Sunday, December 10, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Britain Starts Dismantling Wind Farms After Successful Lake District Campaign

EU Member States Abandon Legally Binding Targets For Renewable Energy

In this newsletter:

1)  Britain Starts Dismantling Wind Farms After Successful Lake District Campaign
The Times, 7 December 2017

2) EU Member States Abandon Legally Binding Targets For Renewable Energy
EurActiv, 6 December 2017

3) Green Energy Investors Are The Big Losers From Trump’s Massive Tax Reforms
Financial Times, 8 December 2017
4) EPA Chief Says He May Launch Public Climate Debate in January
Voice Of America, 7 December 2017

5) Arizona Supreme Court Orders Release Of Climategate-Related Emails
E&E Legal, Press Release, 7 December 2017 

6) Terence Corcoran: Canadian Finds Polar Bears Are Doing Fine — And Gets Climate-Mauled
Financial Post, 7 December 2017

7) Sir Ian Byatt: The Economic Consequences Of UK Climate Change Policies
Global Warming Policy Forum, 7 December 2017 

Full details:

1)  Britain Starts Dismantling Wind Farms After Successful Lake District Campaign
The Times, 7 December 2017  

Ben Webster

A dozen 140ft wind turbines on the edge of the Lake District are due to be dismantled next summer after a decision which could result in many more being removed to restore views.

The wind farm on Kirkby Moor on the Furness peninsula in Cumbria would be the first large one to be taken down since they began appearing around Britain in 1991

The wind farm on Kirkby Moor on the Furness peninsula in Cumbria would be the first large one to be taken down since they began appearing around Britain in 1991.

South Lakeland district council refused an application by the wind farm operator to keep the turbines operating for another ten years until 2027.

Under the original planning permission, granted in 1992, the turbines have to be removed by August 26 next year.

The council’s decision follows a campaign by the Friends of the Lake District (FLD) and the Open Spaces Society (OSS), which argued that the turbines blighted views from within the Lake District National Park.

The distance to the park boundary from the nearest turbine is 800 metres. Laura Fiske, FLD planning officer, said the decision set a precedent which would make it easier to resist applications from other wind farm operators to extend the life of visually intrusive turbines for which planning permission will soon expire.

She said: “This decision is a victory for the local communities who live in the shadow of this development imposed on them by the government in the early 1990s. This decision reflects the tireless effort they have put in to make their voices heard.”

Kate Ashbrook, OSS general secretary, said: “We objected because the turbines are a severe intrusion in a wild landscape, highly visible from many directions and in particular from the Lake District national park.

“Furthermore, the turbines occupy a significant area of registered common land, where the public has the right to walk and commoners have the right to graze stock. The moor is also criss-crossed with public rights of way.

“Now we need to make sure that every trace of the turbines is removed when the current consent expires next year, so that this magnificent common is restored to its former glory.”

Full story

2) EU Member States Abandon Legally Binding Targets For Renewable Energy
EurActiv, 6 December 2017

For the past ten years, EU member states have been obliged to meet national targets for renewable energy. From 2020, they will be free of these constraints.

The 2020 targets were adopted in 2008, when EU lawmakers were in a very different mood. It was before the economic crisis, and the EU’s crisis of confidence.

By 2014, in the second commission of President José Manuel Barroso, the zeitgeist had changed. Under Secretary-General Catherine Day, a new focus was placed on being less intrusive, and allowing more flexibility for national governments. And so new post-2020 targets were proposed that were far less proscriptive.

For renewables, the Commission has proposed a 27% share target for 2030, up from 20% in 2020. But it will only be binding at EU level. Individual EU countries will not be punished if they fail to meet the goal, because there are no binding national targets in the proposal.

Environmental groups have pointed out that without the national targets, there is no legally enforceable way to ensure the EU meets its goal. The Commission can take an EU member state to court if it misses a target. But it cannot take itself to court.

To allay concerns about the less-proscriptive approach, the Commission introduced the concept of ‘energy governance’ – a framework that will set milestones and rules that are meant to keep everyone on track and make the various pieces of energy legislation work together. It is an umbrella legislation, setting the rules for a bundle of laws.

This energy governance regulation, put forward by the Juncker commission last year, will be voted on by MEPs on Thursday, and by member states on 18 December. It is one part of a broader Clean Energy Package.

Negotiations for the third version of the Clean Energy for all Europeans package have officially begun.

Full story

3) Green Energy Investors Are The Big Losers From Trump’s Massive Tax Reforms
Financial Times, 8 December 2017
John Dizard

If you are a global company that has made leveraged investments in US renewable energy production in recent years, those assets now look like a bird that has run into a wind turbine. 

Someone had to lose from the massive tax reform law that will almost certainly pass Congress, and it turns out that you will be hit suddenly by several of its rotating blades.

Much bandwidth has been taken up describing prospective trillions in deficit increases and the happiness of the already-rich beneficiaries of the express-tracked tax bills. Less consideration has been given to the gobsmacked losers, most of whom conformed to US public policy in recent years, even decades.

For as long as most investors can remember, leveraged investments have been treated well in the US. Interest charges have been deductible, renewable energy favoured and neither Democrats nor Republicans and Congresses have imposed retroactive changes in tax law. Those days are over.

The notionally tight budgetary arithmetic has required that winners, such as, for example, the heirs of commercial real estate fortunes, must be offset by increased taxation of others. In deciding who will pay for the Trump children’s future, Congressional leadership decided global leveraged investors had to get BEAT.

BEAT is the tax-reform acronym for Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax, which is a way for US revenue collectors to reduce the ability of large multinational companies to use cross-border payments to shift income to their affiliates in lower-taxed countries. After all, how many foreigners will vote in the next election?

If you or your corporations are BEATen, the taxman will calculate the “base” income on which you are taxed by adding back in any deductible cross-border payments, including interest on inter-company loans from affiliates. The least-favoured corporate taxpayers are those whose parent companies lend money to American operations. There are overlapping provisions to prevent the use of cross-border interest and royalty income to shift income to lower-taxed countries.

Do not expect rich Americans or capital-intensive American companies to spend their political influence in your defence. They are for the most part quite happy with their new low base tax rates, and their ability to shelter new capital spending with immediate write-offs.

Full story

4) EPA Chief Says He May Launch Public Climate Debate in January
Voice Of America, 7 December 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could launch a public debate about climate change as soon as January, administrator Scott Pruitt said on Thursday, as the agency continued to unwind Obama-era initiatives to fight global warming.

The agency had been working over the last several months to set up a “red team, blue team” debate on the science relating to manmade climate change to give the public a “real-time review of questions and answers around this issue of CO2,” Pruitt said.

“We may be able to get there as early as January next year,” he told the House energy and commerce committee during his first Congressional hearing since taking office.

Pruitt, others cast doubt

Pruitt and other senior members of President Donald Trump’s administration have repeatedly cast doubt on the scientific consensus that carbon dioxide (CO2) from human consumption of fossil fuels is driving climate change, triggering rising sea levels, droughts, and more frequent, powerful storms.

In June, Trump pulled the United States out of a global pact to fight climate change, saying the deal was too costly to the U.S. economy and would hurt the oil drilling and coal mining industries.

Pruitt is reportedly vetting a list of scientists that have expressed doubts over climate change to take part in the upcoming debates, including some that have been recommended by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation.

Full story

5) Arizona Supreme Court Orders Release Of Climategate-Related Emails
E&E Legal, Press Release, 7 December 2017 

Washington, D.C. – Late last week Arizona Superior Court Justice James Marner granted the Energy & Environment Legal Institute’s (E&E Legal’s) motion requesting release of ‘Climategate’ related emails withheld for years by the University of Arizona (UofA).

The Court’s ruling followed on the Arizona Board of Regents’ (AzBOR’s) unsuccessful appeal of a similar ruling by the same Court on June 14, 2016 ordering release of the emails in question.

In his ruling, Judge Marner stated, “The comment in the June 14, 2016 ruling regarding the creation of an academic privilege through legislation seems to have caused much confusion to the point that the Court of Appeals concluded this Court somehow remained ignorant of an argument raised in Defendant AzBOR’s answer and amended answer, subsequent pleadings and in at least two amicus briefs. With this ruling, the Court hopes to reassure the Court of Appeals and the parties that all arguments made at the trial level were considered and all relevant law applied.”

The original public records request and the subsequent suit by E&E Legal made necessary by the U of A’s refusal to release the records relating to what the London Telegraph’s Christopher Booker called “the worst scientific scandal of our generation.”

Specifically, the documents are emails relating to the notorious global warming “Hockey Stick”, and the group that made it famous, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Full post

6) Terence Corcoran: Canadian Finds Polar Bears Are Doing Fine — And Gets Climate-Mauled
Financial Post, 7 December 2017

The most dangerous threat known to man and bear alike is lurking among the icebergs: Junk science

A polar bear walks over sea ice floating in the Victoria Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

We take you now deep out onto the frozen floes of Arctic science and polar bears, where the most dangerous threat known to man and bear alike is lurking among the icebergs: Junk science.

As a starting point, we look to a story published December 1st on Vice News’s tech site, Motherboard, that included an interview with U.S. polar bear scientist/activist Stephen Amstrup. In the article, Amstrup accuses Canadian polar bear scientist Susan Crockford of filling her bear research with extreme allegations. Climate activists have targeted Crockford, a zoologist and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria, because her research inconveniently finds that, despite their claims, polar bears are not at risk. “You don’t have to read far in her material to see that it is full of unsubstantiated statements and personal attacks on scientists, using names like eco-terrorists, fraudsters, green terrorists and scammers,” Amstrup claimed.

A few days later, Motherboard published a slithery retraction. After Crockford complained that Amstrup’s comments about her were “a lie” and that she has never used such terms, Amstrup “clarified” his comments. He said that when he accused Crockford of calling scientists fraudsters, he really meant to accuse “climate deniers as a whole, rather than Crockford in particular.”

Ah, well, mix-ups like wrongly accusing a scientist of slanderous language are the kind of things that can happen given the context. It’s all part of an escalating epic of polar bear junk science. It begins with a paper in which Amstrup, who heads the activist group Polar Bears International, and other climate scientists — including famed temperature hockey-stick maker Michael Mann — produce what must be one of the most pathetic scientific smear jobs in the already sorry history of climate change science smear campaigns.

Also along for the hatchet job was Stephan Lewandowsky, an Australian psychologist who asserts that people who have doubts about climate policy are wacky conspiracy theorists who would also tend to believe the 1969 moon landing was faked.

In their new paper published November 29th, in the journal BioScience, Mann, Lewandowsky, Amstrup and a dozen other authors, headed by Jeffrey Harvey of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, attack Crockford as an unqualified climate “denier.”

Crockford is fighting back. On Wednesday, she demanded that BioScience retract the paper. She describes it, in part, as “simply malicious, and an egregious breach of professional ethics” and filled with “untrue statements.”

The sole personal target of the BioScience paper is Crockford. Crockford has written books on polar bears for children and adults (such as Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change) and runs Polar Bear Science, a blog site that for years has drilled holes in many of the claims and predictions of mainstream climate scientists. One recent post showed that polar bear populations around Churchill, Man. were in good shape, amid lots of sea ice. Another recent item said Amstrup’s claims of sea-ice loss were inaccurate.

Climate scientists in the Amstrup/Mann/Lewandowsky camp have apparently had enough of Crockford’s steady debunking of many of their polar bear alarmist claims and have set out to destroy her and her reputation via what can only be called a vicious personal attack.

Full post

See also: An Interview With Dr. Susan Crockford Over The Attacks On Her Polar Bear Research
Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That, 7 December 2017
7) Green Tyranny: Argentinia Geoscientist Faces Criminal Charges Over Glacier Survey
Nature, 6 December 2017

A prominent geoscientist in Argentina is facing criminal charges over accusations that he manipulated a government survey of Patagonian glaciers at the behest of mining interests.  The charges against Villalba stem from a lawsuit by environmental activists.

On 27 November, a federal judge in Buenos Aires charged Ricardo Villalba, the former director of the Argentinian Institute of Snow, Ice and Environmental Research (IANIGLA) in Mendoza, with abusing his authority and violating his duty as a civil servant. Villalba appealed against his indictment on 4 December — but if he loses, the case will go to trial. In the meantime, the court has ordered Villalba to stay in the country, and has authorized the seizure of his assets up to 5 million pesos (US$289,000).

The case hinges on the definition of a glacier as viewed from space. When Villalba began the government survey in 2011, he determined that it would include glaciers of 1 hectare or larger — following international norms for satellite analyses. But environmental activists in Argentina’s San Juan province argue that he excluded some smaller glaciers to prevent tougher regulation of adjacent mines operated by the Barrick Gold Corporation of Toronto, Canada. Villalba’s scientific colleagues in Argentina and abroad say the charges against him are baseless and political.

International support

“It’s surreal and kind of ridiculous,” says Bruce Raup, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, who co-authored a letter of support for Villalba. Raup maintains an international glacier database that includes information from the ongoing Argentinian survey. He says that many scientists set a minimum glacier size of 1 hectare to reduce the risk of incorrectly counting ephemeral snow and ice.

Ricardo Villalba has been accused of biasing the results of an Argentinian glacier survey.Credit: Alberto Ripalta
Villalba rejects the idea that he or his colleagues at IANIGLA failed to carry out their duties properly. “There is no other institution in Argentina that has done more for the knowledge, care and protection of glaciers than IANIGLA,” he says. The allegation that the glacier surveys were designed to promote mining interests “is totally wrong”, he says, and a blow to science in Argentina generally.

Fellow scientists have rushed to his defence. Villalba’s co-workers at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Mendoz protested on his behalf as he entered his appeal on 4 December. And scientists in other countries who have worked with Villalba are collecting signatures on a letter defending him and his glacier survey. Many of these researchers see parallels between Villalba’s case and that of six seismologists who were found guilty of manslaughter for misleading the public about the dangers of an earthquake, although their convictions were later overturned.

The charges against Villalba stem from a lawsuit by environmental activists in San José de Jáchal, a community in the northwestern part of the country. They argue that the glacier survey conducted by Villalba and his colleagues at IANIGLA did not comply with a law enacted in 2010 that was designed to give extra protections to Argentina’s glaciers, which provide the bulk of the country’s water. The law also directed the government to conduct a survey of Argentina’s land ice — the work that Villalba, who had advocated for the law’s passage, later coordinated.

7) Sir Ian Byatt: The Economic Consequences Of Uk Climate Change Policies
Global Warming Policy Forum, 7 December 2017 

Sir Ian Byatt, British economist, former Government advisor and a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council, is presenting a paper yesterday at a climate conference organised by the L’association des Climato-Réalistes in Paris.

Abstract: The climate change policy of successive British governments are damaging the UK economy.

The UK is unique in having ambitions (80% by 2050) targets for reducing emission of CO2 embedded in a Climate Change Act, and monitored by a Parliamentary committee.

Climate change policy could reduce average individual household income by more than £10,000 over a period from 2014 to 2030, or more if targets for electric cars are also to be met.

Methods used to reduce CO2 emissions have destroyed the market for electrical power generation opened up by privatisation, which had earlier reduced electricity prices to customers.

The UK is mired in the policies of the environmental NGOs.  We need a wider analysis, taking proper account of the economic predicaments of the West.

Economic Consequences of Climate Change Policies

UK Economy mired in Green Aspirations.

I am delighted to be here, in this distinguished company.  I will talk about the UK; its climate policy implications and costs; our experience on electricity prices; why we got there; and how we might begin to get out.

Where are we in the UK?

We are trapped in a mess of our own making, involving harmful intervention in our economic and political life. The Establishment has painted itself into a corner with unrealistic and expensive commitments.  In the words of the Prince of Wales in the 1920s, to a policy of “something needs to be done”, in this case to save the planet.

Successive British governments embrace the official policy consensus.  Pressure groups, the environmental NGOs, and the science lobby, including the Royal Society (nullius in verba?) have persuaded the establishment, including the current Prince of Wales, that the UK should be an  international example of virtuous behaviour.

The bien pensant liberals have swallowed enough of this for the enlightened scepticism advocated by David Hume to be widely labelled “denial” – much as it was labelled atheism in his lifetime.

We are fortunate, however, in having the work of Rupert Darwall, David Henderson, Nigel Lawson, Peter Lilley, Benny Peiser and Matt Ridley, attempting to set the record straight. I bring you their greetings.

The UK is unique in setting targets for reduction in CO2 emissions in legislation, with government claims to be on target to meet them.

Parliament, with cross-party support, passed a Climate Change Act in 2008 stipulating a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. This was increased to 80% during the passage of the Bill.  An independent Parliamentary Committee was established to recommend five-yearly carbon budgets designed to achieve these objectives; this committee has recommended a reduction of 57% in CO2 emissions by 2030.

The reduction, so far of about 35%, has come at a high price. Like the Soviet Union, we are now governed by a succession of five-year power generation plans for the transportation, industrial and household sectors.

The cost of meeting these targets, in the form of levies, taxes and subsidies, has been estimated by Peter Lilley, one of the handful of MPs who voted against the Bill.  He calculates a cumulative cost of over £10,000 per household between 2014 and 2030.

One encouraging sign, however, is that the government has ruled out any new levies until 2025, subject to some fine print.  Meanwhile the cost of existing ones continues to rise.

These costs, estimated before the shale revolution, and excluding the costs of the EU renewable energy directive,  would bear particularly heavily on vulnerable companies and poorer households, while benefitting landowners who rent out their land to suppliers of renewable energy.

Policies are also highly interventionist. Ministers have killed the competitive wholesale market in electricity supply, which, following privatisation, had reduced electricity prices.  The choice of electric power generation is now made by ministers not the market; the additional costs being loaded on to customers via higher prices.

More recently, government Ministers have begun setting targets involving the phasing out of CO2 emitting road transport.  This would involve a switch towards electric cars, requiring substantial increases in electric power generation and transmission capacity.  It would increase the cost of transportation and, depending on the scale of investment in renewables, further increase the cost of electricity.

The UK is ambivalent about fracking.  There is strong opposition from environmental interests.  Our government finds it too difficult politically to clear the local planning hurdles.

Finally, I simply note the prevalence of over-presumption, bias, and repressive conformism.  Questioning has become taboo.

Full paper

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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