Wednesday, September 1, 2021

GWPF Newsletter - Guilty Greens: Europe’s tryst with biofuels destroyed 10% of world’s Orangutan habitats


Maldives & most Pacific-Indian Ocean islands expanding, not sinking, scientists reveal

In this newsletter:

1) Guilty Greens: Europe’s tryst with biofuels destroyed 10% of world’s Orangutan habitats
The Federal, 29 August 2021

2) Maldives & most Pacific-Indian Ocean islands expanding, not sinking, scientists reveal
No Tricks Zone, 30 August 2021

3) Hurricane Ida’s climate resilience lesson
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 31 August 2021
4) UK Govt under fire as nuclear industry claim they have been banned from COP26
The Sunday Telegraph, 29 August 2021
5) Putin & OPEC may win energy war as climate campaigners take UK Government to court over North Sea oil field
Daily Record, 31 August 2021
6) Tilak Doshi: Biden’s energy policy is as deranged as his Afghanistan policy
South China Morning Post, 30 August 2021

Full details:

1) Guilty Greens: Europe’s tryst with biofuels destroyed 10% of world’s Orangutan habitats
The Federal, 29 August 2021
In 2010, the EU set a 10% renewable energy target for transport by 2020. As a result, the demand for cheap crop-based biodiesel, such as palm and soy oil, increased, destroying several million hectares of forests in Asia and South America. ‘A policy that was supposed to save the planet is actually trashing it. ‘

The biofuels policy of the EU is destroying rainforests (© Composer/Fotolia + Shebalso/Flickr – Montage: Rettet den Regenwald)

As countries race against time to meet their Paris Climate Change Summit targets for reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, biofuels (made from plant extracts) have emerged as a preferred alternative to fossil fuels like coal and petroleum products…

But, are biofuels really environment-friendly? What about the biodiversity loss caused due to cutting of forests on thousands of acres of virgin land to grow food crops that produce biofuels? Will over-dependence on biofuels not lead to food crisis in future?

Countries like India, which have just hopped onto the biofuel bandwagon, have lessons to learn from the European Union (EU) which introduced the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) in 2010, setting a 10% renewable energy target for transport by 2020 for each member country. While the objective was good – to reduce dependence on highly polluting fossil fuels – what has actually happened is that high demand for cheap crop-based biodiesel, such as palm and soy oil, subsequently destroyed several acres of forests in Asia and South America. About 10% of the world’s remaining orangutan habitats have vanished because forest land was cleared for biofuel crop production.

It is estimated that the EU’s quest for green fuel has roughly wiped out 4 million hectares of forests. Laura Buffet, energy director at Transport & Environment (T&E) Group, said: “10 years of this ‘green’ fuels law and what have we got to show for it? Rampant deforestation, habitats wiped out and worse emissions than if we had used polluting diesel instead. A policy that was supposed to save the planet is actually trashing it. We cannot afford another decade of this failed policy. We need to break the biofuels monopoly in renewable transport and put electricity at the centre of the RED instead.”

Full story
2) Maldives & most Pacific-Indian Ocean islands expanding, not sinking, scientists reveal
No Tricks Zone, 30 August 2021
A global-scale analysis of 221 islands in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans reveals “a predominantly stable or accretionary trend in the area of atoll islands worldwide” throughout the 21st century. The Maldives islands alone expanded by 37.5 km² from 2000 to 2017.
For over 3 decades we’ve been warned “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed.”


But reality keeps on undermining this catastrophist narrative.
A 2019 global-scale analysis of 709 islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans revealed 89% were either stable or growing in size, and that no island larger than 10 ha (and only 1.2% of islands larger than 5 ha) had decreased in size since the 1980s (Duvat, 2019).
And now a new analysis of post-2000 trends also indicates global-scale stable to expanding shorelines for hundreds of Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, with over half of the net growth (39 km² of 62 km²) occurring from 2013 to 2017. 

"Between the oldest (1999–2001 or 1999–2002) and most recent (2017) composite images, the land area on the 221 atolls examined increased by 61.74 km² from 1007.60 km² to 1069.35 km², a 6.1 % increase. Most of this increase, 38.89 km², occurred between 2013 and 2017. The global-scale change in atoll island landmass was largely a product of an increase of island area in the Maldives and South China Sea (SCS), which account for 54.05 km² (87.56 %) of the global increase in land area. Between 1999–2001 and 2017, the Maldives added 37.50 km² of land area, representing 60.74 % of the net global increase in atoll land area. Tokelau and Tuvalu, both small landmasses (9.65 km2 and 25.14 km²respectively), both increased by ∼7%, while the Marshalls, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Palau, Chagos and the Federated States of Micronesia all changed by less than 3%. At the national-scale French Polynesia and Palau were the only countries for which a net decrease in land area was observed (-1.46 km² or -0.48 % and -0.16 km² or -2.71 % respectively).”  (Holdaway et al., 2021)
Two other separately-published studies by a team of scientists  (Sengupta et al., 2021 and Sengupta et al., 2021) use aerial photographs dating to the 1940s (and 1960s and 1970s) of 104 and 71 reef islands in the equatorial Pacific (Micronesia, Gilbert Islands) to compare shoreline changes over time.
The scientists found there has been a net shoreline expansion of 3% and 2.45%, respectively, in the 104 and 71 islands analyzed in the last 50 to 75 years.

Once again, none of these studies support claims of catastrophic sea level rise engulfing island coasts as a consequence of global warming.
"This study presents an analysis of shoreline changes on 104 coral reef islands from 16 atolls in the western equatorial Pacific nation of the Federated States of Micronesia across a period coincident with rising local sea level and a high frequency of storm events. Aerial photographs from the mid-1940s and 1970s were analysed alongside recent high-resolution satellite imagery to document shoreline changes and planform morphological adjustments in islands. Results revealed accretion has been the predominant mode of shoreline change, with 46% of the studied shorelines showing statistically significant accretion leading to a net increase of 64.37 ha (~3%) of planform land area across the archipelago.” (Sengupta et al., 2021)
"Shoreline positions of 71 islands from 3 atolls and 4 mid-ocean reef platforms were analysed by comparing historical aerial photographs (from 1940s and 1960s) and recent satellite imagery covering a period of local sea-level rise rate of ~2.2 mm/year. Results show ~47% of the shorelines were characterised by statistically significant accretion leading to a net increase of 274.07 ha (2.45%) of planform land area.” (Sengupta et al., 2021)
Full story
3) Hurricane Ida’s climate resilience lesson
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 31 August 2021
Spending to protect against extreme weather beats green boondoggles.

The pictures of Hurricane Ida’s wreckage across Louisiana are grim, and the storm isn’t over. But the good news is that New Orleans appears to have weathered the tempest as well as could be expected thanks to its post-Katrina flood-protection investments. This is a reminder of how hardening infrastructure against unpredictable Mother Nature pays off.

Ida slammed into Louisiana’s Port Fourchon on Sunday as a Category 4 storm with wind speeds of 150 miles an hour and one to two inches of rain an hour. Its winds tie it as the fifth strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland. Such heavy winds and precipitation will inevitably cause flooding and damage buildings.

But the bigger worry going into Ida was that a catastrophic storm surge would breach New Orleans’s levees and submerge the city as happened 16 years ago to the day during Hurricane Katrina. Clocking in as a lower-grade Category 3 storm when it made landfall, Katrina killed some 2,000 people and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage. New Orleans took years to recover.

Yet Louisiana and the feds have since spent $14.5 billion on bolstering flood walls, levees and drainage systems. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reinforced pumping stations to withstand 205 mile-per-hour winds and established redundant power systems to operate them if the electric grid fails, as it did Sunday.

These investments appear to have paid off. Many streets are flooded from the heavy rainfall and some small towns outside of New Orleans’s flood-protection fortress were inundated. But more important, a Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority spokesperson on Monday said there were no levee breaches or problems with pumps in New Orleans.

The biggest failure was the electric grid. Eight transmission lines that serve the city went down and a grid imbalance caused a loss of power generation across the region, cutting off power to nearly one million Louisianans. Essential businesses like hospitals can run on backup generators, but it could take weeks to restore power in some neighborhoods.

There’s probably a case for burying some power lines and girding substations to withstand more powerful storms, as Florida Power & Light Company is doing in Florida neighborhoods that have experienced damage to power lines in past storms. Hardening the grid to withstand extreme weather isn’t cheap, but the payoff is likely worth it.
As predictable as the sunrise, the climate lobby is blaming humanity’s fossil-fuel sins for Ida. But even the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report this month notes “there is low confidence in long-term (multi-decadal to centennial) trends in the frequency of all-category tropical cyclone” (i.e., hurricanes).
The report says that it is likely that the global proportion of Category 3 or higher tropical cyclones has increased over the past four decades, but that “data limitations inhibit clear detection of past trends on the global scale.” In short, we don’t really know whether global warming has caused or will cause more intense storms in the future.
But no matter how much the world warms, more extreme weather will happen. Building more resilient infrastructure and better emergency alert systems will do far more good than all of the Biden Administration’s climate policies. Germany has spent hundreds of billions subsidizing green energy, but nearly 200 of its citizens perished in last month’s floods that local governments failed to prepare for.
Priorities also matter so scarce resources aren’t wasted. Too much of the Senate’s infrastructure bill is devoted to green boondoggles, rather than resilience.

California Democrats have prioritized banishing fossil fuels over hardening the grid and clearing deadwood. The result has been frequent power outages during heavy winds and catastrophic wildfires. PG&E, the California utility, last month said it will spend $20 billion to bury 10,000 miles of power lines, which were found to have instigated several deadly wildfires. It’s about time.
Government can’t command the tides, but it can protect people from them.
4) UK Govt under fire as nuclear industry claim they have been banned from COP26
The Sunday Telegraph, 29 August 2021

Up to 15 applications from nuclear-related bodies are understood to have been rejected by Mr Sharma's COP26 Unit in the Cabinet Office

Alok Sharma has come under fire for preventing a series of nuclear bodies from displaying exhibits at the Cop26 climate change summit.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson's minister in charge of the event, global nuclear industry leaders revealed that "every application" so far to put on nuclear-related exhibits or events at the UN summit had been rejected.

The move comes despite senior Tories insisting that nuclear energy, including investing in a new fleet of reactors, must form a significant part of Britain's plans to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Craig Mackinlay, the chairman of the new Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Conservative backbenchers, said: "The fact that these applications have been denied speaks volumes about the muddied thinking that underpins our domestic policy in this area.

"If Cop26 is serious about reducing carbon dioxide emissions, a fundamental existing industry and technology that could help achieve this has to be nuclear."

Mr Sharma had invited businesses and other groups to "bring climate action to life" with events, displays and workshops at the Glasgow Science Centre, which will host Cop26's so-called "green zone" in November. The area will be open to the public, while world leaders meet in a UN-run "blue zone".

The criteria for applications to put on exhibitions and events in the green zone included those "showcasing innovation helping to tackle global climate change".

But 15 applications from nuclear-related bodies, including trade and research associations, are understood to have been rejected by Mr Sharma's Cop26 Unit in the Cabinet Office.

They included an application involving the World Nuclear Association, which represents the global nuclear industry, to put on an exhibition featuring a life-size model of a nuclear reactor.

The trade body will still send delegates to attend events in the blue zone, after their applications were approved by the UN.

But in an open letter to Mr Sharma, Sama Bilbao y León, director of the World Nuclear Association, said: "We are deeply concerned about the news that every application on nuclear energy for the Green Zone at the upcoming Cop26 conference has been rejected.

"We hope this is not indicative of how nuclear will be treated at Cop26 as a whole. We would therefore urge you and the other organisers of Cop26 to treat nuclear energy fairly and to ensure that it is well represented alongside other low carbon energy sources, in line with the recommendations made by numerous expert organisations."

Dr Bilbao y León added: "The world is looking for thought leadership from the United Kingdom this November. World Nuclear Association has proudly represented the global nuclear industry in the UN Climate Change Conferences since Cop5, and we look forward to continuing to make the case for nuclear power as a key technology for building a cleaner and brighter future in Glasgow." 

Full story (£)
5) Putin & OPEC may win energy war as climate campaigners take UK Government to court over North Sea oil field
Daily Record, 31 August 2021

Campaigners are taking the UK Government to court to try and stop a new oil development west of Shetland in an attempt to embarrass Boris Johnson ahead of COP26.

A legal challenge to stop the giant Cambo oil field west of Shetland going ahead is being launched in Scotland’s highest court.

In a move to embarrass Boris Johnson’s government just two months before it hosts global climate talks in Glasgow, Greenpeace will demand oil giant BP’s permit to drill be revoked.

The legal case being heard on Wednesday is the first time an offshore oil permit has ever been challenged in court.

The controversial Cambo field, which has a potential 30 million barrels of oil, has become the focus of the climate change debate in Scotland.

The oil field is situated 75 miles to the west of Shetland in water over 1,000m deep and is estimated to contain million barrels of oil.

BP has a longstanding licence from the UK government granting permission to search for oil and gas in the area.

Opponents say the massive new oil field would release so much carbon dioxide it would require land the size of Scotland to offset it.

Environmental campaigners have said it would send the wrong message to approve such a scheme in the same year as the COP26 climate conference is held in Glasgow.

Nicola Sturgeon is feeling pressure from campaigners and her new Green Ministers to oppose the development.

She has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to reassess the development in light of the “the severity of the climate emergency”.

But Alba party leader Alex Salmond took a swipe at his former SNP colleague and Greens accusing them of indulging in “student politics masquerading as coalition building” on fossil fuels.

Labour's Keir Starmer has said there has said the Cambo field should not get the go-ahead and called for a “hard-edged” timetable to end oil and gas exploration but Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a visit to Scotland said existing contracts should not be "ripped up".

If Greenpeace wins the court battle it could have huge ramifications for how the UK government makes future oil permit decisions.
6) Tilak Doshi: Biden’s energy policy is as deranged as his Afghanistan policy
South China Morning Post, 30 August 2021
Biden has done everything to obstruct US oil and gas producers in the name of fighting climate change – while imploring Saudi Arabia, Russia and others to increase oil production to keep pump prices down.

Few would disagree with former US vice-president Mike Pence’s view that President Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan “is a foreign-policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis”.

In his memoir, Robert Gates, who served as defence secretary for the Obama administration, famously wrote that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades”.

It would seem that the disaster in Afghanistan is only the latest blunder in a foreign policy record filled with them.
Over the past few days, the world has watched news clips of chaos at Kabul airport with civilians clinging to US military aircraft in a desperate attempt to escape retribution by the victorious Taliban.

US diplomats, stunned by the speed of the Afghan military’s capitulation to Taliban fighters, were reduced to imploring the militant leadership with financial aid and other incentives not to storm the US embassy in Kabul – the embassy which had flown the rainbow LGBT flag to mark Pride Month in June and showcase American commitment to “inclusivity”.

The full extent of the US debacle was revealed when the State Department admitted that the Biden administration “cannot ensure safe passage” for thousands of trapped Americans to travel to Kabul airport.

But the Biden administration suffered yet another humiliation earlier this month when Opec, the oil-producers’ cartel, summarily rejected its request to release more oil to world markets.
Reuters quoted Opec sources as saying there was “no need to release extra oil more quickly”, and that there was “no concern that the planned schedule of increases would leave any demand unmet”.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had criticised big oil producers in Opec+, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, for what he said were “insufficient crude [oil] production levels”. “At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough,” he said.

While this request was cast as a means of tempering oil prices to help global economic recovery, it is no secret that the Biden administration is deeply concerned with that distinctly American political barometer of presidential popularity – the price of fuel.

Senate approval of the US$3.5 trillion budget plan that would expand Medicare, tax credits and climate initiatives suggests that the US inflation outlook may not be “transitory”.

Bob McNally, one of Washington’s more acute observers of energy affairs, said: “The Biden administration is under enormous political pressure due to inflation, with galloping gasoline the most publicly visible and vexing.”
US fuel prices hit their highest levels since 2014 this summer. It is a “jarring contradiction”, according to a Bloomberg report, that Sullivan issued his request to Opec+ just two days after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its sixth assessment report, warning of a point of no return in its climate crusade to quickly ban the use of fossil fuels worldwide.
The United States, along with the European Union, have been in lockstep with UN Secretary General António Guterres who said the IPCC report was nothing less than “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.”
But the contradiction goes deeper: the Biden administration implores Saudi Arabia, Russia and other producers to increase oil production while doing its best to obstruct its home-grown oil and gas industry to meet the demands of the Democratic Party’s Green New Deal base.
The US remains the world’s largest oil and gas producer but Biden has done everything possible to obstruct domestic producers in the name of fighting climate change. On attaining office, he immediately unleashed a series of executive orders to reverse his predecessor’s strategy of “energy independence”.
At a stroke of his pen, he revoked permits for the Keystone XL pipeline to transport oil from Canada to Gulf coast refiners, suspended oil leasing in Alaska, halted oil and gas leases on federal land, and cynically invoked the Endangered Species Act to block energy resource development on private lands in the West.
Full post

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like these island people are smart. They have convinced our PM they are sinking (her daddy said so but her grandmother disagrees) they need to be given dollars to stop them sinking (I am not sure how that works!)