Wednesday, May 8, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Green Alarm As World Cools On New Renewable Energy

Around The World Climate Politics Are Turning Increasingly Sceptical

In this newsletter:

1) Green Alarm As World Cools On New Renewable Energy
Power Engineering, 5 May 2019
2) Around The World Climate Politics Are Turning Increasingly Sceptical
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, 3 May 2019

3) The Trouble With Carbon Taxes: Lessons For Asian Policymakers
Tilak Doshi, Forbes, 7 May 2019
4) From China To The US, Dwindling Subsidies Take Shine Off Electric Cars
Nikkei Asian Review, 1 May 2019 
5) Dominic Lawson: Planes, Hypocrites And Automobiles
Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail, 6 May 2019
6) Carbon Tax Madness: ArcelorMittal To Cut European Steel Output
Argus News, 6 May 2019 
7) And Finally: What Ever Happened To Monbiot’s Global Meltdown?
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 6 May 2019

Full details:

1) Green Alarm As World Cools On New Renewable Energy
Power Engineering, 5 May 2019

Last year was the first time since 2001 that growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase year on year.

Statistics from International Energy Agency (IEA) reveal that new net capacity from solar PV,wind, hydropower, bioenergy and other renewable sources increased by about 180 GW in 2018 – the same as 2017.

And the IEA warns that the 180 GW figure is “only around 60 per cent of the net additions needed each year to meet long-term climate goals”.

IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol said the figures were “deeply worrying, but smart and determined policies can get renewable capacity back on an upward trend”.

He stressed that “the world cannot afford to press ‘pause’ on the expansion of renewables, and governments need to act quickly to correct this situation and enable a faster flow of new projects.”

The IEA calculates that renewable capacity additions need to grow by over 300 GW on average each year between now and 2030 to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.

And the IEA also highlights that its analysis shows that “the world is not doing enough. Last year, energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7 per cent to a historic high of 33 gigatonnes.

Despite a growth of 7 per cent in renewables electricity generation, emissions from the power sector grew to record levels.”

Full story

2) Around The World Climate Politics Are Turning Increasingly Sceptical
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, 3 May 2019

From Alberta to Australia, from Finland to France and beyond, voters are increasingly showing their displeasure with expensive energy policies imposed by politicians in an inane effort to fight purported climate catastrophe.

Skepticism about whether humans are causing dangerous climate change has always been higher in the United States than in most industrialized countries. As a result, governments in Europe, Canada, and in other developed countries are much farther along the energy-rationing path that cutting carbon dioxide emissions requires than the United States is. Residents in these countries have begun to revolt against the higher energy costs they suffer under as a result of ever-increasing taxes on fossil fuels and government mandates to use expensive renewable energy.

For instance, in France in late 2018, protesters donning yellow vests took to the streets—and have stayed there ever since—in large part to protest scheduled increases in fuel taxes, electricity prices, and stricter vehicle emissions controls, which French President Emmanuel Macron claimed were necessary to meet the country’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments under the Paris climate agreement. After the first four weeks of protest, Macron’s government cancelled his climate action plan.

Also in 2018, in part as a backlash against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate policies, global warming skeptic Doug Ford was elected as premier of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. Ford announced he would end energy taxes imposed by Ontario’s previous premier and would join Saskatchewan’s premier in a legal fight against Trudeau’s federal carbon dioxide tax.

In August 2018, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced to resign over carbon dioxide restrictions he’d planned to impose to meet the country’s Paris climate commitments. His successor, Scott Morrison, announced reducing energy prices and improving reliability, not fighting climate change, would be the government’s primary energy goals going forward. Subsequently, Australia’s deputy prime minister and its environment minister announced the country would continue using coal for electricity and expand coal mining and exports.

The changes in 2018 were just a prelude for the political climate revolt of 2019.

In mid-March, the Forum for Democracy (FvD), a fledgling political party just three years old, tied for the largest number of seats, 12, in the divided Dutch Senate in the 2019 elections. FvD takes a decidedly skeptical stance on climate change. On the campaign trail, Thierry Baudet, FvD’s leader, said the government should stop funding programs to meet the country’s commitments to international climate change agreements, saying such efforts are driven by “climate-change hysteria.”

On April 14 in Finland, where climate change policies became the dominant issue in the election, support for climate skepticism surged. Whereas all the other parties proposed plans to raise energy prices and limit people’s energy use, the Finns Party, which made the fight against expensive climate policies the central part of its platform, gained the second-highest number of seats in the Parliament, just one seat behind the Social Democratic Party’s 40. The second-place finish was a big win for the Finns Party and its skeptical stance: just two months before the election, polls showed its support was below 10 percent. After the Finns Party made battling alarmist climate policies its main goal, its popularity soared. The New York Times credited the Finns Party’s electoral surge, in large part, to its expressed climate skepticism.

In Alberta, Canada, where the economy declined after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate policies took hold, voters on April 16 replaced Premier Rachel Notley and her New Democratic Party (NDP), which supports the federal climate policies, with the United Conservative Party, headed by newly elected Premier Jason Kenney, who vowed to scrap the province’s carbon tax and every other policy in NDP’s climate action plan.

Full post
3) The Trouble With Carbon Taxes: Lessons For Asian Policymakers
Tilak Doshi, Forbes, 7 May 2019

As some of the world’s largest carbon emitters, the major emerging Asian economies such as China, India and Indonesia as well as the developed countries Japan and South Korea have been under pressure in international climate change forums to adopt carbon pricing. Asian energy planners, however, are not likely to be encouraged by the experience of carbon tax legislation in a number of countries in the West which have been at the fore-front of “decarbonizing”. 

Many voters in the developed countries have become increasingly resentful of expensive climate change policies predicated on model-based projections of impending environmental catastrophe. There is no reason to believe that the average Asian citizen, generally poorer than his Western counterpart, will be any less opposed to policies which increase energy prices in his household budget.

Pricing carbon

It is well established among economists that a price on the carbon content of fossil fuels is a far more efficient policy instrument than bureaucratic regulations or government-directed subsidies for power plants, appliances, machinery, buildings and cars. A carbon price can be imposed as a tax or via emission trading schemes (“ETS”) which let markets set the price of carbon allowances. A group of eminent US economists published a bipartisan open letter in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year stating that a “carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary”.

An increasing number of governments as well as regional and local authorities around the world have been legislating carbon or greenhouse gas (GHG) pricing schemes. In its latest (2018) global survey, the World Bank claims that carbon taxes and ETS continue “to gain traction.” To date, 88 countries of those (over 190) that submitted their “nationally determined contributions” to the Paris Agreement in 2015 have stated that they are planning to use carbon pricing as a tool to meet their voluntary commitments.

China, Japan and South Korea are experimenting with voluntary ETS in some cities and provinces while Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan are “considering” future ETS or carbon taxes. The tiny city-state of Singapore is the first on record implementing a nation-wide carbon tax of just under $4.00/tCO2e (ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, a measure of GHGs emitted) on large industrial emitters from 2019 onward.

The political revolt against carbon taxes

But these early moves on carbon pricing in Asia are likely to remain limited, as the unfolding political revolt against burdensome energy policies has become increasingly apparent in the West. On May 3rd, the German magazine Spiegel reported that the leader of the Christian Democratic party rejected the call for nationwide carbon taxes, as the interests of the German economy trumped climate change concerns of its partners in the governing coalition. This occurred only days after it was claimed that Germany was moving towards a carbon tax as senior officials from the coalition government had reached a seeming consensus.

The German U-turn is only the latest in a series of set-backs that carbon tax policies have faced in Europe. In March and April, two fledgling political parties on the right (the Finns Party and Forum for Democracy) surged electorally in Finland and Holland on campaign platforms that featured calls for lower fuel prices and an end to funding for international climate change agreements. The national protests in France by the yellow vests garnered a global media audience that witnessed the fury of voters’ reaction against fuel taxes among other issues. In December 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron was forced to suspend increases in petrol and diesel taxes.

In mid-April, Albertan voters in Canada elected a conservative government by a landslide -- in a campaign that focused on repealing the carbon tax imposed by the incumbent New Democratic Party which supported Prime Minister Trudeau’s climate change policy ambitions. Alberta’s voters mostly agreed that the imposition of the carbon tax was “all economic pain, no measurable environmental gain” as the premier-to-be Jason Kenney put it. In June 2018, less than a year before Kenney’s big win, the new Ontario government led by Doug Ford promised that its first act in office would be to “fight any efforts by the Federal government to impose a carbon tax on the people of Ontario in court”.

Unlike Canada, carbon tax or cap-and-trade schemes have long been political non-starters at the federal level in the US despite bipartisan efforts over the years. At the state level, voters in Washington defeated a carbon tax for the second timein November last year.

In August 2018, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull endured a humiliating back-down over efforts to fund the country’s Paris Agreement pledges, ceding leadership to his party’s conservative faction which called for higher investments in the country's coal sector as well as energy policies to lower Australians' electricity bills. (Note that Australia had repealed its national carbon tax in 2014, less than two years after it was first instituted).

These set-backs to carbon pricing legislation follow a typical pattern. In voting constituencies where “green” policy initiatives are favored, campaign promises are followed up by newly-elected officials initiating ambitious carbon pricing schemes along with non-price measures such as technology-based regulations, subsidies and mandates favoring solar and wind power and electric vehicles. Unsurprisingly, retail energy prices have escalated in many countries and localities – from Germany to California, Australia to Canada.

Green policies driving up the price of heating, cooling, transport and electricity then emerge as important bread-and-butter issues in many constituencies. The argument that higher energy costs are necessary to avoid potential environmental catastrophes in the future did not seem persuasive in many electoral contests.

Full post

4) From China To The US, Dwindling Subsidies Take Shine Off Electric Cars
Nikkei Asian Review, 1 May 2019 

Beijing’s decision to gradually fade out its generous subsidies for electric vehicles was widely known in the industry, but when the official announcement came on March 26, many were caught by surprise.

“The new policy was more aggressive than we expected,” said Joseph Wong, Nomura’s Hong Kong-based automotive industry analyst, in a research note published the same day.

Wong and his fellow analyst Benjamin Lo said the cuts were more severe than imagined: They will be reduced by half this summer. Also surprising was the fact that electric vehicles with a driving range of less than 250 km will no longer be eligible for subsidies at all.

Shares of leading electric vehicle and battery makers, like BYD in Hong Kong, Contemporary Amperex Technology — commonly known as CATL — in Shenzhen and BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology in Shanghai, all dropped over 2% after the news. In New York, Shanghai-based electric vehicle maker NIO lost 7.3%.

Government grants have been playing a crucial, if not decisive, role in the growth of electric vehicles around the world. By bringing actual purchase prices closer to those of traditional gasoline and diesel engine cars, subsidies have jump-started the industry. According to local media reports based on official documents, the Chinese government’s aggregate subsidies for new energy vehicles exceeds 100 billion yuan ($14.8 billion).

This policy has helped create the world’s largest electric vehicle market. A total of 1.25 million vehicles were sold in 2018, a 62% jump on the previous year and 71 times higher than only five years ago.

With China and the U.S. curtailing these policies — the Trump administration plans to phase out subsidies entirely by 2020 — the young EV industry faces a crucial test. China says it is shifting gears to support “high quality development” of the industry, weeding out subcompetitive players and encouraging companies to stand on their own.

However, the cuts could also hurt even the leading players. The Nomura analysts are now cautious on top EV manufacturers such as BYD and Yutong Bus, since “the pace of subsidy reduction has been much faster than that of battery cost decline,” which puts more pressure on profit margins.

NIO clearly stated the importance of government assistance in its latest annual report in early April. “Our growth depends significantly on the availability and amount of government subsidies, economic incentives and government policies that support the growth of new energy vehicles generally and electric vehicles specifically,” it said.

The company said the new subsidy policy will result in a “significant reduction in the total subsidy amount applicable to the ES8,” its first volume manufactured passenger car, compared to last year.

Full story

5) Dominic Lawson: Planes, Hypocrites And Automobiles
Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail, 6 May 2019

Poor Dame Emma Thompson: photographed in seat 2F of the first-class cabin of a British Airways flight from London to New York, while tucking in to her complimentary beef carpaccio canapes — only a fortnight after flying to the UK from Los Angeles to play her revolutionary part in the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations against climate change.

High-flying hypocrite: Dame Thompson is spotted on a British Airways flight from Heathrow to JFK on Friday morning, despite earlier demanding: ‘We should all fly less’

Thompson is charged with extreme hypocrisy, as Extinction Rebellion insists that flights (even economy ones) should only be taken in ‘an emergency’.
But I think we should give the Corbyn-supporting actress a bit of credit. She could, as she has in the past, have taken a private jet — which is even more CO2-generative per traveller.

Instead, she decided to slum it in the first-class cabin of a commercial airliner. That’s a true sacrifice.

A fortnight ago, Thompson flew to the UK from Los Angeles to play her revolutionary part in the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations against climate change
And it’s hard to be a passionate advocate of carbon emission reduction without wanting a little bit of the high life, too.

For example, the leading article of the left-of-centre Observer newspaper yesterday called on the world to do more to prevent ‘the life-threatening dangers of global warming in the Arctic’. It added: ‘As the world’s leaders turn their backs on the environment, we are at a crisis point. Individual consumer choices are important.’

Presumably, choices such as buying cars with much smaller engines, and certainly not monstrous gas-guzzlers of the sort which only those with no care for the planet’s future would zoom around in.

But what’s this, popping up on the Guardian/Observer website at exactly the same time as that stern lecture? A gushing review of the new £159,000 Bentley Continental GT, capable of reaching 207mph (almost three times the motorway speed limit). 

The reviewer exults about his driving experience in this beast: ‘Its vast engine is chortling happily. It weighs more than 2 tonnes, yet it can surge from 0-62mph in under 4 seconds. Sitting up front, the limitless potential of the W12 engine hovering beneath your toe, is a truly wonderful place to be.’

Full post

6) Carbon Tax Madness: ArcelorMittal To Cut European Steel Output
Argus News, 6 May 2019 

Only steel produced in Europe is subject to a carbon levy under the EU’s Emissions Trading System. The price of carbon has increased by around 230pc since the start of 2018, ArcelorMittal said.

Luxembourg-based steel producer ArcelorMittal will temporarily reduce its European steel output by 3mn t/yr because of weak demand.

The company will temporarily shut production at its steel mill in Poland’s Krakow and reduce production at its plant in Spain’s Asturias. A planned increase of shipments at ArcelorMittal Italy to a 6mn t/yr run rate will be slowed down.

Increased imports of steel into Europe despite safeguard measures adopted by the EU, high energy and carbon costs are affecting the business environment for steel producers, Arcelor said.

ArcelorMittal will push for further strengthening of safeguards to prevent an increase in imports amid weakening demand in EU neighbours such as Turkey. It is also eager for imports into Europe to face the same carbon costs as European producers.

“Despite the introduction of the permanent EU safeguard tariffs in February 2019 there has been a continued and consistent rise in flat steel imports into Europe,” said ArcelorMittal. Flat steel imports into Europe are currently at record highs, with imports of hot-rolled coil up by 37pc from 2017 on an annualised basis.

Full post

7) And Finally: What Ever Happened To Monbiot’s Global Meltdown?
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 6 May 2019

Back in 1999, the Moonbat was warning us that the world was already collapsing around us thanks to climate change:

Global warming means that flying across the Atlantic is now as unacceptable as child abuse

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 29th July 1999.

"The global meltdown has begun. Long predicted and long denied, the effects of climate change are arriving faster than even the gloomiest prophets expected. This week we learnt that the Arctic ecosystem is collapsing. The ice is melting, wiping out the feeding grounds of whales and walruses. Polar bear and seal populations appear to have halved. Three weeks ago, marine biologists reported that almost all the world’s coral reefs could be dead by the end of the coming century. Last year scientists found that between 70 and 90 per cent of the reefs they surveyed in the Indian Ocean had already expired, largely as a result of increasing water temperatures.

One month ago, the Red Cross reported that natural disasters uprooted more people in 1998 than all the wars and conflicts on earth combined. Climate change, it warned, is about to precipitate a series of “super-disasters”, a “new scale of catastrophe”. The demographer Dr Norman Myers calculates that 25 million people have already been displaced by environmental change, and this will rise to 200 million within 50 years. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reports that nine of the ten most dangerous diseases carried by insects and other vectors are likely to spread as a result of global warming. The British Government’s chief scientist has warned that climate change could cause the Gulf Stream to grind to a halt…."

In the twenty years since, every single one of his claims has been proved wrong.
  • Polar bear and walrus populations have increased.
  • Arctic sea ice has remained stable since 2007.
  • Coral reefs have not disappeared from the Indian Ocean.
  • Super disasters have not occurred.
  • Hundreds of millions have not been displaced.
  • Tropical diseases are not spreading because of global warming.
  • The Gulf Stream has not ground to a halt.

Not that this will stop him from making the same sort of silly claims now.

As for flying across the Atlantic, Emma Thompson evidently did not get the memo!

Full post & comments

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

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