Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Climate News - December 2020

 

Alan Moran

1 December 2020

A review and commentary on topical matters concerning the science, economics, and governance associated with climate change developments.

Politics COVID 19

The Guardian ranks the EU as a frontrunner in spending on renewables from COVID recovery funding, devoting 30% of its €750bn (£677bn) Next Generation Recovery Fund to green ends. France and Germany have earmarked about €30bn and €50bn respectively of their own additional stimulus for environmental spending.

On the other end of the scale, China is faring the worst of the major economies, with only 0.3% of its package – about £1.1bn – slated for green projects. In the US, before the election, only about $26bn (£19.8bn), or just over 1%, of the announced spending was green.

Politics USA

Presumptive President Biden has appointed John Kerry, Obama's negotiator of the Paris Accord, as his special envoy on climate change.  Kerry has, through his wife’s inheritance, six houses, 12 cars, two yachts and a private jet, yet he tells others that they should take public transport to avoid emissions.

 

Mr. Biden has said he will rejoin the Paris Accord and wants the U.S. to host a climate summit. Steve Milloy suggests this could be thwarted by a departing President Trump putting the Accord to the Senate where it would not pass. 

 

Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, has endorsed a carbon tax as a means to cut greenhouse gas emissions – presumably in addition to existing taxes and subsidies.  

 

About 90 percent of US oil and gas wells use the fracking technology which Biden has said he will phase out.

 

The consumer watchdog arm of the California Public Utilities Commission has recommended the nation’s largest gas company be fined $255 million for trying to block energy efficiency rules and local gas bans.

 

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has pledged $10 billion of his $184 billion fortune to environmental causes and announced gifts of $791 million, including $100 million each to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), led by Gina McCarthy (Obama’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency), and the Environmental Defense Fund.  Other recipients include The Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Dream Corps Green For All, Energy Foundation, The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund.

Politics outside the USA

China and others flaunt their net neutrality plans.  India has apparently “practically achieved its pre-2020 emission reduction targets” but its current fossil fuel emissions are threefold those of 1990 (US unchanged; EU down 18 percent; Australia up 46 percent; China up 350 per cent).  Here are the actual changes for 2019

The French government’s budget law would cut subsidies granted to solar projects between 2006 and 2010. These cuts could save consumers €400m-€600m a year of the annual €2bn solar handouts.

 

Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats are also showing concern at costs.  Led by Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier, they are unwilling to increase green power targets.

 

The UK is to require all new cars to be electric by 2030. The plan expands power from renewables, hydrogen and nuclear, and involves carbon-free jet planes. Some $30 billion of the $50 billion earmarked for offshore windfarms will be spent overseas (mainly in China). As the Spectator points out, the UK has reduced its emissions from 794 million tonnes to 460 million tonnes since 1990 but this is due to gas replacing coal and to outsourcing production to nations with high emissions – in terms of consumption, the UK emissions remain at 784 million tonnes.  

 

Windless periods are bringing power shortages in the UK due to windfarms replacing reliable fossil fuel supplies due, as elsewhere, to government becoming hostage to renewables industry lobbyists The Global Warming Policy Foundation is calling for a public inquiry.

 

In Australia, regulators, Ministers and businesses all tacitly appeared to have agreed to a 2050 net zero emissions target, though there is concern about the way this is being progressed and opposition to it by dissident government MPs. NSW climate change and renewable energy fan, Liberal leadership aspirant Attorney-General Mark Speakman, believing the State Premier Gladys Berejiklian had slowed down the decarbonisation program, is not welcome in his seat.  This is notwithstanding the government having initiated a vast new plan to subsidise renewable energy with new transmission lines and power purchasing  agreements.

Economics

Renewable energy is touted as a source of “well-paid” jobs. Even if this were true, on the flip side is low productivity in terms of different sources’ costs per worker of producing energy. 

The “well paid jobs” mantra is a misnomer and John O’Sullivan argues the consensus of governments necessary to bring about a version of the Green New Deal is unravelling.  

PragurU sees the new ‘green’ religion as a world where the naïve and gullible seek salvation through the veneration of wind turbines; they argue belief in “the science” has supplanted Scripture and ‘scientists’ peddling doomsday tales garner rapt attention, like the fire and brimstone preachers of old. Those who question “the science” are branded “deniers”.

Earlier this year Craig Idso plotted two centuries of fossil fuel use, CO2 concentrations and human longevity. 

Science

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have issued their bi-annual Australian climate report.  It concludes, “We are now up to 1.44 degrees Celsius of warming since 1910, plus or minus 0.24C, resulting in increased extreme heat days, heatwaves and raised fire danger.”  It forecasts higher temperatures.

 

The data has been “homogenised” (some say manipulated).  Below is the original and homogenised.

Whimsy

Prince Charles, Twiggy and other worthies are urging planting of 750,000 trees to sequestrate carbon.  That would reduce emissions by 50,000 tonnes over 30 years.  Global emissions are 36,000,000,000 tonnes annually

 

David Attenborough used footage of walruses plunging to their death in the Arctic as proof of climate change. The walruses actually fell attempting escape from polar bears. But polar bears face being replaced by aardvarks as the iconic species threatened by climate change. 

 Activities and articles published in November relating to Climate Change:

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