Thursday, September 30, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: Europe to switch back to coal to survive bleak winter


Starved of Gas, European Electricity Producers Snap Up Coal

In this newsletter:

1) Green Britain: Households will ‘not be able to cope’ amid rising energy and living costs this winter, charity warns
iNews, 25 September 2021
2) Rising inflation & surging energy prices to cripple Britons
3) Energy crisis: Europe to switch back to coal to survive bleak winter
The National, 24 September 2021
4) Starved of Gas, European Electricity Producers Snap Up Coal 
Bloomberg, 24 September 2021
5) Wind farms paid nearly £2m to switch off – even as customers face soaring energy bills
The Daily Telegraph, 25 September 2021
6) Charles Moore: Many of our current problems will pass, but our energy crisis just gets worse
The Daily Telegraph, 25 September 2021
7) Samantha Dravis: Europe's energy crisis is a warning for America
The Hill, 24 September 2021
8) And finally: The truth about China's energy strategy 
Daily Mail, 25 September 2021

Full details:

1) Green Britain: Households will ‘not be able to cope’ amid rising energy and living costs this winter, charity warns
iNews, 25 September 2021
Households will “not be able to cope” amid rising energy and living costs this winter, a charity has warned.

Adam Scorer, chief executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, has raised concerns about consumers as energy companies fold, prices rise and universal credit is reduced.

The charity boss told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme those being transferred to new suppliers after their original energy provider had exited the market would “almost certainly” be switched to a tariff that is “much more expensive and will be more expensive too when the price cap goes up”.

Mr Scorer said: “There are four million households in fuel poverty in the UK, these price rises may put another 500,000 on that.

“They live on a knife-edge every winter. This winter is going to be even more extreme, many of them will see incomes go down because of Universal Credit and food inflation and price rises will come up, and for some, it will be [intolerable] and they will not be able to cope.”

Full story
2) Rising inflation & surging energy prices to cripple Britons
Daily Express, 25 September 2021

THE Bank of England has ramped up its warning on rising inflation after admitting soaring gas prices and problems to the supply chain are preventing the economy from growing as fast as it had expected.
The Monetary Policy Committee, who voted unanimously to keep interest rates at the historic low of 0.1 percent, has now warned that surging household energy bills could drive inflation above four percent by the end of the year and into the middle of next year. They also downgraded their expectations for Covid recovery, with gross domestic product set to be 2.5 percent below pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of this year.
Full story
3) Europe to switch back to coal to survive bleak winter
The National, 24 September 2021

European utility providers are preparing to switch to alternative energy sources to meet demand, including carbon-rich coal, as gas supply problems continue, analysts have said.

If energy providers are forced to compete for the limited amount of gas supply, prices will continue to soar with costs "inevitably" passed down to consumers.

“The long and short of it is that, unless there is a mild winter or an ease in demand, the EU utilities will have to look to alternative energy sources to meet the demand," said Slava Kiryushin, global head of energy at DWF, an international provider of legal and business services.

"While most may read 'alternative energy sources' as "renewables", the energy market may have an alternative definition: coal,”

While upping coal production will not be welcomed by many as Europe looks to lower its carbon emissions to meet climate change targets, it is a far more economic source of fuel, Mr Kiryushin said.

"It remains to be seen how the European utilities will balance the rise in carbon emissions and consumer sentiment against the unavailability or unaffordability of power from less carbon-intensive sources."

European coal for lined up for delivery next year rose to its highest level since 2008 on Friday, on strong demand from power stations and low stockpiles.

Coal for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp gained 2.6 per cent to $137 a tonne, as soaring natural gas costs are continuing to push European utilities toward coal-fired generation.

Full story
4) Starved of Gas, European Electricity Producers Snap Up Coal
Bloomberg, 24 September 2021
European electricity producers are snapping up coal cargoes as a shortage of natural gas forces utilities to burn the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

A shipment for delivery next month at a major European hub traded at $200 a metric ton, the highest since 2008, according to traders who saw the transaction on the globalCOAL platform.
Several utilities stepped into the market this week to secure supplies before the start of the winter, said the traders, who asked not to be identified because the deals are private.

Europe is facing an energy crunch after a long and cold winter left gas stockpiles depleted. Replenishing them hasn’t been easy, with limited supplies from Russia and Norway forcing Europe to fight for cargoes of liquefied natural gas in the spot market. Low wind speeds have compounded the continent’s energy woes, prompting utilities to turn to dirtier fossil fuels to bridge the shortfall.

“We are observing some tightness also in the coal market,” Marco Saalfrank, head of continental Europe merchant trading at Axpo Solutions AG, said in an interview at the Gastech conference in Dubai this week. Profits for coal-fired power plants have “turned positive, increasing the production.”

Energy prices are soaring just as Europe is trying to push for a more ambitious climate deal when world leaders meet in Scotland later this year. Coal’s comeback is likely to make those talks difficult for politicians from the U.K. to Spain and Italy, which are already dealing with the fear of voter backlash from rising energy bills.

The cargo of 50,000 metric tons that changed hands on Friday was for delivery in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub, traders said. And it’s not only spot prices that are rising, futures for next-year delivery also surged as much as 4.1% to $139 a ton, the highest since 2008. Rising demand from utilities is depleting stockpiles at European ports.

Coal supplies have fallen as major producers Colombia and Indonesia have struggled with heavy rain, while some mines elsewhere have closed because of the pandemic. Investment in new mining projects has almost come to a halt in recent years, with banks cutting lending to coal companies as the world seeks to avert the worst effects of climate change.

“Gas supply is short, coal supply is short and renewables aren’t going great and we are now in this crazy situation, it’s the only way we can describe it,” Dale Hazelton, head of thermal coal at Wood Mackenzie, said by phone from Singapore last week. 
5) Wind farms paid nearly £2m to switch off – even as customers face soaring energy bills
The Daily Telegraph, 25 September 2021

Wind farms were paid more than £1.8 million to shut down this week – at a time when consumers face huge rises in energy bills because of the spiralling cost of natural gas.

The turbines were switched off over the course of three days because the electricity they would have produced could not have reached the regions that needed it.

Instead, electricity from gas-fired power stations was used at a further cost to consumers of several million pounds.

An analysis by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a charitable think tank that has criticised wind energy over its reliability and cost, found that 38 wind farms – all in Scotland – received payments totalling £1.85 million over the course of three days not to generate electricity.

The constraint payments are made by the National Grid to balance supply and demand across the electricity network. Payments tend to be highest on warm, windy days when turbines can produce a lot of electricity that is not needed.

‘High winds, low winds – whatever the weather, the consumer suffers’

Dr John Constable, the director of REF, said: "Uncontrollable and heavily subsidised generation such as wind-power has made the UK electricity system into a costly and dysfunctional joke.

"High winds, low winds – whatever the weather, the consumer suffers. It's almost the only thing about wind that is reliable."

REF estimated that the biggest payment, of just over £400,000, went to Moray East offshore wind farm, and £167,000 to Griffin wind farm.

Full story
6) Charles Moore: Many of our current problems will pass, but our energy crisis just gets worse
The Daily Telegraph, 25 September 2021
As Boris Johnson tries to get the wind behind Cop26 at the UN, here at home we are all paying the price

Returning from a fortnight’s holiday, I find rising levels of discontent, especially among people who are Conservative or might sometimes vote Conservative. Complaints include National Insurance and other tax rises, public spending, public borrowing, commodity and labour shortages, a feeling that the country is being renationalised and too much interfered with by government, and resentment that the authorities are allowing the M25 to be blocked by idiots.

These are legitimate concerns, but most of them can be put in some perspective by the fact that we are only just emerging from Covid. Broadly speaking, the Government had to spend and borrow more because of the plague. It had to interfere more, too. Tax rises are unwelcome, but hardly a surprise. On the whole, I feel unease, but not despair.

This week, however, has brought out something serious – long-term serious. Our energy system is no longer reliable or rational. It is almost bound, barring some technological miracle, to grow more unreliable and more expensive for the foreseeable future. Which is another way of saying that we shall grow poorer.

The latest rush to the petrol pumps may truly be the result of temporary shortage – the lack of HGV drivers – and therefore no more than irritating. But the relationship between our net-zero policies and power generation is another matter.

In his exuberant speech to the UN general assembly this week, the Prime Minister renamed himself “Boreas” Johnson in honour of the North wind and the “great forests of beautiful wind turbines on the drowned prairies of Doggerland beneath the North Sea”. But he was speaking just after the first three weeks of our British September had produced the lowest wind in that month for five years – 1,082 GWh, compared with 2,652 GWh over the same period in 2020.

It remains stubbornly the case that wind (and sun) varies. The resulting intermittency has to be made up by other means to keep electricity flowing – in our case, generation by gas. Otherwise we have no security of supply. Because we have allowed ourselves to be so exposed to short-term variations in gas prices, with so little storage, this is blindingly expensive, and we are nearly 50 per cent gas import-dependent. Britain has a policy of buying in distress and so is in no position to get a good price.

The foolish energy price cap introduced by Theresa May was initially popular with voters, because it appeared to protect them, but it merely conceals the costs by hitting us with taxes instead. It also catches out small players prevented from recovering their sharply increased costs from customers. This leads to further distortion as the Government steps in to stave off bankruptcies.

It is also not the case, as the Government claims, that the price of renewables is going down. Government subsidies to renewable energy generators via levies on consumers are currently £10 billion a year, rising to £12 billion by 2026.

Boreas Johnson boasted to the UN that at November’s Cop26 in Glasgow we shall “blow out the candles of a world on fire”. More likely we shall throw the switch on the modern Western economy. He also blamed Britain specifically: we were first with the Industrial Revolution, and thus changed the world “on a scale to derange the natural order”.

Most people want cleaner energy, and are at least moderately worried about climate change: it would be strange if this were not so. But if Western leaders express this, as Boris was doing, in the language of blame, they set up a dangerous antithesis between virtue and prosperity. Our history tells us that our prosperity was, broadly, virtuous. It made us freer: it gradually liberated the poor from menial labour, improving housing, transport, medicine, drains. Don’t trash it.

Most of us can see that the XR/Insulate Britain people who try to lie down on motorways or glue themselves to public transport are committed opponents of our modern way of life. We may not yet be aware that many of our political leaders are quite like that, too. All main parties are committed, at least in their rhetoric, to an impossibilist timetable based on an unproved theory of catastrophe.

Surely the political trick to play is to commit to greener technology rather than inflicting punishment. If consumers come to believe that net zero exposes them to punitive cost or insecurity of supply, they will rightly reject it. The mantra “If it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working” (first used by John Major about interest rates) is exactly wrong. If it hurts to any serious extent, it can’t work.

That is the repeated warning from people worried about gas-boiler bans, expensive heat pumps with enormous radiators, charging points and vast batteries for electric cars, wood-burning stoves, and so on. They reject anything which produces immediate serious inconvenience with no discernible direct benefit. That is politics. If net zero starts to hurt badly while Boris is still prime minister, he will be – if such carbon production is still allowed – toast.

It does feel as if we are getting uncomfortably close to that point. Prolonged blackouts probably will not occur this winter – although my own direct and anecdotal experience is that short local ones are becoming considerably more frequent. It is certain, however, that millions will soon be paying more for a service which is gradually deteriorating. We recently got a letter from EDF saying that our electricity bill will be £454 higher next year. Admittedly, we live in a detached, old, rural house, which consumes more energy than most; but millions will have received comparable correspondence.

The alternative, surely – though certainly not cost-free – is to build a much safer supply onto which renewable developments can be safely added. Boris himself told the UN that the Government’s investment in hydrogen is “a huge bet”. Experiment, by all means, but energy security should never be a betting game. A secure system might involve smaller high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactors, a more planned commitment to gas, including fracking and a reform of fiscal incentives to revive extraction from the North Sea.
Full post (£)
7) Samantha Dravis: Europe's energy crisis is a warning for America

The Hill, 24 September 2021
As congressional Democrats continue to push their $3 trillion green energy bill and the U.N. General Assembly meets this week during “Climate Week,” a crisis across the pond is foreshadowing what may happen as America looks to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Accord.

European nations are experiencing record surging natural gas prices, resulting in halted operations and a rise in energy prices for consumers that have gotten so high some countries have been forced to take action to subsidize customers’ bills. Natural gas futures in the United Kingdom and all over Europe climbed double digits this week, and in the UK, gas prices have risen more than 250 percent with some firms expected to collapse as a result. Energy bills are now expected to go up by 20 percent for households across Europe, according to Citigroup. Greece and Spain have now announced subsidies to lower bills while France and others are now saying they are considering the measure.

What’s to blame? European countries like Germany and others have for years moved to restrict fossil fuels — citing the need to address climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Accord. Europe has heavily subsidized weather-dependent renewable wind and solar energy, shutting down its coal and nuclear plants. Yet global demand has skyrocketed as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and at the same time, the wind in the North Sea has suddenly stopped blowing over the summer, leading to gas and coal making up for the shortfall. Not surprisingly, prices are blowing up.

Other factors at play also stem from Europe’s decision to shut down fossil fuels at home. Russia, Europe’s top exporter, is not sharing as much gas as it traditionally has with Europe, and stronger demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) imports in Asia has diverted LNG cargoes away from Europe. But Europe’s over-reliance on imports is again the inevitable result of a disingenuous policy of banning fossil fuels to address climate change with the full knowledge that fossil fuels will still have to be used in the mix from somewhere else.

Europe’s approach to fossil fuels is hypocritical and, frankly, scary because America is planning the same course. President Biden and Democrats are still intent upon passing a massive spending bill that will cost taxpayers trillions in subsidies for wind and solar — sound familiar? The bill will also force a new, $150 billion dollar Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) that would require utilities to buy or produce a set amount of renewable energy. Companies that meet the standard would get federal dollars, companies that don’t would face punitive, steep fines. Unsurprisingly, natural gas is not included in CEPP. These types of policies will move America toward a very vulnerable place from an energy affordability and reliability standpoint right when rising inflation has already hit consumers hard.

It seems that no matter how many examples are pointed out about the dangers of over-reliance on renewables, policymakers continue to press on toward the same dangerous path of completely banning fossil fuels. The result won’t be lower emissions at the end of the day when natural gas and coal are needed to cover wind’s shortfalls — but there very well could be energy price increases like America has never seen before.

Beyond affordability and the need to supply our country with energy during the winter months, the crisis in Europe demonstrates the continued geopolitical significance of gas. The real winners of America’s move to electrify everything will be Russia and China. Russia heavily supplies China with more and more LNG while Biden insists that America curtail domestic production that can be exported, not to mention that in a net-zero world, China controls 80 percent of lithium-ion battery supply chains and also dominates the rare earth mineral supply chains for electric vehicles.

It’s time for lawmakers to confront this reality before it’s too late and get real with Americans about what can reasonably be expected during a transition to net-zero. Fossil fuels simply can’t be replaced in the energy mix at this stage, and the costs of heavy subsidies and punitive policies are putting American consumers at risk.
Republicans in particular need to show that they stand “for” something when it comes to addressing climate issues and not just be against policies proposed by Democrats. Investments in technologies like direct air capture and carbon capture and storage are a good start. But policymakers of both parties must confront reality and come together in a bipartisan but realistic way to prevent a European-style energy crisis in America.
8) And finally: The truth about China's energy strategy 
Daily Mail, 25 September 2021

Beijing's dirtiest secret: With 1,000 coal-fired power stations (and climbing) China's energy pollution mocks the world's bid to combat climate change - as series of Mail exposes reveals
The billowing clouds of steam and smoke are visible from miles away. As night falls and the lights turn the sky neon bright as far as the eye can see, the chimneys keep remorselessly pumping out their toxic fumes.

This is the Ningdong Energy and Chemical Industry Base, one of the biggest industrial complexes in the world.

Sprawling in semi-desert far to the west of Beijing, it covers an area so vast — 341 square miles, more than two thirds the size of Los Angeles — it is almost unimaginable.

Much of The Base, as it is known locally, is home to mines, which produce 130 million metric tonnes of coal a year — about the same as the annual total dug from all 233 deep mines still in use in Britain when coal was our biggest energy source in the 1970s.

The coal — the most polluting of all fossil fuels — is fed into an array of huge power stations at the complex, which have the capacity to generate 17.3 gigawatts. That would be enough to satisfy a third of the UK’s peak demand for electricity.

Also to be found at The Base are 32 companies that use coal to make chemicals, so generating still more carbon pollution.

And on top of all this is the showpiece: the world’s largest coal-to-liquid (CTL) plant, run by the state-owned Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group.

Simply burning coal is dirty enough, producing more carbon dioxide than any other method of generating electricity — almost twice as much as burning natural gas. But making oil from coal is far worse: it can double the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere from every unit of energy.

Yet China’s Shenhua group — now restructured as part of China Energy — has been investing heavily in this hugely polluting CTL plant.

No Western journalist has ever been allowed to visit the site. But in 2017 a Chinese researcher, Xing Zhang, was given a tour by the firm’s vice chairman, Dr Yao Min.

Her findings, written up in a blog for the International Energy Agency (IEA), revealed that Shenhua had by then invested 55 billion yuan — or £6.2 billion — in the CTL plant alone. Each year, the plant turns 20 million tonnes of coal into four million tonnes of oil products; 2.7 million tonnes of diesel; a million tonnes of naptha petroleum; and 340,000 tonnes of liquid gas.

And The Base is not China’s only large CTL plant. There are at least six others in the country that are already built or under construction — and China says it plans to build still more in nations where it has lavished investment, such as Pakistan.

Yet The Base accounts for just a fraction of China’s coal dependency. Its coal power station fleet grew five-fold between 2000 and 2020, and now accounts for almost half the world’s consumption — more than three times its closest rival, the U.S. It is said to have 1,080 separate plants with a total capacity last year of 1,005 gigawatts — and is building more.

Britain, in contrast, has just four coal-fuelled plants left, with a joint output of 5.4 gigawatts. This week, in his apocalyptic climate change speech to the United Nations, Boris Johnson urged China — by far the world’s worst emitter of greenhouse gases, producing as much as 28 per cent of the global total — to end its domestic use of coal.

Mr Johnson is only too aware that if Cop26, the UN climate conference to be held in Glasgow in November, is not to be regarded as a dismal failure, China must be persuaded to make meaningful cuts in CO2 emissions.

But far from carbon emissions slowing down in China, they are increasing ever more rapidly.

This is a country with a mind-boggling pace of development. Between 2011 and 2013, China used more cement than the U.S. did in the entire 20th century. It produces almost 60 per cent of the world’s steel and its oil refinery capacity has tripled since 2000.

Even though it promised last week to stop building coal power stations abroad, China continues to do just that at home. Last year, its coal-powered capacity rose by 38 gigawatts, while the rest of the world cut capacity by 17 gigawatts.

China has a further 105 gigawatts of new coal capacity in the construction pipeline — more than the entire generating capacity of the UK from all sources, including nuclear and renewables.

Last month, the Workers’ Daily reported that in coal-rich Inner Mongolia, 38 mothballed coal mines have been reopened, with an annual production of 60 million tonnes. Last year, Inner Mongolia dug up more than a billion tonnes of coal — and this did not even make it China’s biggest coal province: that honour belonged to Shanxi.

China’s president, Xi Jinping, claimed last year that although Chinese emissions would keep rising until 2030, they would then reach their peak and decline, eventually reaching Net Zero by 2060 — ten years after Britain.

But he has given few details on how this might be achieved, and there are ominous signs that he has no intention of keeping his word. When President Biden’s climate change envoy, John Kerry, went to Beijing this month to put pressure on the regime on carbon emissions, he was humiliated.

Kerry was forced to hold his meetings via Zoom — he might as well have stayed in Washington — and China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, politicised the encounter, warning him that if America wanted China to talk seriously about emissions, it must first stop treating it as ‘a threat and a rival’.

‘Climate change cannot be separated from the larger People’s Republic of China–U.S. relations environment,’ Mr Wang added. By this, he meant China would not contemplate making new pledges on emissions if the U.S. continued to raise awkward issues such as the crushing of democracy in Hong Kong, the militarisation of the South China Sea and the enslavement of Muslim Uighurs.

Alok Sharma, the UK minister in charge of Cop26, has admitted he doesn’t know whether President Xi will even show up at the event. An editorial in Chinese Communist newspaper the Global Times told Mr Sharma that if he wants the conference to succeed, he must not let it be ‘held hostage by U.S. political ideologues’.

But while China obfuscates, we in Britain are cutting carbon emissions to the bone, inflicting deep harm on our economy.

The dizzying rise in household bills, and the bankruptcy of so many gas companies, is part of the price we are paying for giving up coal in our rush towards green energy.

As this newspaper reported last month, while we do our bit to slow climate change, it is estimated the cost of our transition to Net Zero will run into trillions of pounds.

Yet even though Britain accounts for less than 1 per cent of global emissions — one 28th as much as China — we still treat the regime with kid gloves, arguing that China deserves leeway because it is still a ‘developing’ country.

Even the eco-protesters blocking our motorways pay no attention to the fact China is pumping out pollution on an unprecedented scale.

Last week, when a BBC reporter asked the group that spawned them, Extinction Rebellion, why they were not demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy, he was accused of ‘perpetuating anti-Chinese racist stereotypes’.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which has members in 20 countries, told me this week that ‘governments across the free world have been utterly supine’.

He added: ‘China may say their emissions will peak by 2030 but meanwhile they are building all the new coal-fired power stations they need, to do whatever they please.

‘Yet they are being let off the hook while other countries are being asked to step up to measures that will have an incalculable economic impact. China will watch while we collapse our economies and they become all-powerful.’

Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB union, thousands of whose members have lost their jobs to Chinese competitors, puts it more succinctly: ‘We are importing virtue and exporting jobs.’

Let us look at how emissions compare with Western countries. China’s total emissions have far outstripped America’s. Indeed, they amount to more than the rest of the developed world put together — although admittedly they are still lower by one measure: America still emits more per head of population.

However, that ceased to be true of Britain in 2014 — and by 2018 China was well ahead, with 6.84 tonnes of CO2 emitted per capita, against 5.3 tonnes in Britain.

To appreciate how fast China’s economy and emissions have grown, consider that in 1990 we emitted 9.6 tonnes per head and China just 1.84 tonnes.

Since 2018, our emissions have continued to fall while China’s have increased. In total, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says, they have risen in China by 365 per cent since 1990. In the same period, Britain’s fell by 35 per cent.

Two further indicators reveal how great the impact of cheap energy has been on China’s economy — and give the lie to the claim they are still a ‘developing country’ which deserves to be indulged.

First, carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere a long time, taking up to 200 years to be absorbed by the oceans. This means the emissions a country generates accumulate over time. The quantity of accumulated emissions reveals the degree to which China already dominates world manufacturing.

From 1990 to 2019, China’s accumulated emissions amounted to 167 billion tonnes of CO2. Britain’s were just 14 billion tonnes.

The second point is that the IEA, which produces this data, relies on figures supplied by the Chinese government — and many claim they are unreliable.

In 2019, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post — then still a newspaper that could publish material critical of the Communist regime — reported that the Chinese environment ministry was ‘frequently presented with fake data and fabricated documents’, citing dozens of cases of fraud.

‘The party committee of Bozhou district in Zunyi, southern China, was found to have fabricated notes for ten meetings — part of the work requirement under the new environmental targets — in a bid to cheat the inspectors,’ the paper said.

Which explains why some sources, including Carbon Brief (a green news service) and the Rhodium Group (a New York think-tank), say China’s emissions are far higher than those cited by the IEA.

It is true that China is building wind and solar renewables. But their share of China’s energy mix remains negligible (see graph on previous page), while its coal, gas and oil use expand inexorably.

There are those who say that, despite all this, we should trust China — and Xi’s promise that its emissions will start to fall and eventually reach Net Zero.

Former U.S. vice president and green campaigner Al Gore is an enthusiastic advocate: ‘I think they will overachieve that goal,’ he gushed earlier this year. ‘They put out goals only when they are absolutely certain they can reach them, and they often overachieve.’

Others are more doubtful, none more so than Lord Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong. Speaking to the Mail this week, he recalled how he used to voice scepticism about China in the Nineties, only to be told by diplomat Sir Percy Cradock, a prominent apologist for the country: ‘They may be thuggish dictators but they are men of their word.’

On the contrary, he said this week, ‘they are thuggish dictators but they are NOT men of their word’.

China, he added, has flagrantly breached the Hong Kong handover treaty, which guaranteed basic freedoms for at least 50 years. It has broken its pledges over trade.

And most recently, in the Covid pandemic, it broke the promises it made after the 2002 SARS outbreak to be transparent and notify the World Health Organisation within 24 hours if it discovered a new deadly disease.

‘The idea that you can believe what they say about environmental targets is for the birds,’ Lord Patten said. ‘Again and again, they rat on what they promise. Yet we are told we must be nice to them or they won’t keep their word.

‘I’m sure there are groups in China that want to see a reduction in emissions. That is not the concern of the Communist leadership, which wants to keep on growing, dominate global markets and ensure that Chinese standards of living increase.’

Former Chancellor Lord Lawson, founder of the Global Warming Policy Forum, warned that Boris Johnson cannot afford to be naive. ‘If China doesn’t sign up to immediate cuts in its emissions, instead of continuing to expand the use of the coal on which its industrial stranglehold depends, Cop26 is going to be a stage in an unfolding catastrophe.

‘The soaring price of energy in Britain is already wreaking havoc and it is set to get much worse, leading to bankruptcies, inflation and unemployment. Yet China is getting away with voicing green intentions while its actions demonstrate the reverse.

‘Britain’s acts of self-harm will not help save the planet but merely outsource more jobs to a country wallowing in cheap, coal-fired power. If we want China to realise Xi Jinping’s stated goal of becoming the world’s only superpower by 2049, this is a great way to do it.’

Sir Iain Duncan Smith agreed: ‘We are heading for a great historical disaster. The free world is emasculating itself while China gets stronger and more dominant. They will soon be impossible to resist.’

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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