Saturday, 2 January 2021

Climate News - January 2021


Alan Moran

1 January 2021

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


United Nations challenged world leaders to make 2021 the year that humanity ends its “war on nature” and commits to a future free of planet-warming carbon pollution.  “The state of the planet is broken,” UN Sec. Gen. Guterres claimed, “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Apocalyptic fires and floods, cyclones and hurricanes are increasingly the new normal”. Guterres said there’s no way the world can curb the climate change “without U.S. leadership” and urged Americans to do “everything you can” to get their government to curb emissions more quickly.


Presumed President-elect Biden is making key appointments with emission reduction zealots. “Climate czar” John Kerry is joined by Green New Deal co-sponsor, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (who would stop all fracking on public lands) for the Interior Department, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to the Energy Department, former Obama EPA chief Gina McCarthy to head the White House climate change office and North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to head the EPA.


Justifying a global battle against climate change, "Folks, we're in a crisis," he claims this has brought wildfires, flood and drought. Biden has pledged to hold a climate summit in his first 100 days and to rejoin the Paris Accord.


Part of the US COVID package is $35 billion to promote renewable energy (wind, solar and other clean energy sources) over the next five years.


China plans to be “carbon neutral” by 2060 says Xi Jinping but for the next five years, at least, there is to be an expansion in the use of fossil fuels including a 10 per cent expansion of coal use. It plans to increase carbon emissions until 2035.


Japan aims to eliminate petrol vehicles in about 15 years, and to go carbon-free by 2050. This involves subsidising a $2 trillion growth in green business and investment, which PM Suga says will not be a constraint on the economy.


The European Council, the EU’s 27 national leaders, adopted a new greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030: 55% below 1990 levels, (the previous target was -40%). The Council also adopted gas as a “transition fuel” to new technologies with hydrogen being the hope.


Australia “over-performed” its Kyoto commitments because governments seized land from farming without offering compensation - Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) in the chart below.

The Government is not to use the excess credits from this expropriation to meet the Paris Agreement targets.  Senator Canavan calls for them to be given to farmers. A better solution is to undo the land use sterilisation they entailed.


The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) estimates the cost of the UK’s fantasy policy goal of net zero emissions at £3 trillion, which is a third greater than current GDP. GWPF estimates this will bring a resumption of the pre-Thatcher gradual decline in UK living standards.


Arctic ice coverage this year is higher than it was four years ago, but remains below the 1891-2010 median level.

And Japanese scientists have discovered a flow of hot rocks, known as a mantle plume, rising from beneath central Greenland that melts the ice from below.


The Maldives Cabinet famously met underwater in 2009 to publicise their fate. The ploy must have worked since its area has grown!

 The World Meteorological Organization estimated 2020 was about 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the last half of the 1800s, which it said was due to the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. It claims 2020 to have been one of the three hottest years on record, though the satellite data appears to show 9 or 10 hotter years since 1979.  The Paris climate accord set a goal of not exceeding 1.5-degree warming since pre-industrial times.


Claims of increased hurricane activity as a result of climate change again failed to be corroborated in 2020. 

One of the new reports for the UN found countries would need to cut production of oil, coal and natural gas by 6% each year by 2030 to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Instead, a review of eight major fossil-fuel producing nations showed they plan to increase production by 2% annually. That means twice the amount of carbon-based fuel would come onto the market than feasible to keep the Paris goal within reach.


The Lloyd’s Corporation is to join AXA and Zurich in ending new investment in thermal coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, oil sands and new Arctic energy exploration activities from Jan. 1, 2022. U.S. and Asian insurers have mainly retained their exposure.


The IEA sorrowfully records that coal’s demise is premature.  China, India and other fast developing economies account for 75 per cent of use, a use that is declining in politically correct economies. 

The taxpayer funded California Public Advocates Office (CalPA) and the Sierra Club have joined forcesto continue pushing energy policies to eliminate gas and nuclear which have led to the state’s electricity prices to be 50-100 per cent above the US average.  


CEFC, Australia’s “green bank”, contrary to its charter, has made consistent losses.  The Australian opines, “Abandonment of investment norms appears to be a trait shared by many renewable energy enthusiasts, particularly when it is government money at stake.”

CEFC claims its government-backed investment of $8.2b has “unlocked” commitments of $24.3b since 2012; the CEFC’s sister agency, ARENA, has issued grants, totalling $1.63bn in grant funding, and is said to have “unlocked” a total investment of almost $6.69b.  Any such money subtracted from productivity enhancing investment.


Prince Harry suggests that coronavirus is nature's punishment to mankind for creating climate change.


Green left pseudoscientist Tim Flannery warns that one coal mine’s expansion would bring very serious deteriorations in key global climate systems, including destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the drying of the Amazon rainforest. Meanwhile medicos are on the cart with Ying Zhang and 11 co-authors writing a special report focussing on the relationship between health, climate change and bushfires.


Junkscience examines 10 predictions made for 2020. Among them:

  • Temperatures will be 3C higher (reality 0.44C higher)
  • China’s emissions will be 40-45 per cent lower (reality 85 per cent higher)
  • Snow will disappear from Kilimanjaro (still there)
  • Pacific Islands will be ruined (actually experiencing strong economies)


Further evidence of some scientists’ remorseless pursuit of grants is a “finding” that dolphins are getting skin blotches more frequently. Yes, the cause is global warming bringing reduced salinity due to more freshwater run-off (wasn’t global warming going to lead to drought?)


Sweeping the pool on virtue signalling, Cambridge, Mass., is the first US city to require stickers on fuel pumps to warn drivers of the resulting dangers posed by the climate crisis.


Having reached a 30 per cent penetration of household roof-tops by PV subsidies, to protect the grid, the West Australian government is now offering further subsidies for customers to use the excess daytime power they generate!

Articles published in December relating to Climate Change: