Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Study Reveals Alpine Glaciers Started Melting Much Earlier Than Thought








Climate Predictions Could Be Wrong In UK And Europe

In this newsletter:

1) New Study Reveals Alpine Glaciers Started Melting Much Earlier Than Thought
Swiss Info, 21 October 2018
 
2) Climate Predictions Could Be Wrong In UK And Europe
The University Network, 18 October 2018


 
3) UK Recycling Industry Under Investigation For Fraud And Corruption
The Guardian, 19 October 2018
 
4) Australia Rejects IPCC Call To Phase Out Coal
Financial Times, 9 October 2018 

5) Japan Will Defy Calls By The IPCC To Phase Out Coal By Mid Century
The Australian, 19 October 2018
 
6) China To Speed Up End Of Green Energy Subsidies
Reuters, 17 October 2018
 
7) Germany’s Great Climate Failure
Handelsblatt, 19 October 2018
 
8) VW Warning: EU Climate Policies “Threaten The Very Existence” Of Germany’s Car Industry
GWPF & Spiegel Online, 18 October 2018
 
9) Germany's Merkel Promises New Law To Ward Off Diesel Ban (And To Save Her Floundering Government)
Reuters, 21 October 2018


Full details:

1) New Study Reveals Alpine Glaciers Started Melting Much Earlier Than Thought
Swiss Info, 21 October 2018

New research by a Swiss institute has thrown doubt on the widespread assumption that the melting of Alpine glaciers began with the onset of industrialisation in the middle of the 19th century.

















To date, writes Swiss public broadcaster SRF, many researchers have assumed that glacial retreat began around 1860 with the increased volumes of soot and smoke belched out by the new factories of the industrial age.

However, researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute have found that a deeper analysis of soot levels within the ice itself throws this assumption into doubt.

Working with (among others) the Fiescherhorn glacier between cantons Bern and Valais, the scientists managed to trace soot particles in the ice right back to 1740; a veritable “history book” of what would have been in the atmosphere at the time, said researcher Michael Sigl.

Interestingly, they found that industrial soot most likely does not account for the melting of glaciers between 1850 and 1875, since it was only after that year that levels of soot in the air exceeded natural atmospheric levels for Central Europe.

Thus, according to the researchers, the so-called Little Ice Age (c. 1300-1870), during which Alpine glaciers reached their peak volume, likely came to an end as a result of natural climatic variations rather than being precipitated by human interference.

Indeed, as Sigl said in a separate interview in the Le Matin Dimanche newspaper on Sunday, “in 1875, some 80% of the glaciers’ retreat had already occurred”.

Delayed impact

He nevertheless stressed that the study did not provide any grand refutation of the idea that human actions contribute to global warming; rather, he said, “the question is to know from when human activities began to take effect on the climate” – a question that remains open.

Full post

2) Climate Predictions Could Be Wrong In UK And Europe
The University Network, 18 October 2018

Current climate change predictions in the UK and parts of Europe may be inaccurate, a study conducted by researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, and the University of Li├Ęge, Belgium, suggests.



Existing computer model simulations have failed to properly include air pressure changes that have occured in the Greenland region throughout the past 30 years.

Over the last three decades, the simulations suggested a drop in summertime air pressure in the Greenland region. In reality, the air pressure in the area has gone up.

“These differences between the estimates from the current climate models and observations suggests [sic] that the models cannot accurately represent recent conditions or predict future changes in Greenland climate,” Edward Hanna, a professor of climate science and meteorology at Lincoln and co-lead author of the study, said in a statement.

The mistake could have global implications, as the simulations are observed throughout the world to predict future climate change.
 
Full post

3) UK Recycling Industry Under Investigation For Fraud And Corruption
The Guardian, 19 October 2018

UK watchdog examining claims plastic waste is not being recycled but left to leak into rivers and oceans















The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste, the Guardian has learned.

The Environment Agency (EA) has set up a team of investigators, including three retired police officers, in an attempt to deal with complaints that organised criminals and firms are abusing the system.

Six UK exporters of plastic waste have had their licences suspended or cancelled in the last three months, according to EA data. One firm has had 57 containers of plastic waste stopped at UK ports in the last three years due to concerns over contamination of waste.

Allegations that the agency is understood to be investigating include:
 

  • Exporters are falsely claiming for tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste which might not exist

  • UK plastic waste is not being recycled and is being left to leak into rivers and oceans

  • Illegal shipments of plastic waste are being routed to the Far East via the Netherlands

  • UK firms with serial offences of shipping contaminated waste are being allowed to continue exporting.

UK households and businesses used 11m tonnes of packaging last year, according to government figures.

Two-thirds of our plastic packaging waste is exported by an export industry which was worth more than £50m last year.

Full story

see also our GWPF report which raised the alarm:
Recycling Plastic Is Making Ocean Litter Worse



4) Australia Rejects IPCC Call To Phase Out Coal
Financial Times, 9 October 2018

Australia has rejected a call by scientists to phase out coal use by 2050 to prevent the world overshooting targets in the Paris Climate Change agreement with potentially disastrous consequences.

The world’s biggest coal exporter on Tuesday said it would be “irresponsible” to comply with the recommendation by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to stop using coal to generate electricity.

Canberra also reiterated its priority is to cut domestic electricity prices rather than curb greenhouse gas emissions, which have risen for four consecutive years.

“To say that it [coal] has to be phased out by 2050 is drawing a very long bow,” said Melissa Price, Australia’s environment minister, who previously worked in the mining industry.

“I just don’t know how you could say by 2050 that you’re not going to have the technology that’s going to enable good, clean technology when it comes to coal. That would be irresponsible of us.”

Full story

5) Japan Will Defy Calls By The IPCC To Phase Out Coal By Mid Century
The Australian, 19 October 2018

Japan’s ambassador to Australia has confirmed Tokyo will defy calls by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to phase out coal by mid-century as part of a scientific appeal to limit global temperature increases to 1.5C.

Sumio Kusaka told The Australian that Japan would consider “all practical ways to further advance decarbonisation” but would need to bolster coal supply in the immediate future. He said Japanese plans to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in line with its international commitments would see a greater focus on nuclear energy, a form of power prohibited in Australia since 1998.

In recent weeks, Tony Abbott and Ziggy Swit­kowski, former chair of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, have called for the prohibition on nuclear power to be lifted to provide for the arrival of small modular reactors that can power towns of 100,000 people.

“I am aware the recent IPCC report contains some firm recommendations in relation to coal,” Mr Kusaka told The Australian.

“However, Japan is a country with very limited resources of its own, and bearing in mind our energy security requirements, it would be difficult for us to eliminate coal- fired power altogether.

“With a view to 2050, we are also considering all practical ways to further advance decarbonisation. In relation to this, some of the technologies we are looking at include renewable energy, nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage.’’

Mr Kusaka said Tokyo would continue to buy coal from Australia to secure its energy needs into the future. Japan was the largest importer of Australian thermal coal last year.

Full story

6) China To Speed Up End Of Green Energy Subsidies
Reuters, 17 October 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.

The guidelines said some regions with cost and market advantages had already “basically achieved price parity” with clean coal-fired power and no longer required subsidies, and others should learn from their experiences.

They also urged local transmission grid companies to provide more support for subsidy-free projects and ensure they have the capacity to distribute all the power generated by wind and solar plants…

China’s solar sector is still reeling from a decision to cut subsidies and cap new capacity at 30 gigawatts (GW) this year, down from a record 53 GW in 2017, with the government concerned about overcapacity and a growing subsidy backlog.

According to the NEA, the government owed around 120 billion yuan ($17.46 billion) in subsidies to solar plants by the middle of this year.

Full story

7) Germany’s Great Climate Failure
Handelsblatt, 19 October 2018

Not long ago, Germany was seen as a model of climate responsibility. No more. It will fail to reach its 2020 emissions targets despite spending hundreds of billions on renewable energy.



Angela Merkel wore green to the annual German Industry Day meeting in Berlin last month. There, she told a crowd of 1,200 CEOs, entrepreneurs and lobbyists that carbon-emissions targets for the car industry shouldn’t be too overly ambitious — a 30 percent reduction goal by 2030 was perfectly fine. “Anything beyond that carries the risk of killing off Europe’s car industry,” she warned.

That was music to the ears of Ms. Merkel’s audience that day. But the irony wasn’t lost on observers: The German chancellor, cloaked in green, hacked away at environmental hopes — yet again.

It hasn’t always been like this. In fact, a decade ago, both Germany and Ms. Merkel were seen as global environmental leaders, boldly plotting a course to reform industrial society and devise a sustainable future. Unfortunately, measured by its own standards, Berlin has since failed to follow through on its lofty environmental promises.

Reunification as an accidental green boost

Despite Germany’s much-vaunted energy reform, the country is now certain to fail to reach its key environmental benchmark – a reduction in overall CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020, measured by 1990 levels. Berlin has all but dumped that original target. At this point, the government will be happy with 30 percent.

German carbon emissions have not decreased for the last nine years (see chart below), and transport emissions have not fallen since 1990. “We have to draw up a very sober balance sheet. And the fact is, we have now lost an entire decade,” Ottmar Edenhofer, incoming head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told Handelsblatt.

It even turns out that the country’s initial reputation as environmentally progressive may have been exaggerated. A 1990 benchmark was a very convenient one for Berlin: It was the year of the German reunification. Within a few years, most of East Germany’s highly polluting industry went bust, as it wasn’t competitive in a market economy.

Retrospectively, this made Germany’s CO2 reduction look a lot better than it actually was.

Full post

8) VW Warning: EU Climate Policies “Threaten The Very Existence” Of Germany’s Car Industry
GWPF & Spiegel Online, 18 October 2018

Stricter CO2 emission limits imposed by the EU are pushing Europe’s car industry to the “brink of collapse,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has warned.

Diess lamented that the EU’s campaign against conventional petrol cars was “threatening the very existence” of Germany’s car industry.

“The current campaign against individual mobility and thus against conventional cars is reaching existence-threatening proportions.”

Diess also attacked the proposed switch to electric cars as detrimental to the environment because Germany’s electricity systems is still dominated by coal-fired power generation.

“Instead of using petrol or diesel, we’ll basically use coal, even if we’re electrically powered, and in the worst case we’ll use even lignite,” he said. “That drives the idea of electric mobility ad absurdum!”

Full story (in German)

9) Germany's Merkel Promises New Law To Ward Off Diesel Driving Bans (And To Save Her Floundering Government)
Reuters, 21 October 2018

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, campaigning for her Christian Democrats (CDU) to retain control of the crucial state of Hesse in next Sunday’s election, promised legislation to ward off the threat of air pollution leading to driving bans.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday evening, Merkel said it would be disproportionate to ban dirty diesel cars from the road in places like Frankfurt, Hesse’s largest city, where nitrogen emissions limits were only marginally exceeded.

Following her allies’ disastrous showing in Bavaria’s regional elections last week, Merkel faces murmurs of dissent within her party. Defeat in the state to the resurgent Greens could prove fatal to her premiership.

Full story


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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