Friday, November 30, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: UN Climate Conference To Promote Coal








Brazil Cancels 2019 UN Climate Summit

In this newsletter:

1) UN Climate Conference To Promote Coal
AFP, 28 November 2018
 
2) Brazil Just Cancelled The Green Blob’s Annual Jamboree
Climate Home News, 28 November 2018


 
3) Germany Delays Coal-Exit (Plan)
Euractiv, 28 November 2018
 
4) Japan Is Building 30+ New Coal Power Plants
Nikkei Asian Review, 22 November 2018 
 
5) Trump Deals New Blow To Paris Climate Deal Before Key Meeting
Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 27 November 2018
 
6) Trump Doubles-Down On Global Warming Scepticism 
The Daily Caller, 27 November 2018 
 
7) UK Virtue Signalling At International Standard
Andrew Montford, GWPF, 28 November 2018 


Full details:

1) UN Climate Conference To Promote Coal
AFP, 28 November 2018


WARSAW (AFP) – Poland on Tuesday named the EU’s largest producer of high-quality coking coal among several coal-sector companies that it chose to partner with the UN’s COP 24 global climate summit opening this weekend in the southern coal city of Katowice.



Polish Environment minister Henryk Kowalczyk told reporters in Warsaw that the state-owned JWS company along with coal-based energy companies PGE and Tauron were chosen as partners for the global talks aimed at reducing global warming through cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Poland’s PZU insurance giant, its PKO BP bank and the PGNiG natural gas company are also sponsors. All six companies are state-owned.

Relying primarily on coal for some 80 percent of its energy, Poland is among the EU’s most polluted members.

Full story
 

2) Brazil Just Cancelled The Green Blob’s Annual Jamboree
Climate Home News, 28 November 2018


Brazil has withdrawn its offer to host the annual UN climate summit next year, citing budgetary constraints and the transition to a new government.

The U-turn follows last month’s election of Jair Bolsonaro as president, ushering in an administration sceptical of globalism and action to tackle climate change.

The government sent a message to UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa on Monday, explaining its decision, according to Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

“Taking into account fiscal and budgetary constraints, which are most likely to continue in the near future, and in view of the transition process for the newly elected administration, which will be inaugurated on January 1, 2019, the Brazilian government is obliged to withdraw the offer to host the Cop25,” the statement reportedly said.

It throws the venue and leadership of next year’s UN climate conference, usually held in November or December, into doubt.

Full story
 

3) Germany Delays Coal-Exit (Plan)
Euractiv, 28 November 2018


Germany is likely to show up empty-handed to the COP24 summit in Poland in December as the country’s coal exit commission has decided to extend its work beyond the original end-of-2018 deadline.



Germany’s task force on planning the definite phase-out of coal-fired power production has scrapped plans to present a decision before the end of this year.

Several days after three eastern German federal states had demanded better and more detailed plans to support coal mining regions, the so-called coal commission has decided to “conclude its work on 1 February 2019”.

The task force set up a working group from its ranks to draw up further concrete proposals for coal regions and to hold talks on these with both the federal and state governments, the commission said in a press release.
State premier of Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke welcomed the decision to extend the work to 2019.

“That’s good and right. The pressure from the eastern German states – which are most affected – was necessary and obviously successful,” he told news agency dpa.

Full post
 

4) Japan Is Building 30+ New Coal Power Plants
Nikkei Asian Review, 22 November 2018 


TOKYO/KOBE, Japan -- In Japan's port city of Kobe, a pair of 150-meter high white chimneys tower over the bay. Located just beside a residential area only 15 minutes by car from the city center, the chimneys belong to a giant 1.4-gigawatt coal-fired power plant that is about to loom even larger over residents' lives.

Brushing aside protests from environmentalists and locals, plant owner Kobe Steel started construction last month on a huge expansion project that will double the size -- and the emissions -- of the Kobe Power Plant. More than 14 million tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants are expected to belch each year from the enlarged plant's chimneys by 2022 -- more than the entire CO2 emissions of the 1.5 million-strong city of Kobe.

Residents are fighting back with lawsuits, the first of which was filed in September. "My son and I have had asthma since we moved here more than 20 years ago," said Hideko Kondo, who lives in a fume-filled block of flats just 400 meters from the power plant. "Some neighbors have moved away after hearing about the expansion plans."

Kondo and 39 other residents are seeking an injunction against Kobe Steel to halt construction and operation of the new plant, citing the "infringement of the right to live sustainably with clean air in a healthy and peaceful environment." It is only the second lawsuit in Japan to target carbon dioxide emissions. Kobe Steel declined to comment for this article.

The Kobe project is one of more than 30 new power stations being planned or built by Japan that burn coal -- the dirtiest and most polluting fossil fuel and one which is being phased out by some 30 governments around the world.

Full story
 

5) Trump Deals New Blow To Paris Climate Deal Before Key Meeting
Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 27 November 2018


The US has struck a small blow at the Paris Agreement days before the high-level annual climate change negotiations kick-off at Katowice, Poland. 

In a UN report on climate finance, it has forced the scrubbing of all explicit references to the responsibility of developed countries for providing funds and resources to the developing countries for tackling climate change.

The report called the ‘2018 Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows’ is to be presented before countries gathering at the Katowice negotiations starting December 2.

The report, prepared every two years, helps with the measurement, reporting and verification of financial support provided to developing countries. The mandate for such a report comes from the existing obligations of developed countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Cancun Agreements and the Paris Agreement.

Developed countries are obligated to provide funds, as historically they were primarily responsible for climate change. Under the Paris Agreement developed countries are necessarily required to provide enhanced and additional funding while developing countries can do add to the funds voluntarily.

But at a recent meeting in Bonn between October 28 and 30, the US blocked the approval of the report by claiming that the terms ‘developed countries’ and ‘developing countries’ were not defined clearly to identify how climate finance flows between the two sets of countries.

The US, at first, demanded that the report be approved only after inserting a caveat that there was no agreement on the meaning and definition of the phrases ‘developed and developing countries’. This meant, it said, one could not map which country belongs to which category when measuring fund flow.

By implication, it would have meant that there was no credible way to measure how much funds developed countries are providing to developing countries.

When developing countries’ representatives vehemently argued against this, the US instead asked for scrubbing out all references to ‘flows from developed countries’. It asked that the term ‘climate finance providers’ be used—which could imply both developed and developing countries. In other places in the report it insisted that the report cite only hyper-technical terms to classify countries. These terms, such as ‘Countries that are not members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’, developing country representatives at the meeting warned, would render the report unreadable.

But as the report had to be approved by consensus, developing countries were wary of a US veto and settled for what they considered lesser of the two evils: not explicitly opening the classification of ‘developing and developed countries’ to review.

“That would have meant leaving the door open for countries such as the US to wreck parts of the Paris Agreement from the inside out at a later stage. Given the options, it was better to be hyper-technical, avoid opening the phrases to definitional challenge and pay the relatively much smaller price of the report being less reader-friendly,” said a developing country negotiator aware of the arguments.

The previous iteration of the Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flow in 2016 and 2014 had explicitly talked of and calculated the funds flowing from developed to developing countries. The US had not objected to the use of these phrases at that time.

Business Standard reviewed the 2018 draft report which had dozens of explicit reference to the developed and developing countries and the financial flows from the former to the latter. It reviewed the note that the US initially insisted upon as a caveat. A video recording of the meeting of what is called the Standing Committee on Finance were also reviewed to understand how different regional and country representatives argued over the US’ insertion and how a compromise was reached deleting the reference to developed and developing countries in the approved report.

Video recordings show, during the negotiations one developing country negotiator said, “We cannot sit here rewrite the convention, rewrite the Paris Agreement and rewrite every (decision) of Conference of Parties since Cancun (in 2010) including the one in Durban which created the Green Climate Fund at the whims of the members of the board here. Let us not waste our time on a definition as basic as developing and developed countries.”

Full story
 

6) Trump Doubles-Down On Global Warming Scepticism 
The Daily Caller, 27 November 2018 

Michael Bastasch

President Donald Trump doubled-down on disagreements with dire predictions made in the latest U.S. government global warming report.

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump told The Washington Post in an Oval Office interview Tuesday.

“As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it,” Trump said when The Post asked why he was skeptical of claims made in the latest National Climate Assessment (NCA) released Friday.

The NCA, which is mandated by a 1990 law, issued dire warnings about future global warming’s potential effects on public health, ecosystems and the economy.
The report generated alarming media headlines of impending catastrophe if nothing is done to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The report claims “climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.” REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

However, critics pointed out the report relies heavily on an “exceptionally unlikely” worst-case scenario that projects 4 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.

Trump echoed those criticisms, including disagreeing that global warming would substantially impact the U.S. economy.

“I don’t believe it,” Trump said on Monday when reporters asked about the NCA’s economic predictions.
Trump doubled-down on disagreements with the NCA’s projections, and the president also talked about global pollution problems.

Full story
 

7) UK Virtue Signalling At International Standard
Andrew Montford, GWPF, 28 November 2018 


The government has suddenly renewed its interest in carbon capture

The news that the government has suddenly renewed its interest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a bit of a puzzler.  Back in 2015, it cancelled the £1billion competition to develop commercial-scale CCS, a move which led to much gnashing of teeth among the green fraternity, but made perfect sense in terms of trying to bring new investment to the electricity grid.

With a tsunami of subsidies flowing to renewables operators, baseload operations have become a thing of the past, and operators of gas-fired power stations are therefore forced to operate intermittently and with constantly fluctuating output.

It’s hard, if not impossible to make a profit, so there has been precious little sign of anyone wanting to build new gas-fired capacity in the UK for several years – a bit of a problem given that much of the existing capacity is due to close down in the next few years.

And this despite gas capacity being vital to maintaining grid stability. With the additional possibility of operators being forced to make any new power stations “CCS ready” at vast cost (CCS currently only works with coal, and then only after a fashion), the prospects of profitability were receding further still.

The cancellation of the CCS competition therefore represented a small boost to the chances of getting new investment in gas. It’s hard then to work out precisely why the government has suddenly decided to change direction. There is a remote possibility that they have decided to ditch renewables completely and focus on gas/CCS plus a rump of nuclear and hydro; that approach would make perfect sense in terms of grid stability (albeit that gas/CCS is still just a pipedream), but is politically implausible.

However, there is another possibility. Looking more closely at what is being proposed for promotion of CCS, the money available is trifling, albeit leavened with promises of further cash in future. Moreover, the proposed roll-out date for commercial CCS is in the 2030s,  too late to play a serious role in decarbonisation plans while much too early for costs to have come  down sufficiently to make the technology viable in its own right. What is the government’s game then?

I think it’s this. The latest wheeze in the green blob is bioenergy and CCS (BECCS), and in recent weeks this rather crazy scheme* has been pushed in reports from (among others) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Royal Society, and the UK’s Committee on Climate Change. These were all neatly timed to arrive in time to be digested ahead of the big climate meeting in Katowice in December. It all therefore looks as though Claire Perry, the energy minister, has simply decided to bung a few hundred thousand quid at CCS projects so that the UK can parade its green credentials on the big international stage. The money is just a rather expensive way to virtue signal.

—————————————————————-
*The idea is to convert a significant proportion of the world’s agricultural land (perhaps a quarter or more) into forest and energy crops to be burnt in power stations, with the emissions captured using CCS. It would probably lead to mass starvation and would undoubtedly be an environmental disaster.


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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