Tuesday, June 23, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: What Happened To Greenland’s Tipping Point?

In this newsletter:

1) What Happened To Greenland’s Tipping Point?
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 22 June 2020

2) Joel Kotkin: The Green Civil War
Real Clear Energy, 19 June 2020

3) UK Arts’ Leading Figures Join Call To Prioritise ‘Green Jobs’ Over Saving Their Own Sector
4) Climate Crisis? What Climate Crisis? India's Rice Output Could Hit Record As Farmers Expand Area
Reuters, 18 June 2020
5) What Impact Will the Covid-19 Crisis Have on the Green Movement?
The New Culture Forum, 21 June 2020
6) Green Sickness: Disturbed Sleep A Growing Problem Because Of Warmth Of Energy-Efficient New Homes
The Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2020
7) Tilak Doshi: The IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan Is Unsustainable
Global Warming Policy Forum, 22 June 2020

8) Norway To Slow Onshore Wind Development Amid Growing Protests
Reuters, 19 June 2020 

Full details:

1) What Happened To Greenland’s Tipping Point?
Not A Lot Of People Know That, 22 June 2020

By Paul Homewood

Ten years ago, the Guardian warned us that Greenland would have passed a tipping point by now, with the whole ice sheet due to disappear by the end of the century:

The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today.

Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University.

"Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive," Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland’s ice sheet.

The fall-out would be felt thousands of miles away from the Arctic, unleashing a global sea level rise of 23ft (7 metres), Alley warned. Low-lying cities such as New Orleans would vanish.

"What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done," he said.

Speaking by phone, Alley was addressing a briefing held by the House of Representatives committee on energy independence and global warming.

Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing rate, dumping more icebergs into the ocean because of warming temperatures, he said.

The stark warning was underlined by the momentous break-up of one of Greenland’s largest glaciers last week, which set a 100 sq mile chunk of ice drifting into the North Strait between Greenland and Canada.

The briefing also noted that the last six months had set new temperature records....

How did that work out then?

The article was written in 2010, which was the warmest on record. Since then, however, Greenland’s temperatures have returned to normal, and are no higher than they were in the 1930s.

Far from being the start of a new trend, 2010 was simply an outlier:

The Peterman Glacier is still more or less in the same position as it was ten years ago...

Full story

2) Joel Kotkin: The Green Civil War
Real Clear Energy, 19 June 2020

Like many contemporary social movements—#metoo, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March—the environmental lobby has tended to create an atmosphere of unanimity. In its struggle to win public and elite opinion, it has frequently evoked “science” as something settled and immutable, warning that those who dissent are either self-serving or seriously deranged.

Yet in recent months, there has been growing criticism about the current green orthodoxy, including from people long associated with environmental causes. This has been most widely seen in the strange case of the Michael Moore–produced Planet of Humans, which exposes the rapacious profit-seeking and gratuitous environmental damage caused by the renewable energy industry.

Critics have attempted to get Moore’s film de-platformed, and the green establishment has pressured distributors not to take the film. Such censorious behavior is increasingly common among the greens. Some veteran climate scientists—such as Roger Pielke and Judith Curry, Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, and former members of the UN International Panel on Climate Change—have been demonized and marginalized for deviating from what Curryhas described as an overly “monolithic” approach to the issue of climate change. Some political leaders even seem ready to take dissenters to court in an effort to ban their ideas by legal means. Not only energy companies but think tanks and dissident scientists have been targeted for criminal prosecution. These tactics are all too reminiscent of the medieval Inquisition.

The Green War on the Working Class

Moore’s apostasy may be better known but lacks the breadth of Michael Shellenberger’s new book, Apocalypse Never.

A green zealot from his high school years, the Berkeley-based Shellenberger has worked on protecting habitats for endangered species and has battled climate change. His book, like Moore’s movie, exposes the hypocrisy of the green elite but, importantly, offers a more hopeful approach than Moore’s Malthusian worldview.

Like Moore, Shellenberger has become utterly disillusioned with the self-serving and often counterproductive policies pushed by the green lobby. He demonstrates how green policies backed by oligarch-funded nonprofits have often worked against the economic interests of people in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America, often leaving them with little recourse but to pillage their own natural environments.

Shellenberger blasts green nonprofits for blocking new energy development—dams, gas plants, pipelines—in these countries. Such actions may seem noble enough to the rich of the West, but it slows the manufacturing growth that could allow these countries to become rich enough to accommodate such things as habitat preservation. People working in textile or garment plants need not rely on the jungle for their survival, reducing the need to consume its bounty.

“Rainforests in the Amazon and elsewhere in the world can only be saved if the need for economic development is accepted, respected, and embraced,” Shellenberger states. “By opposing many forms of economic development in the Amazon, particularly the most productive forms, many environmental NGOs, European governments, and philanthropies have made the situation worse.”

Green plans to raise energy prices, eliminate cars, and ban fossil fuel development also have stirred fierce opposition from the working class, whether in pro-Trump middle America, or among France’s gilets jaune. But it’s not just the proverbial angry white men.  In California, some 200 local civil rights leaders have filed lawsuits against the state’s regulators, arguing that the state’s climate policies are essentially discriminatory toward poor people and minorities.

Challenging Religious Orthodoxy

Even before Black Lives Matter, mainstream American journalism was being transformed into an extended-stay resort for the woke. Shellenberger calls out “stealth environmental activists working as journalists” who report the most drastic environmental projections while ignoring any contrary perspectives. “Much of what people are being told about the environment, including the climate, is wrong, and we desperately need to get it right,” he insists, suggesting that he is “fed up with the exaggeration, alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of a positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism.”

Shellenberger places his hopes on “competition from outside traditional news media institutions,” having seen the gullibility of most reporters. For decades, they have embraced notions, first seen in Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book, The Population Bomb, that humanity would “breed ourselves to extinction” if birthrates were not severely curtailed. Reporters also widely hailed the Club of Rome report in 1972, which took a similar apocalyptic approach, predicting massive shortages of natural resources unless there was a shift to lower birthrates, slower economic growth, less material consumption, and, ultimately, less social mobility.

Many of these apocalyptic predictions, like those in the Middle Ages, proved exaggerated or even plain wrong. Contrary to environmentalist dogma from the 1970s, natural resources, including energy and food, did not run out but became more available than anyone expected. So why the constant hyping and hysteria? Because what Shellenberger calls “the apocalyptic environmental tradition” demands it.

In a way that perhaps only someone bitten by the green bug could understand, Shellenberger labels environmentalism as “the dominant secular religion of the educated, upper-middle-class elite in most developed and many developing nations.”

This applies, he reports, not only to seemingly deranged cults like Britain’s Extinction Rebellion but also to august environmental groups like the Sierra Club or Friends of the Earth. Christianity offered guidance for how one should live and conduct one’s personal affairs in a manner pleasing to God, but the green movement seeks to steer people toward a life in better harmony with nature.

Like medieval Catholicism, the green faith foresees impending doom caused by human activity; human sin was the primary reason for the world’s problems in medieval times, and has been rediscovered by environmentalists. “Apocalyptic environmentalism gives people a purpose: to save the world from climate change, or some other environmental disaster,” Shellenberger writes. “It provides people with a story that casts them as heroes“.”

Needed: A New Human-Centered Approach to the Environment

Perhaps what is most revolutionary about Shellenberger’s book is his call for a new, more human-centered, environmentalism. In contrast to the green movement’s jihad against material progress, he suggests that only by making people more affluent will they be able to afford the environmental redress that the planet, in fact, needs.

Rather than battle industrialism, greens need to appreciate what technological progress has done for the environment. The development of plastics helped reduce demand for ivory, hawksbill turtles, whale oil, and the despoiling of old forests. Dealing pragmatically, as opposed to religiously, with environmental concerns, means accepting the reality that some forms of efficient energy production, such as natural gas or nuclear, need to be part of a cleaner future. “It is only by embracing the artificial that we can save what’s natural,” he states.

Full post

3) UK Arts’ Leading Figures Join Call To Prioritise ‘Green Jobs’ Over Saving Their Own Sector
The Guardian, 22 June 2020

The chiefs of scores of the UK’s foremost arts and culture organisations have joined the call for a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis, even as their own sector faces the biggest threat to its existence in modern times.

Sir Mark Rylance, Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, Brian Eno and the leaders of the Tate and National Youth Theatre are among those signing a letter asking the government to adopt green and carbon-cutting targets alongside its economic rescue plans. Close to 400 arts leaders and prominent individuals have now signed the letter, which will be presented to the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, this week.

“What we decide now will create the sustainable foundations for the future; we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a resilient recovery plan that is fair and tackles the climate and ecological crisis with urgency. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by,” they wrote.

The collapse of the arts, with a £74bn drop in revenues and about 400,000 potential and actual job losses in the sector owing to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, has prompted calls for urgent government assistance, as there is little prospect of a swift return to full houses in theatres, or other live performance, and recording has been halted by social distancing restrictions.

But many want the government to go further, and commit to an economic recovery that would prioritise green jobs and ensure that climate goals are taken into account in government spending. They want to avoid the rebound in carbon emissions that a return to business as usual would entail.

Full story
4) Climate Crisis? What Climate Crisis? India's Rice Output Could Hit Record As Farmers Expand Area
Reuters, 18 June 2020

MUMBAI, June 18 (Reuters) - India’s rice production is likely to surge to a record high as farmers are expanding the area under paddy because of good monsoon rains and after the government raised the price at which it will buy the new-season crop.

Higher output by the world’s biggest rice exporter could dampen domestic prices and make exports more competitive, compensating for lower supplies from rivals Thailand and Vietnam...

India, which produced a record 117.94 million tonnes of rice in 2019/20, has started planting the summer-sown crop as the monsoon has spread to main rice-growing areas in the south and east.

The good monsoon rain and rising exports due to a rally in global prices have been encouraging Indian farmers to plant more rice, said Nitin Gupta, vice president for Olam India’s rice business.

Full story
5) What Impact Will the Covid-19 Crisis Have on the Green Movement?
The New Culture Forum, 21 June 2020

We are told that as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, the world is currently experiencing a cleaner environment -- but how far will the Coronavirus crisis actually effect the "Green movement"? Or, to put it another way, will the world see more or fewer Greta Thunbergs?

Joining Peter Whittle on this week's #NCFCounterCulture panel are:

* Dr. Benny Peiser, Global Warming Policy Foundation

* James Delingpole, Writer, Journalist and Editor of Breitbart London

* Richard Bingley, Chief Executive of the Global Cyber Academy

click on image to watch the debate
6) Green Sickness: Disturbed Sleep A Growing Problem Because Of Warmth Of Energy-Efficient New Homes
The Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2020

Overheating can cause disrupted sleep, reduced productivity, domestic abuse and even death, according to Government report

Sleeping problems are on the rise because energy-efficient homes are too warm at night, a Government study has concluded.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) reported that high temperatures are causing new homes to fail standards designed to tackle sleep deprivation.

The problem will get worse over the next 30 years as properties designed to be energy-efficient become so hot at night that people will not be able to sleep properly in the warmest months.

Experts have warned that highly insulated homes leave people "stewing in their beds".

Full story (£)
7) Tilak Doshi: The IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan Is Unsustainable
Global Warming Policy Forum, 22 June 2020

“Green” recovery programs may be all the rage among government planners in Western Europe, the UK and in Democrat-held states in the US. For governments in developing countries, the IEA’s “sustainable recovery plan” is anything but sustainable.  

Governments of the world, take note. The International Energy Agency has a plan for you. If you take the sagely advice of the IEA’s technocrats, you will do your citizens a huge favour as you struggle to recover from the ravages of the global Covid-19 pandemic. You will not only boost economic growth and increase employment but also push global greenhouse gas emissions into structural decline.

Government planners of the world, unite! Help your people become richer while saving the world from climate change. Get your free copy of the plan, hot off the press (published June 18th).

Alas, some of the world’s more sceptical citizens might be forgiven if they reach for their book of President Ronald Reagan’s quotes and come up with this: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” While it is right to be wary of plans that promise a world where ‘all good things go together’, the considered views of the IEA – the world’s leading source of energy data and analysis — deserve our careful attention.

The plan comes with clear instructions (even if batteries are not included). Planners should “integrate” energy policies into government responses to the economic shock caused by the Covid-19 crisis. By integrating energy policies into governments’ recovery plans, they would “accelerate the deployment of modern, reliable and clean energy technologies and infrastructure”.  What exactly are these energy policies that need to be integrated in the “Sustainable Recovery Plan”? Lets get into the weeds a bit.

Most of the “millions of new jobs” created through the plan “would be in retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency and in the electricity sector, particularly in grids and renewables.” Other employment generators would lie in promoting energy efficiency in industries and supporting low carbon vehicles and transport infrastructure. The IEA notes that “the costs of leading clean energy technologies such as wind and solar PV are far lower, and some emerging technologies like batteries and hydrogen are ready to scale up”.

This is not the place to delve into detailed assessments of these energy policies touted by the IEA. But an overview serves to put across the point that the “science” of energy policy is neither straightforward nor consensual. Lets start with that hardy perennial “energy efficiency”, ceaselessly emphasized in countless “roadmaps” published by the many agencies and thinktanks working on energy affairs over the past few decades. Perhaps the first question that arises to anyone that does business for a living is why would businesses not be “efficient” in energy use or in any other area in which money can be saved? Why would businessmen not be aware of “efficiency” when their very survival in competitive markets depends on being able to maximize their output at least cost of inputs?

Is it true that there is under-investment in cost effective energy-conservation technologies? For good reason, economists are sceptical that unexploited profit opportunities can exist for long. Twenty dollar bills can indeed be found on sidewalks but it is unlikely to be a common occurrence. Like nature abhorring vacuums, the continued existence of unused but profitable options to save on energy is precluded by competitive markets. Rational choice suggests that observed behaviour could well be optimal despite apparently “expert” cost-benefit calculations. Entrepreneurs betting their own money on energy technologies would, one would presume, be intelligent adopters of technology choice in a competitive world. It is unlikely that otherwise savvy businessmen are clueless on how to save money on energy choices. If that were not to be the case, one would have to re-write the history of capitalism not as the achievements of entrepreneurs risking their capital and skin but as plans carried out by the prescient salariat of bureaucratic organizations.

We are told of the “tremendous energy savings” that “leading clean energy technologies such as wind and solar PV” offer us. This is in keeping with the endless stream of green success stories pervading the media with assertions that wind and solar power are already competitive with gas and coal-fuelled power plants. Rigorous economic analyses of the hidden costs of unreliable, weather-dependent solar and wind power have countered such claims.

Energy analysts would be hard put to cite examples of wind and solar energy projects that do not require government subsidies. Indeed there would be no need for the IEA exhortations for governments to support technologies that are allegedly already competitive with fossil fuels. Warren Buffet explained in refreshingly honest terms that “on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms.

That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” The average consumer also rightly baulks when asked to bear heavy financial burdens of retrofitting homes and buying electric vehicles to cut emissions.

It would seem that the IEA’s sustainable recovery plan for governments intent on extricating their economies from the world’s sharpest downturn since the Great Depression will not have much impact on Asia’s planners. Just last week, the Indian government announced a radical reform initiative aimed at attracting global investments in the long over-regulated coal mining sector.

According to government spokesmen, opening the coal sector to private investment will generate jobs, reduce dependence on fuel imports and stimulate the economy towards a targeted US$ 5 trillion GDP. In neighbouring China, authorities intent on jump-starting an economy stricken by the Covid-19 lockdowns approved nearly 10 gigawatts of new coal-fired power generation projects in the first quarter of 2020. This capacity roughly matches the amount approved for all 2019.

Coal-based power projects will play a similarly important post-Covid-19 economic recovery role in other parts of Asia such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and even in wealthy Japan. The case for cheap coal-based power generation in emerging Asia, as in other developing countries, remains robust.

The call for sustainability, the rallying battle cry in the anti-fossil fuel crusade, permeates the social discourse everywhere. Private companies signal their commitment to it in advertisements, annual reports, management speeches and glossy PR brochures. Think tanks and “development experts” dedicate a voluminous literature to the concept while environmental NGOs and activist shareholders shrilly proclaim its centrality to business investments and government policy.

“Green” recovery programs may be all the rage among government planners in Western Europe, the UK and in Democrat-held states in the US. Yet they have no such purchase among their counterparts in developing countries who are well aware that true sustainability means delivering higher standards of living for the striving masses. Economic growth performance is what retains legitimacy for governments in office, not expensive bets on avoiding complex model-based predictions alarmingly described in the West as “climate emergencies”. For governments in developing countries, the IEA’s “sustainable recovery plan” is anything but sustainable.

8) Norway To Slow Onshore Wind Development Amid Growing Protests
Reuters, 19 June 2020 

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway announced plans on Friday to tighten rules for onshore wind power developments to better protect nature, a move that is likely to slow surging growth in the sector.

The country has seen a boom in wind power development in the past few years, but has also seen public protests with environmental campaigners accusing some developers of building larger turbines than originally approved, obscuring landscapes and endangering birds.

The government’s proposals, which need to be approved by parliament, include setting stricter requirements on turbine height, shortening project implementation time and measures to ensure that projects are economically viable.

The government also said it would better take into account turbines’ impact on the landscape and reindeer husbandry, and give more say to municipalities in approving new projects.

“In the future, we will facilitate a limited and more moderate wind power development than we currently see,” Minister of Petroleum and Energy Tina Bru told a news conference.

“This does not mean that wind power development will end... Wind power will have a role in our power system, also in the future,” she added.

Last year Norway put on hold the approval of any new wind power projects after police had to intervene to stop protesters from vandalising some construction sites, although the development of existing licenses continued.

Full story

see also GWPF report Green Killing Machines: The Impact of Renewable Energy on Wildlife and Nature

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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