Saturday, September 22, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: One-Third Of US Households Struggle To Pay Energy Bills








Ontario Government Moves To Scrap Green Energy Act

In this newsletter:

1) One-Third Of US Households Struggle To Pay Energy Bills
Associated Press, 20 September 2018
 
2) One In Three U.S. Households Faces A Challenge In Meeting Energy Needs
U.S. Energy Information Administration, 19 September 2018


 
3) Congrats To Renewable Energy – One Third Of US Households Struggle With Energy Bills
Tim Worstall, Continental Telegraph, 20 September 2018
 
4) Ontario Government Moves To Scrap Green Energy Act
The Canadian Press, 20 September 2018
 
5) At Last: Businesses Losing Interest In Climate Impact Reporting
Watts Up With That? 21 September 2018
 
6) China Carbon Emissions Up 3% On Higher Power Demand
Economic Times of India, 21 September 2018
 
7) China To Speed Up Ending Subsidies For Renewable Energy 
Reuters, 17 September 2018
 
8) Scientific Mega-Drama Over An (Alleged) Mega-Drought
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 20 September 2018 


Full details:

1) One-Third Of US Households Struggle To Pay Energy Bills
Associated Press, 20 September 2018


NEW YORK (AP) - One in five U.S. households went without food, medicine or other necessities to pay their electricity or gas bills.

The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday nearly a third of households had trouble paying their energy bills. The group says the problem is mainly impacting racial minorities and low-income households with children.

At the same time that people were reporting these problems, overall energy-related spending was at its lowest point in more than a decade.

Tracey Capers of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation says it's not surprising because communities of color face the highest burdens. Her organization works in low-income communities to weatherize homes and help reduce electricity bills.

Half of the people reporting problems paying electric bills identified as Black or African American and more than 30 percent were Latino.
 

2) One In Three U.S. Households Faces A Challenge In Meeting Energy Needs
U.S. Energy Information Administration, 19 September 2018


Nearly one-third of U.S. households (31%) reported facing a challenge in paying energy bills or sustaining adequate heating and cooling in their homes in 2015.











According to the most recent results from EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), about one in five households reported reducing or forgoing necessities such as food and medicine to pay an energy bill, and 14% reported receiving a disconnection notice for energy service.

Households may also use less energy than they would prefer; 11% of households surveyed reported keeping their home at an unhealthy or unsafe temperature.

The 2015 RECS questionnaire captured both the occurrence of household energy insecurity and the severity of household energy insecurity in 2015, measured by the frequency of energy insecure events lasting anywhere from a few weeks to most of the year.

Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month. Of the 17 million households who reported receiving a disconnection notice, 2 million reported that they received a notice nearly every month.

Full report
 

3) Congrats To Renewable Energy – One Third Of US Households Struggle With Energy Bills
Tim Worstall, Continental Telegraph, 20 September 2018


The US Energy Department has just released a report detailing how some one third of US households struggle to pay their energy bills. This isn’t as much of a surprise as we might think given that energy policy these past couple of decades has been to make energy more expensive. Without the costs of renewables being thrown onto household bills how many would be so struggling?

The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday nearly a third of households had trouble paying their energy bills. The group says the problem is mainly impacting racial minorities and low-income households with children.

Well, yes, poorer people have more problems affording expensive things, this is how it goes.

At the same time, overall energy-related spending was at its lowest point in more than a decade due to lower fuel and natural gas prices, said the energy administration, a division of the federal Department of Energy.

Ah, no, that’s not quite true. For overall includes industrial uses and they’re not being burdened with those renewables costs in quite the same manner. It’s domestic consumers bearing the brunt.

About one in five households had to reduce or forego food, medicine and other necessities to pay an energy bill, according to the report. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.

However, snark about the costs of going green is all very enjoyable but not entirely the point. For what is really being said is that poor people have limited budgets.

Full post
 

4) Ontario Government Moves To Scrap Green Energy Act
The Canadian Press, 20 September 2018


TORONTO — The Ontario government has introduced legislation to scrap the Green Energy Act, which aimed to bolster the province’s renewable energy industry.

Premier Doug Ford promised to repeal the act during the spring election campaign.

The law was introduced by the previous Liberal government in 2009 under former premier Dalton McGuinty in a bid to grow the province’s solar and wind energy supply.

Critics of the Green Energy Act have said it resulted in an increase in electricity costs and saw the province overpay for power it did not need.

Full story
 

5) At Last: Businesses Losing Interest In Climate Impact Reporting
Watts Up With That? 21 September 2018


The Australian corporate regulator has warned of a substantial decline in the number of businesses including climate impact statements in their company reports.

‘Worrying’: Companies’ reporting of climate risks goes ‘backwards’

By Ruth Williams
20 September 2018 — 4:11pm

The number of companies providing information about climate change and its risks in their annual reports has fallen dramatically since 2011, and information that is provided is often “fragmented” and of limited use to investors, the corporate regulator has found.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) examined the 2017 annual reports of 60 companies in the ASX300, of which just 17 per cent disclosed climate change as a “material risk”. Outside the top 200 companies, climate risk disclosure was “very limited”.

ASIC then examined 15,000 ASX-listed company annual reports dating back six years and found that the proportion containing climate risk and climate-change-related content had dropped from 22 per cent in 2011 to 14 per cent – probably due to the existence and then repeal of the Gillard-era emissions trading scheme legislation.…


Read more: https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/worrying-companies-reporting-of-climate-risks-goes-backwards-20180920-p504yt.html

I suspect part of the problem might be the difficulty of quantifying the impact of climate change, based on seriously poor quality climate predictions.

Full post
 

6) China Carbon Emissions Up 3% In H1 On Higher Power Demand
Economic Times of India, 21 September 2018


SHANGHAI: China's emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide rose 3 per cent year on year in the first half of 2018, driven by "accelerating"  coal consumption, environmental group Greenpeace said in a study based on official energy and industry data.

Coal demand increased by 3 per cent in the first half of 2018, with renewable energy sources unable to keep up with the increases in power demand over the period, Greenpeace said, adding that coal consumption was also driven by record steel output over the period.

Full story 

See also: Head of China’s energy agency held over corruption claims
 

7) China To Speed Up Ending Subsidies For Renewable Energy 
Reuters, 17 September 2018


SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will speed up efforts to ensure its wind and solar power sectors can compete without subsidies and achieve “grid price parity” with traditional energy sources like coal, according to new draft guidelines issued by the energy regulator.

As it tries to ease its dependence on polluting fossil fuels, China has encouraged renewable manufacturers and developers to drive down costs through technological innovations and economies of scale.

The country aims to phase out power generation subsidies, which have become an increasing burden on the state.

China’s regions will make an extra push to provide technological and policy support to the renewables sector in order to ensure they can operate subsidy-free, according to draft guidelines issued by the National Energy Administration (NEA) dated Sept. 13 to the industry and reviewed by Reuters.

Full post
 

8) Scientific Mega-Drama Over An (Alleged) Mega-Drought
Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 20 September 2018 


The year’s most acrimonious scientific fight is a mega-drama over a mega-drought.

This summer, the decree went out: We are living in a new geological chapter in the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history.

For a certain corner of the world, this was big news. You have probably heard of the Jurassic period (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) or the Cambrian explosion (when complex animal life arose). Now we had a new name for our own neighborhood in time: We modern humans—you, me, and Jesus of Nazareth—were all born in the Meghalayan ageAccording to the global governing body of geologists, this new era began 4,200 years ago, when a global mega-drought sent ancient societies around the world into starvation and collapse.

How interesting!, you may think. I love science! And perhaps in an earlier era, that’s all you would have had to think. The dawn of the Meghalayan would have earned some wide-eyed headlines, made life slightly easier for a few researchers, and promptly been relegated to a second-round Jeopardy! question.

Instead, the Meghalayan kicked off one of the cattiest, most intransigent fights among earth scientists that I can remember—a battle that now concerns some of the most profound questions up for scholarly debate today, including the importance of climate change, the likelihood of societal collapse, and the ultimate place of humanity in the universe.

Not that you would always know this from listening to them. “What the fuck is the Meghalayan?” a tenured professor of geology asked me in July. “It’s silly,” another said. Meanwhile, the new age’s beleaguered advocates claimed an “incredible press campaign” had misrepresented their work.

This week, the fight spilled into the pages of one of the country’s most prestigious journals, as a critic raised a new concern with the embattled age. A short article published Thursday in Science contends that the Meghalayan is premised on faulty archaeology.

There is scant evidence, it says, that the worldwide mega-drought around 2200 b.c., which started the Meghalayan, brought ancient society to its knees.

“There was no sudden, universal civilizational collapse,” writes Guy Middleton, a visiting archeologist at Newcastle University, in the piece. “Overall, the archaeological and historical evidence suggests that 2200 b.c.was not a threshold date.”

Middleton’s point is larger than just the Meghalayan: He is siding with a group of scholars, mostly at European universities, that argues that climate change has almost never led to war or total ruin in the past. He writes as much in his piece: “Climate change never inevitably results in societal collapse, though it can pose serious challenges, as it does today.”

The Meghalayan’s architects did not mince words in their response. “This is a totally misleading piece of writing, which displays a lamentable grasp of the facts,” said Mike Walker, a professor at the University of Wales and the leader of the team that proposed the Meghalayan.

“I do not see a single accurate claim,” agreed Harvey Weiss, a professor of archeology at Yale who also helped write the Meghalayan proposal.In a series of emails, Weiss lambasted his critic’s credentials.

“Middleton, a pop-archeology writer, failed archaeology Ph.D., and English-as-a-second-language instructor in Japan, now claims archeo-expertise in matters about which he knows nothing, and gets great audience in Science—of all journals!” he wrote. “For me, the most intriguing question is, ‘Why does Science publish this rubbish?'” he said in another message, sent several hours later under the subject line “and Weiss added … ”

“I see you’ve been talking to Harvey Weiss!” Middleton replied when I told him about some of these charges without identifying their source. Middleton is the author of a book about societal collapse, and he holds a doctorate in Aegean prehistory. He has also “proudly” taught English for Academic Purposes classes at Tokyo University and Northumbria University, he said, writing: “It has put bread on the table since 2002 and paid me through my Ph.D.”

It wasn’t always clear that the Meghalayan would arouse this level of controversy. The new age was meant to be an aid for geologists and climate scientists who study the past 11,700 years of Earth’s history. This period of time—called the Holocene epoch—contains nearly all of modern human history and is crucial to the study of contemporary climate change.

But much to the chagrin of some scientists, the Holocene epoch is not clearly chunked into subdivisions. This ambiguity makes it hard to compare scientific conclusions: One researcher might consider the year 2000 b.c. to be “late Holocene”; another might think it the “mid-Holocene.” So in 2010, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which standardizes geological timelines, convened a panel to fix this problem by subdividing the Holocene into thirds.

After years of discussion and debate, the commission finalized those new subdivisions in July. The “late Holocene,” it said, would start with the advent of a global mega-drought 4,200 years ago. Since the best record of this worldwide drying event comes from a stalactite in Meghalaya, India, the new age would be called the Meghalayan.

The July paper proposing the new age described the mega-drought of 2200 b.c.as “one of the most pronounced climatic events” to afflict human communities since the end of the Ice Age. It offers a tour of a world in catastrophe circa 2200 b.c.: In Egypt, the Old Kingdom “seems to have collapsed” after the Nile’s floods faltered. In Mesopotamia, the Akkadian empire crumbled, a disaster “linked to sudden acidification.” Throughout the Levant, people abandoned towns and cities. In modern-day Pakistan, the urban Harappan civilization—which once flourished in the Indus Valley—transitioned to a “rural, post-urban society.” In China, multiple Neolithic cultures failed.
Settlement around the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers seems to have reached a nadir.

Middleton disputes almost all of these conclusions.

Full post
 

see also Benny Peiser: Civilisation Collapse and Climate Change


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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