Friday, 9 April 2021

Climate News - April 2021

Alan Moran


1 April 2021

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

Climate politics

Bigger than Ben Hur – the Biden guest list of heads of state to the US climate summit meeting set for April 21, Earth Day, has now reached 40.  The US will announce an "ambitious" new 2030 emissions target for the country by the time the summit gets under way. Sniffing the air, the American Petroleum Institute has now offered support for a carbon tax “to tackle climate change” though 350.org responded, “fossil fuel executives have knowingly lied and deceived the public about the devastating impacts that burning coal, oil, and gas has on our climate for decades. Now at the 11th hour [etc. etc.] ......”.

 

The Biden Administration has allocated funding to reduce the cost of renewable energy by 60 per cent (though it claims renewables are already the cheapest form of energy “in many parts of the country”).  Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said, “This first burst of funding will help us add even more affordable clean energy to the grid, jobs to communities, and will put us on the fast track towards the goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035.” The Global Climate Fund is hoping that measures will include restoring the funding that President Trump cut. 

 

Marc Morano’s new book on the GREEN NEW IDEA addresses measures that target changes to overturn the liberal economy, measures that jettison the fundamental forces that have brought modern prosperity. And, facing green left attacks, big business is complicit.

 

An EU carbon import tax on goods from countries not deemed to be incurring sufficient costs from their domestic measures remains on the agenda. Calls are being made for establishing an EU “CO2 border adjustment as a building block of a climate club". Menacingly, John Kerry calls such a selective import tax, “a last resort, when you’ve exhausted the possibilities of getting emission reductions”. 

 

The EU’s common Agricultural Policy subsidises German farmers by 6 billion euros a year.  An increasing amount of this, 47 per cent by 2027, will be spent on greenhouse gas emission reductions. Emissions are planned to fall from 66.4 million tonnes to 58 million tonnes, meaning a carbon tax equivalent of $US400 per tonne; Australia's 2013 (repealed) carbon tax was about $20 per tonne. Germany has also embarked upon providing government support to firms facing competition from those in countries that do not impose its own level of punitive carbon taxes. However 80 per cent of the funding must be spent on "climate protection measures".

 

India, which has indicated it is unlikely to agree to net zero emissions, has recently approved 32 coal mining projects producing 193 million tonnes a year. Australia’s total production is just over 300 million tons a year. China generated 53 per cent of the world’s coal-fired power in 2020 in an electricity system that is 62 per cent coal; 8 per cent is wind/solar. The following IEA chart illustrates how electricity prices ($US/MWh) appear to be inversely related to government pressures on generators to use renewables and avoid coal.

Speaking about China’s new 5 Year Plan, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air’s, Lauri Myllyvirta said, “Without the energy consumption control target, there’s even less in this five-year plan to constrain emissions growth than in the previous ones”.

Climate Science

Litigious alarmist Michael Mann, currently in Australia avoiding his latest lawsuit defeat against Mark Steyn is claiming that global warming is exacerbating drought and wildfires in Australia.  Eric Worral points to far more extreme climate conditions documented in Australia over a century ago. Even so in Senate Estimates, officials agreed that the effects of human-induced climate change are considerable and a Greens Senator asked about, “making companies profiting off the climate emergency pay for the impact of the floods of recent days”.

 

The threefold increase in undocumented immigrants to the US is set to get worse if, as some claim, hurricanes are increasing, thereby forcing more Latin Americans to seek respite to the north. The UN thinks “it unfair that countries that contribute the least to climate change will suffer such heavy burdens for its effects.”  Actually, hurricanes are not increasing!

Climate and energy economics

Energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. estimates the carbon price must rise to $160 per ton by 2030 to meet the requirements of holding emission levels down to keep warming to the IPCC estimated level of 1.5 degrees celsius.

 

UK Treasury, having said that meeting net zero will cost £50bn annually in 2050 now thinks £70bn per annum is more realistic. The lower figure was from government’s official advisors on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) led by the corrupt Lord Deben

 

Sterling Burnett finds that while all US wind/solar installations are subsidised, more than half of the states have additional mandatory renewable requirements.  These include every state among the top 10 with the most expensive electricity. Eight of the 10 states with the lowest prices have no additional renewable requirements. The two that do are Washington with considerable hydro and Texas with a highly competitive supply.

 

A University of Colorado study determined that the main cause of closure of 348 US coal plants was not cheap gas but the 2015 Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which requires states to reduce soot and smog pollution, and Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, backed by over US$174 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The authors support these interventions. 

 

Beware about your savings! The world’s largest investor, Black Rock, with $US9 trillion in funds management, is intensifying its rejection criteria of stocks in businesses that involve high carbon emissions.

 

Swiss Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, announced new climate targets, including plans for the reinsurer to completely phase-out thermal coal from its treaty business by 2030 (OECD) and 2040 (rest of the world).

 

Bowing somewhat to pressures, Citibank says it won’t take on any new clients with plans to expand coal-fired generation after the end of 2021, but does not extend this to halt financing for existing clients with coal power expansion plans.

 

It’s not cheap being green.  Deutsche Post is to spend 7 billion euros over the next 9 years “making an important contribution to our planet and society”.

 

The Democrat's proposed Clean Future Act calls for the elimination of gas-fired electric power generation within 14 years. David Wojik condenses the fifty year history of electric power in America as:

 

First they came for the nukes in the 70’s. Coal and gas smiled, saying we can do the job, so we built 350,000 MW of coal-fired baseload and gas-fired peakers.

 

Then they came for coal in the 90’s. Gas smiled, saying we can do the job, so we built 220,000 MW of gas-fired baseload.

 

Now they have come for gas. Wind and solar are smiling; their trade associations love this law.

 

But there is a big difference this time. WIND AND SOLAR CAN’T DO THE JOB.

Watt Clarity produces the revenues of Australia’s major solar power facilities.  As shown in grey below, half of their revenues are from subsidies: these are the pathways to the future?

Matt Keen, Energy Minister of NSW has appointed fellow climate alarmist, former PM, Malcolm Turnbull to head his Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, saying he

was “ideally placed to help NSW reduce its emissions in ways that grow the economy”.

Whimsy

A Danish University of Copenhagen study is postulating that increased CO2 is responsible for obesity. Apparently, orexins – which are neuropeptide hormones – in the brain stimulate wakefulness and energy expenditure. These hormones may be affected by CO2.

Yet another catastrophic consequence of climate change – it causes COVID.  Grant chasing research claims climate change increases pollen count which raises the COVID risk!

 

March saw a 100 year flood in the Sydney region, which stimulated the usual sources to blame climate change and coal mining.  These included the doyen of Australian alarmists, Tim Flannery who previously claimed (during a drought) that rain will be far less common and even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and our river systems.