Wednesday, July 14, 2021

GWPF Newsletter - Not Zero: Inside the Tory Party Split on Decarbonisation


UK’s giant battery ‘farms’ spark fears of explosions even worse than the Beirut port blast

In this newsletter:

1) Not Zero: Inside the Tory Party Split on Decarbonisation
Politics Homes, 7 July 2021
2) Charles Moore: People are starting to confront the painful choices that Net Zero involves
The Daily Telegraph, 10 July 2021

3) Net Zero disaster warning: UK’s giant battery ‘farms’ spark fears of explosions even worse than the Beirut port blast
Mail on Sunday, 11 July 2021
4) COP26 in trouble as Boris Johnson reneges on £££climate billions5) Dead on arrival? EU’s carbon border levy risks death by a thousand cuts
Politico, 6 July 2021
6) WSJ Editorial: Here Come the Climate Protectionists
The Wall Street Journal, 12 July 2021
7) Steve Hilton: Democrats deny 'climate change reality' in favor of 'dark climate fantasy'
Fox News, 11 July 2021
8) Susan Shelley: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ironic climate warning
Orange County Register, 11 July 2021

Full details:

1) Not Zero: Inside the Tory Party Split on Decarbonisation
Politics Homes, 7 July 2021
Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for attaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is not shared by all in his party. So can this relatively recent convert to the green agenda persuade Conservatives the price tag is worth it? Rosamund Urwin report
In December 2015, after world leaders united in Paris to fight climate change, a column appeared in The Telegraph. It had been a mild winter, and the writer complained he had found himself sweating at the office Christmas party, only to open the window and discover it was even warmer outside. Pondering whether this was “the long-awaited inflexion point... [when] winter is over for ever,” he called Piers Corbyn, the meteorologist and climate change denier, on whose advice he dismissed it as mere weather, rather than global warming. The columnist was Boris Johnson. 
Fast-forward to 2021, and Johnson has recast himself as an environmental warrior ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this autumn. The Prime Minister and COP26 president Alok Sharma will attempt to use the summit to showcase “Global Britain,” leading a planet-saving mission that presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden both endorse. 
A green industrial revolution has become integral both to Johnson’s vision of post-Brexit Britain and to the Conservatives’ levelling up agenda. In our decarbonised future, the Prime Minister has said we will “cook breakfast using hydrogen power before getting in our electric car,” while British towns and regions – Teesside, Port Talbot, Merseyside and Mansfield – will become “synonymous with green jobs”.

Johnson’s Ten Point Plan – with pledges including making the UK “the Saudi Arabia of wind” and a future ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – is intended to put the country on a path to net-zero by 2050, meaning the carbon emitted into the atmosphere is balanced by the carbon removed from it. But the government’s plans have their Tory detractors, who believe the demands of reaching net-zero will prove politically toxic. 

Johnson is not the first Conservative leader to try to stake out greener ground. As opposition leader, David Cameron urged voters to “vote blue, go green” as he hugged huskies and jumped in a G-Wiz. In government, however, as the financial crisis and austerity bit, this agenda was all but abandoned, with Cameron never quite managing to deny in 2013 that he had dismissed environmental policies as “green crap”. Theresa May’s government, while busy firefighting on Brexit, legislated for a legally binding target for the UK to reach net-zero. What has changed, according to the current regime, is that the environment is no longer an afterthought; low-carbon industry is central to Johnson’s plans to “build back better” after the pandemic and to create growth.

Ryan Shorthouse, chief executive of the liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue, argues there are three reasons for the green makeover: economic, political and ideological. “For a lot of MPs – including many in [former] ‘red wall’ seats – the green agenda is about jobs and levelling up,” he says. “Whether it is the electrification of vehicles, the heating of homes or carbon capture and storage, these are new developments that require an industry around them.” 

Earlier this month, Johnson and Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, visited Sunderland, where Nissan and Envision announced the UK’s first gigafactory; Kwarteng called it “a perfect example of our green industrial revolution”. The swift drop in the cost of low-carbon electricity has also made going green economical. 
Politics also plays a part. “The Brexit government is seen by many young people as hardline,” Shorthouse says. “What Johnson is most concerned about is retaining power [and] the environment is a way of reaching new younger, maybe more centrist, urban voters.” One junior minister adds that it enables the party to “move back to the centre after the toxicity of Brexit”. 

The band of Tory true believers is growing, inspired by long-term evangelists like the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie, his father Stanley and their friends, the Goldsmith family. While Zac Goldsmith has continued his environmental work from the House of Lords after losing his seat in 2019, his brother Ben now chairs the increasingly-vocal Conservative Environment Network (CEN), a lobby group with 99 MPs in its caucus that aims to reclaim environmentalism from the Left. 

They are pitted against green-sceptics on the Tory benches, including some of Johnson’s former allies from the Leave camp, most notably Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, who has pledged to make the cost of decarbonisation “his next great crusade”. His fear is that the demands of meeting net-zero will hurt living standards. He was incensed by a proposal earlier this year (since quietly abandoned by No 10) to fine homeowners who do not remove their gas boilers by 2035. Baker has also joined the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group led by former chancellor Lord Lawson. 
Tory MPs tend to split the green agenda into two strands. The first is the easier sell: the green industrial revolution, meaning jobs in former “red wall” seats. The second is tougher: forcing consumers to replace their boilers with heat pumps, or switch gas-guzzling car for an electric vehicle.
“Industrialisation commands support,” says a Tory MP. “The problem – and where [MPs] are starting to agitate – is at the household level, where we are talking about passing large costs on to individuals and families.” 
Baker puts it more bluntly. “If Boris Johnson forces the public into buying expensive, ineffective heating, if he makes us give up our cars, we will reap what we have sown,” he wrote in The Sun in May. “The cost of net-zero could deliver a political crisis greater than the poll tax.” 


An MP sympathetic to Baker (pictured below) adds: “Say we go down the route of electric cars, that means road pricing to replace the income from fuel taxes... And this isn’t our natural territory – we’re not the Lib Dems, we’re not hippies in sandals.”
Even liberal Tories agree this part is difficult. “To date, decarbonisation has felt relatively distant from consumers, with industries like the power sector making great strides to phase out coal,” says Shorthouse. “The next step is going to be much more invasive into people’s lives – how they travel, heat their homes and eat.” He argues policies are needed to ensure middle and low income voters are helped to make green changes.  “If they’re not, then this consensus and enthusiasm in the Conservative Party may disappear.” 
Full story
2) Charles Moore: People are starting to confront the painful choices that Net Zero involves
The Daily Telegraph, 10 July 2021
Why are we expected to abandon gas boilers, when the expensive alternative will not reduce emissions?

Rationality in human affairs is hard to come by, but we love it when we find it. When it comes to spending money, a well-functioning market is the best provider of rationality. Competitive prices send out comprehensible signals about value. On that basis, we can try to make rational decisions.

Rationality in spending matters most over things which we feel we need and know must last for a long time, such as a house or a car. In a fairly cold country like Britain, our houses must have reliable space and water heating. You must get its cost and its efficiency right.

In the brief space between the defeat of militant trade unions and ensuing privatisations of the late 20th century and the green zealotry of the 21st, we had a rational energy market. We could choose between quite a wide range of energy sources and providers. Our energy was getting greener with the rise of natural gas, backed by nuclear, and the decline of coal. Prices were not severely distorted by subsidy or tax.

That began to change under Tony Blair and has changed yet more under both parties since. Now we are committed to Net Zero carbon dioxide by 2050.

Today, the Government subsidises renewables by sticking an estimated £12  billion per year on the national electricity bill. Prices for domestic customers today are about 40 per cent higher than they would be without climate policies. You can tell the Government now senses trouble coming: yesterday it floated the idea that poorer families should be paid offsets against higher energy bills caused by the drive to cut carbon emissions.

Can we consumers make rational choices in this situation? Roughly 23 million homes (85 per cent of the total) are heated by natural gas, which is by no means dirty and is efficient and quite cheap. But the Net Zero doctrine’s quest for carbon neutrality frowns on gas. It sees salvation in heat pumps and hydrogen boilers and wishes to skew rules and prices accordingly.

In common with millions whose gas boilers will soon need changing, I find myself in a quandary. If the Government were not interfering, new gas boilers would be the simplest replacement for the old and would probably provide the cheapest energy for the next 20 years or more.

But the Government is interfering. So householders trying to make long-term decisions about their heating face radical uncertainty. If we get gas boilers, how long will we be allowed to keep them? (Until 2035 is the latest rumour.) Will the gas we buy have a carbon tax slapped on it? Will we be paid by the Government to switch to heat pumps or hydrogen? Since the real costs are opaque, how can our future liabilities be clear?

Unlike gas boilers, heat pumps do not work terribly well. Both air-source and ground-source pumps suffer from the grave difficulty that they are least reliable and effective when the weather is at its coldest. If you get a heat pump, therefore, your water will probably not be warm enough for a bath – and sometimes you will be freezing – without an auxiliary supply of heating. That could be energy-gobbling bar fires, or it could be hydrogen boilers, but the latter are not ready yet.

Besides, there is no room for ground-source heat pumps in the average urban house (it’s much easier if you have a large garden and, best of all, your own pond in which to place the coils). It is never rational to buy something that does not work, especially when you could easily be paying more than £20,000. No doubt heat pumps will improve with technological development, but it is a strange state of affairs when public policy tries to persuade people to hurry up and buy a poor product and to dissuade them from buying a tried and tested one (gas boilers) which successfully warm the great majority of our fellow citizens.

And this encouragement, of course, is all on the assumption that heat pumps installed in this decade will help save the planet. Leave aside the well known, yet officially ignored, point that British carbon emissions amount to less than 1 per cent of the global total, whereas China, Russia and India – three great powers with no intention of following our example – make up 40 per cent. Consider instead whether the case for heat pumps rather than gas boilers might, even in its own green terms, be suspect.

I confess I am not a regular reader of The Chemical Engineer, but my attention has been drawn to an interesting piece in that monthly by Tommy Isaac. He analyses the relative carbon production of heat pumps and gas boilers, taking into account the need for “marginal supply” to avoid intermittency – a problem with pumps, but not with gas.

The overall calculation, he says, is not just a matter of the carbon emitted at the point of use: it’s also a matter of fuel sources. “If a household converts from gas boiler to heat pump, additional electricity demand from the house will be created to provide the necessary heat.” That electricity supply “will come from natural gas combustion”.

Given that boilers and pumps have roughly the same lifetime, Mr Isaac says, you can calculate if there will be any “tangible difference in their lifetime emissions”. Given that gas will be the marginal supplier until at least 2040-45, he concludes that the carbon emissions of each system over that time will be so little different that the choice is simply “a matter of personal preferences and relative economics”.

If Mr Isaac is right, two thoughts arise. The first is that my “personal preferences and relative economics” (and those of millions) will be for gas boilers. The second is that the entire government attempt to shift us away from gas over this period is a waste of time and money. Of course, I do not know whether he is right, but I feel much more inclined to trust an engineer who can count than a politician who is pretending to save the planet and knows that he will no longer be around at the point when it becomes obvious that he has failed.

The extraordinary thing about the growth of green politics over the past 20 years is that all political parties have agreed with them, or at least spoken as if they agreed with them. This might seem understandable, given that every decent person wants a cleaner world whose environmental future is secure; but in fact it is a failure of duty to the public. Politicians should usually disagree about major policies, because debate sheds light on a question.

Every decent person needs to be confronted with the difficulties and contradictions which arise if Net Zero is truly the aim. Until recently, governments have been able to avoid this by obscuring costs. Now that is changing. 
Full post & 1600 comments (£)
3) Net Zero disaster warning: UK’s giant battery ‘farms’ spark fears of explosions even worse than the Beirut port blast
Mail on Sunday, 11 July 2021

New report from leading physicists says vast batteries amount to electrical bombs with force of many hundreds of tons of TNT.

With the potential for huge explosions, fires and clouds of toxic gas, the battery ‘farms’ could devastate towns and villages nearby, says Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University and co-author of the report. (Above, inside the Stocking Pelham plant)
The first thing you notice is the noise – a strange, low-octave hum growing louder as you approach across the fields.
It’s coming from a group of bland metal cabins sitting on land that was once used to grow wheat and barley.

Yet these new agricultural buildings are nothing to do with food production. Instead, they contain huge batteries storing electricity for the National Grid – a new form of crop for farmers scrambling to cash in on the ‘green’ energy revolution.
And, according to a troubling new report from leading physicists, these vast batteries amount to electrical bombs with the force of many hundreds of tons of TNT.
With the potential for huge explosions, fires and clouds of toxic gas, they could devastate towns and villages nearby, says Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University and co-author of the report.
The batteries, designed as reservoirs of spare electricity for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun fails to shine, are spreading around the British countryside. And this, says Prof Allison and his fellow scientists, could spell catastrophe.
It’s like a potential bomb,’ he says. ‘When batteries catch fire, you can’t just squirt water on them and put out the flames. It’s evident from our research that nothing has been done to tackle this problem.’
The issues arise when these batteries, made of lithium ions – which are also used in mobile phones on a much smaller scale – overheat.
If just one cell becomes faulty, it can lead to a domino effect called thermal runaway, which spreads to neighbouring cells, causing a battery fire. 
Last year in Merseyside, one of three battery cabins on a site caught fire and exploded. A report seen by The Mail on Sunday said nearby residents, who were ordered to stay indoors, had their homes rocked by the explosion.
This is not nimbyism at all,’ Prof Allison adds. ‘This is a potential Grenfell Tower-like fire. People will be killed.’
A Mail on Sunday investigation has identified nearly 400 battery sites – from Newquay to the Scottish Highlands – which are either operational or in development.
And thanks to a relaxation in planning laws, 104 of these have been proposed in the past year alone – including in the village of Stocking Pelham in Hertfordshire’s Ash Valley. [...]
Prof Allison and the co-authors of his report, Dr Edmund Fordham, a fellow of the Institute of Physics, and Professor Sir David Melville, former vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, wrote to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) last year about their concerns.
But they were told the batteries were considered ‘articles’ – everyday objects not covered by the Control of Major Accident Hazards regulations. It means these plants, or battery energy storage systems, as they are known, are unregulated under UK law.

‘This throws the entire responsibility on to the fire service,’ Prof Allison says. ‘I wouldn’t want to live within a mile of one.’
Given the size of the proposed plants, Prof Allison says this could, in theory, lead to an explosion several times bigger than the one that destroyed the harbour in Beirut last year. 
The threat of fire is not merely theoretical. South Korea saw 23 battery farm fires in just two years. A recent battery fire in Illinois burned for three days and thousands of residents were evacuated. 
Such blazes release highly toxic gases. One – hydrogen fluoride – is lethal if inhaled, and causes irreversible health effects after an hour of exposure, according to Public Health England.
Yet last year the Government relaxed planning laws to allow larger battery storage projects to proceed more easily. The industry is booming as a result.

Full story
4) COP26 in trouble as Boris Johnson reneges on £££climate billions
Global Warming Policy Forum, 12 July 2021
According to the Independent, the ‘fresh’ climate £££billions Boris promised developing nations will actually be taken out of the UK’s aid budget. Green activists are absolutely furious as they were expecting Britain would cough up ‘new’ climate funds, not old money taken from existing aid commitments.

The Govt’s decision will almost certainly make the chances of a successful UN climate summit in November (COP26) even less likely – by giving China, India & the group of developing nations (G77) further ammunition to complain that developed nations aren’t fulfilling their $100 billion p.a. funding pledge.

Developing and emerging nations have used this argument for years to ensure they won’t have to commit to legally binding climate targets. And given that Western government have signed up to this this annual wealth transfer in the Paris Climate Deal, they would be very poor diplomats not to demand its full delivery. Now that no new funds are forthcoming, don’t expect any of them to commit to any new climate targets. In short, we should expect the habitual COP circus …
Boris Johnson’s £11.6bn climate fund to be swiped from aid budget

Boris Johnson’s promise of more than £11bn to help poorer countries adapt to the climate emergency will be paid for by even deeper cuts to the UK’s other overseas aid projects, The Independent has learned.

Failure to provide fresh funding leaves the prime minister’s claim to be leading the world on the environment in tatters ahead of hosting the Cop26 summit in the autumn, campaigners say.

It also breaks a United Nations-brokered agreement that the cash must be “new and additional”, they claim, with one likening it to “a bailiff leaving a bunch of flowers”....

5) Dead on arrival? EU’s carbon border levy risks death by a thousand cuts
Politico, 6 July 2021
It is fitting that the European Commission is finally set to propose a carbon border tax on France's national holiday on July 14: Bastille Day.
It was, after all, the French who led the charge for a revolutionary new levy to be imposed at the EU's ports and border crossings to shield Europe's industries from cheaper imports made in places with laxer environmental rules.

As with the original Bastille Day at the beginning of the French revolution, however, the big question is now whether everything will descend into a bloody spate of feuding where many of the nobler intentions behind the reform are lost. The biggest danger is that the proposal will be diluted beyond recognition amid a series of compromises to please opponents ranging from trade partners like the U.S. and China, through to Europe's own domestic industries.

Most worryingly for Brussels, the all-important Germans — rarely fans of revolutionary change — are still wavering on whether a carbon border levy is the best way to protect European companies that feel that they have been put on an uneven playing field by the bloc's green rules.

The international pressure against the EU is already building to a fever pitch. The proposed tax, a recent draft of which was obtained by POLITICO, has already managed to rile big hitters in global trade, who could take legal action against Brussels at the World Trade Organization.

China's President Xi Jinping told the the Europeans in April not to let the battle against climate change become an excuse for "trade barriers," while Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan told a POLITICO event last week that the EU carbon levy ran "the risk of enhancing protectionism."

"Of course, this will be disputed in WTO," Pascal Lamy, a former director general of the WTO, said in an interview. Russia, Canada, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have all also raised objections, according to an official in the WTO's home base in Geneva.

Skepticism from the U.S. is perhaps the single most significant hurdle, with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai refusing to rule out retaliatory tariffs.

The tensions with Washington lay bare the potentially messy battlefield on which carbon levy politics are likely to be played out next. Europe repeatedly insists that it will not apply the tax to countries that have the same level of environmental ambition as the EU does, opening up the prospect that Brussels will agree a scrappy patchwork of bilateral deals with countries to weigh up exemptions for them based on their green agendas. [...]
Germany on the fence
Even within Europe, the measure has failed to win a large fan base.
EU leaders called for the levy as part of a package of new EU revenues that should pay back the bloc's debt-fuelled, post-coronavirus recovery package. But by raising €2.6 billion in 2030, according to the draft, "the contribution of [a carbon border levy] to paying back the recovery fund will be rather limited," said a senior EU official — largely losing its appeal. By contrast, the recovery fund is €750 billion, of which more than half (€390 billion) is composed of grants that will have to be repaid by 2058, plus interest on €360 billion of loans to be repaid by EU countries.

France is the leading voice in favor, and rallied support from eight other EU countries — Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Spain. But it remains to be seen whether French backing will be sufficient to pull the measure through the Council — where it needs the backing of a qualified majority of EU countries.

Crucially, Germany — Europe’s largest exporter — is ambivalent about it, advocating caution above all. German industry is worried that such a levy would increase the price of its key exports — cars and machinery — which are intensive users of steel. “Having a carbon price as an incentive has a cost effect – it comes with competitiveness issues,” said Carsten Rolle, head of energy and climate policy at Germany’s business confederation BDI.

In a document detailing Germany’s stance on the bloc’s climate policies, Berlin writes that “all opportunities and risks potentially associated with the carbon border adjustment mechanism or alternative approaches should be carefully identified and weighed against one another,” highlighting especially “compatibility with WTO law, practicability, compatibility with international climate agreements, impacts on developing countries and the signaling effect for trade policy” as potential issues. That's hardly rapturous support from the German camp.

"What they fear is retaliation against EU exports based on carbon. And it happens that the carbon content of Germany's exports is on average, very high, very high," said Lamy.

As a way of avoiding all-out trade wars, Berlin has pitched “an international climate club on which we will cooperate with the U.S. and our most important trading partners and coordinate our climate policies and international policy measures,” German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told reporters last month.

That is a deliberately vague counter plan from the Germans and the Americans aren't too sure what it means either. U.S. trade chief Tai said this overture to co-operate in a climate club was “really interesting” but “would benefit from further elaboration."

Fundamentally, however, what Scholz is talking about is simply miles from the core plan that Brussels and Paris have in mind: the U.S. has no federal carbon price, China is in the process of setting up its own carbon market, but for now the prices are low and the coverage limited. If the EU were to exempt the world's two largest emitters from its scheme, in the attempt to avoid a new trade war, it would defeat the purpose of the levy, and land the EU in uncertain legal waters.

Fears from business
Industry has broadly welcomed the idea of a tax to prevent unfair competition from dirty rivals, but is trying to add in a bundle of caveats. The central fear hinges on what happens to existing perks to address carbon leakage — the risk of EU industry decamping to places with looser environmental rules — once it is introduced.

Currently, EU installations get a free quota of emissions under the bloc's Emissions Trading System — a cap-and-trade carbon market — according to their efficiency. The number of allowances allocated for free is gradually decreasing, just as the carbon price has increased tenfold in under four years, breaching the key threshold of €50 per ton of carbon dioxide earlier this year.

“With the increasing carbon price ... it's clear that the costs will become unbearable for the industry. We need a type of additional instrument to prevent carbon leakage from the industry,” said Axel Eggert, director general at Eurofer, the European steel lobby. 

Europe's steel industry only wants to be part of the experimental phase of the carbon border levy if it gets to keep free allowances throughout this decade, as the sector bosses wrote in a letter to Commissioners

The cement industry is on the same page: “Free allowances need to be there till 2030 in full force,” said Koen Coppenholle, chief executive of European cement association Cembureau.
They have already applied lobbying pressure to the Parliament, getting MEPs to change their stance on the levy at the last minute to ensure that gratuities are maintained in full.

That’s a no-go for the Commission, which said in a draft that a border levy would be “alternative” to the free emission quotas. As far as Brussels sees it, companies shouldn't be protected at the border and get a cash windfall.

Instead, the Commission is thinking of a transition period during which the carbon border levy is introduced and free allowances are gradually removed. “The possible solution is a phase-in-phase-out mechanism in which the two things coexist for a while but without overcompensating the beneficiaries. This is key to WTO compatibility,” said the senior EU official, adding that this is one of the issues currently being debated in the Commission.
The draft limits itself to saying that the obligation to buy import certificates shall "reflect the extent to which EU ETS allowances are allocated free of charge" and that the Commission will set out in secondary legislation "the calculation methodology for the reduction."

What is clear is that industry will fight tooth and nail to keep as much as it can for as long as it can: “It's a political question, whether we still receive free allocation or not. Purely political, it's not technical,” said steel industry lobbyist Eggert.
6) WSJ Editorial: Here Come the Climate Protectionists
The Wall Street Journal, 12 July 2021
Western politicians have failed to persuade their own voters to commit economic suicide by banning fossil fuels, and forget about China, Russia or India. The climate lobby’s fallback, which is starting to emerge, is to punish the foreigners and their own consumers with climate tariffs.


Bureaucrats at the European Commission are due to unveil the proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) later this month, but a draft recently leaked. Brussels wants to impose tariffs to bring the cost of carbon-dioxide emissions tied to an imported good into line with what a European producer would pay to produce the same good.

This is an admission that the European Union’s emissions-trading scheme (ETS) is bad for the economy. European companies are less competitive because they have to pay for their emissions and foreign companies don’t. Environmentalists say the ETS encourages companies to send production offshore to avoid the ETS, which greens call “carbon leakage” and most people would call common sense. The CBAM is intended to level the playing field, at least within the European market.
Even on those terms, the draft plan is a failure. It starts small, applying at first to a handful of industries such as iron, steel and fertilizers. And it doesn’t account fully for environmental compliance costs. The CBAM will be tied to the cost of tradable emissions permits, but it won’t factor in the expenses European companies bear for a complex web of green subsidies, feed-in tariffs and the like that increase energy costs at factories.

The bigger problems are that a carbon tariff would impose an enormous burden on companies seeking to sell to the EU—even the low-emitting firms—and as a result probably will trigger a trade war. China, India, Brazil and South Africa are already objecting.

Under the leaked plan, foreign firms would have to undertake detailed carbon audits to report emissions to EU regulators, and then would have to work out what proportion of the emissions attributable to goods shipped to the EU already were covered by carbon taxes elsewhere. If a company isn’t able to complete such complex and expensive calculations, its carbon tariff will be estimated on the basis of the emissions of the dirtiest 10% of European producers for the same good.
The choice between costly compliance or a punitive default tariff risks deterring smaller foreign companies from trying to navigate this system. That’s a point the EU’s trading partners are sure to raise when this inevitably lands at the World Trade Organization. WTO rules allow for some climate-related tariffs, but trade lawyers will spend years sorting out whether the EU’s plan complies with WTO principles.
At a minimum, the EU probably will have to scrap its subsidies for high-emission industries, such as generous allocations of free credits under the current ETS. We’d love to be a fly on the wall when someone in Brussels sits down to explain this to industry leaders. Nor are WTO rules likely to allow another favor European companies might request, a refund of ETS charges for exported goods in order to restore European competitiveness abroad.
The carbon-tariff plan may be intended to goad the Biden Administration into imposing a carbon tax that would burden U.S. businesses with the same climate costs as Europe’s. The list of targeted industries appears calculated to minimize the effect on trade with the U.S., but the threat of expansion to cover more goods is serious. John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, has said the Administration is evaluating a climate border tax. And the political temptation to please climate greens and protectionist unions with tariffs, especially toward China, will grow.
The climate tariff is a tacit admission that Western elites haven’t convinced their voters to pay the price of their climate obsessions. Like Donald Trump, they now want to blame foreigners. In the process they’ll force their consumers to pay more for imports and domestic goods, and they’ll harm their own exporters if countries retaliate.
The last thing the world economy needs as it recovers from a pandemic is a climate-change trade war.
7) Steve Hilton: Democrats deny 'climate change reality' in favor of 'dark climate fantasy'
Fox News, 11 July 2021
In one of the most compelling video clips on climate alarmism in recent years Steve Hilton, British Prime Minister David Cameron's former director of strategy, slams radical Democrats for misleading Americans on the realities of climate change.
Watch his powerful critique here: 


8) Susan Shelley: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ironic climate warning
Orange County Register, 11 July 2021
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently that people have “tuned out” the climate change activism movement because it is “stuck in despair and confusion.”

The activists are “wearing the public out” with their apocalyptic warnings of an “existential threat” to life on earth, Schwarzenegger warned in a speech at a climate summit he co-hosted in Austria. He said the focus should be on pollution from fossil fuels, “because that kills people.”

Schwarzenegger knows storytelling. He made the point that audiences need hope. He cited one of his films, “Predator,” to illustrate the positive reaction that people had to the line, “if it bleeds, we can kill it.”
“If pollution is created by humans, it can be solved by humans,” he said, “We can kill it.”
What he was talking about was the importance of volition in storytelling, the idea that people can take action to effect changes in their situation. It’s the opposite of the gloomier philosophy that we’re all just playthings of fate awaiting our doom.
Climate activists have succeeded in persuading many people that we’re on our way to human extinction and picking up speed. Schwarzenegger warned that this has created “constant alarm which cannot be sustained.”
Another hint that pollsters are picking up signs of trouble for climate alarmism can be seen in a recent fundraising email from a climate activist group, It quotes a leaked draft of the latest report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that purportedly warns of “irreversible climate impacts,” and “much sooner than originally expected, causing even more extreme weather patterns, unlivable heat, widespread disease, ecosystem collapse… the list goes on
Then it asks for money, because “this crisis is so very urgent.” Apparently sending them $3.50 will help to “prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
That’s followed by this: “The last thing I want, Susan, is for you to read this email and come away from it feeling hopeless or discouraged.”
We’ve left the action movie and we’re in a comedy. The world is coming to an end, but gosh, chin up!
If anyone in Hollywood still had a sense of humor, the climate movement would make a great setting for a farce.
The wild exaggerations of climate doomsayers have been called out by longtime environmental activist Michael Shellenberger in a 2020 book titled, “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.” In the introduction, he describes himself as “fed up with the exaggeration, alarmism, and extremism that are the enemy of a positive, humanistic, and rational environmentalism.
Some of the chapter titles: “It’s Not the End of the World,” “Enough with the Plastic Straws,” and “All About the Green.
Let’s just say there’s a lot of money to be made in “grassroots” fundraising for causes that align with the business interests of various players in the energy sector of the economy. On all sides.
Fundraising in the climate movement isn’t limited to voluntary donations from people on a mailing list. In 2014, President Barack Obama announced that U.S. taxpayers would contribute $3 billion to a new international fund to help the world’s poorest nations address the effects of climate change.
Who gets that money and on what is it spent? These are questions that are rarely asked and even more rarely answered. Climate alarmism facilitates the movement of billions of dollars from one set of pockets to another, and there is no evidence anywhere that this policy of wealth transfer is doing anything to affect the climate.
Yet it’s all sold to the public as “doing something” to stop climate change.
In 2006, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which committed the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The law put the California Air Resources Board in charge of figuring out how to do this, and CARB came up with a cap-and-trade program that essentially requires utilities, refineries and manufacturers to pay an extra fee for operating. The cap-and-trade program operates like a tax. It increases the cost of gasoline, diesel fuel, electricity and heat, and it raises the price of everything that’s made or moved in California, where the high cost of living has contributed to the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to the Census Bureau.

What has it done for the climate?

Meanwhile, the mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California has affected decision-making on everything from road repair to housing construction. Driving is considered an “impact” that increases GHG emissions, so your gas taxes are being used to build bike lanes, and new housing construction in outlying areas, where homes would be more affordable, is virtually banned. That’s why state lawmakers are attempting to force high-density housing into existing single-family neighborhoods; the old pattern of expanding the suburbs to new areas where young families can happily buy homes is considered bad for the climate. So young people are told the world is ending, and then they can’t afford to live anyway.
That’s very depressing, very discouraging, and very unnecessary.

With his signature on AB 32 and his advocacy of useless climate policies, Arnold Schwarzenegger did more than anyone to cause California’s housing crisis, high energy costs and high poverty rate.
Now he says it’s time to stop depressing the public.
Maybe it’s time to stop manipulating public opinion and open up a new debate about the cost, effectiveness and unintended consequences of the policies he has promoted.

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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