Thursday, May 20, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Angela Merkel rejects bringing forward Germany’s 2038 coal exit


Britain’s real energy revolution: Rolls-Royce to roll out Small Modular Reactors by 2030

In this newsletter:

1) Merkel rejects bringing forward Germany’s 2038 coal exit
Reuters, 17 May 2021 
2) Germany ignores EU & US concerns: Germany authorises pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 in its waters
TASS, 17 May 2021

3) Britain’s real energy revolution: Rolls-Royce to roll out Small Modular Reactors by 2030
Mail on Sunday, 16 May 2021

4) Working class Britons most worried about day-to-day issues, not climate change
Guido Fawkes, 18 May 2021
5) How to turn Britons even more sceptical: 'Ban all gas boilers from 2025 to reach net-zero'
BBC News, 18 May 2021

6) John Constable and Capell Aris: Net Zero is a utopian plan that won’t work. Here’s a realistic plan for cleaner energy that will.
Conservative Home. 18 May 2021

7) Climate Lawsuits Take a Hit
The Wall Street Journal, 18 May 2021
8) Marc Thiessen: An Obama scientist debunks the climate doom-mongers
The Washington Post, 14 May 2021
9) And finally: Use of fear to control behaviour in Covid crisis was ‘totalitarian’, admit scientists
The Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2021

Full details:

1) Merkel rejects bringing forward Germany’s 2038 coal exit
Reuters, 17 May 2021

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected calls to bring forward the country’s exit date for coal in power generation, currently set at 2038.

“Those affected need some reliability on the path to climate neutrality,” said Merkel. “I don’t want to unravel this again after one year.”

The German coal phase-out law was agreed in July 2020 – 18 months after the country’s coal exit commission recommended that coal-fired power generation should be ended by 2038 at the latest.

But the phase-out is much later than in many EU countries. Most have a phase-out date of 2030 or before while others, like Belgium and Austria, have already ditched coal from their energy mixes.

The Paris Agreement also calls for developed countries to have ditched coal by 2030 – eight years before Germany’s current target.

On top of this, the European Commission is currently investigating a planned €4.35 billion compensation scheme for German energy companies, agreed as part of the country’s coal exist plan, saying the sums involved are “likely to constitute state aid” under EU law.

Full story
2) Germany ignores EU & US concerns: Germany authorises pipe-laying for Nord Stream 2 in its waters
TASS, 17 May 2021

BERLIN, May 17. /TASS/. Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has authorized the laying of pipes for Nord Stream 2 in German waters, but the construction may follow only at the end of May, the German regulator said in a statement on Monday.

The permit concerns laying pipes on a 2-kilometer stretch in the German Exclusive Economic Zone by vessels with an anchor positioning system, such as the Fortuna pipelayer.

"After carefully weighing all interests, this permit was required for laying pipes for 2 km, so that they could be temporarily stored in the exclusive economic zone on the seabed until further construction," the agency said. "
Aspects related to environmental protection do not impede this order," the regulator said.
Full story
3) Britain’s real energy revolution: Rolls-Royce to roll out Small Modular Reactors by 2030
Mail on Sunday, 16 May 2021

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project has revamped the proposed mini reactors to increase their output. The factory-built reactors will now generate 470 megawatts, enough to provide electricity to a million homes.

Redesign: The factory-built reactors will now generate 470 megawatts, enough to provide electricity to a million homes

The project, launched in 2015, aims to bring ten mini nuclear reactors into use by 2035, with the first due to enter service around 2030. 

Tom Samson, chief executive of the UK SMR Consortium, said negotiations had begun with potential investors to fund the creation of the mini reactors – signalling that the project may move more rapidly than previously thought. 

He said it was looking for customers, which could include energy, industrial or technology companies, to operate the sites. He added: ‘We’re ready to take this technology to market. We’re going to be pursuing orders. We’re hoping to get orders soon.’ 

The UK’s nuclear power industry has had a chequered recent past with the future of some huge plants thrown into doubt. Rolls-Royce hopes to create a nimbler solution to complement big power stations.

Rolls-Royce is the major share holder in the venture, which has been developed through a consortium that includes Atkins, Jacobs and Laing O’Rourke. The Government has so far invested £18million to support its design and £215million has been earmarked for the SMR programme as part of a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. 

Samson said a further £300million of private capital is now being sought to develop the reactors, which it hopes will be located both in the UK and overseas. […]

Samson said 220 engineering decisions had been made in the latest designs. He said the switch from an ‘armadillo’-shaped building to one with a ‘faceted’ top allowing the roof to wrap around the inner workings made it more efficient. 

The Prime Minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings was a champion of the UK SMR programme, but Samson said No10 remained behind the project and it chimed with current policy. 

He added: ‘We unashamedly wrap ourselves in the Union Jack. This is a really proud UK innovation that we’ve developed here at low cost. And that’s what consumers need. 

‘We’re contributing to the Government’s levelling-up agenda. We’re also contributing to its post-Brexit global Britain agenda.’ 

Samson is running the rule over sites for factories to build the mini reactors, and said they were most likely to be in the North of England and the East Midlands, where Rolls-Royce is based. He is also studying potential locations for the reactors, which could include former nuclear sites in West Cumbria and Anglesey, where Japanese giant Hitachi pulled the plug on plans for a £20billion plant last year. 

Samson described renewable energies such as solar and wind power as ‘weather dependent’, adding: ‘We’re not intermittent. These plants will run for 60 years. They will operate 24/7.’

Full story
4) Working class Britons most worried about day-to-day issues, not climate change
Guido Fawkes, 18 May 2021

You might think with the constant round-the-clock propaganda from Sky News and the BBC ahead of the COP26 conference, that people would be getting more concerned about the confected “climate emergency” and similar issues.



According to Ipsos-MORI’s regular monthly polling, the little rising concern that there is about the environment and climate change is being driven by specific demographic subgroups within the wider population:

“It is a big issue for almost three in ten of those in social grades AB (28%), double the level of concern among social grade C2DE (13%)… Those living in the south of England and Scotland are more likely to mention these issues than those in the Midlands and north of England.”

There are no significant differences in environmental concern between Britons of different ages. Party strategists obsessed with voters in the Red Wall seats should note that they are the least interested in climate issues.
Red Wall voters are primarily concerned about the pandemic, the economy, Brexit, and the NHS ahead of green issues. It is a small minority of mostly better-off Southern voters who will vote to put up their electricity bills and force people to buy expensive electric cars.
5) How to turn Britons even more sceptical: 'Ban all gas boilers from 2025 to reach net-zero'
BBC News, 18 May 2021

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold from 2025 if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of this century.

It's one of 400 steps on the road to net-zero proposed by the agency in a special report.

The sale of new petrol and diesel cars around the world would end by 2035.

The IEA says that from now, there is no place for new coal, oil or gas exploration or supplies.

The report has been welcomed as an important contribution on the road to COP26 in Glasgow, when countries will attempt to agree the measures needed to put the Paris climate agreement into practice.

In that context, tackling the issue of how the world produces and consumes energy is the most critical endeavour.

The energy sector, according to the IEA, is the source of around 75% of the emissions of greenhouse gases that are driving up global temperatures.
Full story
6) John Constable and Capell Aris: Net Zero is a utopian plan that won’t work. Here’s a realistic plan for cleaner energy that will.
Conservative Home. 18 May 2021

Dr John Constable is the Energy Editor of the Global Warming Policy Forum. Dr Capell Aris had a career in the energy supply industry, in the nuclear and pumped storage areas. Their policy paper, The Workable Alternative to Net Zero: A plan for cleaner, reliable and affordable energy has just been published.

From 1920 to 2000, the UK electricity supply industry reduced carbon dioxide emissions and prices as well as improving reliability, a record that was even maintained during the 1939–1945 war. This remarkable achievement resulted from efficiency improvements and bringing gas and nuclear into the generation fleet. For the most part, these developments emerged from the realm of multi-disciplinary engineering, free from policy interventions.

However, since 2000 the UK has tried to accelerate the rate of carbon dioxide emissions reductions, with increasing political, ideological and environmental inputs, and little or no reference to sound engineering principles or economics. Our electricity supply industry has become more expensive and significantly less resilient – as witness the nationally significant blackout of 9 August 2019 – yet it is delivering emissions cuts no faster than seen in the period prior to 2000.

These undesirable effects are the result of adopting thermodynamically incompetent generators such as wind turbines and solar panels, and (allegedly) low-emitting and extremely expensive fuels such as biomass. Subsidy costs to renewables, which remain expensive in spite of the propaganda, are now running at about £11 billion per year.

The cost of balancing the grid, at nearly £2 billion a year, has risen four-fold since the early 2000s and will rise still more sharply as batteries are built to provide ancillary services to the grid. Transmission network costs are rising as the result of onshore grid reinforcement and the construction of subsea cables, some exclusively for the benefit of the renewables sector.

And the negative impacts of renewables go much further. In spite of rising costs, grid resilience is falling. Apart from hydro and biomass, renewables have intermittent, highly variable, and uncontrollable production levels, as well as responding badly to faults. Furthermore, unlike traditional generators, they deliver little or no grid “inertia”.

This means that when there is a fault, the impacts are likely to be felt over a much wider area, and the risk of major blackouts is much higher. This situation will only become worse as the share of renewables grows. It is becoming doubtful that nuclear generation plant can operate alongside such an unstable grid.

There is an increasing dependency on interconnectors, with serious political implications, now more obvious than ever with French threats to Jersey. In any case, large weather systems, such as a pan-European high, can bring low wind speeds and low power generation across Northern Europe, from Scotland to Poland, reducing the value of interconnections.

About 1,000 acres of farmland a month are now entering the planning system for solar development, with even DEFRA conceding that over 20 per cent of farmland will be lost to renewables to meet Net Zero targets. With a growing population, such a reduction in agricultural capacity would leave the UK 50 per cent import dependent for all foodstuffs within twenty years.

The smart metering initiative is over-budget (the cost is now in excess of £15 billion or £555 per household), has dubious information security, is compromised by of out-of-date technology and incapable of interacting with any prospective IoT (Internet of Things). Smart metering is a paradigm for the Net Zero project and a catastrophe.

Detailed professional criticism of the decarbonisation agenda has been ignored, with the result that the electricity supply system is failing. There is an increasing risk of deep societal harm through low productivity, intolerably high electricity costs and extremely harmful interruptions of supply.

As a matter of urgency, electricity generation policy must refocus on dispatchable low-emissions plant that can to deliver a secure and competitive electricity system. The resulting lower electricity prices will prevent further deindustrialisation, and facilitate some limited electrification of domestic and commercial heating and mobility.
There is then the potential for longer-term decarbonisation in transport and heating via a medium-term nuclear programme, which might include the generation of hydrogen using high-temperature reactors.
The action points for reform are:

1. Remove market distortions and reduce consumer cost by buying back all subsidy contracts to renewables at a discount, compelling them to operate as pure merchant plant, and institute a rolling program for closure of the wind and solar fleets to reduce system operation costs.
2. License rapid construction of high efficiency combined-cycle gas turbines, perhaps Allam cycle generators, and perhaps with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), if economic.
3. Use low-cost Government debt to finance a new generation of nuclear plant, ideally of smaller scale than those currently envisaged.
4. Investigate the use of high temperature nuclear reactors to generate hydrogen, seeking close co-operation with the Government of Japan, which is already steering in this direction.

Current UK policies will struggle to deliver Net Zero by 2050, or ever, and run a high risk of deep and irreversible societal damage. Because of the harms already inflicted, the engineerable programme outlined here cannot deliver Net Zero by 2050, but it will reduce emissions rapidly and sustainably without destabilising British society. This, then, is a realistic plan – rather than a utopian and, frankly, risible one.
7) Climate Lawsuits Take a Hit
The Wall Street Journal, 18 May 2021
The Supreme Court makes it harder for cities to duck federal courts.

State and local governments have been trying to extract tens of billions of dollars from fossil-fuel producers for contributing to climate change. But a 7-1 majority of the Supreme Court on Monday decided an important procedural question in BP v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore that could put a lid on these suits.
Baltimore has sued some two dozen fossil-fuel companies for creating a “public nuisance.” It argues that the production, sale and promotion of carbon energy has increased greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to climate change that will cause “property damage, economic injuries and impacts to public health.” To describe its argument as a legal stretch is an understatement.

A similar effort by states to shake down fossil-fuel power generators already failed in federal court (AEP v. Connecticut) in 2011. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations can’t be sued for their greenhouse emissions under federal common law since the Clean Air Act delegates the regulation of CO2 emissions to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Baltimore and other cities are now trying to sneak lawsuits through state courts where judges aren’t bound by AEP. The Supreme Court on Monday made this end-run much harder by ruling on a complicated procedural question regarding federal appellate court review of federal judges’ remand orders to state courts.

BP and other fossil fuel companies have tried to move the state lawsuits to federal courts under federal laws, including one that promises a federal forum for any action against an “officer (or any person acting under that officer) of the United States or of any agency thereof, in an official or individual capacity, for or relating to any act under color of such office.”

Fossil-fuel companies argued the Baltimore case belonged in federal court in part because they had federal drilling contracts. A federal judge disagreed and remanded the case to Maryland court. Defendants usually can’t appeal federal remand orders, but Congress has created two exceptions: cases involving civil rights and federal officers.
BP tried to kick the suit back into federal court by appealing to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals under the federal officers exception. The Fourth Circuit said the Baltimore case didn’t fall into this narrow exception and declined to consider BP’s other arguments for federal jurisdiction.

Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourth Circuit interpreted its authority under the law to review remand orders too narrowly. “The statute allows courts of appeals to examine the whole of a district court’s ‘order,’ not just some of its parts or pieces” and “without any further qualification,” Justice Neil Gorsuch writes for the majority.

His textual analysis calls to mind Justice Antonin Scalia, and it’s notable that Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer (who joined the AEP decision) agreed. Justice Samuel Alito was recused from the case, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented on grounds that the Court’s decision lets defendants “sidestep” restrictions on federal court review.

Au contraire. States and cities have purposefully tried to side-step federal courts and Supreme Court precedent. Now they will have a harder time drilling for money in state courts.
8) Marc Thiessen: An Obama scientist debunks the climate doom-mongers
The Washington Post, 14 May 2021

U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry delivered a dire warning Wednesday on “the mounting costs ... of global warming and of a more volatile climate.” Last year’s tally of “22 hurricanes, floods, droughts and wildfires shattered the previous annual record of 16 such events, and that was set only four years ago,” Kerry told a congressional hearing. “You don’t have to be a scientist to begin to feel that we’re looking at a trend line.”

Kerry is right about one thing: He is not a scientist. So here are a few climate facts that Kerry failed to mention in his testimony, marshaled by one of the Obama administration’s top scientists, Steven E. Koonin. All are based on official assessments published by the U.S. government or United Nations:

“The warmest temperatures in the U.S. have not risen in the past fifty years,” Koonin writes, according to the U.S. government’s Climate Science Special Report.

“Humans have had no detectable impact on hurricanes over the past century,” according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment.
“Since the middle of the twentieth century, the number of significant tornadoes hasn’t changed much at all, but the strongest storms have become less frequent,” according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data (NOAA).
“The rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today,” according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Instead of droughts, “the past fifty years have been slightly wetter than average” in the United States, according to NOAA figures.
Rather than famine, “in the fifty years from 1961 to 2011, global yields of wheat, rice, and maize … each more than doubled,” according to the IPCC.
“The net economic impact of human-induced climate change will be minimal through at least the end of this century.”

These facts come from Koonin and his new book, “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.” When he shares such information, he writes, “most are incredulous. Some gasp. And some get downright hostile.” Koonin — a physicist who worked on alternative energy for BP and as undersecretary for science in Obama Energy Department — has dug through those U.N. and U.S. government reports to bring us some inconvenient truths. And he says the facts do not support the “doom mongering” of climate alarmists.

The globe is warming, he tells me in an interview, partly due to natural phenomena and partly due to growing human influences. (Scientists can’t untangle the two, he writes, due to “the deficiencies of climate data.”) But, Koonin argues, the terrifying predictions of increasingly violent weather and coastal cites drowned beneath rising seas are overblown.

So are the predictions of climate-induced economic devastation. Koonin explains that, if the U.S. economy grows at a 2 percent average annual rate, then absent any climate impact gross domestic product will rise from about $20 trillion today to about $80 trillion in 2090. If temperatures rise by 5 degrees Celsius over that same period, Koonin notes that, according to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, our growth would be 4 percent less 70 years from now. That means GDP would grow to about $77 trillion instead of $80 trillion. “We would be delayed in our growth by a couple of years,” he says.

The idea that we can stop climate change, Koonin argues, is delusional. “If we stop emitting CO2 today, it would still be there in the atmosphere for hundreds of years” he tells me. “If we manage to reduce emissions a little bit, it’ll just accumulate at a slower rate but it’ll still go up.” Even that is hard to do at an acceptable economic cost. During last year’s pandemic lockdowns, when much of the economy ground to a halt, our carbon emissions fell to about 21 percent below 2005 levels — which was less than halfway to the Biden’s administration’s 10-year goal.

Those most harmed by the draconian proposals of the climate extremists would be developing nations that produce the most emissions. People in these countries, he says, “need energy to improve their lot, and fossil fuels are right now the most reliable and convenient way of doing that.” Rather than forcing poor countries to participate in a futile and economically destructive effort to stop climate change, we need to help them adapt.

In fact, adaptation is the only choice we have, Koonin says. Climate change “will be gradual, and human ingenuity will certainly get us through this, if not allow us to prosper.” Indeed, Koonin notes there are advantages to a changing climate, such as the greening of the planet through increased vegetation, which he believes will dramatically increase the food supply for the world’s population.

“So, this is not at all an unmitigated disaster as people would have you believe,” he says. “We’ll learn to take advantage of whatever changes happen rather than simply tolerate them. That’s what humans do, and we’re pretty good at it.”

Mankind has adapted to climate change before, and we’ll do it again — the doomsaying of the climate alarmists notwithstanding.
9) And finally: Use of fear to control behaviour in Covid crisis was ‘totalitarian’, admit scientists
The Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2021
Members of Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour express regret about ‘unethical’ methods

Scientists on a committee that encouraged the use of fear to control people’s behaviour during the Covid pandemic have admitted its work was “unethical” and “totalitarian”.
Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) expressed regret about the tactics in a new book about the role of psychology in the Government’s Covid-19 response.
SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase “the perceived level of personal threat” from Covid-19 because “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened”.
Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: “Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.”

Mr Morgan spoke to author Laura Dodsworth, who has spent a year investigating the Government’s tactics for her book A State of Fear, published on Monday.
Ministers have faced repeated accusations that they ramped up the threat from the pandemic to justify lockdowns and coerce the public into abiding by them – a claim that will be examined by the forthcoming public inquiry into the pandemic response.

SPI-B is one of the sub-committees that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), led by Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.
One SPI-B scientist told Ms Dodsworth: “In March [2020] the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down.
There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear. The way we have used fear is dystopian.
“The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared.”
Another SPI-B member said: “You could call psychology ‘mind control’. That’s what we do… clearly we try and go about it in a positive way, but it has been used nefariously in the past.”
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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