AEF Climate News - June 2018



A review and commentary on topical matters concerning the science, economics, and governance associated with climate change developments.
By Alan Moran
1 June 2018
Developments in climate science
Most people are familiar with the temperature trends and forecasts favoured by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These show an upward trajectory, even shorn of the deceit that the infamous Michael Mann introduced by fallaciously eradicating the well substantiated mediaeval cooling record. This chart is from the 2014 IPCC report
In contrast, as illustrated below, world temperatures show no trend when they exclude stations with data contaminated by being in increasingly in built-up areas or close to the sea and without the “corrections” introduced by IPCC scientists.
Further undermining alarmists’ hyperbole, a new report by Christy et al puts the actual trend based on 40 years of satellite data at 1.2°C per century, much less than the (adjusted) IPCC data set suggests. Even this modest increase, as Wallace et al show, is not necessarily associated with increased CO2.

One man martyred for calling out overstatements of temperature rises and their effects is marine physicist, Professor Peter Ridd.  Professor Ridd was sacked from James Cook University for stating that the scientific data claiming damage to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) from climate change and other human causes is flawed. The alarmist claims and their reporting are invaluable to the university’s funding. The Vice Chancellor said the sacking was nothing to do with freedom of scientific discussion!  Dr Ridd has called for $5 million of the $500 million the Federal government has earmarked to spend on the GBR to be allocated to scientific verification.  Peter Ridd will be joining Tony Abbott and others at the Bob Carter Memorial Lecturer on 3 July 2018.

And, shock horror – global warming would mean increased food production! According to a recent study, if the alarmists’ anticipated warming takes place, 76 per cent (rather than 32 per cent at present) of the world’s boreal forests would be open to agriculture. For North America, boreal forests are illustrated in the dark green areas.
The study’s leader, naturally, had to temper these welcome estimates with his opinion that climatic outcomes elsewhere would have some offsetting effects.
Policy developoments
The Paris Agreement is unravelling as mendicant countries realise that rich nations are not going to pay the vanity price of the proffered aid. The poor countries want the $100 billion a year that was promised and though, ostensibly, $64 billion has been reached most of this is relabelled existing assistance .

Moreover the poor countries’ erstwhile champion, China, is now saying that they too should reduce their emissions as part of the agreement!  

Predictably, achieving the goal of reduced emissions is getting harder as energy intensive industry shifts to developing countries, where lower energy costs prevail due to the absence of emission restraints. Though overlooked by international bureaucrats, this undermines the ostensible intent of the agreement.

However, according to yet another fanciful forecast, this one from environmentalists at Stanford, there is a win-win solution, since the authors allege that the US would save $6 trillion if it ratifies the Paris convention!

Australia’s 2018/9 budget, issued in May, did not introduce further renewable energy subsidies. 
Even so, Minister Frydenberg touted a 33 per cent increase in green jobs allegedly created by his policies, (though failing to mention the jobs destroyed because of the higher costs they impose). The lack of announced new subsidies disappointed the perennial economy-destroyers among greens like the ACF and GetUp. Even more dissatisfied were the rent-seekers in the renewable lobby, who having now realised that wind and solar are not, after all, competitive, are clamouring for new infusions of support.

Australia’s gas industry has finally recognised that the green campaign against preventing new development has prevailed. The green activists' campaigning is in spite of 13 separate govt studies finding that coal seam and other unconventional gas extraction is harmless. The nation a massive loser. 

In the UK, the Financial Times reports ($) that, with reduction in green subsidies, UK annual investment in clean energy fell 10 per cent year-on-year in 2016 and another 50 per cent in 2017 — when it was at its lowest level since 2008, according to the House of Commons environmental audit committee.

Germany’s Economics Minister Peter Altmaier admitted the renewable energy-oriented Energiewende is a failure “because it is already known that many other countries, like USA and China” are not going to adopt it and so will always have access to cheap, reliable energy and Germany will thus have no chance to compete internationally should it opt to stay on the green course.

Even so, the march of subsidised green power continues unabated with the Global Warming Industry being worth over $82 Billion for 2018. Climate Depot report the ‘Worldwide value of carbon pricing up a stunning 56% from 2017’. 
Economic outcomes of climate policies

Michael Schellenberger explains why, even though solar is becoming cheaper and more of it being installed under renewable energy policies, electricity prices are rising. He points to renewable energy being “non-despatchable” and needing increasing amounts of supplementary firming capacity. Also important is the stop-start costs intermittent renewables impose on unsubsidised fossil and nuclear generators causing them to close and bringing consequent supply induced price rises. He adds, “Humankind has never transitioned to energy sources that are more costly, less reliable and have a larger environmental footprint than the incumbent — and yet that’s precisely what adding large amounts of solar and wind to the grid requires”.  

In a similar vein, former Obama Assistant energy secretary Charles McConnell warns, “Our infrastructure increasingly depends on much less secure, resilient and reliable sources of energy, like wind, solar or even natural gas. These sources do not provide the dependable availability of nuclear or coal.”

The Trump administration clearly recognises renewables are the problem not the solution. As in Australia, subsidised and regulatory specified inclusion of unreliable wind/solar in the electricity mix is creating problems for the viability of dependable plant. Energy Secretary Perry is attempting to put in place countervailing measures that would require fossil and nuclear plant to remain open.

For these reasons, California is dreamin’ in requiring solar panels to be mandatory on new homes from 2020. Solar panels provide intermittent energy at about twice the cost of fossil fuels.

In the latest episode in the saga where some US cities are suing oil companies for “knowingly and recklessly” creating global warming and according to Arnold Schwarzenegger causing “first-degree murder”, the judge has asked the oil companies to demonstrate the benefits of oil use.  He added, “We needed oil and fossil fuels to get from 1859 to the present. Yes, that’s causing global warming. But it’s been a huge, huge benefit”.

The Australian renewable energy lobby showed that for 2017 25,000 GWh of electricity – close to 12 per cent of the total - came from subsidised renewables (mainly wind). In 2017 alone, $9 billion of investment was wasted in these facilities that have brought about escalating prices and lower reliability. The next two years will see even more of this but the lobby worries that the subsidies may be turned off beyond 2020 causing new plant to become uneconomic.
Whimsy
Cuba is to showcase its environmental achievements – perhaps these include the creation of poverty and maintenance of 1950s US cars.

Dengue fever, something that Australia’s whacky former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd often warned against, is once more in vogue. New research from the alarmist University of East Anglia claims the disease’s incidence will rise with their projected rise in global warming. Such an increase in the disease is no more credible than saying people in Los Angeles are more at risk than those in cooler San Francisco.

Meanwhile a group of enthusiasts fret about whether yellow warblers can survive climate change. But Ben and Jerry’s are riding to the rescue with a new carbon saving blockchain scheme where people can pay a premium for their ice cream which, it is said, just three weeks into the trial, more than 1,000 trees have been protected through carbon credit purchases!
I published articles on climate aspects of energy in
  • The Spectator and in Catallaxy Files covering the attempt by AGL to cash in on its market power by closing a power station to force up prices, and
  • Catallaxy Files where I pilloried the government’s selected “energy czar’s” claim that renewable energy is cheaper than that from fossil plant.

I also published this piece on superannuation funds and their supposed measures against investment in fossil fuel firms.
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