Wednesday, December 6, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: 2017 Sets New Record For Global Food Production

Royal Society – It’s Worse Than We Thought

In this newsletter:

1) Global Warming: 2017 Sets New Record For Global Food Production
UN Food And Agriculture Organization, November 2017

2) GWPF Podcast: Royal Society – It’s Worse Than We Thought
GWPF Podcast, 1 December 2017

3) EPA Preparing Red Teaming On State Of Climate Science
E&E News, 1 December 2017

4) Green Lobbyists Are Scrambling To Save Their Subsidies From GOP Tax Reform
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 30 November 2017  

5) Joe Oliver: Ranting About Climate Isn’t Good Policy, And Isn’t Convincing Anyone
Financial Post, 29 November 2017

Full details:

1) Global Warming: 2017 Sets New Record For Global Food Production
UN Food And Agriculture Organization, November 2017

Global cereal production in 2017 is forecast to surpass last year’s record levels. Global stocks of rice and coarse grains are also set to reach record levels.

World cereal markets are likely to be comfortably balanced in 2017/18, with total supplies exceeding projected demand and inventories on the rise. Global cereal production in 2017 is forecast to surpass the 2016 peak by a small margin. Total production of coarse grains is set to reach a new record, with most of the expansion taking place in South America and Southern Africa.

However, wheat production is forecast to decline slightly from last year in spite of an upward adjustment since October driven by a larger-than-earlier anticipated harvest in the Russian Federation. The decline in wheat production from 2016 mostly reflects a lower harvest in the United States, as well as a projected fall in Australia’s wheat crop after a record output in 2016. Global rice production in 2017 is expected to remain broadly stable.

World cereal utilization in 2017/18 is set to expand by 1 percent from the previous year. Overall, food consumption of cereals is forecast to grow by 1.3 percent and feed use by 0.4 percent, while industrial utilization is projected to rise by 1.2 percent. Based on the latest forecasts for cereal production and utilization, world cereal stocks by the close of seasons in 2018 are set to reach a new record level.

This would result in the global cereal stock-to-use ratio remaining stable at a 15-year high of 27 percent, with the ratio for wheat up slightly and those for coarse grains and rice down marginally. World wheat inventories are currently pegged at an all-time high despite a downward revision since October. Global stocks of rice and coarse grains are also set to reach record levels. The increase in wheat and rice stocks largely reflects an anticipated accumulation of inventories in China, whereas for coarse grains, the expansion reflects higher end-of-season maize stocks in South America and the United States.

Full story

see also GWPF coverage of record corn harvests around the world

2) GWPF Podcast: Royal Society – It’s Worse Than We Thought
GWPF Podcast, 1 December 2017

David Whitehouse and Benny Peiser discuss the Royal Society’s new climate change (‘it’s-worse-than-we-thought’) update and how soon will the ‘ice apocalypse’ come?

Click on image to listen to the latest GWPF Podcast

3) EPA Preparing Red Teaming On State Of Climate Science
E&E News, 1 December 2017

U.S. EPA appears to be close to unveiling its program to question mainstream research on global warming, referred to as a “red team” exercise, and several candidates for that role cast doubt on the extent of climate change at the Heritage Foundation yesterday.

One theme they expressed is that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels should no longer be considered a pollutant but instead an essential ingredient in maintaining a global population boom. They described potentially catastrophic impacts of human-caused warming as “alarmism.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could announce the red team within weeks, according to Bob Murray, a key ally of the administration and the CEO of Murray Energy Corp. The coal boss said in an interview at yesterday’s event that he has been personally pushing Pruitt to challenge the endangerment finding, the scientific underpinning for past and future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Murray, who met with Pruitt last week, said the administrator told him the red-team debate is imminent. Pruitt also said the exercise is the first step toward a possible challenge to the endangerment finding, Murray told E&E News.

“They’re laying groundwork for it, they want to do this red, blue study, debate on science before we get there,” Murray said of the endangerment finding. “I said, ‘You need to get it done; if you don’t get it repealed, you’re going to have this climate agenda forever. It needs to be repealed.'”

Murray added of Pruitt: “He’s not guaranteeing me. He’s guaranteeing to do the red-blue climate debate and then go from there.”

The Trump administration has been aggressive in its efforts to rescind policies restricting greenhouse gases. It’s working to reverse the Clean Power Plan, which sought to cut power-sector emissions 32 percent by 2030, and President Trump has announced a withdrawal from the global Paris climate accord.

But the administration has stopped short of promising to challenge the endangerment finding. That stands to be a major fight in the courts, and many administration officials anticipate defeat. Yet if President Trump skips that fight, he would anger staunch conservatives who see the endangerment finding as the cornerstone of future climate regulation.

“We’re going to have a mess until that endangerment finding is overturned,” Murray said.

The red-team, blue-team exercise is coming early next year, Pruitt said recently. It will pit a team of skeptical researchers against the findings of mainstream scientists. Critics have said the exercise could cherry-pick data in an effort to elevate doubt and give unequal weight to skeptics.

An EPA spokesman said there are “no updates” when asked about the timing of the exercise.

One panel at the Heritage Foundation event yesterday could offer a prelude to the scientific arguments that would be pursued by the red team. Several skeptical scientists picked apart the general consensus of their peers, who say humans are warming the Earth at an unprecedented pace. The panelists claimed that the attention given to rising global temperatures is overwrought.

Craig Idso, who founded the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, said the world food supply will fall short of demand by 2050 unless more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere.

Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said researchers who could be selected for the red team have met a few times in recent weeks in different cities. He said more government research needs to be conducted on the natural causes of climate change. That could be done if congressional budget appropriators divert a portion of the research funding for human-caused climate change toward research on natural causes.

“There are chaotic variations internal to the climate system, and that is something that has been totally swept under the rug,” Spencer said. “The red team could look at all kinds of things, but if I’m part of the red team, that would probably be the top thing I would emphasize.”

Full story

Watch: Heritage Foundation: At the Crossroads IV: Energy & Climate Policy Summit

4) Green Lobbyists Are Scrambling To Save Their Subsidies From GOP Tax Reform
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 30 November 2017 

The GOP tax plan looks like it could pass out of the Senate, a prospect that has green energy companies scrambling to save their tax subsidies.

The Senate tax plan, which moved to a formal debate Wednesday, would make it harder for green energy companies to exchange their tax subsidies for financing. “Without tax equity financing, most of these projects don’t go forward, solar or wind,” an unnamed green energy lobbyist told Politico.

Wind energy lobbyists are working with senators to try and get the provision changed. American Wind Energy Association Peter Kelley said they want tax reform that “does not threaten the $85 billion in economic activity and the projected 50,000 new American jobs from wind farm development through 2020.”

News outlets often parrot reports claiming that wind and solar energy are outcompeting more conventional sources, like coal and natural gas. However, tax benefits are a major reason why banks finance wind and solar farms. So-called tax equity financing allow green energy companies to leverage tax benefits in exchange for financing.

Financiers then get cash from the government. Green energy companies often don’t make enough money to take advantage of tax credits, so they use them as leverage for financing.

These tax equity deals make up as much as 60 percent of a wind farm’s capital cost, and about half the cost of a solar project, Politico noted.

Wind and solar tax credits are quite generous. The wind production tax credit allows turbine owners to collect $23 per megawatt hour for 10 years. Solar panel owners can get a credit worth up to 30 percent of the project’s cost.

Without generous tax incentives, banks are less likely to finance green energy projects.

“It takes us out of the market,” a green energy financing source told Politico. “The best case scenario is it significantly reduces our involvement in the market, but it would be so difficult to plan in the near term at least, it would take us out. And we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of investment every year.”

The House version of the GOP tax plan also takes aim at green energy tax subsidies, reducing the production and investment credits for wind and solar projects.

Changes made to green energy production tax credits would save taxpayers $12.3 billion over 10 years, according to the bill’s cost estimate. Payments for green energy generation fall from 2.3 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour and it more narrowly defines when a project can qualify.

Full story

5) Joe Oliver: Ranting About Climate Isn’t Good Policy, And Isn’t Convincing Anyone
Financial Post, 29 November 2017

We need to tone down the rhetoric and have an honest discussion based on verifiable science and the financial implications of green policies

For the past two years, the federal Liberal government has incessantly proclaimed to Canada and the world its passionate commitment to fighting climate change. The reception has been mixed. Recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted climate be included in NAFTA and TPP agreements, even though there is virtually no chance of a substantive commitment.

Stridency and fervour in Canada and elsewhere have not moved the dial on public ambivalence about the need for action. We need to tone down the rhetoric and have an honest discussion based on verifiable science and the financial implications of green policies. Remarkably, that conversation has not occurred, even though, if alarmists are to be believed, we are facing an existential threat to humanity, or needlessly ravaging the global economy, if skeptics are right. Instead, the favoured communication approach relies on exaggeration, scaremongering, insults and intolerance of dissent.

Trudeau praised the Governor General for expressing incredulity that people still deny a human role in global warming. In fact, the skeptical position is that science has not established the extent of the anthropogenic contribution. Environmental icon David Suzuki went further. He would incarcerate politicians and corporate executives who are wilfully blind to his climate change nostrums.

California Governor Jerry Brown told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that the world needs a climate “brain washing.” A recent NBC News opinion piece argued there is a moral imperative to have fewer children because they contribute to carbon emissions, comparing childbirth to releasing a violent criminal from prison. Pace Barry Goldwater, extremism in the defence of the climate is considered no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of emission reduction is no virtue.

In the face of apocalyptic messages from government, media and the self-declared cognoscenti, a September Ontario Science Centre poll found that 47 per cent of Canadians think the science of global warming is unclear, up from 40 per cent last year. In America, while people feel climate change is a problem, most believe they will not be personally affected and, in any event, they are not prepared to pay to mitigate it. Nor would 61 per cent of Germans voluntarily fork over one euro cent to fund renewables. In the U.K., the Ipsos MORI poll shows a steadily declining concern about climate change since 2005, from 82 to 60 per cent. Meanwhile, global emissions are projected to increase two per cent this year. While governments may be talking the talk, they are not walking the walk. That may partially explain a contradiction at the heart of the warmist community.

No one can be more certain of the scientific veracity or compelling morality of their jeremiad of impending global disaster. Despite that religious-like conviction, or perhaps because of it, believers react with insecurity, hostility and derision to any suggestion that deviates ever so slightly from the orthodoxy of climate catastrophe. That is the antithesis of scientific inquiry and rational debate. Ironically, it makes less likely a consensus needed to get things accomplished.

The catastrophists’ justification is that since the problem is so urgent, they cannot afford to waste precious time debating what is “settled” science. However, inconvenient facts have seriously damaged their credibility and should have shattered their certainty. Although you will not see this much in the media, climate model projections have turned out to be exaggerated if not spectacularly wrong, the polar bear population is thriving, warming has gone on hiatus, and extreme events are not more frequent.

It’s also mostly unmentionable but true that greenhouse gas emission increases are very positive for agriculture and plant life. The bottom line is we simply do not know everything about climatology. Therefore, we should be modest about projections and highly cautious about inflicting multi-trillion-dollar costs on the global economy, which would harm billions of people, especially the poorest.

And even if the extravagant climate claims were true, we should still evaluate the specific policies designed to deal with the crisis. After all, with the stakes so high, there is a compelling need to get it right. But decision-makers are often determined to push ahead with costly initiatives, even if their impact on global temperature is predictably minuscule (see: the carbon tax and cap and trade). According to the International Energy Agency, Canada may forego up to $600 billion in capital investments by 2040, a terrible loss to employment and growth. Pain without gain is indefensible, even for a great cause.

The global-warming faith community needs to stop shouting from its echo chamber and absorb some uncomfortable facts. Maybe then more people will listen and buy into the need for sacrifice. Or, against all odds, the believers might adopt an approach that better reflects the needs of Canadians and the economic and scientific knowns and unknowns. Unfortunately, we are probably condemned to a dialogue of the deaf, until we definitively confront environmental tragedy. Or don’t.

Joe Oliver is the former minister of finance and minister of natural resources.

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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