Saturday, October 28, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Massive New Coal Boom To Fuel Southeast Asia's Booming Economies

Climate & Coal Threaten To Crash German Coalition Negotiations

In this newsletter:

1) Massive New Coal Boom To Fuel Southeast Asia's Booming Economies
Power Magazine, 27 October 2017

2) Climate & Coal Threaten To Crash German Coalition Negotiations 
Spiegel Online, 26 October 2017

3) German Coalition Talks Stumble On Migration, Climate
Reuters, 27 October 2017

4) BBC Under Fire For 'Caving In' To Climate Change Lobby 
Katherine Rushton, Daily Mail, 26 October 2017

5) 'Excessive Green Taxes To Rise To Well Over £100 Billion, Helm Report Warns 
The Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2017

6) John Constable: Energy Customers Foot The Bill For Failed Climate Policy
The Times, 27 October 2017

7) Rupert Darwall: Climate Alarmism Use The Acid-Rain Playbook 
The Wall Street Journal, 26 October 2017

Full details:

1) Massive New Coal Boom To Fuel Southeast Asia's Booming Economies
Power Magazine, 27 October 2017

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, more than doubling the region’s current coal power capacity. Global coal-fired generation capacity to grow by nearly 50% over today’s levels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the need for cheap electricity in Southeast Asia will drive global demand for coal for power generation through 2040, even as many countries continue to retire coal-fired plants and cancel projects for new coal facilities.

IEA, which is set to release its World Energy Outlook 2017 on November 14, this week said India and Southeast Asia will account for the majority of the use of coal in the coming years, as those areas’ economies continue to grow and demand for electricity rises.

“Coal maintains a strong foothold in [Southeast Asia’s] projected consumption, not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas, but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require the capital-intensive infrastructure associated with gas,” the IEA said in a report in advance of the release of the November outlook.

The agency said about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, increasing the region’s installed capacity to about 160 GW. The IEA said 40% of the new capacity will be built in Indonesia. The group said Vietnam, the second-largest consumer of coal in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, will become the region’s largest importer of coal by 2040.

A report this week by Wood Mackenzie, a UK-based research and consulting firm with offices worldwide, including five in the U.S., said thermal coal imports by Southeast Asia will more than double to 226 million metric tons by 2035, up from 85 million metric tons today. The group said imports into Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of South Asia will jump to 284 million metric tons during that period, a 72% increase from this year’s levels.

At the same time, Chinese imports of coal—China in 2016 again became the world’s top importer of coal, overtaking India—will drop about 40% over the next two decades as the country ramps up its use of other energy sources, including wind and particularly solar, where it dominates the world market in terms of installed solar capacity and the production of solar panels.

China this year has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal plants, although Chinese companies are either building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants worldwide, according to Urgewald, a German environmental group. Urgewald in July said more than 1,600 coal-fired power plants were either under construction or being planned in 62 countries, a number that would increase global coal-fired generation capacity by 43% over today’s levels.

Kiah Wei Giam, a principal analyst for coal and gas markets at Wood Mackenzie, this week at the Singapore International Energy Week said: “Coal is still the most affordable technology in power generation,” despite “pushback in coal development” due to concerns about pollution. Giam said coal demand will remain high at least until renewable energy sources and energy storage solutions become more economically competitive.

Full story

2) Climate & Coal Threaten To Crash German Coalition Negotiations 
Spiegel Online, 26 October 2017

Germany’s Green Party demands coal exit, Christian Democrats put on the brakes; CDU Prime Minister Laschet threatens to pull the plug on the negotiations.

Exploratory talks in Berlin over the possible first Jamaican coalition at federal level have so far been quite harmonious. Despite arguments between the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Greens over the abolition of the solidarity surcharge (established nearly 30 years ago to rebuild the public infrastructure of the former communist states in East Germany) – overall the discussions seem to be relaxed so far. This could change on Thursday when there are delicate topics on the agenda: refugees, climate and energy.

Even before the start of the talks negotiators voiced their warnings and demands. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet (Christian Democrats) who leads the CDU’s negotiation team on climate and energy threatened to pull the plug on the negotiations: “If Germany’s industrial base is compromised, we won’t form a coalition,” he told Rheinische Post. While climate protection was important, so was the protection of jobs as a moral goal.

“If coal plants are closed down in Eastern Germany and thousands of workers are made redundant, very soon 30% of voters will support the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD),” Laschet warned.

The Green Party is demanding the immediate closure of 20 of the most polluting brown coal power plants and the end of coal-fired power generation altogether by 2030.

Green party leader Simone Peter reaffirmed her party’s position. The Greens have high expectations of the negotiations, she told Berliner Morgenpost. “It is a matter of making real climate policy once again and agreeing a concrete package of measures.”

Germany must achieve its 2020 climate targets and do everything possible to close the existing gap. “Without doubt, a mandatory coal exit and the accelerated expansion of renewable energies are part of this package,” Peter said.

Prime Minister Laschet announced that he would not make substantial concessions: “If push comes to shove we will have to crash the talks.” He said that environmental policy was a bigger hurdle for the negotiations than immigration policy: “The latter is easier to settle than the closure of power stations.”

Translation GWPF

Full story (in German)
3) German Coalition Talks Stumble On Migration, Climate
Reuters, 27 October 2017

BERLIN (Reuters) - Three German parties resigned themselves to further talks next week to try to form a new coalition after making little progress on Thursday in bridging deep divisions on immigration and climate policy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to unite her divided conservative alliance, which suffered bruising losses in a national election last month, in a pact with two other parties that is untested at federal level.

After 11 hours of talks on Thursday, negotiators said they had failed to find much common ground on the difficult topics of climate change and immigration, but would take the weekend to consider the arguments of the other parties....

The parties did agree to stick to climate goals that envisage cutting carbon dioxide emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, but were still divided on how to achieve that, sources familiar with negotiations said.

Kellner reiterated the Greens’ position that Germany should quickly close coal-fired power stations to help fight climate change, a position resisted by the other parties.

Full story

4) BBC Under Fire For 'Caving In' To Climate Change Lobby 
Katherine Rushton, Daily Mail, 26 October 2017

The BBC has been accused of ‘caving in’ to climate change lobbyists after apologising for an interview with global warning sceptic Lord Lawson.

The former Tory Chancellor inaccurately claimed in an August episode of the Today Programme that global temperatures have ‘slightly declined’ over the last decade.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation that he launched corrected his error a few days later and – after widespread criticism – the BBC admitted the episode broke its rules on accuracy. However, Benny Peiser, director of the GWPF yesterday accused it going overboard in its apology.

He said: ‘If the BBC had to apologise every time one of their interviewees said something inaccurate, they would have to close the whole shop. They are completely obsessed with the green agenda and hardly ever have a dissenting voice … and now they have essentially caved to the bullying tactics of the green campaign.’

The Today Programme had initially defended Lord Lawson’s remarks, saying it was important to provide balance by airing ‘dissenting voices’. However, senior BBC bosses eventually stepped in, saying his arguments ‘were, at least, contestable and should have been challenged’.

Mr Peiser’s views were echoed by freedom of speech advocates. Frank Furedi, a sociologists at the University of Kent, said: ‘If every time you make a mistake you are forced to make an apology in this way it undermines and distorts debate.’

5) 'Excessive Green Taxes To Rise To Well Over £100 Billion, Helm Report Warns 
The Daily Telegraph, 25 October 2017

Consumers are paying too much for their energy because of “excessive” green taxes added to bills, a damning Government-commissioned report has found. Consumers will have paid well over £100 billion by 2030.

A series of “spectacularly bad” decisions by ministers have “unnecessarily burdened” households and businesses with higher green energy subsidies than necessary, according to Prof 
Dieter Helm, of Oxford University.

The cost of renewable energy – as well as gas, coal and oil – has fallen but the benefits have not been passed on because ministers locked the taxpayer into long-term contracts that overestimated those costs, Prof Helm found.

Green taxes will cost the average household almost £150 from next year, according to energy firms.

Prof Helm said this was “significantly higher than it needs to be” to meet the Government’s objectives of cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and 
promoting renewable energy.

He was asked to undertake the research after Theresa May, the Prime Minister, vowed to tackle “rip-off” bills. However, the industry expert placed the blame on the Government’s own policies.

“Significant institutional reform” should be brought in to reduce the Government’s role and allow the market to function efficiently, Prof Helm said.

His Cost of Energy Review said: “Each successive intervention layers on new costs and unintended consequences. It should be a central aim of Government to radically simplify the interventions, and to get Government back out of many of its current detailed roles.”

Green energy taxes, which were introduced as part of the 2008 Climate Change Act, have caused controversy ever since because some MPs regard them as “regressive”, penalising those who can least afford them.

There are also divisions over whether the levies are justified, particularly with respect to subsidies for wind farms, with opinion split over whether they are an unnecessary blight on the landscape.

In August the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that the cost of the subsidies would more than treble over the next five years, from £4.6  billion in 2015-16 to £13.5 billion in 2021-22.

The costs of “decarbonisation” account for around 20 per cent of typical electricity bills, according to the report. Consumers will have paid well over £100 billion by 2030, and Prof Helm says that “much more decarbonisation could have been achieved for less; costs should be lower, and they should be falling further”.

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6) John Constable: Energy Customers Foot The Bill For Failed Climate Policy
The Times, 27 October 2017

Subsidies to renewable electricity in the UK cost £5 billion a year at present and will rise to more than £8 billion a year by 2020, all drawn from the bills of domestic and business consumers. One third of this hits households directly through their electricity bills — about 20 per cent of the bill in fact — while the other two thirds, paid in the first instance by businesses, is passed on to households in the general cost of living.

Government has obfuscated these facts, and since 2014 has published no price impacts. When costs could not be hidden, the government has claimed that climate policy made them unavoidable. Now, in an authoritative and excoriating report commissioned by the government, Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, has torn away the fig leaves covering the government’s nakedness. Policy interventions, he tells us, are so numerous and badly designed that they have resulted in costs well in excess of what is needed to meet emissions targets. These subsidies will cost a hair-raising £100 billion by 2030. “Much more decarbonisation could have been achieved for less,” Professor Helm drily observes.

Sadly, as the study emphasises, much of this wasteful policy cannot be cancelled, due to “contractual and other legal commitments”. In other words, government has given the rent-seekers firm entitlements that the courts must defend. Did the civil servants explain these liabilities to the responsible ministers, and if so why was the consumer interest neglected, and why were such bad deals struck, again and again and again?

Because, as Professor Helm does not hesitate to tell us: “Government has got into the business of ‘picking winners’. Unfortunately, losers are good at picking governments, and inevitably — as in most such picking-winners strategies — the results end up being vulnerable to lobbying, to the general detriment of household and industrial customers.”

Professor Helm’s diagnoses and remedies are sweeping and brilliant. The present policies are counterproductive and erode public support for measures to address climate change. They must be replaced by firm capacity auctions, so renewables pay for their own intermittency, and by a single carbon price to find the cheapest technologies. The “legacy” burden of the failed policies should be bundled into a “bad bank”, with the costs charged to domestic consumers directly (rather than hidden in the cost of living), and stated separately on the bill as a lingering souvenir of 20 years of negligence and folly in energy policy. Who says economists have no sense of fun?

John Constable is energy editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum

7) Rupert Darwall: Climate Alarmism Use The Acid-Rain Playbook 
The Wall Street Journal, 26 October 2017

The parallels between the two environmental frenzies are many, but the stakes are much higher now.

A majority of scientists might say a scientific theory is true, but that doesn’t mean the consensus is reliable. The science underpinning environmental claims can be fundamentally wrong — as it was in one of the biggest environmental scares in recent decades.

The acid-rain alarm of the 1970s and ’80s was a dry run for the current panic about climate change. Both began in Sweden as part of a war on coal meant to bolster support for nuclear power. In 1971 meteorologist Bert Bolin wrote the Swedish government’s report on acid rain to the United Nations. Seventeen years later he became the first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

There are many parallels between acid rain and global warming. Each phenomenon produced a U.N. convention — the 1979 Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution in the case of acid rain, and the 1988 Framework Convention on Climate Change. And each convention led to a new protocol—the 1985 Helsinki Protocol and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Public alarm surrounding acid rain was far more intense, especially in Germany, where popular reaction to media stories about acid rain reached a pitch of hysteria not yet seen with global warming. A 1981 Der Speigel cover story featured an image of smokestacks looming over a copse of trees with the title “The Forest Is Dying.”

The most striking parallels are the role of scientific consensus in underpinning environmental alarm and the way science is used to justify cuts in emissions. The emission of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere “has proved to be a major environmental problem,” Bolin wrote in his 1971 report. National scientific academies across North America and Europe were in complete agreement. “We have a much more complete knowledge of the causes and consequences of acid deposition than we have for other pollutants,” a report by the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council said in 1981. According to the NRC, the circumstantial evidence was “overwhelming.” Many thousands of lakes had been affected, rivers were losing salmon, fisheries in the Adirondacks were in a bad way, red spruce were dying, and production from Canadian sugar maple trees had been affected. Acid rain was a scientific slam dunk.

Politicians duly parroted what the scientists told them. “Acid rain has caused serious environmental damage in many parts of the world,” President Jimmy Carter [ wrote in his 1979 environmental message to Congress. He signed an agreement with Canada to establish five acid-rain working groups, and Congress set up a 10-year National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program, which went by the catchy acronym Napap.

To Canadian anger, President Ronald Reagan was more skeptical than his predecessor. The head of Canada’s Federal Assessment and Review Office accused Mr. Reagan of “blatant efforts to manipulate” the science being done by the working groups. A formal note of protest from Ottawa pointed to the more than 3,000 scientific studies on acid rain yielding “sufficient scientific evidence” for policies to cut emissions.

Vice President George Bush promised Canada that if elected president, he would act on the problem. But as acid-rain cap-and-trade legislation was making its way through Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency encountered a major problem. Napap’s draft report concluded that the science was wrong. Yes, power-station emissions make rain more acidic—rain is naturally acidic, and more so during thunderstorms—but changes to ecosystems, the report said, were mainly caused by changes in land use. The felling of trees and the burning of stumps in the Adirondacks had reduced the acidity of the forest floor. After conservationists put a stop to it, the soil gradually returned to its previous acidity.

Rather than admit it had the science wrong, the EPA set about suppressing the inconvenient findings. The Napap report was delayed until after key provisions of cap-and-trade legislation had been agreed to in Congress. As outlined in a 1992 article in Reason, the EPA then waged a dirty-tricks campaign to discredit Edward C. Krug, a soil expert and the leading dissident Napap scientist. It assembled a group of compliant scientists to conduct a sham peer review and conclude that Mr. Krug was a bad scientist. The episode ended with an assistant administrator of the EPA, William Rosenberg, apologizing to Mr. Krug to avoid a threatened libel action.

To this day, the zombie science of acid rain lives on at the EPA’s, which falsely states that acidification of soil, streams and lakes is caused by emissions from power stations. The EPA reckons the annual cost of anti-acid-rain measures in the U.S. will reach $65 billion in 2020, but it no longer claims that the money will prevent ecosystem damage. Now it just claims to be improving public health.

In its approach to the science of global warming, the EPA under current Administrator Scott Pruitt couldn’t offer a greater contrast with the acid-rain coverup perpetrated by the EPA during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Instead of attacking dissident scientists, Mr. Pruitt’s proposal to hold red-team/blue-team appraisals would put dissenters on the same footing as consensus-supporting scientists. This will enable proper debate between both camps to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific consensus on global warming.

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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

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