Thursday, December 19, 2019

GWPF Newsletter: Boris Johnson May Ditch EU Green Regulations After Brexit, No 10 Suggests

Greta Expectations = Great Flop

In this newsletter:

1) U.N. Climate Conference Flops As Nations Deadlock On Hot-Button Issues
Valerie Richardson, The Washington Time, 16 December 2019
2) Boris Johnson May Ditch EU Green Regulations After Brexit, No 10 Suggests
The Independent, 17 December 2019

3) 'Boris Bounce' Sends FTSE To Best Day For A Year: £80 Billion Is Added To UK Economy Since Election Landslide
Daily Mail, 17 December 2019
4) Greta Expectations, COP Great Flop: UN Climate Ritual Ends According to Plan
Global Warming Policy Form, 17 December 2019
5) Rupert Darwall: Madrid Climate Conference Ends in Failure
Real Clear Energy, 16 December 2019
6) India’s Fossil-Fuel-First Policy Unyielding To Paris Climate Deal Pressure
Vijay Raj Jayaraj, Global Warming Policy Forum, 12 December 2019
7) Reality Check: Global Coal Consumption Set To Rise As Demands Grows In Developing Countries
The Hindu, 17 December 2019

Full details:

1) U.N. Climate Conference Flops As Nations Deadlock On Hot-Button Issues
Valerie Richardson, The Washington Time, 16 December 2019

Even the star-studded presence of Greta Thunberg and Harrison Ford couldn’t save the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

The annual climate fest was widely panned as a failure after wrapping up Sunday with no agreement on hot-button issues such as the Green Climate Fund, an international carbon market, “common metrics” for measuring non-CO2 emissions, and reimbursement to poorer nations for “loss and damage caused by man-made climate change.”

“I am disappointed with the results of #COP25,” tweeted U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, referring to the conference’s official name, the 25th Conference of the Parties.

After two weeks, delegates from about 200 countries could only agree that there is an “urgent need” to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement, despite pressure from activists who swarmed the Madrid gathering.

“The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis,” Mr. Guterres said. “But we must not give up, and I will not give up.”

Those tricky issues will be pushed next year to COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, but skeptics said there’s no reason to believe developed nations will adhere to a pledge to sink $100 billion into a fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

“The failure of COP25 to agree the thorny issue of climate finance doesn’t come as a surprise. In fact, we have been predicting this decade-old stalemate to continue,” said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum in London, calling it “highly unlikely that the $100 billion deadlock can be overcome.”

In a tweet, Cuban diplomat Bruno Rodriguez blamed a “lack of political will of industrialized countries. They try to put the burden on developing countries. Capitalism is unsustainable. Human species is faced with the risk of extinction.”

Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a supporter of President Trump, took a dig at the international community for its criticism over annual fires in the Amazon.

“I’d like to know: has there been a resolution for Europe to be reforested, or are they just going to keep bothering Brazil?” he asked, as reported by the BBC.

Not surprisingly, the Trump administration was blamed in part for the conference’s failure after the U.S. delegation was accused of blocking language on liability for climate “loss and damage.” The U.S. is also scheduled to exit the Paris agreement in 11 months.

“If the United States is not backing an agreement that is meaningful it is extraordinarily difficult for the rest of the world to come to an agreement,” said Sir David King, a British representative. “And I’m afraid as long as we have President Trump in the United States with President Bolsonaro in Brazil it is extraordinarily difficult to get all of those countries to agree.”

Full story

2) Boris Johnson May Ditch EU Green Regulations After Brexit, No 10 Suggests
The Independent, 17 December 2019

Downing Street suggested that the prime minister is no longer committed to pledges, made to MPs before the general election, to guarantee that standards will not be weakened when Britain leaves the EU.

A promise that MPs would be given a vote on whether or not to extend the transition period at the end of 2020 to avoid leaving the EU without a trade deal has also been ditched and will not be included in a key Brexit bill to be reintroduced this week.

The pledges were made by Mr Johnson and his team in October as they attempted to convince MPs to vote for the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

The bill implementing the deal passed its early stages in the Commons before Mr Johnson opted to pull the plug and instead call a general election. The subsequent poll delivered a governing majority of 80 for the Conservatives.

The original draft of the legislation included provisions to ensure that workers’ rights were not weakened after Brexit. Under questioning from MPs in October,

Mr Johnson also promised to include a similar measure on environmental protections.

However, No 10 refused to say that the guarantees would be in the revised draft being brought back this week.

Mr Johnson’s spokesperson said: “We plan to start the process before Christmas and will do so in the proper constitutional way in consultation with the speaker.”

The spokesperson said the new version of the bill would reflect the agreement reached with Brussels in October, indicating that it will not necessarily feature any concessions made by ministers to MPs since then.

Full story

3) 'Boris Bounce' Sends FTSE To Best Day For A Year: £80 Billion Is Added To UK Economy Since Election Landslide
Daily Mail, 17 December 2019

More than £80billion has been added to the value of Britain's biggest companies in a 'Boris bounce' since the general election.

As investors continued to cheer the Tory's crushing victory, the FTSE 100 index rose 2.25 per cent yesterday on its best day for a year.

This takes the total rally to 3.4 per cent in two days of trading since Boris Johnson sealed the biggest Tory majority since 1987.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the chances of a No Deal Brexit had fallen after the Conservative election victory, with Boris Johnson now able to pass his withdrawal bill in the House of Commons.

Speaking after financial markets closed, Mr Carney said: 'The worst-case scenario is effectively a No Deal, disorderly Brexit.

'The probability of that scenario has gone down because of the election result and the intention of the new government.

'The scenario itself and the risks that we protect the system against has not itself changed, it's just become less likely.'

The second tier FTSE 250, which includes more UK focused, medium sized companies, also nudged up 1.9pc having jumped 3.4 per cent on Friday.

It means that £82billion has been added to the market capitalisation of the UK's top 350 companies in just two days of trading as confidence has swept through financial markets.

Goldman Sachs said it was particularly upbeat about UK domestic companies in light of the election result on Thursday, especially house-builders and banks which have been hit by concerns over political uncertainty and no-deal Brexit.

Before the election it warned that a Labour government would wipe £367billion off Britain's biggest 350 companies through plans to confiscate ten per cent of their shares and hike corporation tax.

But in its latest note to investors, it said: 'Clarity on the UK's terms of exit from the EU should unlock pent-up business investment; the reversal of a decade of fiscal consolidation should provide a filip to domestic demand; and a pick-up in global growth should underpin a recovery in net exports.'

Full story

4) Greta Expectations, Great Flop: UN Climate Ritual Ends According to Plan
Global Warming Policy Form, 17 December 2019

We predicted that COP25 would turn out to be another flop. Here is the evidence of this year’s UN climate ritual and its habitual failure.

Christmas is coming, which means that it’s time for the Green Blob to head off to its annual warm-weather shindig: the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), a kind of winter wonderland for jet-setting virtue signallers.

This year is 25th time the delegates have met, and after such a long time there is a well-practiced routine to the week’s events: the hopes, the warnings, the army of virtue-signalling celebs.

In fact the routine is so well practiced that it’s hard to tell if anything is any different to any of the previous years, despite the great (or perhaps that should be Greta?) expectations engendered by 2019’s dramatic upsurge in climate hysteria.

So join us, if you will, in a review of this year’s climate bash, and wonder at environmentalists’  ability to repeat themselves, year after year after year, while learning precisely nothing.

The Annual UN Climate Ritual (pdf)

5) Rupert Darwall: Madrid Climate Conference Ends in Failure
Real Clear Energy, 16 December 2019

#TimeForAction was the slogan at this year’s Madrid climate conference that ended Sunday. #TimeForTalk would be more accurate. The talking was endless: more than 70,000 hours were spent failing to define a “market instrument,” something that was meant to have been decided at last year’s conference in Katowice, Poland. Even though the Madrid conference ran over into the weekend, making it the longest ever, the issue will be kicked into next year’s talks, in Glasgow, Scotland.

“I am disappointed,” United Nations secretary general António Guterres tweeted. He should be. Next year, countries are to submit their second set of five-year, nationally determined climate plans under the Paris Agreement. The Madrid conference was to have engendered a spirit of enhanced climate ambition, a kind of competition of climate virtuousness. All it could manage was a statement expressing “serious concern” about the widening gap between the participating parties’ collective efforts and the ambitious emissions trajectory required to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius.

Talk doesn’t cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The UN Environment Programme describes the last ten years as a lost decade, in terms of curbing global emissions. “There has been no real change in the global emissions pathway in the last decade,” UNEP says. Global emissions have risen at an average of 1.5% a year over the last ten years, pausing in 2016 but resuming the upward trend in 2017. Emissions have now reached a new record, with no sign yet of a peak. The underlying driver is the strong economic growth of non-OECD economies, which have grown at more than 4.5% a year, compared with only 2% a year for OECD members.

“The summary findings are bleak,” UNEP says in its tenth anniversary emissions-gap report. Just to put the world on track to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, emissions would need to be 55% lower in 2030 than in 2018. “Unprecedented efforts are required to transform societies, economies, infrastructure and governance institutions,” one of the report’s authors said at a conference side event. “It’s frustrating,” said another.

“The gap is growing.” To a third, drastic cuts in emissions require new values, new norms, and new lifestyles, all implying “a huge transformation of the whole of humanity.”

Asked what probability they’d ascribe to meeting the 1.5-degree target, one of the emissions-gap authors said that he preferred not to pose the question. If he answered it, people would conclude that the goal is impossible, and give up. Speaking two years before the Paris climate conference, Yvo de Boer, former executive secretary of the UN climate convention, was more candid. “The only way that a 2015 agreement can achieve a 2-degree goal is to shut down the whole global economy,” he said.

No climate conference is complete without Al Gore talking. Perhaps because he’s feeling some competitive pressure from Time’s Person of the Year, teenager Greta Thunberg, who arrived at the conference center with six armed UN security guards and nine additional security personnel, Gore’s performance was more histrionic than usual. He presented his standard fare about unprecedented wildfires, the North Pole melting in midwinter, the disappearing Greenland icecap causing Venice to flood, and so forth. Then Gore added a new climate catastrophe—Brexit. One million climate refugees had streamed into Europe, destabilizing its politics and leading to what he termed “this completely idiotic Brexit proposal.”

Full post

6) India’s Fossil-Fuel-First Policy Unyielding To Paris Climate Deal Pressure
Vijay Raj Jayaraj, Global Warming Policy Forum, 12 December 2019

The Indian government has adopted a fossil-fuel-first attitude and has made clear it will not compromise on India’s developmental goals.

Source: The Economic Times of India

The Paris Agreement is the United Nation’s flagship climate treaty aimed at reducing global CO2 emissions.
India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the country’s official commitment to Paris agreement, states that the total preliminary estimated cost for India’s climate change actions (between 2016 and 2030) are $2.5 trillion (at 2014-15 prices).

However, the proposed actions include no significant measures to curb India’s fossil fuel use or production. Moreover, the NDC states that the country reserves the right to overturn its commitments if the proposed climate mitigatory actions causes any impedance to the growth of individual economic sectors.

Earlier this year, the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, responding to Michael R. Bloomberg’s question on reducing coal, remarked,

This is right that the world’s third largest coal reserves is in India. In a poor country like India, we cannot ignore it but there is a solution to it…. We cannot deny the resources and assets that India has but we want to see how can we make use of these assets in an environment-friendly way. That is what we are focusing on.”

He reiterated on India’s renewable energy installations and said India is on track to achieve its 175 gigawatts capacity target from solar, wind and biomass (by 2022) and that he hopes India will increase the renewable target to 450 gigawatts in the near future.

India is also the key member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) which aims to reduce the cost of solar power installations across the globe. ISA has pledged a trillion US dollars towards the cause.

In August, during his speech at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, PM Modi mentioned that India is looking forward to “create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.”

Though India has increasing its renewable installations and desires to create carbon sinks, its dependency on fossil fuels remains unaffected and unaltered. The scope for any reduction in fossil fuel consumption is slim to none, as India has excluded the fossil fuel sector from its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the Consortium of Parties (COP) of the Paris agreement.

Currently, coal contributes about 72% of the total electricity generated in the country. India’s coal reserves are the third largest in the world. According to country’s long-term energy plan, coal is expected to contribute around 50% of total electricity demand in 2047, as renewables are expected to increase in India’s energy mix.

It is to be noted that the Indian government is also investing heavily in domestic coal infrastructure. Most of the current coal mining and handling systems at the state-run Coal India limited (CIL) are non-mechanized and the government is injecting 2.1 billion GBP to mechanize 35 projects.

Coal mining target is set at around 880 million tonnes for 2024. But the government is pushing to achieve 1 billion tonnes as soon as possible. News reports indicate that the government is set to announce key measures, including a relaxation of norms and issuance of global tenders, to attract large international miners to operate in the country.

Both the coal secretary and the coal minister have stressed the need to “urgently expand coal production” and “achieve the 1 billion tonnes target at the earliest”. In order to boost the domestic production, the Modi government is keen on liberalizing the coal sector and pushing for the maximum possible foreign direct investment. Under PM Modi’s rule, the country has added around 82 Gigawatts of coal power plants.

India’s thermal coal import grew by 19 percent in 2018, the highest ever, amounting to an total import of 172 million tonnes. In November 2019, Indian energy executives met Russian counterparts and the Russian ambassador to India in order to expediate the coal import from Russia.

The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, said “Long-term cooperation with Russian Far East in the coal sector will help India bridge the demand gap of coking coal in the country”. He also mentioned that the country is looking to “secure more coking coal for the domestic steel industry.”

Coal is just one aspect of India’s fossil aspirations. Oil import is also on a constant increase. The import from U.S. especially is at an all-time high and has skyrocketed in recent years owing to geopolitical tensions in the middle east. Energy trade was an important agenda of PM Modi’s visit to the U.S. in 2019 and the India’s trade with them is likely to increase by 40 percent in 2019-20, amounting to USD 10 billion.

Just days before the New York climate summit this year, Modi’s government released an update to their climate and finance policy in a document titled “Climate Summit for Enhanced Action: A Financial Perspective from India”. It outlaid India’s course of climate action and its reservations about the lack of climate funding from the developed nations (around 40 percent short of the USD 100 billion).

The report explicitly states “Despite the various climate finance decisions, there are attempts by some developed country Parties to shrug off even their modest past responsibilities.” While the document reiterates the country’s commitment to climate action (including mitigate climate change and promoting renewable energy), it clearly communicates that its efforts are on “best effort” basis.

Full post

7) Reality Check: Global Coal Consumption Set To Rise As Demands Grows In Developing Countries
The Hindu, 17 December 2019

Coal consumption is set to rise in the coming years as growing demand for electricity in developing countries outpaces a shift to cleaner sources of electricity in industrialised nations.

While use of the most polluting fossil fuel had a historic dip in 2019, the International Energy Agency anticipates steady increases in the next five years. That means the world will face a significant challenge in meeting pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Annual coal report

“There are few signs of change,” the agency wrote in its annual coal report released in Paris on Tuesday. “Despite all the policy changes and announcements, our forecast is very similar to those we have made over the past few years.”

While this year is on track for biggest decline ever for coal power, that is mostly due to high growth in hydroelectricity and relatively low electricity demand in India and China, said Carlos Fernandez Alvarez, senior energy analyst at the Paris-based IEA.

Despite the drop, global coal consumption is likely to rise over the coming years, driven by demand in India, China and Southeast Asia. Power generation from coal rose almost 2% in 2018 to reach an all-time high, remaining the world’s largest source of electricity.

Waning demand in industrialised nations

The steady outlook for coal comes in spite of waning demand in industrialised nations. Europe has set a goal of zeroing out carbon pollution by the middle of the century, which would mean drastic reductions for coal. In the US, competition from natural gas has cut into demand for coal, despite President Donald Trump’s vows to revive the industry.

The story is different in Asia, which will more than make up for reductions elsewhere. India, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, will see coal generation increase by 4.6% a year through 2024 to help power its growing economy. In Southeast Asia coal demand will grow more than 5% annually. China, which accounts for almost half the world’s consumption, will also have modest growth with usage peaking in 2022.

“How we address this issue in Asia is critical for the long-term success of any global efforts to reduce emissions,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, wrote in a foreword to the report.

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

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