Thursday, January 26, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Trump Ends Obama Block On Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines








‘Green Champion’ China Is Building Europe’s New Coal Power Plants

In this newsletter:

1) Trump Ends Obama Block On Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines
Financial Times, 25 January 2017
 
2) ‘Green Champion’ China Is Building Europe’s New Coal Power Plants
Reuters, 23 January 2017
 
3) Keystone XL and DAPL Are Back
The American Interest, 24 January 2017
 
4) Green Madness: London Smog Worse Than In Beijing... And Wood Burners Are Making It Worse 
The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017
 
5) GWPF Urges UK Government To Stop Support For ‘Wood-Burning Stoves’
BioEnergy Insight, 25 January 2017
 
6) Fritz Vahrenholt: Germany’s Energiewende: A Disaster In The Making
Global Warming Policy Foundation, January 2017

Full details:

1) Trump Ends Obama Block On Keystone XL And Dakota Access Pipelines
Financial Times, 25 January 2017
David J Lynch and Barney Jopson in Washington and Ed Crooks in New York

President Donald Trump has quickly moved to reverse another of Barack Obama’s signature policies, backing two multibillion-dollar oil pipeline projects that became test cases for Washington’s commitment to addressing climate change.
 

Image result for Trump Obama Keystone pipeline
Mr Trump said the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would help to meet his campaign promise of producing new blue-collar jobs at home, insisting that any portions built in the US would have to use domestically produced steel.

“We will build our own pipes, like we used to in the old days,” the president said in the Oval Office as he signed presidential memoranda to advance construction on both projects.

In recent years, oil pipelines emerged as totems in a wider war between the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists. Keystone XL was the most controversial such project, and the Obama administration delayed its final verdict on the scheme for four years, rejecting it only on the eve of 2015 global climate talks in Paris.

The $8bn pipeline is designed to carry crude from oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the US, and pitted opponents who feared more greenhouse gas pollution against an energy industry that promised to create US jobs. Oil sands generate more greenhouse emissions than many conventional oil and gas sources due to the energy required to extract and process the heavy crude.

“We are going to renegotiate some of the terms [with Canada], and if they’d like, we’ll see if we can get that pipeline built,” Mr Trump said.

The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which is already more than 92 per cent complete, also drew months of fierce protests, including from Native Americans who fear the 1,100-mile pipeline would endanger their water supplies. Mr Trump said approval for the last remaining section would be “subject to terms and conditions, to be negotiated by us”.

Full story

2) ‘Green Champion’ China Is Building Europe’s New Coal Power Plants
Reuters, 23 January 2017
By Maja Zuvela | SARAJEVO

A Chinese company began work on Monday on a $715 million (£573 million) expansion of a Serbian coal mine and a new power plant, part of a wave of investment in new coal-fired plants in the Balkans that is at odds with EU policy of reducing coal use.

China Machinery and Engineering Corp's project to expand Kostolac, Serbia's second biggest coal mine, and build a new 350 megawatt (MW) unit at a nearby power plant is the first new electricity capacity built in Serbia in nearly 30 years.

"Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) is opening a new chapter," Milorad Grcic, chief executive of Serbian power utility EPS, said in a statement marking the start of construction.

The investment, majority financed by China's Export Import Bank [EXIMC.UL], secured the future of the mine and power plant for half a century, he said.

Western Balkan countries, including Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, plan to invest billions of euros in building new coal-fired plants to meet rising demand for electricity as old plants are being phased out.

A total of 2,600 MW of new coal generating capacity is planned in the region in the next decade.

But environmentalists fear the investment in coal could backfire as governments may be forced to invest hundreds of millions of euros more to upgrade plants to meet EU environmental standards as countries progress towards membership of the bloc.

EU regulators set out a blueprint in November for renewables to power half of Europe by 2030 and for phasing out coal subsidies as part of its plans to cut emissions and meet climate change goals.

EU aspirants Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro must implement EU laws to qualify for membership.

Of the 37 coal-fired units operating in the five Balkan countries, with an installed capacity of 8,658 MW, no fewer than 34, with 7,662 MW of capacity, still need to either implement investments to bring them into line with an EU anti-pollution law or be closed in the next few years.

Full story
 

See Also : China Funds And Builds Europe’s New Coal Power Plants

3) Keystone XL and DAPL Are Back
The American Interest, 24 January 2017

Remember Keystone XL? The pipeline the Obama administration stalled and then outright blocked because of dubious environmental concerns and political pressure from the Left? Well, it’s back on, thanks to an executive order from President Donald Trump. CNN reports:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive actions to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines.

The decision to advance the pipelines cast aside efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration to block construction of the two pipelines, while making good on one of Trump’s campaign promises.

As he signed the documents Tuesday in the Oval Office, Trump also vowed to “renegotiate some of the terms” of the Keystone bill and said he would then seek to “get that pipeline built.”

Trump also issued executive actions declaring oil pipelines constructed in the US should be built with US materials, streamlining the regulatory process for pipeline construction and shortening the environmental review process.

We’ve long thought the debates over both pipelines were pretty silly, particularly the arguments about safety and CO2 emissions. Pipelines are much less prone to spills than shipment by rail and truck, which are the alternatives. Meanwhile, the argument that the pipelines increase CO2 emissions ignore that the oil will be pumped regardless of whether it gets shipped by pipeline to the U.S. or by some other method or to some other destination. The Alberta oil sands that will feed the Keystone XL pipeline are simply too lucrative to remain untapped, particularly in such an energy-hungry world. This isn’t just our position; it’s what the State Department itself said in several reviews.

The big winner in all of this may be Canada, which is set to benefit from the easier access to U.S. crude markets that oil sands pipelines provide.

But the bottom line is that Keystone XL and DAPL never had much relationship with environmental health and safety. So while this is a big embarrassment for greens, it’s not actually that big of a deal for the climate they claim to care so much about protecting.

4) Green Madness: London Smog Worse Than In Beijing... And Wood Burners Are Making It Worse 
The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2017
Sarah Knapton

Air pollution in London passed levels in Beijing this week, figures have shown, with popular wood burning stoves blamed for exacerbating the problem.
 

Image result for wood-burning london smog

On Monday London mayor Sadiq Khan issued the highest air pollution alert in London for the first time, and said on Tuesday that the capital’s ‘filthy air’ is now a ‘health crisis.’

Readings at 3pm on Monday showed that air at locations in the capital were worse than in notoriously smoggy Beijing, hitting a peak 197 micrograms per cubic metre for particulate matter on the Air Quality Index. Pollution in the Chinese city only reached 190, which is still deemed ‘unhealthy.’

Although nitrogen dioxide levels in London rose higher than China in 2014, it is believed to be the first time particulate readings have exceeded those in the far east.  


Experts at King’s College London said the recent spell of unhealthy pollution was the worst since April 2011 in the capital and was being caused by cold, calm and settled conditions combined with ‘traffic pollution and air pollution from wood burning.’

Temperatures have fallen below zero overnight over the last few days, meaning householders are burning more fuel to keep warm.

Full story

5) GWPF Urges UK Government To Stop Support For ‘Wood-Burning Stoves’
BioEnergy Insight, 25 January 2017

In response to the London smog alert, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) is calling on the UK government to abolish all support for diesel engines and wood-burners which are posing a growing threat to the health of urban populations.

Image result for wood-burning london smog
Unusually high amount of domestic wood burning, some of which are subsidised under the Renewable Heat Incentive, has been partly blamed for the latest smog alarm, according to the GWPF. 

Wood-burning has been advocated and incentives by the Government as a policy to decarbonise the residential sector and has been increasing rapidly in recent years, largely due to a combination of green subsidies and climate campaigning.

As a result, there has been a deterioration of air quality in many cities which has contributed to the current smog hazard in London, the environmental group claims. Like wood-burning stoves, diesel engines have also been specifically encouraged by EU, and UK policies, in the interests of reduced CO2 emissions.

In a recent report, the Royal College of Physicians warned that “the increasing popularity of wood burning for heating, in part due to policies to reduce CO2 emissions, risks undoing some of the air quality improvements that have resulted from widespread adoption of gas for domestic heating”. 

“The government has a responsibility to reduce the negative impact of wood-burning on health and should now abolish any support which is increasing the risk to the health and well-being of urban populations,” said Benny Peiser, director of the GWPF. 

6) Fritz Vahrenholt: Germany’s Energiewende: A Disaster In The Making
Global Warming Policy Foundation, January 2017

In 2012, I had the pleasure of delivering the Annual GWPF Lecture at the Royal Society. I described the Energiewende of the German government – its plan to transition to a low-carbon energy supply – in the aftermath of the tsunami catastrophe at Fukushima. At that time, Germany’s conservative/liberal government had decided to dismantle 19 nuclear power stations by 2022, despite them supplying nearly 30% of the country’s electrical power production. They were to be replaced with renewable energy.

This was, for energy experts, a daunting task: to substitute a cheap, reliable, secure electricity supply with expensive, unreliable, intermittent renewable power. But under the influence of the IPCC circus – Copenhagen, Cancun, Doha, Bali, Lima, Durban, Paris, Marrakech – and the strong demands of German society, media and politicians, Germany’s government wanted to be in the vanguard of those combatting man-made climate change. They had set the next target of the Energiewende : to get rid of fossil fuels in power, heating and transport as well.

Under its current decarbonization plans, Berlin aims to ultimately increase the share of renewables to between 80 and 95% of total energy supply by 2050. No other country in the world is following such a radical course. China will grow their carbon dioxide emissions above today’s 29% share of the global total until 2035. That is, in essence, their ‘deal’ with President Obama and their ‘commitment’ in Paris.

Vahrenholt-Energiewende
Full paper
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.

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