Monday, October 25, 2021

Net Zero Watch: China, India and developing nations join hands against 'unjust' Net Zero agenda


In this newsletter:

1) Emerging economies slam COP26 Net Zero push as ‘anti-equity’

Climate Change News, 20 October 2021 


2) Fear of a Cop Flop grows as COP26 chief Alok Sharma 'is raging' at Boris Johnson for talking up climate summit
Daily Mail, 21 October 2021


3) G20 split over coal, 1.5 degree climate limit ahead of Rome summit -sources
Reuters, 21 October 2021

4) Welcome to eco-hell: Glasgow braced for 'humiliation on world stage' over shambolic preparation for COP26

The Daily Telegraph, 20 October 2021


5) UK Net Zero targets at risk from inequality, says L&G
Reuters, 20 October 2021

6) Net Zero Tory votes: Boris Johnson's green mortgage plans could make older homes, rural houses and listed properties unsellable
Daily Mail, 21 October 2021 


7) Net Zero strategy: Tory MPs’ anger over Treasury assessment on high costs
The Guardian, 21 October 2021


8) Allister Heath: We need a referendum on net zero to save Britain from the green blob
The Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2021

9) Richard Lindzen: China Warming
Tablet Magazine, 20 October 2021

Full details:

1) Emerging economies slam COP26 Net Zero push as ‘anti-equity’
Climate Change News, 20 October 2021 
In a rebuke to the UK hosts of next month’s climate summit, countries including China, India and Saudi Arabia said a call for net zero goals went “against climate justice”

A group of emerging economies has accused rich nations of unfairly imposing a universal 2050 net zero goal on the developing world. 
In a ministerial statement ahead of the Cop26 climate talks, which start in Glasgow on 31 October, the group of “like-minded” developing countries issued a strong rebuke to the UK host for calling on all countries to cut their emissions to net zero by the middle of the century.
Ministers from the group of 24 nations, which includes China, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, accused rich nations of failing to address their historic responsibility for causing climate change and shifting the burden on developing economies.
“Major developed countries are now pushing to shift the goal posts of the Paris Agreement from what have already been agreed by calling for all countries to adopt net zero targets by 2050,” they wrote.
“This new ‘goal’ which is being advanced runs counter to the Paris Agreement and is anti-equity and against climate justice.”
Instead, developed countries should “aim for their full decarbonisation within this decade” to allow developing countries more time to grow their economies and meet energy demands, the statement said.
Scientific models show that the world should achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050 for a 50% chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C – the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.
Under the Paris accord, countries agreed to achieve a balance between human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and removals in the second half of the century.
This, the like-minded group argues, is “a global aspiration rather than as national targets for all countries”.
The group argues that historic responsibility for emissions and causing climate change should be a key element to determine how this global aspiration can be achieved in a equitable way.
The statement emphasises that during their industrialisation phase, developed countries overused their share of the carbon budget.
“Promoting distant net zero targets for themselves amount to furthering carbon injustice and inequity,” they wrote. To put this right, they called on rich nations to end their contribution to climate change this decade.
“If they continue to emit and occupy more atmospheric space for the next 30 years, the Paris Agreement’s global goals and the [UN climate] Convention’s objective will not be met,” the group said.

While China has joined the net zero club with a 2060 goal, it endorsed the message that developing countries should not be held to the same standard as industrialised nations.
2) Fear of a Cop Flop grows as COP26 chief Alok Sharma 'is raging' at Boris Johnson for talking up climate summit
Daily Mail, 21 October 2021
Cabinet ministers fear COP26 climate change summit will 'feel like a damp squib' amid concerns that the summit of world leaders will not deliver major breakthrough

Alok Sharma is furious with Boris Johnson for talking up the COP26 summit as a make or break moment for the planet, it was claimed today, amid Cabinet fears the event will be a 'damp squib'.

The COP26 President is said to be 'raging' at the Prime Minister for 'ramping up' hopes of a major climate change breakthrough in Glasgow when world leaders meet at the end of the month.

Some ministers believe the Government's messaging ahead of the summit has been too bullish and is 'completely out of control'.

The claims came after the summit suffered a significant blow as Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed he is not attending the event.

China's Xi Jinping is also expected to snub the UN summit, heightening fears that significant progress will not be made in the fight against climate change.

Both countries will send delegations to take part in negotiations but the presence of national leaders is seen as crucial to add impetus to the process.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly hailed COP26 as a major moment, saying in September that 'this is the most important period I think now in the history of the planet - because COP simply must succeed'.

But The Sun reported that Mr Sharma is angry at Mr Johnson for boosting expectations.

One minister told the newspaper: 'Nobody has pitched properly that this is not going to be some big hand of history moment where a new deal is done, so it's going to feel like a damp squib.

'Alok is raging. It's got completely out of control.'

Full story
3) G20 split over coal, 1.5 degree climate limit ahead of Rome summit -sources
Reuters, 21 October 2021

ROME, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The Group of 20 rich countries are divided over phasing out coal and committing to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as they prepare for a crucial summit in Rome next week, sources familiar with the negotiations said.

The need to curb greenhouse gases will be high on the agenda of the Rome G20 gathering on Oct. 30-31, seen as a key stepping stone immediately ahead of broader United Nations climate talks, called COP26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

COP26 president, Britain's Alok Sharma, said in a speech this month the G20, which accounts for 80% of global emissions, would be "make or break" for achieving success in Glasgow.

Big polluters such as China and India have so far dug in their heels, however, and little progress has been made since G20 energy and environment ministers met in Naples in July, said three sources, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks. read more

"Countries are not moving, at the moment they are still just making sure their positions are heard loud and clear," said one of the sources.

But he added that such intransigence was normal at this stage and that any concessions were unlikely to come before G20 climate sherpas meet face-to-face next Thursday and Friday, immediately before their leaders' weekend meeting.

"Where I see the problem is in the commitment to 1.5 degrees and in the phase out of coal and fossil fuels by China, India and Russia," said another source, a G20 minister.
Full story
4) Welcome to eco-hell: Glasgow braced for 'humiliation on world stage' over shambolic preparation for COP26
The Daily Telegraph, 20 October 2021
Rubbish-strewn streets, protests and hotel rooms for £1,400 a night set to cast shadow over UN Climate Change Conference

With more than 120 world leaders coming to Glasgow for the UN climate summit, it should have been a once in a generation chance to show off the very best of Britain to the watching world.

Instead, Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and others will be greeted by rubbish-strewn streets, gridlocked roads, cancelled trains, glued-down protesters and a plague of rats after a city under SNP leadership became a “midden”.

Refuse workers and train drivers have announced they will go on strike during the conference, prompting warnings of “world leaders stepping over bin bags” and a “humiliation on the world stage”.

A chronic shortage of accommodation in Glasgow, which has led to a 3,000 per cent increase in the price of hotel rooms, has forced some delegations to book hotels 130 miles away. Two Eastern European cruise liners have also been brought to the Clyde as makeshift dormitories.

It has prompted anger from the Government in Westminster, which believes Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister, and Glasgow’s SNP-run council have risked the showpiece event turning into a national embarrassment.

“It will be chaos if this continues,” said one senior UK Government source.

Full story
5) UK Net Zero targets at risk from inequality, says L&G
Reuters, 20 October 2021

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Britain's plans to hit net-zero emissions risk being derailed by income inequality, with only higher income households able to afford new green technologies unless costs are shared, financial services provider Legal & General said on Wednesday.

Its research, published less than two weeks before the COP26 U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, said the average UK household has a funding gap of over 4,000 pounds ($5,500) on the installation of solar panels. The funding gap on installing a ground source heat was nearly £15,000.

Households making less than 20,000 pounds a year were particularly slow to adopt green tech, the report found.

"Currently, the UK runs the risk of creating two visions of Britain: one where more affluent communities benefit from the green and clean technologies of the 21st century, and another where less affluent communities do not. Climate transition cannot be restricted to the better off," Legal & General CEO Nigel Wilson said.

"If the UK is to successfully hit its carbon neutral target by 2050, this transition needs to take place in a socially inclusive manner."

The research showed consumers were open to making green modifications to their homes, with 52% very or fairly willing to install solar panels and 54% happy to install a ground source heat pump.

But households were willing or able to contribute just 13% of the costs associated with installing solar panels and 10% of the costs of installing a ground source heat pump, it found.

To fill that funding gap, costs needed to be shared between households, local authorities and central government, Wilson said.
Full story
6) Net Zero Tory votes: Boris Johnson's green mortgage plans could make older homes, rural houses and listed properties unsellable
Daily Mail, 21 October 2021

Homeowners living in older, rural and even listed properties risk being unable to sell if strict green finance targets are introduced, estate agents have warned.

The warning comes after Boris Johnson unveiled his plan for turning Britain green by 2050 this week, with mortgage lenders having targets for the energy performance of properties in their portfolio.

A body that represents estate agents across Britain claimed that the property market could be distorted as a result of the measures and called for Britain's historic housing stock to be taken into account.

Timothy Douglas, of Propertymark, said: 'Incentivising green improvements to properties via lending creates risks of trapping homeowners with older properties, those who live in rural areas, listed buildings or conservation areas, making their homes difficult to sell and therefore reducing the value.'

Propertymark said that those living in older properties could be left with homes that they could not sell if buyers were unable to secure finance on them due to their lower energy efficiencies.

The effect would be likely to be felt more by less wealthy owners, as deep-pocketed buyers would be more able to overlook mortgage restrictions and high-end older homes would continue to be desirable.

Full story
7) Net Zero strategy: Tory MPs’ anger over Treasury assessment on high costs
The Guardian, 21 October 2021

Anger is growing across the Conservative party over a Treasury document on the costs of the net zero strategy which MPs claim has been “neutered” – though sources insisted estimates had not been reliable enough to include.


Alongside Boris Johnson’s strategy to end Britain’s contribution to the climate crisis by 2050, the Treasury released an assessment warning it may need to raise taxes or cut public spending to fund the strategy.
Multiple government insiders did not deny the document had excluded some high cost estimates, only warning in general terms that there could be “potentially significant implications for the UK’s fiscal position”. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested costs are more than £1tn over 30 years, though much will come from private investment.

Backbench anger over the alleged neutering comes amid renewed disquiet over relations between No 10 and the Treasury. One of Boris Johnson’s closest cabinet allies, Kwasi Kwarteng, directly contradicted an assessment in the Treasury’s report, saying he did not agree a switch to electric vehicles would hit poorer families.

Kwarteng, the business secretary, is widely acknowledged in Westminster to be an outrider for Johnson, especially on environmental issues that particularly incense Tory backbenchers.

Johnson and Kwarteng are said by sources to be enthusiastic converts to investing in clean technology, entrenched most recently by the gas and petrol crises but also by the Covid pandemic and the destruction wrought on the economy by a major catastrophe.

Whitehall sources pointed to how Kwarteng knocked back some of the claims made in Sunak’s analysis of the strategy on Wednesday.

The Treasury document suggested a move to electric vehicles could hit poorer citizens hardest but Kwarteng told the BBC: “I don’t accept that at all. I accept lots of what they say, but I think the actual transition to electric vehicles is successful and we should be doing it more rapidly.”

There is concern at the top of government that frosty relations between No 10 and No 11 – home to Rishi Sunak’s Treasury – over green spending could dominate the run-up to the crucial Cop26 summit in the UK press. Some officials have been aghast to see the focus on tax rises rather than efforts to combat the climate crisis.

One MP who has been close to the discussions with Sunak as Tory backbenchers pressed for more transparency on the costs said the document had been “neutered” and that anger was growing across the party. The Treasury said the document had not been edited.

“There are no ways to calculate the headline cost of net zero, you have to make a huge amount of assumptions – it would be irresponsible to put out those figures based on stuff we don’t know is going to happen,” a Treasury source said.
Full story
8) Allister Heath: We need a referendum on net zero to save Britain from the green blob
The Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2021
As with membership of the EU, the political elite is imposing a revolution on the public without consent

Does the blob never learn? Voters don’t like being treated like naughty children, let alone apathetic imbeciles, by technocrats convinced that they know best. Much of the electorate is now in a permanently defiant, irritable mood. It has grown allergic to stitch-ups by the ruling class across Westminster, the City, the arts and academia, and is repelled by attempts to impose a single political vision as a fait accompli, with no debate and no consultation. This applies as much to radical environmentalism and net zero, the groupthink du jour, as it does to Brexit, the NHS, overseas wars, crime or immigration.
The universal franchise was hard-won. The electorate is deeply attached to its democratic rights, not just when it comes to form – elections being held, and results respected – but also in terms of ethos. It expects the great questions of the day to be carefully discussed, and for voters to have the ultimate choice between meaningfully different options. Decisions cannot be delegated to a self-anointed, conformist oligarchy.

Voters hate it when, as with the EU, they were told by Labour, Tories and Lib Dems alike that ever-closer union was the best of all possible worlds, that the only acceptable debate was about the speed of integration, and that only a racist would disagree. Ordinary folks’ revenge, when it came, was devastating.

It beggars belief, therefore, that a government of Brexiteers, in power only because they led a populist rebellion against another cross-party consensus, have forgotten this crucial lesson when it comes to net zero, and are seeking to enshrine a revolution without consulting the public. Yes, the vast majority, at least in wealthy nations, wants to improve the environment, reduce pollution, bolster biodiversity, treat animals better and prevent man-made catastrophes.

But that is where the near-universal consensus ends: the details of how to proceed are explosively contentious, and require democratic assent to be legitimate. The parallel with Brexit is clear: the fact that voters all agreed that another European war must be avoided didn’t mean they all wanted to fuse their countries into a superstate.

The Government has learnt the wrong lessons from Covid – in a genuine health or military emergency, the electorate temporarily gives its support to any government it believes is doing its best. Even in such cases, a minority will favour alternative solutions, such as a Swedish approach.

Decarbonisation is entirely different to the pandemic, whether or not you judge that we face a climate emergency. The public won’t automatically rally around whatever the government proposes. Many, perhaps most, will hate much of it. Net zero involves long-term, hugely significant measures that could drastically modify lifestyles and give the state immense, permanent powers to socially engineer as it sees fit.

Do you agree that all new petrol and diesel cars should be banned in just nine years’ time? Or that gas boilers should be replaced, at great cost, with heat pumps, a technology that doesn’t quite work yet? Are you willing to eat less meat and pay higher taxes? Do you disagree entirely, or accept some of these ideas but not others? Or would you prefer to take it more slowly given China’s reluctance to act?

The shocking reality is that how you answer is irrelevant. The public isn’t being given a choice. The fact of, and speed, scale and method of decarbonisation have been decided: Tories, Labour and Lib Dems all agree on all the essentials. It doesn’t matter who wins the next election: a new orthodoxy rules supreme. There is no functioning democracy, no mechanism by which outcomes might change. This is a disgrace and extremely dangerous.

One doesn’t have to disagree with everything the Government is planning to be concerned. I really like electric cars, though I can’t see how banning combustion engines so quickly in the absence of better, long-range batteries can work. Why not let capitalism continue to organically shift consumers over? It is great that Boris rejects the hair-shirt, neo-communist approach to greening Britain, and that he backs nuclear and hydrogen.
But do I really trust a government that has waged war on the car, invented so-called low-traffic neighbourhoods and campaigned against Heathrow expansion not to revert to banning everything vaguely carbon-positive if it falls behind on its targets?

Why is its nudge unit advocating a tax on meat and producers and retailers of “high-carbon” food? The inflammatory document, disowned by the Government but commissioned by the Department for Business, demonises business travel and seeks to reduce international tourism and restrict airport expansion – goodbye, capitalist freedom. Can the Government guarantee that it would never impose extreme restrictions, rationing on homes and business or even mini eco-lockdowns? Or use a punitive form of road pricing to drastically reduce mobility (as opposed to ensuring motorists pay appropriately for road usage)? Will the courts start striking down high-carbon housebuilding or farming?

Net zero isn’t a technical issue: it is an inherently political question, one of the greatest choices we have ever been asked to make. In the sickening absence of disagreement between the parties, a massive, uncontrollable backlash is guaranteed, at least when the bills start to drop. The only question is who the new green-sceptic Nigel Farage will be, and the next Boris figure? What will Vote Leave II look like?

Johnson should preempt this war, which could destroy the Tories, and call a referendum on net zero today. His obligation, in doing so, would be to explain in exhaustive, costed detail how he proposes to achieve the changes he so fervently believes in. The No side would present its case, holding Johnson to account, proposing alternatives, with the public taken through the pros and cons and trade-offs. The results should be legally binding, with MPs compelled to implement the verdict, and the question tightly defined. The Government will have its work cut out: the Swiss have just rejected plans to slash their own emissions and to slap higher taxes on fossil fuels.

The green challenge is too important, its implications too dramatic, to be left to an establishment that has embraced net zero as if it were a new religion. The public must have the final say, and the only way this will happen is through another referendum.
9) Richard Lindzen: China Warming
Tablet Magazine, 20 October 2021
The CCP is by far the biggest contributor to climate change on the planet. Is that a problem?
Many of the world’s leaders appear to believe that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂) constitute an existential threat whose impact is already severe and will become impossible to deal with within a very few years. This has resulted in a number of international agreements, beginning with the Rio Pact of 1992 and continuing up through the 2016 Paris Accords.
Despite these agreements, the increase in the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere continues unabated (see Figure 1). In surveying the underlying science, it becomes clear that the role played by China in this story is indicative of a more general cynicism inherent in many of the supposed “solutions” to climate change.

From a minimum in temperature around 1960 (basically the end of a modest cooling trend beginning around 1939, which led to concerns over global cooling) until 1998, the global mean temperature anomaly (the index used to describe the Earth’s temperature) did increase by about 0.5 degrees Celsius. That’s a small change compared to the typical change between breakfast and lunch, though the net increase since then has been relatively insignificant (except for a major El Niño in 2014-16) and appreciably less than predicted by all climate models.
It should be noted that the increase was small compared to what was happening in any given region, and temperatures at any given location were almost as likely to be cooling as warming. Despite the fact that increases of CO₂ thus far have been accompanied by the greatest increase in human welfare in history, and despite the fact that there have been large increases in the Earth’s vegetated area largely due to increases in CO₂’s role in photosynthesis, governments seem to have concluded that another 0.5 C will spell doom.

Figure 1

One sees frequent references to the agreement of 97% of the world’s scientists. However, as pointed out by Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer (and myself), this claim is specious. One also sees references to increases in things like sea level, hurricanes, and other weather extremes, but as been widely noted, these claims are based on the illegitimate cherry picking of starting dates for the trends.
There is also the important question of what exactly constitutes an existential threat. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if we continue along the present path, using the current models that seem to overestimate warming, there would be in 2100 a reduction of global gross domestic product of less than 4% (of a total GDP that would be much higher than what we have today). It is hard to call this an existential threat.

Let us ignore the above problems for the moment, and ask why emissions that presumably have led to the observed increase in CO₂ have continued to increase. Figure 2 below shows the likely answer. Increasing emissions from China, India, and the rest of the developing world swamp the small reductions in the Anglosphere and the European Union. Indeed, if emissions from the Anglosphere and the EU were to cease (which is of course an impossibility), it would make little difference.
According to the Global Energy Monitor, China is planning the addition of 200 GW of coal-fired generating capacity by 2025. If we assume this is a four-year period and that a large-scale power plant is 1 GW, that would be about one plant per week over the next four years. Why would China intentionally pursue the presumed destruction of the Earth?Moreover, why are the Anglosphere and the EU pursuing hugely disruptive, destructive, and expensive policies intended to reduce their already largely irrelevant emissions?

Figure 2. Note: This graph measures CO₂ emissions from fossil fuels and cement production only—land use change is not included. ‘Statistical differences’ (included in the GCP dataset) are not included here. GLOBAL CARBON PROJECT

The answer to the first question is likely to be that China sees the threat of climate change as readily manageable regardless of what one believes about the underlying physics (remember that China’s leaders, as opposed to ours, tend to have technical backgrounds). But they also recognize that climate hysteria in the West leads to policies that clearly benefit China. Indeed, China is actually promoting activities like the Sino-American Youth Dialogue on climate change to promote climate alarm among young American activists. In a recent announcement sent to students at MIT, the Youth Dialogue’s Committee stated:

"With rapid growth of the global population and the continuous expansion of the world economy, carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere have surged. Extreme disasters induced by global warming keep popping up. The world is undergoing irreversible climate change. It is in everyone’s stake to protect the planet we call home. We must confront the problems brought to mother nature by climate change and seek solutions in cooperation, sharing responsibility as two major countries and collectively building ‘a community with a shared future for mankind.’

The letter went on to offer modest cash rewards to those making the most “compelling” arguments. At the same time, the Chinese, unlike the World Bank, have been happy to fund coal projects in developing countries. (It will be interesting to see how the Communist Party implements Chairman Xi’s recent pledge to cease this practice.)

The second question is more worrisome because of the patent illogic of proposals claiming to address climate change. Confronted with natural disasters, it is obvious that richer societies are more resilient than poorer societies. For example, earthquakes in Haiti can result in thousands of deaths. Similar earthquakes in California result in orders of magnitude fewer deaths. Thus, it would seem that confronted with what is claimed is an existential threat over which we, in fact, have almost no influence, it seems obvious that the correct policy would be to increase resilience against disasters.
Instead, the West is proposing to do the very opposite. It is hard to think of good or virtuous reasons for such a policy. Perhaps our policymakers have a pseudo-religious wish to expiate the sin of letting ordinary people reach comfortable middle-class standards of living. The encouragement of such policies by China is undoubtedly one of the reasons; certainly, many of the proposed Western responses (electric cars, windmills, and solar panels) will involve heavy investments in China, which dominates the global solar industry and is already the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles.

But I doubt that this is the main reason. To be sure, the common response of politicians to any purported problem is to do “something.” These “somethings” often involve some short-term benefits to the politicians and institutions that support such policies. But in the case of climate alarm, one has to wonder if those politicians who are investing in waterfront property are really concerned about the climate. Nor is the rejection of nuclear power indicative of seriousness.

Debate over this issue has been avoided and even actively suppressed under the fatuous claim that the science is “settled.” Indeed by 1988 Newsweek had already claimed that all scientists were agreed on the subject, even though nothing could have been further from the truth. And the truth has been buried ever since.
As former Energy Undersecretary for Science in the Obama administration Steven Koonin compellingly illustrates in Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, the issue remains far from actually being settled. The book relies entirely on the science from the official assessments of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and from similar official U.S. assessment reports.
The vicious attacks on Koonin since the book’s release in May indicate the absence of almost any level of discourse. Yet, given what is at issue, the need for an open debate over both our assessment of climate science and the proposed policies is, indeed, desperately needed.

The London-based Net Zero Watch is a campaign group set up to highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. The Net Zero Watch newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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