Sunday, July 22, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Campaigners Suffer Multiple Defeats








U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution

In this newsletter:

1) Climate Campaigners Lose High Court Battle Over CO2 Target
Belfast Telegraph, 20 July 2018
 
2) Climate Lawfare Suffers Another Defeat 
Energy In Depth, 19 July 2018


 
3) U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution In Landslide
San Francisco Chronicle, 19 July 2018
 
4) U.S. Senate To Consider Bill Boosting LNG Exports To Europe, Taking Aim At Russian Gas 
San Francisco Chronicle, 18 July 2018

5) Tony Abbott Is Winning The Climate Battle Down Under
The Australian, 17 July 2018

6) The Lights Go Out For Solar Hype
Bloomberg, 19 July 2018
 
7) And Finally: The Amazing Arctic Ice Hockey Stick
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 18 July 2018


Full details:

1) Climate Campaigners Lose High Court Battle Over CO2 Target
Belfast Telegraph, 20 July 2018


Environmental campaigners have lost their High Court challenge against the Government over its policy for tackling climate change.


Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley addresses environmental campaigners ahead of Plan B Earth’s High Court challenge (Sian Harrison/PA)

Charity Plan B Earth brought legal action against the Government’s stance on the 2050 carbon target, set under the Climate Change Act 2008.

The charity and 11 UK citizens aged nine to 79 – including publisher Dame Carmen Callil – wanted to bring a judicial review against Business Secretary Greg Clark over the policy.

But Mr Justice Supperstone rejected Plan B Earth’s case on Friday, saying it was “unarguable”.

Lawyers for the charity previously argued the Government should have, in light of the current scientific consensus, gone further than its original target of reducing carbon levels by 2050 to 80% of those present in 1990.

They said the decision not to amend the 2050 target put the UK in breach of its international obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and was influenced by the Government’s belief that a “more ambitious target was not feasible”.

At a hearing on July 4, Jonathan Crow QC told the court: “The Secretary of State’s belief that he needs to have regard to what is feasible, rather than what is necessary, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the scheme of the 2008 Act and must be quashed.

“All of the individual claimants are deeply concerned about climate change.”

The barrister argued the Secretary of State’s “continuing refusal” to amend the 2050 target means the UK is playing “Russian roulette with two bullets, instead of one”.

But, refusing permission for a full hearing, Mr Justice Supperstone said Plan B Earth’s arguments were based on an “incorrect interpretation” of the Paris Agreement.

He said: “In my view the Secretary of State was plainly entitled … to refuse to change the 2050 target at the present time.

“I do not consider it arguable that the Secretary of State’s refusal to amend the 2050 target is an unlawful exercise of his discretion.”

Full story
2) Climate Lawfare Suffers Another Defeat 
Energy In Depth, 19 July 2018


Today a U.S. District Judge threw out New York City’s lawsuit against five major energy companies alleging damages relating to climate change.

Judge John Keenan wrote in his opinion that, “Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government,” not the judiciary, according to Bloomberg.

This major blow marks the third climate case to be thrown out—litigation in San Francisco and Oakland was dismissed by a federal judge last month on similar grounds. Both of these cases were dismissed by U.S. District Court judges after the suits were ordered to be heard in federal court rather than state court, where they were initially filed.

Given these recent developments, it’s safe to say that the nationwide climate litigation campaign is not going exactly as planned.  But while this isn’t the outcome activists are seeking, it’s possible that it’s still the outcome they expected.

Remember, the campaign itself can be traced back to a 2012 meeting among climate activists and lawyers in La Jolla, Calif., where a plan to stigmatize energy companies was devised. During the meeting, participants discussed ways to replicate the broad-based litigation brought against tobacco companies in the 1990s and apply it to fossil fuel companies. But during the meeting, Dan Yankelovich, co-founder of Public Agenda and expert in public opinion research, expressed reservations about depending on a legal strategy to change climate change policy:

“I am concerned about so much emphasis on legal strategies. The point of departure is a confused, conflicted, inattentive public. Are legal strategies the most effective strategies? I believe they are important after the public agrees how to feel about an issue. Then you can sew it up legally. Legal strategies themselves are a double-edged sword. The more adversarial the discourse, the more minds are going to be closed.”

The recent case dismissals call into question the future of the other pending lawsuits.  As Amy Harder of Axios recently pointed out, three additional pending lawsuits, filed in Washington State, Colorado and Rhode Island, have recently been punted from state to federal court—following the same track as the New York City and San Francisco and Oakland cases.

To the casual observer, the question of which court will hear which case may seem like an uninteresting procedural development. But in reality, this move has wide-reaching implications for the broader legal campaign against the fossil fuel industry, as we are seeing today.

So why is the court venue important?

As a refresher, a mix of several cities, counties and states—all but one of which are located on the coasts –are suing a variety of energy companies for damages related to climate change. The issue with these lawsuits (other than the fact that their legal logic is dubious at best), is that the language incorporated in each complaint was crafted under the impression that these cases would be heard in state court.

Full story
3) U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution In Landslide
San Francisco Chronicle, 19 July 2018


WASHINGTON – House Republicans easily passed a resolution Thursday declaring that a national tax on carbon dioxide emissions would be “detrimental” to the U.S. economy.

More than 220 Republicans and seven Democrats voted for the non-binding resolution, which had drawn support from a wave of conservative groups including the Koch brothers-back American Legislative Exchange Council and Americans for Prosperity.

“We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” those groups wrote in a letter to Congress Tuesday.

A carbon tax, designed to reduce carbon emissions in a bid to slow climate change, has been gaining growing support in some Republican circles, with former secretary of state James Baker, who served in the George H.W. Bush administration, meeting with White House officials last year in support of the concept.

Of the 180 votes against the resolution, six were Republican.

Full story
 

4) U.S. Senate To Consider Bill Boosting LNG Exports To Europe, Taking Aim At Russian Gas 
San Francisco Chronicle, 18 July 2018


WASHINGTON – Two days after President Donald Trump’s controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, some Senate Republicans are looking to hit Russia where it hurts – it’s energy sector.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., introduced legislation Wednesday calling for the Department of Energy to speed up approval of LNG exports to Europe, where Russia has long had a strangle hold on natural gas supplies. Likewise, the bill would authorize U.S. sanctions on Russian energy projects, including the planned Nordstream 2 pipeline, which would run across the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

“It is in the national security interests of our country to help our allies reduce their dependence on Russian energy,” Barrasso said on the senate floor. “”Where those countries don’t see it for themselves, we need to show them how important it is for their own security.”

With Republicans anxious to prove their anti-Russian bonafides, Congress is expected to consider in the weeks ahead numerous pieces of legislation designed to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

That follows a summit in Helsinki Monday in which Trump, standing alongside Putin, said the Russian president had made a “strong and powerful” case that his country had not interfered in the election. He also questioned unanimous consensus among U.S. intelligence officials that Russia had in fact interfered – a statement the president attempted to walk back Tuesday.

Under the legislation, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the former Texas senator, would be directed to encourage members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to work with the United States to “achieve energy security for its members and partners in Europe and Eurasia.”

Full story


5) Tony Abbott Is Winning The Climate Battle Down Under
The Australian, 17 July 2018


Tony Abbott recently claimed it was about time Australia pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Support for Mr Abbott’s position is growing with a three-point rise to 48 per cent of voters claiming to be in favour of withdrawal if it led to lower power prices.

Malcolm Turnbull is winning over voters with his claims the government will force down power prices, with a special Newspoll showing the Coalition ahead of Labor as the most trusted party to deliver lower priced and more reliable power.

However, support for Australia to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement is also hardening as the electorate becomes increasingly concerned about energy costs, with almost two thirds ranking it ahead of emissions reduction as a priority for government.

The poll on energy prices and climate change, conducted for The Australian between July 12 and 15, shows a majority of voters backed the government over Labor on managing energy.

The poll, showing the Coalition leading 40 per cent to 34 per cent, marks an eight-point turnaround in voter sentiment since May when a shock Newspoll showed more people believed Labor would be better at managing Australia’s energy supply and power prices than the Coalition.

The May poll was used in a Coalition party room stoush to run down the government’s national energy guarantee and label it electoral poison because of the perception it was pro-renewable. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has since argued that the government’s efforts had forced wholesale power prices down by 25 per cent over the past year with retail prices also starting to show downward movement. The latest poll shows Labor, Greens and One Nation voters being won over to the government’s argument rather than sceptical Coalition voters.

Labor voters’ support for the government rose two points to 11 per cent while support for Mr Shorten fell from 73 per cent to 69 per cent. Among Greens voters there was a five-point rise to 20 per cent in backing for Mr Turnbull over the issue.

The government’s ability to win over One Nation voters has been significant, with a lift of 12 points to 42 per cent in support for the Coalition’s efforts, compared to 23 per cent for Labor.

Tony Abbott recently upped the ante in his rhetoric against Mr Turnbull’s energy policy stance, claiming it was about time Australia followed Donald Trump’s lead and pulled out of the Paris Agreement on climate change targets, which he had signed up to as prime minister. Support for Mr Abbott’s position has grown since October last year with a three-point rise to 48 per cent of voters claiming to be in favour of withdrawal if it led to lower power prices.

Surprisingly a quarter of Greens voters and 37 per cent of Labor voters believed that cheaper power prices were more important than the climate change agreement to reduce emissions and were in favour of withdrawing.

Full story
 

6) The Lights Go Out For Solar Hype
Bloomberg, 19 July 2018


Anyone following clean energy knew this could be a tough year for solar. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. just put a grim number on how bad.

The pace of global installations will contract by 24 percent in 2018, Goldman analysts led by Brian Lee said in a research note late Wednesday. That’s far more dire than the 3 percent decline forecast by Bloomberg NEF in the bleakest of three scenarios outlined in a report earlier this month. Credit Suisse Group AG is forecasting a 17 percent contraction.

The anticipated slowdown would mark the first time the solar market has shrunk. It comes after China announced in late May it was curbing utility-scale development in the world’s biggest market, pulling the plug on about 20 gigawatts of projects. That will reduce global installations to 75 gigawatts, down from 99 gigawatts in 2017, Lee said in an email.

“Lowering our coverage view to cautious, we believe oversupply is set to continue in the near-to-medium term as demand from the largest solar markets remains tepid,” Lee wrote in the research note.

JinkoSolar Holding Co., the world’s largest panel maker, fell as much as 3.2 percent, the most intraday in a week. The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Large Solar index declined as much as 2.1 percent.

Full story
 

7) And Finally: The Amazing Arctic Ice Hockey Stick
Ron Clutz, Science Matters, 18 July 2018


No one knows how long this divergence of surplus ice will persist, but for now 2018 Arctic ice extent resembles a hockey stick.  Presently the ice is 525.000 km^2 above 11 year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and  ~1M km^2 greater than 2007.



More detailed report from July 14 below.

In June 2018, Arctic ice extent held up against previous years despite the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk being ice-free.  The Arctic core is showing little change, perhaps due to increased thickness (volume) as reported by DMI.

The image above shows ice extents on day 195 (July 14) for years 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2018. Note this year ice is strong on both Russian and N. American sides.  Beaufort Sea and Canadian Archipelago are solid. E. Siberian and Chukchi Seas are also solid, despite early melting in Bering Sea.  Hudson and Baffin bays still have considerable ice compared to other years.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in July compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.Note that 2018 started July well above the 11 year average and other recent years.  As of day 195 (yesterday) ice extent is still greater than average and the years 2007 and 2017.  SII 2018 is tracking well below MASIE this month, a gap of 500k km2 at this point.

Full post


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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for engaging in the debate!

Because this is a public forum, we will only publish comments that are respectful and do NOT contain links to other sites. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note - if you use the new REPLY button for comments, please start your comments AFTER the code. Also, the Blogger comment limit is 4,096 characters, so to post something longer, you may wish to use Part 1, Part 2 etc.