Tuesday, July 24, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Carbon Tax May Bring Down Canadian PM Justin Trudeau








Gallup Poll: Americans No Longer Regard Global Warming As A Main Problem

In this newsletter:

1) Carbon Tax May Bring Down Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
National Post, 21 July 2018

2) Gallup Poll: Americans No Longer Regard Global Warming As A Main Problem
Breitbart, 22 July 2018


 

3) A Green Republican's Carbon Tax Would Hike Household Energy Bills by $688
Americans For Tax Reform, 21 July 2018
 
4) Britain's Pension Fund Association Rejects Climate Change Law For Investment Decisions
The Actuary, 20 July 2018

 

5) Are Britain's Feed-In Tariffs For Renewables Dead?
GWPF Energy, 18 July 2018

6) King Coal To Rule For 20 More Years, Says Australia's Energy Market Operator
The Australian, 18 July 2018

7) Told You So: UK Recycling System 'Open To Fraud And Error', National Watchdog Warns
The Sunday Telegraph, 22 July 2018

Full details:

1) Carbon Tax May Bring Down Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
National Post, 21 July 2018

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a problem: the only way his government can keep a promise is to make millions of voters angry just as the next federal election rolls around. It’s a pickle, but it’s one of his own creation.

The promise (threat?) was to impose a federal carbon tax next year on any province that did not develop a version of its own that met federally dictated benchmarks. The tax would begin at $10 per emitted tonne of carbon dioxide before rapidly increasing to $50 per tonne by 2022 — estimated to be equivalent to more than 11 cents per litre of gasoline. This is all, of course, in the name of meeting Canada’s international pledges to reduce our CO2 emissions.

The problem is that Prime Minister Trudeau now faces a much different political environment than he apparently took for granted. A year ago, nine of 10 provinces were on board with the Liberal plan (though in some cases this meant agreeing to implement provincial versions). Today (as anti-carbon-tax campaigner Jim Karahalios happily pointed out this week in the Financial Post) Saskatchewan, the original renegade, has been joined in opposing Trudeau’s carbon-tax plan by Ontario and Prince Edward Island, with Newfoundland and New Brunswick signalling they too might bail. Alberta’s NDP government is four-square behind the plan, of course, but it’s very likely be toppled by the United Conservative Party next year, in part over this very issue.

The federal Liberals certainly can push ahead with their threat to “backstop” unco-operative provinces, which is a polite word for imposing a federal tax against the popular will. But doing so during an election year cannot be an appealing prospect.

Their softening poll numbers suggest the election will be competitive and that the Liberals will need to be strong in Ontario. Does Trudeau really want to spend an election campaign telling Ontarians he’s going to force a tax on them over the sustained (and, no doubt, loud) objections of Premier Doug Ford? Does he want to risk his Atlantic Canadian stronghold by going to war with P.E.I., New Brunswick and/or Newfoundland? And if Alberta defenestrates it’s pro-carbon-tax government, does Trudeau suppose he’ll stand a chance even holding what little he has now in Alberta in a federal election shortly afterward? And most importantly: Does any of those bode well for federal-provincial co-operation or national unity?

Full post

2) Gallup Poll: Americans No Longer Regard Global Warming As A Main Problem
Breitbart, 22 July 2018

Americans came up with 36 answers to a Gallup poll asking the biggest problem currently facing the country, and no one answered “climate change,” with only two percent even mentioning the environment at all, Gallup revealed last week.

In a random poll of 1033 U.S. adults, immigration topped the list as the greatest problem faced by the United States at this moment, with 22 percent offering that response. While 17 percent responded that dissatisfaction with government was the biggest issue, others proposed race relations, national disunity, healthcare, and family decline.

Missing from Gallup’s list of causes garnering at least 3 percent of responses was the vague category of “Environment/Pollution,” which drew only 2 percent.












Gallup on most important problem facing U.S.

The new poll seems to signal a major disconnect between certain progressive leaders and the American people at large.

Full post


3) A Green Republican's Carbon Tax Would Hike Household Energy Bills by $688
Americans For Tax Reform, 21 July 2018

Rep. Carlos Curbelo will introduce an $800 billion net tax increase on Monday, a massive carbon tax on the American people. Curbelo will release the bill Monday at 9:00 a.m. during an event at the National Press Club hosted by Columbia University.

Household energy bills will go up as a direct result of the Curbelo carbon tax. That's according to the actual report accompanying the bill release. Yes, Curbelo will be on stage attempting to defend a carbon tax hike that raises energy bills, all because of him.

Let's go to the report:

Under the Curbelo proposal, the carbon tax increases wholesale electricity prices, and these increases flow through to retail rates.

The report also states that the price of gas will increase up to 11 cents per gallon.

So how much is this going to cost people?

The report states:

Per capita energy expenditures will increase by about $275 in 2020

Note the report gets cute by using per capita instead of per household.

There are 2.5 people per household, according to the Census Bureau.

$275 x 2.5 = $688

So: Thanks to the Curbelo carbon tax bill, your household energy costs would increase $688 in one year alone, in 2020.

Good luck explaining that one, congressman.

4) Britain's Pension Fund Association Rejects Climate Change Law For Investment Decisions
The Actuary, 20 July 2018

The UK’s pension fund trade body has argued that new regulations governing how trustees invest £1.5trn in assets should exclude explicit reference to climate change.



The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) said including climate change specifically in a new law could “confuse” trustees by unintentionally narrowing their focus.

This could cause them to disregard other environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations that may be more relevant to their portfolios, such as resource depletion or human rights.

This is despite the PLSA reiterating its belief that climate change poses a substantial risk to the business models of firms in almost every sector, threatening the stability of the financial system.

“It is important that pension schemes consider risks related to climate change as part of their investment strategies, however, this is clearly not the only ESG factor to consider,” the PLSA said.

“We believe that picking out any one factor as a specific example may lead trustees to assume that is the only, or most important, factor to consider, when others might be more relevant.”

This comes in response to a consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions into new sustainability regulations for workplace pension funds, which closed on 16 July.

The PLSA also rejected proposals that would see trustees prepare a statement outlining how they take account of scheme members’ views, saying they were “neither practical nor purposeful”.

It argued that members should not be expected to be investment experts, and that trustees should invest in the best interest of members even if it “runs counter to strongly-held beliefs”.

Lawyers at ClientEarth, which co-produced a climate risk report with the PLSA in 2017, said rowing back on the “crucial” government proposals would be “hugely irresponsible”.

Full story
 

5) Are Britain's Feed-In Tariffs For Renewables Dead?
GWPF Energy, 18 July 2018
Dr John Constable: GWPF Energy Editor

Feed-in Tariffs for renewable electricity have been a disaster wherever they have been tried, resulting in over-deployment ahead of the learning curve, and vast long-term cumulative subsidy liabilities. Germany and Spain are already desperately moving to extricate themselves. The United Kingdom has in the last few days confirmed the closure of its own scheme to new entrants early in 2019.

Coincidentally the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has called for the immediate termination of the various Small Scale Renewable Energy Schemes (SRES) applied at state level, and most importantly the transfer of legacy costs to general taxation at state government level, making those authorities electorally responsible for their own policy costs. There is a clear global tendency here, to which the various renewables industries are responding with a disingenuous call for “subsidy free” tariffs, which are in truth covert subsidies. Once bitten, rather badly, one would hope that governments will be more than twice shy.

On the 11thof July the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) published a major study of electricity pricing, Restoring Electricity Affordability and Australia’s Competitive Advantage. This robust title raises expectations, and the text does not disappoint, being remarkable for the clarity of its diagnosis and its candour in allocating blame:

“High prices and bills have placed enormous strain on household budgets and business viability. The current situation is unacceptable and unsustainable. The approach to policy, regulatory design and promotion of competition in this sector has not worked well for consumers.”

Prices are dangerously high, and policies are to blame. Doubtless that is so in Australia, but it could be said of other countries too, the United Kingdom amongst them, yet the relevant national regulatory and advisory authorities are muted in their criticism (Ofgem, the National Audit Office) or actively covering up the facts (the Committee on Climate Change).

Thankfully things are very different in Australia, and the remedies recommended by the ACCC are broad, covering improved competition not only in retail, a distracting obsession in the UK, but also and much more importantly in generation, where market coercions in favour of renewables have increased overall costs to consumers.

The ACCC’s study is clear about both the general trend of increasing costs to consumers and the role of policies in that increase. The general trend is described thus:

“Residential consumers have faced a real increase of 35 per cent in their bills and a price increase of around 56 per cent in real terms over the period from 2007–08 to 2017–18.”

It is particularly welcome that the ACCC has not only described billincreases but has also noted the crucially important priceincreases. A price increase of 56% over a decade is highly significant, and policies are a large part of this effect. The ACCC estimates that environmental policies are directly responsible for 15% of this price increase, with network costs, a considerable part of which seems likely to be related to renewables, accounting for about 38% of the price rise.

Price increases are of particular concern to those without sufficient capital to protect themselves by investing in subsidised photovoltaics. The ACCC comments:

“Solar customers are paying, on average, $538 per year less than non-solar customers, suggesting that affordability concerns are most acute for those customers who have not (and possibly cannot) install solar PV.”

The ACCC is therefore unsurprisingly recommending the prompt winding down and closure of the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme not only in order to assist in restoring the Australian economy’s competitive edge, but also on the grounds of social justice. [...]

Japan, the last to try this approach, and perhaps the most affected by the sectoral overheating that feed-in tariffs inevitably produce, must surely now take action. Under its first FiT scheme Japan approved nearly 90 GW (90,000 MW!) of solar PV capacity, and though the Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has suceeded in cancelling some 14.5 GW of these contracts, there is already approximately 50 GW of solar photovoltaic generation already installed, and nearly as much again, some 45 GW with contracts and awaiting construction under the new FiT scheme. This is a very powerful economy, but it is doubtful whether even such a Titan can withstand for long the staggering cumulative cost burden of this much non-market, non-dispatchable electricity. The problem is well understood by the Japanese government, but a solution has so far proved elusive. Prompt closure to new entrants and the transfer of legacy costs to taxation, as suggested by the ACCC, may be exactly what is required.

Clearly, Feed-in Tariffs and other renewables favouring market coercions are dying all over the world. The renewables industries have responded by claiming, falsely, that they are market ready, and lobbying for what they disingenuously refer to as “subsidy free” contracts entitling them only to the wholesale market price. Of course, such contracts would be anything but subsidy free. A unit of electricity from an uncontrollable source, solar or wind for example, has much less value than that from a controllable source, and would more often than not command only a small fraction of the wholesale price if offered in a liberal market. Sometimes it would have to be given or thrown away. A contract guaranteeing the wholesale price to low value electrical energy is still a very generous subsidy. Secondly, as should now be well known, renewable generators are not saddled with the very significant system costs that their presence entails, namely grid expansion and special operational management measures to guarantee security of supply. This avoided cost is also a subsidy. Apologists who point to projects, solar projects say, that hope to combine large battery schemes with renewable generation omit to note that these batteries are planning to bid for long term contracts under the Capacity Mechanism or perhaps for Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR). This will provide a reliable income stream that is readily monetised in the price obtained when the project is sold on, as it almost certainly will be within a few years.

In effect, having run out of road with Feed-in Tariffs proper, the renewables sector is now seeking to obtain other, rebadged, non-market, long-term de-risking contracts at the expense of already stretched consumers. This is a devious trick, and governments should reject it. If these technologies are market ready as is claimed, then they should be offered no favours whatsoever.

6) King Coal To Rule For 20 More Years, Says Australia's Energy Market Operator
The Australian, 18 July 2018

The nation’s independent energy market operator has called for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power plants to be operated for as long as possible to prevent a future price shock in the transition to renewables, claiming the ageing plants will still deliver the cheapest electricity for the next 20 years.

In a report commissioned by COAG into the energy and transmission requirements for the country, the Australian Energy Market Operator estimates the replacement cost of the generation capacity of the existing coal-fired network would be between $8 billion and $27bn by the mid-2030s.

It said extending the operation of the existing fleet of coal-fired generators for as long as the plants were economically viable would be “the least-cost option” for an orderly transition to renewables.

The report, while not advocating new coal generation, will have implications for the political battle between the government and energy giant AGL over the planned December 2022 closure of the Liddell power station in NSW, which the government argues could remain operational beyond that date.

It is the second independent report in a week to also back the Turnbull government’s national energy guarantee and a technology-neutral approach to addressing the energy supply and pricing crisis. But it contains an implicit warning that the system could not afford another premature coal-fired plant closure like Hazelwood in Victoria.

The AEMO report, to be released today by chief executive Audrey Zibelman, follows a report by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which recommended the complete overhaul of the national energy market and suggested government underwrite new investments in generation, as well as setting a benchmark price for electricity. The report follows a cooling of tensions within the Coalition party room over the government’s energy policy with a partial backdown last week by the Nationals on their push for a new coal-fired power plant.

Resources Minister and coal advocate Matt Canavan said they were not wedded to a new coal plant but coal-fired power still needed to be contained in the NEG.

Some pro-coal Liberal MPs, however, are likely to seize on the report’s findings as a vindication of their push within the party room to invest in clean-coal-fired power as part of the energy mix into the future.

Full post

7) Told You So: UK Recycling System 'Open To Fraud And Error', National Watchdog Warns
The Sunday Telegraph, 22 July 2018

Consumers' efforts to recycle plastic packaging may be going to waste as the UK's national recycling system is open to fraud and error, spending watchdogs have warned.

A study by the National Audit Office, which has special powers to demand information and data from companies, found that Britain's official recycling rate could be overstated because it wrongly assumes all packaging which ends up at recycling plants is recycled.

In reality around 10 per cent is contaminated and cannot be recycled, while an unknown quantity is shipped abroad to plants where there is a "high risk" that it will not be recycled...

Concerns have been mounting that businesses are overstating over how much plastic, paper and cardboard they recycle in wake of a ban on sending it to China. It is feared that an increasing proportion of waste set aside for recycling is now being thrown into the sea.

Full story

see also: Britain Dumps Recycled Plastic Waste Abroad, With Toxic Consequences

Asia bearing the brunt of European waste as recycling problems hit crisis point

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 www.thegwpf.com.

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