Wednesday, April 28, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Why Net Zero won't happen


Eye-wateringly expensive, and promising unreliable energy, Net Zero is a dangerous daydream

In this newsletter:

1) Andrew Montford: Net Zero is a disaster waiting to happen
The Daily Telegraph, 26 April 2021
2) Benny Peiser: Why Net Zero won’t happen
TalkRadio, 7 April 2021

3) Global emissions goals come with big cost and political hurdles
The Wall Street Journal, 26 April 2021
4) How bowing to Joe Biden's unrealistic climate targets could cost Australia 650,000 jobs and destroy living standards forever
Daily Mail, 23 April 2021

5) David Keighley: The poor can’t afford to eat Kwasi’s Greens
The Conservative Woman, 26 April 2021

6) Barking mad: Senior Tory, former foreign secretary, threatens Brazil with war over trees and oil 
Daily Mail, 26 April 2021 
7) Has new MI6 boss read the Paris Agreement?
GWPF & Daily Telegraph, 26 April 2021
8) ‘Unsettled’ Review: The ‘Consensus’ On Climate
Mark P Mills, The Wall Street Journal, 26 April 2021
9) Francis Menton: Ever deeper and deeper into Climate Fantasy
Manhattan Contrarian, 24 April 2021
10) And finally: UK solar panels manufactured by firms linked to Chinese slave labour
The Guardian, 25 April 2021

Full details:

1) Andrew Montford: Net Zero is a disaster waiting to happen
The Daily Telegraph, 26 April 2021

Eye-wateringly expensive, and promising unreliable energy, decarbonisation is a dangerous daydream

You can almost smell the change in the air. A growing number of influential voices are beginning to ask the questions that everyone has been avoiding for the last few years. Can we really nudge people into accepting net zero –the decarbonisation of the economy? Is it practical? Can we afford it any more? Or will it prove to be the white elephant to end all white elephants?
They are right to be concerned. The bill has already been estimated at £1 trillion pounds – £30,000 for every household in the country – an eye-watering figure that was probably unaffordable even before the pandemic hit. But a moment’s reflection shows that even this number is far too low to be plausible. Although it is a tidy sum, 30 grand doesn’t go far when you are trying to decarbonise. Heating the nation’s homes is a case in point. The cheapest way of doing this is a combination of insulation and replacement of gas-and oil-fired boilers with heat pumps. But a heat pump and ancillary equipment will set the average homeowner back well over £10,000, and retrofitting insulation could cost twice as much.

Once you have converted 30 million homes, your £1 trillion decarbonisation budget is pretty much gone, before even thinking about the cost of decarbonising the electricity generation system, replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles, installing charging equipment, reinforcing the grid to cope with the extra demand, and weaning industry, freight, transport, shipping and agriculture off fossil fuels. Quite what all this will really cost is anyone’s guess at the moment, but it will certainly be well over £100,000 per household.

Forcing people to spend their own money on that sort of scale is hardly going to be a vote-winner, but then coercion seems to be the order of the day. The Committee on Climate Change – the Government’s advisers on decarbonisation – are urging a ban on sales of inadequately insulated homes. Such a policy would land like a lead balloon in the Tory shires.

And that’s only the start. Decarbonisation’s big secret is that we still have no zero-carbon technology that can balance the electricity grid when it is driven by offshore wind farms. Contrary to common belief, batteries are not even a plausible solution, and hydrogen is so absurdly expensive as to make its use unacceptable.

We are therefore heading for a situation in which the only way to meet supply and demand in a long lull in the wind (like the one we have seen over the past two weeks) will be rationing. That’s what smart meters are for – they will enable grid managers to switch off appliances in your home so that the grid doesn’t collapse. Yes, your home may be cold, and the electric car may sit idle in the drive, but at least the lights haven’t gone out.

It doesn’t have to be like this. A study I helped publish a few years ago showed that an electricity grid powered by nuclear and gas could deliver similar emission reductions to the one we are building, but at a fraction of the cost. New technologies like so-called Allam Cycle gas turbines (essentially a gas-fired power station with built-in carbon capture) could make the system zero-carbon.

But instead, we in the UK will be stuck with vast, unreliable offshore wind farms, which seem to exist mainly to mop up subsidies. It emerged last week that several of our latest offshore installations are taking home a third of a billion pounds in subsidy each year. Every year. The latest and largest, Hornsea One, will soon be sucking up over half a billion pounds of annual subsidy.

We have done the easy bits of net zero – replacing coal with gas made economic sense in its own right. The next steps are going to be harder for Tory canvassers on the doorsteps, particularly in Red Wall seats, where heating bills are high, and the kind of money needed to decarbonise isn’t found down the back of the sofa.

The lessons of the fuel tax rises and the gilets jaunes are there. The public will endure being nudged towards decarbonisation a little bit, for a little while. But if a little nudge turns into a great big shove, they are likely to turn round and give their political overlords a bloody nose. And with the scale of the disaster that net zero is set to be, it will be richly deserved.

Andrew Montford is deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum

Full column & 500+ comments (£)
2) Benny Peiser: Why Net Zero won’t happen
TalkRadio, 7 April 2021

Decarbonising housing, heat pumps & Net Zero. GWPF director Benny Peiser speaks to Mike Graham about why the government’s utopian Net Zero agenda is unviable and won't happen.

Click on image to watch full interview
3) Global emissions goals come with big cost and political hurdles
The Wall Street Journal, 26 April 2021

Countries aiming to sharply reduce their emissions to meet climate goals must be prepared for staggering costs and looming political battles as they seek to overhaul swaths of their economies, climate analysts and economists say.

The International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization based in Abu Dhabi, said in March that the world would need to invest $115 trillion through 2050 in clean technologies, such as solar power and electric vehicles, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Such climate goals, made at the 2015 Paris accords, were revived in the Earth Day Climate Summit hosted last week by President Biden.

Environmentalists and some economists say the changes would translate into innovative technologies and job creation, while saving a million lives annually from lowering air pollution and circumventing higher water levels that would swamp coastal cities. Still, the upfront costs would be a challenge, requiring revamps across many sectors, including steel production, agriculture and cargo shipping.
Mr. Biden’s target of sharply reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 would force companies to speed the pace of change and present new expenses. Much of the world’s hopes for reducing carbon emissions, however, rest on China and India, which are heavily dependent on coal—considered the dirtiest fossil fuel—to generate power. China is the No. 1 emitter globally.
David Victor, an international-relations professor at the University of California San Diego who focuses on climate policies, said getting to zero requires the difficult task of “eliminating essentially all fossil fuels.”
“What do you do about cement? What do you do about steel production? What do you do about agriculture? What do you do about aviation and shipping?” he said. “There’s a tendency when you study radical technological change to overestimate what’s possible in the near term.”
China needs to invest $21 trillion over three decades to overhaul transportation, industry and construction while building nuclear, wind and solar production facilities to reach the goal of zero net emissions by 2060, according to a report presented by China’s leading climate experts in October at Tsinghua University. That amounts to more than 2.5% of its annual gross domestic product.

Weaning China off coal won’t be simple. Coal supplied 56.8% of China’s energy consumption in 2020, according to official national data, with 1,082 plants generating nearly 1,100 gigawatts of power.

With its vibrant economy barely slowing during the coronavirus pandemic, China is expected to consume 6% more coal by 2025 compared with 2020, the China National Coal Association reported last month. In 2020, China proposed 73.5 gigawatts of new coal plants, more than five times as much as the rest of the world combined.
President Xi Jinping, addressing heads of state at the summit, said the country would reduce coal consumption in five years. But he didn’t offer an end to the burning of coal nor did he accelerate the timetable for China to lower carbon emissions, as environmentalists had hoped.
Still, after adopting recommendations made in the Tsinghua University report, Mr. Xi in December announced at a United Nations summit plans to lower China’s carbon intensity by more than 65% from its level in 2005.
He also said China would increase the share of nonfossil fuels in its energy mix to about 25% by 2030, up from 15.3% in 2020. The president also pledged in December to bring the total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1,200 gigawatts by 2030, more than double the present capacity.
Some point out that much of China’s dependence on fossil fuels has to do with the economic stimulus that comes with the construction of coal plants in certain regions; China’s coal plants run at only 49% capacity. Many of those on the drawing board might never be built because they aren’t economically viable, according to energy researchers.

But China has balked at having to keep up with developed countries in lowering emissions.
“Developed countries need to increase climate ambition and action and make concrete efforts to help developing countries accelerate the transition to green and low-carbon development,” Mr. Xi said.
The Biden administration has set a goal for cutting emissions by as much as 52% by 2030 from 2005 in the U.S., and an outright end to greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. Mr. Biden plans to double financing for low-income countries for climate-reduction programs while prodding private business to develop green-friendly initiatives.
The goals laid out in the Paris agreement aren’t legally binding. But they rely largely on the international consensus that ecosystems could be devastated unless the rise in global temperature is limited to about 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
Another fast-growing developing country, India, provides another challenge when it comes to reducing dependence on coal.
Coal supplies nearly half of the country’s energy, and new coal plants that would produce 100 gigawatts have been approved. India is second in the world in coal consumption, with its global share expected to rise from 11% to 14% in 2030.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated at the climate summit that India’s goal is to build 450 gigawatts of renewable-energy sources by 2030, including solar, wind and small hydroelectric plants. If it happens, that would make up about 55% of the 817 gigawatts that India’s Central Electricity Authority estimates the country will need in 2030.
The country, though, remains far from that target, with 94 gigawatts of renewable power installed. Most energy-industry executives and analysts say India won’t be able to hit an intermediate goal of 175 gigawatts of renewable-energy capacity by 2022.

Obstacles include the economic and geopolitical: Big solar developers generally contract with state-owned power-distribution companies to sell them the electricity at a set price for a term that can be as long as 25 years. But solar prices have fallen so quickly that some financially strapped distribution companies have balked at paying the higher prices they agreed to in older contracts.
Indian policy makers are also increasingly uncomfortable at buying so much of their solar equipment from their rival to the north, China, which controls the bulk of solar manufacturing.
Addressing the concerns from countries about overhauling their economies, White House climate czar John Kerry emphasized the potential advantages of moving toward greener energy and transportation sources.
“No one is being asked for a sacrifice,” he said Friday. “This is an opportunity.”

The International Renewable Energy Agency says the shift should create three times more jobs than it destroys, because renewable-energy industries tend to be more labor-intensive than fossil-fuel industries. The International Labor Organization said in 2018 that the green transition would destroy six million jobs but create 24 million new ones world-wide by 2030. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the shift is likely to resemble previous transitions when industrialized societies embraced new technologies, such as the internet.
But such radical, real-world changes would require deft political handling, and innovative solutions to address those who could initially be hurt, such as coal miners in Appalachia and working-class people in Europe who might face higher taxes on gasoline.

There, countries are ahead of other regions in laying out plans for reaching zero emissions by 2050. But leaders face political dilemmas. In the biggest economies, the burden of the green transition has partly fallen on the working class.
Meeting the goal of cutting emissions by at least 55% by 2030 from the baseline of 1990 would cost $422 billion in annual investments to the region’s energy infrastructure, says the European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union. Last week, EU lawmakers and national governments agreed on a trillion-dollar plan designed to achieve net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions  by 2050.

German electricity prices rose sharply over the past decade to help pay for the country’s shift away from nuclear energy and coal to renewables. People who live in more-affordable suburbs and rural areas, and commute to jobs in urban centers, face higher taxes on fuel and vehicles in some countries. That is why French commuters led the yellow-vest protest movement that erupted in late 2018 in opposition to President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise fuel taxes, ultimately forcing him to back down.

The experience made Mr. Macron, a business-friendly centrist, an opponent of dramatic changes to the French economy. The country is unlikely to meet climate targets without new policies.
The EU also faces hurdles to its climate goals because of its Eastern European members’  dependence on burning coal to produce electricity. Leaders in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are planning to solve their coal problem with a big expansion of nuclear energy. But policy makers in Brussels have yet to decide whether nuclear power would qualify for EU subsidies to meet the bloc’s climate goals.
Full story ($)
4) How bowing to Joe Biden's unrealistic climate targets could cost Australia 650,000 jobs and destroy living standards forever
Daily Mail, 23 April 2021

More than half a million Australian jobs are at risk if the government moves to cut emissions too quickly to combat climate change under pressure from US President Joe Biden, according to a report.

Three of the most polluting industries - agriculture, mining, and manufacturing - account for 13.5 per cent of all jobs in the country and 653,600 people work in industries with above average emissions, according to research by The Institute of Public Affairs.

These jobs include cabin crew, pilots, farmers, binmen and miners, with the potential losses concentrated in regional Queensland and New South Wales.

Cutting back emissions-intensive industries could also wipe billions from the Australian economy. The export value of coal alone was about $70 billion in the financial year 2019 and natural gas was worth $50 billion.

The IPA has issued a stark warning to Prime Minister Scott Morrison after US President Joe Biden urged world leaders to take more action to stop global warming at a virtual summit on Thursday night.

'The pressure from the Biden administration and global leaders on Australia is an attack on Australian sovereignty,' the group's director of research Daniel Wild told Daily Mail Australia.

'Mr Morrison must resist Joe Biden's attempt to interfere in Australian domestic climate change policy, which mainstream Australians have had their say on many times over.

'A net zero emissions target is an attack on the Australian way of life and will unleash a humanitarian and economic Armageddon on regional Australians,' he added.  

Full story
5) David Keighley: The poor can’t afford to eat Kwasi’s Greens
The Conservative Woman, 26 April 2021
Every step the UK government takes along the enforced drive towards Green targets smacks of an elite who are out of touch with the real world and real people and don’t understand – or don’t give a damn – about the vast damage they are inflicting on the British people. 


Kwasi Kwarteng is Boris Johnson’s Minister for Business. His job is supposedly developing enterprise so that it benefits the welfare and living standards of everyone in the United Kingdom. 
But sadly Mr Kwarteng has caught the Green disease and is now doing the exact opposite of his brief. 
First, by pursuing Green ideology he is making energy so expensive that British manufacturing industry, already in steep decline, will become hopelessly uncompetitive in world markets, cars and transport will become unaffordable and most people will no longer be able to keep warm in their homes because they won’t be allowed to have gas central heating.  
Not content with swinging that wrecking ball, he has now decided from his Westminster eyrie that it will destroy the planet if we continue to eat meat. He is personally contemplating becoming a vegan and as TCW reported on Saturday he has started pontificating that everyone else should follow his example. 
No doubt Mr Kwarteng leads a comfortable lifestyle, courtesy of his generous state-provided, index-linked generous salary. He can look forward to an equally comfortable retirement thanks to his taxpayer-funded pension. He can easily afford the additional cost of a nutritionally balanced vegan diet, estimated conservatively here as at least 25 per cent more than its meat-based equivalent.
But what about the 14.5million in Britain who are on ‘relatively low income’ of only 60 per cent or less of the national median income? Should they be expected to increase their food bills by a quarter for a fad?
Every step this government takes along the enforced drive towards Green targets smacks of an elite who are out of touch with the real world and real people and don’t understand – or don’t give a damn – about the vast damage they are inflicting on the British people. 
Raised living standards since 1945 brought problems of food over-consumption. But now we have a government encouraging policies which will inflict malnutrition on a scale not seen since before the Industrial Revolution. That was a period which harnessed cheap, easily available energy to make sure the country was kept warm and well fed. Kwarteng and his Green maniac friends are prepared to  throw all that away.
6) Barking mad: Senior Tory, former foreign secretary, threatens Brazil with war over trees and oil 


The former foreign secretary says the focus of the Armed Forces could soon switch from protecting energy supplies to guarding the natural environment.
‘In the past the UK has been willing to use armies to secure and extract fossil fuels,’ he writes in the Environmental Affairs journal. ‘But in the future, armies will be sent to ensure oil is not drilled and to protect natural environments.

Referring to Brazil, Lord Hague predicts that ‘as climate change climbs the hierarchy of important political issues, it will be increasingly difficult to square our climate change policy with agreeing a free trade deal with a country that clears a football pitch-sized area of the Amazon rainforest every minute’.
He also says Britain is too reliant on China for the components of electric batteries, warning that ‘it is now impossible for us to remain dependent on them in such a critical area’. ‘As a result, our policies towards China and climate change have become unavoidably linked,’ he adds.

Lord Hague, who was Tory foreign secretary from 2010 to 2014, says Britain ‘cannot get away with talking the talk without walking the walk’ on climate.
The UK has launched a strategy that will see the Armed Forces going as ‘green as possible’ and last week Boris Johnson said Britain would speed up cuts to emissions so that they would be reduced by 78 per cent by 2035, compared with 1990 levels.
7) Has new MI6 boss read the Paris Agreement?
GWPF & Daily Telegraph, 26 April 2021

Richard Moore, the new chief of the UK’s secret service, suggests countries such as China will be watched to ensure climate commitments are kept. What climate commitment? Has nobody at MI6 informed Mr Moore about the Paris Agreement?
After all, under international law, China, India, and all emerging and developing nations are exempt from any CO2 emission cuts until 2030 or later.


Richard Moore, head of the UK’s foreign intelligence service, described climate change as the “foremost international foreign policy item for this country and for the planet”

MI6 is placing the climate emergency at the forefront of its international espionage with “green spying” on the world’s big polluters, its new chief has revealed.

Richard Moore, head of the UK’s foreign intelligence service, described climate change as the “foremost international foreign policy item for this country and for the planet”.

It means the big industrial countries will be monitored by MI6 to ensure they are upholding their commitments to combating rising global temperatures.

Mr Moore, known as ‘C’, took charge of the intelligence agency in October and has become the first head of the service to ever give a broadcast interview.

He indicated that British spies will make China the focus of much of their climate-related espionage by pointing out that Beijing is “certainly the largest emitter” of carbon.

“Our job is to shine a light in places where people might not want it shone and so clearly we are going to support what is the foremost international foreign policy agenda item for this country and for the planet, which is around the climate emergency, and of course we have a role in that space,” he told Times Radio.

“Where people sign up to commitments on climate change, it is perhaps our job to make sure that what they are really doing reflects what they have signed up to.”

Full story (£)

8) ‘Unsettled’ Review: The ‘Consensus’ On Climate
Mark P Mills, The Wall Street Journal, 26 April 2021

A top Obama scientist looks at the evidence on warming and CO2 emissions and rebuts much of the dominant political narrative.

Steven Koonin in 2011.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Physicist Steven Koonin kicks the hornet’s nest right out of the gate in “Unsettled.” In the book’s first sentences he asserts that “the Science” about our planet’s climate is anything but “settled.” Mr. Koonin knows well that it is nonetheless a settled subject in the minds of most pundits and politicians and most of the population.

Further proof of the public’s sentiment: Earlier this year the United Nations Development Programme published the mother of all climate surveys, titled “The Peoples’ Climate Vote.” With more than a million respondents from 50 countries, the survey, unsurprisingly, found “64% of people said that climate change was an emergency.”

But science itself is not conducted by polls, regardless of how often we are urged to heed a “scientific consensus” on climate. As the science-trained novelist Michael Crichton summarized in a famous 2003 lecture at Caltech: “If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” Mr. Koonin says much the same in “Unsettled.”
The book is no polemic. It’s a plea for understanding how scientists extract clarity from complexity. And, as Mr. Koonin makes clear, few areas of science are as complex and multidisciplinary as the planet’s climate.
He begins with a kind of trigger warning for readers who may be shocked by the book’s contradiction of four points of climate orthodoxy: “Heat waves in the US are now no more common than they were in 1900” and “the warmest temperatures in the US have not risen in the past fifty years. . . . Humans have had no detectable impact on hurricanes over the past century. . . . Greenland’s ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly today than it was eighty years ago. . . . The net economic impact of human-induced climate change will be minimal through at least the end of this century.”

But Mr. Koonin is no “climate denier,” to use the concocted phrase used to shut down debate. The word “denier” is of course meant to associate skeptics of climate alarmism with Holocaust deniers. Mr. Koonin finds this label particularly abhorrent, since “the Nazis killed more than two hundred of my relatives in Eastern Europe.” As for “denying,” Mr. Koonin makes it clear, on the book’s first page, that “it’s true that the globe is warming, and that humans are exerting a warming influence upon it.” 
The heart of the science debate, however, isn’t about whether the globe is warmer or whether humanity contributed. The important questions are about the magnitude of civilization’s contribution and the speed of changes; and, derivatively, about the urgency and scale of governmental response. Mr. Koonin thinks most readers will be surprised at what the data show. I dare say they will.
As Mr Koonin illustrates, tornado frequency and severity are also not trending up; nor are the number and severity of droughts. The extent of global fires has been trending significantly downward. The rate of sea-level rise has not accelerated. Global crop yields are rising, not falling. And while global atmospheric CO2 levels are obviously higher now than two centuries ago, they’re not at any record planetary high—they’re at a low that has only been seen once before in the past 500 million years.
Mr. Koonin laments the sloppiness of those using local weather “events” to make claims about long-cycle planetary phenomena. He chastises not so much local news media as journalists with prestigious national media who should know better. This attribution error evokes one of Mr. Koonin’s rare rebukes: “Pointing to hurricanes as an example of the ravages of human-caused climate change is at best unconvincing, and at worst plainly dishonest.”
When it comes to the vaunted computer models, Mr. Koonin is persuasively skeptical. It’s a big problem, he says, when models can’t retroactively “predict” events that have already happened. And he notes that some of the “tuning” done to models so that they work better amounts to “cooking the books.” He should know, having written one of the first textbooks on using computers to model physics phenomena.

Mr. Koonin’s science credentials are impeccable—unlike, say, those of one well-known Swedish teenager to whom the media affords great attention on climate matters. He has been a professor of physics at Caltech and served as the top scientist in Barack Obama’s Energy Department. The book is copiously referenced and relies on widely accepted government documents.
Since all the data that Mr. Koonin uses are available to others, he poses the obvious question: “Why haven’t you heard these facts before?” He is cautious, perhaps overly so, in proposing the causes for so much misinformation. He points to such things as incentives to invoke alarm for fundraising purposes and official reports that “mislead by omission.” Many of the primary scientific reports, he observes repeatedly, are factual. Still, “the public gets their climate information almost exclusively from the media; very few people actually read the assessment summaries.”
Mr. Koonin says that he knows he’ll be criticized, even “attacked.” You can’t blame him for taking a few pages to shadow box with his critics. But even if one remains unconvinced by his arguments, the right response is to debate the science. We’ll see if that happens in a world in which politicians assert the science is settled and plan astronomical levels of spending to replace the nation’s massive infrastructures with “green” alternatives. Never have so many spent so much public money on the basis of claims that are so unsettled. The prospects for a reasoned debate are not good. Good luck, Mr. Koonin.
Mr. Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is the author of “Digital Cathedrals” and a forthcoming book on how the cloud and new technologies will create an economic boom.
9) Francis Menton: Ever deeper and deeper into Climate Fantasy
Manhattan Contrarian, 24 April 2021

It never ceases to amaze me how the very mention of the word “climate” causes people to lose all touch with their rational faculties. And of course I’m not talking here just about the ordinary man on the street, but also, indeed especially, about our elected leaders and government functionaries.
The latest example is President Biden’s pledge, issued at his “World Climate Summit” on April 22, to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 - 52% from the levels of 2005, and to do so by 2030. In my last post a couple of days ago, I remarked that “Biden himself has absolutely no idea how this might be accomplished. And indeed it will not be accomplished.” Those things are certainly true, but also fail to do full justice to the extent to which our President and his handlers have now left the real world and gone off into total fantasy.

Back in 2016, when Barack Obama was President and it was time to go along (or not) with the Paris Climate Agreement, the idea still existed in the government that pledges to reduce GHG emissions ought to bear some relationship to reality. The pledge made by Obama on behalf of the U.S. in the Paris Agreement was to reduce GHG emissions by 26 - 28% from the 2005 level, and to do so by 2026. In 2016, U.S. GHG emissions were already down by more than 12% from the 2005 level, from 7,423.0 MMT CO2e in 2005 to 6520.3 MMT CO2e in 2016, according to the EPA’s Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (see chart at pages ES 7-9); and that had been with very minimal coercive input from the government. If a 12% reduction could be achieved in the first 11 years, then a further 14% reduction in another 10 years would not be wildly out of line.

Indeed, it appeared that Obama’s people had the already-existing gradual pace of decline in mind when they made their commitment. Much of the decline in GHG emissions from 2005 to 2016 came about from the fracking revolution, and accompanying substitution of (lower emissions) natural gas for (higher emissions) coal; and most of the rest resulted from gradual efficiency improvements in energy usage throughout the economy. It would not have been crazy in 2016 to expect those things to continue at roughly the same pace.

But let’s consider where we are now. GHG emissions for 2019 were 6,558.3 MMT CO2e, which was actually up from 2016. Emissions for 2020 are said to have been down about 10% from 2019, but almost entirely due to steep declines in driving and air travel due to the pandemic. Those emissions from transport almost certainly will come back, perhaps not all right away, but almost all within a couple of years, if indeed there are not increases.

Even with the 10% decline in emissions in 2020, we’re down only about 20% from 2005. If you believe that travel will shortly come back to pre-pandemic levels, we will then be down only about 10% from 2005. Biden’s pledge is a 50% reduction from 2005, so something in the range of 30 - 40% additional in just nine years. And note that Biden is not just talking about the electricity sector (only about 30% of emissions), but about things like transportation (driving and flying), home heating, agriculture and industry that today almost completely depend on fossil fuels.

In a piece at Substack on April 22, Roger Pielke, Jr., gives an idea of what Biden’s pledge would mean in the real world.
Full post 
10) And finally: UK solar panels manufactured by firms linked to Chinese slave labour
The Guardian, 25 April 2021
Investigation finds up to 40% of UK solar farms were built using panels from leading Chinese companies

Solar projects commissioned by the Ministry of Defence, the government’s Coal Authority, United Utilities and some of the UK’s biggest renewable energy developers are using panels made by Chinese solar companies accused of exploiting forced labour camps in Xinjiang province, a Guardian investigation has found.
Confidential industry data suggests that up to 40% of the UK’s solar farms were built using panels manufactured by China’s biggest solar panel companies, including Jinko Solar, JA Solar and Trina Solar.
These firms have been named in a recent report on the internment of more than 1 million men and women from the Muslim Uyghur community, in what UK MPs on Thursday voted to describe as genocide.
Companies with factories or major suppliers in Xinjiang produce about a third of the polysilicon material used to make the world’s solar panels, according to a detailed report by the US consultancy Horizon Advisory. China is the world leader in polysilicon production.

The report found that Chinese solar companies had ties to indicators of forced labour in Xinjiang, where Uyghur are interned, via this polysilicon production.
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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