Sunday, July 2, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Trump To Abolish Obama’s Green Legacy By Boosting Coal And Nuclear Projects








Trump Vows to Unleash the ‘Vast Energy Wealth’ of the U.S.

In this newsletter:

1) Trump To Abolish Obama’s Green Legacy By Boosting Coal And Nuclear Projects
Daily Caller, 29 June 2017
 
2) Trump Vows to Unleash the ‘Vast Energy Wealth’ of the U.S.
Bloomberg, 29 June 2017
 
3) Is The U.S. Close To Achieving ‘Energy Dominance’?
OilPrice, 28 June 2017
 
4) Reality Check: Germany ‘Massively Weakened’ Draft G20 Climate Plan To Appease Trump
Climate Home, 29 June 2017
 
5) The Bank of England Is Enslaved By Green Groupthink
The Spectator, 1 July 2017

Full details:

1) Trump To Abolish Obama’s Green Legacy By Boosting Coal And Nuclear Projects
Daily Caller, 29 June 2017
Andrew Follett

President Donald Trump announced he’s lifting Obama-era policies preventing the financing of overseas coal plants, along with reviewing policies hindering nuclear energy.


Image result for Trump energy dominance

“We will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector, which I’m so happy about, which produces clean, renewable and emissions-free energy,” Trump said during a speech Wednesday. “A complete review of U.S. nuclear energy policy will help us find new ways to revitalize this crucial energy resource.”

Trump will encourage the World Bank to finance coal plants in developing nations, and his administration will begin a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear power policy. The administration is expected to push a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

Environmentalists began attacking the policy shift before Trump had even announced it.

“The nuclear industry’s promises of revival have proven nothing less than an extremely expensive fool’s errand,” Damon Moglen, senior strategic adviser of the environmental group Friends of the Earth, said in a press statement. “By calling for more nuclear energy, Trump must be reliving his affection for bankruptcy and poor investment opportunity. The future is about renewable energy.”

Trump has already signed resolutions to repeal 13 major regulations to eliminate 4.3 million hours of paperwork and $36.2 billion in compliance costs.

Coal and nuclear power provided about 30 and 20 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. in the year 2016 respectively, according to data from Energy Information Administration (EIA).

2) Trump Vows to Unleash the ‘Vast Energy Wealth’ of the U.S.
Bloomberg, 29 June 2017
Jennifer A Dlouhy
  • President reorients energy policy away from climate change
  • Trump Says U.S. Is on the Cusp of an 'Energy Revolution'



President Donald Trump said he is lifting an Obama-era policy that curtailed the financing of coal-fired power plants overseas, as he seeks to reorient the U.S. government away from fighting climate change and toward American "energy dominance."

"We are now on the cusp of a true energy revolution," Trump told a crowd of executives, lobbyists and laborers at the Energy Department on Thursday. "We are a top producer of petroleum and the No. 1 producer of natural gas. We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driver’s seat."

Trump is celebrating growing U.S. energy exports he says are leading to "millions and millions of jobs" and acting as a force for peace around the world. After decades of dependence on foreign oil, the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a net exporter of energy resources.

"The United States’ big competitive advantage today is low energy prices," White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said in a discussion with other Trump administration officials before the president’s address. "We are no longer a victim of having to import our hydrocarbons; having to import our oil."

As part of the White House “Energy Week,” Trump highlighted growing U.S. energy production and reversals of environmental regulations issued under former President Barack Obama’s tenure. In place of major policy announcements Thursday, Trump emphasized how cutting regulation and encouraging domestic fossil fuel producers will help the American economy and benefit American foreign policy.

Trump detailed the previous steps he has taken to lift regulations curbing domestic energy production, including moving to rescind rules throttling greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. He also is pulling the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate accord, in which nearly 200 countries pledged to slash carbon dioxide emissions.

The biggest change he revealed is a reversal on restrictions by the World Bank and other multilateral development banks for financing coal plants in developing nations. The policy was implemented under President Barack Obama. Supporters of the restrictions say they helped combat climate change, while critics say they thwarted the development of advanced coal plants that produce fewer emissions.

Trump also announced a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear power policy, which could lead to an interagency assessment of how to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges, including storing spent radioactive waste and competing against low-cost natural gas and wind power.

And Trump described new deals aimed at sending U.S. liquefied natural gas to customers in Asia. For instance, Energy Transfer Partners and Royal Dutch Shell Plc on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate collaborating on a liquefied natural gas export project in Louisiana. Trump also touted Sempra Energy’s decision to sign an agreement to begin negotiations over selling more liquefied natural gas to South Korea.

He also described U.S. exports of coal to Ukraine, where power plants are built to handle anthracite mined in areas fraught with conflict. Coal exports to Ukraine "will have more to do with keeping our allies free and building their confidence in us than anything I’ve seen," said Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Full story

3) Is The U.S. Close To Achieving ‘Energy Dominance’?
OilPrice, 28 June 2017
David Blackmon
 

USA

If you hadn’t heard, the Trump Administration has declared this week to be “Energy Week”, a week during which the President and his senior officials are focusing on the theme of “U.S. Energy Dominance.” Not “energy independence” or “energy security”, both themes past presidential administrations have focused upon – “energy dominance.”

So, what does it all mean, and can the United States actually achieve it? Good questions. Here are some answers.

First, when President Trump talks about his goal of Energy Dominance, he’s referring to a plan that envisions implementing policies that encourage four major elements:
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• Taking full advantage of America’s amazing abundance of oil, natural gas and coal;
• Increasing exports of all three of those fossil fuels and their related products;
• Relying more on imports of oil from Canada, Mexico and other Western Hemisphere nations, and less on imports from the Middle East and North Africa; and
• Leveraging all of those three elements to enhance U.S. bargaining positions in its foreign policy initiatives.

Right on cue, we saw the President engage in a bit of energy-leveraging during his discussions this week with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, folding India’s growing reliance on U.S. LNG imports into his request for a lessening of the rapidly growing nation’s import tariffs on U.S. goods. We should expect to see the President rely more and more on this sort of leverage as U.S. exports of oil, LNG and coal continue to rapidly grow in coming years. This, more than anything else, is what the President means when he talks about Energy Dominance.

Critics point to the reality that the U.S. currently imports about half of its daily crude oil needs, but they miss the point. This is not a discussion about energy “independence” – the President clearly understands that the U.S. will always be a net importer of crude oil.

The point of the Energy Dominance discussion is to change that import mix so that the U.S. is mainly importing from friendly governments in more stable parts of the world, rather than from often hostile governments in the extremely unstable Middle East and North Africa. Achieving this goal not only will lessen the incentives for the U.S. to constantly be intervening in conflicts and civil wars in those unstable regions, but would also provide the President and his State Department with greater leverage in the complex and often seemingly-intractable negotiations with the region’s governments.

Of course, the big potential stumbling block in all of this is that the U.S. cannot take full advantage of its oil and gas resources unless its thousands of independent producing companies can be profitable by continuing to drill wells. The ability of the federal government to encourage rising domestic production is limited – no amount of reversing of bad regulations or holding of new lease sales on federal lands and waters can provide the industry with that it most needs: sustainable prices for oil and natural gas.

As I write this, the price for WTI is hovering between $44-$45/bbl, which is not a sustainable price for the sort of boom in U.S. production envisioned by the President. The price for natural gas is around $3.10, again, not a price level that is going to produce a long, sustained boom in production and continually rising exports.

We also have to quit kidding ourselves that OPEC is now some sort of toothless dragon that can no longer control the price of oil. As we witnessed in 2014, Saudi Arabia alone could crash the price for crude in very short order by simply deciding to open its massive spigot.

Yes, U.S. shale producers have become a far more influential player in determining the oil price, thanks to their demonstrated ability to rapidly ramp-up overall production. But that very ability, combined with the fact that the U.S. government cannot exert actual control over the industry’s behavior, is what has led to the current dip in prices, and, unless some element of that equation were to shift, will lead the industry to drill itself into a lower price situation again in the future anytime the price for WTI goes back above $50/bbl.

The U.S. industry has found itself in a similar price paradigm related to natural gas for six years now, due to the same factors of amazing abundance and the ability to rapidly increase overall production whenever the price rises to a more sustainable level. Thus, rather than the sustained boom in U.S. oil and gas production that feeds a massive increase in exports that the Administration envisions, the more likely scenario is for years of ups and downs that produce a slower rate of overall production growth.

That said, even such a slower growth rate can work to the advantage of a president who is willing to make use of it. That is something that President Obama was unwilling to do. President Trump, as we have all seen, is very different when it comes to taking advantage of America’s amazing abundance of fossil fuels.

Mr. Trump may not be able to achieve the Energy Dominance he seeks, but there is no doubt the U.S. oil and gas industry can and will provide him with plenty of Energy Leverage in the coming years.

4) Reality Check: Germany ‘Massively Weakened’ Draft G20 Climate Plan To Appease Trump
Climate Home, 29 June 2017
Arthur Neslen

Germany’s G20 presidency dramatically weakened a climate action plan, gutting it of ambitious language and defining gas, and potentially even some coal power, as “clean technologies”, in an attempt to appeal to US president Donald Trump.

The action plan was intended to be agreed at next week’s Hamburg G20 summit. Climate Home has seen two versions, drafted in March and May of this year. The latter shows the degree to which the German presidency has bent to the will of the Trump White House.

Several elements that have been removed in the May draft are: 
  • A 2025 deadline for the end of fossil fuel subsidies
  • References to the risk of “stranded assets”
  • A call for “the alignment of public expenditure and infrastructure planning with the goals of the Paris Agreement”
  • A push for carbon pricing
  • A commitment to publish mid-century decarbonisation blueprints by next year
  • A pledge to develop a “profound” climate plan for multilateral development banks
  • Seven references to the UN’s 2018 review of nationally-determined contributions
  • 11 references to the 2050 mid-century pathway for net zero emission
  • 16 mentions of infrastructure decarbonisation 
“The US massively weakened the language in the energy part of the action plan,” one source with knowledge of the negotiations said. “It pushed for references to so-called ‘clean’ fossil fuels and made it less explicit that the energy transition has to be built on energy efficiency and renewables.”

“It also provided cover to some other G20 members – such as the Saudis and Russia – to weaken some climate sections of the document, including the pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.”

Climate Home understands from several well-placed sources that the May text is the latest version of the plan. Diplomats will try to thrash out some form of compromise on the action plan before next Friday’s summit. But German government sources say that it is currently unclear whether it will even be published.

US officials may find the Germans are now less pliable. Since the document was drafted, the political landscape has shifted, with president Donald Trump announcing his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris deal early this month.

Trump’s speech was sharply criticised by German chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump will face at her home G20 in Hamburg. Climate is expected to be a major source of tension between the two. On Thursday, Merkel said Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord had made her “more determined than ever” to make the G20 a success.

Full story

5) The Bank of England Is Enslaved By Green Groupthink
The Spectator, 1 July 2017
James Delingpole

What happens to its projections when the taxpayers of the world tire of being milked to subsidise renewables?
 



I do find it odd that I’m so often having to write about the science of global warming, species extinction and ocean acidification because, though I’ve certainly acquired a pretty useful base knowledge over the years — superior, I’m guessing, to 97 per cent of scientists — it’s really not my main interest. What fascinates me far more is the way the faddish preoccupations of a few green cultists have somehow come to dominate our entire culture, corrupting the intellectual current, suborning institutions, crushing dissent — much as Marxist, fascist and Nazi ideologies did in the 20th century, only with rather more widespread success.

Let me give you a recent example of this: an article from the June Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England, titled ‘The Bank’s response to climate change’. Nothing wrong with the premise: it is indeed part of the Bank’s statutory duty to ‘identify, monitor and take action to remove or reduce risks that threaten the resilience of the UK financial system’. The problem, argues energy editor John Constable in a critique for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, is the inexcusably one-sided way in which the bank has handled it. The report’s focus is directed almost entirely towards the risks posed by fossil fuels. So we learn lots about the droughts, floods and storms that may be caused by ‘man-made climate change’. And also — a popular campaign theme with the Guardian and Greenpeace, this one — that the world’s remaining fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil, gas, etc) may have to be left in the ground as ‘stranded assets’, unusable because of the damage that burning them will supposedly do to the planet.

But we don’t hear about the more plausible and immediate economic risks posed by renewables. The most obvious one is what will happen if taxpayers around the world tire of being milked to subsidise bird-frazzling solar arrays, bat-chomping eco-crucifixes, river-polluting anaerobic digesters, electric cars whose batteries alone create more CO2 during manufacture than a petrol car does in eight years, and suchlike, and the Potemkin industry that is renewables comes crashing to a sudden halt? It’s not as if clever people haven’t considered this possibility. Warren Buffett once frankly admitted that the only reason for building wind farms was for the ‘tax credits’ And though it’s true that most western economies from the EU to Australia and Canada are now run by administrations broadly in favour of such green crony capitalism, the gravy train may not trundle on for ever. Look at what is now happening in the US under their new president.

I really don’t expect people who write reports for the Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England to share my politics. What I do expect is that people in such important positions should do their actual job. If this report was on, say, the insights of Stormzy, the comparative merits of Stilton and Roquefort, or whether the jam or the clotted cream should go first on a scone, it would, of course, be deeply annoying if they got it wrong. But it would not, I submit, be as socially, economically and politically damaging as one which will influence central bank policy in the world’s fifth largest economy.

Consider the repercussions when the Bank of England fails, as here, to do its due diligence: pension funds misallocate their investments; governments and green campaigners alike weave ‘experts at the Bank of England’ into their propaganda and policy justifications; public debate is distracted from serious issues by chimeras; businesses either misdirect their investments or simply give up the fight and jump on the band-wagon; financial journalists who should know better become unthinking mouthpieces for the climate industrial complex; City departments, from human resources to compliance and marketing, devise new ways to entrench environmental correctness into their philosophy; law firms wonder if there’s any money to be made suing firms that haven’t factored in the relevant risks.

When the Bank of England sneezes, in other words, the whole world catches a cold. (In the private sector there are heavy penalties for producing such false prospectuses. You wonder why similar rules don’t apply to our public institutions.)


Image result for mystic Mark gwpf

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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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