Friday, July 30, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Net Zero by 2050 is dead in the water. So what's plan B?


COP26 in trouble as India asks rich nations to reduce per capita emission by 2030

In this newsletter:

1) Fraser Myers: Net Zero by 2050 is dead in the water. So what's plan B?
The Daily Telegraph, 27 July 2021
2) COP26 in trouble as India asks rich nations to reduce per capita emission by 2030
Times of India, 26 July 2021

3) The SUN says: Eco revolution for new boilers and battery-powered cars should not make people poorer
Editorial, The Sun, 27 July 2021

4) Climate hyperbolists are finding the pandemic stole their thunder
Editorial, The Washington Times, 26 July 2021

5) Tom Chivers: Can we trust the climate scientists?
Unheard, 26 July 2021 

6) Terry McCrann: When the wind don’t blow and sun don’t shine
The Australian, 24 July 2021
7) Abundant rains push grain harvest in Morocco to near record levels
Xinhua, 26 July 2021

Full details:

1) Fraser Myers: Net Zero by 2050 is dead in the water. So what's plan B?
The Daily Telegraph, 27 July 2021

The truth is, the sacrifices being demanded of us in the name of Net Zero are incompatible with democracy. And the PM knows it

Boris Johnson has always tried to take a ‘cakeist’ position on Net Zero. We can drastically cut carbon emissions while boosting living standards, he claims. But the truth is, the sacrifices being demanded of us in the name of Net Zero are incompatible with democracy, and the PM knows it.

Just look at the anguish the gas boiler ban is causing to the government. Johnson has now conceded that the ban will have to be pushed back from 2035 to 2040. It will have to be some other prime minister’s problem.

The boiler ban was a key plank of the government’s Net Zero strategy. Gas boilers were to be replaced with heat pumps. These heat pumps are not what anyone could call a reasonable alternative to boilers. While a boiler can heat your house fairly quickly at the flick of a switch, a heat pump can take around 24 hours to heat your home to between 17 to 19 degrees celsius - i.e., not-quite room temperature.

For the pleasure of living in your not-quite warm house, you will have to fork out around £10,000 for the unit and installation. Then, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), you can expect to spend an additional £100 per year on your energy bills.

If you want to own a heat pump and have a house that’s more than lukewarm, you’ll need lots of extra insulation. This means yet more tens of thousands of pounds in renovation costs. The Energy Technologies Institute estimates that a ‘deep retrofit’ could cost as much as building a home from scratch. This is not money that any ordinary person has down the back of the sofa - or that the taxpayer can reasonably cover for millions of households.

Getting used to this reduced lifestyle ‘will take an attitudinal shift’, says Chris Stark, CEO of the CCC. This is quite the understatement. It means abandoning what was once a completely normal expectation in a developed country: having a warm home in winter.

In our Net Zero future, we can also forget having a stable and affordable supply of electricity. Boris says he wants to make the UK the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind power’. But we should be wary of green energy experiments. Places like California that have rushed to swap nuclear and fossil fuels with renewable energy are regularly faced with rolling blackouts. Since Germany embarked on its Energiewende (energy transition), its electricity prices are now among the highest in the world, though, ironically, this hasn’t done much to lower CO2 emissions.

Net Zero is easily the largest national project the UK has embarked on since the Second World War. But even as politicians boast about it on the world stage, parading their harsh ‘targets’ at every opportunity, they have tried to downplay its significance to the public. It’s just a tax rise here, a subsidy there, maybe a bit less meat-eating or not rinsing the plate before loading it into the dishwasher. Technology will take care of the rest, anyway, they say.

But when the public really finds out what Net Zero means, will they tolerate it? The gilets jaunes protests in France were the most significant public revolt since 1968. They were sparked by an eco-tax. This tax didn’t affect the metropolitan liberals who dreamt it up. They were baffled that anyone would stand in the way of carbon neutrality. But they had to reverse course. This tax was but a drop in the ocean compared to Net Zero.

All of this is why a Deutsche Bank analyst has, provocatively, suggested that a period of ‘eco-dictatorship’ may be necessary to get to Net Zero. Governments may struggle to stay in power, or may have to deal with civil unrest if they preside over such a drastic reduction in living standards.

Perhaps the most likely outcome is that Net Zero simply doesn’t happen, as the bigger sacrifices get shunted into the long grass for the next government to impose. But if the government and its technocrats truly believe that climate change poses an existential threat, shouldn’t they at least have a Plan B?

For further reading see series of GWPF papers on the cost of Net Zero 

2) COP26 in trouble as India asks rich nations to reduce per capita emission by 2030
Times of India, 26 July 2021
NEW DELHI: At a time when rich nations, backed by the UN climate body, have pitched for brining all emitters on board to commit for ‘net-zero’ emission goal or carbon neutrality by around mid-century, India has come out with a counter proposal asking them to bring down their own per capita emission to global average by 2030.

Per capita CO₂ emissions. Source: Our World in Data

The country brought this narrative on table while making its points on the concluding day of the G20 ministerial meeting on climate change and energy and even forced the participants to add this point in the Presidency statement in Naples, Italy on late Friday evening.

India’s per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emission was around 1.96 tCO2e (tonne carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2016 which is less than one-third of the world’s per capita annual GHG emissions (6.55 tCO2e). On the other hand, the US has 17.6 tCO2e, Canada has 15.7 tCO2e, Australia has 14.9 tCO2e, Germany has 10.4 tCO2e, UK has 8.1 tCO2e, France has 6.6 tCO2e and China has 6.4 tCO2e of per capita annual emission.

Citing how rich nations have already consumed most of the ‘carbon space’ available for developmental needs due to their huge emission in the past, Indian delegation intervened with a formal country statement on the issue.Noting “the pledges made by some countries to achieve net-zero GHG emissions or carbon neutrality by or around mid-century”, India said this may not be adequate in view of fast depleting available ‘carbon space’.

“Therefore, and keeping in view the legitimate need of developing countries to grow, we urge G20 countries to commit to bringing down per capita emissions to global average by 2030,” said the statement of Indian delegation, led by environment minister Bhupender Yadav, while finalising the G20 ministerial communique.

The ministers of G20 countries then jointly agreed to include India’s remarks in the Presidency statement while noting that all the nations would together look forward to cooperating in identifying and addressing “related challenges and opportunities for all G20 members to pursue this effort (net-zero emission or carbon neutrality goal) effort”.

India’s power and renewable energy minister, R K Singh, too earlier brought the per-capita point on table while virtually addressing the G20 meet. He, while noting that the per capita emission of many developed countries was 2-3 times above the world average, underlined the need to bring it down to the global average as soon as possible.

There have been a lot of diplomatic efforts to bring India on board to commit to a net-zero (reducing emission of greenhouse gases to zero) goal even as India has been among very few countries who have been well on track to meet their climate action targets under the Paris Agreement.

India’s remarks assume significance at this juncture when the UN climate body has been pushing nations to commit higher emission targets to reach the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century and make efforts to keep it at around 1.5 degree Celsius over the pre-industrial level (1850-1900).

Full story
3) The SUN says: Eco revolution for new boilers and battery-powered cars should not make people poorer
Editorial, The Sun, 27 July 2021

SLOWLY but surely the Government begins to see sense on the environment.Its frenzy of rash pledges is rightly being softened into something Britain CAN achieve and support.

The Sun’s own green campaigning has always come with the qualification that the eco revolution must not make our readers poorer.
So it was good, firstly, to hear Boris Johnson's Cop26 conference frontwoman Allegra Stratton admit she drives a diesel — and won’t buy a battery car or replace her boiler for years.

And now ministers are to delay the 2035 ban on new gas boilers.
Will the Government put the brake on battery-only new cars next? With less than nine years to the arbitrary 2030 deadline they remain absurdly pricey and with derisory mileage ranges.

The cost of Net Zero is mind-boggling enough without pretending so much can be rammed through in just a few years.

If only councils would get real too.
Their lust to hammer or ban drivers of petrol or diesel vehicles before alternatives are genuinely viable is shameful. And disastrous for local businesses.
4) Climate hyperbolists are finding the pandemic stole their thunder
Editorial, The Washington Times, 26 July 2021

Americans are not naturally inclined to peer out the window in the morning to see if the sky is falling. They should, according to opinion-shapers determined to create fear of imminent global catastrophe resulting from humanity’s lively activities. Relentless climate hyperbole, though, may be losing its capacity to trigger public apprehension in an age jaded by coronavirus pestilence.
Few understand the power of fear better than perennial politicians. John Kerry is one, and as President Biden’s climate czar, he is leveraging the hypothetical threat from carbon dioxide by equating it with the clear and present danger of COVID-19. Speaking in London last week prior to a G-20 ministerial session on climate, energy, and the environment, Mr. Kerry warned, according to CNBC, that human suffering caused by the COVID-19 pandemic would be “magnified many times over in a world that does not grapple with, and ultimately halt, the climate crisis.”
Such dreadful imagery can have no other purpose than to frighten the world into reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The United States shamefacedly cut its carbon dioxide output by nearly 15 percent before the pandemic-triggered economic collapse resulted in an additional 11 percent decline. In contrast, China discharges 28 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and it doesn’t plan to reach peak output until 2030. Communists don’t scare as easily as democrats.

Mr. Kerry is just loathe to mention facts relevant to the climate-change discussion that evoke relief rather than despair. A few are presented in “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters,” a recent book by Obama Undersecretary of Energy for Science Steven Koonin. Among them: By failing to reproduce actual temperatures readings from the past, computer models that climatologists rely upon to predict future temperature trends have proved inaccurate. That’s not “settled science.”

Moreover, the author points out that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded thus far that the economic impact of climate change has been mild rather than catastrophic. The body has yet to validate a clear link between warming and natural disasters.

There is a price to be paid for Washington’s incessant hazard klaxons sounding across the national landscape. A new ABC/Ipsos poll finds that only 45 percent of respondents hold an optimistic view of America’s future during the next 12 months. That figure has plummeted 19 points during the past three months – a gloomy assessment of President Biden’s helmsmanship.
It’s unsurprising, then, that Mr. Kerry and fellow sky-watchers have reportedly come to loggerheads with nations unamused by proposals to hamstring their economic future. They include China and India, which refused at the G-20 gathering to agree to phase out coal power or endorse the Paris Climate Agreement goal of limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Full post
5) Tom Chivers: Can we trust the climate scientists?
Unheard, 26 July 2021
The reaction to Steven Koonin's book highlights just how toxic this debate has become

There’s a problem with writing about science — any science — which is that scientists are human like the rest of us. They are not perfect disembodied truth-seeking agents but ordinary, flawed humans navigating social, professional and economic incentive structures.
Most notably, scientists, like people, are social. If they exist in a social or professional circle that believes X, it is hard to say not-X; if they have professed to believe Y, they won’t want to look silly and admit not-Y. It might even be hard to get research funded or published if it isn’t in line with what the wider group believes.

All this makes it very hard, as an outsider, to assess some scientific claims. You can ask some expert, but they will be an expert within the social and professional milieu that you’re looking at, and who will likely share the crony beliefs of that social and professional milieu. All of which often makes it hard to disentangle why scientists do and say the things they do. Especially when it comes to scientific claims that are politically charged, claims on hot-button topics like race, sex, poverty — and of course climate.

I couldn’t help thinking about that as I was reading Steven Koonin’s new book, Unsettled. Koonin is (as it says, prominently, on the front of the book) the “former Undersecretary for Science, US Department of Energy, under the Obama administration”. The publishers are obviously very keen to stress the Obama link: “…under the Trump administration” might not have carried the same heft.

Koonin came to public attention a few years ago, after he wrote a controversial opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal headlined “Climate science is not settled”. It was a response to what he considered the widely held opinion among policymakers and the wider public that, in fact, climate science is settled. His particular concern was that we can’t yet accurately predict what the future climate shifts will be. The book itself is best thought of as the extended version of that op-ed, with added graphs.

We can break down his thesis into, roughly, three areas. One, is that despite “the mainstream narrative among the media and policymakers”, it is hard to be sure that the climate has changed in meaningful ways due to human influence. In particular, floods, rainfall, droughts, storms, and record high temperatures have not become more common, and although the climate is unambiguously warming and sea levels have gone up, it’s hard to confidently separate human influence from natural variability.

Two, he says, climate models are highly uncertain and struggle to successfully predict the past, let alone the future, so we shouldn’t trust confident claims about the climate future. And if we do accept the IPCC’s predictions, they aren’t of imminent catastrophe. Instead, they point to slow change which humanity can easily adapt to, and, broadly speaking, to humanity continuing to prosper.
And three, he continues, there is basically nothing we can do about it anyway, partly because carbon dioxide hangs around in the atmosphere for so long, but mainly because the developing world is developing fast, and using ever more carbon to do so, and actually that’s a good thing.
These are — according to Koonin — all, by and large, only what the IPCC assessment reports and other major climate analyses say. The public conversation, which he says is full of doom and apocalypse and unwarranted certainty, has become unconnected from the state of the actual science. And he blames scientists — and policymakers, the media and the public — for that disconnection. [....]
I started this book confident that climate change is a serious concern, and I finished it only slightly less confident; Koonin has not persuaded me. But I’m glad Unsettled, flawed though it is, has been written. As I said at the beginning, science in a politically charged environment is very hard to assess. Scientists are as prone to groupthink and motivated reasoning as anyone else, and I know very well that there are some who feel they need to keep heterodox views quiet. The reviews, which make so little effort to engage with the substance of the arguments, do not reassure me that climate science is a uniquely groupthink-free discipline.

One thing Koonin suggests is a so-called “Red Teaming” of climate scientists: getting scientists to act as adversarial critics of the existing consensus, a method used by superforecasters, among others, to improve their accuracy by actively hunting out flaws in their reasoning. Science can only progress if assumptions are tested. Red teams in climate institutions — any institutions — seem like a good idea, and I’d support them.

Whether it’s possible or not, of course, is tricky to say. The climate debate is so highly charged, so borderline toxic, that it might be difficult for any climate scientist to take on the red-team role without making their own life more difficult. According to Koonin, one senior climate scientist told him “I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, but I don’t dare say that in public.” The old “in my emails, everyone agrees with me” line is hardly a new one, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a bit of truth in it.

But if the Catholic Church was able to stomach someone advocating for the Devil, then climate science should be able to stomach one doing it for the sceptics. And in the meantime, this book does an acceptable job.
Full book review
6) Terry McCrann: When the wind don’t blow and sun don’t shine
The Australian, 24 July 2021
Britain’s suicidal march to its supposed all-renewables future is its problem. All, and I mean all, the generation sources that delivered 99 per cent of the power needed when the wind chose not to blow for an entire week came from generation sources which Britain has vowed to close.

Britain has something like 11,000 so-called wind turbines. They are mostly scattered all over the green hills of England, Scotland and Wales, but 2300 of the bird-killers are located offshore all around the coast.
They have what is quaintly and fraudulently described as a total “installed generation capacity” of just shy of 25,000 megawatts – you know those typical fraudulent claims: “enough to power so many thousands of homes”.

If they could deliver their so-called installed capacity – as coal-fired and nuclear power stations have mostly been doing, for 100 years and 60 years respectively – they would be able to supply 100 per cent of Britain’s demand for electricity through the night and much of daytime demand.

Overnight Britain’s grid demand drops to around 22,000MW; come the day it kicks up to 30,000MW, generally peaking around 35,000MW, although winter demand approaches 40,000MW.
But of course generation from these turbines never gets anywhere near “capacity”; when the wind is blowing and blowing strong, and pretty much everywhere, generation from these wind turbines can get to around 13,000MW, often supplying more than half Britain’s grid electricity.

That’s when the wind is blowing; and when it’s not? What might you think? Surely 6000MW – 25 per cent of so-called capacity? Surely, as the claim goes, the wind will be blowing somewhere? No, well what about 3000MW?

Try 67MW – as was the case, Thursday morning at 11.35am. It must have been a beautiful, indeed utterly perfect, English (and Scottish and Welsh) summer day: not a breath of wind anywhere on the ground and all around freed Albion.

Just let that reality sink in, because it is the future we are rushing insanely to embrace: the installed capacity of the wind turbines is 25,000MW; on a very good day generation can run at 13,000MW; but entirely – at their choosing – they can generate as little as 67MW.

And these appropriately termed “grid generation choke points” are not just very brief episodes; over this last week the wind has hardly been blowing in and around Britain at all, both all night and all day.
Since Sunday morning a week ago, all through that day and night, all through Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, generation from wind was barely ticking over the meter in the 100mw-300MW range, finally, belatedly ticking up to around 1000MW Friday morning.

So where were the Brits getting their power from?
For starters, a little bit was coming from ultra-wicked coal-fired generation. A little bit in absolute terms, a lot compared with wind.
At that point when all those 11,000 wind turbines were generating all of 67MW, Britain was getting 14 times as much, 981MW, from coal – the coal that our duo of distinguished prime ministerial twittering twerps Kevin and Malcolm were last year celebrating as having been banished into British history.
At that point in time Britain was getting 83 per cent of its grid power from wicked sources: gas (55.4 per cent), nuclear (16 per cent), biomass – burning woodchips and emitting even more CO2 than coal – (8 per cent) and coal (3.4 per cent); with another 16 per cent coming from the six extension cords into European grids which themselves are mostly nuclear and gas and a little coal.

That was, yes, just one moment – ten minutes actually – in time; but right through last week, the wind drought went for the entire week, for 120 hours straight before a few drafts started to kick wind generation up to a still pathetic 1000MW, out of the 30,000MW being demanded on Friday.

Britain’s suicidal march to its supposed all-renewables future is its problem. All, and I mean all, the generation sources that delivered 99 per cent of the power needed when the wind chose not to blow for an entire week came from generation sources which Britain has vowed to close.
On the one hand the wicked CO2-generating coal and gas (and wood chips); on the other, nuclear and the extension cords into similar wicked generators in mainland Europe.
But we have taken our suicidal insanity to the next level.

We are not only going to ditch all the coal-fired generators that have kept the lights so reliably on for a century – and there’s as close to absolute zero of any prospect of non-CO2-emitting nuclear this side of the arrival of those submarines, or the 12th of never, whichever comes first.

And gas? Oh sure; read me another fairy story. Then read it to various state premiers who’ve banned even looking for it.

But worse in our case, just exactly which other country’s grids are we going to plug the extension cords into which have saved Britain from actual blackouts, even while it’s still got massive gas and nuclear generation?

The latest idiot we’ve imported to run our electricity grid – someone named Daniel Westerman, from of all places Britain’s National Grid – has nominated as his signature goal getting our grid able to handle 100 per cent renewables by 2025.

I use the term idiot not pejoratively but constructively and even instructively. Coming as he does from Britain, you would have thought he would understand that the real “challenge” in the fantasyland renewables future we have insanely embraced, is not what you do when wind and solar can give you 100 per cent, but when they choose to give you zero or all-but zero.

If they choose to give you zero for an hour or two maybe you can build enough Tesla batteries and wasteful Snowy Two Dams – the aforesaid Malcolm’s “Big Battery” – to fill the gap.

But there is no way, no way, that batteries could keep a near 100 per cent wind and solar supplied grid running for five days, as was necessitated in Britain this last week.
And no, Daniel, you will discover that even in Australia there are days when the wind ain’t blowing much. Pray it’s not also cloudy on those days.
7) Abundant rains push grain harvest in Morocco to near record levels
Xinhua, 26 July 2021

Morocco’s grain harvest hit a record high of 10.32 million tonnes in 2021, an increase of 221 percent compared to the previous crop year, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement on Monday.

In 2021, Moroccan farmers reaped about 5.06 tonnes of soft wheat, 2.48 tonnes of durum wheat and 2.78 tonnes of barley, the statement added.
The report said that with this “excellent” grain harvest, agriculture will account for more than 18.2 percent of Morocco’s economy in 2021, with the added value reaching 14.7 billion U.S. dollars.

The 2020-2021 crop year is historically the second-best after 2014-2015, it said.

This harvest performance is mainly due to abundant rainfall this year, which was 32 percent higher than the previous year, although less than the average figure of the last 30 years.

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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