Wednesday, May 31, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: East European States Mount Revolt Against Paris Agreement

EU Climate Policy Threatens To Destroy What Is Left Of Europe’s Steel Industry

In this newsletter:

1) East European States Mount Revolt Against Paris Agreement
Climate Home, 29 May 2017
2) EU Climate Policy Threatens To Destroy What Is Left Of Europe’s Steel Industry
Reuters, 29 May 2017
3) EU Economists Say Carbon Price Needs To Rise 10 – 20 Fold To Meet Paris Pledges
Jo Nova, 30 May 2017
4) UK Government ‘Sought Weaker Climate Rule’
renews, 29 May 2017
5) Cliff Forrest: The ‘Business Case’ For Paris Is Bunk
The Wall Street Journal, 30 May 2017

6) A Reduction in US Drought Over the Period 1901-2014
CO2 Science, 25 May 2017
7) John Constable: Producers Not Consumers Now Control The UK Electricity System
GWPF Energy, 29 May 2017

Full details:

1) East European States Mount Revolt Against Paris Agreement
Climate Home, 29 May 2017
Arthur Neslen

East European EU states are mounting a behind-the-scenes revolt against the Paris Agreement, blocking key measures needed to deliver the pledge that they signed up to 18 months ago.

Image result for visegrad group climate

Under the climate accord, Europe promised to shave 40% off its emissions by 2030, mostly by revising existing climate laws on renewables, energy efficiency and its flagship Emissions Trading System (ETS).

But documents seen by Climate Home show that Visegrad countries are trying to gut, block or water down all of these efforts, in a rearguard manoeuvre that mirrors president Donald Trump’s rollback of climate policy in Washington.

Energy efficiency is supposed to make up around half of Europe’s emissions reductions by 2030, but a Czech proposal could cut energy saving obligations from a headline 1.5% a year figure to just 0.35% in practice.

Below the radar, Poland has also launched a manoeuvre that may block the EU’s winter package in its entirety – particularly a planned limit on power plant emissions – if it is signed up to by a third of EU parliaments, or 10-13 states.

The EU’s various wings will eventually thrash out a compromise between the commission’s original proposal – which was calibrated to meet the Paris pledge – and the counter-proposals designed to weaken this.

The effect this could have on the EU’s overall emissions has raised concerns among those in Brussels who wish to see the EU maintain its leadership on climate.

“We cannot allow backward-looking east EU states to destroy the EU’s credibility on the Paris agreement,” said Claude Turmes, the European parliament’s lead negotiator on climate governance.

“A successful and ambitious energy transition is one of the few remaining positive stories for Europe. If we allow that to be drained by vested old interests from east Europe, our international credibility – and the last remaining trust of our citizens – will be smashed,” said Turmes.

On Thursday and Friday this week, the EU leadership will meet with Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang. Climate change is a top agenda item at the meeting. A Sino-European coalition on climate action has been mooted as a possible bulwark against the reversal in the US. […]

“It is clear that the east European countries are only thinking of cheap energy and nothing else,” one informed source said. “That applies to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, all of them. The problem is that Germany is not taking a leadership role.”

Documents released by Greenpeace Energydesk on Sunday show the UK government has also been lobbying to weaken the energy efficiency target, despite its intention to leave the EU.

Poland’s far right government has been mired in sniping with the European commission since taking power in 2016. This year, it has already threatened to take the EU to court over its climate laws – and won concessions on its plans for subsidies to keep coal plants running when there is no demand.

Coal is seen as the “foundation” of Poland’s development by the ruling Law and Justice party, despite the thousands of Poles it sends to an early grave each year, and the unparalleled dangers it poses to the climate.

The EU’s preferred method of squeezing big emitters is carbon trading but here too, a Polish proposal taken up by the European parliament’s majority right wing blocks would drain the EU’s proposal of meaning.

A Polish memorandum, which Climate Home has obtained, proposes carrying over a glut of 907m worthless “hot air” carbon credits into the next market phase, depressing prices and reducing incentives to scale back CO2 emissions. […]

While Poland’s idea might allow the EU to meet its Paris obligations on paper, it would also open the door to surplus credits covering 550 million tonnes of carbon equivalent (Mtoe), according to a commission analysis obtained by Climate Home.

The same working paper says that a separate “early counting” proposal by Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia and Lithuania would increase the carbon allowance surplus by 690 Mtoe – triple the four countries’ combined 2014 emissions.

Poland also wants a huge increase in forestry offsets that would allow it to continue its coal-first energy model so long as it plants more trees.

Full post

2) EU Climate Policy Threatens To Destroy What Is Left Of Europe’s Steel Industry
Reuters, 29 May 2017

Steelmakers in Europe have written to EU leaders urging them not to burden the industry with extra carbon emissions costs they say would make them uncompetitive against foreign rivals and raise the risk of job losses and plant closures.

Image result for GWPF carbon tax

Draft reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) post-2020, agreed in outline by the European Parliament in February, aimed to balance greater cuts in greenhouse gases with protection for energy-intensive industries.

Since then, negotiations between representatives of the European Parliament, governments and the European Commission have made the proposals tougher, the steel industry says.

Environmentalists say the law should not be watered down.

The CEOs of 76 steel makers, including Arcelor-Mittal , Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and Austria’s Voestalpine, say the reforms as they stand would add unmanageable costs and mean pollutants were produced by manufacturers in other regions.

“You can avoid burdening the sector with high costs that will constrict investment, or that will increase the risk of job losses and plant closures in the EU,” the CEOs say in an open letter, dated May 28, to EU heads of state and government.

Writing before more closed-door talks on Tuesday on the carbon market reforms, the CEOs say the higher costs for emitting carbon dioxide would favour imports.

“In its current form, the EU ETS favours steel imports from third country competitors that do not have such costs and which have a far higher carbon footprint than steel made in the EU,” the letter says.

Full story

3) EU Economists Say Carbon Price Needs To Rise 10 – 20 Fold To Meet Paris Pledges
Jo Nova, 30 May 2017

The EU Ministry for The Management of Nice Weather says that the artificial price of carbon credits must rise a magnitude or two if they are going to have any chance of meeting their “climate” target. 

In some senses they are right — the price of carbon would have to be very high to get people to shift energy sources, because the ones that produce carbon dioxide are so blissfully cheap. On the other hand, this assumes that the IPCC models are right and that economies would survivc this brutal management.

They don’t seem to mention what this will do to electricity prices.

Global carbon prices must soar to meet Paris climate target: report
By Susanna Twidale | LONDON Reuters

The cost of emitting carbon dioxide must rise to $50-$100 per tonne by 2030, much higher than the current price in Europe of less than $6, if countries are to meet climate pledges made under the Paris Agreement, economists said on Monday.

Under the Paris deal, more than 190 countries pledged to keep planet-warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

The Commission on Carbon Prices, a group of 13 leading economists supported by the World Bank, said in their report that carbon dioxide prices would need to be $40-$80 per tonne by 2020, rising to $50-$100 per tonne the following decade.

Next up, The Ministry for Daylight Savings pledges to slow the rotation of the Earth.

4) UK Government ‘Sought Weaker Climate Rule’
renews, 29 May 2017

The UK government attempted to get the European Union to water down climate and energy rules when prime minister Theresa May officially triggered Brexit negotiations, according to documents seen by Greenpeace.

The environmentalist group claimed the leaked documents indicate that British ministers on March 29 lobbied to weaken EU goals on renewable energy use, despite the rules not being due to come into force until after the UK had left the bloc.

The intervention, involving a British delegation led by secretary of state for leaving the EU David Davis, could indicate that the government will weaken EU climate rules once they are transposed into UK law, Greenpeace said.

"The government is trying to lock the rest of the EU into weaker energy policies, just as we are leaving," said Greenpeace UK's head of energy Hannah Martin.

5) Cliff Forrest: The ‘Business Case’ For Paris Is Bunk
The Wall Street Journal, 30 May 2017

The climate accord is a boon — yet pulling out would be unfair?

As President Trump weighs whether to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, some have tried to present a “business case” for why the U.S. should stay in. An economic windfall would come with the early and aggressive investment in alternative energy that the accord mandates, or so the argument goes. The Paris Agreement’s backers have told a very incomplete story and reached the wrong conclusion.

The economic merits of the Paris Agreement take on a different air when more fully considered. Climate-change advocates’ bizarre premise is that economic gains will come from restricting access to the most abundant, reliable and affordable fuel sources. Never mind that this defies the experience of many European nations that have invested heavily in renewable energy. After “Germany’s aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar,” for example, the magazine Der Spiegel declared in 2013 that electricity had become “a luxury good.” Apparently this time will be different.

Image result for Spiegel energy luxury

There are a few interesting hypocrisies to consider as well. The commercial interests that strongly support the Paris Agreement typically have created programs to exploit, game or merely pass through the costs of the climate-change agenda. Many also maintain a green pose for marketing purposes. The classic example of this rent-seeking behavior was Enron, which in 1996 purchased Zond Energy Systems (now GE Wind) to complement its gas pipeline. Enron then set about lobbying its way to green-energy riches. It seems that Paris backers hope for a sudden public amnesia about the many businesses that use government to push out smaller competitors.

Green companies also argue that, beyond economic benefits, their ability to slow climate change helps contribute to the public good. To my knowledge, none declare a measurable impact on climate from their businesses or their desired policies.

Mr. Trump should keep in mind that the people calling for him to stick with the Paris Agreement largely did not support him during the campaign. Few would like to see him succeed now. As for his strongest supporters, they’re the ones who will take the hit if he breaks his promise to withdraw.

Some countries have threatened to punish the U.S. if it pulls out of the accord. Rodolfo Lacy Tamayo, Mexico’s undersecretary for environmental policy and planning, said in an interview with the New York Times: “A carbon tariff against the United States is an option for us.” Countries imposing costs on their own industries through the Paris Agreement complain that they are at a disadvantage if the U.S. doesn’t do the same. Apparently they didn’t receive the talking points describing green energy as an economic boon for everyone involved.

Full post

6) A Reduction in US Drought Over the Period 1901-2014
CO2 Science, 25 May 2017

Paper Reviewed
McCabe, G.J., Wolock, D.M. and Austin, S.H. 2017. Variability of runoff-based drought conditions in the conterminous United States. International Journal of Climatology 37: 1014-1021.

Introducing their work, McCabe et al. (2017) write that "there is concern that climate change may substantially affect the frequency and duration of drought." And while further noting that there have been relatively few studies that have examined hydrologic drought on the spatial scale of the conterminous United States (CONUS), the three scientists set out to do just that. More specifically, they analyzed monthly runoff values estimated from a monthly water-balance model for 2109 hydrologic units across the U.S. over the water years (October-September) 1901-2014. In addition, they sought to determine the climate factors responsible for driving drought variability.

McCabe et al. describe their findings as follows: "Results indicated that (1) the longest mean drought lengths occur in the eastern CONUS and parts of the Rocky Mountain region and the northwestern CONUS, (2) the frequency of drought is highest in the southwestern and central CONUS, and lowest in the eastern CONUS, the Rocky Mountain region, and the northwestern CONUS, (3) droughts have occurred during all months of the year and there does not appear to be a seasonal pattern to drought occurrence, (4) the variability of precipitation appears to have been the principal climatic factor determining drought, and (5) for most of the CONUS, drought frequency appears to have decreased during the 1901 through 2014 period" (see figure below). McCabe et al. also note that (6) "changes in drought length were small, and large regions of coherent decreases or increases in drought length are not apparent."

In light of all of the above findings, it would appear that instead of making droughts worse, the global warming/climate change experienced over the past century appears to have ameliorated them. And that finding stands in stark opposition to model-based predictions of future drought, which foresee them getting more frequent and severe as the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere rises.

Figure 1. Number of hydrologic units (HUs) across the U.S. with drought conditions by month and year.

7) Producers Not Consumers Now Control The UK Electricity System
GWPF Energy, 29 May 2017
Dr John Constable: GWPF Energy Editor

A recent press statement by the United Kingdom’s Transmission System Operator (TSO) shows that the consumer interest is no longer in the driving seat. The system is now run for the convenience and benefit of electricity producers.

On Friday afternoon last week National Grid issued a widely reported statement to the effect that at lunchtime on that day the instantaneous output from the United Kingdom’s nearly 12 GW of solar photovoltaic generation was 8.7 GW, which just over 24% of the load at that time and a new record.

National Grid developed its theme thus:

An increase in renewable generation poses an exciting challenge for National Grid, whose role as system operator is to balance the national transmission network, by ensuring supply and demand is matched second by second.

Duncan Burt, who’s responsible for control room operations said: “We now have significant volumes of renewable energy on the system and as this trend continues, our ability to forecast these patterns is becoming more and more important.

“We have an expert team of forecasters who monitor a range of data, to forecast just how much electricity will be needed over a set period.”

Duncan added: “We have planned for these changes to the energy landscape and have the tools available to ensure we can balance supply and demand. It really is the beginning of a new era, which we are prepared for and excited to play our part”.

Clearly written in haste so as not to miss the moment (“who’s responsible”), this incoherent statement reveals that National Grid is still coming to terms with a genuinely novel situation, one that they can hardly believe, so extraordinary and so favourable is it to their company’s future. It is certainly “exciting” for them, commercially exciting.

Hitherto, forecasters have indeed been concerned with predicting “just how much electricity will be needed”, but as the previous paragraphs show with the advent of a renewables dominated grid they are now engaged on forecasting what is about to be produced. The significance of this change cannot be overstated. The consumer has become a secondary consideration; and the producer interest is now the main focus of National Grid’s attention.

Of course, though it has a regulated income and asset base, National Grid is itself part of that producer interest. The grid management “tools” to which Mr Burt refers, software, personnel, and hardware are expensively purchased with consumer funds, but without consumer consent. National Grid will balance the system brilliantly, of course, but very expensively.

If the United Kingdom is to flourish, this mistaken inversion of priorities must be addressed by the next government. The Conservative Party Manifesto remarked that:

A successful industrial strategy requires competitive and affordable energy costs. We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households. (p. 22)

One can hardly imagine that sensible people in the other political parties hold any other views. This is motherhood and apple pie. However, as National Grid’s release shows, policies have in fact over the last decade or so, forced the consumer into a subordinate and powerless position, one where it is very unlikely that energy costs will be either competitive or affordable.

The implications for inward investment and the reindustrialisation that many now seem to desire are obvious. Where will an investor prefer to place capital in the hope of generating a return? An economy where electricity demand drives supply, or one where the System Operator forecasts supply and then adjusts demand accordingly? Even if there are rewards on offer for flexible consumers, the truth is that most businesses would prefer complete freedom of operation rather than a compromised liberty and the occasional lollipop.

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

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great to read the common sense approach to the alarmist bull.