Saturday, June 6, 2020

GWPF Newsletter - New Study: Climate Impact Of Grazing Cattle Overestimated

BBC Invents 'Hottest May On Record'

In this newsletter:

1) New Study: Climate Impact Of Grazing Cattle Overestimated
GWPF Science, 5 June 2020

2) BBC’s Fake Claim About “Hottest May”
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 5 June 2020

3) Britain's Electric Car Strategy Is ‘Doomed To Failure’
Transport Xtra, 1 June 2020

4) German Govt To Hand Out $10,000 To Electric Car Buyers
Auto News, 5 June 2020

5) German Car Industry Faces 100.000 Job Losses
Handelsblatt, 5 June 2020

6) Opposition Growing As Finland Rejects Proposed EU Green Recovery Package In Current Form
Reuters, 4 June 2020

7) Almost 14 Million UK Households Face £288m Energy Bill Shock’
Energy Live News, 4 June 2020
Full details:

1) New Study: Climate Impact Of Grazing Cattle Overestimated
GWPF Science, 5 June 2020

Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

The climate impact of grass-fed cattle may have been exaggerated as scientists find emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas from certain types of pasture are lower than previously thought.

Researchers from Rothamsted Research found urine from animals reared on pasture where white clover grows – a plant commonly sown onto grazing land to reduce the need for additional nitrogen fertiliser – results in just over half the amount of nitrous oxide previously assumed by scientists to be released. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas some 265 times more harmful than CO2 and can account for 40% of beef supply chain emissions.

Co-author of the study, Dr Laura Cardenas said:

"Due to technical and logistical challenges, field experiments which measure losses of nitrous oxide from soils usually add livestock faeces and urine they have sourced from other farms or other parts of the farm, meaning that the emissions captured do not necessarily represent the true emissions generated by the animals consuming the pasture.”

Writing in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, the team report how they created a near ‘closed’ system whereby the circular flow of nitrogen from soil to forage to cattle and, ultimately, back to soil again, could be monitored.

Lead author of the study, Dr Graham McAuliffe and colleagues had previously discovered system-wide reductions of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the inclusion of white clover in pasture.

This conclusion was primarily driven by a lack of need for ammonium nitrate fertiliser, whose production and application create greenhouse gases.

According to Dr Cardenas, further research is required to explain the detailed mechanisms behind the observed complementarity between white clover and high sugar grasses – but that the data points towards an effect of sowing clover on the soil’s microbes.

"The evidence suggests that including white clover amongst high sugar grass decreases the abundance of microbial genes associated with nitrous oxide production compared with microbial communities observed under just high sugar grass.”

As the UK wants to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century, improving our understanding of greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potentials has never been more important, she added.


2) BBC’s Fake Claim About “Hottest May”
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 5 June 2020

By Paul Homewood

I was tipped off about this by BBC Fact Check:

On the BBC Today programme on Radio 4, at 2hrs 8mins 50 seconds in, and in the actual news slot, this statement was read out:

"Last month was the hottest May on record globally as well as in the UK."

I make no comment about the global numbers, but would simply point out that none of the official agencies have released their data for May. The BBC claim comes from Copernicus, the EU agency, not regarded as a reliable source.

However the BBC claim about the UK is hopelessly wide of the mark. According to the Met Office, last month was only the 15th warmest May since 1884, and was not even as warm as 1893 and 1911!

Such sloppy reporting is only too common at the BBC, and not just where climate change is concerned. It only takes a minute to find the Met Office data, and I find it hard to understand why the programme editors did not think it worthwhile checking such an outlandish claim first.

Needless to say, I have filed a complaint, to add to the list of BBC climate lies!!

3) Britain's Electric Car Strategy Is ‘Doomed To Failure’
Transport Xtra, 1 June 2020

The Government’s push to electrify road transport is based on naivety, the undue influence of the Committee on Climate Change, and a lack of engineering expertise within Government, an academic has said.

Prof Michael Kelly

Professor Michael Kelly, the former chief scientific adviser to the Department for Communities and Local Government, issues the warning in a paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

He warns the Government’s ambitions for EVs and electric heating in buildings will end in damaging failure.

“When the penny drops and the progress towards all-electric UK is halted, we will be reminded of Ozymandias [two poems that describe how even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion – Ed].

“The rest of the world can look at Britain and choose whether to laugh or weep.”

On battery electric vehicles, he says: “Consider Dinorwig power station, the biggest hydropower energy storage plant in the UK. If all UK cars were battery powered, the nine gigawatts of energy stored behind the dam would be capable of recharging about 60,000 of them, or about 0.25 per cent of the UK fleet.”

If all vehicles have to be electric, “something of the order of 70 per cent of Britain’s entire existing electricity supply capacity will be needed”.

“When we get coded messages from the Climate Change Committee, implying that we will have to rethink the extent to which we are going to be able to travel in future, it is the implausibility of meeting that vast gulf in energy sources that is motivating them to question our lifestyles.”

Kelly points out that the Government’s net zero greenhouse gas target will also require the heating of buildings to be electrified using heat pumps. This will place huge additional demands on electricity supply, particularly in the winter.

Charging battery cars at night, when electricity demand from other sources is low, is only a “partial solution” to the problems, he says. “The current day-night variation in electricity demand is of itself too small to handle the extra load.

“Another suggestion is that we can charge cars during the day, when solar power is high. But in the absence of storage, this would mean charging them from mid-morning to mid-afternoon on sunny days. This is implausible too, and would be unreliable [even] if we could make it happen.”

Turning to local electricity supply issues, he says “we will be adding electric vehicle chargers and heat pumps to almost every home”.

“A fast EV charger for a car draws 7kW, perhaps for six hours, and a heat pump needs 3kW, potentially for much of the day. But the cabling and substations in most suburbs were sized and installed before these technologies were even thought of. So while there is sufficient headroom for electrification of a few households, the whole distribution system will need to be up- graded if demand grows.

“This work will be extraordinarily expensive, but without it there will either be regular ‘brownouts’, or drivers will have to be told where and when they can charge their batteries.”

Kelly dismisses battery storage as a major part of the solution. “The £45m battery installed by Elon Musk outside Adelaide, South Australia, can power that city for 30 minutes. If you wanted to be able to cover a week’s power outage after a major storm, it would cost around 1,300 times as much using batteries as it would with diesel generators. The idea is ludicrous.”

Turning to the raw materials needed to produce batteries, Kelly claims: “If we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs, and assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials:

* 207,900 tonnes of cobalt – just under twice the annual global production;

* 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate – three-quarters of the world’s production;

* at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium – nearly the entire world production of neodymium; and

* 2,362,500 tonnes of copper – more than half the world’s production in 2018.

“Put simply, we lack the ability to provide the infrastructure required to deliver electric cars and electric heating on the scale required by 2050.”

Kelly asks why we are trying to do so anyway and pins the blame on the Committee on Climate Change.

“An unelected body, the Committee displays many of the worst features of the administrative state. It has been grossly negligent in turning a blind eye to the complexity of electric vehicles and the related issue of the enforced switch to electricity for domestic heating.

“Committee members don’t have to face the consequences of their policies from voters; politicians, who do have to face the voters, hide behind the Committee in order to duck accountability.

“It is this failure of the UK’s political machinery that I believe is to blame for the situation in which we find ourselves.

“We have set out to decarbonise the economy without anyone having thought through all the engineering issues, let alone put a cost on the exercise.”

Kelly says that, with Covid-19, “it is clear that we will not be able to afford the costs of the net zero transition for decades, if ever”.

Full story

see also - Michael Kelly: Electrifying the UK & The Want Of Engineering (pdf)

4) German Govt To Hand Out $10,000 To Electric Car Buyers
Auto News, 5 June 2020

FRANKFURT -- Germany is doubling incentives offered to buyers of battery-powered cars as part of a 130 billion-euros ($146 billion) economic recovery package for the period through the end of next year -- but the government refused pleas for the program to include internal-combustion cars.

Buyers of full-electric cars with a net list price of up to 40,000 euros ($44,815) will be eligible for a grant of 9,000 euros ($10,083), including 6,000 euros from the government and 3,000 euros from automakers.

The threshold means that many high-priced vehicles from premium automakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Tesla are not eligible for the full amount. Prices for the Mercedes EQC start at 71,590 euros and Audi's e-tron prices start at around 69,900 euros. Tesla's lowest priced Model 3 just squeezes in at 39,990 euros, according to the government's list of eligible vehicles. [....]

The ZDK German dealers association said it was disappointed that incentives will be offered only for EV sales.

The stimulus program is "not even a drop in the ocean" in helping to move unsold new cars worth around 15 billion euros that are in dealerships and on dealers' books, ZDK President Juergen Karpinski said in a statement.

Germany's governing conservative and Social Democrats (SPD) coalition agreed on the stimulus package on Wednesday after they had wrangled for days over incentives to boost new-car sales hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Social Democrats opposed offering incentives for vehicles with gasoline and diesel engines, arguing that this would undermine Germany's climate protection goals.

Auto industry executives had lobbied for the stimulus to apply to internal-combustion and electric models. They were supported by the state premiers of Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler.

Full story

5) German Car Industry Faces 100.000 Job Losses
Handelsblatt, 5 June 2020

The corona crisis torpedoed the growth plans of the automotive industry. Instead, there are drastic cuts in capacity. The first manufacturer are closing factories.

It was a clear warning. BMW boss Oliver Zipse recently warned that no one should fall for a sense of false security during the corona crisis. "Especially here in Germany, many think that we've reached rock bottom and the worst is over," he said in mid-May during the automaker's virtual general meeting. Unfortunately, the general perception does not match the actual situation.

The prospects for the current year are "bleak". 2021 hardly promises improvement. He warned emphatically: "The fatal thing about the current situation is that supply and demand have collapsed at the same time." That was not even the case during the financial crisis more than a decade ago. The result: Even the German vehicle manufacturer, which is probably the most solidly positioned in the balance sheet, has to save a lot.

Based on this, Zipse plans to cut around 6,000 of the Dax Group's 126,000 jobs worldwide as soon as possible, and 40-hour contracts are to be reduced to 35 hours. The planned construction of a new factory in Hungary will be postponed for at least one year. The Bavarians would be happy if they could use their existing plants again, nobody is thinking about building new capacities at the moment. On the contrary.

Experts expect a number of production sites to be closed in the medium term. “At the beginning of the year, the industry had calculated a volume of 90 million cars and light commercial vehicles sold worldwide for 2020. As a result of the corona crisis, these premises have now been trimmed to around 70 million units, ”explains LBBW analyst Frank Biller. The market is not dead, but companies have to adjust to significantly lower quantities and adjust their capacities.

And indeed: The demand is currently as low as it was last in 1991. In the first five months of 2020, car sales in Germany slumped by 35 percent - no rapid improvement is in sight. Despite the premiums for electric cars decided by the federal government, it can take years for sales to return to pre-crisis levels.

Jobs are being cut

The Boston Consulting consultants estimate that the European car market will only recover in 2024 and the US market only in 2025. Only China is considered a silver lining. Passenger car sales in the Far East could turn positive in 2022. By contrast, the forecasts for Germany are sobering.

According to an analysis by the CAR Institute, around 100,000 of the 830,000 jobs in the domestic auto industry could be lost in the next few years. According to the Duisburg experts, over-capacities of 1.3 million cars have arisen due to the corona crisis.

Full story (in German)

6) Finland Rejects Proposed EU Green Recovery Package In Current Form
Reuters, 4 June 2020

HELSINKI, June 4 (Reuters) - Finland’s government said on Thursday it would reject the European Commission’s proposed package for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in its current form.

The 27 European Union member states are due to discuss on June 19 the EU executive’s proposal to raise an unprecedented 750 billion euros ($845 billion) of debt to top up joint spending to 1.1 trillion euros in 2021-27. The package will need the unanimous support of member countries.

The Finnish government said it was still open to negotiating over the package, demanding that share of grants in the package be reduced and that of loans increased.

Finland’s reservations add to resistance to the Commission’s approach already raised by a group of from fiscally conservative northern EU nations dubbed “the frugal four”: Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

Full story
7) Almost 14 Million UK Households Face £288m Energy Bill Shock’
Energy Live News, 4 June 2020

A £288 million energy bill shock could soon be knocking on the door of almost 14 million households in the UK.

That’s according to the latest research by, which suggests energy use during the lockdown has risen by £16 a month while official meter readers abstained from visiting properties – it suggests this is likely to lead to a spike in bills when meters can be read once again.

This delay is expected to lead to a £20 rise in customers’ bills when their extra energy use is eventually added to their direct debits.

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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