Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Gateway to the COP24 climate conference in 2018


Poland doesn’t plan to undermine its economy to please the EU or anyone else with an agenda. The report notes: ‘Ironically, next year’s climate conference will be held in the southern Polish city of Katowice – the centre of the coal-producing Silesia region’. Maybe the local miners would like to pay them a visit 😎

Poland is on a collision course with EU chiefs over its continued heavy use of fossil fuels, as the country prepares to receive its first shipment of US coal, reports the GWPF.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło has warned MEPs she will “throw it back at them” if they criticise her nation’s carbon consumption at next month’s EU summit.

And that could set the scene for more stand-offs next year, when Poland hosts the next round of UN climate talks.

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Open Letter to
Honorable Prime Minister of Fiji and President of COP23
Frank Bainimarama
Mr. President,
The community assembled at the COP23 meeting in Bonn badly wants
temperature to rise according to models proposed (but never verified, rather
seriously contradicted) and sea level changes that may pose serious flooding
threats to low lying coasts provided sea level would suddenly start to rise at
rates never recorded before (which would violate physical laws as well as
accumulated scientific knowledge over centuries).

sea-level-fiji

Figure 2. Sea level changes in the Yasawa Island of Fiji (from Mörner & Matlack-Klein, 2917c). Sea level was high in the 16th and 17th century (1), low in the 18th century (2) and at about the present level over the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries (3) with a somewhat higher level in the early 19th century and with a perfectly stable sea level during the last 50-70 years as indicated by C14-dated microatolls at multiple sites. Consequently there is a total absence of a present sea level rise – i.e. the threat of a future flooding is lifted off.

We have been in your lovely country and undertaken a detailed sea level
analysis, which beyond doubts indicates that sea level is not at all in a rising
mode, but has remained perfectly stable over the last 50-70 years. Hence all
threats of an approaching general sea level flooding is totally unfounded.
Whatever economy, politics and project agendas may want to put in the centre,
the true scientific community must insist that only facts as revealed in nature
itself and in laboratory experiments can provide trustworthy results.
These are the facts:
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Something for the latest festival of climate obsessives to ponder as Syria gets called out in no uncertain terms.

The Department of State issued a withering and blunt critique Wednesday of Syria’s decision to join the Paris agreement more than a year after its initial draft, reports the Daily Caller.

“If the government of Syria cared so much about what was put in the air, then it wouldn’t be gassing its own people,” State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said about allegations that the war-torn country used sarin gas to put down rebel uprisings.

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French nuclear power sites [credit: neimagazine.com]


There are artificial self-imposed targets, plans and even laws – and then there’s reality, if ‘keeping the lights on’ is a priority. Scrapping nuclear capacity implies either having something convincing to replace it with, or risking the wrath of the voters if/when things start to go wrong.

The French environment minister Nicolas Hulot says the government is postponing its move to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the country’s power generation mix, reports PEI.

According to Reuters, Hulot says the grid operator RTE warned it risked supply shortages after 2020 and could miss a goal to curb carbon emissions, if it went ahead with the cull of nuclear right away, reducing the share from 75 per cent to 50 per cent.

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German coal operation


Ideology versus reality? Obsessing over climate looks to have created a mission impossible unless somebody backs down in the German coalition talks. Bizarre that running a country of over 80 million people seems to rest on this one sticking point: how to put the ‘coal’ in coalition.

When it comes to climate change, there are worlds apart between Germany’s aspiring Jamaica Coalition partners, as the GWPF reports. It is all about coal and it is not certain the divide can be bridged.

When the wind is not blowing and the sky is overcast by dark clouds, wind turbines and solar panels cannot generate any electricity. Energy bottlenecks are threatening. Business organisations warn that such “dark doldrums” could trigger complete shutdown in Germany’s industrial heartland.

Coal-fired power plants, thus, are indispensable for a long time to come.

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Not only do we have a bad policy, we have a badly implemented bad policy, as the GWPF explains.

Dr John Constable, GWPF’s Energy Editor, contributed a “Thunderer” column to The Times on the 27th of October 2017 commenting on Professor Helm’s recent study for the UK government on the cost of energy (“Energy customers foot the bill for failed climate policy”).

Subsidies to renewable electricity in the UK cost £5 billion a year at present and will rise to more than £8 billion a year by 2020, all drawn from the bills of domestic and business consumers.

One third of this hits households directly through their electricity bills — about 20 per cent of the bill in fact — while the other two thirds, paid in the first instance by businesses, is passed on to households in the general cost of living.

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Coalition crisis?


German politics could be reduced to a divisive squabble over ineffective attempts to alter global climate by industrial means, amidst threats of crashing the talks.

Exploratory talks in Berlin over the possible first Jamaican coalition at federal level have so far been quite harmonious, reports the GWPF.

Despite arguments between the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Greens over the abolition of the solidarity surcharge (established nearly 30 years ago to rebuild the public infrastructure of the former communist states in East Germany) – overall the discussions seem to be relaxed so far.

This could change on Thursday when there are delicate topics on the agenda: refugees, climate and energy.

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Image credit: BBC


UK taxpayers are about to face another futile trip into green fantasy land, as top politicians refuse to believe that CCS is not a realistic or affordable technology.

Climate change minister Claire Perry is convening a taskforce next month to deliver carbon capture and storage plants more cost effectively, reorts Utility Week.

Perry told a House of Commons debate on CCS last week that the Cost Challenge Taskforce, which was unveiled in the clean growth strategy, was being constituted ‘rapidly’.

She said that the taskforce aimed to repeat the success of a similar group, which had helped to identify ways of delivering offshore windfarms more cheaply.

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Waiting for a recharge


One day the loss of fuel taxes will have to be addressed if electric cars are to become compulsory (after 2032 in Scotland, 2040 in England). Automatic pay-per-mile road tolls could be an option, probably still a long way off.

All electric vehicle (EV) charge points sold in the UK will have to be ‘smart’ and able to interact with the grid to help manage the increased demand for electricity expected to arrive alongside higher take-up, says Clean Energy News.

The Department for Transport yesterday published its intended Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, setting out broad stroke proposals for how the government will seek to increase the access and availability of charge points for electric cars.

The document also confirmed powers to make it compulsory for motorway services and large petrol retailers to install charge points for electric cars, as well as ensuring access to live data of the location and availability of charge points.

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Power lines in Victoria, Australia [credit: Wikipedia]


Still trying to square the circle of unreliable, expensive renewables and reliable, affordable electricity supplies. At least one backbencher is starting to get it: “The problem with solar and wind … you’ve got to have them backed up in some way, and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.” And making batteries to the scale of power stations is neither practical nor affordable.

The details have not officially been released, but the ABC understands Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will argue his policy will lower electricity bills more than a Clean Energy Target (CET), while meeting Australia’s Paris climate change commitments, as the GWPF reports.

It is understood Cabinet last night also agreed to force retailers to guarantee a certain amount of so-called dispatchable power that can be switched on and off on demand, to avoid outages.

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A computer-generated image of Apple’s first Irish data centre [credit: Apple]


Data centre owners won’t like the idea of being at the mercy of unreliable power sources for their vital electricity. ‘Welcome to the energy crunch’ seems to be the message out of this report from Power Engineering International.

Data centres will consume 20 per cent of Ireland’s power generation capacity by 2025, according to the country’s main grid operator, Eirgrid.

Eirgrid added that the huge increase in data centre activity in the country would eat up to 75 per cent of growth in Irish power demand.

The Irish Independent reports that the amount of power needed to store emails, texts and other online data could rise seven-fold as Ireland chases inward investment from tech giants including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

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Teslas in Norway [image credit: Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association)]


The electric subsidy party could be winding down for Norwegian car buyers if the government gets its way. It points out that ‘large electric cars wear out the roads just as much as normal cars’.

Norway plans to trim lavish tax breaks for Tesla and other electric cars that have given it the world’s highest rate of battery-vehicle ownership, the right-wing government proposed on Thursday [reports Reuters].

The draft 2018 budget would mainly affect large cars weighing more than two tons, it said. Norwegian media dubbed the changes a “Tesla Tax”, intended to cut down on sales of luxury models such as Tesla’s Model X sport utility vehicle.

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US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt


It’s hard to miss an undercurrent of dislike for this new but expected US policy in the report, which will no doubt be amplified in the usual quarters.
H/T WGRZ

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that he will sign a new rule overriding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era effort to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, the Associated Press reports.

“The war on coal is over,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared in the coal mining state of Kentucky. For Pruitt, getting rid of the Clean Power Plan will mark the culmination of a long fight he began as the elected attorney general of Oklahoma.

Pruitt was among about two-dozen attorney generals who sued to stop President Barack Obama’s push to limit carbon emissions.
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No certainties, but some bets are better than others in the mixed-up world of climate-related government policies.

The sage of Omaha knows a policy bubble when he sees it—and electric vehicles are a prime case, reports the GWPF.

A sucker is born every minute, and Warren Buffett just proved it. He agreed to spend an undisclosed sum of his shareholders’ money to buy a controlling stake in Pilot Flying J, the truck-stop chain that sells food, coffee and diesel fuel to truckers.

After all, aren’t truckers about to be replaced by robots, and diesel by battery power? The sucker in this scenario, we add, is anyone who believed such futuristic forecasts in the first place.

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Chances are this will go down like a lead balloon with intermittent renewable energy suppliers, who are used to having electricity supply rules working to their own advantage.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is asking the federal agency that oversees the U.S. grid to issue a new rule to restructure electricity markets to fully compensate power plants for the reliability they provide, writes Michael Bastasch at Climate Change Dispatch.

Perry sent his policy proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday. The letter asks FERC to create an electricity pricing regime that allows power plants to recover the costs of providing baseload power. It will likely be seen as a lifeline to coal and nuclear power plants.

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London mayor seeks curbs on wood burners 

Posted: September 29, 2017 by oldbrew in Emissions, government, pollution

Image credit: BBC


Saving money on energy and being trendy may have attracted some buyers of wood burning stoves, but now reaction to air pollution claims is threatening to knock many such sales on the head. Bad news for some who already own them.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is seeking new powers to ban wood burning in the most polluted areas of the capital, says BBC News. The mayor has written to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove asking for greater powers to tackle air pollution not caused by traffic.

Mr Khan wants to introduce a network of “zero-emission zones” where the burning of wood or coal is completely prohibited. He also wants tougher controls on the sale of wood-burning stoves.

Under the mayor’s proposals only low-emission versions of wood-burning stoves would be allowed to remain on the market. There are currently 187 areas of London where pollution regularly exceeds European limits.

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It looks as if a lot of car makers will have to raise prices of some models at least, to meet the cost of EU mega-fines tied to average CO2 emissions that are due to come into force in 2021. Phys.org reporting.

Big-name carmakers including Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler face fines running into the billions for failure to meet tough new European carbon dioxide emissions limits slated for 2021, a study has found.

“Only four out of 11 carmakers are forecast to meet the EU 2021 CO2 emission target, with the rest facing significant fines,” researchers from British firm PA Consulting said in a statement Friday.

European Union nations agreed in 2014 that carmakers should limit CO2 emissions to 95 grammes per kilometre across their entire model range within seven years. The figure for 2015 stood at some 130 grammes per kilometre on average.

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Lots of coal in Australia


Some say the ‘soaring prices and increased black outs’ mentioned in the report are at least partly due to over-hasty substitution of fuel-powered generation by expensive and intermittent renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Now the argument is that Australia needs early action to try and prevent the situation getting even more serious.

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, believes the country would be better off extending the life of existing coal-fired power plants, rather than investing in clean coal technology, as PEI reports.

Finkel says the move would increase Australia’s energy security in an affordable manner.

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Scotland’s new Queensferry Crossing road bridge [image credit: BBC]


‘New plans from the Scottish Government would allow the sale of hybrid and electric cars but not exclusively petrol or diesel ones’, reports Auto Express. But is it just political bluster, based on Scotland having left the UK?

Scotland has set out plans to phase out the sale of cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032 – eight years ahead of the timescale proposed for the rest of the UK.

As under the plans south of the border, Scotland would allow the sale of petrol and diesel hybrids, however.

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The campaign to demonise diesel cars – above all other causes of city air pollution – rumbles on, as The Local reports. The conundrum being of course that Germany makes vast sums from sales of diesel cars, trucks, buses etc. As usual climate is wrongly conflated with air quality issues.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday pledged a billion euros to help German cities fight air pollution caused by dirty diesel cars, as a scandal strangling the automobile industry threatened to engulf politicians at the height of the election campaign.

Merkel said she was doubling financial aid to cities from a previously announced €500 million, in a bid to stave off the threat of an all-out ban against diesel vehicles.

The public health threat posed by nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions came to the fore after Germany’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to fitting millions of cars worldwide with illegal devices to cheat pollution tests.

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