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Friday, February 22, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: EU Ready To Give Up Climate Pledge For US Trade Deal








White House Readies Panel To Assess If Climate Change Poses A National Security Threat

In this newsletter:

1) Forget Paris: EU Ready To Give Up Climate Pledge For US Trade Deal
Global Warming Policy Forum, 20 February 2019 
 
2) White House Readies Panel To Assess If Climate Change Poses A National Security Threat
The Washington Post, 20 February 2019 


 
3) NATO's Pending Energy Security Crisis
National Interest, 19 February 2019
 
4) Lessons From The School Strike 4 Climate
Andy Shaw, Worth Fighting For, 16 February 2019
 
5) ECONOMIST: Green New Deal’s Elimination Of Fossil Fuels Is ‘Delusion’
Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines, 19 February 2019
 
6) Eco-Socialism: The Green New Deal Will Give The State Mob-Like Power
Jonah Goldberg, National Review, 19 February 2019


Full details:

1) Forget Paris: EU Ready To Give Up Climate Pledge For US Trade Deal
Global Warming Policy Forum, 20 February 2019 


According to reports the EU is preparing to negotiate trade agreements with the Trump Administration, abandoning its pledge to only strike trade deals with countries committed to the Paris Agreement.













A committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday endorsed opening talks. Adopted by 21 votes to 17, the resolution by the committee for international trade (INTA) empowers the European Commission to discuss two trade deals, respectively designed to lift tariffs and iron out bureaucratic hurdles between the two blocs. It goes to a full parliamentary vote in mid-March.

The move flies in the face of European moves to integrate trade and climate action. In July 2018, the European Parliament backed a non-binding resolution to “make ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement a condition for future trade agreements”.

Amid US threats to slap tariffs on European car imports, however, the committee overruled climate concerns to press ahead with US talks.

Full story
 

2) White House Readies Panel To Assess If Climate Change Poses A National Security Threat
The Washington Post, 20 February 2019 


The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director.

 
The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The White House is working to assemble a panel to assess whether climate change poses a national security threat, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, a conclusion that federal intelligence agencies have affirmed several times since President Trump took office.

The proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security, which would be established by executive order, is being spearheaded by William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer, an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University, has said that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.

The initiative represents the Trump administration’s most recent attempt to question the findings of federal scientists and experts on climate change and comes less than three weeks after Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats delivered a worldwide threat assessment that identified it as a significant security risk.

In late November, Trump dismissed a government report finding that global warming is intensifying and poses a major threat the U.S. economy, saying, “I don’t see it.” Last month, his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, acting administrator Andrew Wheeler, testified that he did not see climate change as one of the world’s pressing challenges.

According to the NSC discussion paper, the order would create a federal advisory committee “to advise the President on scientific understanding of today’s climate, how the climate might change in the future under natural and human influences, and how a changing climate could affect the security of the United States.”

Full post (subscription required)

William Happer’s GWPF paper: The Truth About Greenhouse Gases






 












3) NATO's Pending Energy Security Crisis
National Interest, 19 February 2019


by Julian Wieczorkieqicz and Dominik P. Jankowski

Russia has mastered the pipeline diplomacy. In fact, coercive energy policy became Moscow globally recognized trademark. Yet, the Russian aggression against Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea in November 2018 showcased that Moscow is ready to go beyond political and economic tools to protect what it defines as its critical infrastructure.

Russia’s Energy Security Policy

The West decided to turn a blind eye to cautionary signs that appeared prior to the Kerch Strait incident. A major warning came in the spring of 2018 when Russia closed down parts of the Baltic Sea for a navy live-fire exercise. This affected the air and maritime traffic in and around the Baltic Sea region. Yet, more importantly, the exercise was purposefully calculated to take place around the planned route of the Nord Stream 2. This pipeline, should it be completed, would become a key critical infrastructure asset. Capacity-wise, it would complement Nord Stream 1. In fact, their combined volume would allow Russia to ship a total of 110 billion cubic meters under the Baltic Sea, straight to the heart of the German gas market. More importantly, Nord Stream 2 would allow Moscow to redirect gas supplies destined for other European consumers that are now importing it via the pipelines running through Ukraine. This would have a detrimental impact on the Ukrainian economy. For example transit fees and levies for Russian gas transiting Ukraine’s territory provide Kyiv with roughly $3 billion per year. For the sake of comparison: in 2017 Ukraine’s military expenditures totaled $3.6 billion.

Nord Stream 2 would also allow Russia to retain its grip on the European gas market. Time is key in that game as the global gas market undergoes structural changes. Thanks to the shale gas revolution the United States has already outpaced Russia as the world’s largest gas producer. Gas is an increasingly globally traded commodity thanks to the rapid deployment of LNG terminals. Contrary to conventional wisdom, 2018 proved that American LNG can compete with piped gas from Russia on the European markets. In fact, last year Poland concluded three long-term contracts for the supplies of U.S.-made LNG.

Russia needs to secure its fight against new suppliers and infrastructure projects that could undermine its position. To achieve this goal and push its foreign-policy agenda, Moscow has been relying on three main tools.

First, it needs to tackle propaganda and disinformation. The recent Central European diversification efforts, tough fully aligned with the objectives of the EU’s Energy Union, came under heavy fire in media outlets and social-media channels sponsored by Moscow. They tried to make the case that deliveries of LNG to Europe are not commercially viable. Those claims were dismissed by many people including Piotr Wo┼║niak, the CEO of the Polish Oil and Gas Company. In several public statements he underscored that the adopted pricing formula pegged the prices of U.S. LNG supplies to those at the Henry Hub, making them around 20 to 30 percent cheaper than Russian gas flowing to Poland through the Yamal pipeline transiting Belarus.

Second, exploiting the “Opera Pricing” approach—the closer you sit, the more you pay. In fact, countries enjoying traditionally good political relations with Russia have been handed relatively low bills for their gas imports, whereas those having diverse political preferences have been paying a higher price. Today Ukraine is the case in point. While President Viktor Yanukovych was in power, Gazprom charged Ukraine with 268.5 billion cubic meters. Currently, Ukraine pays 485 USD/billion cubic meters, i.e. an increase of more than 80 percent.

Finally, including energy policy into Russia’s wider hybrid warfare portfolio. In the gas sphere, Russia relies on intimidating countries that are over-dependent on its fuel supplies with gas cuts being its chief instrument. Its activities in the power sector are marked by cyberattacks. Since 2014, Russia has converted Ukraine into a test-bed for its offensive cyber activities. Critical energy infrastructures became prime targets. Gaining control of electricity systems and nuclear power plants allowed hackers to stop electricity supplies in Ukraine. The methods tested in Ukraine are later replicated against Allied facilities. In early 2018, the United States accused Russia of engineering a series of cyberattacks on power plants and distribution grids on Allied territory in Europe and the United States.

Full post
 

4) Lessons From The School Strike 4 Climate
Andy Shaw, Worth Fighting For, 16 February 2019


On Friday 15th February 2019 around 7,000 children and teenagers organised a #SchoolStrike4Climate. It has some lessons for us all.

















In the run up to the day of action, the school strike was widely advertised on TV and radio. On the day itself, every news outlet gave sympathetic and widespread coverage. The government Minister responsible for energy policy, Claire Perry, gave her public endorsement. It was a children’s protest which had the blessing and active support of many well-educated parents, teachers and politicians.

So, what did the children and teenagers say in interviews? What did they write on their placards? What are they saying to us?

“The Planet Is Dying”

The protesting children projected a vision of an apocalyptic future. They are articulating the pessimism and fear of their parents, teachers and wider society. The relentless messages of extinction, pollution and environmental destruction reflects our lack of belief in human development or a vision for future progress. This fear is coalescing around ‘saving the planet’.

“You Are Destroying Our Future”

These children view the legacy of previous generations as a problem. They do not see achievement and progress, but regard modernisation as a problem. What most of us regard as the increasing benefits of civilisation are viewed as destructive and dangerous. These children fear what they are inheriting. Why are teachers and responsible adults encouraging children to view the achievements of their parents and grandparents as a danger? Are they not worried about sowing inter-generational conflict to achieve particular policy priorities? Mobilising young people against older people is a way to say ‘You’re history, we are the future’.

“Why should we bother with school if most adults ignore the educated people”

Certain adults are viewed as ‘the educated people’ and are on the side of the new generation – these people are their trusted guardians. Those ‘on the side of the planet’ can be trusted and anyone who challenges this perspective can be seen as self interested, uneducated or motivated by malign intention. As children make sense of the adult world, are they being encouraged to view ‘uneducated people’ as hostile and dangerous, which can only be made safe by ‘trusted’ people.

“Help me”

Children are being encouraged to say that adults are not protecting them and are failing to act. If adults can’t protect children from danger, they will fend for themselves. Are we not in danger of generating fear that they cannot trust the adult world to look after them? Protecting children is a moral responsibility. But, climate campaigners are both sowing fear and then presenting themselves with the moral authority of child protection.

So, are there any lessons can be drawn?

1. The political activists have found a new constituency

The ‘metropolitan elite’ (sorry, I can’t think of a better term to use) is disorientated by Brexit, Trump and populism. They sense that their appeal to the general population is evaporating and their control over hearts and minds is tenuous and fleeting. The old loyalty to political parties is disintegrating and the ‘elite’ feel unable to connect with the general public. They have now found a new constituency – in children. By representing children, they gain moral authority and their new constituency is dependant upon their leadership.

2. Emotion has totally replaced rational argument

Emotional appeals are replacing political discussion and debate. Protecting children is one of the strongest instincts we have. Using children to advance the climate agenda has a powerful appeal. We feel morally obliged to support it. Interestingly, it shows that ‘the establishment’ is unconsciously aware that rational appeals to adults are not working and they are falling back on emotional appeals via children.

3. Who to trust?

As we have seen in the post Brexit/Trump discussion about ‘fake news’ and ‘post truth’, adult politics is being associated with lies and disinformation. Young people have to figure out how they navigate their way through this – how to make sense of what is and isn’t true. One way is to encourage them to think, read and debate, another is to encourage them distrust everyone apart from those who are morally good. Those who ‘side with the planet’ can be trusted, those who do not are motivated by self-interest, malign motives or are uneducated.

4. Older generations are history

By resorting to the creation of inter-generational mistrust, it shows that ‘responsible adults are becoming reckless. How does spreading fear of a ‘burning planet’ amongst young people help prepare them for the future? Mobilising children in this way can have unpredictable and destructive consequences. It shows that many adults have lost a sense of themselves and their purpose and are happy to outsource their authority to people who are not yet adults.

So, what is to be done?

I think that we should appeal to positive side of young people protesting. We should appeal to their sense of agency and purpose. Many teenagers are intellectually curious and want to work things out for themselves. Everyone feels the need to fit in, but not necessarily follow the herd.

We should pose questions. Is this really true? Is this the only way of looking at it? What do other people say? Everything has a cost and a benefit, what are they? Where debate is closed down and one side are castigated and labelled, independent thinkers should ask why.

We should remember that ‘climate change’ is the one issue that ‘the establishment’ falls back on when all else appears to be lost. It’s the only issue around which they can agree at international conferences; it provides some moral certainty and opponents are easily be ostracised. Further, it provides a sense of collective purpose and a mission when there is a feeling that the world has lost its bearings.

Full post
 

5) ECONOMIST: Green New Deal’s Elimination Of Fossil Fuels Is ‘Delusion’
Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines, 19 February 2019


‘They shouldn’t underestimate the resistance they are going to face as energy prices rise year after year…’

Scientists and economists are among those calling out socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s New Green Deal for being totally unrealistic and economically illiterate.

Canadian economist Robert Lyman is one of them.

In a newly released paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Lyman takes on one of the Green New Deal’s chief climate change goals — the elimination of all fossil fuels in next 10 years.

Common sense points to the ridiculous nature of the proposal, but in rigorous fashion Lyman lays out the economic and technological constraints on delivering “decarbonization,” or a serious reduction in the global reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels.

The most obvious real-world concern, he says, is that something has to replace fossil fuels as a leading source of global energy.

On that, Ocasio-Cortez and others — whether they are climate change alarmists and political opportunists — are silent. Or, perhaps genuinely ignorant.

While renewable energy like solar and wind power is often touted as a necessary replacement, it’s simply not going to do the job, Lyman says. At least, not anytime soon with available technology.

“To show that rapid decarbonisation is possible, you have to show that the technologies work at scale, that they are reliable and affordable and don’t damage the environment, and that they can be deployed on the timescales envisaged. Advocates of renewables simply don’t even try to do this,” he said.

Lyman also points out in his paper, titled Transition To Reality: The Prospects For Rapid Global Decarbonizationthat past energy transitions have occurred over long periods of time.

Much longer than any period proposed by politicians or media alarmists clamoring for widespread and immediate renewable energy use.

It’s not only unrealistic, says Lyman, but attempting to do so would cause energy prices to skyrocket and could easily lead to civil unrest.

“They might be able to move things along slightly faster by rigging markets in favor of their favored technologies, but they shouldn’t underestimate the resistance they are going to face as energy prices rise year after year,” he said.

“The gilets jaunes are a clear warning,” Lyman added, referring to the yellow vest protestors and months’ long violent riots across France.

Full story
 

6) Eco-Socialism: The Green New Deal Will Give The State Mob-Like Power
Jonah Goldberg, National Review, 19 February 2019


Urgency — i.e. crisis, war, etc. — is what causes people to say “there’s no time to argue!” and this empowers the state. The idea that “there is no time to argue” is fundamentally anti-democratic because democracy is about disagreement not agreement.

In last week’s sub-par G-File I ended with a riff on socialism and gangsterism. I wrote:13

What’s interesting to me is how thin the line between this form of politics [gangsterism] and socialism (or fascism) is. The most important thing about the rule of law — including property rights — is that it insulates society from this form of politics.

I should have mentioned that the idea that the state is a criminal enterprise is a very old one. Here’s Albert J. Nock:

The State’s criminality is nothing new and nothing to be wondered at. It began when the first predatory group of men clustered together and formed the State, and it will continue as long as the State exists in the world, because the State is fundamentally an anti-social institution, fundamentally criminal. The idea that the State originated to serve any kind of social purpose is completely unhistorical. It originated in conquest and confiscation—that is to say, in crime. It originated for the purpose of maintaining the division of society into an owning-and-exploiting class and a propertyless dependent class— that is, for a criminal purpose.

No State known to history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose. Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, its first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity. For the sake of this it will, and regularly does, commit any crime which circumstances make expedient.

As I write in my book, I think Nock was right about the origins of the state, but he was wrong about the liberal-democratic form of government championed to one extent or another by Burke, Locke, Hayek, and the Founders, among others. A society based on the idea of neutral rules, applicable to all equally, is an explicit rejection of the Big Man or Stationary Bandit model that all — or most — states originated from.

What I left out of the G-File was the necessary condition for slipping out of the rule of law and into the rule of faction: Urgency.

As I argued in my essay on the moral equivalent of war in the new issues, urgency — i.e. crisis, war, etc. — is what causes people to say “there’s no time to argue!” and this empowers the state. The idea that “there is no time to argue” is fundamentally anti-democratic because democracy is about disagreement not agreement.

My late brother once pointed out to me that the Mafia, or organized crime generally, thrives wherever time is hugely important. He drove a fish truck out of the old Fulton Fish Market and he saw some of this first hand. Fish have a short shelf-life and that’s why the mob had suppliers and buyers over a barrel. Similarly, the mob was notoriously embedded in the newspaper-delivery truck racket. If you can’t deliver newspapers on time, the newspapers become, literally, old news and therefore worthless.

Tim Carney recently noted that the key reason why the Green New Deal will become a cronyist-fecal festival is the need to rush.

“A Green New Deal,” their resolution reads, “must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses.”

But you can’t have this intricate, collaborative, and inclusive process unless you take a very long time. The entire premise of this moon-shot, new deal, grand mobilization is that we don’t have a lot of time before the planet melts.

If these “Green Dealers” get their way, things will be rushed and thus centrally planned. Our world wars show what happens when Washington starts “reorganizing” our economy toward some pressing immediate need. Namely, we get lots of corporatism and profiteering.

The very premise of the Green New Deal is that there’s no time to argue, and that gives the state mob-like power.

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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