Friday, November 5, 2021

Net Zero Watch: China wants the world to pay for Net Zero as India demands $US1 trillion


In this newsletter:

1) China wants the world to pay for Net Zero as India demands $US1 trillion
The Australian, 2 November 2021
2) Biden's COP26 pledges are worthless as Manchin deals heavy new blow to Democrats' climate policy bill
ABC News, 1 November 2021

3) Europe's energy crisis deepens as Russia cuts gas exports
S&P Global Platts, 1 November 2021
4) Welcome to Green Britain: UK regions 'worst hit' by soaring costs as winter chaos looms
Daily Express, 2 November 2021

5) Jude Clemente: ‘King Coal’ Roars Back
Forbes, 27 October 2021

6) Ross Clark: The wishful thinking of COP26
The Spectator, 1 November 2021
7) Adam Creighton: Glasgow talkfest has net-zero credibility
The Australian, 1 November 2021

Full details:

1) China wants the world to pay for Net Zero as India demands $US1 trillion
The Australian, 2 November 2021

India and China have called on advanced economies to provide up to $US1 trillion ($1.33 trillion) now for developing countries to reduce emissions, rejected 2050 net-zero targets and offered no firm commitments to phase out coal-fired power at the Glasgow climate summit.

The divide between developed and developing nations is again looming as the major obstacle to greater progress at COP26, with Scott Morrison warning that getting the climate shift wrong would impact “those who can afford it least” as he promoted his “technology, not taxes” approach to reducing emissions.

Mr Morrison, who was due to hold talks with Prince Charles ahead of a Commonwealth leaders’ reception on Tuesday, told world leaders successful action on climate change must occur not only “in the developed economies of the North Atlantic but in the developing economies of the Indo-Pacific as well”.

Delivering Australia’s national statement at COP26 in Glasgow, the Prime Minister said global momentum to tackle climate change was building and driving down emissions could be achieved without imposing economy wrecking policies.

Speaking to a high-level group of Australian business leaders, Mr Morrison said he was “far more optimistic” about the future of global warming than the “depressing tone” at COP26. “It is not all doom,” Mr Morrison said after scores of global leaders including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the world was at “one minute to midnight” if it wanted to “save the planet”.

Mr Johnson, Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron had hoped to use the UN conference as a launching pad for a new era of ambitious global co-operation on climate change, but failed to win the support of the world’s biggest emitters including India, China, Brazil and Russia. In his keynote speech, Mr Johnson told more than 120 leaders and representatives of 191 countries that humanity had “long since run down the clock” on climate change.

“It’s one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now,” the British Prime Minister said.

The COP26 host, who likened world leaders to James Bond grappling with a “doomsday device”, said he wanted clear COP26 outcomes around the ending of deforestation, the phasing out of coal, increasing electric vehicle take-up and strengthening the financial market’s climate change focus.

After the US President criticised China and Russia for snubbing the G20 and COP26 summits, Chinese President Xi Jinping was allowed to provide a written statement outlining Beijing’s climate change agenda.

In a message without any new commitments, Mr Xi told world leaders to “govern by reality” and boost support for developing nations, referencing an $US100bn-a-year pledge made by advanced economies in 2009 to support the global net-zero transition.

Mr Xi, who submitted a video message to the conference, acknowledged the adverse effects of climate change were increasingly apparent. But he did not provide any detail on how the world’s biggest polluter and coal-fired power consumer would meet its 2060 net-zero target and reduce its peak emissions, which make up more than a quarter of the globe’s total carbon output, by 2030. He said countries should take a pragmatic approach “in accordance with national conditions”, adding that “developed countries must not only do more themselves, but also provide support for developing countries to do better’’.

Mr Xi, who claimed China “resolutely curbs blindly high-energy-consuming and high-emission projects”, said Beijing would pursue a green and low-carbon economic system that could “vigorously develop” renewable energy.

Mr Modi – who led a G20 revolt against British, American and French attempts to insert ambitious targets around coal, methane emissions and net zero goals – also ramped up pressure for advanced countries to scale up their support for developing nations to $1 trillion “as soon as possible”.

Despite his government resisting a net-zero target, Mr Modi shocked COP26 delegates by declaring India would aim to reach the goal by 2070. The 50-year target, which most believe would be difficult for India to achieve unless low-emissions technologies were scalable, would be supported by an accelerated shift to “non-fossil energy” from 2030.
Full story
2) Biden's COP26 pledges are worthless as Manchin deals heavy new blow to Democrats' climate policy bill
ABC News, 1 November 2021

The West Virginia Democrat undercut the president's message while overseas.

A clearly frustrated Sen. Joe Manchin, dealing a new and heavy blow to President Joe Biden's hopes for getting his agenda passed, said Monday that House Democrats should "stop playing games" with the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and told progressive lawmakers in the lower chamber that "holding the bill hostage" won't earn his support for the $1.75 trillion social spending package.

Stressing his objections by calling an unusual news conference, the West Virginia Democrat suggested it will take much longer to reach a deal -- if even possible -- on Biden's "Build Back Better" package, even as Biden and the White House were hoping for passage this week to back Biden while on his overseas trip.

On Monday, at an international conference on dealing with climate change, he touted the measure's provisions on fighting the problem.

House progressives have repeatedly withheld support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill -- or "BIF" for bipartisan infrastructure framework -- using it as leverage to ensure more of their priorities, many of which Manchin opposes, are included in the social spending and climate policy bill.

"The political games have to stop. Twice now the House has balked at the opportunity to send the BIF legislation to the president," Manchin said, calling for the House to hold an up-or-down vote on the bill. "Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill."

Monday's remarks from Manchin are especially remarkable, coming with Biden on the world stage and his economic agenda hanging in the balance. Manchin said he's attempting to clarify "mischaracterizations" of his position he said have been made since Biden met with House Democrats last Thursday -- just before heading overseas.

Within minutes, White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement countering Manchin's concerns and stating the Biden White House is "confident" he will go along.
Full story
3) Europe's energy crisis deepens as Russia cuts gas exports
S&P Global Platts, 1 November 2021
Russian exports of natural gas to Europe fell over the weekend and into Nov. 1, with a complete pause in delivery via the Yamal pipeline deepening the continent's already acute energy crisis.
Coinciding with the new gas month and the meeting of world leaders and diplomats at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, the maneuver also came against a backdrop of ongoing deliberation over the fate of Russia's Nord Stream 2 dual-pipeline system, which is nearing completion but remains in the balance.
Having gradually ramped down exports via Yamal since August, German transmission system operator Gascade said physical entry flows at Yamal terminus Mallnow had fallen to zero, and even began flowing in the other direction. It had not switched back as November delivery began.
Moreover, nomination data from Slovakian TSO Eustream indicated its Velke Kapusany entry point for Russian supply via Ukraine was set to deliver just 43 million cu m/d, below the prescribed capacity according to the Russia-Ukraine transit accord signed in December 2019.
European wholesale natural gas prices rocketed to record highs in October, with front-winter contracts effectively doubling the previous record by their Sept. 30 expiry, and even surpassing the previous spot price record set in 2018.
October was also the most volatile trading month in the history of the market, with an absence of Russian volume for November now a probable cause.
Outside of maintenance, Russian exports via Yamal last dropped to zero in May 2020, shortly after a long-term capacity contract through Poland expired, and at the height of the coronavirus pandemic which saw prices fall to record lows, and damage to aggregate demand as economic activity slowed.
Russian exports via Ukraine via Velke Kapusany fell close to zero shortly after the transport agreement was signed, following negotiations which went down to the wire.
4) Welcome to Green Britain: UK regions 'worst hit' by soaring costs as winter chaos looms
Daily Express, 2 November 2021

THE UK regions that have been tipped as the worst hit by skyrocketing energy prices have been revealed and mapped by as Britain prepares to enter into a winter of chaos.


It has been revealed that residents from Northern Ireland spend the biggest proportion of their household budget on gas and electricity out of any other region in the UK. People in Northern Ireland spend 32 percent more on gas and electricity than the average UK household, making them the worst affected region by the huge 250 percent rise in energy prices.

Northern Ireland residents also spend 66 percent more of their weekly budget on electricity than people who live in London, the region that was the least hit by rising energy costs.

Households in Northern Ireland also spend 40 percent more of their weekly budget on electricity than they do on net rent.

The study by heating experts at Boiler Central, used ONS data on household gas and electricity spending between 2018 and 2020, to discover which UK area would be worst affected by the recent surging in energy costs.

Scottish households spend 41 percent more of their weekly budget on gas and electricity than London, whose households spend the least amount of their weekly budget on electricity.

Welsh residents spend more on electricity per month than they do on rent, with ten percent more of their weekly household budget going towards heat and electricity than the average UK household, making them the area third most impacted by boosted costs from energy suppliers.

The West Midlands, the North West and the North East were also badly hit by the increase in electricity costs.
Full story
5) Jude Clemente: ‘King Coal’ Roars Back
Forbes, 27 October 2021

Although the COP26 virtuous don’t want you to know it, rebounding economies and the ongoing global energy crisis have vaulted much-maligned coal to the top of the energy food chain, once again.
President Biden’s energy-climate policies have apparently been more friendly to coal than those of President Trump.

New federal data has U.S. coal-fired power generation leaping 22% in 2021 to 945 terawatt-hours - the first annual increase for coal since 2014.

Coal will generate nearly a quarter of U.S. electricity this year, with competitor natural gas prices doubling since June to over $6.00.

The demand boom has U.S. coal companies now offering miners six-figure salaries.

Not too shabby for a commodity that the media has loved to leave for dead for well over a decade now.
“Coal’s burnout,” The Washington Post declared on January 2, 2011.
Personal politics permeating “journalism” continues to leave us energy-climate stupid.

And with President Xi Jinping not expected to attend the upcoming COP26 climate summit, the world’s top consumer is hardly “getting off coal.”

Adding a whopping 38,400 MW, China built more new coal generation capacity last year than the rest of the world retired.
The International Energy Agency says that China’s coal demand will hit a new record this year, some seven years after the Sierra Club promised that China’s coal use was “drying up.”
In addition, after decades of trying to “get off coal,” even small-growth Europe is realizing what happens when the real alternative becomes unaffordable: “Coal Is Making A Comeback In Europe As Gas Prices Explode.”
Yet, the rebound in coal is not surprising when we look at the numbers.
Only ~20% of global coal usage is internationally traded, making coal a largely domestic resource with huge energy security advantages for consumers.  
By comparison, ~33% of gas and ~75% of oil are swapped from country to country.
Coal is a foundational resource in all-important Asia, so demand typically grows as the population and economy expand.
Globally, coal is still easily the main source of electricity at 37-40% of all generation.
Coal accounts for 60-65% of the electricity generation in China and 68-73% in India – the two most significant incremental energy users that hold ~35% of humanity.
Coal demand has been so high in China this year that supply shortages have forced electricity to be rationed, with “alternatives” to coal not quite as available as some like to insist.
In the most energy-deprived nation on Earth, booming coal demand in India has also left the country short of supply: “Without coal, you cannot survive...It’s not possible to keep the lights on without coal.”

With 85% of the global population struggling in the still developing countries, the United Nations has affirmed that human progress trumps all:
“Economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing countries,” United Nations
The private jet-setters at COP26 will just have to get over that.
In fact, the United Nations has been telling us that today’s humans come first since 1972.
And I doubt very highly that the American taxpayers want tens of billions of their dollars going into some ambiguous, and surely untrackable, global “climate fund.”
Sorry, but I choose our precious resources to go to educational equity and economic opportunity for the poor and neglected Black neighborhoods of Homewood in Pittsburgh and Adamsville in Atlanta…..not for windmills in India.
The American voting public deserves and should be demanding that.
Even in rich Japan, which is a fully developed country with a declining population rate, there’s no timeframe to phase out coal.
In 2030, coal is slated to hold 20% of Japan’s power mix.
In Germany? Hundreds of billions of dollars spent on renewables still has left coal as the main power source.
Not just for electricity (the sine qua non of modernity), coal is the backbone of steel production and thus the enabling force of cities.
Most ironically of all then, coal for electricity and steel make it integral to the construction of windmills and solar panels themselves.
A reality check from the The Wall Street Journal in July: “Behind the Rise of U.S. Solar Power, a Mountain of Chinese Coal.”
The steady drumbeat of global urbanization adds some 70 million people every year to the world’s cities – a Texas and California worth of humans having more money and more access for more energy consumption.
The world’s energy and electricity consumption is set to explode exponentially in the decades ahead.
For most of these new high consumers, “electrification” (e.g., electric cars), bridging the “digital divide,” and soaring air conditioning surely means much more electricity and that means coal.
Crazy high oil and gas prices should give coal a leg up this frigid winter.
For example, coal accounts for 80% of China’s heating.

The typical energy market choice is between coal, oil, and gas, with naturally intermittent renewables stuck in the minor leagues.
And unlike what we keep hearing, costs for renewables aren’t declining in perpetuity.
S&P Global, for instance, reports that a “host of headwinds” are driving a 15% surge in U.S. solar prices this year and a 19% jump for wind.
The mounting costs for renewables is based on rising demand, which could easily get worse as the “energy transition” marches on.
And cost comparisons between coal and renewables are not accepted globally as much as Western academia now claims.
Sheer physics make wind and solar “non-dispatchable” sources of electricity, and their faculty to displace “dispatchable” resources like coal is not as strong as advertised.
This huge difference in reliability makes the “renewables versus fossil fuels and nuclear” debate an apples to oranges comparison.
Coal might just become cheaper than ever because of the focus on other sources of energy - freeing it up to be utilized more than currently forecast.
With COP26 just days away, and especially since electricity is only becoming more important in our lives, we must be realistic.
And seeking only weather-dependent energy is about as unrealistic as it gets.
Ultimately, the energy crunch is likely to make coal even more important in the eyes of major users: it reaffirms that all resources – especially the most essential ones – must remain as viable options to support a human progress that continues to fall unacceptably short.
Indeed, “for energy, poor people deserve to be rich.”
If we aren’t careful, the poorer coal-based economies will just simply turn to cheaper and less efficient coal, such as subcritical plants.
This explains why the International Energy Agency for so many years has been strongly advocating for supercritical and ultra-supercritical technologies, along with huge investments in carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Our OECD energy advisor has already told us that “combined with CCS, HELE [High-Efficiency, Low-Emissions] technologies can cut CO2 emissions from coal-fired power generation plants by as much as 90%.”
Coal is so ingrained in the world’s gigantic energy complex that significantly reduced emissions and net-zero are a pipe dream without these clean coal technologies.
We’re already seeing the devastating consequences of not investing in the critical energy resources that so many want us to think will all just be magically going away.

And I horrifically expect the resulting extremely high prices to be deadly this winter.
6) Ross Clark: The wishful thinking of COP26
The Spectator, 1 November 2021

History records that George II was the last British king to lead his troops on the battlefield, at the Battle of Dettingen in 1743. But maybe it is only a matter of time… Addressing the COP26 summit in Glasgow Prince Charles called for a 'vast military-style campaign' against climate change.


We must put ourselves on a 'war-like footing', marshalling the resources of the private sector as we did during wartime. I look forward to the sight of Charles, on horseback, leading a battalion against Xi Jinping’s People’s Army to try to take the site of China’s latest coal-fired power station.

There is a very big problem with this kind of rhetoric. If, as Prince Charles added, COP26 is the 'last chance saloon' then where will that leave delegates at COP27? Clearly, there will be no point in them attending at all, given that it will be too late and the world will presumably be finished. In fact, according to Charles, we have already run out of time. Addressing the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 he told delegates 'our planet has reached a point of crisis and we have only seven years before we lose the levers of control'. By my calculations that would have taken us to 2016, yet carbon emissions continued to rise after that date and are still rising.

If, as Prince Charles added, COP26 is the 'last chance saloon' then where will that leave delegates at COP27?

It isn’t just Prince Charles, either. The Prime Minister has been equally alarmist, taking of mankind being 'one minute from midnight'. Perhaps they think that dialling up the rhetoric will spur countries into action, but the opposite is true. When the hosts of COP26 start claiming we are teetering on the edge of doom they are going to turn off many world leaders, who can see such stuff is at odds with reality.

Anyone who read through the UN's sixth IPPC report, published in August, would not come to the conclusion that we are in an existential crisis, lashed by flood, fire and tempest. Inevitably, perhaps, COP delegates held up on a train on Sunday delayed by a fallen tree near Milton Keynes started blaming climate change, with one passenger, described as a scientist on his way to advise African governments, reported in the Guardian as saying: 'It is obviously very inconvenient and a reminder that climate change causes all manner of extreme weather events.' Yet to blame climate change for a pretty moderate October storm flies in the face of the evidence presented by the IPCC, which reveals a falling trend in average wind speeds over land in the northern hemisphere, as well as a sharp decline in very strong storms in the North Atlantic and Arctic region since 1990.
The IPCC itself cites a study published in the Journal of Climate in 2013 that shows that the downward trend in storms with a central pressure of fewer than 960 millibars has been picked by several independent data sets. 
So much, then, for all those lazy claims that we are facing a future of ever bigger and stronger storms thanks to climate change — in our part of the world at least observational evidence rather suggests the opposite. If COP delegates want to blame anything for their delayed train it isn’t climate change, it is the modern practice of using railway embankments as nature reserves rather than clearing every tree and shrub as was standard practice in the days of steam engines — lineside vegetation being a fire risk thanks to sparks from the locomotives.

In the end-of-times mood at Glasgow, however, none of this will register. The entire planet is facing human-induced destruction and that is that.
7) Adam Creighton: Glasgow talkfest has net-zero credibility
The Australian, 1 November 2021
The gap between net-zero emissions rhetoric and economic and political reality have become so great, even elite international organisations appear to be mocking the whole enterprise.

The 25,000 attendees descending on Glasgow’s climate conference can rest easy that the carbon dioxide emissions generated by their business-class flights won’t be counted towards their governments’ national emissions totals.

Under rules drawn up for the Paris 2015 climate agreement, allocating international air travel emissions across countries, which until Covid-19 had been the fastest-growing sort, was deemed too difficult.

But that’s the least of the reasons the global push for “zero emissions by 2050” will fail. For a start, look at the track record. Since 1995, when the first “COP” UN climate change meeting took place, in Berlin, global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by more than 56 per cent to about 36 billion tonnes a year. A statistical genius couldn’t pick when the world started taking an interest in them from looking at a chart.

Despite ever larger, more frequent and earnest conferences and climate change “policies”, emissions show little sign of changing from their steady upward course, whatever profound sentiments emerge from this week’s climate jamboree.
If governments seriously believe they can get 36 billion tonnes down to near zero by 2050, they will have to take drastic and painful action soon, including the biggest emitters – China, the US and India.

Emissions whack-a-mole has been the reality as rich countries send their manufacturing to poor countries, which don’t care so much about their emissions, which at the end of the day, are the same everywhere. China now emits more than the US and EU combined every year.

Britain, host of COP26, boasts it will engineer the biggest reduction in emissions of any major country by 2035 – by 78 per cent on 1990 levels. That sounds impressive, but Britain’s emissions are at least 40 per cent higher if the imports its people enjoy are factored in, according to analysis by the UK Office for National Statistics.

No wonder governments of rich countries prefer to compare their emissions based on production rather than the goods and services used by their people. Meatless Mondays and fishless Fridays won’t be anywhere near as popular as feel-good wind farms far away.

The energy mix hasn’t changed as much as the zeitgeist would suggest. In 1973, coal, the most hated form of energy among net-zero emissions advocates, made up 24 per cent of the world’s energy; in 2019 it was 25 per cent, according to readily available public data. Revered wind and solar fulfil less than 4 per cent of the globe’s energy needs after decades of subsidies. Oil, gas and coal still satisfy 85 per cent.

When the International Air Transport Association in Boston last month released the airline industry’s plan to achieve net zero by 2050, it was careful to gloss over the impact of the $US2 trillion cost on airline tickets, which will inevitably see significant increases in price.

Similarly, governments have so far hidden the cost of the radical economic restructuring that will be required to fulfil 2050 aspirations. To be sure, politically popular wind and solar boondoggles, cobbled on to ageing electricity grids, have pushed up power prices. But no government has taxed imports according to the carbon dioxide emissions required to manufacture them. They will have to if they are taking the 2050 goal seriously.

The gap between net-zero emissions rhetoric and economic and political reality have become so great, even elite international organisations appear to be mocking the whole enterprise. The International Energy Agency in May released Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, making it clear it’s a road map that has no hope of being followed. The five assumptions, all necessary apparently, have no hope of being fulfilled.

First, coal demand will have to fall to almost nothing, yet China since 2019 has been building the equivalent of a new coal plant every week. Renewable – or unreliable, depending on one’s preferred spin – energy must increase from almost nothing to two-thirds of all energy supply.
Total global energy demand must fall – which hasn’t happened – and trillions of dollars are needed to update energy infrastructure and grids, even in overtaxed and hugely indebted rich nations.

Demand for oil must fall by three-quarters by 2050. Electric vehicles are barely 2 per cent of new vehicle sales and a sliver of the outstanding stock of cars.
It’s already evident governments won’t have the stomach for the price increases required to bring about the net-zero emissions nirvana. A doubling of the global oil price over the past year – exactly the sort of thing required to curb consumption of oil – has prompted the US and Japan to ask oil-producing nations to pump more oil. The climate appears to have come a distant second to political reality.

Xi Jinping, leader of the world’s biggest-emitting nation, hasn’t even bothered to attend the Glasgow conference this week, and has promised China will be net zero in 2060, long after his reign has ended.

And US President Joe Biden, who’s made fighting climate change one of his top priorities, arrives in Scotland without the legislative machinery to make his April promise to slash US emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 a reality. Even his Democrat congress baulked last week at a plan to phase out coal and gas power stations quickly in favour of wind and solar. If the congress becomes Republican in a year, as widely expected, there’s next to no chance of significant new policies.

As for India, it’s made it clear repeatedly it won’t be curbing emissions unless it receives significant financial compensation from rich countries, who still haven’t found a fraction of the $US100bn promised in 2015.

It’s a hopeless situation for climate change advocates.
If Glasgow foreshadows the start of highly disruptive policies to make the targets seem less than fanciful, the most anticipated global climate conference in history could end up the high watermark of mass political support for “doing something”.

In the more likely case it doesn’t foreshadow the start of such drastic policies, the periodic talkfest becomes even more of a farce.

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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