Wednesday, January 1, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: Happy New Year!

U.S. Congress Abolishes Subsidies For Wind & Solar Energy

In this newsletter:

1) U.S. Congress Abolishes Subsidies For Wind & Solar Energy
Houston Chronicle, 26 December 2019 

2) Ben Pile: 2019 -The Year Of Peak Green Bullsh*t
Spiked, 30 December 2019

3 ) The End of a Decade When Climate Alarmism Tipped Abruptly Into Climate Crisis Hysteria
Jaime Jessop, Climate Scepticism, 28 December 2019
4) Apocalyptic Doomsday Cult Plans To Shut Down British News Media
Mail on Sunday, 29 December 2019
5 ) Josef Joffe: The Religion of Climatism
Commentary Magazine, November 2019
6 ) And Finally: Oil Will Fuel the Roaring 2020s
The Daily Telegraph, 28 December 2019

Full details:

1) U.S. Congress Abolishes Subsidies For Wind & Solar Energy
Houston Chronicle, 26 December 2019 

WASHINGTON – More than 25 years after Congress created tax credits to encourage the development of renewable energy, wind turbines and solar panels will soon have to fend for themselves as they never have before.

Under the spending deal approved shortly before Congress took its holiday break, the investment tax credit, which reimburses 30 percent of the cost of new solar systems, will begin winding down next month, dropping to 10 percent for most companies by 2022. The energy production tax credit, which gives wind power generators roughly two cent per kilowatt boost, will follow in 2021, decreasing steadily until eventually hitting zero in 2025.

In the short term, analysts forecast that both technologies will see surges in installations, as residents and developers seek to take advantage of the tax credits while they can. In 2017, wind and solar developers received $11.6 billion in credits, according to the independent Congressional Research Service.

But once the credits hit their designated ends, that growth is expected to slow. The research firm IHS Markit is forecasting wind development will peak next year at 14 gigawatts of new turbines. not to reach those heights again at least through 2050. The outlook for solar installations is less certain.

Solar installations are expected to grow quickly through 2023 and then gradually decline. IHS Markit predicts that solar will expand its generation capacity by 10 gigawatts in 2030 – down 10 percent fromtheroughly 11 gigawatts of solar generation installed in 2019. A gigawatt can power about 700,000 homes.

But Camron Barati, an analyst at IHS Markit, said that forecast might be too pessimistic. The cost of solar panels continues to fall and the efficiency of the materials that convert sunlight into electricity is only increasing.

“We generally expect to be revising the long-term outlook upwards,” Barati said. “Through the remainder of the decade the cost competitiveness of [solar] technology is becoming quite compelling even without a tax incentive.”

Federal tax credits helped Texas become — by far — the U.S. leader in wind energy. The state, which has about 27 gigawatts of installed wind capacity, accounts for more than one-fourth of the electricity generated by wind in the United States.

Solar, still a small player in Texas’ energy mix, is growing rapidly. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s power grid manager, projects that installed solar generating capacity will nearly quadruple to about 11 gigawatts in 2021 from 3 gigawatts at the end of this year.

After years of supersonic growth — wind and solar accounted for more than 60 percent of new generation on the U.S. power grid this year — the end of the tax credits could well mark the beginning of a sobering period for wind and solar developers. Of the approximately $18 billion the federal government spends on energy subsidies each year, more than 60 percent goes to renewable energy.

Without that cash infusion, the wind and solar industries will need to become even more efficient, competing with energy sources such as natural gas and nuclear that will continue to receive federal subsidies. Under federal tax law, oil and natural gas drillers are singled out for lucrative deductions based on the amount of energy they produce. And nuclear power plants receive a long list of federal benefits, including a $500 million cap on liability in the event of a meltdown.

The task is especially tall for wind energy, which is a “more mature technology” than solar, said Max Cohen, another analyst at IHS Markit. Unable to build bigger turbines to increase efficiency — at least with current technology — engineers are developing wind farms where advanced software adjusts the angles of individual turbines to improve the flow of wind across the entire farm….

In the meantime, the renewable energy industry is not giving up on continued government support. Many states are setting ambitious goals to increase the wind, solar and other clean energy technologies in their power mix. New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey, for example, have planned a series of offshore wind projects, in hopes of jump starting the industry there, despite the initial high cost.

Federal tax credits could make a comeback, too. While Democrats might have failed in their bid to expand support for clean energy technologies, the situation could well change after next year’s election.

Full story

2) Ben Pile: 2019 -The Year Of Peak Green Bullsh*t
Spiked, 30 December 2019

Greta, Prince Harry and Extinction Rebellion took the eco-cult to new heights of madness.

2019 was the most extraordinary year of green bullshit yet. Despite the planet being a wealthier, healthier and safer place than it was when fears of global warming first appeared on the political agenda in the 1980s – and despite the failure of more than half a century of green prognostications – crazy and destructive green ideas still dominate politics.

Royal hypocrisy

In 2019, green doublespeak went mainstream. Harry and Meghan had intended to ‘eco-signal’ by warning us about climate change. At the same time, they were hopping on private jets to stay in luxury villas. Despite attempts by some celebrities to defend the royal couple from criticism, newspapers across the world pointed out that actions speak louder than words. What Harry and Meghan’s royal hypocrisy showed was that elite environmentalism is less about saving the planet than about telling people how to live and to know their place.

Greta and the school strikes

The only truly new thing that has emerged over the past year or so has been the phenomenon of Greta Thunberg and her school-strike movement. For years, the ‘green blob’ network of campaigning organisations, corporations, academics and UN agencies has fantasised about mobilising the young as a political force. After pumping billions of children full of green propaganda, a climate avatar has arrived in the form of the Swedish truant-cum-activist.

There could be no doubting the sincerity of the teen who bore the emotional scars inflicted on her by the movement that she was to lead – she had been so traumatised by green propaganda that she had not spoken, not eaten and had refused to go to school. Environmentalism is nothing if not a cult of self-harm.

Political, cultural and religious leaders fell over themselves to be seen being scolded by the child. Unlike Harry and Meghan, Greta refused to fly. Instead of private jets, European royalty, millionaires and superstars loaned her their sailing yachts and Teslas. To keep her own personal carbon footprint down, sailing crews and her entourage had to fly across the Atlantic.

Politicians and campaigning organisations may have found it useful to hide their political ambitions behind children. But to many people, the emotional manipulation of impressionable minds is unconscionable. It has now emerged that the false stories that many of the children have fallen victim to – such as the claims that charismatic creatures like walruses and polar bears face extinction or that the world’s rainforests face imminent collapse – are distressing young children and causing real harm.

The school strikes may continue next year but, at some point, parents will start to demand that organisations which have promulgated the lies that are damaging their children are held to account.

Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is perhaps the living embodiment of green bullshit. It is hard to add much to the volumes of criticism of XR that already exists: it is a movement of bizarre, narcissistic, anti-democratic, upper-middle-class, regressive zealots. XR has no better grasp of the world than their child co-protesters.

Full post
3 ) The End of a Decade When Climate Alarmism Tipped Abruptly Into Climate Crisis Hysteria
Jaime Jessop, Climate Scepticism, 28 December 2019

In the final days of 2019, there is much to reflect upon events of the past year and, with the closing of the second decade of the 21st Century, much to reflect upon how climate change alarmism has itself alarmingly morphed into something much more dangerous, visceral, urgent, ideologically driven and immediate as regards public perception and societal impact.

A decade during which global warming faded into obscurity (on account of the fact that there wasn’t any from 1998-2013) to be replaced almost universally by the more politically correct term of ‘climate change’, which has itself now been largely displaced in activist circles and the media by the terms ‘climate emergency’ and ‘climate crisis’. Ironically so, because, bereft of an actual climate crisis, alarmist scientists and activists have proceeded to invent one, linguistically, as in the case of the Guardian’s newly introduced style guide and by co-opting extreme weather events and their impacts into the general narrative.

In the absence also of any observably catastrophic global rise in temperature throughout the 21st century (which not even ‘pause-busting’ adjustments to temperature data could conjure up), alarmists have turned to inventing imminent future catastrophes via the invocation of highly speculative ‘tipping points’ which supposedly will be ‘triggered’ at imaginary and entirely ad hoc global warming thresholds (1.5C, 2C, 3C etc. relative to pre-industrial baseline). They have also increasingly employed the highly unrealistic ‘business as usual’ scenario RCP8.5 to supercharge their global warming projections in order to manufacture climate alarmist narratives in the media, a strategy which only in the last couple of months has started to be seriously questioned. Roger Pielke Jr has recently been at the vanguard of the movement to expose the misuse of this nightmarishly unrealistic scenario as ‘business as usual’:

The decade started off with the climate science community desperately trying to salvage some shred of credibility from the fallout of climategate. In the event, they never managed – they just airbrushed over the warts and manufactured official-looking false exonerations of their appalling behaviour, bordering on scientific fraud in some cases. Having done this, they carried on regardless – ‘business as usual’ you might say. With the RCP8.5 debacle, due to be now carried over (with interest) into the ‘new, improved’ SSP/CMIP6 fantasy couplings, one can see that nothing has changed. Bad practice and dodgy science are still rewarded with lavish grants if the message remains still that ‘It’s time to panic!’.

Judith Curry has written an excellent push back article to the lukewarm attempt by Wallace-Wells, among others, to dial down the alarmist hype in the light of the RCP8.5 criticisms, whilst still maintaining the necessary ‘scary’ projections of future warming.

1.0 C warming for the remainder of the 21st century seems pretty benign. But if you add the ~1.0 C warming since 1890, then we are at 2 C – ‘dangerous’ 2C, and then 1.5C, are the touted values of ‘dangerous’ climate change. Some context on ‘dangerous’, and some different perspectives in these previous blog posts:

Simply put, in terms of ‘dangerous’ we are looking at extreme weather events, sea level rise and species extinction. I’ve written numerous posts on all of the above, won’t rehash here, other than to point you to the recent IPCC Special Report on Oceans, Cryosphere and Climate, since sea level rise is one issue that is very directly and monotonically linked to warming. Their main conclusion regarding sea level rise:

“Projections of global mean SLR under RCP2.6 result in 0.42 m (0.28–0.57 m; likely range) in 2100. Projections of global mean SLR under RCP4.5 results in0.55 m (0.39–0.71 m, likely range) in 2100. Projections of global mean SLR under RCP8.5 results in 0.97 m (0.55–1.40 m) in 2100.”

The issue of 2 C as ‘dangerous’ is tied to concerns about tipping points, and massive melt of ice sheets that were observed in previous interglacials at comparable temperature.

As the third decade of the 21st Century dawns and a spotless Cold Sun rises ever higher, we’re going to see a lot more use of scary emissions scenarios coupled with climate models having ridiculously high sensitivities to CO2 to ‘scientifically’ justify urgent action on climate change. We are going to see a lot more talk of ‘tipping points’ – even at half a degree extra warming from the present – and we are going to be regaled with continuing scare stories about extreme weather which will be formally attibuted to global warming using even more unrealistic CMIP6 models.

Full post

4) Apocalyptic Doomsday Cult Plans To Shut Down British News Media
Mail on Sunday, 29 December 2019

Extinction Rebellion activists plan to unleash an unprecedented attack on the British media, sparking accusations that they want to infringe free speech.

The Mail on Sunday has obtained a copy of a document entitled The Great March For Truth & Blockade, which details how six key print and broadcast media sites would be targeted by environmental protesters next spring.

They include a print works in Hertfordshire where millions of national and regional newspapers are produced; Broadcasting House, which is home to the BBC; and the offices of newspaper groups including News UK, which publishes The Times, and DMG Media, publishers of The Mail on Sunday.

If accepted by Action Circle, the planning committee of Extinction Rebellion (XR), the fortnight of direct action in mid-April would focus on forcing the media to ‘tell the truth’ about climate change.

The plans include staging ‘occupations/blockades’ outside media headquarters in London before a ‘Great March for Truth’ on April 16 to the Broxbourne print works.

‘The plant has only one exit road leading to the A10, which makes it very vulnerable to a mass blockade,’ the proposal says. ‘This would block almost all national newspapers for the South of England from being delivered from this plant.

‘The disruptive impact of the capital and entire south of the country waking up to almost empty newspaper stands would send a shock through the system, as a wake-up call to the seriousness with which the media needs to take the crises.’

It says the protest could last for 12 hours or ‘having set up the blockade, XR could consider running it continuously until the Sunday morning, thus blocking the Friday, Saturday and Sunday papers’.

The document concedes it would require ‘high-risk, arrestable, undercover operations’.

It even suggests filling empty newspaper stands with ‘special edition copies of The Hourglass’, XR’s own newspaper. Ironically, Donnachadh McCarthy, co-author of the proposal, writes a weekly column for The Independent, one of the companies his document suggests blockading.

Full story

5 ) Josef Joffe: The Religion of Climatism
Commentary Magazine, November 2019

A new faith emerges

Greta Thunberg, the teenager from Stockholm, is the prophet of a new religion sweeping the West. Call it Climatism. Like any religion worthy of the name, it comes with its own catechism (what to believe) and eschatology (how the world will end). Thunberg’s bible is the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which gives us 12 years to save civilization as we know it.

We have prayed to the false gods of fossil-fired growth, runs Thunberg’s indictment. Guilty are the adults who have “lied to us” and given us “false hope.” But her children’s crusade—no-school “Fridays for Future”—will show the path to redemption.

And so, the youngsters did. For September 20, the 16-year-old had managed to organize worldwide protest marches. From New York to Nairobi, from Asia to Australia, tens of thousands thronged the squares and streets of their cities, chanting: “You had a future, and so should we!” 2019 is the year 1 a.g., Anno Gretae.

Of course, Greta Thunberg did not come out of nowhere. All new religions emerge from competing sects, as Jesus did in Jerusalem and Muhammad in the Arabian Hejaz. Why did she succeed so quickly, virtually in a space of months? An “innocent child,” muses Gerard Baker in the Wall Street Journal, “is an inspiring story that is very effective in offering role models and propagating the faith.” A guileless demeanor trumps reams of data and multiple regressions churned out by the IPCC. But it also helps that Greta has a flawless PR machine running in the background at all times.

Environmentalism is not a new thing under the sun. It has a long tradition going back to the American Sierra Club, founded in 1892 for purposes both secular and wholesome. Among the club’s feats are wondrous national parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone. But I first noticed the creedal nature of the movement 12 years ago in California. In Napa Valley, the Gaia Hotel had ditched the Gideon Bible in favor of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.1

Eclipsed by Thunberg, Gore is nonetheless still in the prophecy business. Writing in the New York Times last September, he doubled down on doom. “More destructive Category 5 hurricanes are developing,” he wrote. “Monster fires ignite and burn on every continent but Antarctica, ice is melting in large amounts there and in Greenland, and accelerating sea-level rise now threatens low-lying cities and island nations.”

For the believers, the debate is closed, and exhortation has segued into excommunication. No more catty humor, like that on display in the unforgettable bumper sticker from the 1970s: “Save the Planet! Kill yourself!” Those who reject the faith are “climate-change deniers,” as in “denying the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:23). Relate Climatism to Judeo-Christianity, and the psycho-structural analogies abound.

First, you need a prophet like Isaiah who rains damnation on the wayward. “Woe to a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers! They have forsaken the Lord and turned their back on him” (Isaiah 1:4). Greta, and Gore before her, replicates the language of the Good Book. Today, penitence demands renouncing the obscene material pleasures that doom our planet with megatons of noxious gases.

Second, invoke the apocalypse, as in the Revelation of St. John (Revelation 13:13), where God will “make fire come down from the heavens.” Religion, pagan or monotheist, is shot through with cosmic angst attacks. The Deluge goes back to the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh epic (1800 b.c.e.). Sodom and Gomorrah are incinerated for their debaucheries. Egypt is punished with the Ten Plagues to force Pharaoh to “let my children go.” Hardly had they fled when God wanted to slay them all for praying to the Golden Calf. In a brilliant plea, Israel’s greatest prophet, Moses, manages to stave off extinction. God reduced the death sentence to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.

Today, the harbingers of doom are armed with assumptions, models, and data. Melting ice will raise sea levels, swallowing coasts and islands. What the floods spare will be devastated by droughts or hurricanes. The most recent sign from up high is the darkened skies over the Amazon’s rain forests, the “lungs of the world,” which presages collective death by asphyxiation. For the first iteration of this threat, one need only go back to Revelation 6:13: “The sun became black, and the whole moon became as blood.”

Whereas Isaiah 3:14 thunders, “You have devoured the vineyard, and the spoils of the poor is in your houses,” today’s climate prophets target the exploitation of the Third World by the rich West. Hence, “the Lord will take away their finery, the anklets and headbands” (Isaiah 3:18). And “before me every knee will bow” (Isaiah 45:23).

Third, if you “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15), Armageddon will yield to hope and salvation. But deliverance demands sacrifice, an idea going back to the earliest days of humanity. You could once expiate your sins by burying your baubles. Today, you must trade cars for bicycles. Stop gorging on meat whose production destroys forests and poisons the atmosphere with methane. Shrink your carbon footprint by using trains instead of planes. Ditch plastic in favor of hand-knitted shopping bags. Turn down the thermostat and pay a price for CO2 emissions. Such a levy makes economic sense by putting a market price on profligacy, but one can’t help recalling the indulgences condemned by another prophet, Martin Luther, in the 16th century.

Of course, faith has nothing to do with earth science. The latest IPCC Report (2018), authored by luminaries in the field, looks like the very model of scientific inquiry. It is 618 pages long and packed with graphs, math, and time series. Given the dense academic language, it is doubtful whether anybody apart from the proofreaders has read the tome in its entirety.

Nor is it necessary to run the whole course in order to get at a basic truth—a truth regularly ignored by the media, with its penchant for turning “might be” into “is” and “could happen” into “will happen.” For our purpose, it is enough to read the 24 pages of the “Summary for Policy Makers.” It is preceded by a motto taken from the beloved French children’s book author Antoine de St. Exupéry that gives the game away: The report is about salvation but written in the language of science. The quote reads: “As for the future, the task is not to foresee, but to enable it.”

The data-driven language of the climatologists is more timid than the thunder of the Prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah et al. mince no words when they let loose death and damnation. Unless you repent, God will strike. You will suffer hellish retribution. You will perish. The authors of the IPCC “Summary” hedge their bets. “Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming” (emphasis added). “It is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase” (emphasis in original).

Anthropogenic global warming is again “estimated” as such and such. Extreme weather is explained by “attribution studies,” which suggests that the authors are not sure about whether one variable drives another, but they offer probabilistic assessments. Anthropogenic emissions “alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C” (emphasis in original). (Note that the media are comfortable bandying around the figure of 2 or even 4 degrees.) Risks are not certain, avers the report, but depend on all kinds of factors, such as the “rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability.” So if X goes up, as assumed, then Y and Z might follow.

Full post

6 ) And Finally: Oil Will Fuel the Roaring 2020s
The Daily Telegraph, 28 December 2019

The price of benchmark Brent oil has averaged $79 a barrel over the last decade. The financial crisis, an unforeseen surge in US shale production and a combustible Middle East defined the period for oil markets. The next 10 years could be even more volatile for the world’s most important fossil fuel.

In 2010, the outlook for demand looked just as uncertain as it does today in the wake of what became known as the Great Recession, when global GDP fell by 5.1pc and oil consumption dropped by 1.6pc in 2009. Low oil prices helped trigger the Arab Spring uprisings, which started as bread riots in Tunisia before China’s economic stimulus helped catapult the value above $125 a barrel.

Then, as now, the oil industry was criticised for its environmental impact following BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout, which resulted in almost five million barrels of crude spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

At the dawn of a new decade, many of the challenges facing the oil market look very similar to those in the last. Global warming could force producers to keep oil in the ground unless new carbon capture technologies can be developed to remove emissions from the atmosphere, or draconian measures are taken to sharply cut consumption.

“As we enter a new decade, the energy complex feels like it is all cascading towards a race to the bottom,” wrote S&P Global Platts Analytics in a research note. “All energy commodities are competing for a share of finite downstream demand. At the same time, continued growth in renewables, efficiency gains and increased penetration of EVs [electric vehicles] and hydrogen will limit the overall call on fossil fuels.”

The growth of electric vehicles could start to eat into demand for fossil fuels in passenger transport by 2030, according to some forecasts. Meanwhile, changes to reduce the levels of sulphur in marine fuels coming into force in 2020 will help to clean up the world’s shipping lanes and transform a sector which accounts for about 5.5m barrels a day of oil demand, according to Platts Analytics.

In the Middle East, where about a fifth of the world’s oil originates, the political environment looks evermore unstable. Attacks on key infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and tankers anchored near the Strait of Hormuz throughout 2019 have highlighted the ongoing risks to the world’s most important supply basin. Meanwhile, Iran’s crude remains frozen out of world markets by US sanctions.

Opec’s alliance with Russia will be tested over the next decade. With Moscow’s help, the group has disguised its chronic decline in market share and influence. Coordinated action orchestrated between Riyadh and the Kremlin increased cuts to 1.7m barrels a day until the end of March. Holding together its Opec+ pact beyond 2020 will be vital for the cartel’s future throughout the decade.

US oil production is likely to continue to shape world markets. America is now producing more crude than Saudi Arabia but its success could ultimately be its undoing. Lower oil prices, caused partly by the shale revolution, have started to hit the prolific Permian Basin, where rig counts have fallen and operators have cut spending. But Platts Analytics still expects the US to record the biggest gains next year, with supply expected to grow by 1.3m barrels a day.

“This will place domestic production above domestic consumption for the first time in decades, but the US will still be an importer of crude oil in 2020, with exports of shale jumping 1.5m barrels a day. Sanctions on Iran and Venezuela will hold throughout the year, while Saudi Arabia will lead the rest of Opec+ to greater supply restraint (and the fourth year in a row of Opec declines) in its last great opportunity to support prices,” said Platts Analytics.

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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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