Saturday, February 4, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Japan To Build 45 New Coal Power Plants

Australian Government To Fund Construction Of New Coal Power Plants

In this newsletter:

1) Japan To Build 45 New Coal Power Plants; Green Energy Too Expensive
The Daily Caller, 1 February 2017

2) Australian Government To Fund Construction Of New Coal Power Plants
The Australian, 1 February 2017

3) Senate Democrats Boycott Planned Committee Vote on Trump EPA Pick 
The Wall Street Journal, 1 February 2017

4) Julie Kelly: Meltdown At The EPA
National Review Online, 31 January 2017

5) Why Environmentalists Are So Worried About Trump's Supreme Court Pick
Inside Climate News, 1 February 2017

Full details:

1) Japan To Build 45 New Coal Power Plants; Green Energy Too Expensive
The Daily Caller, 1 February 2017
Andrew Follett

Environmental activists are fuming over Japan’s plans to build as many as 45 new coal-fired power stations in the coming years.

Image result for Japan new coal

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is still firmly behind plans to build coal plants, despite repeated pressures fromenvironmentalists to stop construction of the major new coal plants. Abe wants more new coal plants to make sure the island nation isn’t too reliant on any one source of electricity.

“Japan needs to import 95 per cent of all its energy sources,” Tom O’Sullivan, an energy analyst with Mathyos Global Advisory in Tokyo, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “So it’s trying to diversify its fuel sources and it doesn’t want to be too reliant on any one market.”

Most of the coal Japan plans to burn in these plants will be imported from the U.S. or Australia. The country is also building additional natural gas power plants.

Japan is turning to coal power due to attempts to transition the country away from nuclear power. The country previously pledged to abandon nuclear power by the 2030s, with major figures like the former prime minister coming out against nuclear.

Officials promised to replace nuclear power with wind or solar, but this caused the price of electricity to rise by 20 percent. Japan’s government currently aims to restart at least 32 of the 54 reactors it shut down following the Fukushima disaster, and wants nuclear power to account for 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity generated by 2030.

Full post

2) Australian Government To Fund Construction Of New Coal Power Plants
The Australian, 1 February 2017
Simon Benson

Australia’s Turnbull government is planning to help fund the construction of new clean-coal-fired power stations­ in an extraordinary meas­ure to intervene in the looming energ­y security and pricing crisis.

In a move to address the premature closures of state power plants, the federal government will look to either repurpose plants or directly invest in the construction of new-generation coal-fired plants in partnership with the ­private sector. A senior government source confirmed Malcolm Turnbull had asked late last year for options to fund “ultra-super-critical power plants” to provide clean-coal alternatives and lower fuel costs, which would not only ­alleviate price pressure for consumers and business but arrest the decline in Australia’s competitive advantage in manufacturing.

In a direct challenge to the Labor states, and drawing the polit­ical battlelines with Bill Shorten, the Prime Minister yesterday blamed “huge” renewable ­energy targets set by Labor governments for pushing power prices to the highest of any OECD country.

In his first national address of the year, Mr Turnbull accused Labor yesterday of a “mindless rush” to renewables, and hinted that the government would intervene to protect prices and security of supply with a path to state-of-the-art coal-fired technology.

The Australian has confirmed that Mr Turnbull and senior ministers, including Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, have been in discussion­s since December on what exceptional measures the commonwealth could take to subsidise new coal-fired generation, as well as provide incentives to the states to lift the moratorium on new gas development, which is also having a crippling impact on reliability and prices.

Full story

see also: Clean energy subsidies could be used to build new coal power plants, Scott Morrison says

3) Senate Democrats Boycott Planned Committee Vote on Trump EPA Pick 
The Wall Street Journal, 1 February 2017
Amy Harder

WASHINGTON—Senate Democrats boycotted a planned committee vote Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a move that delays the nomination but also risks prolonging the confusion that’s gripped an agency lacking clear leadership.

“It is a disappointing turn of events,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, at the start of the meeting with the Democratic side of the dais empty. Much of the public seating area of the committee room was filled with an organized group of mothers and children protesting Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to the agency.

Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), the top Democrat on the panel, aired his and other Democrats’ complaints about Mr. Pruitt in a letter Tuesday to Mr. Barrasso, who responded minutes later saying he was sticking with the Wednesday vote.

Because Republicans are in the majority in the Senate, the Democratic boycott, which prevented the committee from voting Wednesday, will likely delay but not derail Mr. Pruitt’s confirmation.

A similar dynamic is playing out across Capitol Hill. Democrats boycotted a Senate Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, for example, delaying votes on health secretary nominee Tom Price and treasury pick Steven Mnuchin. Republicans responded by changing the committee rules, allowing them to send those nominations to the full Senate Wednesday without Democrats present.

It isn’t clear if a similar path awaits Mr. Pruitt, but Mr. Barrasso later Wednesday announced another meeting to vote on Mr. Pruitt’s confirmation for Thursday, suggesting it is likely Republicans on the environment panel will follow suit by changing the rules.

Full post

4) Julie Kelly: Meltdown At The EPA
National Review Online, 1 February 2017

The agency’s junk-science promoters are flipping out.

Image result for scare pollution

In his recently released and timely book, Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA, author Steve Milloy says this about the Environmental Protection Agency:

The EPA has over the course of the last 20 years marshaled its vast and virtually unchallenged power into an echo chamber of deceptive science, runaway regulations and fatally flawed research derived from unethical human experiments. The EPA’s conduct runs the gamut from subtle statistical shenanigans to withholding key scientific data, from seeking to rubberstamp baseless research data to illegally spraying diesel exhaust up the noses of unsuspecting children and other vulnerable populations.

Milloy, who runs the website, has chronicled the scientific and bureaucratic abuse at the EPA for two decades, and he is thrilled by President Trump’s plans to finally reform the EPA. “I can think of no agency that has done more pointless harm to the U.S. economy than the EPA — all based on junk science, if not out-and-out science fraud,” Milloy told me. “I am looking forward to President Trump’s dramatically shrinking the EPA by entirely overhauling how the remaining federal EPA uses science.”

It looks like the EPA will be the agency hardest hit by the Trump sledgehammer. For eight years, President Obama used the agency as his de facto enforcer of environmental policies he couldn’t pass in Congress even when it was controlled by his own party. If Obama was the climate-change bully, then the EPA was his toady, issuing one regulation after another aimed at imaginary polluters who were allegedly causing global warming.

Jobs were lost, companies were bankrupted, and an untold amount of economic growth was stymied out of fear of reprisals from this rogue agency. The courts halted many of the EPAs most overreaching and unlawful policies initiated by Obama — such as the Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Rule, two regulations aimed at farmers and coal producers. Unsurprisingly, people in these sectors voted heavily for Trump. Trump officials and Congress are ready to make major changes in the EPA.

A leaked memo written by Trump’s EPA transition team details how the new administration wants to tackle shoddy science at the agency. The memo asserts that the EPA should not be funding scientific research, and it must make any data publicly available for independent scientists to review. It also said that the agency must eliminate conflicts of interest and bias from the science advisory process.

The administration also put a freeze on most contracts and grants, pending further review by incoming staff. A good chunk of the EPA’s $8.3 billion budget is spent on grants to universities and units of government; its 2017 budget for state- and tribal-assistant grants was nearly $3.3 billion. The agency also has nearly $6.4 billion in outstanding contractual obligations to dozens of companies across the country, dating back to 2001. These will get much-needed scrutiny over the next several months, and Milloy insists it’s a necessary step: The EPA uses tax dollars to fund its friends and allies, who tend to be political activists and “political” scientists.

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5) Why Environmentalists Are So Worried About Trump's Supreme Court Pick
Inside Climate News, 1 February 2017
John H Cushman Jr.

Neil Gorsuch was named Tuesday night as Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

For environmentalists worried about future Supreme Court decisions on climate change, the biggest difference between Donald Trump's nominee to the court and Barack Obama's boils down to one word, Chevron.

Neil Gorsuch, chosen by Trump to fill the vacancy of Antonin Scalia, is seen as a steadfast foe of the Chevron standard. That principle says courts should defer to federal regulatory agencies when the regulators are carrying out laws that are ambiguous. In contrast to Gorsuch, Merrick Garland, nominated last year by Obama but stymied by Senate Republicans, adhered closely to the standard.

Chevron is one of the pillars of modern regulatory law, and it matters greatly to climate change activists because it has provided the Environmental Protection Agency considerable leeway in using the Clean Air Act to control carbon dioxide pollution.

Its significance will be stark when the Supreme Court considers the fate of the Clean Power Plan in the next year or so. The rule is a pillar of Obama's climate policies, but Trump has vowed to discard it. Just before Scalia died, the Supreme Court put it on hold and a federal appeals court is reviewing it. It's the next big test of the Chevron doctrine.

Ever since a Democratic-controlled Congress failed to pass a climate bill early in Obama's presidency, attempts to regulate emissions have hinged on the executive branch's interpretations of existing law. That would be a lot easier to do with Chevron in place than without it.

Chevron is the main reason that climate hawks reacted as they did to the Gorsuch nomination.

"A review of Gorsuch's writings and decisions indicate that he would seek to overturn well-established Supreme Court precedents and prevent the federal government from enforcing bedrock environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act," said EarthJustice, the green litigation group.

The Center for American Progress, which supported Obama's policies, warned: "Gorsuch wants to give unelected judges more power to strike down federal regulations that protect consumers and the environment."

It's a fair, if somewhat simplistic, interpretation of his record.  
In one widely noted opinion on an immigration case, Gorsuch wrote that the Chevron standard "certainly seems to have added prodigious new powers to an already titanic administrative state."

One remarkable thing about Gorsuch's view is that it doesn't just rebalance power away from the executive branch and back to the legislative branch. Congressional Republicans, already on an anti-regulatory spree, would cheer that.

Rather, it shifts the ultimate power of interpretation to the judicial branch.

Gorsuch calls Chevron an "abdication of judicial duty." And that duty is to "interpret the law and declare invalid agency actions inconsistent with those interpretations."

That only heightens the panic of environmentalists who, having lost control of both chambers of Congress and of the White House in less than a decade, fear losing out in the Supreme Court.

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

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