Tuesday, February 28, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Lords Report Calls On UK Government To Prioritise Energy Security Over Climate Rush








House Of Lords Committee Calls For Radical Reform Of UK Energy Policy

In this newsletter:

1) Lords Reports Calls On UK Government To Prioritise Energy Security Over Climate Rush
RE News, 24 February 2017
 
2) House Of Lords Committee Calls For Radical Reform Of UK Energy Policy
House of Lords, 24 February 2017
 
3) Furious Peers Urge UK Government To Come Clean About True Cost Of Green 
The Sun, 24 February 2017
 
4) Hundreds Of Scientists Urge Trump To Withdraw From U.N. Climate Agency
The Washington Times, 23 February 2017
 
5) Kushner, Ivanka Trump Pushed To Remove Words Critical Of Paris Climate Deal From Executive Order
The Wall Street Journal, 24 February 2017

Full details:

1) Lords Call On UK Government To Prioritise Energy Security Over Climate Rush
RE News, 24 February 2017

Affordability and decarbonisation must not be prioritised ahead of security of the UK's energy supply, according to a House of Lords committee.

The Economic Affairs Committee said in a report released today – The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market – that decarbonisation should be achieved at the lowest cost to consumers.

 “This may mean waiting for the development of new technologies which can reduce emissions,” the committee said.

“The government should make sure that the pace of reductions is flexible and not a rigid path to be achieved at all costs,” it added.

The report said that constant intervention by successive governments in the electricity sector has led to an opaque, complicated and uncompetitive market that fails to deliver low cost and secure electricity.

It said that the current system exhibits rising costs to consumers and businesses – a 58% increase since 2003 ­– and there is only a narrow amount of spare capacity.

Government interventions in the market should be reduced by ensuring that electricity generating capacity is secured through a single, technology-neutral, competitive auction for supply.

“This auction would ensure that consumers are paying the lowest prices for low-carbon electricity,” the committee said.

An Energy Commission should also be set up to provide greater scrutiny of energy policy decisions.

“This independent advisory body would report to the Secretary of State and advise on the best way for all the objectives of energy policy to be delivered,” the Lords said.

The establishment of a National Energy Research Centre would also help bring new cheap and clean energy to market, the report said.

Economic Affairs Committee chairman Lord Hollick said: “Poorly-designed government interventions, in pursuit of the decarbonisation, have put unnecessary pressure on the electricity supply and left consumers and industry paying too high a price.

“The government must make sure that the security of the UK’s energy supply is the priority of its energy policy. Affordability must not be neglected and decarbonisation targets should be managed flexibly.”

Full story

2) House Of Lords Committee Calls For Radical Reform Of UK Energy Policy
House of Lords, 24 February 2017

The Economic Affairs Committee in its report "The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market" has stated that constant intervention by successive governments in the electricity sector has led to an opaque, complicated, and uncompetitive market that fails to deliver low cost and secure electricity.




Report: The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market (HTML)

Report: The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market (PDF)

Key findings
The Committee examined the impact of the policies of successive governments on the electricity market. In its report, "The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market", published today, the cross-party Economic Affairs Committee identifies two key failures in the current market: the narrow amount of spare capacity, particularly in winter, and the rising cost of electricity to consumers and businesses.

In order to address the failures in the energy market the Committee recommends the Government should: 
  • Ensure that security of supply is always the first and most important consideration in energy policy. Affordability and decarbonisation must not be prioritised ahead of security.
  • Ensure that decarbonisation is achieved at the lowest cost to consumers.
  • Decarbonisation policies accounted for around 10% of the average domestic bill in 2013.  This may mean waiting for the development of new technologies which can reduce emissions. The Government should make sure that the pace of reductions is flexible and not a rigid path to be achieved at all costs.
  • Reduce and remove Government interventions in the market. The best way to do this would be to ensure that electricity generating capacity is secured through a single, technology-neutral, competitive auction for electricity supply. This auction would ensure that consumers are paying the lowest prices for low-carbon electricity.
  • Establish an Energy Commission to provide greater scrutiny of energy policy decisions. This independent advisory body would report to the Secretary of State and advise on the best way for all the objectives of energy policy to be delivered.
  • Create a world-class National Energy Research Centre which would search for new methods of producing cheap, clean energy and translate them into commercial applications.
  • Outline its ‘Plan B’ in the event Hinkley Point C is delayed or cannot produce the anticipated power.
    […]

Conclusions
The Committee makes wide-ranging recommendations to address the electricity market, including:

Domestic electricity bills in Britain have gone from being second cheapest in Europe in the mid-2000s to the seventh cheapest today. Decarbonisation policies accounted for around 10% of the average domestic bill in 2013.

Industrial electricity prices in Britain are amongst the highest in Europe. The Government has taken steps to compensate some energy-intensive industries, but it still estimates 13% electricity costs after compensation relate to decarbonisation.

The growth of renewable energy, supported by contracts that guarantee a given price for a fixed period, has left the UK facing a possible shortage of capacity as private investors have not been willing to build new conventional power plants.
The UK’s capacity margin is narrow. The Government introduced the Capacity Market in an attempt to reintroduce competition into the electricity sector. However, it is still struggling to procure new power stations.

3) Furious Peers Urge UK Government To Come Clean About True Cost Of Green 
The Sun, 24 February 2017
Steve Hawkes
 



MINISTERS were last night urged to come clean about the explosion in green levies by publishing the cost in household power bills.

Furious peers said green subsidies will make up around a QUARTER of the typical electricity bill by 2020 – but the public had no idea they were picking up the tab.

It came as a cross-party Lords Committee blamed the levies and other disastrous Government interventions for pushing electricity prices sky-high.

They warned the 58 per cent surge in prices over the past decade was forcing manufacturers to move overseas.

They called for an end to most subsidies and the creation of a new Energy Commission to monitor affordability.
 

In a blistering report, the Committee said: “In 2014, 10 per cent of the cost of electricity for domestic users was due to climate change policies.

“The Government’s own analysis indicated that this is expected to rise to around a quarter by 2020. This is not transparent however as the cost of the policies is incorporated into electricity bills.”

It went on: “The Government should provide estimates for the cost to consumers of climate change policies as part of its quarterly energy prices publication.

“And it should require providers to include a summary of this information on electricity bills.”

The subsidies – famously labelled ‘green crap’ by David Cameron – have been used to help fund the development of the wind farm and solar panel industries.

But the report by the Lords Committee on Economic Affairs branded the approach by successive Governments on energy as “opaque, complicated and uncompetitive”.

Full story

4) Hundreds Of Scientists Urge Trump To Withdraw From U.N. Climate Agency
The Washington Times, 23 February 2017
Valerie Richardson

More than 300 scientists have urged President Trump to withdraw from the U.N.’s climate change agency, warning that its push to curtail carbon dioxide threatens to exacerbate poverty without improving the environment.

In a Thursday letter to the president, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide.

“Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist.

Signers of the attached petition include the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change.

The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

“Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions,” says the petition.

Mr. Trump said during the campaign he would “cancel” U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, which was ratified in September by former President Barack Obama over the objections of Senate Republicans, who argued that the accord requires Senate ratification under the U.S. Constitution.

Myron Ebell, a Competitive Enterprise Institute scholar who led the Trump transition team on the Environmental Protection Agency, told reporters last month in London that the president would pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Full post

5) Kushner, Ivanka Trump Pushed To Remove Words Critical Of Paris Climate Deal From Executive Order
The Wall Street Journal, 24 February 2017
Amy Harder and Peter Nicholas

At the request of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his wife, Ivanka Trump, language critical of a global climate deal was struck from an executive order that Mr. Trump is planning to sign soon, according to multiple people familiar with the move.
 
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, walk down the West Wing Colonnade following a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., earlier in February.
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, walk down the West Wing Colonnade following a meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., earlier in February. PHOTO: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/PRESS POOL

Mr. Trump is expected to sign within days at least two executive orders that will begin the process of trying to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s climate and environmental regulations.

Mr. Kushner, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, and Ms. Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, intervened to strike language about the climate deal from an earlier draft of the executive order, according to these people.

The executive order, which targets Mr. Obama’s broad climate agenda, now includes no mention of the climate deal, which nearly 200 nations struck in Paris in 2015, in large part due to a strong push by the Mr. Obama’s administration.

One White House official said both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump have been considered a moderating influence on the White House’s position on climate change and environmental issues. The move is the latest sign of influence Mr. Trump’s daughter and Mr. Kushner have in a White House that has seen internal divisions on a variety of issues, including foreign policy.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump promised to cancel the climate deal and said it hurt U.S. companies. He has said once since the election that he would be open to remaining a part of the accord, though his top advisers have since maintained that Mr. Trump doesn’t take seriously the issue of climate change.

Ms. Trump, in particular, has said that she wants to focus on addressing climate change during her father’s administration, a goal that led to a meeting in December between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Al Gore, an influential climate activist. After the meeting, Mr. Gore described the meeting with Mr. Trump as a “sincere search for areas of common ground.”

The U.S. commitment to the Paris deal falls under the State Department’s jurisdiction. White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Thursday declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump plans to follow through on his campaign promise to withdraw from the deal, saying instead that is a conversation Mr. Trump is having with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“I think I will leave that to Secretary Tillerson,” Mr. Spicer said.

Full story

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

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