Saturday, April 25, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: It's All Over For Europe's Green Deal

Angela Merkel’s MEPs Say ‘It’s No Longer Financially Viable’

In this newsletter:

1) It’s All Over For Europe’s Green Deal As Angela Merkel’s MEPs Say ‘It’s No Longer Viable’
Focus Magazin, 24 April 2020

2) Europe Stocks Slide After EU Leaders Fail to Reach Stimulus Deal
Bloomberg, 24 April 2020

3) Coronavirus Reality Check Means Australian Green Tape Is On The Chopping Block
Jo Nova, 24 April 2020

4) After 30 Years Of Trying, Mercedes-Benz Ends Hydrogen Car Development Because It’s Too Costly
Electrek, 23 April 2020

5) BBC Fake Climate Story Debunked As Victoria Falls Are Back To Normal
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 23 April 2020

6) Scientists Criticise The Government For 'Following The Science' 
The Guardian, 24 April 2020

7) Ronald Bailey: Earth Day At 50 - Who Got It Wrong, Who Got It Right?
Reason online, 22 April 2020

Full details:

1) It’s All Over For Europe’s Green Deal As Angela Merkel’s MEPs Say ‘It’s No Longer Viable’
Focus Magazin, 24 April 2020

Berlin. Opposition to the EU’s Green Deal promoted by EU Commission leader Ursula von der Leyen is growing among Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU MEPs in the European Parliament. 

Markus Pieper is the leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic CDU/CSU parliamentary party in the European Parliament

The leader of the Parliamentary Party Markus Pieper told news magazine FOCUS:

"The Green Deal was a gigantic challenge for an economy in top shape. After the corona bloodletting, it is simply not financially viable.”

Pieper suggests, among other things, to expand trading in CO2 to electric cars and building renovations instead of fixed CO2 quotas. “Then the market regulates the progress in climate protection according to supply and demand via a price mechanism,” Pieper told FOCUS.

Pieper also called for energy policy to be the “core concern of EU foreign policy” in order to import more electricity from renewable energy from Africa and the Middle East.

The Federal Government also warned that the current carbon price of ten euros per tonne of CO2 should be maintained and the decision by the Federal Council on a higher carbon price should be rejected.

Full story (in German)

*** See also GWPF coverage of EU Green Deal ***

2) Europe Stocks Slide After EU Leaders Fail to Reach Stimulus Deal
Bloomberg, 24 April 2020

European stocks fell, snapping two days of gains after the region’s leaders failed to agree on a long-term stimulus package and reports of a failed Covid-19 drug trial weighed on sentiment.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.2% as of 8:24 a.m. in London, heading for its first weekly drop in three. All 19 industry groups were down, with cyclicals including carmakers and banks leading the decline...

Bulls were dealt a blow on Friday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pledge to back a huge stimulus package for the European Union wasn't enough to force through a deal during a videoconference on Thursday. Further damping sentiment, an antiviral drug by Gilead Sciences Inc. was reported to have flopped in its first randomized clinical trial, though the company disputed that characterization.

“The European Council Meeting was a bit a disappointment and market expectations were possibly too high,” says Alberto Tocchio, Chief Investment Officer at Colombo Wealth SA. “We got the impression that the will to find a solution is closer than ever but bureaucracy is working very slow, market will need to be more patient and we are not so sure they will be,” he adds.

Full story

3) Coronavirus Reality Check Means Australian Green Tape Is On The Chopping Block
Jo Nova, 24 April 2020

Now is the perfect time to get rid of pointless green burdens on our economy

Thanks to the rude wake up call from a real global pandemic, suddenly the fluffy luxury of “Green” rules and strangling red tape are put in the right perspective. Few are going to complain.

Despite this outbreak appearing to tick the Green Left fantasy list, any reality check exposes how frivolous most fashionable angst is. There is a great opportunity here to clean out some of the worst of the Big Government burden.

The  Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is in the governments sights:

Green tape to be cleared for recovery
Richard Ferguson and Dennis Shanahan, The Australian

Environment Minister Sussan Ley is set to cut green tape in time for October’s post-coronavirus federal budget, as a new report shows restrictive environmental regu­lations have grown 4½ times since 2000 and threaten to hamper the economic recovery.

Think tank the Institute­ of Public Affairs’s new study of federal environment laws found regu­lations have grown by more than 10 per cent each year and have ­delayed up to $65bn in new investment.

As Scott Morrison looks ahead to rebuilding the Australian economy after the coronavirus crisis passes, the government is moving to clear its backlog of environmental decisions on dams, roads, public transport, mines and other key projects by June.

National Cabinet will be asked to fast track review of Australian environmental regulations
Lanai Scarr, The West Australian

National Cabinet will be asked to fast-track a major 10-year review of Australia’s environmental regulations as a way to boost the nation’s economic revival and cut green tape post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many projects, including in the WA resources sector, often get tied up in environmental assessments for long periods, acting as a wet blanket for investment.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today reducing green tape would be key.

National Cabinet will meet tomorrow to consider the next steps forward for easing social distancing measures as Australia continues to keep a lid on new COVID-19 cases and keep the curve flattened.

“Ensuring that we’re moving quickly through approval processes and providing that certainty for business investment … will be … a key part of the economic recovery strategy,” Mr Morrison said....

Full post & comments

4) After 30 Years Of Trying, Mercedes-Benz Ends Hydrogen Car Development Because It’s Too Costly
Electrek, 23 April 2020

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is killing its program to develop passenger cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The company has been working on fuel-cell vehicles for more than 30 years — chasing the dream of a zero-emissions car that has a long driving range, three-minute fill-ups, and emits only water vapor. In the end, the company conceded that building hydrogen cars was too costly, about double the expense of an equivalent battery-electric vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz will wind down production of GLC F-Cell, its only current fuel-cell model. The GLC-F-Cell was developed in a 2013 collaboration with Ford and Nissan.

The idea of the collaboration was to kickstart the production of fuel-cell cars and hydrogen infrastructure. Mercedes-Benz was the only carmaker of the three partners to produce a vehicle in the program.

Mercedes-Benz only made a few hundred examples of the GLC F-Cell because manufacturing costs for the model were so high. The car was used for business promotions but was never offered for sale to the public.

Daimler research boss Markus Schäfer in January said:

"Fuel cells work great. It’s just a cost issue, and it’s all about scaling. We need volume.

Full story

5) BBC Fake Climate Story Debunked As Victoria Falls Are Back To Normal
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 23 April 2020

Remember the BBC’s fake news last November?


Turns out it was not CLIMATE CHANGE, but WEATHER!

Victory Falls Thunders Again After Stark Dry Season

After photos from Victoria Falls amid its dry season caused great concern in December, the magnificent falls are stronger than ever.

Victoria Falls, located at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, is not only one of the seven wonders of the world and classified as the biggest waterfall in the world, but it is also a tourist destination that allows the economies of both African countries to thrive.

The Kololo tribe, which resided in the area in the 1800s, named the falls "Mosi-oa-Tunya," meaning "the smoke that thunders."

Both the indigenous name and the name Victoria Falls, given by Scottish explorer David Livingstone, are recognized officially.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews said the climate of the upper Zambezi River watershed is tropical, seasonal and continental, with "sharply distinct" wet and dry seasons. ….

Trevor Lane, a conservationist that works for Bhejane Trust, lives in Victoria Falls.

He made clear that while people may be concerned for the flow of the falls from the pictures of the dry season, the water is not going anywhere any time soon.

"The falls [have] been like this for hundreds of years," Lane said. "It’s almost like the river in rebellion has come down in this mess of floods this year to show that it’s not going to dry up."

Full story

6) Scientists Criticise The Government For 'Following The Science' 
The Guardian, 24 April 2020

Experts have voiced growing frustration over the UK government’s claim that it is “following the science”, saying the refrain is being used to abdicate responsibility for political decisions.

They also raised concerns that the views of public health experts were being overlooked, with disproportionate weight given to the views of modellers.

“As a scientist, I hope I never again hear the phrase ‘based on the best science and evidence’ spoken by a politician,” Prof Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, told the Guardian.

“This phrase has become basically meaningless and used to explain anything and everything.”

The government has repeatedly said it is being “led by the science” on decisions ranging from banning mass gatherings to closing schools, the use of face masks and, most recently, the prospects of lifting the lockdown.

However, Sridhar and others argued that scientific views on these topics could be wide-ranging and dependent on a scientist’s field of expertise.

The diversity of scientific views was apparent in March when case numbers were rising rapidly but the government chose not to ban mass gatherings or introduce wide-reaching physical distancing.

“World  Health Organization advice, and what we’ve learned from lots of previous outbreaks in low- and middle-income countries, is that the faster you move at the start, the better, because it’s exponential growth,” Sridhar said. “In public health, a test, trace and isolate campaign would’ve been where your mind first went.”

Instead, she said, the government appeared to be basing policy on the presumption of a binary choice between two scenarios, played out in computer models, of either eradicating the virus or it becoming endemic....

Sridhar said the failure to fully consider the perspectives of experts beyond epidemiology may have contributed to misguided decisions. Models appear not to have factored in the role of hospital staff shortages, which may have diverted attention from the urgent need for adequate personal protective equipment, she said.

The concept of shielding the most vulnerable “looks beautiful” in models, she said, but in reality care homes are facing major outbreaks and multigenerational households are struggling to isolate the vulnerable. “You can’t take these people out of the system and isolate them as if they were a data point on a graph,” she said.

“There’s a real problem if you have a collection of people from the same background, the same field, the same institutions; that can lead to blindspots and groupthink,” Sridhar added. “Diversity is clearly important for better decision-making.”

Full story

7) Ronald Bailey: Earth Day At 50 - Who Got It Wrong, Who Got It Right?
Reason online, 22 April 2020

Half a century later, a look back at the forecasters who got the future wrong—and one who got it right

About 20 million Americans turned out for the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Lectures and rallies took place at more than 2,000 college campuses, 10,000 elementary and high schools, and thousands of other places across the country. Forty-two states adopted resolutions endorsing Earth Day, and Congress recessed so that legislators could participate in the activities in their districts. It is sometimes described as, up to that time, the largest public demonstration in history.

The lectures and literature surrounding the event featured lots of dismal predictions about the future. One such compendium of doom was The Environmental Handbook, whose cover noted that it had been “prepared for the first national environmental teach-in.” Commissioned by the group Friends of the Earth, the book preached the perils of rising population and imminent depletion of nonrenewable resources. Many of its contributors—let’s call them the Catastrophists—warned that even such drastic actions as halving the number of human beings and stopping economic growth completely might not be enough to prevent the imminent ecological cataclysm.

A different group of researchers believed that while economic growth and technological progress had created some ecological problems, these things also would be a source of solutions. Let’s call these folks the Prometheans. The economist Theodore Schultz argued in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1972 that the expansion of modern agriculture would free up more land for nature. Other proponents of this more sanguine outlook included the oceanographer Cy Adler, the economist Christopher Freeman, and Nature editor emeritus John Maddox, author of the 1972 book The Doomsday Syndrome.

Today, the Earth Day Network hopes a billion people across the world will participate in Earth Day 2020, where the 50th anniversary focus will be on man-made climate change. Living as we do in the future that the Catastrophists and the Prometheans were forecasting, now is a great time to look back at the claims made five decades ago. Which side had the abler prophets?

The Catastrophists

In his contribution to The Environmental Handbook, an essay called “The Limits of Adaptability,” the biologist René Dubos claimed that “the dangers posed by overpopulation are more grave and more immediate in the U.S. than in less industrialized countries. This is due in part to the fact that each U.S. citizen uses more of the world’s natural resources than any other human being and destroys them more rapidly, thereby contributing massively to the pollution of his own surroundings and of the earth as a whole.”

Handbook editor Garrett De Bell’s essay claimed that overpopulation was the biggest reason for mankind’s increasing use of pollution-causing energy sources. While “population control will take time,” De Bell argued, we could get a start on a solution “by ceasing to use power for trivial purposes.” Specifically, the prices for energy supplies should be so scaled as to discourage people from using such “abundant luxuries” as blenders, can openers, power saws, mowers, clothes dryers, air conditioners, hair dryers—and cars, of course: “If you wanted to design a transportation system to waste the earth’s energy reserves and pollute the air as much as possible, you couldn’t do much better than our present system dominated by the automobile.”

De Bell also noted that burning fossil fuels was increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “Scientists are becoming worried about increasing CO2 levels because of the greenhouse effect, with its possible repercussions on the world climate,” he wrote. Reducing energy use in the U.S. by 25 percent during the following decade could be a start toward “preventing disastrous climatic changes.”

In their contribution to the Handbook, political scientist Robert Rienow and his wife, author Leona Train Rienow, declared that “a New Yorker on the street took into his lungs the equivalent in toxic materials of 38 cigarettes a day.” Although factories and residential heating contributed to urban smog, automobiles were the biggest culprits: “While cars get faster and longer, lives get slower and shorter. While Chrysler competes with Buick for the getaway, cancer competes with emphysema for the layaway. This generation is indeed going to have to choose between humans and the automobile. Perhaps most families have too many of both.”

The book’s most urgent vision of imminent global environmental disaster was courtesy of the Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich. He sketched a scenario in which devastating famines would kill tens of millions of people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America by the end of the 1970s, and smog disasters in Los Angeles and New York would kill 200,000 Americans in 1973. Warning that “America’s resource situation was bad and bound to get worse,” he dismissed “cornucopian economists” by imagining future congressional hearings in which a “distinguished geologist from the University of California” would urge that “economists be legally required to learn at least the most elementary facts of geology.”

Ehrlich’s essay was not a prediction for how the 1970s would literally unfold. But it was obviously designed to scare people about the impending ecological apocalypse, and it did conclude with an actual prediction: “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born.” He added that by 1975, “some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100–200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

Harrison Brown of the National Academy of Sciences published a chart in the September 1970 issue of Scientific American projecting that humanity would run out of copper shortly after 2000; lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990. Brown claimed that his estimates took into account the possibilities that “new reserves will be discovered by exploration or created by innovation.” The February 2, 1970, issue of Time quoted the ecologist Kenneth Watt: “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil.”

And in January 1970, Life magazine warned: “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution.”

The Prometheans

People in developed countries “have been assailed by prophecies of calamity,” Maddox wrote in The Doomsday Syndrome.

“To some, population growth is the most immediate threat. Others make more of pollution of various kinds, the risk that the world will run out food or natural resources or even the possibility that economic growth and the prosperity it brings spell danger for the human race.”

The trajectories Maddox foresaw for population and food production differed dramatically from those predicted by the Catastrophists. Technologically advanced rich countries, he noted, had undergone a demographic transition from the Malthusian past of high fertility/high mortality societies to a high fertility/low mortality combination. But this, he argued, was a temporary stage; we were already entering a population-stabilizing low fertility/low mortality state.

“Although the demographic transition has only just begun in large parts of the developing world, there is every reason to expect that it will produce demographic stability entirely comparable with that which now exists in Western Europe and elsewhere in the industrialized world,” he concluded. “The population explosion has all the signs of being a damp squib.”

Food production, meanwhile, was “now increasing much faster than population.” During the 1960s, Maddox observed, it grew at 2.7 percent annually, handily outstripping the global population growth rate of 2 percent a year. In India and Southeast Asia, food production was increasing at 4 percent annually, about double their population growth rates. And further improvements were possible.

With regard to energy, Maddox cited estimates from 1970 that “there are more, but not much more, than 300,000 million tons of petroleum [about 2.1 trillion barrels] still to be extracted from the ground.” At the then-current rate of extraction of 15 billion barrels annually, he calculated that supplies would last for 135 years.

And other natural resources? “Techniques for exploration and extraction of metals seem to have kept ahead of scarcity,” he observed. Consequently, supplies of metals “are becoming economically more plentiful, not more scarce.”

Maddox fully acknowledged that pollution was harming people and the natural world. Cutting air pollution in the U.S. by 50 percent, he said, would increase life expectancy by three to five years. But he did not think pollution threatened the very existence of the human race. It was, he argued, an open-access commons problem that could be solved through technology and sensible public policy. In 60 American cities, he pointed out, average levels of smokiness had already declined by 20 percent from 1957 to 1970; sulfur dioxide had fallen by a third from 1962 to 1969.

Noting that burning fossil fuels was increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Maddox calculated that CO2 would increase by 15 percent by 2000. That is, in fact, what happened. He also predicted that that rise would result in “an increase of the temperature on the surface of the earth by something like one-half degree centigrade.” That was also just about right.

Finally, “if it turns out that the scale of industrial activity is so great that the accumulation of carbon dioxide threatens climate change,” Maddox wrote, the same ingenuity that was reducing other forms of pollution “could be applied to regulate the concentration of the gas. To be sure, such an intervention would require expensive and historically important changes in industrial practices, but calamity is avoidable.”

The bottom line for Maddox was that “technology and prosperity are not the inherent nuisances of which environmentalists continually complain, but rather, the means by which a better environment could be created.”

Who Was More Right?

World population has increased since 1970, though at a lower rate than predicted by the Catastrophists. At the time of the first Earth Day, there were 3.7 billion people on Earth; that has now risen to 7.6 billion. On the other hand, the global total fertility rate back then was 4.8 children per woman; it has now plummeted to 2.4. In 83 countries—including the United States—fertility is below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. Those 83 countries represent half the world’s population.

Wolfgang Lutz, a demographer at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, projects that world population will peak in this century and then begin to fall.

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

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