climate-model-based-policy-no-need-to-be-a-denier-to-qualify-that-as-methodological-nonsense/#sthash.9DKJyWrG.dpbs>
 

The Energy Return for Solar PV

A new study estimates the energy return on energy invested for solar PV at temperate latitudes (e.g., Germany, UK) is 0.83. This means that, over the 25-year lifetime of solar panels, more energy will be used to make the PV panels than will ever be recovered. Moreover, a PV panel will produce more COthan if coal were used to make the electricity.
 
<http://euanmearns.com/the-energy-return-of-solar-pv/>
<http://euanmearns.com/eroei-for-beginners/>
 

Antarctic Climate Confusion

A group of scientists have just published a study that tries to explain why Antarctica isn’t warming as predicted, and its ice isn’t melting as climate models say it should be. The cause is gale-force winds in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica that blow surface waters northward, allowing colder waters from the depths (where they have been for centuries) to replace them.
 
As Joanne Nova reports, Nature is tying itself in knots, stating: “The study resolves a scientific conundrum, and an inconsistent pattern of warming often seized on by climate deniers.” She wonders if Nature is reporting a discovery or issuing a political press release.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/unsettled-science-antarctic-climate-confusion/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-antarctica-idUSKCN0YL1IS>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/05/nature-finally-finds-cause-of-antarctic-pause-will-last-centuries-tosses-global-warming-out/>
<https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160530115537.htm>
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/05/30/antarctic-climate-confusion/>

 

2016-05-24

 

Global Warming “is not gender neutral”

Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna tweeted: “Did you know that climate change is not gender neutral? Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men.” When the response was swift and angry, she lashed out at “gender climate deniers” who fail to acknowledge that in a warming world women fare worse. However, according to the Globe and Mail story, elements of the minister’s argument don’t hold up well to scrutiny, including the notion that women are poorer than men.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/minister-surprised-at-backlash-over-tweets-stating-climate-change-hurts-women-most/article30029885/>
 

Alberta Power Industry in Turmoil

According to a report by the Alberta Electric System Operator, the province will need at least $16 billion in new electric generation as the province phases out coal power in the coming years. AESO issued a questionnaire in March, surveying 138 interested parties (including 102 developers/investors) to help form AESO’s recommendation to the government of Alberta regarding its Renewable Energy Program. The developers and investors want more information before making investment decisions. This includes: retirement schedules for existing coal plants; performance standards; who will be responsible for future transmission system upgrades; and most importantly-the availability of federal and provincial supports. AESO is to send draft recommendations to the government by the end of May, with a bidding process to be launched in Q4 of 2016.
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-power-industry-turmoil-leaves-ndp-juggling-many-issues-at-once>
<http://www.aeso.ca/downloads/Combined_REP_next_steps_and_questionnaire_summary.pdf>
 

Windfarm Company, Ontario Government Had Cozy Relationship until Deal Fell Apart

In February 2010, responding to anti-wind opposition, the Ontario government decided to ban all windfarms on lakes indefinitely. This upset Windstream Energy that had been well on its way, through private meetings with the energy minister and officials, to building an offshore windfarm near Kingston. Windstream is seeking as much as $568 million in damages on the ground that the government mistreated it because it’s backed by American money, which would be a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Since NAFTA is an international agreement, Windstream is suing the federal government. As the National Post article points out, if Windstream had never had any special meetings with government officials, its project would likely of died, but with a lot less pain on the way.
 
<http://ontario-wind-resistance.org/2016/05/13/wind-company-ontario-government-had-cozy-relationship-until-deal-fell-apart/>
<http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/david-reevely-wind-farm-company-ontario-government-had-cozy-relationship-until-deal-fell-apart>
<http://www.pcacases.com/web/sendAttach/1508>
 

EIA: Despite Trillions in Green Subsidies, Fossil Fuels Will Provide 75% of World Energy in 2040

The US Energy Information Administration forecasts that the world will use 48% more energy in 2040, and ¾ of that increase will come from coal, oil and natural gas. Asia, including China and India, will account for more than half of the increase in energy consumption over the projection period. 
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/12/fossil-fuels-will-provide-75-percent-of-energy-in-2040-despite-trillions-in-green-subsidies/>
<http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=26212>
 

Court Showdown over Obama’s Climate Rule Delayed until Fall

Opponents of the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule will have to wait three more months to argue their case in federal court. On May 23 the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that oral arguments in the case over the Clean Power Plan will be held September 27, rather than June 2, when they were originally scheduled earlier this year. In addition, the case will be heard by a full panel of nine of the court’s judges, rather than just three.
 
Earlier this year the US Supreme Court halted implementation of the Clean Power Plan pending the outcome of the lower court appeals.
 
<http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/280080-climate-rule-case-postponed-3-months>
 

Fraud: Most EU Carmakers Report False CO2 Emissions

Volkswagen’s diesel scandal could just be the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to carmakers faking emissions figures. Carmakers are exploiting weak and outdated EU laws to claim misleading statistics about fuel efficiency, a new report says. Real-world CO2  emissions are up to 40% higher than in the lab. A study released by the International Council on Clean Transportation says that manufacturers are “systematically exploiting technical tolerances and imprecise definitions” to wrongly record their fuel efficiency and therefore their CO2 emissions. 
 
Some of the car-makers’ tricks: remove heated back windshield, no radio, no air-conditioning, use the narrowest possible tires and over-inflate them. 
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/12/fraud-most-eu-carmakers-report-false-co2-emissions/>
<http://www.dw.com/en/study-most-eu-carmakers-report-false-co2-emissions/a-19250251>

 

Shell Unveils Vision of 2°C-Compatible Energy Future

Under shareholder pressure, Shell has published an analysis, A Better Life with a Healthy Planet, on what it would take to meet the international climate goal of 2°C warming since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Shell says global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak in 2020 and reach net zero by 2070 to hold temperature rise to 2°C. The tougher 1.5°C target in the Paris Agreement implies a phase-out by 2050. While it aims to reduce the energy intensity of exploration projects, the company says “we have no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio over our investment horizon of 10–20 years.”
 
<http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/05/11/shell-unveils-vision-of-2c-compatible-energy-future/>
<http://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/the-energy-future/scenarios/a-better-life-with-a-healthy-planet.html>
 

Media Exaggerated Climate Role in Vanishing Islands

During early May there were media reports on the loss of five vegetated reef islands and changes to other reef island shorelines in the Solomon Islands, with climate change being blamed. However, the University of Queensland published the results of research that conclude: “This study represents the first assessment of shoreline change from the Solomon Islands, a global sea-level rise hotspot. We have documented five vegetated reef islands (1–5 ha in size) that have recently vanished and a further six islands experiencing severe shoreline recession. Shoreline recession at two sites has destroyed villages that have existed since at least 1935, leading to community relocations. The large range of erosion severity on the islands in this study highlights the critical need to understand the complex interplay between the projected accelerating sea-level rise, other changes in global climate such as winds and waves, and local tectonics, to guide future adaptation planning and minimize social impacts.”
 
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/10/five-pacific-islands-lost-rising-seas-climate-change?CMP=share_btn_tw>
<http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/2016/05/10/media-exaggerated-vanishing-island-climate-role/>
 

The End of Hunger? “Calamitous Famines” Seem to Have Disappeared

Indian farmers shocked observers on May 10 when it was announced that the country’s Agriculture Ministry estimates the country will produce 252.23 million tonnes of food grains despite the drought impacting 11 Indian states. It’s something that was unthinkable just a few decades ago when mass starvation was the result of massive droughts. An opinion piece in The New York Times suggests that the era of great famines is over, due to improved political environments.
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/10/the-end-of-hunger-calamitous-famines-seem-to-have-disappeared/>
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/09/opinion/is-the-era-of-great-famines-over.html?_r=0>
 

Elon Musk’s Dreams Crash

Shares of SolarCity (Chairman Elon Musk) nose-dived on May 10 following a grim report for its first quarter. So far this year its shares have plummeted 65% as losses increased in each of the last four quarters as installations of solar systems fall short of estimates.
 
On the auto front, Nasdaq and Detroit News report that Mr. Musk’s Tesla is in trouble, also due to lack of sales. Tesla doesn’t make money from selling its luxury electric cars, but rather from selling “carbon credits” to real car companies. (Laws in nine US states require each car company selling cars in that state to sell a certain number of “zero emission” vehicles, or be fined.) Tesla recently announced its $35,000 Model 3 vehicle, and received $1,000 deposits from 325,000 would-be customers for something that will start production in late 2017. 
 
In contrast to the hype of the Model 3 announcement, Tesla said in its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the Model 3 is subject to "unanticipated deviations from the expected price point, vehicle features or performance characteristics.” In other words, Model 3 might cost more than $35,000 and not quite deliver the acceleration or driving range claimed at the March 31 announcement event.
 
<http://www.siliconbeat.com/2016/05/10/solarcity-shares-crash-grim-quarterly-report-outlook/>
<http://www.nasdaq.com/article/as-solarcity-scty-crashes-is-elon-musk-overrated-cm619241>
<http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2016/05/09/elon-musk-tesla-crony/84169496/>
<http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-tesla-admits-20160511-snap-story.html>
 

Strongest El Niño in 19 Years Ends

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that the 2015 El Niño, the strongest in nearly 20 years, has ended. This El Niño resulted in sea temperature rising to their highest levels in 19 years, causing drier than average weather which resulted in a fall in production of wheat, palm oil and rice in Asia. 
 
The Claims Journal article notes that atmospheric CO2 levels rose by a record 4.16 ppm in April, compared to one year earlier and attributes this to the El Niño warming.
 
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3606089/Strongest-El-Nino-nearly-20-years-ends--Australian-weather-bureau.html>
<http://media.bom.gov.au/releases/267/el-nino-ends-as-tropical-pacific-ocean-returns-to-neutral/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/05/23/say-goodbye-to-the-201516-el-nino/>
<http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2016/05/24/271040.htm>
 

Are Efforts to Combat Global Warming Actually Making Things Worse?

Judith Curry reviews a paper, Lesson from Technology Development for Energy and Sustainability, by Engineering Professor and Royal Society member M.J. Kelly. Prof. Kelly takes issue with the Royal Society’s one-sided active role in the climate debate. He says that what has been done so far to decarbonize is set to fail comprehensively in meeting its avowed target, and a new debate is needed. He writes: “The call to decarbonize the global economy by 80% by 2050 can now only be described as glib in my opinion, as the underlying analysis shows it is only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society.”
 
The paper discusses “energy return on investment” (a measure of the useful energy produced by a particular power plant divided by the energy needed to build, operate, maintain, and decommission the plant). A society needs an EROI > 5 to feed and basically educate itself. One with international travel and high cultures needs an EROI > 10. Wind, biomass and PV solar are all < 5. Prof. Kelly concludes: “In energy terms the current generation of renewable energy technologies alone will not enable a civilized modern society to continue.”
 
Prof. Kelly also discusses feasibility, assuming that the world unites and agrees to spend $1 trillion/year for 10 years, noting: “It is sober to compare the sheer scale of this undertaking in view of the total uncertainty in the outcome.” 
 
Dr. Curry’s conclusion: “First it was the scientists, then the economists.  It is now time for the engineers to drive the discussion and policies on this issue.”
 
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/05/23/is-much-of-our-effort-to-combat-global-warming-actually-making-things-worse/>
<https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/252666>

 

2016-05-09

 

How Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet

Nature Climate Change study, Greening of the Earth and its drivers, used satellite leaf area index (LAI) records trends for 1982-2009 to show that greening occurred over 25-50% of the global vegetated area and decreased in less than 4%. Using computer models the authors attributed 70% of the greening to CO2 fertilization effects. Even NASA is promoting the study’s conclusions.
 
In a 19-minute video Matt Ridley of the Global Warming Policy Foundation explains how the greening is because of economic growth and technological development. Rather than in the boreal forests, the fastest greening is occurring in the Amazon and the middle of Africa. Even the Sahel region has greened. Thanks to fossil fuels, use of farmland has peaked, despite a growing world population. Thus, over the past 50 years, we use 65% less land to produce the same amount of food-thanks to nitrogen fertilizer, produced using fossil fuels. Wildlife has benefited because fossil fuels don’t deprive other species of their livelihood, unlike renewable forms of energy.
 
<http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3004.html>
<http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/josh-told-you-so/>
 

The Opposite View: Model Shows Civilization Headed for “Irreversible Collapse”

In contrast to the above, empirically-based conclusions, a NASA-funded study using the “Human And Nature DYnamical” (HANDY) model forecasts that global industrial civilization could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. The HANDY model’s “thought experiment” is based on four equations that describe the evolution of Elites, Commoners, Nature and Wealth. The model was inspired by the classic predator-prey model, with humans acting as the predator and nature the prey. It assumes that society is stratified into Elites and Commoners, with the former allocating only a small portion of society’s accumulated wealth to the latter, eventually leading to societal collapse.
 
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists>
<http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800914000615>
 

Paper: Droughts and Heatwaves Are Not Getting Worse, Like Alarmists Predicted

A new study published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation debunks many claims by activists that droughts and heatwaves are getting worse. Even the IPCC, which in its 2007 report said that droughts were more common due to human-caused global warming, changed its tone in the 2013 report, saying: “… confidence is low for a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century, owing to lack of direct observations, methodological uncertainties and geographical inconsistencies in the trends.”
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/paper-droughts-heat-waves-are-not-getting-worse-like-alarmists-predicted/>
<http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2016/04/parched-earth-policy.pdf>
 

Energy Industry Gets Sierra Clubbed

Now that coal has been brought to its knees, the Sierra Club, one of the world’s richest environmental groups, is moving on to its next victim: natural gas. In a brutally honest interview, Lena Moffitt, who runs the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, says: “We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. Our board recently passed a policy that we oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking on our books. … I look forward to seeing the same success brought to taking down gas plants to ensure that we’re actually moving to a 100% clean energy future.”
 
<http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/energy-industry-gets-sierra-clubbed/>
 

New Utility to Make Ontarians Drive, Live and Work “Green”

As part of a plan to meet its climate change goals, the Ontario government will establish a “new ultra-low-carbon utility”-an agency with a sweeping mandate to change everything about how Ontarians use energy. A confidential draft of the government’s Climate Change Action Plan, which was obtained by The Globe and Mail, envisions “a zero emission or hybrid electric vehicle in every multi-car household driveway within eight years.” The draft plan promises to get at least 1.7 million electric and hybrid cars in use by 2024, take seven million gas-burning vehicles off the road by 2030, and ensure that by 2050, 80% of residents use public transit, walk or cycle to work.
 
In the Financial Post, Kevin Libin points out that based on experience with incentives in Germany, anything short of banning families from owning more than one gas-powered vehicle, the goal of getting nearly 2 million new electric vehicles on the road and 7 million gas ones off is fantasy, not policy.
 
<http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-to-create-agency-to-oversee-climate-change-goals-draft-plan-shows/article29781337/>
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/kevin-libin-kathleen-wynnes-monstrous-new-utility-to-make-ontarians-drive-live-and-work-green>
 

The Mark Carney Effect: Number of Investors Ignoring Climate Risk Rose Last Year

The number of big investors ignoring climate change risk increased last year despite a stark warning from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney about the potential for “huge” losses from a sudden shift in regulation designed to curb global warming and fossil fuels. Almost half of the world’s top 500 investors are failing to act on climate change -- an increase of 6% from 236 in 2014, according to a report Monday by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, which surveys global companies on their climate change risk and management. The AODP found that just under a fifth of the top 500 investors - or 97 managing a total of $9.4 trillion in assets - were taking tangible steps to mitigate global warming.
 
According to the AODP’s CEO: “It is shocking that nearly half the world’s biggest investors are doing nothing at all to mitigate climate risk,” adding that pensions funds and insurers that ignore climate change were "gambling with the savings and financial security of hundreds of millions of people".
 
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-01/funds-ignoring-climate-risks-rose-last-year-despite-boe-warning>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-investors-idUSKCN0XS1NO>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/05/eighty-percent-of-leading-investors-act-like-they-are-skeptical/>
 

Warren Buffet and Berkshire Investors Reject Climate Change Report

Berkshire Hathaway shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected a resolution calling for the company to write a report about the risks climate change creates for its insurance companies. CEO Warren Buffett says he agrees that dealing with climate change is important for society, but he doesn’t think climate change creates serious risks for Berkshire’s insurance businesses. The activists who proposed the motion tried to urge Mr. Buffett to take a public stance in favour of measures to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, but he resisted.
 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-latest-buffett-arrives-for-berkshire-hathaway-meeting/2016/04/30/cb606d42-0ed8-11e6-bc53-db634ca94a2a_story.html>
 

It’s All Over: EU Scraps Post-2020 Green Transport Target

EU laws requiring member states to use “at least 10%” renewable energy in transport will be scrapped after 2020, the European Commission confirmed. The current directive, adopted in 2008, requires each EU member state to have at least 10% renewable energy used in transport by 2020 – including from biofuels and other sources like green electricity. However, Marie C. Donnelly, Director for Renewables at the European Commission said the 10% target will be dropped in a new directive. She said: “What’s not going to be in the text is a target for the transport sector.”
 
A recent study for the Commission found the indirect land use change of biofuels to be bigger than previously thought [see next story], leading environmentalists to warn they are more polluting than fossil fuels, a claim strongly refuted by the renewables industry.
 
<http://www.euractiv.com/section/transport/news/green-transport-target-will-be-scrapped-post-2020-eu-confirms/>
 

EU’s Drive for “Green” Bio-Diesel Has Increased Emissions

Using biodiesel for transport was supposed to reduce CO2 emissions, but instead it’s set to increase Europe’s overall transport emissions by almost 4%, according to a new analysis of the European Commission’s latest study on biofuels. This is because crop-based bio-diesel has an emissions footprint 1.8 times that of fossil-fuel diesel.
 
Most of today’s biofuels use feedstock grown on land suitable for food, feed or material production. Increased biofuel consumption leads to cropland expansion, either directly (when new cropland is created) or indirectly (when existing cropland is used, forcing the displaced food, feed or materials to be produced on new cropland elsewhere.) The emissions effects of cropland expansion include: peatland oxidation, changes in organic carbon stored in the soil, reduced forestation, and release of carbon stored in biomass.
 
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/25/eu-drive-for-green-biodiesel-has-increased-emissions-study-finds/>
<https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/biodiesel’s-impact-emissions-extra-12m-cars-our-roads-latest-figures-show>
<https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/Final%20Report_GLOBIOM_publication.pdf>
<http://www.cfact.org/2016/04/26/european-plan-to-reduce-co2-emissions-backfired-and-increased-them/>
 

UN Agency Demands More Doomsday Headlines

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency, issued a press release on April 6 to announce its new report: The Untold Story: Climate change sinks below the headlines. In the press release the IFAD head said: “It’s incredible that in a year when we have had record temperatures, 32 major droughts, and historic crop losses that media are not positioning climate change on their front pages. Climate change is the biggest threat facing our world today and how the media shape the narrative remains vitally important in pre-empting future crises.”
 
The IFAD report analyzed media reporting on climate change in two periods: two months before COP21 (the Paris climate summit) and two months after COP21. It found that climate change stories were absent or decreased in number in major media outlets in Europe and the US before and after COP21. Coverage of the consequences of climate change fell by half after COP21, and people directly impacted were not mentioned. 
 
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/04/22/climate-alarmists-alarmed-public-no-longer-panicked-about-the-climate-demand-more-doomsday-headlines/#sthash.YfoGVhpd.1bdVvVrX.dpbs>
<https://www.ifad.org/newsroom/press_release/tags/p18/y2016/17565915>
<https://www.ifad.org/documents/10180/6173b0cf-3423-408c-aac6-e6da78f01239>
 

World Bank: Plans for Coal-fired Plants in Asia “Disaster for the Planet”

Plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change, the president of the World Bank said. China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam are planning 150 GW, 125 GW, 25 GW and 40 GW, respectively, of new coal-fired capacity. The World Bank devotes 28% of its investments to climate change projects. According to the bank’s senior climate change official, if all of the plants are built it would likely blow the world’s efforts, enshrined in Paris, to hold global warming to 2°C.
 
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/05/climate-change-coal-power-asia-world-bank-disaster>

 

2016-04-25

 

Friends of Science 14th Annual Event-May 10, 2016

This event will feature Dr. John D. Harper, former director of the Geological Survey of Canada, who will compare the current obsession over climate to 600 million years of climate history. Broadcaster and best-selling author Ezra Levant will discuss current climate “leadership” policies and their consequences for society. For details and tickets please see the enclosed brochure.
 

Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office: Cutting Emissions Will Cost the Economy

The PBO says that cutting CO2 emissions would cost Canada between one and three percent economic growth by 2030. To meet the country’s commitment to reduce emissions 30% below 2005 levels means reducing emissions between 208 Mt (PBO) and 291 Mt (Environment Canada). This is more than the equivalent of all emissions from today’s cars, trucks and off-road vehicles. Nevertheless the PBO concludes that the targeted reduction could be achieved with a charge of up to $100/t of CO2
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/curbing-carbon-emissions-will-cost-the-economy-but-not-changing-could-be-substantial-pbo-says?__lsa=186c-c63c>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/parliamentary-budget-officer-climate-targets-cost-1.3546789>
<http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/web/default/files/Documents/Reports/2016/ClimateChange/PBO_Climate_Change_EN.pdf>
 

US Republicans: Paris Agreement Will Fail Just Like Kyoto

On April 21 the majority staff of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee issued a 30-page white paper that argues that the Paris Agreement is no more likely to result in major CO2 emissions cuts than its predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol. Pages 4-17 of the white paper describe the history of and lessons drawn from the protocol. On page 18 it notes that the Obama administration’s Paris Agreement pledge (emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels) is based on using regulations for existing power plants under the Clean Air Act (the Clean Power Plan) rather than new legislation. On February 9 the Supreme Court issued a stay on implementing the CPP pending the outcome of ongoing litigation brought by a number of states. Final resolution on the CPP’s legality won’t occur until the summer of 2018.
 
In addition there is other litigation against the New Source Rule, which limits CO2 emissions from new power plants and hinges on the argument that carbon capture and storage has been adequately demonstrated. On page 24 the white paper describes EU climate “leadership” fatigue, while on page 26 it’s business as usual for China and India. 
 
<http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/277167-senate-gop-tries-to-throw-cold-water-on-paris-climate-deal>
<http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/36c16fe3-27ea-49b3-99b0-4a0b2aef8f3d/final-epw-white-paper-lessons-from-kyoto-4.21.2016.pdf>
 

US and China Resist Emissions Curbs on Shipping

On April 21 talks at the International Maritime Organization on a CO2 emissions target for shipping ended in a watery compromise when the US sided with emerging economies in opposition, including China. That stance was at odds with European countries and some island states calling for shipping to do its “fair share” of global efforts. As a compromise, delegates agreed to a working group to undertake “an in-depth discussion on how to further progress this item.” International transport was not explicitly covered by the Paris climate deal, leaving it open to the IMO to interpret its role.
 
<http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/04/21/us-china-resist-shipping-emissions-curbs-at-un-meet/>
 

Palestine Redux

On March 17 the UN granted Palestine full member status in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. On April 18 a group of 28 Republican US Senators sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry pointing out that, as a result, US law prohibits the government from providing taxpayer funds to the UNFCCC and related entities, such as the Green Climate Fund and the Conference of Parties. The 1994 law prohibits the distribution of US taxpayer funds to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” 
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/20/palestine-redux/>
<http://junkscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Barrasso_UNFCCC_4_18_16.pdf>
 

Emails Show that Democratic Attorneys-General and Climate Activists Colluded on Prosecuting Dissenters

In the hours before they took the stage for their March 29 press conference [FoS Extracts - 2016-04-06], Democratic attorneys general received a secret briefing from two top environmentalists on pursuing climate change dissenters. Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Climate Accountability Institute’s Matt Pawa spent 45 minutes each providing talking points behind the scenes on “the imperative of taking action now” and “climate change litigation,” according to a cache of emails released over the weekend by the free market Energy & Environmental Legal Institute.
 
Four of the attorneys general have reportedly launched investigations into Exxon Mobil Corp., and Claude Walker from the US Virgin Islands has issued a subpoena for 10 years worth of climate change documents and communications from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank [FoS Extracts - 2015-04-15]. Mr. Walker also issued a subpoena last month to Exxon Mobil, citing the territory’s laws against racketeering. The company filed a motion to block the subpoena in Texas state court.
 
As the Complete Colorado reports, following collapse of cap-and-trade legislation in 2010, left-wing environmental activists in the US have been planning lawsuits to deliver the political outcomes they needed.
 
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/apr/17/democratic-ags-climate-change-groups-colluded-on-p/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/18/a-climategate-like-bombshell-state-attorney-generals-colluded-with-green-groups-to-punish-political-opponents/>
<http://completecolorado.com/pagetwo/2016/04/15/inside-the-echo-chamber-left-wing-activists-spent-years-planning-climate-investigations/>
 

EU Nations Begin Anti-Green Divestment and Rollback

The wind power sector in Poland installed the largest amount of turbine capacity in the EU last year after Germany, taking total industry investment to €8 billion. The sector now produces about 13% of the country’s electricity. However, a bill submitted to Poland’s parliament will make it illegal to build turbines within 2 km of other buildings or forests-a measure campaigners said would rule out 99% of the land. It will also quadruple the tax rate on existing turbines.
 
In Germany a draft reform bill of the Renewable Energy Act (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetzes) submitted by the government massively curtails the green energy transition, by capping the expansion of renewable energy generation of electricity to a maximum of 45% (presumably meaning power capacity, not energy produced).
 
According to Reuters Norway is planning to end its renewable subsidy scheme by 2021. The increase in subsidized renewable energy in the Nordic countries pushed electricity prices to 15-year lows in 2015, hurting producers. Norway produced 15 TWh of electricity more than it consumed in 2015, while the total surplus in the four Nordic countries stood at 16 TWh.
 
Finding that Denmark’s green energy transition has become too expensive and unpopular, the energy minister is reassessing support for offshore wind farms.
 
In a warning to the US Breitbart notes that countries such as Germany, Spain and England are finding their recent “green energy” experiments are proving too costly to pursue. Between 2005 and 2014 residential electricity rates in the EU increased by an average of 63%. In Germany it was 78%, Spain 111% and the UK 133%. Over the same decade they increased only 32% in the US.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/polish-government-threatens-to-kill-wind-industry-critics-warn/>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/german-government-bill-threatens-renewable-energy-revolution-green-lobby-warns/>
<http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5N17I2XE>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/denmarks-liberal-government-to-roll-back-renewable-energy-policy/>
<http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/04/14/europes-energy-crisis-poses-warning-u-s/>
 

54 Million Europeans Must Choose between Eating and Heating

According to a European Commission analysis, an estimated 54 million Europeans, or 11% of the EU’s population, suffer from energy poverty (unable to heat one’s home at an affordable cost.) The study blames rising prices, low incomes and energy-inefficient homes for forcing people to choose between eating or heating. The report contains seven recommendations (page viii and pages 62-70) none of which address why energy prices in Europe are high. On page 12 there are two brief paragraphs on energy prices, but no mention of the effects of “green” or “clean” energy policies. In fact, in the whole report there is only one sentence on energy and climate policy, on page 24: “Energy and climate policies developed should ensure that energy poverty is not aggravated.”
 
<http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/54-million-europeans-must-choose-between-eating-and-heating/>
<https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/INSIGHT_E_Energy%20Poverty%20-%20Main%20Report_FINAL.pdf>
 

Fossil Fuels' Value Not Imperiled By Climate Change

Pundits are warning that fossil fuel assets may become stranded because of tightening environmental regulations and the availability of cost-competitive renewable energy alternatives. Their basic argument is that climate change policies will reduce the trajectory of energy demand, and high-cost projects will thus be a risk, meaning companies will lose money or their shares will underperform.
 
Michael Lynch, writing in Forbes, argues that the reality is that high-cost projects are most at risk from low-cost projects, followed by slow demand (economic weakness), and climate change policies are a distant third, at best. From 2010 to 2014 global coal consumption increased by twice as much as wind and solar combined. Recent woes to the coal industry (e.g., the bankruptcy of coal giant Peabody Energy) are due to the rise of cheap natural gas in the US and the recent economic slowdown in China. The lesson is that market conditions still completely dominate the viability of a fossil fuel project, and climate change policies remain just a blip.
 
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaellynch/2016/04/17/fossil-fuels-value-not-imperiled-by-climate-change/#7b2ee3205190>
 

Warmer, More Agreeable US Weather Undermining Climate Action

The Guardian is distressed to report that a study published in Nature found that the agreeable, pleasantly mild weather caused by global warming is undermining efforts to motivate ordinary people to address climate change. The researchers found that, over 1974-2013 “… virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes.”
 
Nevertheless the authors affirm their faith in climate models by predicting: “Whereas weather patterns in recent decades have served as a poor source of motivation for Americans to demand a policy response to climate change, public concern may rise once people’s everyday experiences of climate change effects start to become less pleasant.”
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/20/guardian-warmer-more-agreeable-us-weather-undermining-climate-action/>
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/20/climate-change-weather-changes-us-study>
<http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v532/n7599/full/nature17441.html>
 

Enemies of Freedom: Scientific Silencers Are Trying To Shut Down Climate Skepticism

George Will, writing in the normally pro-AGW Washington Post, notes that authorities, always latent in progressivism, is becoming more explicit. An example is the efforts by 18 attorneys-general to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly “settled” conclusions of climate science [FoS Extracts - 2016-04-06]. Today the debatable questions regarding climate change are: (1) How much is due to human activity? (2) Are climate models reliable? (3) Is change ominous because today’s climate is necessarily optimum? (4) Are the costs of combatting climate change less than the costs of adapting to it? If the progressives like the attorneys-general have their way, these questions may not be forever debatable.
 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-settled-science-consensus-du-jour/2016/04/22/46acd802-07de-11e6-a12f-ea5aed7958dc_story.html>
 

The Replication Crisis: Possible Impact on Climate Science

After a decade of slow growth beneath public view, the replication crisis in science (failures to replicate widely accepted research) is beginning to break into public view. It started in psychology and biomedical studies and is now spreading to other fields such as economics and physics. The Watts Up With That story cites six powerful articles that have appeared in the past month about the crisis. Four of them discuss egregious failures in scientific institutions-with large public policy consequences. Two describe the crisis for a general audience. The article concludes that, while many sciences are vulnerable to the crisis, climate science-with a central role in one of our time’s major public policy questions, and a frequent disregard for the methodological safeguards that other sciences rely upon-might become the most affected.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/22/climate-science-might-become-the-most-important-casualty-of-the-replication-crisis/>
 

Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?

In a five-minute video Richard Lindzen summarizes the science behind climate change. He sees three groups of people dealing with the issue: (1) scientists associated Working Group 1 of the IPCC, who mostly believe that recent climate change is due to burning of fossil fuels; (2) scientists who don’t see burning of fossil fuels as a specially serious problem and who note that there are many reasons for climate change; (3) politicians, environmentalists and media. There are five main points of agreements between the two groups of scientists, but it’s Group 3 that’s responsible for for the global warming alarmism. This provides them with the things they most want: money and power for the politicians; money and confirmation of man’s destructive influence for the environmentalists; money and headlines for the media.
 
In the past decade scientists outside of climate physics have jumped on the bandwagon, publishing papers blaming global warming for everything from acne to the Syrian civil war. And crony capitalists have eagerly grabbed for the subsidies that governments have so lavishly provided. Unfortunately, it’s Group 3 that’s winning at the moment, but Dr. Lindzen predicts that the climate will have the final word.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/climate-change-what-do-scientists-say/>

 

2016-04-15

 

The Leap Manifesto

During its bi-annual convention in Edmonton over the April 9-10 weekend, Canada’s federal NDP spurned the pleas of their Alberta brethren and shifted the party back to the left by agreeing to explore the merits of the Leap manifesto that calls for more drastic action to combat climate change.
 
Spearheaded by documentary filmmaker Avi Lewis and his wife, anti-capitalism activist and author Naomi Klein, the manifesto advocates a swift end to the use of fossil fuels, including: Canada getting 100% of its electricity from renewable sources in 20 years and entirely weaned off fossil fuels by 2050; no new infrastructure projects aimed at increasing extraction of non-renewable resources (including pipelines); “energy democracy” where energy sources are collectively controlled by communities; expansion of low-carbon sectors of the economy such as such as caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media (presumably including Avi Lewis’ work.)
 
Ms. Klein featured in a 2014 report prepared by the minority staff of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works titled The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and the EPA. Among the institutions mentioned in the report was the New York-based Sustainable Markets Foundation. The SMF exists only on paper with zero public presence (no website, Twitter account or Facebook page.) However, its acts as fiscal sponsor for a number of environmental efforts, including Ms. Klein’s forthcoming book The Message.
 
Among the initiating organizations of the manifesto are Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and big civil service unions (CUPE, Public Service Alliance of Canada
 
<http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/federal-ndp-vote-to-support-leap-manifesto-opposed-by-albertas-premier-notley>
<http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/8-things-to-know-about-the-leap-manifesto-1.2852676>
<https://leapmanifesto.org/en/the-leap-manifesto/>
<http://www.naro-us.org/Resources/NARO%20CA/NARO-CA,%20US%20Senate%20Minority%20Report,%20Billionaires%20Club%20(1).pdf>
<https://leapmanifesto.org/en/whos-on-board/>
 

When Energy Policy Goes Bad

Claudia Cattaneo recalls the 1980s, when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau brought in the National Energy Program-a bold government intrusion into Canada’s energy economy. The justification for the NEP was oil price shocks caused by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel, and the program introduced price controls, taxes and lavish incentives for oil and gas exploration. Today, oil is abundant, and son Justin is using climate change to create another government-directed energy diversification that risks turning into another taxpayer-funded money pit. 

 

<http://business.financialpost.com/financial-post-magazine/when-energy-policy-goes-bad-national-energy-programs-failure-offers-clues-to-why-new-climate-change-laws-could-fail-too>
 

Forest Growth Accelerating in Canada due to CO2 Fertilizer Effect

According to to a new study from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, rising levels of CO2 are accelerating the growth of British Columbia’s forests by 1-3%/year. This is enough to cancel out the effect of the mountain pine beetle infestation by 2020. 
 
<http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/forest-growth-accelerating-in-b-c-due-to-carbon-dioxide-fertilizer-effect>
 

Subpoenaed into Silence on Global Warming

In the latest effort of an intimidation campaign launched by Al Gore and Democratic Attorneys-General [FoS Extracts - 2016-04-06], the A-G for the US Virgin Islands has issued a subpoena to the Competitive Enterprise Institute seeking a decade’s worth (1997-2007) of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information. These specifically relate to documents sent to or received from ExxonMobil.
 
The CEI immediately issued a statement: “CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena. It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group. If Walker and his allies succeed, the real victims will be all Americans, whose access to affordable energy will be hit by one costly regulation after another, while scientific and policy debates are wiped out one subpoena at a time.”
 
An article in USA Today says that liberal law enforcers shouldn’t break the law to shut up climate change dissenters.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/attack-on-free-speech-cei-subpoenaed-over-global-warming-skepticism/>
<https://cei.org/content/cei-fights-subpoena-silence-debate-climate-change>
<https://cei.org/sites/default/files/CEI%20Subpoena%20from%20USVI%20AG%20Claude%20Walker%20April%207%202016.pdf>
<http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/04/11/attorney-generals-conspire-free-speech-schneiderman-harris-exxon-cei-column/82878218/>
 

US Federal Court Rules in Favour of Child Plaintiffs Demanding Climate Action

On April 8 Judge Thomas Coffin of the US Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon ruled in favour of 21 plaintiffs, aged 8 to 19, who allege that the federal government is violating their rights by promoting the use of fossil fuels that destabilize the climate system. The ruling stated that the plaintiffs have a right to have their case heard and rejected motions by the federal government and fossil fuel organizations to dismiss the suit. 
 
While there is still a long way to go until the plaintiffs win their case, the judge’s ruling contains the statements (p. 8): “To reiterate, at this stage of the proceedings the court must accept the [plaintiffs’] allegations of concrete particularized harm and imminent threat of harm as true. The question then becomes whether the alleged harm is traceable to the defendants’ conduct and whether the court can redress such harm.” On page 11 the decision notes the June 2015 ruling by a Dutch court ordering the Netherlands government to reduce greenhouse gases nationwide by 25% [FoS Extracts 2015-09-16].
 
A Watts Up With That article speculates on what happens if the plaintiffs win their case, and the court decides the US government has a constitutional duty to reduce CO2 emissions. If the government, in order to discharge its obligations, forced all US-controlled territories to abandon fossil fuels, that would cover only 25% of global emissions. Would the government have a constitutional obligation to force other countries to reduce their emissions in order to protect US citizens from the harms of CO2?
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/10/federal-court-rules-in-favour-of-plaintiffs-demanding-climate-action/>
<https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/16-04-08-orderdenyingmtd.pdf>
 

Suit against Obama’s Clean Power Program-Brief of Amici Curiae Scientists

The amici are thirteen respected professors, scientists and economists who have worked for government agencies, universities, and businesses, and who are participating in support of the suit filed by 27 states and state agencies against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The amici’s brief focuses on two underpinnings of the CPP: its reliance on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 Endangerment Finding regarding greenhouse gases and the pyramid of climate and economic models used to project the alleged Social Cost of Carbon (pdf p. 12). 
 
Recognizing that courts are reluctant to delve into areas of science where they have little expertise,the amici rely on the fundamental principle of the scientific method: that any hypothesis that is inconsistent with the empirical evidence of the real world must be rejected. Their brief goes on to attack the “three lines of evidence” used in the EPA’s Endangerment Finding: the tropical “hot spot”, the claim of unusual global warming, and the EPA’s assumed Greenhouse Gas Fingerprint Theory (p. 17). 
 
<http://www.chamberlitigation.com/sites/default/files/cases/files/2015/Joseph%20S.%20Daleo,%20Harold%20Doiron,%20et%20al.%20Amicus%20Curiae%20Brief%20in%20Support%20of%20Petitioners%20--%20States%20of%20West%20Virginia,%20Texas,%20et%20al.%20v.%20EPA%20%28ESPS%29.pdf>
 

Solar Power Wrecking the California Grid-Blackouts Likely

The state was forced to shut down its solar farms on March 27 because they were producing more electricity than Californians needed. Grid operators say this damaged the power grid, and the system will be incredibly vulnerable to damage and blackouts this summer because of excess solar power. The operators solution is to merge the California grid with Oregon’s, which has access to more reliable coal plants. 
 
Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club are furious about the solution and sent a letter to California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in February demanding California suffer blackouts rather than merge grids with a company that uses coal power.
 
<http://www.cfact.org/2016/04/06/solar-power-wrecking-ca-power-grid-blackouts-likely/>
 

Exxon Strikes Back Against the Climate Witch Hunt

Exxon has challenged attempts by Al Gore’s climate witch hunt to “investigate” it, by demanding to know what crime it is supposed to have committed. The company filed court papers in Texas seeking to block a subpoena issued in March by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, one of several government officials pursuing Exxon. The April 13 filing argues that the subpoena is an unwarranted fishing expedition into Exxon’s internal records that violates its constitutional rights.
 
<https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/14/exxon-strikes-back-against-the-climate-witch-hunt/>
 

Green Energy Corruption Splits German Environmental Movement

Enoch zu Guttenberg, one of Germany’s most prolific environmentalists has become an outspoken critic of wind energy in Germany. He believes children in the future will be able to see Germany’s idyllic landscape only in paintings as developers clear hill-top forests to make way for skyscraper-size industrial wind turbines. Mr. zu Guttenberg, a symphony conductor, told Spiegel the movement against wind turbines has exploded over the past months and years and that his speeches against wind turbines are attracting ever larger crowds. The environmental movement has become so dis-unified, Spiegel writes, that once diehard nuclear energy opponents have now switched to protesting wind turbines, as many planning boards ignore concerns of the citizens and attempt to steamroll projects through against the public will.
 
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/04/07/spiegel-puts-spotlight-on-germanys-green-sleaze-wind-industrys-corruption-of-greens-environmental-groups-local-pols/#sthash.gAVwZvXX.8x5JBeVz.dpbs>
 

German Government Plans to Stop and Reverse Wind Power

If the green energy plans by the German Federal Government are implemented, the expansion of onshore wind energy will soon come to a standstill and then go into reverse. New draft rules will limit the amount of renewable energy capacity to the electricity mix to 40-45%. By the end of 2015 this level was 33%. A target of 45% would mean that only 1500 MW could be installed after 2018, compared to 3600 MW added between February 2015 and January 2016.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/its-all-over-german-government-plans-to-stop-and-reverse-wind-power/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/04/german-govt-plans-will-kill-wind-industry/>
<http://www.cfact.org/2016/04/09/germany-to-abandon-1-1-trillion-wind-power-program-by-2019/>
 

Green Energy Dropping As Developing Nations Return To Cheap Fossil Fuels

A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that many developing countries made huge strides towards deploying renewable technologies over the past decade — but this rise is now levelling off. Instead, these countries are turning towards fossil fuels to meet the energy demands of their citizens. Countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria,which had a high share of renewable biomass as part of their energy portfolios, have instead turned to fossil fuels to power greater demand for heating, cooling and transport. Renewables formed nearly 50% of Indonesia’s energy mix in 2000, but this had dropped to under 40% by 2013. China, India and Mexico have also seen their renewable share fall over this period.
 
<http://www.scidev.net/global/energy/news/green-energy-developing-world-renewable-energy.html>
<http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/IRENA_REmap_2016_edition_report.pdf>
 

The Real Motive behind the Warming Scare

In the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015: “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole … We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”-
 
Last year, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, made a similar statement: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution … This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
 
The plan is to allow Third World countries to emit as much carbon dioxide as they wish-because, as Mr. Edenhofer said, “in order to get rich one has to burn coal, oil or gas”-while at the same time restricting emissions in advanced nations.
 
<http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/another-climate-alarmist-admits-real-motive-behind-warming-scare/>

 

2016-04-06

 

Friends Helping Friends: Alberta’s NDP Government

In opposition the NDP used to complain about the previous government’s ties to the oil and gas industry. Now that they’re in power the NDP has cultivated its own set of friends. For example, many companies have signed on with the left wing Pembina Institute that wants to shut down the oil sands and coal-fired generation. As small and medium sized companies they qualify to share in  the $1.5 billion that the government is disbursing. BluEarth Renewables, employer of Chief of Staff to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, secured $17 million to build wind turbines. Skyfire Energy has signed on with Pembina to phase out coal.
 
<http://www.therebel.media/out_with_the_coal_in_with_the_renewables_meet>
 

California Dreamin’ Renewables for Alberta

Alberta’s NDP government has set a goal to have wind and solar provide up to 30% of the province’s electricity once coal is gone. Michal Moore is Professor of Energy Economics at the University of Calgary, and a former commissioner of the California Energy Commission. He and his California colleagues determined that, if the state fully committed to renewables, the best they could realistically come up with was 18%. Right now, wind supplies 4% of Alberta’s electric energy (it has 9% of capacity) and solar is negligible. If California can’t do it, the NDP goal of 30% is ‘dreamin’.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/22/california-dreamin-renewables/>
<http://www.cbc.ca/radio/the180/a-sovereigntist-defends-english-a-case-for-guaranteed-minimum-income-and-more-alberta-road-trip-1.3496597/renewable-energy-may-be-a-challenge-fit-for-albertans-1.3497788>
<http://www.energy.alberta.ca/electricity/682.asp>
 

Ted Cruz on Energy and Markets

US Senator Cruz responded to ten questions posed by the American Energy Alliance regarding, inter alia: energy subsidies, use of science by federal agencies, regulations under the Clean Air Act, carbon tax, and the “endangerment finding” for CO2. His answers to all questions are diametrically opposite to those of the Obama administration, in particular the response to No. 10: “Yes, the observed temperature evidence does not support the claims that carbon dioxide is dangerous. More recent scientific developments indicate that a review of the endangerment finding is needed.”
 
<https://www.masterresource.org/cruz-ted/cruz-energy-climate/>
 

World’s Largest Green Energy Company Faces Bankruptcy

SunEdison, which bills itself as the world’s largest green energy company, may soon file for bankruptcy protection, according to a recent US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, as the company faces “liquidity difficulties” despite getting millions in government subsidies. SunEdison builds “advanced solar technology and develops, finances, installs and operates distributed solar power systems.” The pro-labor union group Good Jobs First reported last year that SunEdison and its subsidiaries got nearly $650 million in subsidies and tax credits from the federal government since 2000. It was the 13th most heavily-subsidized company in America. A SunEdison bankruptcy could leave taxpayers on the hook for more than $2 billion.
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/03/29/the-worlds-largest-green-energy-company-is-facing-bankruptcy/>
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-sunedison-inc-terraform-global-risk-idUSKCN0WV160>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-30/the-2-6-billion-buying-binge-that-felled-solar-giant-sunedison>
 

Al Gore, Democratic Attorney-Generals Launch Attack to Silence Climate Skeptics

Standing alongside Al Gore, Democratic attorneys general from 16 states announced on March 29 that they will prosecute oil and gas companies that challenge the catastrophic global warming narrative. The smoking gun for all this is a single email from 1981 from Exxon’s in-house climate expert regarding the possible effects of increased CO2 emissions, long before anyone was actually investigating the science of global warming.
 
Investors Business Daily, in an editorial, notes that the modern-day Torquemadas, are keen to prosecute companies that don’t follow the orthodoxy on climate change, while ignoring fraudulent actions and exaggerations by researchers who take government money to write reports and studies that support the man-made global warming narrative.
 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/al-gore-democratic-ags-launch-attack-to-silence-climate-skeptics>
<http://www.climatedepot.com/2016/03/29/gore-announces-coalition-of-dem-ags-to-investigate-climate-denial-looks-like-fraud-they-are-violating-the-law/>
<http://bluevirginia.us/2016/03/ny-ag-schneiderman-va-ag-mark-herring-former-vp-al-gore-ags-announce-effort-combat-climate-change>
<http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/attorneys-general-create-axis-for-global-warming-shakedown/>
  

The Battle for Free Speech in Science

Galileo Galilei was convicted by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633 of spreading the heretical view that the Earth orbits the Sun, and remained under house arrest until his death. Today’s inquisitors seek their quarry’s imprisonment and financial ruin. The Climate Inquisition began with Michael Mann’s 2012 lawsuit against critics of his “hockey stick” research. Last spring US Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse called on the Justice Department to bring charges against those behind a “coordinated strategy” to spread heterodox views on global warming, including the energy industry, trade associations, “conservative policy institutes” and scientists.
 
In September a group of 20 climate scientists wrote to President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch encouraging them to heed Mr. Whitehouse and launch a RICO investigation targeting climate skeptics. This was necessary since, they claimed, America’s policy response to climate change was currently “insufficient,” because of dissenting views regarding the risks of climate change.
 
As a result the Competitive Enterprise Institute has established the Free Speech in Science Project to defend the kind of open inquiry and debate that are central to scientific advancement and understanding.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/the-battle-for-free-speech-in-science-has-begun/>
<http://www.freespeechinscience.org>
 

Boom To Bust: Europe’s Renewables Industry Falls Into Rapid Decline 

In 2010 Europe accounted for 45% of the world’s “clean” energy investment. After peaking at $132 billion in 2011, investment in the EU plunged to $58 billion in 2015, 18% of the global total. Renewable energy advocates blame policymakers in member states who created a boom-bust cycle by initially showing strong support for renewables then rapidly rowing back as they feared the expense of successful subsidies.
 
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/23/european-clean-tech-industry-falls-into-rapid-decline>
<http://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-europe-at-a-clean-energy-crossroads/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/03/renewables-industry-collapsing-in-europe-still-a-329-billion-subsidised-global-cash-cow/>
 

Efforts to Decarbonize the World Economy Will Almost Certainly Fail

In Paris last December officials from 190 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to less than 2°C since the start of the Industrial Revolution. However, a study published in the journal Energy Policy found that the goal is unrealistic and almost impossible to achieve. For wind power alone, there would have to be a 37-fold increase in the annual installation rate. By 2028 50% of our energy would have to come from renewables; today it is 9%, including hydropower. 
The authors note that rarely, if ever, have government officials gotten together to agree on making such large-scale changes happen in such a short time frame.
 
<https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160323152508.htm>
 

New Study Debunks Polar Bear Scare

A new study, Demographic and traditional knowledge perspectives on the current status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations, conducted by scientists at Lakehead University, should help alleviate any concerns we might have that polar bears are nearing extinction. The authors write, “[W]e suggest that the current status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations in 2013 was 12 stable/increasing and one declining (Kane Basin). We do not find support for the perspective that polar bears within or shared with Canada are currently in any sort of climate crisis.”
 
<http://patriotpost.us/posts/41571>
<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.2030/full>
 

Astronomers from India, China and Japan See Evidence for New “Little Ice Age”

Scientists and astronomers from Physical Research Laboratory in India and their counterparts in China and Japan are now relying on fresh evidence to indicate that we may be heading for another "little ice age" or even a more extended period of low solar activity-a Maunder Minimum-by 2020 as indicated by the lower than average sunspot number count. 
 
In a recently published research paper, A 20 year decline in solar photospheric magnetic field: Inner heliospheric signatures and possible implications published in the Journal of Geophysical Research recently , astronomers indicate that over the last 20 years there has been a steady decline in the sun's photospheric (sun's surface) and interplanetary or heliospheric magnetic fields. This is indicated by a drastic decline in the number of sun spots on its surface and a corresponding decrease in solar wind micro-turbulence in the Sun's last two 11-year solar cycles. We are currently in solar cycle 24, which is expected to end in 2020. The Maunder Minimum condition is predicted to intensify beyond cycle 25, or between 2030 and 2040 during solar cycle 26.
 
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Sunspots-point-to-looming-LITTLE-ICE-AGE/articleshow/51707398.cms>

 

2016-03-23

 

Canada’s Budget-A “Clean Growth Economy”

Chapter 4 of the federal budget released on March 22 has in its introduction: “…  the Government is now developing a pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Pricing carbon emissions will drive Canada’s transition to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy and help Canada address the global climate change challenge.” The pan-Canadian framework refers to the federal/provincial-territorial First Ministers’ conference of March 2-3, which is to result in an action plan by next fall and will include how to price CO2 emissions. 
 
Climate-related highlights of the budget include:
  • $1 billion over four years for clean technology in  the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors (p. 150).
  • $130 million over five years for clean technology R&D demonstration activities (p. 150).
  • $62.5 million over two years to support infrastructure for alternative transportation fuels (electric, natural gas and hydrogen) - p. 151.
  • $50 million over two years for technologies to reduce GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector (p. 154).
  • $3.4 billion over four years to address climate change and air pollution,  protect ecologically sensitive areas and restore public trust in the environmental assessment processes (p. 155).
  • $2.9 billion over five years to support the pan-Canadian framework, including a Low Carbon Economy fund, ensure Canada meets its international obligations and taking action to reduce emissions from Canada’s largest sources-transportation and energy (p. 156).
  •  $129 million over five years for adapting to climate change impacts (p. 158).
<http://www.budget.gc.ca/2016/docs/plan/toc-tdm-en.html>
 

Obama Signs Climate Pact with Canada

During a visit to the White House, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama announced a pact to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas industry activities by 40-45% below 2012 levels by 2020. The US Environmental Protection Agency will begin developing regulations immediately, and Environment and Climate Change Canada intends to publish an initial phase of proposed regulations by early 2017.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/10/president-obama-signs-a-climate-treaty-with-canada/>
<http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2450508/obama-and-trudeau-confirm-ambitious-and-wide-ranging-us-canada-climate-pact>
 

US Pays First $500 Million to Green Climate Fund

The US State Department transferred $500 million to the UN’s Green Climate Fund, the first chunk of the $3 billion pledge made at the Paris climate conference. This upset some members of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, who questioned Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom whether Congress had authorized the transfer. After trying to dodge the issue (captured in a 4:36 video at the bottom of the first link) Ms. Higginbottom admitted that there was no authorization. CNS News reported that days after receiving the money, the Fund approved a proposal to hike the number of permanent staff on its secretariat by 150% (from 56 positions to 140).
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/08/president-obama-just-gave-500-million-of-your-money-to-un-green-fund/>
<http://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/state-depts-500-million-transfer-to-the-un>
<http://cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/days-after-500000-us-contribution-un-green-climate-fund-increases>
 

Green Fury at Warren Buffett's Climate Heresy

Writing to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, its chairman Warren Buffett broke the green taboo by suggesting that climate change will not be universally disastrous for the company’s insurance business. He said that insurance policies are typically written for one year and repriced annually to reflect changing exposures. Two quotes from the Buffett letter: “Up to now, climate change has not produced more frequent nor more costly hurricanes nor other weather- related events covered by insurance.” and “But, when you are thinking only as a shareholder of a major insurer, climate change should not be on your list of worries.”
 
The Guardian reacted by suggesting that Mr. Buffett won’t be able to cope with “accelerating growth in damages and claims” due to climate change. Insurance Business America quoted a Greenpeace campaigner who said, “… the damage caused by the increasing frequency and force of extreme weather events associated with a warming planet is set to become unmanageable… And unmanageable risks bankrupt insurers.”
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/07/green-fury-at-warren-buffetts-climate-heresy/>
<http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/mar/07/warren-buffett-climate-change-insurance-policy-berkshire-hathaway-shareholder-letter>
<http://www.ibamag.com/news/environmental/warren-buffett-slammed-for-dismissing-climate-change-as-potential-worry-for-insurers-29155.aspx>
<http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2015ltr.pdf>
 

Solar Power Isn't Working (Without Fat Subsidies)

This article in The American Interest explores why subsidized solar is growing in foggy, cold, sun-challenged Maine, while without huge subsidies it’s in trouble in sunny Nevada. Solar isn’t a business; it’s an example of how poorly-designed government policies divert resources and slow the march of progress. In the author’s opinion, all subsidies for fossil and green energy should end, and money put into research where it’s needed, such as energy storage.
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/03/14/maine-solar-fight-reveals-subsidy-addiction/>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-14/cold-and-foggy-maine-emerges-as-key-battleground-in-solar-debate>
 

Oil Industry Pushes Back against Exxon Climate Accusations

The oil industry is coming to the defense of Exxon Mobil Corp. and pushing back against accusations that the company lied to the public and shareholders about climate change. The industry-funded Energy In Depth project is accusing the news organizations behind the allegations of being funded by fossil fuel opponents and cherry-picking information to back their causes.
 
<http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/272509-oil-industry-pushes-back-against-exxon-climate-accusations>
 

Yet Another Hottest Year on Record?

In this essay by Norman Rogers, a senior policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, he trashes the various promoters of global warming for dismissing or denying the lack of warming over the past 18 years (based on the satellite data) and making up the science as they go. He then points out the general global warming trend since before 1880 (when global temperature records began). Given that trend, it’s not surprising that the hottest year in the last 20 years will also be the hottest year since 1880.
 
<http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/03/yet_another_hottest_year_on_record.html>
 

Global Warming Satellite Data Get Suspicious Makeover

One of the satellite data sets has now been adjusted to show a slight increase in temperatures over the last two decades. The adjusted data set in question comes from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), satellites put into orbit by NASA. The adjustment by chief RSS climate scientist Carl Mears increased the warming from a statistically insignificant 0.078°C/decade to 0.125°C/decade. The new numbers from RSS also show radically higher temperature increases than other satellite data, such as the numbers from the University of Alabama at Huntsville's data set (UAH).
 
Scientists at UAH, including Roy Spencer, former senior climate scientist at NASA, compared the new RSS results with the data collected by UAH satellites. Dr. Spencer said there had been “spurious warming” added into the new RSS data. “I suspect Carl Mears grew tired of global warming ‘denialists’ using the RSS satellite data to demonstrate an 18-year ‘pause,’” Spencer was quoted as saying, “So, now that problem is solved.”  
 
<http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/22720-global-warming-satellite-data-gets-suspicious-makeover>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/if-you-dont-like-the-data-just-adjust-it/>
<http://www.drroyspencer.com/2016/03/comments-on-new-rss-v4-pause-busting-global-temperature-dataset/>
 

UK Climate Scientists: We're Going to Investigate the Pause

While US scientists appear to be doing everything in their power to bury the ongoing pause in global warming, with questionable adjustments to their data (see above story), UK Ocean Scientists are refusing to give up without a fight. These scientists have just secured a budget, to launch a major investigation into why global warming has paused, and to work out how to predict future pauses. 
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/12/uk-ocean-scientists-were-going-to-investigate-the-pause/>
<http://www.hydro-international.com/content/news/project-investigates-the-global-warming-hiatus>

 

2016-03-04

 

The EU Can’t Keep Its Paris Climate Promises

Of all the stakeholders at the negotiating table in Paris this past December, the EU was perhaps the most vociferous in its attempt to try and hammer out an international climate treaty. Now, thanks to the bloc’s lacklustre Emissions Trading System, the EU is on track to emit 2 billion tonnes more CO2 than was agreed on three months ago, according to a European Commission document. The problem is that the ETS has failed to produce a high enough price to cut industrial greenhouse gas emissions. The ETS lacks the necessary mechanism to tie the carbon market to the bloc’s broader economy, and a new scheme to calibrate it more closely to the number of carbon credits in the market wont’ be in place until 2019 at the earliest.
 
The EU has no intention of beefing up its emissions reduction targets until 2020 at the earliest despite the fact that the Paris treaty “requires” signatories to review their climate goals in 2018. 
 
<http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/03/01/the-eu-cant-keep-its-climate-promises/>
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/29/eu-set-to-emit-2bn-tonnes-more-co2-than-paris-climate-pledge>
 

The Climate Summit of Money

On the heels of the Paris climate summit, 500 investors representing $22 trillion in assets convened at the UN’s headquarters, where they heard from some of the summit’s highest-profile players. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told them: “The tools that you design, the financial structures that you develop, the blends that you are able to put together … in the next five years, will decide the quality of certainly the energy and certainly the quality of the global economy for the next thirty-five years, and hence the quality of life for everyone else for hundreds of years.”
 
The International Energy Agency has estimated that it will cost $16.5 trillion for the world to meet its collective Paris goals for 2030, and the presenters at the conference sliced and diced this ambitious mandate from a variety of angles. In 2015 investments in clean energy totalled $385 billion, far short of the $1 trillion/year that Ceres says is required for the world to stay above water. One problem is that there aren’t enough large-scale clean energy investment opportunities available.
<http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/the-climate-summit-of-money>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-13/climate-deal-requires-16-5-trillion-investment-to-cut-pollution>
 

Japan’s 43 New Coal Power Plants Cast Doubt on Paris CO2 Pledges

Environmental activists claim that Japan’s Environment Ministry’s abandonment of its opposition to new coal-fired power plants puts the country out of step with other industrialized economies that have been restricting coal to meet commitments made in Paris. Companies are rushing to build 43 new coal-fired plants with a capacity of 20.5 GW. 
 
<http://planetark.org/wen/74183>
 

America’s Energy Future is Bright-And Obama Hates It

In its annual outlook for energy report, ExxonMobil presents data that contradicts President Obama's green energy utopianism. The publication The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 forecasts: world energy demand rising by 25%; “carbon intensity” of the world’s economy dropping by half; and oil and natural will still be the world’s leading energy sources, accounting for 80% of energy needs. There is ample supply, as the International Energy Agency estimates 4.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil and condensate, replacing the former “peak oil” estimate of one trillion barrels. Recoverable natural gas estimates are enough to cover current world demand for 200 years. 
 
Although President Obama can't see it, the outlook for energy, and for the US economy, is bright.  It's just not built on windmills and solar panels.
 
<http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/americas_energy_outlook_is_bright_and_obama_hates_it.html>
<http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/energy/energy-outlook>
 

Exxon Stands Up to the Green Bullies

ExxonMobil has courageously rejected suggestions that it should include the impact of the Paris Accord on its business model, in its financial disclosures to shareholders, by dismissing the possibility of meaningful global action to curb CO2 emissions. Specifically it is challenging a resolution filed by the New York State comptroller’s office and four co-filers seeking an explanation how Exxon will address impacts to its business by the global commitment to dramatically slow global warming. The fossil fuel giant argued that it’s unlikely that strict emissions restrictions will be imposed to meet the goal of holding global warming to less than 2°C that world governments agreed to in last year’s Paris climate accord. 
 
Nevertheless, official Washington continues to pursue ExxonMobil’s advocacy on climate change. The Department of Justice, which received multiple requests to pursue the company for potential legal action, has sent the case to the FBI for consideration. 
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/27/exxon-stands-up-to-the-green-bullies/>
<http://insideclimatenews.org/news/24022016/exxon-continues-resist-shareholder-calls-company-address-climate-change>
<http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/271642-feds-refer-exxon-climate-claims-to-fbi>
 

Scientists “Are Exaggerating CO2 Threat to Marine Life”

A paper Applying organized scepticism to ocean acidification research published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science finds that there has been an “inherent bias” in scientific journals in favour of more calamitous predictions. The journals exclude research showing that marine creatures are not damaged be ocean acidification, which is caused by absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. It has been dubbed the “evil twin of climate change,” and hundreds of studies have claimed to show that it destroys coral reefs and other marine life by making it harder for them to develop shells or skeletons. The review found that many studies had used flawed methods, subjecting marine creatures to sudden increases in CO2 that would never be experienced in real life.
 
Another paper, Multidecadal increase in North Atlantic coccolithophores and the potential role of rising CO2, published in Science finds that increased atmospheric CO2 enhances plankton growth. Coccolithophores are tiny calcifying plants that are part of the foundation of the marine food web, and they have been increasing in abundance in the North Atlantic over the past 45 years.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/scientists-are-exaggerating-carbon-threat-to-marine-life/>
<https://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/73/3/529.1.full>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/matt-ridley-threat-from-ocean-acidification-greatly-exaggerated/>
<https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160116215419.htm>
 

Statistical Forecasting: How Fast Will Future Warming Be?

In a new paper, Terence Mills, Professor of Applied Statistics and Econometrics at Loughborough University, explains how statistical time-series forecasting methods are being applied to climatic processes. He concludes that statistical forecasting methods do not corroborate the upward trends seen in climate model projections. The paper includes a foreword by Ross McKitrick, who begins by noting that simple statistical time-series methods produced better economic forecasts than elaborate modelling systems. He sees a parallel with the reliability of climate models as forecasting tools for policymaking.
 
Prof. Mills’ paper contains a lot of mathematics. The Global Warming Policy Foundation has a story that appeared in The Times which summarizes Dr. Mills’ findings. He found no evidence in the temperature record since 1850 to support the increases predicted by the IPCC. Using the Central England temperature record, which goes back to 1659, there has been a 1°C temperature rise over 350 years, and based on that it should increase by 0.25°C by 2100.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2016/02/Forecasting-3.pdf>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/planet-is-not-overheating-says-uk-statistician/>
 

New Paper Shows that the Global Warming Hiatus is Real, After All

Climate researchers have published a new paper in the fervently alarmist journal Nature Climate Change contradicting claims that the early 2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. In this new paper, the authors show there is a “mismatch between what the climate models are producing and what the observations are showing,” says lead author John Fyfe, a climate modeller at the Canadian Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia. “We can’t ignore it.”
 
For Judith Curry the paper is significant because (a) many or most of its authors are also IPCC authors (including Michael Mann), and (b) it provides a lucid explanation and context for the overall debate on the topic. In The Spectator David Whitehouse asks why this Nature story isn’t front page news in the world’s media which were so enthusiastic to bury the hiatus. Now they are looking the other way again.
 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/new-paper-shows-there-was-a-global-warming-hiatus-this-century>
<http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v6/n3/full/nclimate2938.html>
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/02/24/nature-making-sense-of-the-early-2000s-warming-slowdown/>
<http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/02/28/study-the-pause-in-global-warming-is-real/>
<http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/global-warming-hiatus-debate-flares-up-again/>
<http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/the-global-warming-hiatus-is-real-so-why-dont-we-hear-about-it/>
 

US House Expands Probe of Hiatus-Denying NOAA Story

Republicans in the US House of Representatives are expanding their request for documents related to a major climate study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That study, published last June in Science, found no sign of an apparent pause in global warming described in previous studies. Congressman Lamar Smith, who heads the House science committee, has expanded his earlier requests for documents to include a host of new words, including “temperature,” “climate”, “change,” “Obama” and “Paris”. Smith has asked the agency to deliver all documents by 29 February.
 
<http://www.nature.com/news/us-lawmakers-expand-probe-of-climate-study-1.19463>
<http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/11/05/is-government-tinkering-with-global-warming-data.html>
 

After El Niño, Will the Global Warming Pause Continue?

The current El Niño is one of the strongest on record, with effects felt all over the world and it elevated global temperatures to a record level in 2015. In a 5:23 video David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation argues that one should never use an El Niño year as a start or end  point in determining temperature trends (e.g., 1998 and 2015). An El Niño is natural variability-a weather event-and not evidence of climate change, man-made or otherwise. Since El Niños are often followed by cool La Niñas, we’ll have to wait a couple of year until normal temperatures are re-established.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/03/after-el-nino-will-the-global-warming-pause-continue/>
 

Ten Dire Polar Bear Predictions that Have Failed

Susan Crockford cites ten predictions of the imminent demise of polar bears that have been touted since 2001, and why each of them has failed. She concludes that the bears are not fragile canaries in an Arctic climate-change coal mine, but resilient and adaptable predators remarkably suited to their highly variable habitat.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/25/ten-dire-polar-bear-predictions-that-have-failed-as-global-population-hits-20-31k/>
<https://polarbearscience.com/2016/02/25/ten-dire-polar-bear-predictions-that-have-failed-as-global-population-hits-20-31k/>

 

2016-02-22

 

Alberta’s Power Generation Shift Unclear

Last November the Alberta Government announced its new Climate Leadership Plan [FoS Extracts - 2015-11-27] that included as much as 30% of electricity being generated from renewable sources. That 30% commitment is causing confusion, because 30% of generating capacity (in MW), depending on the power source, is far different than 30% of energy produced (in GWh). For example, wind generates its rated power about 30% of the time and solar 10-15%, whereas coal and gas plants can operate at 90% of capacity year-round.
 
The Canadian Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Solar Industries Association have written to the Alberta energy and environment ministers asking them to clarify the issue, stating “… a renewable energy target based on electricity generating capacity provides no certainty as to how much electricity will actually be produced.”
 
<http://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/plans-to-shift-power-generation-away-from-coal-to-renewables-unclear>
 

Majority of Canadians Are Climate Skeptics

A new study co-authored by University of Montreal researchers indicates 56% of Canadians don't believe climate change is mostly caused by human activity. The researchers, also from four US universities, including Yale, surveyed a total of more than 5,000 Canadians over the last five years. The survey posed five questions: (a) the Earth is getting warmer-79%, (b) the Earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activities -44%, (c) the Earth is getting warmer partly or mostly because of human activities -61%, (d) support cap and trade system -66%, (e) increase taxes on carbon based fuels -49%. 
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/majority-of-canadians-are-climate-sceptics/>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/climate-change-yale-project-montreal-study-1.3458142>
 

Obama Administration Vows to Sign Paris Deal without Senate Approval

Brushing aside questions about the February 9 Supreme Court ruling against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, US climate envoy Todd Stern said that the US will sign the Paris Agreement in April. He asserted that even Republicans would be hesitant to back out of the deal once it’s signed, because to do so would give the country a “diplomatic black eye.” 
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/16/obama-admin-vows-to-sign-un-global-warming-deal-without-senate-approval/>
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/16/todd-stern-warns-republicans-against-scrapping-paris-climate-deal>
 

Benny Peiser: The Changing Climate of UK Climate Policy

In 2008 Britain passed the Climate Change Act that targets an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990, by 2050. With transport ousting the power sector as the largest source of UK emissions, transport will have to cut its output by 42% below today’s level by 2030. However, UK energy and climate policies were based on three assumptions: (a) global warming was an imminent threat when the IPCC was forecasting temperature rises of 0.3°C/decade, (b) (fossil fuels are running out, and (c) adopting the Climate Change Act would make everyone else follow Britain’s example. None of these have come to pass, while public opinion has shifted in the past decade. As a result Dr. Peiser forecasts gradual and piecemeal rollbacks in government policy. The next five years are crucial: if temperatures don’t shoot up, the science faces a crisis.
 
Joanne Nova agrees with Dr. Peiser on all points, except for when he says it’s too soon to do a review of the science. In her view the review should have been done ten years ago, before billions were wasted.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/benny-peiser-the-changing-climate-of-uk-climate-policy/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/02/no-benny-science-is-in-a-crisis-we-need-a-review-if-greens-cared-about-the-planet-theyd-demand-one/>
 

Climate Science is Settled, Except When It’s Not

For the past decade Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has been saying the “science is settled” when it comes to climate change. When the CSIRO’s chief was looking for $A110 million in budget cuts his gaze fell on the climate change crowd who, by their own admission, have already finished their jobs. So he sent this memo to staff: “CSIRO pioneered climate research, the same way we saved the cotton and wool industries for our nation. But we cannot rest on our laurels as that is the path to mediocrity. Our climate models are among the best in the world and our measurements honed those models to prove global climate change. That question has been answered.”
 
As a result more than 300 climate change scientists are set to be dismissed over the next couple of years. Now the scientists and their allies are tying themselves in knots making public announcements to explain why suddenly the science isn’t settled after all. Reacting to the outcry over the shakeup, CSIRO’s boss said the politics of climate a “more like religion than science.” 
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/climate-science-is-settled-except-when-its-not/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/02/csiro-wipes-out-climate-division-350-scientists-to-go-since-its-beyond-debate-who-needs-em/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/02/csiro-scientist-on-climate-we-dont-know-what-the-heck-is-waiting-for-us/>
<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-11/csiro-boss-larry-marshall-defends-controversial-shake-up/7157650>
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/22/csiro-climate-cuts-will-breach-paris-agreement-and-cost-economy-report>
 

How the Sierra Club Took Millions from the Natural Gas Industry-and Why They Stopped.

Time has learned that between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million from the natural gas industry-mostly from Chesapeake Energy, a firm heavily invested in fracking-to help fund the club’s Beyond Coal campaign. The club ended its relationship with Chesapeake in 2010, foregoing another $30 million in promised donations. News of the gas industry donation-which had been kept anonymous until now, as are many of the club’s gifts from individuals and corporations-is particularly worrisome for the Sierra Club because its former executive director Carl Pope had been vocal in supporting natural gas as an alternative to coal.
 
In 2010 the US Senate refused to act on President Obama’s climate bill, and mainstream environmental groups ended their outreach to big corporations. Also, the Sierra Club got a new executive director, previously with the more confrontational Rainforest Action Network, who discovered the Chesapeake donation, realized that it risked tainting the organization, and ended the relationship.
 
<http://science.time.com/2012/02/02/exclusive-how-the-sierra-club-took-millions-from-the-natural-gas-industry-and-why-they-stopped/>
 

The WWF: Thugs and Guns Against Pygmies

A complaint has been filed against the World Wildlife Fund by Survival International, an organization that champions the human rights of indigenous people. Invoking a process normally used against multinational corporations, the complaint accuses the WWF of abusing and victimizing rain forest dwellers, known as the Baka, in Cameroon. Formerly known as pygmies, the Baka are hunter-gatherers whose traditional diet of yams, fruit, honey and wild game comes from the forest.
 
Survival International alleges that the WWF has helped the Cameroon government establish four parks engulfing the ancestral territory of the Baka as “private property of the state,” and these parks are forbidden to human habitation. The formal complaint alleges that ecoguards have been recruited, trained, equipped, and funded by the WWF. Around the mid-2000s, they apparently became employees of the government amid allegations of “physical assault, racist conduct and corruption.”
 
<http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/02/16/the-wwf-thugs-guns-against-pygmies/>
<http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11107>
 

Are Environmentalism and Global Warming Effectively Religious Socialism?

Tim Ball describes how a group of a few wealthy socialists like Maurice Strong, acting through the Club of Rome, settled on a goal to overcome the divisiveness of nation-states and justify the establishment of one-world government. Global warming and the identification of human produced CO2 as the problem suited all the political, financial, and pseudo-religious controls a socialist group could desire. 
 
Having created the problem, they created the proof of the problem (programming computer models to show how CO2 increases would boost future temperatures) and offered a solution (the UN would collect money from successful developed nations and redistribute it to less successful developing nations.)
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/21/are-environmentalism-and-global-warming-effectively-religious-socialism/>
 

Shock Study: Some School Students are Still Taught about Natural Climate Variation

The Washington Post, reported on a study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science on climate science teaching in US schools. (The title of the study is Climate confusion among US teachers.) The WaPo is pleased that a majority of middle and high school science teachers across the US are teaching the consensus view on climate change. However, it is distressed that 30% of the teachers surveyed tell their students that the current warming “is likely due to natural causes,” and 31% present “both sides” of the issue.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/11/shock-study-some-school-students-are-still-taught-about-climatic-natural-variation/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/02/the-outrage-one-third-of-us-teachers-bring-climate-denial-to-the-classroom/>
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/11/how-teachers-are-getting-it-wrong-on-climate-change/>
<http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6274/664>
<https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/most-science-teachers-are-smarter-than-most-climate-journalists/>
 

Walking the Climate Talk

In the climate science community it’s considered a “badge of importance” to fly 100,000-200,000 miles/year to attend conferences. While these commercial flights have nowhere near the colossal carbon footprints of Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, they do seem hypocritical for scientists who are vocal activists/advocates for fossil fuel emissions reductions by the rest of us. Judith Curry quotes one rare climate scientist who has given up flying, and she has minimized her own personal travel, regarding flying as a waste of time and disruptive to her health. She thinks it’s time for the IPCC to drop the hypocrisy of holding a large number of meetings in obscure locations.
 
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/02/21/walking-the-climate-talk/>
 

Solar Cycle 24 Continues to be Lowest in Nearly 200 Years

In January the solar sunspot number was 56.6, which is 71% of the mean this far in the period, calculated using the 23 previously measured solar cycles. The current activity of SC 24 seems to be close to that of SC 5 (May 1798 - December 1810), which occurred during the Dalton Minimum.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/11/solar-cycle-24-activity-continues-to-be-lowest-in-nearly-200-years/>

 

2016-02-10

 

US Supreme Court Halts Obama’s CO2 Emissions Rule

In a 5-4 decision late on February 9 the Court temporarily stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants while a lower court hears a challenge to the CPP. Some states, coal producers and utilities have sued to stop the CPP which is intended to control emissions from existing power plants. The EPA’s regulation is intended to impose strict limits on CO2 emissions from existing power plants. It follows an earlier rule on new power plants, but the industry said the restrictions on existing plants is tougher because it requires retrofitting — or shutting down — plants that can’t meet goals.
 
The Wired article speculates that the court ruling could undermine US commitments to the Paris Agreement, leading other countries such as China, India and Brazil to delay ratifying the deal. Slate opines that the Supreme Court’s willingness to intervene in the case is an ominous sign for supporters of the CPP, as it suggests that there are significant doubts about its legality among the conservative majority of the justices.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/u-s-supreme-court-blocks-obamas-climate-change-rules/>
<http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-02-09/obama-s-clean-power-plan-put-on-hold-by-u-s-supreme-court>
<http://carbon-pulse.com/15398/>
<http://www.wired.com/2016/02/the-supreme-court-may-have-nuked-the-paris-climate-deal/?mbid=social_twitter>
<http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/02/09/supreme_court_deals_blow_to_obama_plan_to_curb_carbon_emissions_from_coal.html?wpsrc=sh_all_mob_tw_ru>
 

President Obama’s Hidden EPA Enabling Act

A group of lawyers at Columbia Law School has urged President Obama to invoke a little-known clause of the Clean Air Act to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to seize control of state economies, to force down CO2 emissions. Section 115 of the Act gives the EPA the authority to mandate that every US state cut its emissions by whatever amount the agency determines is necessary to protect public health, and welfare, if: (a) the EPA receives a report or study from an “international agency” showing that US air pollution is anticipated to endanger public health or welfare in a foreign country, and (b) the foreign country has given the US “essentially the same rights with respect to the prevention … of air pollution occurring in that country.” The latter is where the Paris Agreement becomes important, because it satisfies the reciprocity requirement.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/01/president-obamas-hidden-epa-enabling-act/>
 

“Greening” of the Military: Obama Orders Pentagon to Fight … Global Warming

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies. The new directive’s theme: The US Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.” The Pentagon defines resilience to climate change as: “Ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.” The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it. 
 
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/7/pentagon-orders-commanders-to-prioritize-climate-c/>
<http://www.therebel.media/the_greening_of_the_military>
 

Paris Climate Promise: A Bad Deal for America?

On February 2 the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing-Paris Climate Promise: A Bad Deal for America. Judith Curry summarizes the testimony of the four witnesses. Steven Eule from the US Chamber of Commerce gave a useful overview of the Paris Agreement, noting that the complicated issues have been kicked down the road. John Christy from the University of Alabama at Huntsville provided an excellent description of the various temperature datasets and critiqued them. Andrew Steer from the World Resources Institute spoke in support of the agreement. Steven Groves from the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom wanted the Senate to block funding for the agreement and the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change and take prophylactic legislative measures, unless the White House submits the agreement for the Senate’s advice and consent. 
 
<https://judithcurry.com/2016/02/03/paris-climate-promise-a-bad-deal-for-america/>
 

EU Faces Two-year Wrangle to Ratify Paris Climate Deal

Brussels will take part in a signing ceremony to be hosted at the UN headquarters in April, but experts say that it could take until late 2017 or 2018 to get EU member states to formally accept the Paris Agreement. The EU’s 2030 package agreed to last year had emission cuts of up to 40% below 1990 levels, based on a 2°C warming threshold. The Paris deal aims to hold temperatures “well below” that limit and “pursue efforts” for a 1.5°C target. Heads of member states are to meet March 17 and 18 to review the 2020 package in light of the Paris agreement. 
 
Within the EU, energy-intensive businesses are becoming more vocal about concerns that a high carbon price could drive investment abroad (“carbon leakage”). The European Commission has to work out how to divide the burden among member states this summer and then it will take a year or more to churn through the democratic process. Further, one country, such as Poland, could block ratification by the whole bloc.
 
<http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/02/08/eu-faces-two-year-wrangle-to-ratify-paris-climate-deal/>
 

UN Makes 5 Million Africans Homeless to Fight Global Warming

A new study by the Rights and Resources Initiative shows that implementation of the UN’s agenda on setting aside forest land to slow global warming could displace five million people living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia. Local governments in the DRC and Liberia have repeatedly displaced residents in the name of fighting global warming. Germany and ENGOs plan to set aside 12-15% of forested land as ecologically-protected areas in the DRC. Liberia will turn 30% of its forests into protected areas in exchange for $150 million in developmental aid from Norway.
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/02/04/un-makes-5-million-more-africans-homeless-to-fight-global-warming/>
 

David Suzuki: Enemy of Free Speech

As Donna Laframboise notes, societies that arrest people for their political views are terrifying places in which to live. Yet, David Suzuki, once a famous face on the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, has for the past eight years been urging jail sentences for people whose climate views differ from his own.
 
<http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/02/08/david-suzuki-enemy-of-free-speech/>
 

Carbon Taxes: Real Misery, Imaginary Results

Donna Laframboise argues that carbon taxes are regressive: They force the poor to pay a higher share of their income just to do ordinary things, such as getting to work, dropping their kids at daycare, fetching groceries and visiting ailing relatives. In Canada, Alberta will be adding a carbon tax to gasoline and home heating, Ontario is considering similar measures, as is the federal government. But what governments don’t tell their citizens is that the misery of carbon taxes will be pointless. If every Canadian man, women and child stopped emitting CO2 altogether it wouldn’t make any difference since Canadian emissions amount to 2% of the world’s total. Politicians see carbon taxes as a way to earn green halos in the saviour-of-the-planet fantasy films that run inside their own heads.
 
<http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/01/28/carbon-taxes-real-misery-imaginary-results/>
 

Extreme Weather Raises Climate Concerns-But only if It Happened Yesterday

A new study suggests that extreme weather does impact climate concern, but the effect on people’s thinking only lasts for three months after the event. The paper examined whether experience of extreme weather events-such as excessive heat, droughts, flooding, and hurricanes-increases an individual’s concern about climate change. While finding evidence of a modest, positive relationship between extreme weather and expressions of concern about climate change, the effect materializes only for recent extreme weather activity.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/07/extreme-weather-raises-climate-concerns-but-only-if-it-happened-yesterday/>

 

2016-01-27

 

The Trojan Horse of the Paris Climate Agreement

The agreement does not set any mechanism, methodology or criteria, for assigning individual mitigation obligations to party states. Further, it does not impose any significant substantive obligations on the parties. From a legal, as opposed to a political or moral viewpoint, it is virtually non-binding. However, the forgoing constitute the trojan horse, because the agreement demands that nation states acknowledge explicitly that their efforts are inadequate, while setting them up for failure and thus changing the political environment in which climate policy is made. 
 
If the collective efforts appear to fall short of achieving the Paris Agreement’s objectives, the judiciary is likely to be dragged into climate policy-making. Climate action groups or executive governments supporting ambitious action will charge the body politic with impotence, declare “government failure,” and seek the help of the courts to get governments to “do the right thing.” To support their claims, they can invoke the admissions and objectives set out in the Paris Agreement.
 
At its most fundamental level, this constitutes a threat to constitutional government, the rule of law, and representative democracy. It risks an unconstitutional usurpation of power by activist groups and unelected and unaccountable judges that could undermine legislative power and the role of positive law in deciding legal disputes. 
 
<http://judithcurry.com/2016/01/20/the-trojan-horse-of-the-paris-climate-agreement/>
 

Surprise! Most German Wind Investors Losing Money … Duped by Exaggerated Wind Projections

Everywhere in Germany monster wind turbines, which at times soar over 200 m, are popping up. They are supposed to eventually supply the country with clean, environmentally-friendly energy. However, according to an analysis of 200 wind parks they are failing economically. The problem is that projections of wind occurrence were overblown. The only people making money are the builders, land leasers, banks and turbine manufacturers.
 
<http://notrickszone.com/2016/01/20/surprise-most-german-wind-park-investors-losing-money-duped-by-exaggerated-wind-projections/#sthash.E6YDxbru.IVEwKYZs.dpbs>
 

Exxon: Oil and Gas Will Still Dominate Energy in 2040

Exxon has released its report on world energy outlook for decades to come, forecasting that oil and gas will remain king, accounting for a even slightly larger share of the energy supply as coal falls into third place. While renewables such as wind and solar will triple, they will account for only 4% of the world’s energy. Exxon’s CEO, asked by a shareholder why the company hasn’t invested in renewable energy, answered: “We choose not to lose money on purpose.”
 
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/01/world-will-still-rely-on-oil-and-gas-in-2040-says-exxon-renewables-no-threat-to-fossil-fuels/>

30% of Total Human CO2 Emissions since 2000, but Nothing to Show for It

The global “pause” has been running for nearly 19 years, but a whopping 30% of all the human emissions of fossil fuels, ever, has come out since the year 2000. Joanne Nova includes a graph and handy reckoning table of human emissions from 1750 to 2014. The data come from the US Department of Energy.
 
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/01/since-2000-humans-have-put-out-30-of-their-total-co2-but-there-is-nothing-to-show-for-it/>
 

Beware the Green Lobby

To Donna Laframboise there’s nothing small and cuddly about ENGOs such as the Nature Conservancy, the WWF, the Sierra Club, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Climate Action Network, Ecojustice and Environmental Defence. They went corporate long ago and are now all about power, influence and tons of money. For them, nothing we do to protect the environment will ever be good enough; they are single-minded and relentless. To support her conclusions with hard facts and cold numbers, Ms Laframboise lists 14 of her earlier posts. The second one in the list (reproduced below) mentions Gerald Butts, the former CEO of the WWF’s Canadian arm, who earned more than the Canadian prime minister in 2011. (Currently, Mr. Butts is PM Trudeau’s Principle Secretary.)
 
<http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2016/01/14/beware-the-green-lobby/>
<http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/03/28/the-enormous-ceo-salaries-behind-earth-hour/>
 

2015 Global Temperature: How Some Scientists Deliberately Mistook Weather for Climate

2015 was the year of El Niño, which boosted global temperatures. NASA and the UK Met Office issued press releases stating that it was the warmest year on record for surface measurements, being 0.13°C to 0.18°C warmer than 2014, while acknowledging that El Niño caused some of the increase, but stressing that human influence is the main driver. In the GWPF David Whitehouse agrees that 2015 was an exceptional year for weather, noting that the agencies ignored the so-called Pacific “Blob” which has kept 1 million km2 of ocean 3°C above normal. 
 
Joanne Nova provides five reasons why 2014 was not hot and not relevant. Among them: satellites survey the whole planet, and they show 1998 and 2010 were warmer; it’s been hotter before and for thousands of years; modern global warming started long before CO2 levels started rising; we are in a 300-year warming trend.
 
Roy Spencer says the satellite analysis ranks 2015 as the third warmest on record and gives his reasons why the thermometers show more warming. He notes: “By now it has become a truism that government agencies will prefer whichever dataset supports the government’s desired policies.”
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/2015-global-temp-or-how-some-scientists-deliberately-mistook-weather-for-climate/>
<http://joannenova.com.au/2016/01/hottest-shattering-year-since-the-last-one-five-reasons-it-was-not-hot-and-not-relevant/>
<www.drroyspencer.com/2016/01/on-that-2015-record-warmest-claim/>
 

Climate Alarmists Invent a New Excuse: The Satellites Are Lying

Climate experts such as Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth and Ben Santer, who all featured prominently in the Climategate emails, have come up with a new excuse to explain why there has been no “global warming” for nearly 19 years. They are quoted in a glossy new video promoted by the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund which claims that the satellite records have been subject to dishonest adjustments and give misleading temperatures because of orbital decay over time. 
 
Defending the satellites John Christy points out that their data is confirmed by a completely independent system (balloons), unlike the surface data.
Commenting on the video in WUWT Christopher Monckton lists 20 “false representations, pretences or implications, calculated individually and by mutual reinforcement to deceive.”
 
<http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/15/climate-alarmists-invent-new-excuse-the-satellites-are-lying/>
<http://climatecrocks.com/2016/01/13/new-video-can-we-trust-satellite-temperatures/>
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/19/20-false-representations-in-one-10-minute-video/>
 

Study: Alberta Power Rates to Rise Sharply due to Climate Plan

A new study by utilities consultant EDC Associates Ltd. has found that Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan would result in big reductions in emissions, but the cost of boosting renewable energy usage would mean significantly higher electricity rates. The report looked at the impact of the NDP government’s plan to phase out coal power by 2030 and source 30% of energy from renewable sources.
 
<http://globalnews.ca/news/2476348/alberta-electricity-rates-to-rise-sharply-because-of-climate-plan-study/>
 

A New Kind of Attack on Climate Denial

Trygve Lavik of Norway’s University of Bergen’s philosophy department has published a paper calling a “statutory ban on climate denialism.” Prof. Lavik argues that climate deniers’ utterances are not “sincerely meant” and they don’t respect the “better arguments” of their opponents. In his view “… the exceptional nature of the climate crisis can be characterized more as a heated situation in which certain utterances may lead to massive harm to others, than as a civilized debate in the press over regular issues …” He then argues for a law, based on global justice, against “climate denialism.” Few of the comments support the professor’s view.
 
<http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/magazine/physicstoday/news/10.1063/PT.5.8158>
<http://www.ntnu.no/ojs/index.php/etikk_i_praksis/article/view/1923/1928>
 

History and the Limits of Climate Consensus

Judith Curry’s blog reproduces the full text of an essay by Philip Jenkins, who began his career as a historian of the century following 1660, an era of harsh climatic conditions that affected political and cultural history. While he loves “… the idea of using advanced technology to drive a decisive shift towards renewable energy sources, creating abundant new jobs in the process,” Prof. Jenkins has “… some some problems with defining the limits of our climate consensus, and how these issues are reported in popular media and political debate.” He notes that the substantial Little Ice Age literature doesn’t stem from “climate deniers,” but is absolutely mainstream among historians. The 2015 Paris Conference declared a target of restricting the increase in average global temperature to “…well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” Prof. Jenkins then questions which pre-industrial levels are meant-those of AD 900, 1150 , 1350, 1680 or 1740. Do the bureaucrats aim to get us back to the depths of cold in the 1680s or the medieval warm period of around 1150?
 
<http://judithcurry.com/2016/01/22/history-and-the-limits-of-of-the-climate-consensus/#more-20958>
 

“No Extinctions”: Polar Bears Survived Periods when Arctic Had No Ice

Scientists with the US Geological Survey and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks released a study claiming the “stratigraphic record of the last 1.5 [million years] indicates that no marine species’ extinction events occurred despite major climate oscillations,” including periods where the Arctic was completely ice-free in summertime. The scientists found that contrary to claims made by Al Gore in his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, polar bears have adapted to past warm periods. What’s most interesting is that they also claim species were likely worse off during periods when the Arctic and neighbouring continents were covered by massive ice sheets. 
 
<http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/11/polar-bears-survived-when-the-arctic-had-no-ice/>
<http://www.cfact.org/2016/01/11/no-extinctions-polar-bears-survived-periods-when-the-arctic-had-no-ice/>
 

Ross McKitrick: The Electric Car Is Dead, Executed by Al Gore and His Environmental Allies

Who killed the electric car? is the title of a 2006 documentary about the refusal of auto companies to bring an early battery-powered vehicle to market. It pointed the finger at big America car companies and their pals in big oil. If electric cars were profitable to the makers, while economical and practical to the customers, upstart manufacturers would have exploited the market, regardless of the incumbents. Instead, thanks to Al Gore and his allies, governments around the world have embraced renewables, resulting in soaring electricity prices. Environmentalists, by opposing building pipelines to get oil out of Alberta to the US, was one of the reasons why US oil producers had to innovate, flooding the market with new sources of cheap oil.
 
So, governments have put in place policies that make it nearly impossible to sell electric vehicles and then added mandates that require automakers to sell millions of them at steep losses. 
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/the-electric-car-is-dead-executed-by-al-gore-and-his-environmental-allies?fb_comment_id=1250269001653623_1250504488296741&comment_id=1250451838302006&reply_comment_id=1250504488296741#faa4f7c4ce779c>

 

2016-01-12

 

Global Warming: A Major Challenge for Science and Society Effectively Tackled by FoS

Tim Ball describes how Friends of Science has worked since its inception to inform the public of the use of improper scientific methods employed by the global warming advocates. He points out how FoS has become a target for political attacks with a double standard in funding: government and environmental funding is neutral, but if money from energy companies goes to a skeptics group like FoS, it is controlling and directing. Having helped to get the group started, Dr. Ball is proud of his association with FoS and its effectiveness.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/08/global-warming-a-major-challenge-for-science-and-society-effectively-tackled-by-friends-of-science-fos/
 

Europe: A Green Energy Basket Case

Western leaders, environmental groups, and international institutions are convinced that Europe, which wants to cut its emissions 40%/60%/80% below 1990 levels by 2030/2040/2050, respectively, is the model for the rest of the world to install more renewable energy and efficiency. The truth is the continent is a green energy basket case with surging prices, fleeing industry, falling economic and population growth, growing dependence on Russian energy, and rising “fuel poverty,” where even the middle class often can’t afford the most basic energy services.
 
Denmark and Germany are the proud wind capitals of Europe, but they also have the highest home electricity prices on Earth, 42 and 40 ¢/kWh, respectively, against just 12.5 ¢/kWh in the US. Predictably silently, higher cost electricity in Europe is killing tens of thousands of people a year, ”Excess Winter Deaths,” where older residents on fixed budgets in particular are forced to turn their heat down to avoid expensive utility bills. For example, there were 44,000 Excess Winter Deaths in England and Wales in 2014-2015. Europe’s industry is being ravaged by exorbitant energy costs. The once-vaunted UK steel industry, for instance, has been decimated by higher cost electricity, and annual production is down 15% to 12 million tonnes since 2007, now just yielding 1.5% of what mighty China does.
 
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2015/12/27/europes-energy-and-electricity-policies-are-a-bad-model/>
 

Analyst: US Senate Should Unilaterally Refuse to Ratify Paris Climate Treaty

Attorney Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute says that, even if President Obama won’t submit the Paris Agreement for ratification, the US Senate should reclaim its constitutional role by unilaterally refusing to ratify the deal. Such an act would send a statement to the world that the agreement is a promise, not a commitment. Doing nothing is, in fact, a commitment.
 
In 1992 the Senate did ratify the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Treaty, and then President George H.W. Bush pledged that any future agreements involving “targets and timetables” would be sent to the Senate for ratification.
 
<http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/analyst-us-senate-should-unilaterally-refuse-ratify-paris-climate>
 

Climate Scientists: Paris Agreement Fatally Flawed

In a joint letter to The Independent 11 of the world’s top climate scientists, led by Prof. Paul Beckwith of the University of Ottawa, launch a blistering attack on the Paris Agreement. Page 3 of the draft agreement acknowledges that its CO2 target won’t keep the global temperature rise below 2°C. Rather than an “urgent mechanism to ensure immediate cuts in emissions,” the agreement kicks the can down the road to 2020. The academics say the world’s only chance of saving itself from rampant global warming is a giant push into controversial and largely untested geo-engineering technologies that seek to cool the planet by manipulating the Earth’s climate system.
 
<http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cop21-paris-deal-far-too-weak-to-prevent-devastating-climate-change-academics-warn-a6803096.html>
 

Next Stop for Paris Climate Deal: The Courts

While the Paris Agreement does not impose legally-binding requirements on nations to meet their emission reduction targets, environmentalists see litigation as their enforcement mechanism of choice if governments fall short. The Dutch environmental foundation Urgenda has already won a court ruling (now under appeal) forcing the Netherlands government to do more to protect its citizens from climate change [FoS Extracts - 2015-09-16 and 2015-06-30]. Similar cases have appeared in Belgium and New Zealand, and the legal threat will mount once the Paris deal takes effect in 2020.
 
<http://www.politico.eu/article/paris-climate-urgenda-courts-lawsuits-cop21/>
 

Good Climate, Bad Democracy

Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nico Stehr, tries to reconcile his conflicting beliefs in the need to do something about climate change and respect for democracy. He notes that increasing number of climatologists, believing that only autocratic governments could avert catastrophe, are critics of democracy. In order to realize a globally sustainable lifestyle, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research claims we need an immediate “great transformation,” a new political order. Australians David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith emphasize in their book The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, “We need an authoritarian form of government to implement the scientific consensus on greenhouse gas emissions.” In his book The Vanishing Face of Gaia James Lovelock even demanded to give up democracy in order to meet the challenges of climate change since we were in a state of war.
 
In other words, we are are confronted with the demands and aspirations of “experts who demand the power to lead because they believe that only in this way their specialist knowledge comes into its own.” Mr. Stehr’s critical question is whether we can deal with politically with the social consequences of climate change without compromising our freedom and democracy. His solution is “… knowledge enhancement and dissemination by individuals, groups and movements that deal with environmental problems.”  In other words, have the ENGOs educate the public.
 
<http://www.thegwpf.com/nico-stehr-good-climate-bad-democracy/>
 

Shock Green Discovery: Negative Messages Make People Feel Sad

Two green researchers writing in the HuffPost are dismayed to discover that stories about how climate change will personally affect Americans’ lives have the opposite to the expected effect: they actually reduce peoples’ willingness to advocate on the issue.
 
In politics the rule of negative advertising is that you distribute negative leaflets not to your supporters, but to supporters of the opposition-to make them feel disengaged from the political process.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/05/shock-green-discovery-negative-messages-make-normal-people-feel-sad/>
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-seth-levine/why-climate-change-rhetor_b_8913694.html>
 

TransCanada’s Legal Action May Lead to Review of Climate Science

In response to President Obama’s rejection of its Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada Corp. has filed a $15 billion claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The claim notes that no cross-border pipeline had ever been turned down and certainly not in the cause of saving the world. The case, which will not begin for at least six months, could lead to the examination of the role of ENGOs and their big foundation and billionaire backers in the campaign against the pipeline. 
 
In a separate lawsuit TransCanada alleges that the decision exceeded the president’s powers and infringed upon Congress’ power under the Constitution to regulate interstate and international commerce.
 
<http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/peter-foster-transcanadas-keystone-legal-action-may-lead-to-airing-of-state-of-climate-science>
<http://www.thegwpf.com/transcanadas-keystone-legal-action-may-lead-to-review-of-climate-science/>
<http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/transcanada-file-legal-challenges-keystone-rejection-36131431>
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/transcanada-kxl-keystone-nafta-lawsuit-damages-pipeline-1.3392720>
 

Obama’s Green Cars Plan Falling Short

In 2010 President Obama’s goal was to get 1 million plug-in and all-electric cars on the road in the US by 2015. Last year Americans bought a record 17.5 million passenger vehicles of which 116,548, or 0.67% were either plug-in hybrids or all electrics. This was about 6,500 fewer than in 2014. Total electric vehicles sold since 2010 are 407,136.
 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/government-has-spent-a-lot-on-electric-cars-but-was-it-worth-it/2016/01/06/359bd25c-b496-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html>
,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-06/plug-in-electric-vehicles-left-behind-in-u-s-autos-record-year>
 

Ban-Ki Moon’s Climate Finance Plan

UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, have proposed that third world countries should be allowed to pay off their debts, by taking “action” on climate change.
 
<http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/08/ban-ki-moons-climate-finance-plan-despots-paying-off-third-world-debt-with-more-oppression/>
<http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/swapping-national-debt-for-action-on-climate-change-could-be-the-solution-weve-been-looking-for-a6802561.html>

 


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