Tuesday, January 8, 2019

GWPF Newsletter - Happy New Year: Green Energy Policies At Risk As UK Treasury Aims To Cut Energy Costs








UK Temperatures Unchanged For More Than A Decade

In this newsletter:

1) Happy New Year: Green Energy Policies At Risk As UK Treasury Aims To Cut Energy Costs
The Times, 7 January 2018
 
2) UK Temperatures Unchanged For More Than A Decade
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 4 January 2019


 
3) U.S. Watermelons Advocate Climate Socialism
CNN, 4 January 2019
 
4) Germany’s Diesel Disaster & The Lessons Of ‘Dieselgate’
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal, 5 January 2019
 
5) EU Wants To Green The Financial Sector: Critics Fear A Green Nanny State
Handelsblatt, 4 January 2019
 
6) Anastasios Tsonis: The Overblown And Misleading Issue Of Global Warming
The Washington Times, 2 January 2019
 
7) Green Weenie Of The Week: ‘Only Nuclear War Can Save Us From Climate Disruption’
Steven Hayward, PowerLine, 4 January 2019


Full details:

1) Happy New Year: Green Energy Policies At Risk As UK Treasury Aims To Cut Energy Costs
The Times, 7 January 2018

Liz Truss is targeting green energy policies as she launches a Treasury review of government projects with a call to “junk the white elephants”.
















Each Whitehall department will be made to justify afresh every line of expenditure of capital projects as part of the next round of spending, the chief secretary to the Treasury has said.

Ms Truss said she wanted to weed out programmes that were failing, had become outdated or had diverged from their original mission. She said day-to-day spending would be reviewed using new criteria to ensure that it delivered the most to improve life chances.

The prospect of a “zero-based capital review” will send tremors of fear across Whitehall and put the combative minister on a collision course with many of her colleagues. While some opponents hope that the review can be used to stop HS2, most ministers believe the project is too far advanced.

In an article for The Sunday Telegraph Ms Truss hinted that the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy might be first in line. She asked whether ministers could “increase competition and reduce prices in energy by simplifying our approach to lowering carbon emissions”, which will be taken as a statement of intent to review the substantial government support for green energy schemes.

“In reviewing this evidence, we must be prepared to junk the white elephants, the programmes that haven’t worked, and roll back mission creep, where government involves itself in areas the private sector can deliver. Growth and bang-for-buck must take precedence,” she said.

Full story

2) UK Temperatures Unchanged For More Than A Decade
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 4 January 2019

It should be apparent from both the temperature and rainfall datasets that British climate is changing much less than we are led to believe.

The Met Office has now published its data for 2018. We can expect plenty of claims about last year being the 7th warmest in the UK since records began (in 1910). Or that all of the ten warmest years have occurred this century. The real significance of these latest numbers, however, is that they continue to confirm that UK temperatures stopped rising more than a decade ago, after a step up during the 1990s.

As the 10-year averages below indicate, UK temperatures have been stable for some time, and arguably are now beginning to drop back:





https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Tmean/date/UK.txt

The current 10-year average of 9.18C is back to where it was for 1996 to 2005. Significantly, it is also close to the 30-year average of 9.15C.

Of course, 10 years is far too short a period to be meaningful in terms of long term trends and projections. But exactly the same argument applies to that short burst of warming, which effectively began in 1989 and ended in 2006.

What we can say with confidence, however, is that that period of warming has now ended for the time being.

Full post

See also Tim Osborn Prefers Spin To Facts

3) U.S. Watermelons Advocate Climate Socialism
CNN, 4 January 2019

Washington (CNN) Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed taxing the wealthy as high as 70% to fund a climate change plan she’s pushing called the “Green New Deal.”







“There’s an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” the freshman New York lawmaker said in an interview with Anderson Cooper that’s slated to air Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

In a clip of the interview that was released on Friday, Cooper asked Ocasio-Cortez about the specifics of the “Green New Deal,” a plan that calls for reducing carbon emissions to zero and moving the country off of fossil fuels in 10 years.

“Once you get to the tippie-tops, on your $10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%. That doesn’t mean all $10 million dollars are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

She also acknowledged that her goal is “ambitious.”

“It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now,” she told Cooper. “What is the problem with trying to push our technological capacities to the furthest extent possible?”

Full post

4) Germany’s Diesel Disaster & The Lessons Of ‘Dieselgate’
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal, 5 January 2019

A whole generation of green activists and politicians probably will have to die away before rational priorities for limiting CO2 emissions will be discussable.

 



Angela Merkel had a bad 2018. Outsiders heard the word “migrants” during her party’s many electoral defeats. But a more urgent concern for millions of German voters was the fate of diesel cars they bought because they were told it was good for climate change.

In May, Hamburg became the first city to ban all but the most recent diesel models from its downtown. Well, parts of its downtown anyway—those parts suspiciously close to air-quality monitoring stations.
Other large cities such as Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf have rolled out more-stringent bans or must soon do so thanks to environmental lawsuits. Stuttgart, home of Daimler and Porsche, will impose a citywide ban.

Starting next month, Frankfurt—the nation’s financial capital—is under orders to outlaw a quarter of the vehicles registered to city residents. Even a stretch of the autobahn near Essen will be closed to diesels.
In typical fashion, Ms. Merkel dithered forcefully through several party elections, hinting that the snafu would be fixed at the expense of German auto makers, not taxpayers or car owners. Voters were not fooled.

Now Ms. Merkel is a lame duck. Meanwhile, the travails of the German car industry are cited, most recently by the Bundesbank, as a factor in Europe’s sudden and ominous economic slowdown.

The air-quality lawsuits were the work of a small group known in English as Environment Action Germany, which goes by the German acronym DUH, and is funded mainly by donations from Germany’s central and regional governments (and Toyota).

It doesn’t help that DUH was itself once a proselytizer for “clean diesel,” even pushing the technology on U.S. environmental groups as a quicker way to bring down carbon-dioxide emissions than waiting for electric cars to catch on.

Diesel does deliver a tad less CO2 per mile than gasoline but produces more smog and particulates, a detractor that turned out not to be fixable. Remember the Volkswagen scandal of 2015, when U.S. regulators ended the charade by discovering that emissions from imported VWs were 400% worse than advertised?
To this day, though, nobody in Europe is willing to acknowledge the biggest flaw in the continent’s now-defunct regulatory fetish for diesel.

However you slice it, cars just aren’t that big a part of an ostensible CO2 problem. Personal cars sit idle 95% of the time. Planes, trains, ships, trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles account for well over half the emissions associated with the transport sector globally. And the transport sector itself accounts for only 14% of all emissions.

Now for the knee-jerk response from groups like Union of Concerned Scientists: Yes, but road-vehicle emissions are a significant share of total emissions in the U.S. and Europe.

This is a perfect example of the politics of the meaningless gesture, the dominant motif in climate policy. The planet doesn’t care where the emissions happen. The U.S. and Europe could ban driving altogether and it wouldn’t make a sizable difference. For real leverage over CO2, the target has to be heavy industry, electricity generation, and home heating and cooking.

So why the car obsession? It’s a mental legacy of the air-pollution fights of the 1970s. To many voters, the car remains a sinful object. Eco groups, for purposes of self-promotion, can’t go wrong by portraying themselves as fighting against the automobile. Yet they get virtually nowhere on the alleged problem of CO2 by doing so.

Result: Insane amounts of political capital are spent trying to wring meaningless reductions from cars rather than spending it where it might do some good (such as reviving nuclear power). A case in point is a new European standard, announced two weeks ago, that would require emission cuts of 37.5% from new autos by 2030.

This target, it’s already clear, will be met by car makers subsidizing consumers to buy electric cars to offset profitable petrol and diesel cars. Europeans pretend these electric cars will be charged with wind and solar power. They won’t be. Germany already is clearing a forest to open a new coal mine to supplement its heavily subsidized but inadequate wind and solar power.

Europe’s diesel folly ranks as a colossal policy screw-up.

Full post

see also GWPF coverage of Dieselgate

5) EU Wants To Green The Financial Sector: Critics Fear A Green Nanny State
Handelsblatt, 4 January 2019

The European Union wants to bind the financial industry into the battle for a greener economy. But critics warn against the risks for investors.



The financial world should become greener. This lofty goal has been spearheaded by the European Commission who are asking banks, asset managers, pension funds and insurers to do their part to make this happen. At the heart of the project is a ten-point action plan presented last March, some of which has already been drafted into legislative proposals.

Specifically, it involves four of the ten points: How should one define ‘green’ investments? How can these products and services be integrated into investment advice? What obligations should investors and asset managers undertake? And what should the rules for sustainable stock indices look like?

The whole project is part of the European Commission’s comprehensive plan to meet the commitments of Paris Climate Deal and other goals for a comprehensively sustainable economy. In the financial industry, these goals are known by the English abbreviation ESG, which stands for Environmental and Social Responsibility. By the end of 2019, the points from the EU’s action plan should be implemented.

The EU Commission has also encouraged insurance and securities regulators to discuss changes to their specifications for the two industries. From this year on, for example, pension funds have to report on how to deal with sustainability in their investments.

The basic idea of ​​the EU is widely accepted in the industry. “The push is basically right,” says Julia Backmann of the fund association BVI. Nevertheless, there is criticism of the project anyway because the devil is in the detail. Bankers and asset managers fear that the new rules will create a bureaucratic monster that could end up harming investors.

Magnus Billing, head of the Swedish pension fund Alecta, warns: “We have to be careful. There is the danger of over-regulation.”

The prominent asset manager Bert Flossbach already sees a ‘sustainability’ tsunami rolling towards the financial sector.

Wesselin Kruschev of the banking consultancy Capco is even more outspoken: “Some bankers say: This is nonsense, and no one needs that. But the critics dare to speak out only behind closed doors, because publicly no one wants to be the bogeyman, of course.”

One of the central challenges of the project is the question how companies select themselves into sustainable and unsustainable ones.

In July 2018, the EU Commission set up a group of experts to come up with ideas. A first interim report is due this summer. “However, it’s often hard to say what ‘green’ really means,” says BVI expert Backmann. Angela McClellan, Managing Director of the Sustainable Investment Forum, also talks about an “extremely difficult, very complex problem”.

Capco man Kruschev provides some examples. Even a tank could be produced sustainable, but in the end it’s just a tank. Weapons manufacturers are usually excluded from the outset from sustainably fonds.

But it’s not just about weapons and other potentially harmful products: “Can a food manufacturer be considered sustainable if it uses genetically modified products?” Kruschev asks. Also, the manufacturers of electric cars could make the sustainability status contentious because the avoided CO2 emissions would ultimately be shifted towards other sectors.

For BVI specialist Backmann it is even conceivable that one-sided sustainability criteria can collide with the actual investment goals. “Just because an activity is ‘green’ doesn’t means that the company is automatically risk-free,” she says.

Fund manager Flossbach highlights the German solar industry as a cautionary example. Ten years ago, solar stocks had been a great hope for many investors. With a few exceptions, most of these companies have since gone bankrupt.

Full post (in German)

6) Anastasios Tsonis: The Overblown And Misleading Issue Of Global Warming
The Washington Times, 2 January 2019

All scientists should be skeptics. Climate is too complicated to attribute its variability to one cause.

Very often, when I talk to the public or the media about global warming (a low-frequency positive trend in global temperature in the last 120 years or so), they ask me the unfortunate question if I “believe” in global warming. And I say “unfortunate” because when we are dealing with a scientific problem “believing” has no place. In science, we either prove or disprove. We “believe” only when we cannot possibly prove a truth. For example, we may “believe” in reincarnation or an afterlife but we cannot prove either.

One may argue that when we are dealing with a scientific problem, such as global warming, for which we cannot obtain unquestionable experimental confirmation as to what is causing it (for the simple reason that we cannot repeat this experiment; we only have one realization of climate evolution), we may form an opinion based on the existing scientific evidence in hand, current knowledge, possible theories and hypotheses. But we should be skeptical of claims that the science of a complicated and unpredictable system is settled.

Nobody argues that the temperature of the planet is not increasing in the last 120 years or so. Yes, the temperature is increasing overall. But there are a lot of questions regarding why that is.

In the current state of affairs regarding global warming, opinion is divided into two major factions. A large portion of climate scientists argues that most, if not all, of the recent warming is due to anthropogenic effects, which originate largely from carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Another portion is on the other extreme: Those who argue that humans have nothing to do with global warming and that all this fuss is a conspiracy to bring the industrial world down.

The latter group calls the former group “the catastrophists” or “the alarmists,” whereas the former group calls the latter group “the deniers.” This childish division is complemented by another group, the “skeptics,” which includes those like me who question the extreme beliefs and try to look at all scientific evidence before we form an opinion (by the way, the former group also considers skeptics to be deniers).
In the realm of deniers, skeptics and believers, science has been compromised.

I usually don’t bother with pseudo-scientists, media and ignorant people abusing the freedom of the Internet by writing and posting nonsense comments. But I have grown wary of what is going on with the debate on the overblown and misdirected issue of global warming — a case in point being “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd saying he will no longer give time to global warming “deniers” and also that the “science is settled.”

The fact that scientists who show results not aligned with the mainstream are labeled deniers is the backward mentality. We don’t live in the medieval times, when Galileo had to admit to something that he knew was wrong to save his life. Science is all about proving, not believing. In that regard, I am a skeptic not just about global warming but also about many other aspects of science.

All scientists should be skeptics. Climate is too complicated to attribute its variability to one cause. We first need to understand the natural climate variability (which we clearly don’t; I can debate anybody on this issue). Only then we can assess the magnitude and reasons of climate change. Science would have never advanced if it were not for the skeptics.

All model projections made for the 21st century failed to predict the slowdown of the planet’s warming despite the fact that carbon dioxide emissions kept on increasing. Science is never settled. If science were settled, then we should pack things up and go home.

My research over the years is focused on climate variability and climate dynamics. It is my educated opinion that many forces have shaped global temperature variation. Human activity, the oceans, extraterrestrial forces (solar activity and cosmic rays) and other factors are all in the mix. It may very well be that human activity is the primary reason, but having no strong evidence of the actual percent effect of these three major players, I will attribute 1/3 to each one of them.

Two final points. First, all the interactions of humans with the environment are part of our technological evolution. During this evolution, we could not go directly from living in the dark ages to a clean energy technology. There was no other way but to use fossil fuels and other pollution-producing agents. Is this enough to ruin the planet by altering the climate system, a system that has undergone major changes throughout the ages?

Second, while we should try our best to take care of our planet, global warming is not the only urgent planetary emergency. Overpopulation, poverty, infectious diseases and the effect of globalization in spreading them, the water crisis, energy and food availability and safety, political instability and terrorism, the global economy, even cyber security, are far more urgent problems with potentially catastrophic results for humanity.

Anastasios Tsonis is emeritus distinguished professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is the author of more than 130 peer reviewed papers and nine books. He is a member of the GWPF’s Academic Advisory Council.

7) Green Madness Of The Week: ‘Only Nuclear War Can Save Us From Climate Disruption’
Steven Hayward, PowerLine, 4 January 2019

As I suggested in my latest Loose Ends post earlier today, our standards for giving out one of our highly coveted Green Weenie Awards have been significantly raised. You can’t get one any more just for proposing a Green New Deal or something economically illiterate. You have to do a lot better than that.

Like Samuel Miller-McDonald, who writes at The Trouble today that perhaps the only hope for avoiding catastrophic global warming is for a nuclear war to reduce human population and consumption. You need to read the whole thing to appreciate its full dementia, but here is the climax of the argument:

One wrench that could slow climate disruption may be a large-scale conflict that halts the global economy, destroys fossil fuel infrastructure, and throws particulates in the air. At this point, with insane people like Trump, Putin, Xi, May, and Macron leading the world’s biggest nuclear powers, large-scale conflagration between them would probably lead to a nuclear exchange. … A devastating fact of climate collapse is that there may be a silver lining to the mushroom cloud. First, it should be noted that a nuclear exchange does not inevitably result in apocalyptic loss of life. Nuclear winter—the idea that firestorms would make the earth uninhabitable—is based on shaky science.

Um, isn’t the idea of nuclear winter based on the same climate science that is settled at the 97 percent confidence level? Oh never mind. To continue:

An [nuclear] exchange that shuts down the global economy but stops short of human extinction may be the only blade realistically likely to cut the carbon knot we’re trapped within. It would decimate existing infrastructures, providing an opportunity to build new energy infrastructure and intervene in the current investments and subsidies keeping fossil fuels alive. . . Like the 20th century’s world wars, a nuclear exchange could serve as an economic leveler. It could provide justification for nationalizing energy industries with the interest of shuttering fossil fuel plants and transitioning to renewables and, uh, nuclear energy. It could shock us into reimagining a less suicidal civilization, one that dethrones the death-cult zealots who are currently in power. And it may toss particulates into the atmosphere sufficient to block out some of the solar heat helping to drive global warming. Or it may have the opposite effects. Who knows?
What we do know is that humans can survive and recover from war, probably even a nuclear one. Humans cannot recover from runaway climate change. Nuclear war is not an inevitable extinction event; six degrees of warming is. . .

It is a stark reflection of how homicidal our economy is—and our collective adherence to its whims—that nuclear war could be a rational course of action.

Now, I’m so old I remember when the most socially conscious people regarded the prospect of nuclear war with dread rather than hope. And perhaps we should be grateful for Mr. Miller-McDonald in making explicit what I put in boldface above—that the climatistas want to “shut down the global economy.” This is another good sign of how climate change has completely deranged some people.

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.

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