Wednesday, August 11, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Boris Johnson’s push for Net Zero plunged into chaos


China rolls back climate policy, reopens closed coal mines as power demand surges

In this newsletter:

1) Boris Johnson’s push for Net Zero plunged into chaos
The Sunday Telegraph, 8 August 2021

2) How Boris Johnson’s global climate ambition risks rebellion and rancour at home
Politics Home, 7 August 2021

3) Boris Johnson’s ambition for climate deal hit by Tory Party infighting
Bloomberg, 5 August 2021
4) Judge orders Committee on Climate Change to back up claim of 'only' 1% of GDP to hit Net Zero
Daily Mail, 7 August 2021
5) Dan Hodges: Yes, Allegra Stratton is a car crash... but the big problem is Boris Johnson can't decide if he's Jeremy Clarkson or Greta Thunberg
Mail on Sunday, 8 August 2021 
6) And finally: China rolls back climate policy, reopens closed coal mines as power demand surges
Bloomberg, 5 August 2021

Full details:

1) Boris Johnson’s push for Net Zero plunged into chaos
The Sunday Telegraph, 8 August 2021
By Edward Malnick, Sunday Political Editor and Emma Gatten, Environment Editor
Boris Johnson’s green agenda has been plunged into chaos amid fears that the costs of reaching “net zero” could cripple working class families in newly-won Tory seats.
A Treasury review of the costs of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 has been delayed since the spring. There are concerns the analysis highlights that the poorest households will be hit the hardest by the ambition, which will involve policies such as stripping out gas boilers and switching to electric or hydrogen cars.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, is said to be increasingly concerned about a looming crisis over the cost of living for British households, as the country faces the triple threat of rocketing energy bills, the potential for rising prices as a result of inflation, and an as-yet unspecified suite of policies to enable the country to meet the net zero target.

The Treasury review has been held back amid fears that the analysis will lead MPs and the public to the conclusion that Mr Johnson’s net zero strategy would be politically toxic in the Red Wall seats won by the Conservatives in December 2019.

The disclosure comes amid claims of rising tensions between Mr Johnson and the Chancellor, with longstanding friction between Number 10 and Number 11 over the Prime Minister’s spending demands.

On Saturday night it was reported that Mr Johnson had expressed fury over the leak of a letter in which Mr Sunak lobbied for a relaxation of travel restrictions. In a barbed joke, Mr Johnson threatened to demote Mr Sunak to Health Secretary.

The Government had said in December that the review would be published in “spring 2021”. However, it is among several key documents to have been significantly delayed amid wrangling in Whitehall over how to achieve the target without disproportionately “clobbering” the finances of working class families, and plunging the country into hundreds of billions of pounds of further debt.

The issue is likely to be at the centre of Mr Sunak’s autumn spending review, which is expected to decide the overall pots of money available for subsidising green technologies such as hydrogen.

Meanwhile, one adviser of COP26, the climate conference due to be hosted by Mr Johnson in November, said: “I don’t think ministers knew what they were getting in to” when they set targets for the conference, such as securing commitments from attendees that will limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 1.5C. 

One official said: “There was a massive expectation on us as members of the G7 and home of the industrial revolution. Boris was trying to grab as much as he can and to be a mighty great host... But Covid has added massive complications.”

Amid growing disquiet among Tory MPs, a new net zero scrutiny group of backbenchers is being formed to hold ministers to account over the plans. Craig Mackinlay, its chairman, warned that spending vast sums on subsidising green schemes would be seen by the public as “aping” some of Jeremy Corbyn’s pledges at the 2019 election.

He said: “The Conservatives’ strongest hand has always been credibility: credibility to deliver good economics and good governance. To ape the failed policies of an extreme Labour politician does not seem to be the way of electoral success.”

He added: “I’m very pleased the Treasury are actually thinking of this with a financial head on rather than just a warm feeling.”

Downing Street sources insisted that Mr Johnson was “acutely aware” of the need to monitor household finances to ensure that policies aimed at tackling climate change are “affordable for everyone”.

A Whitehall source said: “Obviously, with anything like this, those with less money are going to be disproportionately hit more. That’s common sense. That’s why work is ongoing to ensure the best solutions to ensure we hit 2050 without extraordinary costs to ordinary working class families.”

Insiders said that the “tension” behind the scenes was over the extent to which the Treasury should spend eye-watering sums subsidising green technologies, such as hydrogen and heat pumps – including the question of how many years it would take until taxpayer or consumer subsidies were no longer required.

Last month, Mr Johnson admitted that heat pumps, seen as an alternative to gas boilers, “cost about 10 grand a pop”. He added: “This is a lot of money for ordinary people. We’ve got to make sure that when we embark on this programme, that we have a solution that is affordable and that works for people. We won’t be imposing it until we have been able to create that market.”

There is alarm among some insiders about the amount of progress needed to achieve the net zero target by 2050. On the other hand, Mr Mackinlay’s group believe that, “while something sensible can emerge”, the current approach is “too rapid, too uncosted and too unscientific”.

Number 10 believes that the Government can encourage “early adopters” of such technologies with financial and regulatory incentives, with the hope that prices then fall as the market “takes off”. A similar approach was taken to the wind industry, which has benefited from generous consumer subsidies. “We need to drive down the cost of renewable energy,” a government source said.

But, last week, an industry analysis suggested that most wind farms in Britain will not be economically viable when existing subsidies end, primarily from the 2030s, and many could shut down prematurely without further support.

The Prime Minister believes that, while wind turbines are largely not produced in the UK, if Britain becomes a world leading manufacturer of electric heat pumps and producer of low carbon hydrogen, it can cash in on a “green jobs benefit to the UK as well as reducing emissions”.

Mr Sunak is said to agree on the need to bring down the cost of green technology but wants the private sector to “do most of the heavy lifting”. The free marketeer MP is thought to see interventions designed to encourage the market to bring down costs over time as “the best use of taxpayers’ money”. A source insisted that Mr Johnson was “in the same camp”.

Publication of the Government’s hydrogen strategy has also been delayed, amid wrangling over the costs of the technology. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, wants to subsidise the industry in a similar way to wind farms, offering Contracts for Difference, which provide renewable energy firms with a guaranteed price for 15 years.

Full front page story (£) 
*** see also No 10's 'net zero' carbon target is in disarray as Rishi Sunak baulks at the £1.4trillion cost of making UK a 'world leader' in green policies
2) How Boris Johnson’s global climate ambition risks rebellion and rancour at home
Politics Home, 7 August 2021

Alain Tolhurst 

With less than three months until COP26 Boris Johnson is battling on two fronts to show the UK can lead the way in making the high profile climate conference a success.
While there is no global consensus on what should be agreed when world leaders meet in Glasgow at the start of November, the Prime Minister faces a battle with the Treasury to fund ambitious plans to slash emissions by 78% before 2035.
He also faces growing enmity from within his own party after a series of warnings many of those proposals will heap huge costs onto individuals amid scepticism whether the infrastructure and the technology exists to achieve those targets.
A new backbench group is being set up for Conservative MPs disgruntled at the potential political cost of scrapping petrol and diesel vehicles and decarbonising homes this decade, who want to challenge the climate orthodoxy from those in Number 10.
It will be chaired by Craig Mackinlay, who told PolHome he wants it to be “a scientific bedrock of some common sense”, taking in as much data as possible about climate policy, saying current plans are ill-thought out and uncosted.

“I’m trying to just get something sensible out of the middle that has a half-chance of being achieved, and that isn't going to completely kill us off politically,” he said.

Mackinlay, the MP for Thanet in Kent, first set out the position of those Tories unhappy with the costs facing households with the move towards net zero in a recent article for the website ConservativeHome.
It is a subject which has garnered more op-eds by MPs than any other for the site, but as its editor Paul Goodman points out, they are often supportive of the government’s plans.
“And the reason for this is quite simple, which is that essentially the government is putting money into the new technologies in order to try and hit the target,” he said.
“The people who write these pieces almost always have some sort of constituency interest.”

It has been suggested many backbenchers who might potentially be against aggressive environmental policies are swayed by the promise of local investment in green jobs.
Indeed it is a key plank in Johnson’s “levelling up” rhetoric to create jobs in the green energy sector. He has painted a picture of Britain’s decarbonised future where we will “cook breakfast using hydrogen power before getting in our electric car”.
But Mackinlay is not so sure, highlighting a number of fires at battery factories, as well a lack of charging points on British streets and a recent Parliamentary report warning of blackouts if more and more electric vehicles are hooked up to the grid during the daytime.
He added: “We have a lot of chatter about hydrogen… But where are we going to get the bloody hydrogen from? That's a big question. 
“I've always said, if you can give me electricity at four pence a kilowatt hour, that is the price of gas per kilowatt hour, then I'll start to get excited. 

“Until you can do that, then, frankly, I don't think this is going to run.”
He said the as-yet un-named group was still in its “chrysalis stage” at the moment, but was picking up support within the party. Insiders agree the numbers so far are not significant – but when deadlines are actually at the door, or constituents come to them in large numbers, many more Tories could speak up.

“Obviously, we haven't been able to get together as much as we might like to because parliament is such as it is, but there are an increasing number of that are coming out the woodwork saying ‘yeah, you've got this right, we need to think about this, not least because of the cost’. 
“We don't want to be on the wrong side of the electorate, that just will not wear this.”

So far, Johnson is already said to be backing off his target date for ditching gas boilers by five years, with rumours the planned end on sales of new petrol and diesel cars could be next. 

A recent report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research warned a third of UK motorists - around 10 million households - cannot afford even the cheapest electric car, which means potentially another battle with Rishi Sunak over incentives to make these changes affordable.

It is a dual problem for the Chancellor: incentives mean more spending, more take-up of renewables means less income from taxation, which is why this autumn’s spending review will be such a difficult one, against the backdrop of the massive cost to the Exchequer of the pandemic and the looming COP26 event.

Sunak understands the political necessity of being seen to take a lead on green investment and delivering on their climate ambitions, with one Whitehall insider saying the Chancellor “is no environmentalist, but goes along with it because he can read polls.”

A second government source told PoliticsHome last month: “This Spending Review is going to be a tight one but I’d say if there’s money for anything it’s green issues.”

Even if Sunak can carve out some spending in this area that still leaves Johnson in a position where he has to tell the electorate how much decarbonising the economy will cost them personally.

His swift pull back from the creation of a “meat tax” which would have hit consumers earlier this summer led to a prediction from a Tory insider that when presented with the tough choices that have to be made to hit ambitious targets, “what is more likely to happen than not is the government will back off”.

They suggest it will allow ministers to talk about progress, but “the really, really tough, knotty problems will be the ones that end up not getting fixed or pushed back further, and if they push back 10 years, Boris Johnson probably won't be here.”

Goodman, a former Tory MP himself, wrote on this issue that “there are worse things in the world than politicians declaring success (‘we’ve made great progress towards our zero emissions target’) while delivering failure (i.e: backing off some of the tax hikes necessary to actually hit them)”.

Labour leader Keir Starmer identified the same issue, saying this week: “The [government] have quietly been unpicking and dropping critical commitments when it comes to the climate crisis and the future economy.”

But there is likely to be renewed pressure to firm up their climate change policies as the issue has been thrown into sharp focus this summer with devastating flooding in Germany and China, then the UK too.

Despite the creation of Mackinlay’s group there is already a large caucus of MPs - almost 100 - in the Conservative Environment Network, which aims at pushing for better environmental outcomes.

It is chaired by Ben Goldsmith - brother of Zac, an ally of Johnson’s wife Carrie and a key driver of environmental matters in Downing Street, which is pushing for splashy, big picture policies.

There is said to be tension between those in that camp and the more pragmatic wing, who see the problems with telling working class voters to cough up to ditch their diesel vans and install an air source pump to heat their homes. 

There's a similar split in Number 10, and multiple Westminster insiders say that the prioritising or otherwise of COP26 appears to be down to whichever group has the PM’s attention at the time.

The man who is meant to be leading on much of this is Alok Sharma, the former business secretary drafted in to be president of COP26 at the start of this year, but he has been largely anonymous - with recent polling suggesting just 3% of people know he is the person heading up the Glasgow conference, and insiders claiming he is far more well-disposed to the diplomatic element of his role than the publicity side. 

Indeed, the most notable coverage he’s received of late is a story revealing that he’d flown around the world — including to six red list countries — while deploying an exemption meaning he doesn’t need to quarantine in a hotel when he gets back to the UK.

It has meant his spokesperson, the former journalist Allegra Stratton, has been the public face of climate change policy - but her media round last week caused much consternation both inside and outside of Number 10.
Discussing the “One Step Greener” initiative she suggested people should not rinse their plates before putting them in the dishwasher, said people could join the Green Party if they wanted to help the environment, and then told reporters that a diesel car suits her better than an electric one.

On her dishwasher remarks Mackinlay said: “Well, you just think where she's coming from? 

“What was more interesting were her comments to say ‘well, I'm not going to get an electric car because I do long distance and my old diesel is far more convenient’.
“That was that was more illuminating, if she's meant to be the ambassador for all this it seemed a bit of a strange place to start. It was ‘do as I say not as I do’, which I never think is a good start point.”

He added: “The cost is not really thought out at the moment. All we've got so far is the Climate Change Committee, which is the adviser to government and Parliament. 

"It's just one body, which doesn't seem to publish its underlying assumptions, which I'm trying to get to the bottom of, we just got these bland figures at £1.4trillion which - take a deep breath and think about what £1.4trillion means - you've got a choice as a government to either grant fund to encourage me and others to get a battery car or decarbonise our homes, or do you leave it to householders? 

“And at the end of the day that amounts to the same thing it is going to come out of consumers' and taxpayers' pockets, there's no money out of thin air, and my worry is - could this be an HS2 moment; where your initial estimate of £1.4trillion, colossal as it is, becomes infinitely higher when reality comes into play.”
*** see also: Tory backbenchers prepare to fight cost of net zero greenhouse gas emissions

3) Boris Johnson’s ambition for climate deal hit by Tory Party infighting
Bloomberg, 5 August 2021

In less than 100 days Boris Johnson will host world leaders for a round of critical climate change talks. It’s supposed to be the moment when the U.K. prime minister showcases Britain’s post-Brexit global influence.

But instead, the conference in Glasgow –- known as COP26 -- risks being undermined by the lack of progress on climate policies at home and resistance in his own Conservative Party.

Johnson’s government has repeatedly delayed a series of key policy papers outlining plans to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including decarbonizing heat, and spreading costs fairly. As a result, the U.K. remains way off track in meeting the goal, according to its own advisers. A Downing Street spokeswoman said the strategies will be published this year.

Adding to Johnson’s headache, a group of his backbenchers will launch a campaign next month arguing the U.K. is going too fast in its decarbonization policies, putting an unfair burden on regular people.

Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative Member of Parliament leading the new group, said in an interview that he’s worried about the high costs of net zero, while “India and China are not engaging.”

The group will feature a number of prominent Brexit campaigners, such as backbencher Steve Baker and Nigel Lawson, Margaret Thatcher’s former finance minister. They’re both linked to the Global Warming Policy Foundation think tank. Mackinlay said the new group will use research from the GWPF, and he’s hoping to attract about 25 MPs.

Amber Rudd, a former minister in Johnson’s cabinet, who also held the energy brief during the Paris summit in 2015, where 197 countries signed a landmark deal, said Tory infighting threatened to undermine success at COP26.

“The host country needs to lead,” she said. “This growing drumbeat of militant skepticism will make other countries doubt the U.K.’s sincerity.”

She said discord at home could derail efforts by Alok Sharma, the incoming COP26 President and member of Johnson’s Cabinet, who’s been flying around the world in an attempt to ensure a deal is brokered.

He aims to keep alive the chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and “consign coal to history,” but is already struggling to achieve those goals.

At a Group of 20 meeting in Naples last month, countries refused to agree to end the use of coal for electricity. India, which had been a key hold out, then failed to show up to his London climate summit the following weekend.
Full story
4) Judge orders Committee on Climate Change to back up claim of 'only' 1% of GDP to hit Net Zero
Daily Mail, 7 August 2021

David Rose

A court has told climate policy chiefs to show why they think reaching net zero carbon emissions will cost only 1 per cent of GDP.

To be hit by 2050, the target is the centrepiece of Boris Johnson’s presidency of the UN climate change conference in Glasgow in November.

But critics point out that other countries have put a much higher cost on the same ambitious goal.

The 1.3 per cent figure was published by the Committee on Climate Change in 2019, thereafter being enshrined in law.

Since then the panel has refused repeated requests for access to the spreadsheets behind the calculation. However the Information Tribunal has now ruled that the data must be released.

Judge Sophie Buckley said: ‘There is an extremely strong public interest in enabling scrutiny of the data, models and calculations which underpin the CCC’s conclusion that the net zero target could be met at an annual resource cost of up to 1-2 per cent of GDP.

‘Any errors in the calculations that led to the CCC’s conclusions, which, in turn, led to the legislative change, have the potential to have a very significant impact on the lives and finances of large numbers of people, on the spending of large sums of public money, and on the policies of the UK Government over the next 30 years.’

According to the CCC, the UK’s economic output will be around £4.6trillion in 2050, putting the 1.3 per cent cost at £50billion.

The tribunal case was brought by Andrew Montford, deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, founded by former chancellor Lord Lawson.

Mr Montford filed a freedom of information request for the spreadsheets and when this was refused appealed to Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

The CCC has said releasing the spreadsheets would be too time consuming and ‘cause confusion, and distract public debate’. It also said that some parts of the analysis had been written over, instead of being preserved on its computer systems.

Ministers have repeatedly claimed the cost will be modest, citing the CCC’s report.

Lord Deben, chairman of the committee, said it was ‘recognised universally as the most seriously presented, costed effort’.

Lord Lawson said: ‘We must put this potentially ruinous commitment on hold until there has been full disclosure and thorough scrutiny. If it turns out that the estimated cost is far too low, then the Government must think again.’
5) Dan Hodges: Yes, Allegra Stratton is a car crash... but the big problem is Boris Johnson can't decide if he's Jeremy Clarkson or Greta Thunberg
Mail on Sunday, 8 August 2021
Last week Boris sent an upbeat message to Allegra Stratton, his embattled spokeswoman for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). 'You're doing brilliant work! Carry on, Allegra!'

But No 10 officials have a rather different perspective. 'Everyone's been holding their head in despair,' one Downing Street insider tells me.

'They were asking if she could be pulled back from doing interviews. But the message back was firmly: 'The Prime Minister has an agreement with her. So that's it.'

It's just under two months until world leaders assemble in Glasgow for the United Nation's environment summit. And the way things are currently going, the event is at risk of becoming a political and presentational fiasco for the Government.

One reason is the catalogue of blunders made by Stratton herself. 'Carry on, Allegra' was Boris's instruction, but it also serves as an apt description of the state of the communications operation on her watch.

If Sid James and Hattie Jacques had been drafted in to spin the Government's green agenda, it's hard to see how they could have done a worse job.

There was the ridicule that followed her suggestion 'not rinsing dishes' was a good way of tackling the climate crisis.

This was immediately followed by fury from within Conservative ranks after she suggested an alternative form of environmental activism would be for people to join the Greens.

Anger that quickly intensified when she claimed the Government's net zero target of 2050 was 'too far away'.

Finally there was the 'electric car crash' interview, in which she explained that while the rest of the country was expected to make the switch to non-polluting vehicles, she was currently hanging on to her old diesel VW because she 'doesn't fancy' the additional charging time associated with an electric car.

In Stratton's defence, some of her comments have been misinterpreted. A number of the Government's environmental targets have indeed been accelerated from 2050 to 2035.

Allies claim her position on electric cars was designed to show Ministers are not forcing people towards expensive, overnight green purchases. And they claim her statement about joining the Green Party was an off-the-record rejoinder to hostile questioning. 'Allegra's job has been to crisp up the messaging, and she's been doing that,' says a friend.

Perhaps. But the reality is Stratton was specifically placed in her high-profile – and highly paid – role to hone the Government's environmental communications. And over the past couple of weeks, that communications has been a shambles.

Though if that was the extent of the problem, it could be dealt with. Stratton would be packed off to spend time with her gas-guzzling Golf.

An actual Minister – or the Prime Minister himself – could take proper charge of the COP comms. And the nation could soak the dinner dishes with a clear conscience.

But the Government's bad COP/even worse COP routine is actually a reflection of a broader strategic dilemma facing Boris. One in which he can't decide whether to frame himself as the new Jeremy Clarkson or the new Greta Thunberg.

Until recently, the plan was clear – he wanted to be No 10's tousled blond petrolhead. His priority was delivering the no-nonsense agenda of the ordinary working men and women of Red Wall Britain.

Economic growth was the priority. Roads, bridges, tunnels and airports the order of the day. Yes, new green technology had its part to play. But the Prime Minister who once famously claimed 'wind farms couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding' knew the limits of woke metropolitan environmentalism.

That clarity has now been replaced by confusion. Dom Cummings – the architect of the Red Wall strategy – has been banished. The loss of Chesham and Amersham has Tory MPs questioning the blunt focus on 'levelling up' the North. And as his wife Carrie's influence has grown within No 10, so too has the emphasis on what one Minister described as her 'hug-a-fish' agenda.

This was what lay behind Boris's tone-deaf 'joke' about Margaret Thatcher gifting him an early start on fossil fuels transition by closing the coal mines. 'Just Boris being Boris,' said some allies.

But the Boris who in 2019 retained a steely focus on capturing Bolsover and Sedgefield and Bishop Auckland would never have made such a blunder.

Inside No 10, there is a recognition of the dangers posed by the impending arrival in Glasgow of the global green elite. There is likely to be greater emphasis on Britain's role in building a diplomatic consensus at COP26, and less focus on the Government's own 'micro-steps' for tackling the perceived environmental crisis.
One Minister who has been engaged with the Government's environment strategy also believes there needs to be a shift away from the narrow focus on global warming, and a greater effort to highlight what he calls 'David Bellamy environmentalism' – in particular, efforts to protect the seas and the wider natural environment.

But though Ministers may be aware of the pitfalls, the reality is COP26 represents a giant political trap. And the Government is in danger of plunging head-first into it.

A false consensus is again forming. Just as we saw with immigration and Brexit, a self-selecting group of politicians, activists, media commentators and blue-chip corporates have decided their will is now the settled national will. And they have unilaterally decreed tackling the 'Climate Crisis' is the priority of the moment.

Whether ordinary people agree with them is neither here nor there. The environmental elite will determine the price to be paid to save the planet from destruction. You're worried about the cost of a new boiler? Or a new electric car? We're saving the world here. Just shut up, plebs, and pay.

Never mind that's not where the public are. Yes, they believe in – and are concerned about – global warming. Yes, they want to do their bit to protect the future of the children and grandchildren. But they are not about to be dictated to by a global environmental clique who will jet in to Glasgow, get whisked around for 12 days in their darkened SUVs, then jet out again.

The inconvenient truth is the environment is not the No 1 issue for the majority. Maybe it should be. But it isn't. A secure job. A decent home. A good school. Safe streets. These are the real 'global priorities'.

But in the weeks ahead, as COP 26 and the international environmental clique bears down upon us, these priorities will be shunted aside. The news pages will be filled with one issue – and one perspective. TV will be the same. The global corporates – who see COP26 not as an opportunity to save the world, but a perfect moment to burnish their social responsibility profiles – will push their greenwashed advertising campaigns.

And once again, the gap between those who govern and those who are governed will widen. Let's call it the Canning Town Paradox.

In 2019, Extinction Rebellion took to the streets of London. They were lauded by politicians. They were applauded by many in the press. They were feted by celebrities.

Then Extinction Rebellion turned up at Canning Town and Shadwell and Stratford stations, and jumped on to the roof of the trains.

At which point, ordinary Londoners expressed their own feelings by hauling them off the carriages and nearly lynching them.

This is the danger for Boris. As the lustre of COP26 beckons, he loses further focus on the agenda – and voters – that delivered him his majority back in 2019.

'Carry on, Allegra'? I really wouldn't.
6) And finally: China rolls back climate policy, reopens closed coal mines as power demand surges
Bloomberg, 5 August 2021

China’s top planning authority authorized more shuttered coal mines to restart production as key policymakers seek to balance progress on climate goals against still surging power demand.

Operations will restart for a year at 15 coal mines across northern provinces including Shanxi and the Xinjiang region, delivering as much as about 44 million tons of coal, according to a statement by the National Development and Reform Commission. Authorities last week announced the restart of 38 coal mines in Inner Mongolia.

The decision comes as China seeks to tame thermal coal prices that have jumped about a third this year and hit a record in May amid supply disruptions and strong demand that’s the result of extreme summer heat and a rebound in industrial output.

It also follows last month’s recommendation from China’s top policymakers for an easing of aggressive steps to curb emissions as the nation seeks to meet power demand and maintain growth. Members of the Politburo have called for a coordinated, orderly approach to reach carbon neutrality, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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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