Thursday, January 7, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Ten million jobs at risk due to Govt's Net Zero, research reveals


UK climate targets threaten up to 10 million jobs

In this newsletter:

1) Ten million jobs at risk due to Boris Johnson's Net Zero pledge, research reveals
2) Surprising discovery: Drylands are not getting drier, climate models wrong
Columbia University, 4 January 2021
3) Majority of countries miss Paris Agreement deadline to increase climate ambition
Climate Home News, 4 January 2021
4) After 100 years of climate change, ‘climate related deaths’ approach zero
By Anthony Watts, Climate Realism, 2 January 2021
5) John Constable: The secret costs of Boris Johnson’s crazy Net Zero agenda
The Conservative Woman, 5 January 2021
6) Rowan Atkinson: Cancel culture is like medieval mob looking for someone to burn
The Daily Telegraph, 5 January 2021

Full details:

1) Ten million jobs at risk due to Boris Johnson's Net Zero pledge, research reveals
TEN million jobs are at risk due to a legal commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050, new research has found.

Two in five workers in the UK’s poorest regions are reliant on high-emitting industries for jobs.
And the report by the powerful Onward think-tank makes grim reading for the Prime Minister about the crucial Red Wall seats that decided last year’s election.
It warns Boris Johnson that millions of jobs in the seats face being wiped out by his government’s target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.


The report says he must launch a major new job ­creation agenda in the Red Wall to find replacement positions and help retrain workers in new careers.
Onward found 43 per cent of workers in battleground seats in the Midlands and the North currently work in high-emitting industries.
The report was published to mark today’s launch of a cross-party programme of research, overseen by Onward, to identify the challenges of delivering net-zero by 2050.
The Getting To Zero project will be jointly chaired by former Labour minister Caroline Flint and ex Tory Environment Secretary Dame Caroline Spelman.
Writing in today’s Sun, Ms Flint said politicians from all parties must help people and businesses make the necessary changes to their everyday lives in order to meet the target.
The East Midlands has the highest proportion of jobs in high-emitting industries (42 per cent), followed by the West Midlands (41), Yorks and the Humber (38), and the North West (38).
In contrast, London and the South East have the lowest proportion, with 23 and 34 per cent respectively.

Former PM Theresa May committed Britain to going carbon neutral by 2050 – despite huge concerns over the cost
2) Surprising discovery: Drylands are not getting drier, climate models wrong
Columbia University, 4 January 2021


New York, NY—January 4, 2021—Scientists have thought that global warming will increase the availability of surface water—freshwater resources generated by precipitation minus evapotranspiration—in wet regions, and decrease water availability in dry regions. This expectation is based primarily on atmospheric thermodynamic processes. As air temperatures rise, more water evaporates into the air from the ocean and land. Because warmer air can hold more water vapor than dry air, a more humid atmosphere is expected to amplify the existing pattern of water availability, causing the “dry-get-drier, and wet-get-wetter” atmospheric responses to global warming.
A Columbia Engineering team led by Pierre Gentine, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel professor of earth and environmental engineering and affiliated with the Earth Institute, wondered why coupled climate model predictions do not project significant “dry-get-drier” responses over drylands, tropical and temperate areas with an aridity index of less than 0.65, even when researchers use the high emissions global warming scenario. Sha Zhou, a postdoctoral fellow at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Earth Institute who studies land-atmosphere interactions and the global water cycle, thought that soil moisture-atmosphere feedbacks might play an important part in future predictions of water availability in drylands.
The new study, published today by Nature Climate Change, is the first to show the importance of long-term soil moisture changes and associated soil moisture-atmosphere feedbacks in these predictions. The researchers identified a long-term soil moisture regulation of atmospheric circulation and moisture transport that largely ameliorates the potential decline of future water availability in drylands, beyond that expected in the absence of soil moisture feedbacks.

“These feedbacks play a more significant role than realized in long-term surface water changes,” says Zhou. “As soil moisture variations negatively impact water availability, this negative feedback could also partially reduce warming-driven increases in the magnitudes and frequencies of extreme high and extreme low hydroclimatic events, such as droughts and floods. Without the negative feedback, we may experience more frequent and more extreme droughts and floods.”

The team combined a unique, idealized multi-model land-atmosphere coupling experiment with a novel statistical approach they developed for the study. They then applied the algorithm on observations to examine the critical role of soil moisture-atmosphere feedbacks in future water availability changes over drylands, and to investigate the thermodynamic and dynamic mechanisms underpinning future water availability changes due to these feedbacks.

They found, in response to global warming, strong declines in surface water availability (precipitation minus evaporation, P-E) in dry regions over oceans, but only slight P-E declines over drylands. Zhou suspected that this phenomenon is associated with land-atmosphere processes. “Over drylands, soil moisture is projected to decline substantially under climate change,” she explains. “Changes in soil moisture would further impact atmospheric processes and the water cycle.”
Full story
3) Majority of countries miss Paris Agreement deadline to increase climate ambition
Climate Home News, 4 January 2021

The EU, the UK and Argentina were the only large emitters to present tougher climate targets by the UN’s 2020 deadline, with China and the US lagging

Most countries have missed a UN deadline to strengthen their 2030 climate targets – the first test of the “ratchet mechanism” of the Paris Agreement.
The European Union’s 27 member states and the UK were among 70 countries to submit updated national contributions by 31 December 2020 – in line with a five-year cycle to close the gap between action and the pact’s overall goal to limit global heating “well below 2C” and strive for 1.5C.
Latin American countries including Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica and Peru met the end-of-year deadline and enhanced their ambition alongside nearly a dozen each of small island states and least developed countries.
Together, they account for 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Resources Institute’s tracker.
But none of the world’s other top polluters submitted tougher carbon-cutting plans to the UN, in a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic.
China was notably absent from a last-minute flurry of submissions, despite president Xi Jinping announcing incrementally stronger 2030 targets earlier in December and stressing his commitment to the Paris process.
Full story
4) After 100 years of climate change, ‘climate related deaths’ approach zero
By Anthony Watts, Climate Realism, 2 January 2021

New data shows the global climate-related death risk has dropped by over 99% since 1920.
Despite the near constant caterwauling from climate alarmists that we are in a “climate emergency”, real-world data, released at the end of 2020 shows that climate related deaths are now approaching zero. The data spans 100 years of “global warming” back to 1920 and shows “climate related” deaths are now approaching zero.

Below is an update of the graph in the 2020 peer-reviewed article by Bjørn Lomborg: Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies

Lomborg posted the updated graph on his Facebook page January 2nd, 2021. Clearly, the risk from climate related disaster has shrunk to nearly nothing.
Lomborg reports:
“Back in the 1920s, the death count from climate-related disasters was 485,000 on average every year. In the last full decade, 2010-2019, the average was 18,357 dead per year or 96% lower. In the first year of the new decade, 2020, the preliminary number of dead was even lower at 8,086 — 98% lower than the 1920s average.

But because the world’s population also quadrupled at the same time, the climate-related *death risk* has dropped even faster. The death risk is the probability of you dying in any one year. In the 1920s, it was 243 out of a million people that would die from climate-related disasters.
In the 2010s, the risk was just 2.5 per million people — a drop of 99%. Now, in 2020, the preliminary number is 1 per million — 99.6% lower.”
This is clearly the opposite of what climate alarmists have been screaming about, but that is because we’re been exposed to a constant stream of “disaster TV” on cable news and Internet news outlets telling us daily about yet another new disaster, which invariably gets blamed on “climate change”.
There’s an important distinction that must be made: increased reports does not equal increased death risk.
While the number of reported events is increasing, that is mainly due to increased reporting. Called “the CNN effect“, we now have 24 hour news, Internet, and people able to make reports of weather disasters from their cellphones, i.e. storm-chasers.
30 years ago, we had none of that, and we weren’t exposed to the constant stream of disaster reporting with the climate blame-game attached.
Despite this good news, it is unlikely to deter climate alarmism, since it has evolved into a belief system, eschewing data and science for “climate justice”.
5) John Constable: The secret costs of Boris Johnson’s crazy Net Zero agenda
The Conservative Woman, 5 January 2021
We are on the edge of the most radical rebasing of our economy since the Industrial Revolution and we don’t know, and to an alarming degree we are not being allowed to know, whether it is a good idea.


If an elected government were embarking on a multi-generational transformation of the country’s society and economy, any reasonable citizen would expect the administration to have looked very carefully into the costs.

If that societal transformation were being sold to the public as an essential insurance policy against an external risk, our reasonable citizen would also expect the politicians to have made sure that the civil service weighed those costs against the supposed threat, to make sure that the public was not being asked to pay a premium disproportionate to the risk.

Scrupulous cost-benefit analyses are the bread and butter of rational government, after all.
But the reasonable citizens of the United Kingdom are in for a shock if they imagine that Mr Johnson and his government have put their climate policy and the drive towards Net Zero Emissions by 2050, through the cost-benefit mill.
In fact Mr Johnson’s administration, in common with every UK government from Mr Blair to Mrs May, is failing to sanity-check the emissions reduction policies and is, indeed, quite deliberately avoiding the subject. This is all the more reprehensible because the sanity check isn’t that difficult. All that has to be done is to compare the cost of reducing emissions, the ‘abatement costs’, against an estimate of the harms resulting from climate change, a much-studied figure that economists refer to as the ‘Social Cost of carbon’ (SCC).
It should be granted, in fairness, that while abatement costs themselves are relatively straightforward, there is considerable uncertainty about how to estimate the SCC. Some analysts lean towards the view that emissions pose no threat, and may even be net beneficial, others that the threat is minor, and yet others that there is a major risk of catastrophic harm to human wellbeing. Debate there may be, but there is a mainstream value, and most analyses fall somewhere in between the extremes, suggesting that the SCC is somewhere around £50 per tonne of carbon dioxide or its equivalent (£50/tCO2e).
Thus, emissions abatement costs that exceed the social cost are obviously irrational; the cure would be worse than the disease.
Our reasonable UK citizen would presume that their government’s Net Zero policies pass this test. This would be wrong. Wrong, firstly to think that the policies sail through this examination with flying colours, but also wrong to imagine that the UK government has any interest in the Social Cost of Carbon. Indeed, it quietly abandoned this benchmark in the early 2000s.
The government’s own statement on the matter, last updated in April 2019, blithely admits that it ‘no longer uses the social cost of carbon’, and in the next breath grants that ‘the SCC matters because it signals what society should, in theory, be willing to pay now to avoid the future damage caused by incremental carbon emissions’.
No convincing explanation is given for this extraordinary and contradictory situation, though it is commonplace Whitehall gossip that social cost was pushed into the shadows because it was embarrassing. None of the abatement policies on offer, renewables for example, is anywhere near mainstream estimates of the SCC. For example, the cost of emissions abatement via an offshore wind farm in the UK receiving subsidy from two Renewables Obligation Certificates per megawatt hour is currently about £500/tCO2, roughly ten times the mainstream figure for the SCC. Some options are cheaper, but some, for example small-scale rooftop solar, are twice as expensive.
No wonder then that the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy would rather not talk about the matter. But they are fully aware, and they do in fact have estimates of the abatement costs of their policies, embedded in Marginal Abatement Cost Curves. These are not published, but every now and then little bits of information slip out.

For example, alongside the recently published Energy White Paper, Powering Our Net Zero Future, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released a supporting analysis, Modelling 2050, which examined the costs of achieving very low emissions, less than 25g CO2e/kWh, in the electricity sector. In a pair of remarkable charts BEIS revealed that it expected the costs of moving from 25g/kWh to 10g/kWh to be in the region of £200/tCO2e to £350/tCO2e (in 2012 prices), and the cost of moving from 10g to 5g/kWh to be between £600 and £900/tCO2e. (Anyone wishing to dig deeper into this can start by reading my recent paper for GWPF, Who are they Fooling?)
Mind-boggling though those BEIS abatement costs are, the really striking thing about the charts is that they present only a small fraction of the total Net Zero Abatement Cost Curve visible to the White Paper authors. Emissions in the electricity sector are currently about 200g/kWh, but BEIS provides no information of the abatement cost of moving from the present level to 25g/kWh. Why not? For the same reason, one imagines, that it doesn’t like to talk about Social Cost of Carbon: it’s embarrassing.

I don’t know what the full BEIS cost curve would reveal (Freedom of Information request pending), but we can calculate that the average abatement cost under the Renewables Obligation subsidy scheme is at present around £250/tCO2e. And it’s likely to stay that way, or even increase, since in spite of the propaganda, much shamefully coming out of BEIS itself, there is no empirical evidence of substantial falls in the capital cost for offshore wind, while opex (operating expenses) is rising quite sharply (see Gordon Hughes’ study: Wind Power Economics: Rhetoric and Reality). This is a dreadful situation. We are on the edge of the most radical rebasing of our economy since the Industrial Revolution and we don’t know, and to an alarming degree we are not being allowed to know, whether it is a good idea.

Full post
6) Rowan Atkinson: Cancel culture is like medieval mob looking for someone to burn
The Daily Telegraph, 5 January 2021

Online cancel culture is like a "medieval mob looking for someone to burn", Rowan Atkinson has claimed.

The star of Blackadder and Mr Bean has long advocated for free speech and campaigned against legislation he believed would stifle expression.
Mr Atkinson now fears the “scary” online practice of silencing unpopular opinions by calling out those who hold them and making them pariahs with their employers and the public.

He has compared the trend of polarising and policing opinion on social media to medieval societies rooting out heretics to burn at the stake.

The Bafta-winning performer believes this culture of “cancelling” individuals is a threat both to the direct victims of the online “mob” and to the future of free speech.

“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion,” Mr Atkinson told the Radio Times.
“But what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.”
Beginning in 2005 with a campaign against hate speech laws in the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, Mr Atkinson has publicly opposed legislation thought to dampen free expression.
In 2009 he argued against homophobic hate speech clauses in UK laws, in 2012 against “insulting” behaviour being a criminal offence, and in 2020 he spoke out against the Scottish National Party’s Hate Crime Bill over fears it could lead to censorship.
Mr Atkinson has now criticised a culture of online witch-hunts which can threaten livelihoods and is “scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob”.
The comic star and free-speech advocate has revealed the trend of calling out those holding supposedly incorrect opinions online fills him with “fear about the future”.
He believes that the nature of the online platforms which play host to the online mob has helped to polarise people and drive the desire to police diverging views.
The actor said: “The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society.
“It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘cancelled’.”
The star said that the popularity of the largely mute Mr Bean may be down to character being verbally unable to offend those with “greater sensitivities”, and said this could explain his success in “Muslim countries” and places with “stricter creative regimes”.
Despite the huge popularity of Mr Bean on online platforms, Mr Atkinson has decided not to have an online presence, saying the attention and vilification on social media is “a sideshow in my world”.
The actor has followed his former Blackadder co-star Sir Tony Robinson, who played the eponymous anti-hero's sidekick Baldrick, in criticising cancel culture.
Sir Tony told The Telegraph in 2020 that the calling out and censoring unpopular opinions “is walking the path of the devil”.
The actor and presenter said he was “passionate about free speech,” adding that: “It defends our liberty, and I’m very unhappy with the idea that, just because someone is offended by what I say, I shouldn’t be allowed to say it.”
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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