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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Extracts - 2021

By: Ian Cameron                 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

2021-04-02

 

Biden Announces Two-day Virtual Global Climate Conference

On March 26 US President Joe Biden invited 40 world leaders to the virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate that he will host on April 22 (Earth Day) and 23. Key themes of the summit will include:

  • Galvanizing efforts by the world's major economies to reduce emissions during this decade to limit warming to 1.5°C.
  • Mobilizing public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts.
  • The economic benefits of climate action.
  • Spurring transformational technologies to help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
  • Showcasing subnational and non-state actors.
  • Discussing opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impact of climate change.

 However, amid mutual distrust between America and China over each other's commitment to saving the environment, Chinese President Xi Jingping has yet to respond to Mr. Biden's invitation.

 

COP26 May Have to Be Postponed Again

The clash between two emergencies — climate and covid — is making life difficult for the organizers of COP26, the climate summit scheduled for next November in Glasgow. Last May COP26 was postponed a full year because of covid. Now, in view of uncertainties regarding public health rules, UK government sources fear having ~20,000 attendees, heads of state/government, ministers and officials flying in for a physical event, unless they can all be vaccinated and/or robustly tested. Two possible options for COP26 are:

  • Limiting attendees to national delegations, with others participating virtually. This is unpopular with smaller countries that rely on NGOs to amplify their voice, as well as climate activists.
  • Delaying the summit a second time. Opposed by greens who see the COP meeting as an emergency situation. However, moving it to May 2022 would give more time to complete preparatory work and would allow more people to become vaccinated.

 Any decision on COP26 will involve the government of Scotland, as well as Westminster and the UN.

 

Come Clean about the Cost of Net Zero

The UK Parliament's Public Accounts Committee found that the government "lacks a plan for how it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 despite setting the target almost two years ago." This lack of plan made it "difficult for parliament and the general public to understand or scrutinise’ progress towards the goal." The PAC noted: "As much as 62% of the future reduction in emissions will rely on individual choices and behaviours, from day-to-day lifestyle choices to one off purchases such as replacing boilers that use fossil fuels or buying an electric vehicle. Government has not yet properly engaged with the public on the substantial behaviour changes that achieving net zero will require."

According to Spiked public disengagement with politics provided "an open door to the green lobby and other campaigning organisations." Green advocates claim that new technology can reduce reliance on gas, and the government has announced that gas for home heating will be banned in the 2030s to encourage use of heat pumps. But the latter cost at least 3.5 times as much as gas boilers, require larger radiators and noisy heat-exchange units outside of every home. In the UK, as in other countries, no party manifesto has explained to voters what a commitment to Net Zero actually requires from them.

 

Enbridge's "Sustainability Linked" Financing

When presenting his company’s 2020 financial results, Al Monaco, the president of Enbridge, a Canadian midstream energy company, boasted about its ESG leadership. In particular, Mr. Monaco took pride in Enbridge becoming the first in its sector to launch a “Sustainability Linked credit facility,” a three-year $1 billion funding from three financial institutions that have loaned over $48 billion to Enbridge from 2016 to 2020.

While it's unclear from Enbridge's press release what a sustainability linked credit facility is, a French ENGO named Reclaim Finance was unimpressed with Enbridge's efforts to promote its ESG credentials. The ENGO also took aim at two Enbridge ESG goals: (1) To reduce intensity of GHG emissions by 35% by 2030; (2) To achieve net zero emissions by 2050. These goals apply only to emissions from Enbridge-owned sources and purchased electricity, not the end use of hydrocarbons transported or sold. To achieve net zero Enbridge will rely on carbon offsets and "avoided emissions." Reclaim Finance finishes with a call to end shameless fossil fuel greenwashing.

This is an example of how ENGOs like Reclaim Finance perform a useful service: If craven corporations find that pandering to the green lobby only causes the lobby to ridicule their efforts, they may eventually realize that appeasement is futile.

 

EU's Top Court Rejects Effort to Force Tougher Climate Rules

On March 25 the European Court of Justice rejected an attempt by a Scandinavian youth group and families around the world to force the EU to set more ambitious targets for reducing emissions. The case, Armando Ferrao Carvalho and Others v. The European Parliament and the Council, opened in May 2018 when ten families, including children, from Portugal, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Kenya, Fiji, and the Swedish Sami Youth Association, brought an action in the EU General Court seeking to compel the EU to take more stringent greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The plaintiffs allege that the EU's target to reduce emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 is insufficient and threatens their fundamental rights of life, health, occupation and property. They demanded compelling the EU to set more stringent emissions targets and require a 50%-60% reduction, or whatever level the court finds appropriate.

The EU General Court did not rule on the merits but dismissed the case on procedural grounds by finding that the plaintiffs are not sufficiently and directly affected by EU climate policies. The plaintiffs then appealed to the European Court of Justice on July 11, 2019. The ECJ upheld the lower court's order, ruling the plaintiff's claims inadmissible on standing grounds for failing to demonstrate that they were individually impacted by Europe's climate policy.

 

The Climate Agenda Is a Money-making Business for the Elites

In a series of tweets Glen Peters, research director of the Oslo-based Center for International Climate Research, took former Bank of England governor Mark Carney to task for claiming that Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is a net-zero company. Mr. Carney, who is Vice Chair and Head of ESG and Impact Fund Investing at Brookfield, a half-trillion-dollar asset manager, then walked back his claim. He is also a leading light of the climate-finance oligarchy, a climate advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and serves as  UN secretary-general António Guterres' special envoy on finance and climate action.

After Mr. Carney's latest book, Values: Building a Better World for All, came out the BBC gave him the prestigious platform of the 2020 Reith Lectures, where he asserted that net-zero investments are "turning an existential risk into one of the greatest commercial opportunities of our time," and "We won’t have a financial system if we don’t have a planet." Mr. Carney told the BBC: "When you look at climate change from a human mortality perspective, it will be the equivalent of a coronavirus crisis every year from the middle of this century, and every year, not just a one-off event. So it is an issue that needs to be addressed now." It is the "power of money" that will ultimately play the biggest role in combating climate change, he said.

 

OECD Chooses “Climate Inactivist” as New Head

Climate activists were dismayed by the election of former Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann as secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the run-up to the election, The Guardian accused Mr. Cormann of airbrushing his climate record, in particular his record of campaigning against a previous Australian government's "job-destroying carbon tax." Michael Mann also urged the OECD to reject Mr. Cormann's bid for the office.

Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International, said: “We have little confidence in Cormann’s ability to ensure the OECD is a leader in tackling the climate crisis, when he has an atrocious record on the issue. If the OECD is to fulfil its mandate, it must confront the climate emergency, arguably the biggest social justice issue of our time.” Nick Mabey, the chief executive of the E3G thinktank, said: “OECD countries have just sent a dangerous signal by appointing someone with a track record of dismantling climate policy to run their main advisory body. This appointment will lower pressure on the leaders of other international institutions to undertake radical reforms to tackle the climate crisis.”

 

John Kerry Warns EU Against Carbon Border Tax

According to the European Commission the EU’s Green Deal and its 2050 Net Zero target are threatening the very survival of Europe’s industries unless a carbon border tax is enforced upon countries that are not adopting the same expensive Net Zero policies. On March 10 the European Parliament endorsed creation of such a tax to protect EU companies against cheaper imports from countries with weaker climate policies.

However, John Kerry, Joe Biden’s climate envoy, has warned the EU that a carbon border tax should be a “last resort,” saying he was "concerned" about Brussels' plans for one. Instead, Mr. Kerry wants all countries to adopt net-zero emissions targets at the COP26 climate summit next November. But this would run up against the key UN principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities. The developing world is unlikely to relinquish this principle and curtail its economic development and prospects in order to save the West's competitiveness.

It's possible that Mr. Kerry's resistance to a carbon border tax is due to the Biden administration's reported reluctance to impose any sort of carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme on Americans, preferring mandates and subsidies instead.

 

A Short History of Climate Alarm

Paul Homewood of the Global Warming Policy Forum has written this history that begins when a ~30 year cooling trend led to a 1970s fear that the Earth was heading towards a new Ice Age. As a result, the US government set up a Subcommittee on Climate Change in 1974. In the 1980s the cooling trend reversed, and forecasts of apocalypse re-emerged, this time based on the idea of a hothouse planet. In 1989 Noel Brown, a director of the UN Environmental Program, warned that Earth's temperature would increase 1-7°C, sea levels would rise by three feet and entire coastal nations could be wiped out if the warming trend was not reversed by the year 2000.

After 2000 came and went with only a 0.4°C temperature rise, other prophets, including UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Al Gore, the UN's Christina Figueres, Prince Charles, the Pentagon, researchers from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, the UK Met Office, and scientists from other institutions around the world made predictions of disastrous warming — all of which failed.

Mr. Homewood says his examples are only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the predictions were the work of cranks, but too many came from supposedly reliable sources and were lapped up by the media. Part of the problem is the colossal amounts of money available for any type of climate research. Mr. Homewood ends by recalling climate scientist Stephen Schneider's quote about deciding the right balance in being ethical and honest.

 

2021-03-03

 

Countries Not on Track for Paris Agreement

On February 26 the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change warned that the world is falling short of its emissions reduction goals and stronger climate action is urgently needed. Specifically, it published the initial NDC Synthesis Report that gathers information from 48 new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (i.e., climate action plans) under the Paris Agreement. In an accompanying news release UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his disappointment: “2021 is a make or break year to confront the global climate emergency. The science is clear, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, we must cut global emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels. Today’s interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet. It shows governments are nowhere close to the level of ambition needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. The major emitters must step up with much more ambitious emissions reductions targets for 2030 in their Nationally Determined Contributions well before the November UN Climate Conference in Glasgow."

An Australian Associated Press article expressed fears that the US will target a handful of countries, including Australia, which has been accused of "shamefully doing nothing," to take stronger action.

According to Bloomberg the world is ignoring climate hysteria as CO2 emissions came roaring back, with December's level 2% higher than the same month in 2019.

 

UN Calls for Contraction and Convergence to Low Living Standards

On February 18 the UN Environmental Program published its first ever environmental synthesis report, with the expectedly scary title “Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies” — not just a climate emergency, but three emergencies. In the forward to the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres begins: "Humanity is waging war on nature. This is senseless and suicidal. The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, towering economic losses and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth."

The UNEP's ways to make peace with nature appear on page 102 with eight "Key areas for transformations change," including:

  • Reduce the negative global effect of human needs and demand – a function of consumption and production rates, population size, and waste – by reducing per capita consumption and production in some regions and human population growth in others.
  • Systematically reduce inequalities in income and other forms, including across gender, race and class.

As science, technology and policy analyst David Wojick describes it, this UNEP doctrine of Contraction and Convergence is nothing new. It means that developed economies like America are to contract by reducing per capita consumption and production, while the poorest countries are allowed to improve a bit. But every economy on Earth has to converge to a single, low standard of living.

 

UN Security Council Hears of Climate Threat, Does Nothing

On February 23 members of the UN Security Council spoke of droughts, floods, deserts, storms and rising seas eating away at the foundations of peace. They also predicted regional collapse and millions of climate refugees. Several leaders, including France’s Emmanuel Macron, called for the creation of a UN special envoy for climate and security and for UN Secretary-General António Guterres to deliver annual reports to the Council. US climate envoy John Kerry issued a stark warning that climate inaction is a "mutual suicide pact."

However, Russia's representative on the Council said the link between climate change and conflicts was specific to certain countries and there was “no justification” for making that connection globally. That “would even be dangerous,” he said, because “considering the climate the root cause of security issues is a distraction from the true root causes.” For example, he blamed the destabilization of Africa’s Sahel region on NATO’s “willful” regime change campaign in Libya in 2011.  Russia then vetoed the resolution.

 

Further Delay Feared in the Run-up to COP26

A February 25 meeting of the 11-member UN Climate Change bureau on how to proceed with preparatory negotiations before COP26 in Glasgow in November ended in a stalemate. This issue was whether to hold virtual or in-person negotiations next June. While developed countries favored a virtual format, some developing countries objected because of poor internet connections and time-zone differences that could make it hard for their delegates to fully participate. Members agreed to consult further and defer a decision to their next meeting at the end of March.

There have been no formal international climate talks since COP25, December 2019 in Madrid. The interim talks, which normally occur between COPs, are usually held in Bonn every June.

 

Boris Johnson Promises No Tax Hikes for His Green Agenda

Reacting to fears that CO2 taxes currently applied only to heavy industry, power generators and airlines will be extended to other sectors of the UK economy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “no” when asked if there would be future meat or carbon taxes on consumers during his watch. Instead, this year's COP26 summit will “generate high quality, high skill, high wage jobs.” He promised that going green was “an agenda for an economic bounce back that is built on the UK at the heart of a technological revolution as we were at the heart of the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago.” He added: “We can be the centre of battery manufacturing; we can be the centre of battery innovation in this part of the world. And as I say the Saudi Arabia of wind. That’s our ambition.”

 

Biden Reenters Paris Climate Agreement Without Senate Approval

On February 19 President Joe Biden announced that the US had officially rejoined the Paris Agreement. Two days later House Republicans introduced a bill to block any funding to support the agreement until the Senate ratifies the accord. When former President Obama entered the agreement in 2016, he did so by executive order over the objections of Senate Republicans, who argued that the agreement was a treaty and therefore subject to Senate ratification under the Constitution.

Mr. Biden's climate envoy John Kerry marked the occasion by urging countries to do more to confront the climate crisis warning that international talks this year are the “last, best hope” of avoiding catastrophic global heating, thereby adding his name to a long list of last chances stretching back to 1989.

 

Mines, Minerals, and "Green" Energy: A Reality Check

This essay published by the Manhattan Institute, explores the reality that all energy-producing machines must be fabricated from materials extracted from the earth. No energy system is "renewable" since all machines require the continual mining and processing of millions of tons of primary materials and the disposal of hardware that inevitably wears out. It turns out that "green" machines (i.e., wind turbines and solar panels) entail, on average, ten times the quantity of materials compared to machines fueled by hydrocarbons (see Fig. 1 in the essay.) Some other realities:

  • An electric car contains more cobalt that 1,000 smartphone batteries and involves moving 500,000 pounds of material to produce its 1,000-pound battery.
  • The blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones.
  • A solar array powering a data center uses more glass than 50 million smartphones.
  • Averaged over an EV's battery life, each mile driven "consumes" five pounds of earth, compared to 0.2 pounds of liquid per mile in an internal combustion engine.

Over the past century the US has not expanded domestic mining, and in most cases the country's production of minerals has declined, while the demand for them has increased. Today imports account for 100% of 17 critical minerals, and for 29 others, net imports make up more than half the demand. Despite the popular trope of our digital times that the increasingly service-oriented economy means less need for materials, forecasts for the next two decades see a 300% increase in demand for common materials such as plastics, paper, iron, aluminum, silica and calcium (for concrete.)

The idea of a green circular economy based on 100% recycling is a pipe dream. For example, recycling e-waste to extract low concentrations of rare minerals is labor-intensive and hazardous. It's often cheaper and requires less energy to extract more minerals from ores.

 

2021-02-12

 

The Impossible Net Zero Fantasy

After reading some information at Friends of Science, Willis Eschenbach got to thinking about how to go to zero emissions by 2050 by getting off fossil fuels. His analysis includes a plot of global annual total and fossil-fuel energy consumption from 1880 to 2019, with extensions of both trends to 2050.

To achieve net zero by 2050 we will have to replace 193 PWh (1 PWh = 1015 Wh) of fossil fuel energy every year. This means installing 193 PWh / (24 x 365.25) ≈ 22 TW (1 TW = 1012 W) of new energy generating capacity by 2050. From January 25, 2021 there are 10,568 days until January 1, 2050. Thus, we need to install, test commission and add to the grid about 22 TW / 10,578 ≈ 2.1 GW of generating capacity every day. Mr. Eschenbach calculated what this means in terms of nuclear, wind or solar:

  • One 2.1 GW nuclear power plant every day from now to 2050, or
  • 3,000 two-MW wind turbines installed every day, plus a 2.1 GW nuclear plant every 1-1/2 days as backup, or
  • 250 km2 of solar panels installed every day, plus a 2.1 GW nuclear plant every 1-1/2 days as backup.

 

Road to EU Climate Neutrality by 2050

A collaborative report instigated by two members of the EU Parliament, one from the Netherlands and the other from the Czech Republic, provides a critical reality check on the rush to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar. The subtitle to the report is: Spatial Requirements of Wind/Solar and Nuclear Energy and Their Respective Costs. It can be downloaded both as a 45-page summary and the 459-page full report. The authors examined three key issues:

  • The effect of EU climate neutrality on the average global atmospheric temperature by 2050 and 2100.
  • The spatial (land and sea) requirements for wind and solar energy versus nuclear energy in two EU member states - the Netherlands (a country along the North Sea with abundant wind) and the Czech Republic (a landlocked country with a geographically more challenging landscape).
  • The costs of wind/solar energy and of nuclear energy for these two countries.

 The report's main conclusions:

  • EU climate neutrality, if achieved, will likely cause a very small decrease in the average global temperature rise, estimated to by 0.05°C - 0.15°C by 2100, and no more than 0.02°C - 0.06°C by 2050, assuming no carbon leakage occurs. Even so and assuming the estimates are accurate, the average global temperature would still increase by 3°C (summary, p.10).
  • Compared to wind and solar, nuclear power produces approximately 150 - 500 as much electricity per km2. These numbers exclude the additional land required by wind and solar, such as the infrastructure needed for the integration of renewable energy into the electricity system together with energy storage and conversion facilities. If the Netherlands and the Czech Republic had to rely solely or predominantly on wind and solar, there is not enough land in either country to generate the power needed (summary, p.25).
  • Considering just the costs of generating electricity (no integration or system-related costs, which are lower with nuclear) and using either market-based interest rates or zero interest rate, nuclear is cheaper than all types of renewable energy (offshore wind, onshore wind, solar) in both countries (summary, pp.28-32).

Because current EU policies favour renewable energy over nuclear, massive funding has found its way into the development and deployment of wind and solar. This has had the effect of reducing the cost of renewables while inflating that of nuclear. The EU's 2050 climate neutrality strategy involves a high risk of policy failure.

 

Democracy Wakes Up on the Road to Net Zero

The London Times broke the story of a leaked UK government memo discussing economy-wide carbon taxes, including demands from academics and campaigners to increase the prices of gas, meat and cheese to change people's behaviors. The scale of the instant blowback was such that the ambition which has underpinned climate lobbying and policymaking for decades evaporated in hours. This incident prompted Ben Pile, writing in The Conservative Woman, to reflect on his argument that the climate change agenda lacks any democratic foundation and has neither been exposed nor tested at the ballot box.

Mr. Pile describes how climate technocrats in the UK have found ways around problem of democratic legitimacy by appointing a Climate Assembly of ordinary citizens to deliver a preordained result. Nevertheless, the government's desire to put climate policymaking out of democratic reach continues in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow next November. Mr. Pile concludes with: "The Net Zero agenda has been shown to the world for what it is: a power and wealth grab, at the public expense, which has been so poorly conceived that none of its advocates bothered to ask themselves ‘What the if the public objects to it?’”

 

COP26 in Trouble as China Nixes US Climate Appeal over Uighur Genocide Claim

After the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed with his predecessor's characterisation of China's treatment of Uighurs amounted to "genocide", the foreign ministry in Beijing accused Mr. Blinken of “interfering in its domestic affairs and undermining its interests.” The ministry's statement added: "China is willing to work with the US on climate change. But such cooperation cannot stand unaffected by the overall China-US relations."

During a press briefing in Beijing on January 28 a foreign ministry spokesperson threw cold water on the idea of US-China coordination on climate change, saying: “China has emphasized time and again that no one should imagine they could ask China to understand and support them in bilateral and global affairs when they blatantly interfere in China’s domestic affairs and undermine China’s interests.” In other words, China disagrees with President Biden’s special climate envoy, John Kerry, who suggested that climate change cooperation is a “critical standalone issue.”

 

John Kerry Flew on Private Jet to Accept Climate Award: 'Only choice for somebody like me'

Mr. Kerry, recently appointed as US President Joe Biden's climate ambassador, took a private jet to Iceland in October 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle Prize for “leadership in international climate cooperation.” While there, an Icelandic reporter confronted Mr. Kerry over his choice of transportation, asking: "I understand that you came here with a private jet. Is that an environmental way to travel?"

Mr. Kerry responded: "If you offset your carbon - it's the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle … I've been involved with this fight for years. I negotiated with [Chinese] President Xi to bring President Xi to the table so we could get Paris. And, I believe, the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can't sail across the ocean. I have to fly, meet with people and get things done." He sidestepped the fact that he chose a private jet over commercial.

 

Biden Press Secretary: We’re Considering Killing All the Pipelines

On his first day in office US President Joe Biden cancelled construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported Canadian oil into the US. The governor of Michigan is taking legal action to revoke the easement of a 6.4 km section under the Straits of Mackinac of an Enbridge oil pipeline carrying oil from Western Canada to refineries in the US and Ontario. During a briefing on February 4, President Biden's press secretary, Jen Psaki, was asked whether the White House had the same plans for the Enbridge pipeline as they do for Keystone. She responded: "A number are under review. All of these pipelines are a part of what our team is looking at and assessing.”

 

France Found Guilty of Failing to Meet Paris Agreement Pledge

A French court found the state guilty of inaction in fighting climate change in a landmark ruling that environmentalists have dubbed “the case of the century.” This is an embarrassment to President Emmanuel Macron, whose administration is judged to be failing in its promise "to make our planet great again." The lawsuit was launched two years ago by four NGOs, including Greenpeace France and Oxfam France, following an online petition that gathered 2.3 million signatures – the largest in French history, according to the organizers. The plaintiffs’ aim was to “compel the State to take all necessary measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” to meet the 1.5°C target set by the Paris Agreement.

The administrative court ordered the government to pay a symbolic €1 fine to the four green groups that brought the case after France exceeded its 2015-2018 carbon budget. The court will return in the spring to decide whether to order the French government to take more stringent carbon-cutting measures, giving ministers another two months to demonstrate what they are doing to address climate change.

 

G20 Countries’ Climate Policies Fail to Make the Grade on Paris Promises

With nine months to go until COP26 in Glasgow, the world's largest economies are far from meeting their pledges made at COP21 in Paris in 2015 according to research from BloombergNEF. According to BNEF's head of global policy analysis: "The high-level pledges over the last year, in particular, have been impressive with major economies such as the European Union, Japan, South Korea and China all promising to get to ‘net-zero’ emissions or carbon neutrality at some future date. But the reality is that countries simply haven’t done enough at home with follow-through policies to meet even the promises made more than five years ago."

Climate Action Tracker rates most of these countries as being "insufficient", "highly insufficient" or "critically insufficient" in terms of meeting the Paris Agreement's 2°C limit.

 

Climate Lockdowns?

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology in Germany report that the Covid-19 lockdowns caused an 8% reduction in emissions in 2020, though measurements so far have revealed no CO2 decrease in the atmosphere. Their study, Can We Measure a COVID-19-Related Slowdown in Atmospheric CO2 Growth? Sensitivity of Total Carbon Column Observations, found that the 8% emissions reduction last year approximately matches what is required year on year to fulfill the Paris Agreement goals for 2030 (8% in 2020, 16% in 2021, 24% in 2022, etc.)

The perfect storm caused by Covid-19 and the resulting global economic meltdown offers some of our greatest thinkers a chance to take what they see as bold and dramatic action to save the planet. The Biden administration will use the consequences of the Covid lockdown to push through some green legislation, which will not be enough to satisfy the progressives. Mariana Mazzucato, an author and a professor in innovative economics at the University of London raised the prospect of climate lockdowns stating: "Under a 'climate lockdown', governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling. To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently."

The idea of "doing capitalism differently" is the driving rhetorical motivation behind the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset. A blog post by the WEF praised the emissions reduction during the lockdowns, saying: "Let's keep it that way." Karl Lauterbach, an MP for the German Social Democratic party wrote in Die Welt last December that "we need measures to deal with climate change that are similar to the restrictions on personal freedom [imposed] to combat the pandemic."

 

Climate "Emergency" Claims Falsified by Real-world Data

The standard narrative on climate change, as stated by the world's most influential people and institutions is that climate change is already increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and wildfires, reducing available water and crop yields, increasing diseases, hunger, poverty and human mortality, and reducing productivity of the biosphere and the habitat available for species. However, a study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Impacts of Climate Change: Perception & Reality, by independent scientist Indur Goklany claims there is little if any evidence to support the scare narrative. In his report Dr. Goklany notes that climate change should not be confused with fluctuations in the weather. Since climate is often defined in 30-year averages, the temporal record examined should be long enough to cover at least two non-overlapping 30-year periods. The study considered seven phenomena: extreme weather events; area burned by wildfires; disease; food and hunger; sea-level rise and land loss; human well-being; and terrestrial biological productivity.

The study concludes that, while weather has been getting slightly warmer, extreme weather events such as cyclones/hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts have not been getting more frequent and intense. The areas burned by wildfires peaked in mid 19th century. Cereal yields have tripled since 1961 and food supply per capita has increased 31% since then. There has been marginal expansion of land area and coral islands. Death rates from climate sensitive diseases and hunger rates have declined. Health-adjusted life expectancy has increased, and global inequality has declined. The earth has become greener and more productive.

 

2021-01-27

 

Canada is Warming at Only 1/2 the Rate of Climate Model Simulations

During his January 19 presentation for the Friends of Science about there being no climate emergency, Dr. Roy Spencer compared the surface temperatures of Canada to those calculated by climate models. For observed temperatures he used the most recent 30-year period (1991-2020) for the CRUTem5 dataset, which is heavily relied upon by the UN IPCC and world governments. Latitude bounds were 51N-70N and longitude limits were 60W-130W. The model results came from a total of 108 CMIP5 simulations produced by 20 climate models.

Comparing the observed vs model temperatures reveals that Canada has been warming at 50% of the rate of the average of the CMIP5 models. The linear trends are 0.23°C/decade and 0.49°C/decade, respectively.

 

US Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Proper Venue for Climate Cases

On January 19 the US Supreme Court heard arguments on a climate case that could determine the future for climate litigation against energy companies. In 2018 the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore filed suit in state court against 26 companies, including BP, Citgo and Chevron, alleging that the companies should be held liable for environmental damages to the city — including coastal flooding and rising temperatures. The companies, arguing that the case belongs in federal court because it involves national emissions, petitioned the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and lost. They then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court on March 31, 2020.

According to Robert Percival, who teaches environmental law at the University of Maryland, it’s unlikely that the Supreme Court will take up the larger issue of state versus federal jurisdiction in climate litigation. Based on the justices' questions Prof. Percival thinks the case will be sent back to the Court of Appeals to consider all of the companies' arguments (some of which it ignored), rather than allowing it to proceed in state court.

 

How Biden’s Return to The Paris Climate Accord Benefits Beijing

On his first day in office, US President Joe Biden signed orders to rejoin the Paris climate agreement; revoke the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline permit; direct agencies to consider tightening greenhouse gas emissions standards on vehicles and appliances; and reestablish the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, which former President Trump disbanded in 2017. Rejoining the Paris Agreement occurs as China and India which represented 80% of the emission increases in 2019 are dramatically ramping up coal and oil development.

Beijing pledged to peak its emissions by 2030 but has done nothing to slow the emissions growth up to then. China's coal consumption has continued to increase, raising its coal-fired power capacity by 42.9 GW, or 4.5%, in the 18 months leading to June 2019. India pledged to peak its emissions around the middle of the century and announced plans in 2019 to double its domestic coal production over the next five years and will continue to use fossil fuels for electricity generation.

Mr. Biden’s special climate envoy, John Kerry, said that China’s pledge to achieve zero emissions by 2060 is “not good enough.”

 

Bill Aims to Block US Rejoining Paris Agreement Unless Ratified by the Senate

Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican, has introduced a bill to block the Biden administration from rejoining the Paris Agreement until the latter receives Senate approval. Said Ms. Boebert: "My bill prohibits Congress from spending a single penny on the Paris Agreement until this treaty is ratified by the United States Senate. Joe Biden took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. If he wants to keep it, he must transmit the job-killing Paris Agreement to the U.S. Senate for ratification."

The bill has little chance of passing the Democrat-controlled House, but the legislation has drawn attention to the debate over whether the Paris accord is an executive agreement, as the Obama administration maintained, or a treaty that requires the advice and consent of the Senate under the Constitution. Ratifying a treaty requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, which Mr. Biden would be unlikely to secure in the 50-50 Senate.

 

EU Sees Carbon Border Levy as "Matter of Survival" for Industry

The EU Commission is expected to propose its carbon border adjustment policy before the end of June as part of a broader package of climate laws aiming to cut emissions by 55% before the end of the decade. Commission executive vice-president Frans Timmermans said: "It’s a matter of survival of our industry. So, if others will not move in the same direction, we will have to protect the European Union against distortion of competition and against the risk of carbon leakage." Carbon leakage would occur if companies left Europe to avoid the cost of its emissions-cutting policies.

While Mr. Timmermans hopes that other major emitters will adopt carbon pricing policies as well, if the COP26 climate summit next November fails to deliver sufficient climate action, the EU will press ahead with unilateral carbon border measures.

Germany's agriculture ministry is also pushing for a carbon adjustment mechanism at EU borders to ensure that climate action in the bloc’s farming sector doesn’t endanger farmers’ livelihoods and cause carbon leakage. Germany can only achieve so much in trying to decarbonize its agriculture sector because its farmers are facing international competition, state secretary in the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture Beate Kasch said. Emissions from animal husbandry, manure and land-use (soils) in the German farming sector have not been reduced significantly over the past decade as farmers struggle with low prices for their products and consumers in Germany have been slow to embrace a less meat-heavy diet. The sector is supposed to achieve a 35.6% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.

 

Germany Weighs Electricity Rationing Scheme to Stabilize its Grid

Before the days of climate alarmism and hysteria, the job of deciding how to best produce electricity was left to power generation engineers and experts – people who actually understood it. So, Germany had one of the most stable and reliable power grids. Then, in the 1990s, environmental activists, politicians, climate alarmists and pseudo-experts decided they could do a better job at generating power in Germany and eventually passed the outlandish EEG green energy feed-in act and rules.

As a result, the country now finds itself on the verge of blackouts due to grid instability, has the highest electricity prices in the world, relies more on imports and is not even close to meeting its emissions targets.

 

COP 26 in Trouble as UK Government Split over New Coal Mine

On January 6 the UK's communities secretary formally refused to block the £165 million Whitehaven project to remove coking coal from beneath the Irish Sea for steel-making. This is the country's first deep coal mine in 30 years as the government tells other nations to reduce CO2 emissions. Alok Sharma, who quit as business secretary to devote himself full time to COP 26 is said to be furious with the communities secretary's decision. Greta Thunberg said the approval of the mine showed that Britain’s commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050 “basically means nothing”.

 

Two-thirds of UK Homes Will Be Unsellable by 2028 Unless They Upgrade

The Climate Change Committee, which is advising the UK government on how to achieve its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, has recommended that all homes for sale (new and resale) from 2028 should have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of "C". EPC is a rating scheme which bands properties between A and G, with an A rating being the most efficient and G being the least efficient.

There are currently about 29 million homes in the UK, of which 19 million have an EPC lower than C according to the CCC’s figures. The last gas furnace should be sold in 2033, with the majority of homes needing to be heated by electric powered heat pumps drawing warmth from the ground. The CCC estimates 415,000 installations per year will be required by 2025 so as to hit a target of 5.5 million heat pumps in homes by 2030. The installation cost for an air source heat pump ranges between £8,000 and £18,000, while ground source heat pumps cost from £20,000 to £40,000.

 

Greta Thunberg's Address to the World Economic Forum

The WEC's Davos conference is taking place virtually this year, and Greta Thunberg sent her message to world leaders "… to once again remind you of the emergency we’re in. The crisis that you and your predecessors have created and inflicted upon us. The crisis that you continue to ignore." For Ms. Thunberg, vague, insufficient, hypothetical targets way into the future like "net-zero 2050" are no substitute for taking immediate action. She bemoans the low level of public awareness that allows political leaders to get away with almost anything. Instead, what she wants is annual binding carbon budgets "based on the current best available science." Video.

In a one-minute video the WEF offers its "simple plan" to beat global warming: halve CO2 emissions every 10 years, and double use of "green" energy every five years. This would result in "net zero" by 2050 and keep global warming below 2°C.        

 

SUVs Are Conquering the World as Car Buyers Ignore Climate Message

The popularity of SUVs with car buyers is a problem for efforts to reign in emissions from the global transportation sector, which accounts for roughly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, for the first time, SUVs accounted for half or just over half of all vehicles sold in the US. Other countries (China, Europe) are catching up. The average fuel efficiency increases of light-duty vehicles per year has slowed to only around 1.3% in recent years — down from the roughly 2% per year in the handful of years prior, and well below the roughly 3% needed merely to keep total global emissions from cars from rising.  SUVs are generally around 15-30% less fuel efficient than the prototypical passenger car, the sedan.

Auto manufacturers have a strong incentive to push consumers to opt for larger vehicles, since the amount of profit earned per vehicle sold is higher for SUVs than for sedans. To lure more buyers, auto companies have introduced a greater variety of new choices of SUVs than they have for sedans and other passenger cars. According to an analyst: "Utility vehicles are more practical than passenger cars, and US consumers tend to choose vehicles based on occasional use needs more than daily driver/commute needs. There was a time when sedans dominated, but utility vehicles simply move people and their stuff around easier."

 

2021-01-19

 

No Climate Emergency! Dr. Roy W. Spencer LIVE Online January 19, 2021 at 7 pm MST

The second part of the Friends of Science Society’s 17th annual climate science event will take place online on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7 pm Mountain Standard Time (UTC - 7 hours). The event will feature a recorded presentation, “The Most Important Reasons Why There is No Climate Emergency”, by Dr. Roy W. Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. After the presentation Dr. Spencer will be available for a live online Q&A. For details on how to access this event, please see this link.

 

US Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism

Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.” According to data from Subsidy Tracker, that success was fueled not by consumer demand, but by a total of $176 billion in subsidies. The biggest beneficiaries were General Electric ($1.6 billion in local, state and federal subsidies, plus $159 billion in federal loan guarantees), NextEra Energy (about 50 grants and tax credits from local, state, and federal entities as well as federal loans and loan guarantees worth $5.5 billion). About $6.8 billion in subsidies, loans, and loan guarantees went to foreign corporations, including Iberdrola, Siemens, and E.On. 

Many of the companies on the AWEA board will be collecting even more federal subsidies over the next few years. In December, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the latest renewal of the production tax credit will cost U.S. taxpayers about $3.1 billion per year from now until 2019. That subsidy pays wind-energy companies $23 for each megawatt-hour of electricity they produce.

 

Will the Green Economy Trigger the Next Crash?

Financier Bill Blain learned a painful lesson from the 2008 financial crisis, when a small but very significant part of the asset-backed securities market failed and shook markets to the core — like a few snowflakes triggering an avalanche. While Mr. Blain absolutely believes that climate change is the biggest challenge that humanity faces, he fears that the drive for renewable energy, especially wind, will trigger the next financial crash. The UK government has promoted wind power with messages that it's nearly costless and the country will be getting most of its energy in a few years’ time from abundant wind. Wind farms have proven to be popular, low-risk investments.

However, Mr. Blain points to a report, The Costs of Offshore Wind Power: Blindness and Insight, by John Constable and Prof. Gordon Hughes, that debunks the political, media and conversational cliché about dramatically falling prices of renewables. In fact, audited reports have found that wind power is becoming more expensive. Capital costs for new wind farms increased from 2002 to 2015 and have, at best remained constant since then. Operating costs have increased significantly for offshore and onshore wind farms over the past two decades as the inferior reliability of newer wind turbines leads to more rapid decline in performance with age.

The combination of increasing operating costs and decline in yields due to ageing means that, after expiry of the current above market-price contracts, means that expected revenues will be less than the costs. This will have consequences for financial regulation, eventually leading to a bailout of those who finance wind power. The scale of the bailout would be £30 billion for the UK and significantly more for Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

 

Norway's Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Challenging Arctic Offshore Oil Licences

On December 22 Norway’s Supreme Court ruled not to overturn the Norwegian government’s approval of new licenses for offshore oil drilling in the fragile Arctic region. This ruling culminated four years of high-profile litigation, known as Greenpeace Nordic Association v. Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, The case started in Oslo District Court in October 2016 when a coalition of environmental groups (Young Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, together with the Grandparents Climate Campaign and Friends of the Earth Norway) challenged the government's issuing of a block of oil and gas licenses for deep sea extraction from sites in the Barents Sea.

The petitioners argued that allowing access to these fossil fuel deposits is inconsistent with climate change mitigation, that there would be risks of damage and spills, and that the government would recoup its costs only if the oil and gas produced is sold are market prices. They relied on Article 112 of the Norwegian Constitution, which establishes a “right to an environment that is conducive to health and to a natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained.”

In January 2018 the Oslo District Court ruled in favor of the Norwegian Government, declaring that emissions of CO2 from exported oil and gas are irrelevant in terms or Article 112. The petitioners appealed and lost again when, in January 2020, the Borgarting Court of Appeal upheld the District Court's ruling regarding the licenses and ruled that Article 112 does apply to emissions from oil and gas after export, but found there is uncertainty whether and to what extent the licenses will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. The Supreme Court ruled that future emissions from exported oil are too uncertain to bar the granting of the licenses.

Greenpeace International issued a statement expressing outrage over the decision.

 

Deutsche Bank: EU Green Deal Can Only Succeed with “a certain degree of eco-dictatorship”

Eric Heymann, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank Research, warns that Europe’s Green Deal and its goal of climate neutrality by 2050 threatens a European mega-crisis, leading to “noticeable loss of welfare and jobs”. And he warns: It won’t work without “a certain degree of eco-dictatorship”. Currently, climate policy (in the form of higher taxes or fees and energy efficiency standards) does not determine our lives. However, where there are no adequate cost-effective to allow us to maintain our living standards in a carbon-neutral way, the only options are to hike CO2 prices and tighten regulatory law considerably.

If the EU moves towards climate neutrality more quickly than the rest of the world, then its industries will become uncompetitive unless subsidized for using expensive low-CO2 technology. EU Commission plans to introduce a carbon border adjustment system will invite affected countries to take countermeasures. Finally, there will be political resistance as climate policies produce winners and losers among households and companies, and as prosperity and the economy suffers. At the EU level there will be conflicts about distribution of the effects, contributing to further divisions within the bloc.

 

Boris Johnson Bows Down to Joe Biden’s Climate Demands

Before Christmas, John Kerry, US president-elect Joe Biden's climate-change point man complained that the UK needs to get a grip on preparations for the climate-change summit that it is hosting in Glasgow next November. Accordingly, UK prime minister Boris Johnson put a cabinet minister - Alok Sharma, previously business secretary - in charge of the COP26 summit.  In his role as COP26 president, Mr. Sharma will continue to sit as a full member of the cabinet and report directly to the prime minister. He will also chair the UK’s Climate Action Implementation Committee to coordinate UK efforts towards its 2050 net zero emissions goal.

 

How Carbon Bureaucrats Lied to Get the Policies They Wanted

This 7:48 video explains how the BBC and the UK Parliament turned the opinions of just ten people into the single voice for 66 million. A group of UK citizens were selected to take part in a 108-member Citizens' Assembly on Climate Change to help inform the UK government how to reach net zero by 2050. One of the recommendations coming out of the assembly's efforts was to reduce meat and dairy consumption by 20-40%, but with no bans or taxes.

However, this recommendation was not the view of the whole assembly. Instead, a sub-group of 35 who listened to the views on meat consumption by one academic, who strayed into political activism, with no debate or questioning of the speaker's claims. When the sub-group voted on a list of eight options, only 29% (10 people) chose eating less meat, the second least popular option. Nevertheless Chapter 6 (What we eat and how we use the land) of the full assembly's report contained the statements (p. 277): "In general, assembly members tended to express support for: … A change in diet to reduce meat and dairy consumption by between 20% and 40%."

It turns out that the report was not written by the assembly itself, but by the academic activists and green campaign organizers who ran the event. The civil servants running the assembly had already decided that changing people's diets should be part of the net-zero agenda and enthusiastically took the views of the ten assembly members, putting before Parliament five diet-change scenarios with reductions in meat and dairy of 20%-50%. The bureaucrats ignored the assembly's recommendation that the reductions by voluntary, not compulsory.

Since legislating voluntary behaviour is difficult the government turned to the state broadcaster, the BBC, to produce a video on meat consumption and climate change, so as to engineer the social values and behavioural changes that government policy requires. The video incorporated the views of on 17-year-old member of the Climate Assembly who decided to give up eating meat, to encourage its audience to change their diets and behaviour. In effect the BBC forgets the views that many may have about politicians' and civil servants' designs for citizens' lives and lifestyles for the next decades.

As a commentary in The Conservative Woman put it: "But by staging a performance, in which power was seemingly handed to members of the public, the technocrats and green activists who ran the Assembly have persuaded MPs that the public now share their view. And this is how abstract targets will be turned into an agenda for very real changes in society. 2020 marked the beginning of a new phase of environmental politics."

 

Climate Hero Bill Gates Bids to Purchase the World’s Largest Private Jet Operator

Climate Hero Bill Gates has been accused of hypocrisy, after details emerged of him engaging in a bidding war to purchase the world’s largest private jet operator Signature Aviation. Signature bills itself as the world's largest fixed base operation network for business and general aviation travellers. In 2020 it was "recognized for leadership in corporate sustainability by global environmental non-profit Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), securing a place on its prestigious ‘A List’ for tackling climate change." Signature handles 1.6 million private jet flights every year. Private jet flights emit 40 times as much CO2 per passenger as regular commercial flights.

Mr. Gates' company Cascade Investment teamed up with Blackstone Group to make a $4.3 billion bid for Signature. Cascade already owns 19% of Signature, making it a favorite to win the bid.

 

How the Race for Renewables is Burning Europe's Forests

The Guardian is appalled by the misuse of taxpayer subsidies to destroy Europe's forests in order to produce "renewable" energy. About half of Estonia is covered with forests, these forests are threatened by EU-subsidized clear cutting to produce wood pellets for heat and power. Between 2001 and 2019 supposedly protected "Natura 2000" areas lost more than 15,000 hectares of forest cover, 80% in the past five years.

Burning wood appears to offer a simple and theoretically carbon-neutral alternative to coal-fired power because the trees take up CO2 as they grow, but the burning wood releases more CO2 per unit of energy than gas, oil or even coal. Moreover, replacing the carbon emitted by regrowing the trees takes decades. A flaw in the EU's energy directive categorizes woody biomass as fully renewable, whether woody residues, waste, or whole trees. This means that companies can directly harvest forests for pellets – rather than making pellets from the by-products of timber cut for other uses – in the name of sustainable forest management. Almost all European countries have recorded an increase in logging for energy. Nearly a quarter of the trees harvested in the EU in 2019 were for energy, up from 17% in 2000.

 

In 2021, Let’s Challenge Green Tyranny

In early 2020 the world's plutocrats gathered at the World Economic Forum and listened excitedly while special guest Greta Thunberg berated them for not going far enough in the fight to save the planet. This captures how today's self-flagellating, end-of-days version of environmentalism is to the West's political, business and cultural elites. The ascendency of modern environmentalism is the result of demoralization of capitalism and the emergence of technocratic governments since the end of the cold war.

Environmentalism is no longer the handmaiden of technocratic rule, but is now a weapon to restore technocratic rule, by presenting climate change in a way that is aggressive, hyperbolic and threatening, (e.g., the  framing of Australia’s wildfires last January and the UN secretary general’s December demand that all nations declare a climate emergency). The pandemic emergency has been treated as a climate emergency in miniature, a sort of dress rehearsal. Death tolls in the UK and US have been deliberately attributed to their populist governments - the result of not listening to the experts and not heeding the warnings of science.

The developed world's plans to build back better after the pandemic being drawn up according to the expert-defined imperatives of the climate emergency. The political response to this should be more democracy, not less.


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