Thursday, June 16, 2022

Net Zero Watch: Shock and surprise as UK government scraps all grants for electric cars


In this newsletter:

1) Shock and surprise as UK government scraps all grants for electric cars 
City A.M., 14 June 2022

2) Soaring energy costs could deny Brits life-saving treatment
Daily Mail, 13 June 2022

3) Lord Frost: 'We’re going at Net Zero to too fast with technology that can’t yet do the job' 
Conservative Home, 14 June 2022

4) Climate Change Censorship: Phase Two
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 14 June 2022 

5) Energy crisis leaves Australians facing blackouts
Daily Mail, 13 June 2022

6) Bill Wirtz: Is Russia funding European environmental activists?
National Interest, 7 June 2022
7) And finally: Climate extremists tell Africa to forgo gas exploration
The Guardian, 14 June 2022

Full details:

1) Shock and surprise as UK government scraps all grants for electric cars 
City A.M., 14 June 2022


There is widespread shock and surprise in the car industry this morning as the Department for Transport said all grants for new electric vehicles (EVs) have been scrapped.

The automotive industry and motoring groups criticised the decision, with the AA warning that many motorists being forced to wait for a new EV due to global supply constraints will lose out.

The government has scrapped the £1,500 grants for purchases of new electric cars, the same day fuel prices reached new records.

The average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts reached a new high of 185.4p.

This is an increase of 6.9p in just a week and follows a 10p hike in petrol prices in May.

Concerns over prices at the pumps has led to the Competition and Markets Authority launching a review of the retail market, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng raising concerns that the five pence fuel duty cuts are not being passed on to consumers.

Watchdog confirms review of petrol market as record prices put pressure on drivers

Drivers could previously claim up to £1,500 towards the cost of a plug-in car costing below £32,000.

But the DfT said the “success” of the Plug-in Car Grant means the Government will now “refocus” the funding to encourage users of other vehicles to make the switch to electric.

Full story

Winning:  GWPF condemns Boris Johnson’s plan for new “subsidies for the rich”

2) Soaring energy costs could deny Brits life-saving treatment
Daily Mail, 13 June 2022

Thousands of Britons may struggle to afford life-saving kidney treatment due to the cost of living crisis, a charity warned today.

Kidney Care UK said increasing electricity and fuel costs could see the UK's 30,000 dialysis patients unable to afford treatment at home or in hospitals.

Patients whose organs have started to fail need dialysis, which sees them connected to a machine which takes on the role of the kidneys.

But each session is energy-intensive — equivalent to taking 75 baths — and the price of running them is only set to keep rising.

Most people undergoing treatment at home are reimbursed by the NHS for running the machines. Yet this standard tariff is not adjusted for the cost of energy and there is variation in whether people get reimbursements on-time and in full.

Those undergoing the treatment at hospital face travelling there three days a week at a time when fuel prices are soaring to record highs daily — with petrol prices hitting an average of 185p a litre on Sunday.

Fiona Loud, policy director for Kidney Care UK, warned kidney disease patients tend to be poorer because they have to follow an expensive diet and cannot work due to how long the treatment takes.

She said the costs of managing the condition were 'affecting people previously' but it has got 'so much worse' as the cost of living rises.

It comes as dentists today warned that appointments are becoming 'unaffordable' — as one in five Britons fear they will have to shun getting their teeth checked amid the cost of living crisis.

Full story
3) Lord Frost: 'We’re going at Net Zero to too fast with technology that can’t yet do the job' 
Conservative Home, 14 June 2022


Lord Frost resigned as a minister in December last year, in protest at the Government’s “direction of travel”, but is now considering seeking election to the Commons, in order to press Boris Johnson and his team to adopt more Conservative policies, including tax cuts...

He deplores the restrictions on freedom of expression during the lockdowns of recent years, and opposes the target of reaching Net Zero by 2050:

“I think we’re going at it too fast with technology that can’t yet do the job, and the risk is that we end up with rationing and demand management rather than achieving the goal.”


ConHome: “On Net Zero, what’s your view? That the target is too severe?”

Frost: “I think the way I would look at it is not to get into ‘Is it the right target?’ or ‘Is global warming scientifically justified?’ or whatever. From the political point of view, my view is that with the technology we’ve got I don’t see how we deliver the target by 2050 unless we are rescued by fusion power or some massive advance in battery power.

“But at the moment those things don’t seem likely. And I don’t see how we are going to decarbonise the grid by 2035. I don’t see how the technologies exist.

“And everybody is ignoring the fact that the intermittency of renewables (a) is a problem in itself (b) imposes huge costs elsewhere on the grid by the way of backup and inefficiency.

“I think we need more focus on security. We need a more realistic focus on the speed of the transition. I think we’re going at it too fast with technology that can’t yet do the job, and the risk is that we end up with rationing and demand management rather than achieving the goal.”

ConHome: “Lots of our readers will think all that is simple common sense, and will therefore ask, ‘What did other people say in government when you put this view to them?'”

Frost: “One other consequence before I answer the question. Net Zero affects huge parts of the economy, not just in energy prices but in systems, the way it works.

“And if you want serious post-Brexit reform that produces greater efficiency, lower costs, simpler ways of doing things, the existence of the Net Zero target is a big inhibition on that.

“You’re essentially saying large parts of the economy are off-limits for the purposes of reform.

“So that’s the context that I used to have those discussions in. Without going into detail, I think many people would acknowledge that.

“I think people reasonably point out Net Zero was in the manifesto, it was something that was campaigned on, it was one of the pledges, it should be taken seriously.

“I don’t want to speak for others. But many people have a degree of uncertainty and unease about it that is not always dealt with.”

Full interview
see also: Time to heed Lord Frost's criticisms and change your approach, No 10 warned


4) Climate Change Censorship: Phase Two
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 14 June 2022

Now Gina McCarthy tells Big Tech to stifle global-warming policy debate

Progressives first demanded that social media platforms silence critics of climate alarmism. Now White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy wants them to censor content on the costs of a force-fed green energy transition.

A few years ago, Facebook enlisted third-party “fact checkers” to review news stories about climate. That didn’t satisfy Democratic Senators who howled about a “loophole” for opinion pieces. Facebook then began appending fact-checks to op-eds, including by our contributors Bjorn Lomborg and Steven Koonin, that criticized apocalyptic climate models and studies. The goal was to restrict readership.

Now progressives are moving to censorship phase two, which is shutting down debate over climate “solutions.” “Now it’s not so much denying the problem,” Ms. McCarthy said in an Axios interview last Thursday. “What the industry is now doing is seeding doubt about the costs associated with [green energy] and whether they work or not.”

Ms. McCarthy cited the week-long power outage in Texas in February 2021. “The first thing we read in the paper was” that the blackouts occurred “because of those wind turbines,” she said. “That became the mantra.” In fact, most of the media immediately blamed climate change and fossil fuels.

We were among the few to point out that wind energy plunged as temperatures dropped and turbines froze. Gas-fired plants couldn’t make up for the wind shortfall despite running all-out, and then some went down too. Ms. McCarthy doesn’t want to admit the inconvenient truth that renewable energy sources are making the grid increasingly unreliable.

Comparing fossil-fuel companies to Big Tobacco, she complained that “dark money” is being used to “fool” the public about “the benefits of clean energy.” “We need the tech companies to really jump in,” she said, because highlighting the costs of green energy is “equally dangerous to denial because we have to move fast.” Got that, Mark Zuckerberg ?

Merely pointing out technical limitations of lithium-ion batteries could be “disinformation.” Asked whether climate disinformation posed a threat to public health, Ms. McCarthy replied “absolutely” while adding hilariously that “President Biden doesn’t focus on, and neither do I on, bashing the fossil-fuel companies.” The Axios interviewer smiled and nodded along.

Some conservative scholars argue that Big Tech companies could be sued as “state actors” for violating users’ First Amendment speech rights when they censor content at the behest of government officials. Ms. McCarthy is helping make their case. 

5) Energy crisis leaves Australians facing blackouts
Daily Mail, 13 June 2022


Queensland narrowly avoided power outages on Monday night but may have to endure blackouts on Tuesday.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) had earlier issued an alert warning of possible blackouts for the south-east and the east coast of the state between 5.30pm and 8pm on Monday, and again on Tuesday morning.

But AEMO managed to direct electricity generators to supply enough power to meet demand.

'At this stage, these efforts have provided sufficient generation to cover the lack of reserve 3 shortfall,' a spokesman said.

'AEMO will continue to monitor reserve conditions closely in Queensland (and NSW) ... providing further updates should conditions change.'

Paul McArdle, an analyst who runs the Watt Clarity website, had warned that not meeting the supply would be 'catastrophic'. 'The wheels do seem to be falling off today,' he said in a tweet.

The operator has imposed a cap on electricity spot prices of $300 per megawatt after seven consecutive days of surging wholesale prices.

Full story

6) Bill Wirtz: Is Russia funding European environmental activists?
National Interest, 7 June 2022


Russia might be funding European environmental organizations to support its position in the energy market and undermine competitors.
Why is Europe's political class questioning the effectiveness of modern agricultural practices and the legitimacy of nuclear power when the rest of the developed world is upgrading its fission capacity and allowing for gene-editing technology to revolutionize food production?
One could think it's the inherent need for Europe to be different from the rest of the world, but that would neglect the significant lobbying efforts that have prevented the continent from becoming food and energy independent.

In 2014, former NATO secretary-general and prime minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen described this phenomenon to The Guardian:
"I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations - environmental organisations working against shale gas - to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas."
The extraction of shale gas is known as fracking. While legal and used in the United States, European parliaments have consistently opposed this alternative and preferred to rely on standard Russian gas pipelines. According to a letter sent to then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by U.S. representatives Lamar Smith and Randy Weber, Hillary Clinton told a private audience in 2016 "We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I'm a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians …"
Has the Russian Federation been funding environmental activists around the world? A few more voices point in this direction.

WWF Germany, BUND (Friends of the Earth), and NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union), three environmental organisations who were avowed opponents of Germany's NordStream pipelines with Russia, dropped their opposition after Gazprom promised funding for environmental protection, according to a 2011 report from the European Parliament. A foundation set up by a German federal state, environmental organizations, and NordStream (controlled by Gazprom) had filled its coffers with €10 million with representatives of the environmental organizations sitting on the board. Did these groups drop their opposition to the pipelines because of Russian funding? Whether they did or not is anyone's guess.
Another striking example is Belgium, where the federal energy minister Tinne Van der Straeten (from the green party "GROEN") has sought to dismantle Belgium's nuclear energy capacity. Van der Straeten’s former job? Lawyer and associate at a law firm whose largest client is Gazprom. 
It's not just energy dependence that Europe has created, but also significant food import dependency. According to the European Union (EU), 19 percent of “other feed and feed ingredients” imported to the bloc come from Russia, as well as almost 8 percent of sugar (other than beet and cane), and slightly more than 6 percent of imported wheat.
While total agri-food imports from Russia to the EU only represent 1.4 percent, the country's trade is vital for Europe's animal feed, and by blocking Ukrainian trade routes, Moscow is worsening food security all over Europe. Conveniently, many of the organizations mentioned above have been adamant about reducing European farmland, phasing out crop protection, and blocking the use of genetic engineering.
The question of whether environmental activists have been funded by the Russian state might help resolve the even more puzzling inquiry into why they told deliberate mistruths for decades. Take the example of insecticides: when a decline in the honey bee population went unexplained for some time in the early 2000s, environmental activists first blamed their favorite boogeyman – genetic engineering. When that talking point was debunked by the scientific community, environmentalists turned their attention to neonicotinoid insecticides, and also subsequently to neonic alternatives such as sulfoxaflor.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a March 2018 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, and reports from Canada and Australia, there has been no proven link between neonics and harm to bee populations. The scientific community rejected sulfoxaflor-related claims as recently as July last year. The European Food Safety Authority EFSA and the EPA, even called sulfoxaflor "better for species across the board."
Not just have those claims about bee health been rejected, but bee population growth across the globe is on the rise. The data show that as of 2020, there has been a 17 percent increase in beehives, a 35 percent increase since 2000, and a 90 percent increase since 1961. In the United States, the number of bee colonies has been stable for thirtyyears while in Europe, where farmers also use insecticides, the number has increased by 20 percent.
These mistruths about crop protection and bee numbers have made countries fight what even mainstream news sources in Europe consider "bee-killing pesticides." 

In France, Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front (itself supported by loans from Russian banks) supported a ban on sulfoxaflor in 2015. In 2019, the country outlawed neonics and sulfoxaflor, only to discover that it led to a massive decrease in sugar beet production. Paris had to pause the bans as its beet farmers were facing extinction but still received criticism from environmental organizations for their pragmatic decision. Again, the fact that Russia is a significant exporter of sugar beet is likely purely coincidental and unrelated.
Do environmental organizations support the efforts of foreign governments by increasing the dependence of NATO allies on Russia? Even if not deliberately, they do so indirectly as their advocacy leads to food inflation and economies that cannot argue from a position of strength. 
7) And finally: Climate extremists tell Africa to forgo gas exploration
The Guardian, 14 June 2022


Africa must forgo gas exploration to avert climate disaster, warn experts

Africa must embrace renewable energy, and forgo exploration of its potentially lucrative gas deposits to stave off climate disaster and bring access to clean energy to the hundreds of millions who lack it, leading experts on the continent have said.

Their call came as the UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned that exploring for gas and oil anywhere in the world would be “delusional”.

Several African leaders are considering pushing for new investment in exploration as gas prices around the world soar. Some European countries are also eager to provide such investment to replace supplies from Russia.

Last week, Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, UN commissioner for human rights and UN climate envoy, stoked controversy when she backed an expansion, saying African countries should exploit their gas reserves.

She said the gas should be used within the continent for clean cooking and power generation for the 600 million people who lacked access to power and the 900 million who were cooking on biomass or dirty oil, rather than exported for profit.

Mohamed Adow, the director of the Power Shift Africa thinktank and 2020 winner of the Climate Breakthrough prize, said Robinson was wrong.

“For Africans to achieve the lives of dignity that energy access should bring, we cannot rely on the failed system of the last 200 years. We must leapfrog our thinking and make the investment into distributed renewable energy systems that won’t poison our rivers, pollute our air, choke our lungs and profit only a few,” he told the Guardian.
Full story

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

No comments: