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Saturday, May 2, 2020

GWPF Newsletter - UN Chief: Only Green Companies Should Be Saved








China Accelerates Coal-Fuelled Recovery

In this newsletter:

1) UN Chief: Only Green Companies Should Be Saved
The Guardian, 29 April 2020
 
2) China's Cheap Energy Recovery: The Greens' Favourite Nation Fires Up Coal Power Plant Construction
Caixin Global, 24 April 2020

3) UK Government Promises Struggling Airlines Not To Levy Green Taxes
The Guardian, 30 April 2020

4) Reality Check: Why The Coronavirus Crisis Won’t Mark A Peak In Oil Demand
Cuneyt Kazokoglu, Financial Times, 1 May 2020

5) EU Faces Existential Crisis Between Green Deal And Survival
Voice of America, 28 April 2020
 
6) VW, Daimler Urge German Govt To Boost Car Sales - Any Car Sales
Reuters, 29 April 2020
 
7) Ford and Rivian Scrap Joint Electric Vehicle Plan Amid Coronavirus Crisis
Axios, 29 April 2020 

8) Chinese Scientists: It Was Warmer In China During Medieval Warm Period Than Today
Zhixin Hao, Maowei Wu, Yang Liu, Xuezhen Zhang & Jingyun Zheng, Journal of Geographical Sciences, January 2020 
 
9) Canada’s Cool-Headed Antidote To Hot Arctic Alarmism
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 29 April 2020
 
10) And Finally: Green Energy Prof Faces $1 Million Legal Fee Over Failed Attempt To Silence His Critics
Robert Bryce, Forbes, 1 May 2020

Full details:

1) UN Chief: Only Green Companies Should Be Saved
The Guardian, 29 April 2020

António Guterres calls for coronavirus aid to be directed at firms with green credentials



Governments should not use taxpayer cash to rescue fossil fuel companies and carbon-intensive industries, but should devote economic rescue packages for the coronavirus crisis to businesses that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs, the UN secretary general has urged.

“Where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it must be creating green jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth,” said António Guterres, speaking at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, a virtual meeting of more than 30 governments on the climate crisis, which concluded on Tuesday. “It must not be bailing out outdated, polluting, carbon-intensive industries.”

His call was echoed by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who led the meeting, which was also attended by the UK and China. “The coronavirus shows us that international cooperation is crucial and that the wellbeing of one nation always depends on the wellbeing of others,” she said. “There will be a difficult debate about the allocation of funds. But it is important that recovery programmes always keep an eye on the climate. We must not sideline climate, but invest in climate technologies.” […]

Campaigners and experts have been calling for economic rescue packages to be directed towards environmentally sustainable ends and for sectoral stimulus cash to come with green strings attached.Advertisement

Dominic Raab, the UK’s foreign secretary, said: “It will be the duty of every responsible government to see that our economies are revived and rebuilt in a way that will stand the test of time. That means investing in industries and infrastructure that can turn the tide on climate change and doing all we can to boost resilience by shaping economies that can withstand everything nature throws at us.”

Full story
  
2) China's Fossil-Fuelled Recovery: The Greens' Favourite Nation Fires Up Coal Power Plant Construction
Caixin Global, 24 April 2020

China approved nearly 10 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power generation capacity in this year’s first quarter, roughly equal to the amount approved for all of last year, amid a broader scramble to jumpstart an economic hobbled by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Investment in infrastructure like power generation has played an important part in China’s rapid economic rise, especially in times of economic distress like the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Many expect such spending to play an important role as Beijing tries to restart the economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak that has brought activity a crawl, leading the economy to post its first quarterly contraction since modern record keeping began.

Full story ($)

3) UK Government Promises Struggling Airlines Not To Levy Green Taxes
The Guardian, 30 April 2020

Airline given £600m coronavirus bailout with no strings attached

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, promised EasyJet that green taxes would not be levied on airlines six months before the company was given a £600m coronavirus crisis loan with no environmental conditions attached, newly released documents show.

Direct lobbying against environmental taxes by Britain’s biggest airline are revealed in Freedom of Information Act responses obtained by Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigations unit.

Evidence of the lobbying came as airlines across Europe were set to receive more than €26bn (£22.7bn) in taxpayers’ money for coronavirus bailouts with no binding environmental conditions attached, according to data compiled by Transport & Environment, Carbon Market Watch and Greenpeace.....
 
This month, with EasyJet flights hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Lundgren asked for and was given a £600m government bailout. The failure to attach any environmental conditions to the loan was a missed oportunity, campaigners say.

Full story

4) Reality Check: Why The Coronavirus Crisis Won’t Mark A Peak In Oil Demand
Cuneyt Kazokoglu, Financial Times, 1 May 2020

Transport demand will rebound while the pandemic will reboot the use of plastics















The coronavirus crisis has thrown the oil market out of balance and like other forecasters, we expect an unprecedented contraction in oil demand this year.

But while some are arguing that we have seen the peak in 2019 with consumption never recovering, if anything, the pandemic is likely to significantly delay the structural transformation of the world’s economy away from oil.

Although global consumption will fall this year by 11m barrels a day according to our estimates, or 11 per cent, from last year’s 100m b/d, there are still a series of factors providing underlying support for oil demand growth despite pressure to act against climate change.

Firstly, air travel is likely to recover. Consumption of jet fuel, the oil product worst affected by the pandemic as travel bans and lockdowns take effect, will rebound once people emerge out of isolation. It may just take a few years, but eventually the current concerns will wear off and the strong relationship between rising incomes and travel ambitions will return.

In the meantime, road transport, which accounts for nearly half of global oil consumption, will prove resilient and may even benefit from the crisis. It is likely that people will use public transport less, given subways, buses and trains have been a major — if not the primary — transmission vector for the virus.

Working from home is hardly an option for the majority of the workforce outside of the IT and professional service sectors, where it had already been an established practice among some before this recent crisis.

This means increased reliance on cars once the lockdown measures ease will support petrol demand, potentially for years to come. Early signs of this can already be seen in China, where petrol consumption has nearly recovered to pre-coronavirus levels and many companies are encouraging or even mandating the usage of private cars for commuting, instead of public transport.

Because of elevated levels of household debt, many consumers will postpone buying new cars. As existing vehicles stay on the road for longer, this will slow the rate of fuel economy improvements as old cars are not replaced by newer ones, meaning oil use will remain elevated.

The low oil price environment we are moving into will also incentivise car use, while reducing or even eliminating the fuel cost advantage of electric vehicles. Electrification will lose speed and internal combustion engines will continue to dominate as policymakers will be less forthcoming with the much-needed subsidies for electric cars at a time of economic crisis. There will also be less pressure to push for greater fuel efficiency with global CO2 emissions set to drop substantially in 2020.

Moreover, car manufacturers such as General Motors and Ford are planning to bring millions of sports utility vehicles and light trucks on to the road in the US during the next five years. Even if Volkswagen, the most ambitious large carmaker with regards to electrification, ever manages to reach its 2028 target of 22m electric vehicle sales, it will have put more than 90m conventional vehicles on the road by then too.

Meanwhile, diesel demand will be supported by recovering economic activity and the delivery of goods, both nationally and internationally with increased levels of online shopping.

Separately, the petrochemical sector could boost oil usage with many proposed single-use plastic bans now being reconsidered, postponed or cancelled. The pandemic has highlighted the need for single-use plastics in today’s world of high urbanisation and population density with increased demands on sanitation, especially for packaging, food service containers, and notably protective gear for healthcare workers.

A severe economic recession may disturb the near-term recovery in global oil demand, but it will rebound.

Full post 

5) EU Faces Existential Crisis Between Green Deal And Survival
Voice of America, 28 April 2020

The coronavirus crisis risks becoming an existential crisis for the European Union, say diplomats and analysts, as the EU struggles to coordinate a financial response to the pandemic. 















Last week, the EU’s national leaders struck an interim agreement on a recovery deal with an emergency fund of about $581 million (a half-billion euros), which the hardest hit member states can tap into for immediate assistance.   But the wrangling over how to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic is far from over, and the overall $2 trillion-plus economic package mooted last week by the national leaders includes the budget costs of the EU itself for the next seven years.   In fact, no final numbers, aside from the emergency fund, have yet been agreed upon, according to analysts. Members states already were at loggerheads over money before the coronavirus appeared, with sharp arguments between them about how to make up for the loss of Britain’s financial contribution to the EU.    The emergency relief package came after an ill-natured squabble and warnings by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that the EU project itself was in jeopardy unless the wealthier northern states help bail out their poorer southern neighbors. It also has left unresolved whether aid from the emergency fund to countries like Italy and Spain will be in the form of loans, which must be paid back, or grants, which won’t.

Another key issue is whether the eurozone countries will eventually have to mutualize their debt by issuing jointly so-called “coronabonds” to meet health-care costs and mitigate the impact of a deep economic slump, one that could rival the Great Depression almost a century ago.  As the behind-scenes quarreling continues over money, euro-skepticism, which before the pandemic appeared to be ebbing, is rising once again. It’s being fueled by southern Europeans smarting over what they see as an absence of solidarity by the more affluent nations, reminiscent, they say, of the debt crisis following the 2008 financial crash that nearly tore the EU apart.

The pandemic is opening up the wounds of that crisis, which also saw a sharp split between the north and south.  “The coronavirus pandemic could well be the ultimate acid test of its resilience as a community based on solidarity and common values,” according to Stefan Lehne of Carnegie Europe, a think tank based in Brussels. In a posted commentary, he wrote: “The mindset of everybody for itself, which is so tempting under the acute stress of the crisis, must be countered by stepping up cooperation and mutual assistance among the member states. Otherwise, the EU will be in great danger.”

Full story
 
6) VW, Daimler Urge German Govt To Boost Car Sales - Any Car Sales
Reuters, 29 April 2020

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - VW and Daimler on Wednesday urged the German government to help boost demand for cars as the coronavirus pandemic hammered first-quarter profits and forced both carmakers to drop their outlooks for the year.

The demands came as German chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to host a summit with auto industry leaders to discuss ways of reviving one of the country’s most important industries which has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We need a swift decision on buyer incentives,” VW’s Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said, echoing Daimler Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius who also called for the swift introduction of broad measures to rekindle demand for cars.

“A simple incentive would be effective,” Kaellenius said on a call to discuss Daimler’s earnings.

Full story
 
7) Ford and Rivian Scrap Joint Electric Vehicle Plan Amid Coronavirus Crisis
Axios, 29 April 2020

The economic and logistical toll of the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the rollout of several electric vehicle models, and even canceling one project.

Driving the news: Ford and the EV startup Rivian just scrapped plans to jointly develop a vehicle under the Lincoln brand that would use Rivian's "skateboard" platform.

The companies cited the "current environment" in announcing the decision Tuesday.

Why it matters: Automotive News reports that it "appears to be the first announcement of a vehicle cancellation in the U.S. attributed to the crisis." But beyond that cancelation, other product launches and schedules are being delayed as the EVs are caught up in the turmoil that's pushing back various types of cars.

Full post
 
8) Chinese Scientists: It Was Warmer In China During Medieval Warm Period Than Today
Zhixin Hao, Maowei Wu, Yang Liu, Xuezhen Zhang & Jingyun Zheng, Journal of Geographical Sciences, January 2020
 
‘For China as a whole, the longest warm period during the last 2000 years occurred in the 10th–13th centuries’ 
 








Source: Hao et al., (2020)

Abstract: The Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA, AD950-1250) is the most recent warm period lasting for several hundred years and is regarded as a reference scenario when studying the impact of and adaptation to global and regional warming. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of temperature variations on decadal-centennial scales during the MCA for four regions (Northeast, Northwest, Central-east, and Tibetan Plateau) in China, based on high-resolution temperature reconstructions and related warm-cold records from historical documents. The ensemble empirical mode decomposition method is used to analyze the time series. The results showed that for China as a whole, the longest warm period during the last 2000 years occurred in the 10th–13th centuries, although there were multi-decadal cold intervals in the middle to late 12th century. However, in the beginning and ending decades, warm peaks and phases on the decadal scale of the MCA for different regions were not consistent with each other. On the inter-decadal scale, regional temperature variations were similar from 950 to 1130; moreover, their amplitudes became smaller, and the phases did not agree well from 1130 to 1250. On the multi-decadal to centennial scale, all four regions began to warm in the early 10th century and experienced two cold intervals during the MCA. However, the Northwest and Central-east China were in step with each other while the warm periods in the Northeast China and Tibetan Plateau ended about 40–50 years earlier. On the multi-centennial scale, the mean temperature difference between the MCA and Little Ice Age was significant in Northeast and Central-east China but not in the Northwest China and Tibetan Plateau. Compared to the mean temperature of the 20th century, a comparable warmth in the MCA was found in the Central-east China, but there was a little cooling in Northeast China; meanwhile, there were significantly lower temperatures in Northwest China and Tibetan Plateau.

Full paper ($)
 
9) Canada’s Cool-Headed Antidote To Hot Arctic Alarmism
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 29 April 2020

A new government report by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans is a welcome cool-headed antidote to the sensational portrayal of the Arctic as a melting disaster that’s killing polar bears.













We now leave this southern coronavirus hell to take you way, way up North to the Canadian Arctic where, according to a news report, “the frozen North is gone forever” and the “top of the world is turning upside down.”

The sensational language was allegedly based on a new research report, Canada’s Oceans Now: Arctic Ecosystems, 2019, released on Earth Day last week by Bernadette Jordan, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The report received little attention outside of a Canadian Press story that tended to do what most media stories do when appraising material linked to climate change. Small research factoids are routinely morphed into asteroids of climate destruction.

For example, the news report on the disappearing frozen North claimed that Arctic Ocean waters are “33 per cent less salty than in 2003 and about 30 per cent more acidic — enough to dissolve the shells of some small molluscs.”

Sounds bad. But it turns out that the body of water that is 33 per cent less salty is part of the Beaufort Gyre where water circulates in a giant spin cycle and salt levels fluctuate. For many years it moves clockwise and for many years it moves counterclockwise.

Andrea Niemi, a federal research scientist and a lead author of the new Arctic Ecosystems report, said in an interview the low-salt reference “does not apply to the entire Canadian Arctic.”

Nor is it likely permanent. As the water spins in one direction over hundreds of kilometres, spurred by atmospheric shifts, fresh water from rivers and melting ice dilutes the salt content. At some point, the great gyre is expected to change directions and the salt content will again increase.

Will the salt content return to what it was in 2003 is not known, but it is clear that the 33 per cent decline in Arctic Ocean salinity has not happened and therefore is not a sign of imminent Arctic desalination.

Another aspect of the news report suggested that melting ice is interfering with the moulting cycle of ringed seals, making them open to polar bear attack. Niemi said the ringed seal risk is based on a case study in Hudson Bay, and does not apply across the Arctic. As for polar bears, Niemi notes that while polar bear populations are struggling in Hudson Bay, “in other parts of the Canadian Arctic they are doing OK.”

Then there’s the attack of the Pacific salmon. Due to warming, warmer-water species are moving in, including Pacific salmon, to the point where fishing communities are hauling in salmon instead of char. A large salmon influx occurred in 2019. It seems unlikely, however, that the arrival of salmon as a food source constitutes a climate crisis for the local population.

The same question can be asked about much of the changes taking place in Canada’s Arctic. Change appears to be happening as ice melts. But does the change recorded so far amount to turning the Arctic upside down? Do the changes signal a looming catastrophe?

Niemi said during my interview that the report was not intended to be a forecasting document. Instead, through 190 pages based on the work of more than 50 federal researchers, the report cautiously portrays the vast Arctic region of Canada as something of an unknown planet ready to be discovered.

The 30-page public summary of the report, Canada’s Oceans New: Arctic Ecosystems, repeatedly notes that scientific understanding of the region is limited and “filled with major gaps” that need to be filled.

Rather than portray the Canadian Arctic as a collapsing ecosystem facing climate disaster and species extinction, the report serves as a basis for serious science and social research into a dynamic non-static ever-changing environment. “The Arctic, on a global scale, is changing but the type and speed of changes are not the same in all locations. Understanding the state of Canadian Arctic ecosystems is necessary to explain and manage present conditions and future changes. The state of an ecosystem describes conditions in a specific location — both the normal conditions and how they change over time.”

The public report is not an alarmist call for action to save a collapsing frozen, pristine environmental stereotype. The fact is that little is known about the Canadian Arctic and there is much to learn. “There has been little long-term, sustained scientific monitoring of ocean conditions and species in Canada’s Arctic. As a result, scientific evidence is limited to identify, explain and predict ecosystem changes across the Canadian Arctic.”

The report is a welcome cool-headed antidote to the sensational portrayal of the Arctic as a melting disaster that’s killing polar bears. As Niemi put it during our interview, “the Arctic is characterized as being very different from year to year. Those differences are normal. I think that’s something important in scientific and Inuit knowledge.”

Full post
 
10) And Finally: Green Energy Prof Faces $1 Million Legal Fee Over Failed Attempt To Silence His Critics
Robert Bryce, Forbes, 1 May 2020

Last week, anti-hydrocarbon activist and documentary maker Josh Fox — along with Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, Penn State climatologist Michael Mann, and several others — succeeded in briefly getting Michael Moore’s new documentary, Planet of the Humans, taken off of a website owned by a group called Films for Action.



Fox’s censorship effort was cheered by Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and journalist who tweeted “cheers to @joshfoxfilm and everyone who worked hard and quickly to make sure this dangerous film was retracted.” The DailyKos dutifully ran a story with the headline “Distributor pulls Michael Moore’s (@MMFlint’s) #PlanetOfTheHumans due to truthiness.”

But the “dangerous film” didn’t disappear. Planet of the Humans, which was directed and narrated by Jeff Gibbs, was never removed from YouTube. By Thursday afternoon, it had been viewed more than 4.6 million times. Fox’s censorship campaign led Planet of the Humans to post a note on its website saying that it does not “know of, or have any relationship with, an outfit called ‘Films for Action,’” and that any “information disseminated to the contrary is false.”

I have plenty of criticisms of Planet of the Humans. It’s an anti-human film that ignores our need for affordable and reliable energy to survive. It ignores the need for nuclear energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and it completely ignores the scourge of energy poverty. That’s an inexcusable omission given that about one billion people on the planet today have no access to electricity and another two billion or so are only using tiny amounts of juice.

But it’s also apparent that Planet of the Humans is an important film. The fact that Moore — the most successful documentary-film-maker in America as well as its most famous liberal who’s not a politician – would produce a film that attacks wind energy, solar energy, the Sierra Club, Al Gore, David Blood, Bill McKibben, and Vinod Khosla represents a rupture in left-leaning orthodoxy about energy and climate change. For causing so much trouble, Moore and Gibbs are being branded as apostates. To my ear, the outrage coming from Fox, McKibben, and others to Planet of the Humans sound like Greta Thunberg’s now-famous cri de coeur: “How dare you!

But the effort to gag Planet of the Humans reveals something more sinister: the refusal by leading climate activists and academics to have an honest discussion about the limits of renewable energy and why renewables alone cannot save us from climate change or solve the problem of energy poverty. As a friend of mine put it, “The climatocracy can’t tolerate debate or disagreement.” Indeed, the belief that many high-profile climate activists and academics have in renewable energy borders on the cultish. As Gibbs asks at one point in the film, “Could we have a religion that we are unaware of?”

Attempting to shut down debate and demonizing the opposition is one of the hallmarks of the all-renewable-energy tribe. And there’s no small bit of irony in the fact that Fox’s effort to censor Planet of the Humans was launched just two days after his ally, Jacobson, was reproached by a federal court for trying to intimidate one of his critics by filing a frivolous lawsuit against him. On April 20, Jacobson was ordered to pay the legal fees of Chris Clack, the Colorado mathematician who Jacobson sued in 2017 for $10 million on claims that Clack had defamed him. Jacobson’s lawsuit, which also named the National Academy of Sciences, was a classic example of a SLAPP suit, or strategic litigation against public participation. What was Clack’s sin? He, along with nearly two dozen other prominent scientists, debunked the claims that Jacobson was making about – what else? — renewable energy.

Before delving into the details of the SLAPP suit, it’s worthwhile to recall how Fox used Jacobson’s work to help justify his effort to censor Moore and Gibbs. On April 22, Fox, who directed the 2010 film Gasland, tweeted that Planet of the Humans “disregards the #GreenNewDeal, the 100% renewable energy plans of Stanford University...and the basic foundations of science upon which renewable energy policy and the power that the climate movement has built upon for the last 40 years.”

On April 24, Fox again took to Twitter saying “Thank you to the early co-signers of the letter demanding an apology from @mmflint.” Among those Fox listed: @michalemann, the Twitter handle for Michael Mann, the Penn State climate scientist who sued several of his critics for defamation in 2012. Another was @mzjacobson, the Twitter handle for Jacobson.

It’s important to note that Fox and his tribe didn’t want to debate Moore about renewables, they were demanding an apology from him. Heretics mustn’t just repent, they must apologize.

In 2015, Jacobson published a paper, co-written with Mark Delucchi, a research engineer at the University of California-Berkeley, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper, which claimed to offer “a low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem” with 100-percent renewables, went on to win the Cozzarelli Prize, an annual award handed out by the National Academy of Sciences. A Stanford web site said that Jacobson’s paper was one of six chosen by “the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from the more than 3,000 research articles published in the journal in 2015.”

Jacobson’s all-renewables-and-nothing-but-renewables energy scheme made him a darling of liberal politicians, environmental groups, and climate activists. Funders of a group he founded, The Solutions Project, include the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Bill Nye, and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.

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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 www.thegwpf.com.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Renewable energy such as wind solar tidal will ever provide the baseload power that is increasingly required. Fossil fuels will remain for a long long time and serious consideration should be given to nuclear as fundamentally that is what drives our sun.