Monday, June 12, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Denmark Ends Green Incentives: Electric Car Sales Collapse

The Green Blob Is Outraged. Again

In this newsletter:

1) Denmark Ends Green Incentives, Electric Car Sales Collapse
Bloomberg, 2 June 2017

2) U.S. Opts Out of Signing G7 Pledge Supporting the Paris Agreement
Associated Press, 11 June 2017 

3) Paris Agreement Withdrawal Followed A Democratic Mandate
Financial Times, 11 June 2017 

4) Michael Gove Returns To Uk Government As Environment Secretary
The Sun, 11 June 2017 

5) Andrew Montford: The Green Blob Is Outraged. Again.
GWPF Opinion, 12 June 2017

6) Poor Countries Export Power While Millions Go Without
The Zimbabwean, 11 June 2017

Full details:

1) Denmark Ends Green Incentives, Electric Car Sales Collapse
Bloomberg, 2 June 2017
The electric car has dropped out of favor in the country that pioneered renewable energy. Once considered one of the world-leaders in the take-up of electric vehicles, Denmark’s sales of electric vehicles have slumped dramatically in the first quarter of 2017 as the government scales back EV incentives.

Sales in Denmark of Electrically Chargeable Vehicles (ECV), which include plug-in hybrids, plunged 60.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with the first three months of 2016, according to latest data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). That contrasts with an increase of nearly 80 percent in neighboring Sweden and an average rise of 30 percent in the European Union.

The figures suggest clean-energy vehicles still aren’t attractive enough to compete without some form of subsidy.
Denmark, a global leader in wind power whose own attempt at an electric car in the early 1980s famously flopped, used to be enthralled with them. Its bicycle-loving people bought 5,298 of them in 2015, more than double the amount sold that year in Italy, which has a population more than 10 times the size of Denmark’s.
However, it turns out that those phenomenal sales figures had as much to do with convenience as with environmental concerns: electric car dealers were for a long time spared the jaw-dropping import tax of 180 percent that Denmark applies on vehicles fueled by a traditional combustion engine.
In the fall of 2015, the Liberal-led government of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen announced the progressive phasing out of tax breaks on electric cars, citing budget constraints and the desire to level the playing field.
Tesla, whose sales were skyrocketing at the time, lobbied against the move, with Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk warning during a visit to Copenhagen that sales would be hit.
The new tax regime “completely killed the market,” Laerke Flader, head of the Danish Electric Car Alliance, said in a recent interview. “Price really matters.”
According to the government’s original plans, tax breaks were to have been phased out from 2016 to 2020, when they would be treated in the same way as fossil fuel-powered cars.
But on April 18, having taken note of the drop in sales, the government decided to change the rules.
“It’s no secret electrical vehicle sales have been below what we expected a year and a half ago,” Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said in a statement. “The agreed phase-in has turned out to be hard and that likely halted sales.”
The new rules mean the transition to a post-subsidy era has been postponed until at least 5,000 new electric cars are sold over the 2016-2018 period.
Full story
2) U.S. Opts Out of Signing G7 Pledge Supporting the Paris Agreement
Associated Press, 11 June 2017 
(BOLOGNA, Italy) — The United States has refused to sign a Group of Seven pledge that calls the Paris climate accord the "irreversible" global tool to address climate change.
The G7 environment ministers issued a final communique Monday after their two-day meeting, the first since the United States announced it was withdrawing from the Paris climate pact.
In a footnote to the communique, the United States said it wouldn't join with the other six countries in supporting their Paris commitments.
The footnote said: "The United States will continue to engage with key international partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment."
President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal earlier this month. 
3) Paris Agreement Withdrawal Followed A Democratic Mandate
Financial Times, 11 June 2017 
Sir, Martin Wolf is mistaken about the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement (“Trump’s bad judgment on Paris”, June 7). He does not seem to be aware that the decision was based on a triple democratic mandate.
First, President Donald Trump was elected on the back of his promise that he would “cancel” the Paris agreement. Second, Mr Trump’s stance is fully shared by the Republican party whose election platform explicitly rejected Barack Obama’s Paris deal. Third, the Republican-led Senate had warned international leaders repeatedly that the Senate majority rejected the Paris deal and that a Republican president would shred it to pieces.
Like the Kyoto protocol, the Paris accord was pushed through against the declared will of America’s elected representatives. Now it faces the same fate as the Kyoto protocol, which ended in failure for similar reasons.
Dr Benny Peiser
Global Warming Policy Foundation,
London SW1, UK
4) Michael Gove Returns To UK Government As Environment Secretary
The Sun, 11 June 2017 
Michael Gove has made a sensational return to Government this evening after being appointed Environment Secretary by Theresa May.
A weakened Prime Minister has invited her long-time enemy back into to the Cabinet in a desperate attempt to cling on to power following Thursday’s disastrous election result.
Michael Gove has made a sensational return to Government this evening
Full post
see also: Heads are breaking the law if they preach eco agenda, warns Gove: Education Secretary’s ‘concern’ at report that accuses ‘activist’ teachers
5) Andrew Montford: The Green Blob Is Outraged. Again.
GWPF Opinion, 12 June 2017
Michael Gove’s appointment to the Defra brief has all of the usual suspects up in arms, and as usual, the truth is a lot less exciting than the social media ranting. Take, for example, this tweet from Paul Johnson, the deputy editor of the Guardian, no less:
Or this one, from Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation:

Gove made his original suggestion about changes to the curriculum back in 2013, but unfortunately for the perennially outraged members of the green blob, even a cursory look at articles from the time reveals that he was suggesting only that covering climate change in both geography and science was probably overkill. He thought it should be restricted to science. This is not unreasonable, in my opinion.
Certainly it’s a great deal more reasonable than what is happening now. As I noted in my GWPF report on climate change education in schools:
A search of the AQA past paper repository returned 526 documents containing the expression ‘global warming’ and 391 containing the expression ‘climate change’, spanning a wide range of subjects. For example, the expression ‘global warming’ could be found in papers on economics, chemistry, geography, religious studies, physics, French, humanities, biology, citizenship, English and science.
This situation is, frankly, pretty disgusting. It’s not education, it’s indoctrination. But, let’s face it, indoctrination is precisely what the green blob wants. Mr Gove can expect the same ‘special’ attention that Owen Paterson received in his time in the same role in government.
6) Poor Countries Export Power While Millions Go Without
The Zimbabwean, 11 June 2017 
“Foreign aid should not be used to generate costly and unreliable electricity in countries where hundreds of millions need the exact opposite: cheap and reliable power”

At the end of May, Zimbabwe’s state monopoly, ZESA, reached a last-minute deal to continue importing electricity.
ZESA owed $43m to South Africa and Mozambique and, with part-payment and terms agreed for clearing the debt, neither country turned off the flow.
South Africa is a continental giant, but one might ask why Mozambique is selling to anyone, given 80 per cent of her own people are not connected to the grid and, even in Maputo or Beira, supply is so unreliable that homes and shops have their own generators.
But Mozambique, ranks among the world’s 20-largest exporters of electricity, chiefly from Cabora Basa dam on the Zambezi River, a short way downstream from Kariba.
And here’s the irony. Not far east of Cabora Basa and its turbines, a giant solar project has been approved, part funded by the government of Norway. Will this help the impoverished locals? Not likely given the output will simply be pumped into the same pylons that carry power across the border to Zimbabwe and South Africa.
It’s a problem repeated across Africa and the developing world.
At Soroti, 233 kilometres by road from Kampala, the largest solar plant in East Africa has more than 32,000 panels and cost $19m, some of it from British and German aid money.
But Uganda is the biggest external supplier of power to Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, while at home only one-in-five Ugandans have the lights on.
Even the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s poorest countries, exports electricity to Zambia and South Africa while local supply languishes around 15 per cent. Kinshasa receives billions in aid from the US, Britain and Europe, much of it for “green” projects.
“A matter of shame”
When it comes to numbers, India has more people than all of Africa, squashed into about 10 per cent of the space. And, here, electricity is political.
In Delhi, the minister for power, Piyush Goyal says it’s “a matter of shame”, that after nearly seven decades of independence from Britain, “we have not been able to provide a basic amenity like electricity.”
In truth, they’ve done better than many former colonies, but out of 1.2 billion Indians, an estimated 300 million (more than the SADC countries combined) are yet to be connected.
At the 2014 election, prime minister Narendra Modi promised to end this within his term, and with the next vote less than two years away, he’s been racing to make it happen.
The government has also rolled out a record number of solar plants with a pledge that, by 2022, three per cent of power will come from renewables. Last year the World Bank assigned more than $600m to the plan.
But connecting just a million homes needs an estimated 10 000 acres of solar panels and, in a country where land is scarce, this has become an issue.
Former Irish president Mary Robinson who served as UN high commissioner for human rights and now heads a foundation on climate issues, sounded a caution after a rise in complaints by indigenous groups.
“Recent experience shows that renewal and energy installations can result in human rights being undermined if local communities are not consulted,” she said.
India only signed the Paris Accord, “contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid”. This was Donald Trump in full throttle recently as he withdrew America from the Paris deal on climate change.
True, Delhi does receive vast amounts of aid, and solar farms and wind turbines have become the new chic for donors and NGOs.
But with no sun at night, and the monsoon season when it rains for weeks, solar will provide less than one per cent of the country’s needs over the next five years. Instead, like South Africa and Zimbabwe, most of the power comes from coal.
And, like Mozambique, in spite of a shortfall, India sells electricity to neighbouring states, including Bangladesh.
In London, Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a non-partisan think-tank on energy and climate, said it was, “hard to imagine a case for any kind of aid where the receiving government is exporting power while their own people go without.”
But he said “prioritising green energy schemes” was also a problem.
“Donors and NGOs may feel good installing millions of solar panels across Asia and Africa, but they ignore the fact that renewable energy is unable to provide much needed electricity when the sun isn’t shining.” […]
Dr Peiser said it was important to remember that aid “comes from taxpayers’ money donated principally from the US, Britain and the rest of Europe.”
It could not be used, he said, “to generate costly and unreliable electricity in countries where hundreds of millions need the exact opposite: cheap and reliable power”
This, he said, had to include the latest gas and clean-coal technology.
Dr Peiser called on the US administration to review all aid linked to energy.
“That way, the most cost-effective projects can be selected to achieve their objective of helping poor nations to power their people and economies.”
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

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