Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Brexit: Green Industry Fears Break-Up Of Climate Consensus








Britain & Germany May Delay Coal Phase-Out


In this newsletter:

1) Brexit: Green Industry Fears Break-Up Of Climate Consensus
Financial Times, 4 July 2016
 
2) After Brexit, UK May Delay Coal Phase-Out
Bloomberg, 5 July 2016
 
3) UK Climate Sceptics Prepare Post-Brexit Challenge
Climate Home, 3 July 2016
 
4) It Might Seem Bad Now, But Wait Until The Lights Go Out!
The Sunday Telegraph, 3 July 2016
 
5) Draft Leak Suggests Germany Backing Out Of Coal Power Phase-Out
Power Engineering International, 5 July 2016 

6) When Sea Ice Expands It’s Due To Nature, When It Melts It’s Due To Humans
National Center for Atmospheric Research, 4 July 2016
 
7) Sun Activity At Its Quietest In 100 Years
Daily Mail 27 June 2016
 
8) Only 8% Of U.S. Farmers Believe Climate Change Is Primarily Caused By Human Activity
Fortunes, 29 June 2016

Full details:

1) Brexit: Green Industry Fears Break-Up Of Climate Consensus
Financial Times, 4 July 2016
Pilita Clark

The financial uncertainty triggered by the UK’s vote to leave the EU has sent shudders through virtually every industry, but Europe’s renewable energy sector faces even greater insecurity.



The successful Leave campaign was led by several political figures opposed to tackling climate change by replacing fossil fuel power stations with wind farms and other sources of renewable energy.

The campaign’s strategy committee included Lord [Nigel] Lawson, founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank which says the science of climate change is “not yet settled”.

Brexit figurehead Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London, once questioned global warming during a snowy winter and likened wind farms to a “hideous Venusian invasion” that is “crucifying our landscape”.

None of the contenders to replace David Cameron as prime minister are vigorous renewable energy advocates and one, Michael Gove, was once accused of trying to downgrade climate change in the national schools curriculum.

With the UK political landscape in a historic state of disarray, it is unclear how the future government will behave. But the Leave victory raises questions about whether years of cross-party consensus on the need to combat global warming may fray.

Full story

2) After Brexit, UK May Delay Coal Phase-Out
Bloomberg, 5 July 2016
Jessica Shankleman

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union frees up the nation to set environmental rules independent of the other 27-nations in the bloc, raising the risk for renewable energy developers that restrictions will be loosened on coal power.

Only one of the five candidates vying to replace Prime Minister David Cameron in September has a defined energy policy, according to Michael Jacobs, a former government climate adviser now at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance wrote in a research note that a new Tory leader may opt to ditch a commitment to phase out coal by 2025.

“Anything that changes policy at this point is a huge problem,” Jacobs said, “The coal phase-out should create some space for gas and renewables, which is good for investment and jobs.”

With attention fixed on how and when Britain intends to extract itself from the EU following the June 23 referendum, climate policy hasn’t featured prominently in any candidate leadership bid. That silence may not last. Government advisers in June told the U.K. it needed to double the pace of greenhouse gas cuts to meet obligations in national law. The country needs 100 billion pounds ($133 billion) of investment by 2020 just to maintain power on the grid.

‘Torrid Times’

“If somebody more friendly to coal or more of a climate skeptic becomes the new leader, they may ditch the coal phase-out or just shove it to one side,” said Meredith Annex, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance who co-authored research note titled, “Which Tories herald torrid times for U.K. energy?”

Anrea Leadsom, a junior minister in Amber Rudd’s energy and climate change department, has set out a clear policy, according to Jacobs at IPPR. Since the referendum, she’s promised to bolster energy security, keep power bills down and decarbonize the power sector. Leadsom’s also suggested renewable investments could be boosted by Brexit, which gives the nation more power over taxes and subsidies.

The three pro-Brexit candidates competing to head the government -- Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove and Liam Fox -- may take a more hands-off approach to energy reform, according to BNEF. This could complicate transition plans in the U.K., which is seeking to boost investment in energy and networks as more than a dozen power plants are expected to come offline in the next decade.
Candidates Decide

Along with the decision to stick to coal phase-out plans, the new government will also need to make a decision about a long-term carbon-price floor in the Treasury’s autumn statement, according to BNEF.

Full story

3) UK Climate Sceptics Prepare Post-Brexit Challenge
Climate Home, 3 July 2016
Megan Darby

Climate sceptics are taking advantage of the confusion caused by the EU referendum to attack the UK’s low carbon policy.

The Global Warming Policy Forum, a think tank founded by Leave backer Lord Lawson, is hosting an event in the House of Lords on Monday evening.

Legal professor David Campbell is set to argue the government should scrap the carbon budget for 2028-32 it approved last Thursday.

Noting that the impact assessment was based on the assumption Britain would be in the EU in 2030, the GWPF calls for a review.

None of the Conservative leadership candidates have indicated plans to do so, director Benny Peiser told Climate Home. But he added: “If they think the targets are a burden to the economy and undermining British competitiveness, then all of the candidates will be open to revising the targets.”

Full story

4) It Might Seem Bad Now, But Wait Until The Lights Go Out!
The Sunday Telegraph, 3 July 2016
Christopher Booker

The government’s energy policy is so insanely unworkable that it can only result in Britain committing economic suicide.

In view of the shambles engulfing our politics in all directions, it might seem appropriate that last Thursday MPs should blithely have accepted that, within a few years, our lights will go out and our economy will grind to a halt. What they allowed to be nodded through was something called the “Fifth Carbon Budget”, committing us to an energy policy so insanely unworkable that it can only result in Britain committing economic suicide.

As I predicted and explained in more detail on May 14, what the MPs tacitly agreed to was that, between 2028 and 2033, we should cut our emissions of CO2 by a far greater amount than any other country in the world. We will put an end to any use of gas for cooking and heating. Sixty per cent of all our transport will be powered not by fossil fuels but by electricity. And to achieve this, we will double the amount of electricity we need (two thirds of which still comes from those same hated “carbon emitting” fossil fuels).

Much of this electricity, the Government fondly imagines (on advice from the fantasists on Lord Deben’s Climate Change Committee), will come from tens of thousands more lavishly subsidised wind turbines, solar farms, new nuclear power stations unlikely ever to be built and woodchips imported at vast expense from forests in North America.

Not one of the MPs who accepted this could plausibly explain what is to happen to all those electric cookers, heating systems, cars, cashpoints etc, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Furthermore, none seemed to notice that key ingredients in that make-believe scenario dreamt up months ago by the Climate Change Committee are based on assuming that by 2030 we shall still be in the EU, whose own energy policy is now falling apart in all directions, as Germany, Poland and other countries rush to build new coal-fired power stations.

Apart from the Global Warming Policy [Forum] and 15 Tory MPs, including three former Cabinet ministers, almost no one seems to have pointed out that, whatever happens to Brexit, Parliament has now set us firmly on course for a disaster beyond all imagining.

5) Draft Leak Suggests Germany Backing Out Of Coal Power Phase-Out
Power Engineering International, 5 July 2016 
Diarmaid Williams

A leaked environment ministry document suggests that Germany will not go ahead with a coal-fired power phase-out.

A similar draft document released earlier this year had proposed phase-out of coal-fired power production well before 2050. However the latest paper sees the proposal dropped as well as the scrapping of several C02 emissions reduction goals for individual sectors.

The new version deleted specific concrete C02 emissions savings targets for the energy, industry, transport and agriculture sectors, according to Reuters.

The document forms the German government's national climate action plan for 2050 and lays out how it plans to move away from fossil fuels and achieve its goal of cutting CO2 emissions by up to 95 percent compared to 1990 levels by the middle of the century.

Also included in the earlier paper was a paragraph suggesting Germany would consider lobbying for the introduction of a minimum price on European carbon-dioxide emissions. But this has also been removed from the latest document.

Full story

6) When Sea Ice Expands It’s Due To Nature, When It Melts It’s Due To Humans
National Center for Atmospheric Research, 4 July 2016

The recent trend of increasing Antarctic sea ice extent — seemingly at odds with climate model projections — can largely be explained by a natural climate fluctuation, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
 

Antarctic sea ice in 2014

On Sept. 19, 2014, the five-day average of Antarctic sea ice extent exceeded 20 million square kilometers (about 7.7 million square miles) for the first time since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The red line shows the average maximum extent from 1979-2014. (Image courtesy NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr)

The study offers evidence that the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), which is characterized by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific, has created favorable conditions for additional Antarctic sea ice growth since 2000.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, may resolve a longstanding mystery: Why is Antarctic sea ice expanding when climate change is causing the world to warm?

The study’s authors also suggest that sea ice may begin to shrink as the IPO switches to a positive phase.

“The climate we experience during any given decade is some combination of naturally occurring variability and the planet’s response to increasing greenhouse gases,” said NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, lead author of the study. “It’s never all one or the other, but the combination, that is important to understand.”

Study co-authors include Julie Arblaster of NCAR and Monash University in Australia, Cecilia Bitz of the University of Washington, Christine Chung of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and NCAR scientist Haiyan Teng. The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the National Science Foundation, which sponsors NCAR.

Expanding ice
The sea ice surrounding Antarctica has been slowly increasing in area since the satellite record began in 1979. But the rate of increase rose nearly five fold between 2000 and 2014, following the IPO transition to a negative phase in 1999.

The new study finds that when the IPO changes phase, from positive to negative or vice versa, it touches off a chain reaction of climate impacts that may ultimately affect sea ice formation at the bottom of the world.

Full post

7) Sun Activity At Its Quietest In 100 Years
Daily Mail 27 June 2016
Ellie Zolfagharifard

The sun is in the currently in its quietest period for more than a century.

Astronomers say this isn’t unusual, and solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles, and we’re currently in Cycle 24, which began in 2008.

However, if the current trend continues, then the Earth could be headed for a ‘mini ice age’ researchers have warned.
 
The sun is in the currently in its quietest period for more than a century. For the second time this month, the sun has gone into 'cue ball' mode, with images from Nasa showing no large visible sunspots on its surface
The sun is in the currently in its quietest period for more than a century. For the second time this month, the sun has gone into ‘cue ball’ mode, with images from Nasa showing no large visible sunspots on its surface

We’ve had the smallest number of sunspots in this cycle since Cycle 14, which reached its maximum in February of 1906.

On June 4th, the sun went completely spotless and activity remained low for around four days.

This follows another period of inactivity in February when another image of Nasa showed the sun in ‘cueball mode’.

‘The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years,’ wrote Vencore Weather.

The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms.

During Solar Max, huge sunspots and intense solar flares are a daily occurrence. Auroras appear in Florida. Radiation storms knock out satellites.

The last such episode took place in the years around 2000-2001.

During Solar Minimum, the opposite occurs. Solar flares are almost non-existent while whole weeks go by without a single, tiny sunspot to break the monotony of the blank sun. This is what we are experiencing now.

This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the ‘Little Ice Age’ when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes.

There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past, Nasa says.

Full story

8) And Finally: Only 8% Of U.S. Farmers Believe Climate Change Is Primarily Caused By Human Activity
Fortunes, 29 June 2016
Beth Kowitt

The vast majority of U.S. farmers are sceptical of anthropogenic climate change although they are among the most affected by the climate.

There’s a strange paradox in the world of agriculture: farmers are perhaps the segment of the population most affected by climate change, and yet a significant number of them don’t believe in it—especially the notion that it’s man-made.

I encountered this phenomenon as I reported a feature for Fortune on how agricultural giant Monsanto is attempting to help farmers both mitigate their impact on the environment and adapt to climate change. All the farmers I talked to readily acknowledged that the weather patterns governing growing seasons had been turned upside down (sic)  in recent years, but I was on the receiving end of a lot of eye rolls whenever I brought up climate change. [...]

I don’t want to suggest that all farmers reject the concept of climate change. That’s not the case. But here’s what some of the numbers show: A survey conducted by Iowa State Professor J. Arbuckle and Purdue University professor Linda Prokopy of 5,000 Cornbelt farmers—representing about 60% of U.S. corn production and 80% of farmland in the region—found that only 8% believed climate change is taking place and caused primarily by human activity. That 8% figure is significantly lower than the general population. A poll from January found that 27% of the general public primarily blames human activity.

Meanwhile, 33% of the farmers surveyed said climate change was caused more or less equally by natural changes and human activities, 25% said it was caused by changes in the environment, 31% said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to know if climate change is occurring, and 4% said climate change is not happening.

Full post

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


1 comment:

Peter Caulton said...

The deadheads will carry on believing what they are told by the corporate controlled mass media and paying more for their goods and services because of it and any thinking person cannot opt out. Democracy sucks.